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Conference: What Is to be Done? Lars T. Lih as Reader of Lenin

Jan van Eyck Academy, Maastricht, The Netherlands
After 1968
8th November 2010 

Lenin’s Scenario of Class Leadership: The Unifying Theme of his Political Career   

– Lecture by Lars T. Lih
– Introduced by Sara Farris + Peter Thomas
– Auditorium

What Is to be Done? and Bolshevism: Lars T. Lih as Reader of Lenin 
– Workshop with Sara Farris, Lars. T. Lih, Peter Thomas + Katja Diefenbach
– Auditorium

Lenin wrote What Is to Be Done? at top-speed in late 1901 and early 1902—years filled with dramatic events that foreshadowed the great Russian revolution of 1905. Beneath the polemics, Lenin’s book reflects this drama and offers an enthusiastic, indeed romantic view of the galvanizing effect of the workers’ struggle against the Tsar on all of Russian society. Lenin assigned the Social Democratic underground a heroic mission in leading this struggle against the Tsar. His vision of the underground was opposed in spirit to the conspiratorial underground of an earlier generation of Russian revolutionaries. Indeed, his concrete proposals arose from the collective experience of his own generation of underground activists, and as such were accepted by all factions in the Social Democratic party.

These features of What Is to Be Done? force us to look critically at the accepted story that Lenin’s book was the major cause of the split in 1903-4 between Bolsheviks and Mensheviks.

For further information, please contact: Katja Diefenbach: or Sara Farris:
or Peter Thomas:

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