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  • Lenin150 (Samizdat): 2nd expanded edition

    You can purchase the printed version of this book at the Lulu Bookstore.

    The pdf can be downloaded from this page.

    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.

    Lenin150 (Samizdat) seeks to contribute to the re-kindling of the communist attractor by engaging, in the spirit of critical solidarity, with Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov in the year of his 150th anniversary. Conceived out of the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan, the book brings together contributions from all continents, ranging in style from the academic to the lyrical. As such, these compelling, and in some cases absolutely urgent, appropriations of (the spectre of) Lenin aspire to be of considerable use-value for the struggles ahead.


    A patchwork Lenin, by Kevin Corr
    “Overall, in tune with this book’s general tone of “critical solidarity” with Lenin, I, in turn, express critical solidarity with the engaging enthusiasm and intentions of those who have produced it. Spending time reading its eclectic contributions would be no bad thing for anyone who feels part of, or at least identifies with, the radical ferment pulsating across the world. The enormous crisis facing us is now being brought into sharp focus by the Covid-19 pandemic, Black Lives Matter and the developing ecological disaster. For us today, as in Lenin’s time, the questions remain how do we, the left, cut through the isolated condition we find ourselves in, and how can we learn from the past if we are to avoid barbarism and catastrophe?”
    In the footsteps of Lenin: You can never have too many books about Lenin. by Sean Sheehan:Another anniversary, arising from Lenin’s year of birth, has prompted Lenin 150 (Samizdat), a collection of writings and photographs that explore the political footsteps of Lenin worth following today. The contributors are an exhilaratingly mixed set of activists and academics and they write in various styles, from the lyrical and personal to the discursive and theoretical. The book’s origins can be traced to Kyrgyzstan – home to more surviving Lenin statues than anywhere besides Belarus – but its spirit is internationalist and its laudable regard for approaching Lenin from different perspectives is even more pronounced in its second edition.  As a witty, relevant, inspirational and superbly sane collection of words and pictures, this is a book that requires two copies: one to keep and the other to present to a friend as a gift.
    Lenin 150 (Samizdat) – book review This book came as an unexpected delight. A delight because here is a volume of essays examining the relevance of Lenin today in general and, on occasion, in the specifics of the country where the writer is based. A delight because Lenin has been largely missing from the social movements which have swept the globe over the last two decades, meaning all too often after their meteoric rise and then fall, they leave little behind in way of organisation. The need for which is under constant discussion here.

    Chillin’ with Lenin: An interview with Hjalmar Jorge Joffre-Eichorn: Tribune‘s Owen Hatherley interviews Hjalmar Jorge Joffre-Eichorn about his edited collection ‘Lenin 150,’ and the many meanings of the Russian revolutionary in the present day.

    LENIN150 Samizdat: Original and inspirational thoughts on man who changed the world
    PUBLISHED to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Lenin’s birth and conceived in the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan, Lenin 150 (Samizdat) is an outsanding collection of essays, poems and photos. … Lively, thought-provoking and informative, its roots are in the ideas of a group of young communists living and working in Kyrgyzstan, a country which has retained many of its Soviet-era buildings, statues and monuments, with Johann Salazar’s excellent photography providing a fitting complement to the text. … This book is a fantastically eclectic mix, yet the sheer quality of most of the writing enables a breadth of vision that’s a fitting tribute to someone who not only understood the world but was able to change it as well. — Morning Star, UK

    “A fascinating and surprisingly uplifting intellectual endeavour – analytically sharp yet wide-ranging. This collection of essays and images invites readers to reflect, from a multitude of perspectives and approaches, on one of history’s central revolutionaries. More importantly, it encourages us to reflect on our own time in revolutionary ways. Its academic readership should also be inspired by its samizdat creation – there are ways to engage in intellectual conversations outside of the mainstream publication business.” – Rebecca Selberg, Lund University

    “Wide-ranging, topical and sometimes provoking interpretations of Lenin reflecting different political standpoints.” – David Lane, Emeritus Fellow, Emmanuel College, Cambridge University.

