Friday, May 09, 2008

An outrage in the consequences of Leninism

I was reading through a USSR publication from the early '60s entitled "Fundamentals of Marxism-Leninism" when I noticed in their very crude and extensive chapter on philosophy that even though close to sixty years had passed they still found it necessary to condemn Alexander Bogdanov's idea of Machist philosophy. Lenin wrote his main published philosophical work "Materialism and Empiriocriticism", which is pretty much panned by most people, against this now obscure philosophy that was put forward by Lenin's political opponent and one time challenger for leadership of the Bolshevik party. Almost sixty years had passed, and both Lenin and Bogdanov were long dead, and still the official Soviet ideologues and worshippers of Lenin felt that it was necessary to keep on condemning him and his philosophy.

To me this is completely insane. Why? It's sort of fitting though with the rhetorical style of Lenin, his viciousness and his utter belief that he was right, that he was the voice of 'correct' Marxism. Someone once said that Stalin's appropriation of Lenin's memory for ordering the purging and killing of his opponents was just a continuation of the same style that Lenin himself had established before him. The question is whether, looking at all the socialist thinkers of the early 20th century, there's anything to learn from Lenin's writings and thought once the hero worship has been deflated and the often dishonest style of debate that he engaged in is acknowledged.

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