State and Revolution is an indispensable guide to confronting the political and bureaucratic structures that protect the power and position of the world's elites and suffocate the lives of the vast majority of humanity. It has been considered essential reading for generation after generation of revolutionaries, and this fully annotated edition offers an essential guide to contemporary activists trying to work through and adapt its conclusions to our present conditions.
Much of Valdimir Ilyich Lenin's most famous—and most misunderstood—book was written in July of 1917 while its author was on the run and plagued by fears that the revolution would be swallowed by the forces of reaction waging a war to restore Russia's Tsar. By 1918, when this small 'notebook on Marxism and the State' was first published, the autocracy was no more, and the centuries old apparatus of repression it had used to sustain its rule had been smashed to bits by the collective power of Russia's working class and peasantry.
In part because it was forged in the crucible of revolutionary foment, and in part because the state continues to be the guardian of the same inhumane systems of exploitation and oppression that Lenin thundered against, State and Revolution has offered inspiration and invaluable lessons to anti-capitalists the world over. But this small book was very much a product of its time, written for a specific context with a focus on certain questions over others. Because of this, any contemporary reader attempting to absorb State and Revolution's numerous lessons without a guide travels a perilous road.
This new edition from Haymarket Books features an extensive introduction, hundreds of explanatory annotations, and an invaluable glossary of key figures and terms by Todd Chretien, all of which help place Lenin's work in its historical context. Chretien deftly offers an accessible account of the most important people, parties, and debates within the socialist movement of Lenin's time, and provides a map to navigating the book's most controversial points.