Lenin & Hegel

Alex Trotter uburoi at panix.com
Tue Nov 21 22:33:57 MST 1995

Shawgi Tell,

Was Lenin perfect and without limitations? The Lenin we've been most 
accustomed to certainly was (you know, the one multiplied endlessly in 
reinforced concrete). To say that he "sharpened" his understanding is in 
fact to say that he transcended his own limitations. And the improvement 
from *Materialism and Empirio-Criticism* (1908) to the notebooks on Hegel 
(1914-15) is a big one indeed.
	Are you sure that Vladimir Ilich never adopted the copy theory of 
mechanical materialism? Thus: "The recognition of theory as a copy, as an 
approximate copy of objective reality, is materialism" and "...the 
materialist regards sensation, perception, idea, and the mind of man 
generally, as an image of objective reality" (1908). *Materialism...*, 
written as a polemic against the influence of Mach's Austrian positivism 
on an influential faction of the Bolsheviks known as the "God-builders" 
(A.A. Bogdanov, Lunacharsky, and Maxim Gorky--a lively bunch!), was 
indebted to Plekhanov's Feuerbachian materialism and rhetoric of 
Enlightenment. Later, Lenin referred to Plekhanov as a "vulgar 
materialist" who did not fully understand Hegel (the core work, *Science 
of Logic*) and therefore dialectics.  
	One other thing: if such figures as C.L.R. James, Karl Korsch, 
and Henri Lefebvre were "revisionists" and "New Left ideologues," what 
the hell does that mean? Just about everyone who came after Marx was a 
revisionist in some sense, and that includes Lenin (I mean revisionist in 
the broad sense, not Eduard Bernstein's movement or the word 
*revisionist* used as a maoist swear word). And "New Left"? People whose 
careers date back to the 1930s are "New Left ideologues"? Please explain.

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