Οn the 150 years since the birth of V. I. Lenin

BY:Nicos Kouzoupis| April 29, 2020
Οn the 150 years since the birth of V. I. Lenin


Great ideas have eternal value only when they become the property of the wider popular masses because they meet their hopes and correspond to their visions, inspiring them in the difficult struggles for social liberation and justice. Their timeliness does not depend on, nor are they the result of, how great of a personality was their bearer or how well he/she expressed and outlined them. Their strength and appeal is primarily due to the fact that they meet the needs of the times, reflect the changing reality, and constitute a guide for explaining and understanding the social, economic, and political developments that are taking place in the world. The appeal and strength of Leninist ideas continue to exist for the simple reason that to this day they not only respond to the evolving global reality, but are a valuable tool in formulating and charting a policy to liberate humanity from all forms of exploitation and oppression.

One hundred and fifty years have passed since the birth of V. I. Lenin, whose work and actions have not only made their mark on the narrow confines of his time, but his genius ideas, no matter how much they are viciously contested, are being reborn in all the lengths and breadths of our planet. The main goal and task of the revolutionary forces, which seek to achieve the liberation of the people of labor and the building of a new society, free from exploitation, is not only to remember the legacy of this great revolutionary but to study it in depth, to understand it and to correctly apply it in contemporary conditions. Only in this way will they be able to move the wheel of history in progressive directions, and life will not overtake them, leaving them on the sidelines of evolution.

In difficult conditions for human society, when capital with its brutal exploitative policy and use of its military superiority spread and imposed its dominance, after it had divided the world into spheres of influence and looting, the Leninist understanding gave hope and acted as a catalyst, demonstrating the ways and means for society’s evolution into more advanced forms of organization.

. . . where everyone’s freedom would be a precondition for the freedom of all.

At a time when all sorts of apologists for capitalism were zealously boasting and desperately trying to impose the supposed alluring triumph and eternity of this exploitative system, sowing vanity and inaction among the wider popular masses, Lenin’s discourse and works awakened the popular volcano and demonstrated that capitalism had reached its highest stage of development—imperialism, marking the eve of the socialist revolution and the transition to the construction of a society of socialism-communism. Only in this way would the social wealth produced belong to society as a whole and not to a handful of capitalists, and instead of poverty, misery, and war, the society of equality, prosperity, social justice, and peace would emerge, where everyone’s freedom would be a precondition for the freedom of all.

Precisely at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries when imperialism was now a reality and not only waging local imperialist wars, the major capitalist powers in their attempts to again divide the world for the sake of greed and profit of each of these powers, unleashed the First World War. This brought new suffering and destruction to the peoples and millions of dead and wounded in the battlefields of war. It is in these terrible and tragic conditions for humanity that the Leninist slogans were heard, which signaled an alarm to the workers, to the oppressed and downtrodden peoples all over the world. In truth, who could not be moved by Lenin’s words for peace to the peoples, for bread to the hungry, for land to the peasants and the factories to the workers, for all power to the Soviets (People’s Councils)? These slogans touched the heart and soul of every ordinary laboring person, transforming Leninism into a genuine social force for the overthrow of the exploitative system, for the overthrow of the old and the bearer of the innovative and the new.

But Leninism did not appear out of nowhere, nor on infertile ground. Lenin, a profound scholar of Marxism, developed the theoretical legacy of Marx and Engels in the new conditions that had already begun to take shape in his day. At the same time, he defended the Marxist principles and, above all, the dialectical way of thinking from the various revisions, which in essence were blunting their revolutionary sharpness and turning Marxism from a pioneering worldview to a tail of bourgeois ideology. In addition to his theoretical contribution to the further development of scientific communism, Lenin, as a true and genuine revolutionary with unlimited organizational skills, is the creator of a new type of party, which rallies and unites within its ranks the most vanguard, conscious people of the working class and society as a whole, and of the world’s first socialist state.

Lenin’s understanding of Marxism as a guide to action defines him as a great thinker and people’s leader.

Marxism-Leninism is not a set of dogmas, rules, or slogans for all cases and extensions of social life, but instead—according to Lenin himself—the communist worldview is a method of analyzing reality, because Marxism is a complete scientific system, which with the method of dialectical analysis ensures the knowledge and reorganization of the world. It is precisely this understanding of Marxism as a guide to action that defines Lenin as a great thinker and people’s leader.

Following Lenin’s example, Communists are obliged to adhere firmly to the principles of dialectical and historical materialism, which is precisely why they must always analyze in detail and depth the modern trends in society, study their dynamics, and seriously take into account the existing class balance of forces, as well as the degree of consciousness, organization, and readiness of the revolutionary forces. Only with such persistent, painstaking, and difficult work are successes in the struggles being waged ensured and the contact with the wider masses of working people safeguarded.

Marking the 150 years since the birth of Lenin, we stress the timeliness of his political and ideological legacy, which is a guiding compass in the daily struggles for the overthrow of the prevailing capitalist barbarism and for humanity to enter the era of culture and dignity.

Nicos Kouzoupis is the head of the Ideological Bureau and member of the Central Committee of AKEL, the Progressive Party of Working People in Cyprus. This article appeared in the Haravgi newspaper, on April 24, 2020.

Image: Craig Dietrich, Creative Commons (BY 2.0).



Related Articles

For democracy. For equality. For socialism. For a sustainable future and a world that puts people before profits. Join the Communist Party USA today.

Join Now

We are a political party of the working class, for the working class, with no corporate sponsors or billionaire backers. Join the generations of workers whose generosity and solidarity sustains the fight for justice.

Donate Now

CPUSA Mailbag

If you have any questions related to CPUSA, you can ask our experts
  • QHow does the CPUSA feel about the current American foreign...
  • AThanks for a great question, Conlan.  CPUSA stands for peace and international solidarity, and has a long history of involvement...
Read More
Ask a question
See all Answer