What Is to Be Done? has long been interpreted as evidence of Lenin’s “elitist” attitude toward workers. Lih uses a wide range of previously unavailable contextual sources to fundamentally overturn this reading of history’s most misunderstood revolutionary text. He argues that Lenin’s polemic must be seen within the context of a rising worker’s movement in Russia, and shows that Lenin’s perspective fit squarely within the mainstream of the socialist movement of his time.
Rather than the manifesto of an authoritarian leader, Lih reveals a guide to action to help cohere and strengthen a promising movement, which still maintains remarkable relevance to today’s world.