    “This wonderfully designed book provides an original and insightful contribution to academic discussions on Lenin, one that does justice to his legacy.” – Joe Pateman, University of Nottingham, UK

    “A compelling volume for revolutionary-minded activists who are part of the radical ferment animating waves of dissent and protest sweeping the world – but also of genuine interest to anyone seeking information and ideas about one of the great political figures of the twentieth century.”– Paul LeBlanc, Professor of History, La Roche University, Author of Lenin and the Revolutionary Party and October Song: Bolshevik Triumph, Communist Tragedy, 1917-1924

    “What an exciting culmination of the recent Lenin editorial revival! This explosive mix between images of Soviet relics and thoughtful insights about Leninism brilliantly dusts off the legacy of the October Revolution leader…” – Adrien Minard, Independent Researcher

    “‘Consciousness not only reflects the objective world, but creates it,’ Lenin wrote before the revolution. In analogy we might say, like Patti Smith once did: ‘We created it, let’s take it over!’ This book is a tribute to revolutionary thought on the one hand and pure rock ‘n’ roll on the other!”
    Ronald Matthijssen, Lifetime communist voter and actor, social justice advocate and writer in the making

    “I am not an admirer of Lenin. However, as a historian I believe that it is impossible to understand the contemporary world without a renewed effort to understand the emergence of the Soviet Union and its global legacy, including in the formation of “Western” Europe. This book pleasantly brings us memorial landscapes from Kyrgyzstan, both built and lyrical, originally articulating the latter with a diversity of scholarly and activist perspectives on the figure of Lenin. It is an important step towards a postcolonial debate on the history of the Soviet Union.”
    Tiago Castela, University of Coimbra

    “…an inspiring book, which gives a thought-provoking, prismatic picture of Lenin, both as a historic figure and an actual theoretician of change and revolution…”
    Vesa Oittinen, University of Helsinki

    “I acquired this very unusual samizdat (self-published) 150th birthday present for Lenin as soon as I heard of it, and enthusiastically endorse its second edition. Not least because it is the product of one of my favourite countries, Kyrgyzstan, with many colour photos of Stalinist representations of Lenin (and Marx) taken in 2019 in the “Switzerland of Central Asia”; 22 chapters by authors from 15 countries, 4 from the USA, but also from the global South and 3 from Kyrgyzstan; poetry from a Kyrgyz revolutionary poet; and ending with a new translation of Bertolt Brecht’s thrilling ‘To Those Born After (An die Nachgeborenen).’ Vladimir Ilich would have been delighted.” —Bill Bowring, Birkbeck College, University of London

    “A great source of inspiration for those suffering from the corona dictatorships. Governments trying to freeze societies in their tracks will find revolution is around the corner.” – Kees van der Pijl, Prof of International Relations (retired), latest book, Flight MH17, Ukraine and the New Cold War. Prism of Disaster

    “[The editors have] found exactly the right tone and the right team to bring Lenin into 21st century discussions. It is self-ironic, humorous, unpretentious, serious, wide-ranging, and well designed. As intended, the authors, of usually short pieces, come ‘from all continents, from people of colour, different sexual orientations and gender identities.’ Here we are almost as far away from the doxa of “Marxism-Leninism” as possible.” – Göran Therborn, Professor Emeritus of Sociology, Cambridge University


    Contents

    Hjalmar Jorge Joffre-Eichhorn, Preface to the 2nd Edition xi

    The Politburo, About This Book xvii

    Patrick Anderson, In Search of Meaning: A Note from the Translator xxiii

    Hjalmar Jorge Joffre-Eichhorn, Introduction: The Kyrgyz Lenin – From Spectre to Attractor (and Back) 1

    1. Leon Trotsky, VI Lenin – On His Fiftieth Birthday11
    2. Alain Badiou, Lenin, Founder of the Modern Meaning of the Word ‘Politics’ 15
    3. Elvira Concheiro Bórquez, Lenin Does Not Mean Leninism23
    4. Michael Brie, Learning from Lenin – and Doing It Differently31
    5. Mauricio Sandoval Cordero, Lenin from Latin America – Towards a Reactivation of the Marxism of Political Organisation and Strategy39
    6. Vashna Jagarnath, Peace! Land! Bread! – We are not going to die of Coronavirus, we are going to die of hunger! 51
    7. Atilio A Boron, Notes on “Left-Wing” Communism:
      An Infantile Disorder
      61
    8. Owen Hatherley, Dead Russians on the Wall 79
    9. Marcos Del Roio, Engels and Lenin in Latin America: Yesterday and Today 87
    10. Kevin B Anderson, A Note on Lenin and the Dialectic97
    11. Roland Boer, Lenin and Non-Antagonistic Contradictions 103
    12. Georgy Mamedov, How Is Internationalism to Be Understood? A Leninist Perspective on Identity Politics111
    13. Jodi Dean, Lenin’s Desire: Reminiscences of Lenin and the Desire of the Comrade 125

