Lenin, like Marx, came from a wealthy middle-class family. His father had risen in the civilian bureaucracy to the ranks of the lessor nobility. Lenin was born in the same month as Hitler but nineteen years earlier. Lenin's youth was comfortable and he obtained a university degree, a law degree and then practiced law. His elder brother joined a revolutionary terrorist society and after taking part in an unsuccessful attempt to assassinate the Czar was hung. Unlike Marx, whose ideology appears to stem from the day his mother cut off his finances, Lenin's ideology appears to stem from the death of his brother. Within seven months of his brother's death he was arrested for the first time for taking part in a student protest. By the time Lenin was twenty-three, he was well on his way to making a name for himself within the ranks of the Marxist revolutionaries.
Lenin, contrary to popular belief, was an unfailing disciple of Marx. At the age of 24 he was already attacking "popular socialists" in his writings and became embroiled in a theoretical struggle against the "falsifiers of Marx." He denounced "all who attempted to 'add' anything to the fundamental principles of Marx" and "nothing infuriated him so much as revisionist efforts to tone down the class struggle."1 "Lenin stood for the rigid reaffirmation of Marxian fundamentals."2 "To the end of his life he believed he had found in Marx a world savior, the prophet of an unalterable truth."3 When Lenin was nearly 40 he wrote:
Leninism contributed little to Marxism and his brutal methods came directly from Marx's writings and words. Lenin never concealed that the "class struggle" had to be "led by a strong organization of revolutionaries,"5 a dictatorship of the proletariat, just as Marx indicated. Lenin, out of necessity, may have strayed from Marx's teaching occasionally, but he regarded such moves as only temporary.
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