Lenin: On Being a Professional Revolutionary


Anyone can be a professional Marxist-Leninist Revolutionary as it is not a ‘job’ in the bourgeois sense.  It is the ability to correct an inverted mind-set in oneself and others, and to dedicate his or her life to uprooting the false consciousness imported into the brains of the workers by the capitalists.  The categories of ’employed’ and ‘unemployed’ are products of the bourgeois, capitalist society used to oppress the masses – and in and of themselves, they mean nothing at all to a true Revolutionary.  True self-worth emerges from with a non-inverted mind that understands the operation of historical dialectics (through class antagonisms) and the innate relationship this has with the material world.  The point is that workers to not have to ‘wait’ to be ’empowered’ by their bourgeois over-lords, but must empower themselves here and now with any entirely proletariat paradigm of interpretation.  This is hoe Lenin explains the difference between trade unionism and a true social democratic (i.e. ‘Communist’)  Revolutionary.  A Communist Revolutionary is not a ‘professional’ because he or she is ‘paid’ as in the bourgeois model, but rather because he or she dedicates every second of every day to freeing the working class, so that all false bourgeois categories are fully transcended:

‘What was the source of our disagreement? It was the fact that on questions both of organisation and of politics the Economists are forever lapsing from Social-Democracy into trade-unionism. The political struggle of Social-Democracy is far more extensive and complex than the economic struggle of the workers against the employers and the government. Similarly (indeed for that reason), the organisation of the revolutionary Social-Democratic Party must inevitably be of a kind different from the organisation of the workers designed for this struggle. The workers’ organisation must in the first place be a trade union organisation; secondly, it must be as broad as possible; and thirdly, it must be as public as conditions will allow (here, and further on, of course, I refer only to absolutist Russia). On the other hand, the organisation of the revolutionaries must consist first and foremost of people who make revolutionary activity their profession (for which reason I speak of the organisation of revolutionaries, meaning revolutionary Social-Democrats). In view of this common characteristic of the members of such an organisation, all distinctions as between workers and intellectuals, not to speak of distinctions of trade and profession, in both categories, must be effaced. Such an organisation must perforce not be very extensive and must be as secret as possible.’

Lenin: What is to be Done? Chapter 4 – The Primitiveness of the Economists and the Organization of the Revolutionaries – C. Organisation of Workers and Organisation of Revolutionaries

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s