    Poetic Interlude – Joomart Bokonbaev Three Communist Poems 134

    1. Ursina Lardi, Playing Lenin – A Conversation about Lenin and Theatre 143
    2. Oxana Timofeeva, What Lenin Teaches Us About Witchcraft 149
    3. Tora Lane, Lenin, the Revolution, and the Uncertainties of Communism in the Work of Platonov 163
    4. Thomas Rudhof-Seibert, Eleven Theses on Lenin in the Corona Era 171
    5. Matthieu Renault, On Revolutionary Prudence, or the Wisdom of Lenin 191
    6. Michael Neocosmos, Lenin’s ‘Turn to the Masses’ (1921-1923) 203
    7. Molaodi Wa Sekake, Lenin: A Man of Action
and a Defender of the Integrity of Revolutionary Thought 213
    8. Matthew T Huber, Electric Communism:
The Continued Importance of Energy to Revolution 225
    9. Mohira Suyarkulova, City of Lenin and the Social(ist) Life of a River 238
    10. Ronald Grigor Suny, A Whole River of Blood: Lenin and Stalin 255
    11. Wang Hui, The Revolutionary Personality and The Philosophy of Victory – Commemorating the 150th Anniversary
of Lenin’s Birth 261
    12. Darko Suvin, In the Shadows of Never-Ending Warfare: On the Use-Value of Lenin today 279
    13. Slavoj Žižek, Lenin? – Which Lenin? 291
    14. Vijay Prashad, For Comrade Lenin on His 150th Birth Anniversary 295
    15. Johann Salazar, I Believe in Yesterday – A Photographer’s Note  on Remembering an Alternative Future 303

    Bertolt Brecht, To Those Born After 313

    The Central Committee 319

    The Politburo 327

    Index329

     

  • Being human after 1492

    Richard Pithouse’s extraordinary overview of the what is means to be human after 1492:

    On 9 August 2014, Michael Brown, an unarmed black man, was shot dead by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. The movement that grew out of the rebellion that followed inaugurated a new sequence in the struggle against racism in the United States. As with previous sequences in that struggle it quickly acquired an international dimension, including here in South Africa. One aspect of this international moment has been an urgent confrontation with the reality that what Césaire called ‘abstract equality’ does not, on its own, mark an end to the racialization of life.

    In the United States, and elsewhere, there is a sense that history is as present as it is past. Just over a decade ago, Baucom observed that “what-has-been is, cannot be undone, cannot cease to alter all the future-presents that flow out of it. Time does not pass or progress, it accumulates”. It is the sense that time accumulates into the present that has often led to the invocation of William Faulkner’s famous line from Requiem for a Nun in discussions about race: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”

    The past does not merely haunt or shape the present via the enduring power of deep and impersonal structural forces. Across Europe, and in settler societies like Australia, Brazil and the United States, racism is an increasingly explicit and menacing presence at the centre of political and social life. White revanchism has rallied, often under demagogic leadership, to secure the racial order that emerged from the event of 1492. It has already resulted in Brexit in England, the impeachment of an elected President in Brazil and the election of a figure as grotesque as Trump in the United States.

    We will not be able to transcend the epoch that began in 1492 without a politics that can confront and defeat this revanchism. And we will not have transcended this epoch until “things, in the most materialistic meaning of the word” are, as Fanon insists, “restored to their proper places”. But the catastrophe from which we are all derived is not solely a matter of material dispossession and accumulation. As Michael Monahan argues, in conversation with Wynter, “the history of colonialism is also the history of the emergence of the idea of Europe and of Europeans, and . . . it is such ideas and cultural practices that inevitably shape our consciousness, conditioning what counts as normal and, ultimately, as rational”.

     

  • Fanon and the rationality of revolt

    We inhabit extraordinary times: times in which we are acutely aware of the intensity of what revolutionary thinker Frantz Fanon called “the glare of history’s floodlights.”  The velocity and scale at which the revolt against police murder that began in Minnesota after the death of George Floyd on May 25th and moved throughout the US, and then other parts of the world, was astonishing. It was impossible to predict, but then, in retrospect, it is George Floyd’s death becomes a nodal point: calling for action as well as rethinking and self-clarification. Thinking about this moment with the world revolutionary Frantz Fanon, we need to be aware of continuities and discontinuities — or, as he puts it, opacities — between the ages, his and ours. Fanon is always speaking to us, but often in ways we cannot hear. We have to work to listen to him and to understand the new contexts and meanings in relative opacity. It is this constant dialogue that helps illuminate the present and enable ongoing fidelity to Fanon’s call in the conclusion of The Wretched of the Earth the necessity to work out new concepts to confront one of Fanon’s greatest concerns, the betrayal of the revolutionary movement. In this pamphlet we consider how Fanon’s idea of liberation is connected with “the rationality of revolt.” The practice of engaging Fanon not only with revolt but with the reason or rationality of revolt connects with Fanon’s idea of how this liberated humanity is a product of a new consciousness of collectivity open to rethink everything.

