Histomat: Adventures in Historical Materialism

'Historical materialism is the theory of the proletarian revolution.' Georg Lukács

Friday, June 08, 2007

Lenin Reloaded

Lenin Reloaded: Towards a Politics of Truth
Edited by Sebastian Budgen, Stathis Kouvelakis, and Slavoj Žižek

Lenin Reloaded is a rallying call by some of the world’s leading Marxist intellectuals for renewed attention to the significance of Vladimir Lenin. The volume’s editors explain that it was Lenin who made Karl Marx’s thought explicitly political, who extended it beyond the confines of Europe, who put it into practice. They contend that a focus on Lenin is urgently needed now, when global capitalism appears to be the only game in town, the liberal-democratic system seems to have been settled on as the optimal political organization of society, and it has become easier to imagine the end of the world than a modest change in the mode of production. Lenin retooled Marx’s thought for specific historical conditions in 1914, and Lenin Reloaded urges a reinvention of the revolutionary project for the present. Such a project would be Leninist in its commitment to action based on truth and its acceptance of the consequences that follow from action.

These essays, many of which appear here in English for the first time, bring Lenin face-to-face with the problems of today, including war, imperialism, the imperative to build an intelligentsia of wage earners, the need to embrace the achievements of bourgeois society and modernity, and the widespread failure of social democracy. Lenin Reloaded demonstrates that truth and partisanship are not mutually exclusive as is often suggested. Quite the opposite—in the present, truth can be articulated only from a thoroughly partisan position.

Contributors. Kevin B. Anderson, Alain Badiou, Etienne Balibar, Daniel Bensaïd, Sebastian Budgen, Alex Callinicos, Terry Eagleton, Fredric Jameson, Stathis Kouvelakis, Georges Labica, Sylvain Lazarus, Jean-Jacques Lecercle, Lars T. Lih, Domenico Losurdo, Savas Michael-Matsas, Antonio Negri, Alan Shandro, Slavoj Žižek

Table of Contents

Introduction: Repeating Lenin 1

Part 1: Retrieving Lenin
1. Alain Badiou, One Divides Itself into Two 7
2. Alex Callinicos, Leninism in the Twenty-first Century?: Lenin, Weber, and the Politics of Responsibility 18
3. Terry Eagleton, Lenin in the Postmodern Age 42
4. Fredric Jameson, Lenin and Revisionism 59
5. Slavoj Zizek, A Leninist Gesture Today: Against the Populist Temptation 74

Part 2: Lenin in Philosophy
6. Savas Michael-Matsas, Lenin and the Path of Dialectics 101
7. Kevin B. Anderson, The Rediscovery and Persistence of the Dialectic in Philosophy and in World Politics 120
8. Daniel Bensaid, “Leaps! Leaps! Leaps!” 148
9. Stathis Kouvelakis, Lenin as Reader of Hegel: Hypotheses for a Reading of Lenin’s Notebooks on Hegel’s “The Science of Logic” 164

Part 3: War and Imperialism
10. Etienne Balibar, The Philosophical Moment in Politics Determined by War: Lenin 1914-16 207
11. Georges Labica, From Imperialism to Globalization 222
12. Domenico Losurdo, Lenin and Herrenvolk Democracy 239

Part 4: Politics and its Subject
13. Sylvian Lazarus, Lenin and the Part, 1902-November 1917 255
14. Jean-Jacques Lecercle, Lenin the Just, or Marxism Unrecycled 269
15. Lars T. Lih, Lenin and the Great Awakening 283
16. Antonio Negri, What to Do Today with What Is to Be Done?, or Rather: The Body of the General Intellect 297
17. Alan Shandro, Lenin and Hegemony: The Soviets, the Working Class, and the Party in the Revolution of 1905 308

Contributors 333
Index 335

For more information, please visit here - for a critical review see here. I have yet to read this book, but it certainly sounds interesting...

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At 10:02 pm, Blogger paddington said...

This is reckoned to be Zizek's definitive statement on Lenin and, given that his subject is the liberal notion of tolerance at this year's Marxism festival, should provide some introductory food for thought.


At 7:36 pm, Anonymous matthew caygill said...

What's this business about Lenin making Marxism explicitly political? Did Marx, Engels, Kautsky, Luxemburg, Trotsky and even Bernstein realize they were only implicitly political?

At 1:25 pm, Blogger Snowball said...

Hmm - I guess we will have to read it to find out exactly what is meant by that - perhaps it is a hint at Lenin's superior conception of the revolutionary party than any of those you mention?


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