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Editorial Introduction

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image of Historical Materialism

Lars Lih’s study of Lenin’s What Is to Be Done? demolishes the shared liberal and Stalinist myth of Leninism as an ice-cold ideology of professional and opportunistic revolutionary organisation. He conclusively shows, not only that Lenin’s thought had deep roots in the democratic culture of contemporary Marxism, but also that it was predicated upon a strong belief in the revolutionary potential of the working class. Lih’s research thus moves the debate about Lenin’s contribution to Marxism on from the tired caricatures of the textbooks to focus instead upon his complex relationship to the Marxism of the Second International. By showing that Lenin’s Marxism was much more sophisticated and textured than is normally allowed, this debate opens his rich legacy to contemporary re-evaluation.<xref ref-type="fn" rid="FN1">1</xref>

Affiliations: 1: Leeds Metropolitan University, Email:


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