This is a useful study of a long lost work of Lenin, but is the foundation for discussion solid? Did Lenin, at the fountainhead of what became the failure of bolshevism, really have the right strategy on any level? Was the Russian revolution doomed to failure based on its marxist hardcore with all of its fallacies? The question of reformism is complex and tricky and stalked the left already in the nineteenth century. The emphasis on revolution persisted through the confusion of Bernstein and later.
In fact, it is almost impossible to sort out the legacy here. Its inner contradiction cripples the left to this day.
Our consistent suggestion here is to point to the way marxism generated a set of theoretical fallacies. The result was incapable of defining or creating a real communism. Mostly the bolsheviks, Lenin first, created a secret police of terrible ferocity, and not much else. That legacy was a disease of civilization that now haunts the US.
We have suggested a balance of opposites that is more robust: democratic market neo-communism, so-called, which might have problems of its own, but which points to an actual form of communism that focuses on democracy, the economics of planned and open (socialist) markets, a Commons, a new legal and political foundation, this via revolution and/or reformism. This approach makes it far easier to transform intelligently a capitalist junk system because it remorphs the prior state instead of destroying it, granting the confusing starting point of Tzarist history. But the bolsheviks remained forever frozen in that legacy. . The confusions Lenin points to are real, but they are really his own and show that at all points the marxist left was confused by the inheritance from Marx/Engels. We need to move on from the past and start over with a more coherent set of principles.