Friday Object Lesson #43: Dialectical Materialism

Today’s object is a collection of writings by Marx, Engels, and Lenin on the subject of dialectical materialism, which my son brought back from Finland last month. He bought it at the Lenin Museum in the workers’ hall in Tampere where in 1905 Lenin met Stalin for the very first time.

2015-01-01 19.07.50

You can read about the Tampere Lenin Museum at its website here. For those interested, here are some pictures of it:



9 thoughts on “Friday Object Lesson #43: Dialectical Materialism”

  1. Dear Paul:
    Interesting snippet about the Lenin museum. It’s cool.
    I googled and found this sentence from a 2009 RT post about the museum:
    Finland had been a part of Russia since 1809. It only became independent following the October Revolution of 1917, when Lenin came to power.

    Goes on to say that, under Stalin, Finland fought wars with USSR and had to cede some land.
    Therefore Finns blame Lenin and curse the Communists.
    (logic apparently not being their strong suit)

    Like the Ukrainians, IMHO the Finns should get down on their knees every day and thank Vladimir Ilyich for their independence!
    (being all into national self-determination and curating small nations – that was Lenin’s shtick).


    1. Lenin did it because he expected Finland and the rest of the world to fall to revolutionary forces.
      Unfortunately for him, the Reds in Finland lost the civil war.


      1. Indeed, independence for national minorities was a temporary tactical measure designed to weaken the ‘bourgeois’ governments and cement support for communism. Once communist power was assured, the need for national divisions supposedly disappeared and the lost territories would then be re-annexed.


      2. Dear Paul:
        Well, maybe, but not exactly. I don’t think Lenin thought that national divisions would fade away overnight. Nor was he necessarily committed to “re-annexing” everything that ever was part of the Russian Empire. Which, remember, Lenin always referred to as the “prisoner of nations”.
        I think the plan was to proceed on a case by case basis, as to which nationalities would form their own titular states, and which would be Soviet republics or autonomous regions, and so on.
        I am not actually sure what the Bolshevik plan was for Finland, but obviously the Finns had their own ideas.


  2. Indeed, similiar plans were in place for Poland.

    Interestingly, it worked for a time. When Pilsudski tried to kick “Russia while its down” with an opportunistic landgrab, many Poles, perhaps for the first time in history since the Mongol invasions, werent so keen on fighting the Bolsheviki, also known as the one Russian goverment that was completely OK with Polish independence.

    One should add that, in the revolution of 1904/1905, Poles and leftist Russians fought in different trenches, but were fundamentally on the same side against the same enemy. I dont think it is as accident that the Warsawianka became pretty popular (although the Russian version stripped it of the Christian elements).

    Of course, that honeymoon didnt last long. When iirc, Tukhachevski beat the invading Poles back (also, iirc, using some formerly white armies that went over to the reds because of the Polish invasion to do so), Poland suddenly became “the dead corpse over which the Red army will ride to liberate the Proletariat of Western Europe” (in some cases, Russia could certainly give lessons on how to not do Propaganda). Needless to say, this caused a (pretty smart in retrospect, I am quite far on the left, but would prefer Pilsudski over Dzershinsky as a ruler) patriotic reaction in Poland which was of huge importance for the “wonder at the Vistula”.

    The “promethianism” of interwar Poland which then followed is also a pretty interesting topic.


    1. Poland suddenly became “the dead corpse over which the Red army will ride to liberate the Proletariat of Western Europe”

      Is this the reason why the Poles start their national anthem with the words “We’re not dead yet!” ??



  3. Damn Finnish and Polish separatists – no proper respect for the territorial integrity of the Russian empire. And not even an *illegal* referendum. Brussels and Washington should send them a sternly worded cease and desist letter immediately.


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