Courseworks

Adam Ulam- Lenin and the Bolsheviks

This passage is describes Plekhanov and more importantly Lenin’s falling out with the German Social Democrats over their ideas of revisionism. Plekhanov saw them as “negotiating with the enemy class”. Lenin was angry too, but not half as enraged as Plekhanov. After reading Bernstein’s book, Lenin labelled him an “opportunist” and a “plagiarist”. However, Ulam goes on to high lighten Lenin’s character by showing the fact that although Lenin was extremely angry at the German Social Democracy at their idea of Revisionist Marxism, he turns his back on this and in his book “What Is To Be Done?” written two years later, he accepts that Marxism “needed a thorough revision”. But he was not being hypocritical as his revisionism was orthodox.Ulam has implied in this passage that Lenin was against any change to his personal understanding of Marxism. What is important to note is that in the early 1900s, the time this passage focus’ on, Marxism was disunited. It meant many things to many more people- such as a return to terrorism, or that Marxists had to be workers and demonstrate peacefully within trade unions, or even that the middle class should lead the revolution. For this reason, there is a strong doubt over whether Lenin’s revisionism was in fact “orthodox”.Ulam is correct to make the point that Lenin was against any man who did not share his view on Marxism (which ironically changed constantly- looking on his changing attitudes in the years leading up to the 1917 Revolutions). This idea can be supported by many examples. One such example is the contracting demands he makes in his two books, “What Is To Be Done?” and “One Step Forward, Two Steps Back”. In “What Is To Be Done?” Lenin makes a demand for the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party to be much for clandestine and secretive, to stay away fro the Okhrana. However, in his following book “One Step Forward, Two Steps Back” Lenin complains about the RSDLP not being democratic enough. He calls for the party to get much more into the political scene. This is just one of several examples of Lenin adapting his views and ideas to suit the time.In this short passage, Ulam has risen several points about the character of Lenin- that he is a dedicated Marxists and will not be lead astray from his aims and beliefs, that he was against any revisionism he did not agree with and that he was not open to hearing new ideas which he did not find true. This is a reasonably accurate of Lenin on Marxism on the whole. The belief that Lenin was fixed on his own ideas and would not tolerate other people telling him what is what can be backed up by the several sever rows he had with colleagues which in some cases lead to extreme illness and near collapse.However, due to the date of Ulams’ book, which was published in 1965, and the nature of the Soviet Government at the time, Adam Ulam was not able to access as much information as recent modern historians. Therefore, one section of this passage is incorrect, which is when Ulam states: “Lenin was a fervent admirer of German Social Democracy, and for all his increasing doubts about the Herman comrades’ militancy he was to remain one until 1914.” It has now been revealed, most notably in Robert Services’ biography “Lenin” that Lenin was still a “fervent admirer” of the German Social Democrats right up until 1917. He gave talks to their supporters and even accepted cash payments to fund the Bolshevik Party in the years since their emergence. This information was kept “top secret” to protect the future of the USSR.This fact however puts an element of doubt over how dedicated Lenin was to the Marxist cause. We know Lenin abandoned the Two Stage Theory to revolution in 1916, and his new single stage plan became known as Leninism. The fact that Lenin changed the meaning of Marxism and that he kept a close contact with the German Social Democrats, who’s country was at war with his own, rather implies that Lenin was not a dedicated Marxists, but a man going about any means possible to overthrow the Tsarist autocracy and gain power.A pragmatic politician, or a dedicated Marxist, Lenin can be seen in many ways. The main point to draw from Adam Ulam’s passage is that Lenin was dedicated to whatever is cause was- which only he knew. Be it that he rejected any point made that he did not agree with, or that he changed his views on certain beliefs to fit the times, Lenin would always put one-hundred percent into his work, and it would be wrong to deny him that characteristic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top
x

Hi!
I'm Jamie!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out