As we celebrate 150 years since the birth of the Russian revolutionary leader, Socialist Review outlines his core beliefs, and defends his legacy from the liberal critics and the right wing.
It is still usual in certain circles to treat Lenin as the father of Stalinism. This is as true of the libertarian left as of the liberal right. Yet those who met Lenin in the early years of revolutionary Russia paint a completely different picture of the Bolshevik leader.
One of them was them was the French syndicalist Alfred Rosmer. Contact with Lenin and Lenin’s ideas converted him to Bolshevik ideas, which he adhered to for the rest of his life, although he denounced Stalinism from 1924 onwards and came to believe that Russia was state capitalist.