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These 100 tributes, from every continent, are like building blocks, in word and image creating not a mausoleum, but paths to a new future… It’s about thinking with and through Lenin, and the proof is here. — Isabelle Garo, author of Communism and Strategy.
The organic intellectuals in this book have woven a thread of what is to be done in the heart of fascism today, a tool for reclaiming our humanity. — Gacheke Gachihi, member of the Kenya Organic Intellectuals Network.
A left that rejects Lenin’s legacy in times of catastrophic capitalism and imperialist war can neither be truly left-wing nor have a decisive influence on world history. —Michael Brie, author of Rediscovering Lenin.
Lenin: The Heritage We (Don’t) Renounce brings together 100+ authors and visual artists from 50+ countries across the world – from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe – in order to critically commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the death of Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, aka Lenin, on 21 January 1924.
Combining academic, journalistic and more personal-political texts, including poetry, theatrical skits and fictional writing, the books’ contributors aim to identify and constructively engage with the living legacy of Lenin’s life and work before, during and after the October Revolution. Concretely, the 100+ texts deal with a great variety of “old [Leninist] truths that are ever new” (Lenin), both historically and in today’s times: Imperialism, the National Question and the Right to Self-Determination, the Vanguard Party, Trans Liberation, Ecological Leninism, Dialectics, Artificial Intelligence, Military Marxisms, Black Liberation, Communist Feminism as well as Revolutionary Dreaming and Organising, among many others.
Also, Lenin is put into dialogue with a number of revolutionary comrades-in-arms, among them Amílcar Cabral, Mao Zedong, Julius Nyerere, José Carlos Mariátegui, Julio Antonio Mella, G.F.W. Hegel, Antonio Gramsci, Qu Quibai, Alexandra Kollontai and Rosa Luxemburg.
In sum, the book aspires to help liberate the old Ilyich from the musty, petrifying solitude of his mausoleum and to invite him back into the “real movement, which abolishes the state of things” (Marx & Engels) in the here and now, i.e. our multiple, intersecting struggles against all types of capitalist-colonial-heteropatriarchal-ableist oppression and for the rekindling and strengthening of the new Communist horizon.
While many on the contemporary Left continue to openly disavow any association with Tovarish Lenin, Lenin: The Heritage We (Don’t) Renounce affirms the opposite – that there will be no revolution without Vladimir Ilyich among our rank-and-file comrade-ancestors. Or in the words of one of the book’s authors, Himani Bannerji, “We neglect Lenin’s voice at our own peril.”
To work, everybody, to work,
the cause of the world socialist revolution
must and will triumph.
For all the official historiographic efforts at forging a mythologised image of Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov as the austere, no-nonsense, professional revolutionary, the really existing flesh and blood Lenin understood and appreciated that the most materialist action an individual must carry out without fault to metabolise the struggle for communism is to breathe. Not just biologically respire but consciously breathe. Breathe for oneself and breathe for and with others. If it is indeed our desire to breathe new life into the long choking red star, a new oxygenic Communist politics of walking and breathing is what we must aspire to, inspire, respire and encourage.
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