[Marxism] Fwd: Daniel Bensaid: Leninism in the 21st century (November 2001)

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon May 8 18:53:34 MDT 2017

Daniel Bensaïd, a central leader of the French Ligue Communiste 
Revolutionnaire (LCR), spoke on Leninism in the 21st century at the 
Marxism 2001 event organised by the British SWP. Phil Hearse spoke to 
him there.

Q. Lenin made important contributions to Marxist thinking about 
imperialism, the national question, revolutionary strategy and socialist 
democracy. But when parties and groups call themselves ‘Leninist’ they 
are generally referring to organisational forms. Yet the modern 
experience of such organisations has shown they have quite diverse 
organisational practices. What is special about ‘Leninism’ as an 
organisational form?

A. We have to start by remembering that the very term ‘Leninism’ only 
appeared after the death of Lenin, notably in the speech by Zinoviev to 
the Fifth Congress of the Communist International (1924). It corresponds 
to the codification of an organisational model then associated with the 
‘Bolshevisation’ of the Comintern, which allowed the Kremlin to brutally 
subjugate the young Communist parties to its own tutelage, in the name 
of combating social democracy – which had been corrupted by 

The invention of ‘Leninism’ as a religiously mummified orthodoxy, was 
part of the process of bureaucratisation of the Comintern and the Soviet 
Union. That’s why, as far as possible, I personally avoid utilising this 
‘ism’. However, if you attempt to summarise what appears essential in 
Lenin’s own organisational ideas, I would highlight two ideas which seem 
to me essential revolutionary conceptions for this epoch, and which 
retain their validity today.

full: https://www.marxists.org/archive/bensaid/2001/11/leninism.htm

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