Study Guide

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A list of our suggested foundational texts of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism.

*A good place to start on this topic, an introductory text
Difficult to find or not available online


The Political Life and Thought of Marx

Engels, Anti-Dühring, 1877
Engels, On the History of the Communist League, 1885
Lenin, The Three Sources and Three Component Parts of Marxism, 1913
Lenin, Karl Marx: a Brief Biological Sketch with an Exposition of Marxism, 1914*

The Storm of 1848

Marx, Class Struggles in France, 1849-50, 1850
Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, 1852
Engels, Revolution and Counter-Revolution in Germany, 1851-52
Lenin, The State and the Revolution, Chapter 2: “The Experience of 1848-1851,” 1917*

The Paris Commune

Marx, Two Addresses on the Franco-Prussian War, 1871
Marx, Civil War in France, 1871
Lenin, The State and the Revolution, Ch 3: “The Paris Commune of 1871, Marx’s Analysis,” 1917
Hongqi, “Great Lessons of the Paris Commune: Parts 1-3,” reprinted in Peking Review, Nos. 14-16, April 1966*

The Bolsheviks and the Great October Revolution

Lenin, “Left-Wing” Communism: An Infantile Disorder, 1920
Stalin, Foundations of Leninism, 1924
Krupskaya, Reminiscences of Lenin, 1933
Beria, On the History of the Bolshevik Organizations in Transcaucasia, 1935†
Stalin, History of the CPSU (Bolsheviks): Short Course, 1939*
Carr, A History of Soviet Russia, Vol. 1-14, 1950 -1978 (A useful bourgeois history.)* †

The Chinese Revolution and the GPCR

Mao, On Protracted War, 1938
Mao, The Chinese Revolution and the Chinese Communist Party, 1939
Chen Po-ta, Mao Tse-Tung On the Chinese Revolution, 1953 †
Ho Kan-Chih, A History of the Modern Chinese Revolution, 1959 (Comprehensive CPC history of the Chinese Revolution.)* †
Chen Po-ta, On the Ten-Year Civil War (1927-1937), 1966 †
Daubier, A History of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, 1974 (A useful bourgeois history.)* †


Dialectical Materialism

Marx, Theses on Feuerbach, 1845
Marx, Introduction to a Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, 1859
Marx, Preface to the First German Edition of Capital, 1867
Marx, Afterword to the Second German Edition of Capital, 1873
Engels, Anti-Dühring, 1877 (Ch. 5, 6, 11 on materialism; Ch. 3, 9 on knowledge; Ch. 12-13 on dialectics.)
Engels, Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of Classical German Philosophy, 1886 (Ch. 2, 4 on materialism.)
Lenin, Philosophical Notebooks, 1895 -1916
Lenin, Materialism and Empirio-Criticism, 1908
Lenin, On the Significance of Militant Materialism, 1922
Mao, On Contradiction, 1937 (Mao’s key contribution to dialectics.)*
Mao, On Practice, 1937 (Mao’s key contribution to the theory of knowledge.)*
Mao, Dialectical Materialism, 1938
Stalin, Dialectical & Historical Materialism, Parts 1, 2, 1938 (In Part 1, Stalin’s text falls into metaphysics.)
Mao, On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People, 1957
Mao , Talk At An Enlarged Working Conference Convened By the CC of the CPC, 1962 (On the mass line.)
Mao, Where Do Correct Ideas Come From?, 1963 (Excerpt from a longer document that launched the Socialist Education Movement.)
Mao, Talk on Questions of Philosophy, 1964 (Significant for Mao’s argument against Engels’ ‘triplism.’)

Historical Materialism

Marx/Engels, The German Ideology, Part 1: Feuerbach, 1845
Marx, Preface to a Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, 1859*
Marx, Inaugural Address of the First International, 1864
Engels, The Part Played by Labor in the Transition from Ape to Man, 1876
Engels, Socialism: Utopian and Scientific, Part 2: Historical Materialism, 1880
Engels, Origins of the Family, Private Property, and the State, 1884
Engels, Letters on Historical Materialism*

  • Engels to Bloch, September 21, 1890
  • Engels to Schmidt, October 27, 1890
  • Engels to Mehring, July 14, 1893
  • Engels to Borgius, January 25, 1894
  • Engels to Sombart, March 11, 1895

Plekhanov, The Development of the Monist View of History, 1895
Lenin, The State and the Revolution, 1917
Lenin, A Great Beginning, 1919  (In particular, Lenin’s discussion of what constitutes a class.)
Mao, Analysis of the Classes in Chinese Society, 1926 (A model concrete analysis.)
Stalin, Dialectical and Historical Materialism, Part 3, 1938*
Chen Po-ta, Sweep Away All Monsters, 1966


Marx/Engels, German Ideology, Part 1, Section C, 1845 (Key text on the division of labor and social classes.)
Marx, Wage-Labor and Capital, 1847
Marx, Wages, Prices, and Profit, 1865 (Marx against reactionary trade unionism in the First International.)*
Marx, Capital, Vol. 1-3, and Theories of Surplus-Value, published 1867 – 1894
Engels, Synopsis of Capital, 1868
Lenin, Agrarian Program of S-D in the 1st Russian Revolution, 1907 (On the Prussian and American Paths.)
Lenin, Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism, 1916*
Stalin, Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR, 1951
Mao, A Critique of Soviet Economics, 1958-9
CPC, Treatise of Political Economy, 1971 (Not available in English.) * †


Marx/Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Party, 1848*
Engels, Engels to Bebel, June 20, 1873 (Engels against Eisenachers forging unprincipled unity with the Lassalleans.)
Marx, Critique of the Gotha Program, 1875 (Marx against the program, which reflected Lassallean opportunism.)
Marx/Engels, Circular Letter to Bebel, Liebknecht, et al., September 1879
Engels, Socialism: Utopian and Scientific, Part 1: Utopian Socialism, 1880
Lenin, Urgent Tasks of Our Movement, 1900
Lenin, Where to Begin?, 1901*
Lenin, What Is To Be Done?, 1902
Lenin, Letter to a Comrade on Our Organizational Tasks, 1902
Lenin, One Step Forward, Two Steps Back, 1904(Key text on Bolshevik organizational line.)
Lenin, Two Tactics of Social-Democracy in the Democratic Revolution, 1905
Stalin, Marxism and the National Question, 1913 (Key Bolshevik text on the National Question.)*
Lenin, The Discussion On Self-Determination Summed Up, 1916
Lenin, Imperialism and the Split in Socialism, 1916
Lenin, Letters from Afar, 1917
Lenin, The Tasks of the Proletariat in the Present Revolution (aka, the “April Theses”), 1917
Lenin, The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky, 1918 (On the dictatorship of the proletariat.)
Lenin, Deception of the People with Slogans of Freedom and Equality, 1919
Stalin, The Political Strategy and Tactics of the Russian Communists, 1921
Mao, On Correcting Mistaken Ideas in the Party, 1929
Mao, The Question of Independence and Initiative Within the United Front, 1938
Mao, On New Democracy, 1940
Mao, Rectification Documents (aka, the “Twenty-Two Documents”), 1942
CPC, The Documents of the Great Debate, Vol. 1-3,Feb. 1956-June 1963 (Key texts of the Sino-Soviet split.) †
CPC, Documents of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, Vol. 1-3 in 8 books, 1965-76 †
CPC, Leninism or Social-Imperialism?, 1970 †