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Book review: “The Revolutionary Science of Marxism-Leninism” is all about theory to transform the world

By Siobhan Moore

"The Revolutionary Science of Marxism-Leninism" by J. Sykes

Minneapolis, MN – The Revolutionary Science of Marxism-Leninism, published by the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, is a concise and fantastic book detailing the fundamentals of Marxism. Written by J. Sykes, the book is an excellent introduction for those looking to learn the science of revolution, the history, methods and outlook of scientific socialism. It breaks down complex questions of philosophy, organizing and others into easily understandable terms, making it good for beginners and an excellent primer for those who already have a grasp on Marxism-Leninism and are looking to sharpen their understanding. For those seeking to do away with capitalism and its system of corporate exploitation, class oppression and national oppression, this is the book for you.

Introducing the science of revolution

The book begins with an explanation, not only of the purpose of its publication, but of a brief history of Marxism-Leninism. Sykes makes clear that Marxism didn’t just fall out of the sky one day, it arose out of the three component parts: socialism, political economy, and philosophy, and was (and continues to be) refined over the course of the practical experience and application of it in the struggles of working and oppressed people the whole world over.

In addition to dealing with the basics of Marxism, the book addresses problematic bourgeois ideological currents like post-modernism, Sakai’s take on settler colonialism, and pragmatism, which are harmful to the efforts to construct a revolutionary movement in this country.

Theory and practice

As Sykes says,

“Practice is the sole criterion of truth”, continuing, “Revolutionary theory is a guide to action, and it changes and develops as the world changes and develops, building upon itself just as Marx and Engels built upon the advanced theory of their time. In the early part of the 20th century, Vladimir Lenin and the experience of the October Revolution and socialist construction in the Soviet Union further developed the science of revolution in many ways. Lenin’s analysis of the further development of capitalism into monopoly capitalism led to his development of the theory of Imperialism and the importance of anti-imperialist struggles for national liberation.”

This is why The Revolutionary Science of Marxism-Leninism doesn’t focus simply on communist theory in the abstract, separated from real world conditions and struggles, but in the source (practice) its application, and use of it in those struggles. It also doesn’t take Marxism as an unchanging dogma, but as a science that is constantly being developed and enriched in its source, practice, as a tool that becomes sharper, not duller, with use.

Sykes explains how knowledge and theory develops from practical experience, to be summed up and learned from, to apply again. The book as well explains the “mass line,” the communist method of organizing and leadership from and to the masses, and how not only we as revolutionaries learn with it, but how the people as a whole learn from the process of taking our felt needs, issues and demands, studying and breaking them down, and synthesizing them into actionable plans, demands and slogans, and so raising the consciousness of the people.

A book for revolutionaries new and old

Throughout the entirety of The Revolutionary Science of Marxism-Leninism, important concepts such as imperialism, historical materialism and national oppression are all explained in an easily digestible manner. Questions of organizing, history and leadership are explained in clear and concise terms, and the book never steps away from discussing the practical use and understanding of each concept, and ties Marxist-Leninist theory firmly with the struggles of the masses that continues to develop and enrich it.

This book comes at a period of major importance today. As Mick Kelly, political secretary of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, states in the forward, “Not since the rise of the new communist movement in late 1960s and early 70s have we seen such large numbers of people arriving at the conclusion that monopoly capitalism is a failed system, and that revolution and socialism are necessities. Many new revolutionaries are making the leap and helping to build revolutionary organization.”

For those revolutionaries, new and old, looking to build such an organization, this book will undoubtedly be a vital and practical read.

The book can be purchased from FRSO organizers, or by visiting

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