Vladimir Lenin was the leader of the Russian Communist Revolution of 1917.  After the Communists came to power in Russia, Lenin became the first leader of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.  Lenin wanted to apply Marxism within the Soviet Union and around the world in order to end capitalism and institute Communism.  Capitalism in Marxist terms is an exploitive economic system.  Marx thought that a revolution would be inevitable as a result of dialectical tension between the classes. Lenin, however, did not agree with the orthodox perspective that a revolution would spontaneously happen one day.  Lenin thought that a spark or iskra would be necessary to ignite the powder keg of imminent revolution.  Lenin argued that as long as the proletariat had trade union consciousness, they would be content enough.  On the contrary, Lenin maintained that the leadership of professional revolutionaries -- the Vanguard Party -- would have to lead the proletariat from their trade union consciousness into revolution.  Other ideas from Lenin, include the notion of the democratic centralism.  This was a way to organize the Vanguard Party.  Decision would be "democratically" made by party apparatchiks, then the decision would be enforced from the top.  Democratic Centralism is an important element in the study of the Soviet Union.  Lenin said that the state would gradually wither away while the remnants of bourgeois society die.  Lenin understood that Communism had two stages.  The first stage is generally recognized as Socialism.  Lenin proposed that "bourgeois right" still exists in Socialism for the remnants of capitalism remained.  

"Socialism converts them [means of production] into common property.  To that extent, and to that extent alone, does "bourgeois right" disappear [in the first stage of Communism]." 

V.I. Lenin 
source:  State and Revolution 

Different people would receive the same compensation, for instance.  This was not true equality for Lenin, for a family man would need more compensation than a single man.  The same right applied to different people, to Lenin, was "bourgeois" in nature. 
However, the second phase of Communism is pure Communism where the situation "from each to his ability, to each to his need" would exist. In this second stage, Lenin thought that true democracy and equality would exist.  There would be then class identification.  Eventually, the state itself would vanish as class antagonisms end.  To Lenin,  the state is a product of class antagonisms.  In conclusion, the state only perpetuates class conflict as it tries to deal with the irreconcilable conflict according to Lenin.

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