1917 - The State and Revolution

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Preface to State and Revolution
  1. Chapter I: Class Society and the State
    1. The State: A Product of the Irreconcilability of Class Antagonisms
    2. Special Bodies of Armed Men, Prisons, etc.
    3. The State: An Instrument for the Exploitation of the Oppressed Class
    4. The "Withering Away" of the State, and Violent Revolution
  2. Chapter II: The Experience of 1848-51
    1. The Eve of Revolution
    2. The Revolution Summed Up
    3. The Presentation of the Question by Marx in 1852
  3. Chapter III: Experience of the Paris Commune of 1871. Marx's Analysis
    1. What Made the Communards' Attempt Heroic?
    2. What is to Replace the Smashed State Machine?
    3. Abolition of Parliamentarism
    4. Organisation of National Unity
    5. Abolition of the Parasite State
  4. Chapter IV: Supplementary Explanations by Engels
    1. The Housing Question
    2. Controversy with the Anarchists
    3. Letter to Bebel
    4. Criticism of the Draft of the Erfurt Programme
    5. The 1891 Preface to Marx's "The Civil War in France"
    6. Engels on the Overcoming of Democracy
  5. Chapter V: The Economic Basis of the Withering Away of the State
    1. Presentation of the Question by Marx
    2. The Transition from Capitalism to Communism
    3. The First Phase of Communist Society
    4. The Higher Phase of Communist Society
  6. Chapter VI: The Vulgarisation of Marxism by Opportunists
    1. Plekhanov's Controversy with the Anarchists
    2. Kautsky's Controversy with the Opportunists
    3. Kautsky's Controversy with Pannekoek
Postscript to State and Revolution


Lenin wrote The State and Revolution in August and September 1917, when he was in hiding from persecution of the Provisional Government. The need for such a theoretical work as this was mentioned by Lenin in the second half of 1916. It was then that he wrote his note on "The Youth International", in which he criticised Bukharin's position on the question of the state and promised to write a detailed article on what he thought to be the Marxist attitude to the state. In a letter to A. M. Kollontai on February 17 (N.S.), 1917, he said that he had almost got ready material on that question . This material was written in a small blue-covered notebook headed "Marxism on the State". In it Lenin had collected quotations from the works of Marx and Engels, and extracts from the books by Kautsky, Pannekoek and Bernstein with his own critical notes, conclusions and generalisations.

When Lenin left Switzerland for Russia in April 1917, he feared arrest by the Provisional Government and left the manuscript of "Marxism on the State" behind — as it would have been destroyed had he been caught. When in hiding after the July events, Lenin wrote in a note:

"Entre nous, if I am knocked off, I ask you to publish my notebook 'Marxism on the State' (it got held up in Stockholm). It is bound in a blue cover. All the quotations from Marx and Engels are collected there, also those from Kautsky against Pannekoek. There are a number of remarks, notes and formulas. I think a week's work would be enough to publish it. I consider it important because not only Plekhanov, but Kautsky, too, is confused...." When Lenin received his notebook from Stockholm, he used the material he had collected as a basis for his book The State and Revolution.

According to Lenin's plan, The State and Revolution was to have consisted of seven chapters, but he did not write the seventh, "The Experience of the Russian Revolutions of 1905 and 1917", and only a detailed plan has remained. In a note to the publisher Lenin wrote that if he "was too slow in competing this, the seventh chapter, or should it turn out to be too bulky, the first six chapters should be published separately as Book One."

Originally, the name F.F. Ivanovsky is shown on the first page of the notebook manuscript as that of the author. Lenin intended to publish the book under that pseudonym, otherwise the Provisional Government would have confiscated it for his name alone. The book, however, was not printed until 1918, when there was no longer any need for the pseudonym. The second edition appeared in 1919; in this revision Lenin added to Chapter II a new section "The Presentation of the Question by Marx in 1852"