The Dilemmas of Lenin

The Dilemmas of Lenin Tariq Ali
Pub date 31st March 2017
Original publisher Verso (UK/US)
International publishers Random House (Canada), Sabine Wespieser (France), Alianza (Spain)




At the end of his life, Lenin wrote ‘we didn’t know everything’, acknowledging the dilemmas he faced on the road to revolution in 1917, and beyond. In this brilliant exploration of the crises that Lenin overcame, the decisions he made, and actions that he took, Tariq Ali reveals an insightful political portrait of this most exemplary leader. From the first stirrings of revolutionary fervour, Lenin sought the right answer for a series of dilemmas that he faced, and that still resonate with us today: does the end justify the means? What is the moral justification for seizing power? How does one overcome the burden of history? What role does friendship or love play in revolution? How do you establish a legacy that lasts? Ali reveals that no other modern thinker than Lenin has better understood, nor more clearly articulated, the need to change the world. But do Lenin’s ideas, as expressed in his actions and his political writings, still have any significance for us? In this centenary year of the Russian Revolution, Ali raises important questions related to political representation and the popular institutions necessary to challenge capitalism today.

A movie adaptation of The Dilemmas of Lenin is to be produced by Isango Ensemble, a theatre company based in Cape Town, South Africa, which performed amongst others at the London Young Vic and at the Shakespeare’s Globe, and is scheduled to premiere in October 2017.


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