It was the 1917 Russian Revolution that transformed the scale of the Communist Manifesto, making it the key text for socialists everywhere. On the centenary of this upheaval, this volume pairs Marx and Engels’s most famous work with Lenin’s own revolutionary manifesto, “The April Theses,” which lifts politics from the level of everyday banalities to become an art-form.
The Communist Manifesto
“Oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes.”
The Communist Manifesto is the most influential political text ever written—few other calls to action have stirred and changed the world. Now, in the wake of a punishing financial crisis, in a world built on regimes of permanent austerity, each rife with horrific disparities in wealth, this short book remains a reference point for those trying to understand the transformations being wrought by capitalism and its concomitant forms of exploitation.
This centenary edition includes a new introduction by Tariq Ali, contextualizing the period—the eve of the 1848 revolutions—in which Marx and Engels penned their masterpiece and argues that it desperately needs a successor.
“The April Theses”
“The chain breaks first at its weakest link.”
In Lenin’s “April Theses,” written in 1917, he presented his ten analytical maxims, outlining a programme to accelerate and complete the revolution that had begun in February of that year. Now, on the revolution’s centenary, Verso presents them here alongside Lenin’s ‘Letters from Afar’, written in exile that March and addressed to his comrades in Petrograd. In these missives, he offers advice and instruction to comrades pushing ahead with their ideals in the aftermath of the February revolution.
The introduction by Tariq Ali traces The Communist Manifesto’s influence on Lenin’s “April Theses,” the text that brought the manifesto to life and made it one of the most widely read books in history. For Lenin, writes Ali, it was the birth of imperialism, the legitimate offspring of capitalism, that signalled the end of the latter’s “progressive capacities.”
No past revolution, she says, can be attributed to professional revolutionaries. Usually it was the other way around: “revolution broke out and liberated, as it were, the professional revolutionaries from wherever they happened to be – from jail, or from the coffee house, or from the library.”
Five great amateurs whose work changed the world, from author of The Amateur, Andy Merrifield.
Throughout May we've been marking the centenary of the Russian Revolution with new books from Tariq Ali and China Miéville, plus Weekend Reads looking at women in Russia before and after the Revolution, the Black Bolsheviks, and lots more. All our Russian Revolution reading is 50% off until May 28.
In this series of posts (Part I below, Part II, and Part III) we ask writers to respond to the Revolution and its importance today.
Do you know your Lenin from your Lunacharsky? Your Krupskaya from your Kerensky? If so, then we have just the quiz for you!
In the centenary year of the Russian Revolution, and to celebrate the launch of Tariq Ali's The Dilemmas of Lenin, we're giving away a huge bundle of Russian Revolution books to two lucky people! One person from North America and one from the rest of the world will win copies of The Dilemmas of Lenin, China Miéville's October, Red Rosa, Moshe Lewin's Soviet Century, The Communist Manifesto/April Thesis, The Prophet, and Revolutionary Yiddishland.
THIS QUIZ IS NOW OVER.