Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, born 1870, son of a school inspector in the Volga region. Most of the kids were influenced by the Populists, (a radical political organisation, believing in: "not based on any western model. a multiplicity of independent communes each concerned with its own local industry and agriculture, and sufficiently small for the inhabitants to be saved from the depersonalising effectof of working in vast factories. Hated monolithing state power and maintained that once that revolution had occured the state would automatically wither away. The Great Transformatoin must come in its own time, and until then they were gonna concentrate on propaganda." in 1887 Lenin's brother Alex was executed for being in on the plot to assassinate the Tsar (a Narodnik job). (Alexander III). Lenin's own university career was interrupted by suspicion from the authorities and he was only able to qualify in law as an external student.
From 1893 involved in secret SD activities in St Petersburg. Met Julius Martov (real name J Tsederbaum), formed "Union of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class", but by the end of the year they were arrested and sent to exile in Siberia. Lenin was able to continue his Marxist studies and he wrote a book, "The Development of Capitalism in Russia". Alarmed at the Economist developments (another political group, believing : they insisted on a specialising of functions within the party. The political leadership was to be in the hands of the intellectuals only, who should assist the Liberal opposition, while the proles should rely purely on improving their conditions at work through their trade union organisations. This pissed off the Marxists because they thought that trade unions would let the people let off steam without revolting - they would lose their revolutionary power and become a "tool of the Russian capitalists".) he took off to Geneva where he joined Plekhanov and made plans for combating it.
They decided on a paper, Iskra, written in the west and then smuggled into Russia for circulation. By 1901 an editiorial board was set up - Plekhanov, Akselrod (PAUL, a friend from earlier times -Populist), Zasulich (VERA), and the younger generation Lenin, Martov, Potresov (a friend from St Petersburg). The young ones went to London and set up there, and Trotsky joined them after his escape from Siberia. He had a literary rep, and they WANTED him. He would have got on the board except there was opposition from Plekhanov. (1902)
Lenin moved the campaign against the Economists ahead with a pamphlet titled "What Is to Be Done?"; while it DID criticise them it also showed a change in attitude. He was convinced that a socialist party needed control by an elite. This was to contribute to the split in the RSDP (Russian Socialist Democratic Party) later, into Bolsheviks and Mensheviks. Issue discussed publically at a party congress in London in July 1903. Purpose of the congress was to devise a program of policies and the statutes of the party. 43 delegates, but the Iskra men were in the majority and beat the Economists and reps of the Bund (amalgamation of several Jewish Trade Unions) who wanted autonomy (self government) within the party.
The Iskra guys were divided also tho. Lenin wanted an elite, and Martov didn't. The rest of the party was worried about Lenin's dictatorial attitudes and his "uncompromisingness", and supported Martov - this was the attitude the party officially adopted. Later the Economists and the Bund withdrew from the party altogether, and this left Lenin with voting in his favour, slightly. By then it had been settled that there should be a central committee of 3 within Russia under the direction of a central party ouside Russia - the editorial board of Iskra. The two bodies were to elect four of the five members of a supreme party council and Lenin hopped in again, trying to fill the places with HIS people. He wanted the editorial board reduced to 3 - P, M, him, and he got his way cause of the majority. The congress had a PHYSICAL fight and M refused to serve.
But by the end of the year P switched sides and brought them all back again - Lenin resigned and took with him some of the RSDP to form the Bolsheviks, even though they were a minority. There was to be no reconciliation until 1905 when there WAS a revolution.
in 1914 there was bitching about the war; the mensheviks wanted Russia to defend herself. Martov wanted an end to the war and a settlement with no annexations or indemnities. Lenin and his Bolsheviks wanted the war turned into a great prole revolution, with all countries overthrowing their leaders. No one got anywhere.
When 1917 arrived Lenin was in switzerland. He could not get through the Allied lines, and so the Germans (because they wanted to stir up as much trouble as possible) took Lenin and Zinoviev, Radek, Lunacharsky in a sealed train to Russia, arriving at the Finland Station in Petrograd on the 6th. On the 7th he released the April Thesis, - all stunned by it. No co-operation with the PG. Constant anti-war propaganda, land must be nationalised and all power to the soviets. All the other socialists disagreed and Lenin and the Bolsheviks became isolated.
The other parties went in to coalition with the govt - bad coz then they were associated with all the govt's stuff ups and when it DID stuff up they went down in the eyes of the masses and became "tools of the conservative classes". Lenin wasn't in thr colaltion - this was good because he benefited from the other's downfall. By Aug membership was 200 000 (previosly 26 000 in Jan) and the new Red Guards had 10 000 armed trained memnbes.
The Kronstadt uprising - the Bols got theblame and Kerensky said they were traitiors in German pay. Lenin and Zinoviev hid, Kamenev, Trotsky, Lunacharsky arrested. Still a minority party - 105 vs 248 ms and 285 srs in the new central executive.(in the govt only - the workers were for them) MOVE!! This pruge temp silenced the Bs.
Kornilov (a genreral) turned againsts the PG and denounced the Bs, marched om Petrograd. B leaders released, armed, city defended. Little fighting as the troops pissed off. Discipline in the army broke and anarchy took over. B paryt membership went UP, cos of otehr party's associations with PG -> bad stuff. New govt attempted by K but B minority - jokew as they were well ahead. Stayed long enuf to abuse govt (t), again in Oct. The END for K.