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Submitted by AWL on Fri, 15/08/2008 - 20:53

Lenin 1: from "Left-Wing Communism, An Infantile Disorder"

We hope that the reader will understand why the Russian Bolshevik who has known this mechanism for twenty-five years and has seen it develop out of small, illegal and underground circles, cannot help regarding all this talk about "from above" or "from below", about the dictatorship of leaders or the dictatorship of the masses, etc., as ridiculous and childish nonsense, something like discussing whether a man’s left leg or right arm is of greater use to him....

Lenin 2: from "Two Tactics of Social-Democracy"

“Revolutionary Communes” and the Revolutionary-Democratic Dictatorship of the Proletariat and the Peasantry

The Conference of the new-Iskraists did not keep to the anarchist position into which the new Iskra had talked itself (only “from below,” not “from below and from above”). The absurdity of admitting the possibility of an insurrection and not admitting the possibility of victory and participation in a provisional revolutionary government was too glaring. The resolution therefore introduced certain reservations and restrictions into the solution of the question proposed by Martynov and Martov. Let us consider these reservations as stated in the following section of the resolution:

“These tactics” (“to remain the party of extreme revolutionary opposition”) “do not, of course, in any way exclude the expediency of a partial and episodic seizure of power and the establishment of revolutionary communes in one or another city, in one or another district, exclusively for the purpose of helping to spread the insurrection and of disrupting the government.”

That being the case, it means that in principle they admit the possibility of action not only from below, but also from above. It means that the proposition laid down in L. Martov’s well-known article in the Iskra (No. 93) is discarded and that the tactics of Vperyod, i.e., not only “from below,” but also “from above,” are acknowledged as correct.

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