Lenin's last years

Vladimir Lenin is called a dictator, a monster and only less evil then Stalin. The capitalists, social democrats and anarchists love to tell you the story of dictator Lenin. How he destroyed the free Russian Republic and ''Russian democracy''. The anarchists hate Lenin for his Red Terror and his crack down of the Kronstadt Uprising which is worshipped by anarchists as a third Russian Revolution. But Lenin was no dictator. He was elected by workers and soldiers in November 1917. Sure he was authoritarian, but so were many leaders during the Russian civil war. This is a story not of Lenin's struggle against 21 foreign armies or the anticommunist Russian movement. Our story is that of Lenin's last years, in which he discovered the true nature of Stalin! 

Stalinists think that Lenin and Stalin were of the same kind. Nothing is true, Lenin hated Stalin brutality and rude behaviour. Also he saw the absolute power Stalin got as a result of the civil war. Lenin was unsure if Stalin was able to deal with so much power. So he wanted the party to remove Stalin from the position of general secretary. That Lenin opposed Stalin was kept a secret for many years. It was not until 1956 that the Soviet people found out about the criticism he had made towards Stalin!

Joseph Stalin was a close ally of Lenin before the Russian Revolution. But unlike Leon Trotsky, Stalin's role in the civil war was limited. He fought for the defence of the city of Tsaritsyn, a city that was renamed in his honour in 1925. Stalin also fought in the Polish-Soviet war in 1921. As commander he wanted to capture the city of Lviv. Red Army leader Leon Trotsky opposed this because Warsaw was the main target, Stalin refused to obey orders and attacked Lviv. Because of Stalin, the Red Army lost the Battle of Warsaw. Trotsky wanted to attack Stalin on that, but Lenin ordered the man of steel back to Moscow!

In Moscow Stalin played a dirty game. He wanted his home nation of Georgia to become a Soviet state. Georgia was a social democratic republic and neutral in the Russian Civil War. But Stalin and Georgian Bolsheviks started civil unrest and used the brutal crackdown of the Georgian government to convince Lenin that the workers of Georgia were rising up. Lenin believed Stalin and ordered the Red Army to aid the supposed workers rebellion. The Soviets took control of Georgia and established the Georgian Socialist Soviet Republic. Stalin got what he wanted and made sure that ethnic Georgians had little to say. Soon Lenin opposed the politics of Stalin regarding Georgia. He called Stalin a great Russian chauvinist, who imposed Russian nationalism on the Georgians. It was then that Lenin saw that Stalin was not a pure communist, but a brutal man who could be a danger to the new Soviet-Union!

But Lenin's health was getting worse. In May 1922 he got his first of three strokes. This first one left him unable to speak for weeks. After that the doctors suggested he took some rest. That was almost impossible for Lenin, who was used to work 14 hours a day. But the first stroke proved that he needed to calm down. The civil war was nearly over and the Red Army was driving the White movement out of Russia. While resting Lenin dictated several documents about the nature of the Soviet state and gave criticism of many leading communists like Stalin, Zinoview, Kamenev and Leon Trotsky. The last letters to the communist party are called Lenin's testament. In these letters Lenin said that Stalin was not good enough to be the leader of the party. Also he feared the state bureaucracy and the powerlessness of the soviet councils. 

The communists had taken power in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. The Caucasian Soviet republics were united in the Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic. A move not welcomed by the Georgian communists who wanted an independent Soviet Georgia. The plan was to unite all these Soviet nations into one big Union of Socialist Soviet Republics. But Lenin would not be able to be chairman of this new USSR. Just before the formation of the new union, Lenin got his second stroke that left him paralyzed on the right side. Unable to move and write he could no longer be chairman of the council of people's commissioners!

Joseph Stalin, Grigory Zinoview and Lev Kamenev took over and became the Troika of the communist party. They would lead the early Soviet-Union, while Lenin went into retirement. Yet the leader of the Russian Revolution did not wanted to give up the fight. Unfortunate behind his back, Joseph Stalin controlled his life. Soon Lenin became a prisoner in his own house and body. In March 1923, he got his third stroke that left him mute, he could no longer speak. Win out his voice, Lenin was now completely out of the picture. Stalin knew this and made sure that he was still in complete control. The people who took care of Lenin stood under direct command of Joseph Stalin!

At 18.50 hours on 21 January 1924, Vladimir Lenin died. His last 10 months must be have been difficult. Unable to stop Stalin and not able to speak to the people who could stop him. Leon Trotsky was kept away from him and not even informed of the funeral. Lenin was never able to be chairman of the Soviet-Union. On paper he ruled the USSR until January 1924, but in reality he was out of politics by the time the Soviet-Union was founded.

Was Lenin a bad leader? A dictator like many people claim? For stalinists and dogmatic communists he is a saint and the supreme revolutionary leader. But for us revolutionary socialists he is just one of many revolutionaries of that time. He was not pure good and not pure evil. Lenin made error's and mistakes. The uncontrolled Red Terror, the brutal crackdown of those who opposed his revolution are parts we criticize. Also Lenin wanted to re-educate the youth into good communists. He banned western movies and western youth culture. This he called ''bourgeois'' trash that was poisoning the minds of the Soviet youth. But few young people joined the Communist Youth League before Stalin's rise to power. The NEP and the market economy were not good propaganda for young people!

But for poor workers Lenin was an alternative. He gave them power and the feeling they were more then just wage slaves. Millions came to support the ideals of Lenin. Unfortunate because of Stalin, these ideals were deformed to serve the needs of the Stalinist bureaucracy. In Spain the working class took power in 1936, much like in Russia. Yet the Spanish Socialist Workers Party and the Spanish Communist Party opposed the Spanish Revolution. So the anarchists and revolutionary socialists took the leadership in this revolution. In Barcelona, the workers took control from the capitalist Republican government. For a very small moment in human history, a genuine socialist society was build. Free from capitalism and exploitation. Yet the Republic of Spain entered a civil war and the leaders of the Spanish Revolution choose to support the capitalist Republicans against the fascist Nationalists. Soon the Spanish government turned against against the groups who supported the Spanish Revolution. The anarchists and revolutionary socialists were banned and hunted down by the Stalinist NKVD ( secret police ). By 1939, the Republic of Spain collapsed and general Franco became dictator of Fascist Spain. He would remain dictator until 1975!

Lenin became a dogma in the Stalinist USSR. Stalin made statues of himself and Lenin which he placed in every Soviet city. Children were told to love Lenin and to learn all about the first leader of Soviet Russia. For them Lenin was a grandfather and a religious icon, in a huge cult of personality. Lenin became the God of Marxism Leninism, the official state ideology was named after him. The communist party made sure that any criticism of Stalin was called a criticism of Lenin. By 1928, Joseph Stalin had defeated Leon Trotsky and banned free speech in the All Union Communist Party. It would not be until 1956 when the party would allow more internal free speech. True free speech would not return until the last three years of the USSR. In 1988, opposition political parties were allowed. But the bureaucracy was not able to save the Soviet ideal. After years of lies, corruption and abuse of power many workers viewed capitalism as an alternative to stalinism. Even today few workers think that socialism can work. Most are still paralyzed by the capitalist lies spread about communism and Lenin himself! 

Vladimir Lenin in 1923, paralyzed and mute! 
Stalin controlled his last months 

Struggle, Solidarity, Socialism

Struggle, Solidarity, Socialism