LENIN ON REVOLUTIONARY VIOLENCE – MORAL REASONS AND POLITICAL REALISM
The article presents an analysis of the position taken by Lenin with respect to revolutionary violence applied by the Russian proletariat in their struggle for obtaining and keeping political power. The analysis is introduced by reflections concerning the ethical content of Lenin’s works, a general localization of the problem of violence against the background of various types of relationships between morals and politics and by presentation of Lenin’s classification and moral evaluation of wars, since socialist revolution is a particular kind of war.
Several publications by Lenin indicate that he made revolutionary violence a subject of praxiological and moral evaluation and was fully aware of the incongruity between them, which produce moral dilemmas in politics. In the light of the findings it seems groundless to attribute to Lenin the Blanquist or Machiavellian views. Consequently these views are criticized.
Violence, according to Lenin, needs not inevitably accompany every socialist revolution. But resignation from violence does not depend on the position of proletariat but on the intransigence of bourgeoisie and their readiness to make concessions. Violence is necessary if the revolutionary situation has ripened and the peaceful methods of struggle open no possibilities to obtain the desired ends.
Application of violence is a lesser evil than resignation from creating socialism. The political realism of Lenin consisted in a full grasp of the specific quality of the political situation to which community must have adopted their strategy. In realization of morally justified principles he had to resign – if he could not act otherwise – from some ethical reasons in order to achieve superior values.