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YoungBites. Dated: 4/21/2017 11:01:01 AM

Remembering Lenin

To the uninitiated, the sight of a motley bunch of around three dozen odd foreigners men, women and children piling on to a train in Zurich might not have appeared extraordinary. But there was a crowd on the platform. Some of them were well-wishers. Others felt the passengers headed to the German border were effectively criminals. Europe was in the throes of an unprecedentedly bitter war that had already cost millions of lives. And these passengers were mainly Russians whose passage through Germany was being facilitated by the authorities in Berlin. Someone within the train waved a red banner from one of the windows as the train pulled out. The key passenger was a man little known outside strictly socialist circles in Europe. Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov had vociferously opposed the war ever since it broke out, accurately perceiving it as essentially an imperialist conflagration between powers competing for colonial conquest. He was bitterly disappointed when all too many components of the Second International, the main European repository of Marxism, responded to the conflict with retrograde patriotic zeal. The man best known even then as Lenin was not only disinclined to make the same mistake, but saw the potential for “revolutionary defeatism” in other words, exploiting military setbacks to spark a transformation of society. News of the February Revolution in 1917 had struck Lenin as a thunderbolt. After the events of 1905, he hated the idea of being away from his homeland once more during a transformational upsurge.
Comrade Naresh Sharma
(Brij Nagar, Jammu)


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