Comment to Richard Fidler

Jurriaan Bendien J.Bendien at wolmail.nl
Tue Nov 19 15:57:51 MST 2002


Richard,

Ryazanov was never the director of the Institute of Marxism-Leninism. In his
days, it was called the "Marx-Engels Institute", which was a perfectly
correct name. Ryazanov put in a lot of work trying to collect Marx's
writings together and get them studied in an intelligent way. He was
politically not very useful but he was scholarly useful, so they put him
there. This bullshit about "Institute of Marxism-Leninism" started after
Lenin died. If memory serves me right, for a while it was called the
Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute.  Lenin said explicitly that he didn't like this
business about "Leninism", he said I am a Marxist, an orthodox Marxist, that
is it. Later Ryazanov was removed from his post, and eventually became a
victim of one of Stalin's purges. I remember this, because when I got much
of Ernest Mandel's writings together at the International Institute for
Social History back in 1984, I was inspired by Ryazanov's story, and I
dedicated the project to his memory.

I now think however that people are engaging in political nostalgia, in that
they still want to behave like the bolsheviks and recapture the magic. It
doesn't work, people are different now, and we have to move on. Most of
these revolutionary people who adopt the bolshevik style and focus on what
Lenin did in reality DO NOT HAVE AN EFFECTIVE POLITICAL METHOD, and that is
why they stay in little groups that do not go anywhere. It is much better to
focus plainly on what an effective political method would be, and how you
would implement that, dealing with a specific situation.

regards

Jurriaan


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