[Marxism] Old Chomsky Video re: Lenin

Andrew Stewart hasc.warrior.stew at gmail.com
Sun Sep 9 19:31:53 MDT 2018


This is a video from circa the release of MANUFACTURING CONSENT (the book).
Chomsky is reciting the standard anarchist line about Lenin. There are, to
my mind, a few different things to point out:

1) At the time of this video being produced, the USSR was still in
existence and the Palestinian cause was always twinned with Soviet foreign
policy in mainstream media. Chomsky and Edward Said were trying, at this
juncture, to disentangle the two and create a viable liberal case for
Palestinian solidarity.

2) Lars T. Lih has been doing some scholarship in the past 20 years that
repudiates a lot of the Cold War shibboleths about Lenin's vision of the
vanguard party as an elite and dictatorial group alienated from the workers
and peasants. Instead, a lot of the issues that arose within the Leninist
vanguard framework are to be placed on a host of other causes, including
Stalin.

3) The anarchist tradition regarding the Russian revolution is one that
fails to acknowledge a host of matters that the Bolsheviks were contending
with, including the matter of the colonial question and national
liberation. That shortcoming is what makes it a very problematic ideology
that easily can lend itself to white nationalist and fascist tendencies.

-- 
Best regards,

Andrew Stewart

Message: 5
Date: Sun, 9 Sep 2018 15:58:02 -0400
From: Michael Meeropol <mameerop at gmail.com>
To: "A.R. G" <amithrgupta at gmail.com>,   Activists and scholars in
        Marxist tradition <marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu>
Subject: Re: [Marxism] Old Chomsky Video re: Lenin
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Though it's been a long time since I read it, E.H. Carr's first volume of
THE HISTORY OF SOVIET RUSSIA is quite detailed on the ins and outs of the
initial stages of the Bolshevik Revolution --- (I think the Revolutionary
period is covered in 3 volumes but the first has a lot of the stuff Chomsky
is referring to --- Unclear if Chomsky's speech is before Carr started
publishing ....)

Most communist historians (especially Trotskists) argue that Stalin
perverted Lenin and Trotsky's revolution --- but there is no question that
under the pressures of the Civil WAR, the rights of ALL citizens of
revolutionary Russia were subordinated to the needs to defend the new
country --- whether that was "forced" on Lenin or the very nature of his
(authoritarian) inclinations might be hard even for experts to tease out ...

On Sun, Sep 9, 2018 at 12:56 PM A.R. G via Marxism <
marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu> wrote:

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> Hi all,
>
> I found this old video of Chomsky criticizing Lenin as an opportunist in
> response to a criticism from a communist in his audience.
>
> https://youtu.be/yQsceZ9skQI
>
> Not knowing as much about the Russian Revolution, I was wondering if
others
> could clarify what it is that Chomsky is talking about, what the
underlying
> disagreement is, plus your own thoughts on why he is right or wrong.
> Thanks.
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