Attempts to figure out Lenin are hard-pressed to succeed. In passing it is worth noting the fetish made out of Lenin’s sudden study of the dialectic. Whatever the case the discussion of a revolutionary worker’s movement in the context of Lenin is misleading. I suspect he lost his faith in the worker’s movement for supporting WW1. At this point in history, we are not likely to be able to create a classic worker’s movement: we need a movement period of all classes entering a ‘Universal Class’. The US has a dwindling proletariat which is not going to lead a revolution. Look at all the people involved in activism (e.g. at Common Dreams, check a day’s roster): not one is really a member of the working class. Marx’s nineteenth century analysis is classic, but it is not infallible. We can’t wait for a worker’s movement to fight climate change. The real majority of workers is dispersed globally and is not an active agent: it is a statistical aggregate. Lenin’s view concedes the obvious: a vanguard is going to have to lead a movement that can prepare the stage of revolution with all the people from any class who are willing to join the movement. Consider however the confusions that haunt activism: even activists with their Iphones are barely aware of the real proletariat creating them in China. This problem of the dispersed proletariat is a new challenge.
But thinking in terms of classes in not the sole approach here: we can revert to thinking in terms of principles: of communism, socialism, economic analysis, etc…We can pledge to lead as a vanguard with a reality check in the foundational statements of principle. That would be more practical at this point. We also need a new kind of nearly monastic disciple for revolutionary leadership: the sudden creation of a ‘new class’ of Bolshevik elites undermined the Russian Revolution almost immediately: a communist movement must be led by people who have renounced private property, for themselves.
The recalibration around a ‘universal class’ would be far more effective, and is what we are actually dealing with at any given moment.