utopianism, Lenin, etc.

Philip Goldstein pgold at strauss.udel.edu
Wed Oct 12 05:58:02 MDT 1994

	Thanks to Jim Lawlor for a knowledgeable account of Lenin's
changing views. This account fits with the general historical approach in
which Stalinism and, more generally, totalitarian communism evolves out
of and ruptures with Marxist-Leninist practices and is not implicit in
them in the notion of a science.

	One point of confusion concerns the dictatorship of the
proletariot. Lawlor says, "     But that is not all.  Before the first
phase of communism,
there should be, according to Marx, the revolutionary
transformation of capitalism into communism, to which
corresponded a "political transition period", the dictatorship of
the proletariat." I thought that this notion originated with Lenin, not
Marx, who favored  various forms of worker's democracy.

	On the general issue, whether communism is a future state or a
present condition, I think that this is a difficult issue which takes us
back to the Hegelian belief that the seeds of the new grow up in the womb
of the old and that the great individual who grasps this principle
anticipates the future. In other words to argue that communism evolves
out of the present to adopt a Hegelian philosophy of history, but this
view of history has been severely questioned by contemporary theory. Some
argue that Marx adopted this view, but you could also claim that he
simply favored the critique of the present, rather than the Hegelian
anticipation of the future.
Philip Goldstein


More information about the Marxism mailing list