  • Dialectics of revolution : Hegel, Marxism, and its critics through a lens of race, class, gender, and colonialism

    This book collects four decades of writings on dialectics, a number of them published here for the first time, by Kevin B. Anderson, a well-known scholar-activist in the Marxist-Humanist tradition. The essays cover the dialectics of revolution in a variety of settings, from Hegel and the French Revolution to dialectics today and its poststructuralist and pragmatist critics. In these essays, particular attention is given to Lenin’s encounter with Hegel and its impact on the critique of imperialism, the rejection of crude materialism, and more generally, on world revolutionary developments. Major but neglected works on Hegel and dialectics written under the impact of the struggle against fascism like Lukács’s The Young Hegel and Marcuse’s Reason and Revolution are given full critical treatment. Dunayevskaya’s intersectional revolutionary dialectics is also treated extensively, especially its focus on a dialectics of revolution that avoids class reductionism, placing gender, race, and colonialism at the center alongside class. In addition, key critics of Hegel and dialectics like Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Antonio Negri, Pierre Bourdieu, and Richard Rorty, are themselves analysed and critiqued from a twenty-first century dialectical perspective. The book also takes up the dialectic in global, intersectional settings via a reconsideration of the themes of Anderson’s Marx at the Margins, where nationalism, race, and colonialism were theorized alongside capital and class as key elements in Marxist dialectical thought. As a whole, the book offers a discussion of major themes in the dialectics of revolution that still speak to us today at a time of radical transformation in all spheres of society and of everyday life.

    This is a collection of essays of paramount importance written by one of the most noteworthy authorities on Marx and Hegel within the field of Western Marxism. … Anderson is uniformly brilliant in his analysis of Marx as a multidimensional thinker who developed a multilinear pathway for revolution for societies outside of Western Europe, putting to rest the charges of determinism and Eurocentrism and patriarchal thinking that had tempted many in the left away from critical engagements … Dialectics of Revolution makes it clear why Anderson is among the leading lights writing on Marxism and revolution today. —Peter McLaren, author of Che Guevara, Paulo Freire, and the Pedagogy of Revolution

    Kevin Anderson’s Dialectics of Revolution collects four decades of Anderson’s studies of Hegel, Marx, dialectics, and revolution. … Anderson provides much provocative material in developing critical theory and revolutionary practice for the contemporary era. —Douglas Kellner, author of Herbert Marcuse and the Crisis of Marxism

    This deeply intellectual, and yet highly accessible, work breathes new life into dialectical Marxism, reconciling the debates over identity politics and class struggle and positing a dialectical Marxist-humanism. … that recognizes that the revolutionary struggle for freedom is the struggle against class, racism, sexism, and all forms of oppression. … This book is not only timely and relevant but urgently necessary. — Lilia Monzo, author of A Revolutionary Subject: Pedagogy of Women of Color and Indigeneity

    1. Introduction

    Part 1: Marxism and Hegel

    1. Dialectics in brief
    2. Hegel, the French revolution and after
    3. Lenin’s encounter with Hegel
    4. Lenin, Bukharin, dialectics, and imperialism
    5. Marcuse, Hegel and critical theory
    6. Lukács on the young Hegel

    Part 2: Dialectics today

    1. Dialectical reason and its critics
    2. Derrida on Marx: Return or deconstruction?
    3. Resistance vs. emancipation, from Marx to Foucault
    4. Class, Gender, Race, and Colonialism
    5. Marx at the Margins: Ten years later

     

  • Class, gender, race & colonialism: The ‘intersectionality’ of Marx – Thinking Freedom Pamphlet

    It is important to see both Marx’s brilliant generalisations about capitalist society and the very concrete ways in which he examined not only class, but also gender, race, and colonialism, and what today would be called the intersectionality of all of these. His underlying revolutionary humanism was the enemy of all forms of abstraction that denied the variety and multiplicity of human experience, especially as his vision extended outward from Western Europe. For these reasons, no thinker speaks to us today with such force and clarity.

    It is clear today that the emancipation of labour from capitalist alienation and exploitation is a task that still confronts us. Marx’s concept of the worker is not limited to European white males, but includes Irish and Black super-exploited and therefore doubly revolutionary workers, as well as women of all races and nations. But, his research and his concept of revolution go further, incorporating a wide range of agrarian non-capitalist societies of his time, from India to Russia and from Algeria to the Indigenous peoples of the Americas, often emphasising their gender relations. In his last, still partially unpublished writings, he turns his gaze Eastward and Southward. In these regions outside Western Europe, he finds important revolutionary possibilities among peasants and their ancient communistic social structures, even as these are being undermined by their formal subsumption under the rule of capital. In his last published text, he envisions an alliance between these non-working-class strata and the Western European working class.