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Palgrave Macmillan

Lenin's Electoral Strategy from Marx and Engels through the Revolution of 1905

The Ballot, the Streets—or Both

ISBN 9781137393777
Publication Date March 2014
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

Can electoral and parliamentary arenas be used toward revolutionary ends? This is precisely the question that held Lenin's attention from 1905 to 1917, leading him to conclude that they could—and would. This book explores the time in which Lenin initiated his use of the electorate, beginning with the Marxist roots of Lenin's politics, and then details his efforts to lead the deputies of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party in the First and Second State Dumas, concluding with Russia's first experiment in representative democracy from 1906 to 1907. During this time, Lenin had to address issues such as whether to boycott or participate in undemocratic elections, how to conduct election campaigns, whether to enter into electoral blocs and the related "lesser of two evils" dilemma, how to keep deputies accountable to the party, and how to balance electoral politics with armed struggle. Lenin later said that the lessons of that work were 'indispensable' for Bolshevik success in 1917, which means that this detailed analysis of that period is crucial to any thorough understanding of Leninism.

August H. Nimtz is Professor of Political Science and African American and African Studies and Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Minnesota, USA. He is the author of Marx and Engels: Their Contribution to the Democratic Breakthrough (2000), Marx, Tocqueville, and Race in America: The 'Absolute Democracy' or 'Defiled Republic' (2003), and a number of related articles in edited volumes and journals.

1. What Marx and Engels Bequeathed
2. Revolutionary Continuity: Lenin's Politics Prior to 1905
3. 'The Dress Rehearsal' and the First Duma
4. From Revolution to 'Coup d'État': The Second Duma


"August Nimtz presents a challenging and controversial thesis: Vladimir Ilyich Lenin made elections—of all things—central to his revolutionary strategy in Russia. No less distinctive is his well-documented contention that Lenin's thought was fundamentally democratic, deeply rooted in the theoretical and practical-political contributions of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels. A vibrant contribution to the swirl of scholarly and political debate, Nimtz's impressive work will generate new insights in history and present-day realities."—Paul Le Blanc, Professor of History, La Roche College, USA and author of Lenin and the Revolutionary Party
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