The Legacy of Lenin?

Adam Rose adam at
Wed Nov 29 09:08:16 MST 1995

> Lenin had a totally different concept of a vanguard, but his 
> idea was nothing new. It merely represented mainstream 
> thinking in Russian and European Social Democracy. 
> George Plekhanov, eighteen years before the publication of 
> "What is to be Done?" stated that "the socialist 
> intelligentsia...must become the leader of the working class 
> in the impending emancipation movement, explain to it its 
> political and economic interests and also the 
> interdependence of those interests and must prepare them to 
> play an independent role in the social life of Russia." In 
> 1898, Pavel Axelrod wrote that "the proletariat, according 
> to the consciousness of the Social Democrats, does not 
> possess a ready-made, historically elaborated social ideal," 
> and "it goes without saying that these conditions, without 
> the energetic participation of the Social Democrats, may 
> cause our proletariat to remain in its condition as a listless 
> and somnolent force in respect of its political development." 
> The Austrian Hainfeld program of the Social Democrats 
> said that "Socialist consciousness is something that is 
> brought into the proletarian class struggle from the outside, 
> not something that organically develops out of the class 
> struggle." Kautsky, the world's leading Marxist during this 
> period, stated that "socialism and the class struggle arise 
> side by side and not one out of the other; each arises under 
> different conditions. Modern socialist consciousness can 
> arise only on the basis of profound scientific knowledge."
> -------------------------------------------------------------
> I think that Tom Condit and Scott Marshall's absolutely brilliant replies to 
> Professor Rosser (he is a professor, it turns out) raise the question of 
> whether a cyberseminar on the "Legacy of Lenin" is in order. After all, 
> the conference the Brecht Forum held recently was a great success. These 
> are the topics that could be discussed:
> 1) The organizational question: Did Lenin innovate anything at all?
> 2) Imperialism: Chris Bailey once asserted on the list that Lenin's ideas 
> on imperialism have misoriented the left in the 20th century by putting 
> forth the notion that capitalism was in a state of advanced decay. This 
> leads to triumphalism. What is the reality?
> 3) Dictatorship of the proletariat: Are the ideas Marx's or Lenin's? Do 
> they lead to Stalinist oppression or do they open up the possibility 
> of democracy in the sense articulated by Aristotle: rule by the poor.
> 4) Nationalism: What were Lenin's exact views? Do they lend support or 
> mitigate against black nationalism in the United States, the IRA, etc.
> 5) Soviet socialism: Lenin died shortly after the Soviet state was born. 
> What economic policies would he have supported had he lived: Bukharin's 
> pro-peasant NEP, Trotsky's industrialization model, Stalin's forced march?
> What do you think?

It's too much for one seminar :

Party + Class
State + Revolution

in one go !

You must be joking.

Either pick one subject or one period of Lenin's life or even just one


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