What to do? - Summary and Key Ideas

In 'Was tun?', Lenin addresses burning issues of the socialist movement. It primarily attempts to reconcile the spontaneous uprisings of the proletariat with the disciplined nature of the Social Democratic movement.

The book is intended for those seeking insight into the theoretical foundations and practical implementations of socialism, communism, and Russian revolutionary history. It’s ideal for scholars, students, and enthusiasts of political science and history.

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What to do?

Key ideas


Communism's history encompasses centuries of ideation, revolutions, debates, and global influence.


Opportunism, disguised as "freedom of criticism", dilutes Marxism with bourgeois ideas.

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The Russian Marxism landscape was tinged with revisionist and economic ideologies, challenging revolutionary goals.

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Revolutionary movements require strong theoretical foundations for success and resilience.

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The mid-1890s Russian awakening showcased workers' rebellions and the rise of socialist aspirations.

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"Economism in late 19th-century Russia prioritized economic gains over political struggles, inadvertently bolstering bourgeois influence."

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Revolutionary social democrats need to provide leadership and consciousness, guiding mass spontaneous movements towards lasting change.

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Social democracy extends beyond economics, promoting workers' freedom and revolutionizing consciousness.

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Martynov's misinterpretation of propaganda and agitation convolutes their proper definitions.

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Political education and agitation catalyze working class revolutionary consciousness and activity.

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Economism and terrorism undervalue mass revolutionary activity, favoring artificial methods over political agitation and organization.

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Social democrats should awaken political consciousness, focusing on uniting economic and political struggles against autocracy.

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Summary & Review

Final Summary: "Was tun?" by Wladimir Iljitsch Lenin is a definitive work delving into the origins and progression of communism, primarily revolving around the concepts of political agitation, organizational tasks, and construction of a combative Russian organization. The book concludes with the assertion that Social Democrats must never forget the theory of Marxism or the task of overthrowing autocracy.

Wladimir Iljitsch Lenin

Wladimir Iljitsch Lenin was a Russian communist revolutionary, politician and political theorist. He served as the head of Soviet Russia from 1917 to 1924 and of the Soviet Union from 1922 to 1924. A master of revolutionary unrest, he was part of influencing world politics even after his demise.

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