The Ballot, the Streets-or Both : From Marx and Engels to Lenin and the October Revolution

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Lenin's Electoral Strategy focuses on Lenin's approach to electoral politics and what he and other Marxists terms the institutions of bourgeois democracy, drawing on Bolshevik debates and Marx and Engel's own writings to show this to be a central feature of their revolutionary strategy.

August Nimtz uncovers attempts to chart a course between plain opportunism and anarchist rejections of the electoral arena. Instead, electoral campaigns are seen as crucial for developing political education and organization, and as a key way to measure your forces and communicate with the wider population. As radical left reformist projects, exemplified by Sanders and Corbyn, once again become a political force and the left has to think about what it means to run for office in a capitalist state, it's a good time to look back at how the left has historically conducted such debates.

  • “Lenin's reputation as a political thinker should rest on what he wrote and the role that played in the success of the Russian Revolution, and not in what happened 70 years later. No one has made this argument as clearly and with such impressive scholarship, and, therefore too, as convincingly as August Nimtz in this volume. And for something Lenin's electoral strategy that is at is at the center of most of the debates going on in progressive political parties and social movements everywhere today. We ignore Lenin's thinking on this subject at our own peril.” —Bertell Ollman, Professor of Politics, New York University, USA and author of Alienation and Dance of the Dialectic

    “Provides an impressively detailed account of the work of the Bolsheviks in the Russian par-liament, the Duma, during the pre-revolutionary period. … Nimtz’s book also shows Lenin’s great commitment to democracy, in the face of the common right wing smears against him as an elitist or a despot. … This is a thorough and readable summary of Lenin’s work on elections and the nature of parliaments.” —Richard Donnelly, International Socialism, Issue 157, 2018