‘Leninism, Anti-Leninist Marxism and the Question of Revolution Today’

May 2024 Forums Events and announcements ‘Leninism, Anti-Leninist Marxism and the Question of Revolution Today’

Viewing 10 posts - 1 through 10 (of 10 total)
  • Author
  • #244699

    ‘What Is to Be Done? Leninism, Anti-Leninist Marxism and the Question of Revolution Today’

    Aldershot: Ashgate, 2002
    Reviewed by CHRIS WRIGHT

    Review at: https://sci-hub.ru/10.1163/156920606777829140


    I should have said:

    1) I’m posting this not to advertise the perhaps not too interesting book but rather the great critical review of it. The review could well have been titled ‘Marxist Anti-Leninism: Stupid vs Intelligent’.

    (Though, there are parts starting from ‘What about today?’ that are a bit heady for a person of my modest political-cognitive capacities.)

    2) If you (DJP?) think you have read the review before, maybe you haven’t. It’s not entirely the same version as posted to libcom. This is the 2006 version printed in Historical Materialism. The one on libcom was the original from 2003.


    I am afraid I wasn’t allowed to open the link to the article. Maybe because it is a Russian registered site and, here in the “West, many such sites are blocked in case they contain “disinformation”. The way to deal with “disinformation” is to expose it as such not to ban it. But the West wants a monopoly to propagate its own “disinformation”.


    Thanks for telling me that, ALB. It had not occurred to me that it might be blocked in the UK.

    Try this, which is the same thing but with .se rather than .ru as the domain:

    (A so-called ‘mirror site’.)

    If for some reason even this is blocked, tell me, and I will simply email the pdf to you (an 18 PDF-page article), and anyone who wants it can get it from you.

    • This reply was modified 10 months, 4 weeks ago by ZJW.

    Nothing to do with the present war. It’s the ‘intellectual property’ thing.

    It’s blocked in Russia as well, and has been since 2018. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Library_Genesis . (Also click the link there for ‘shadow libraries.)


    Sci-Hub | What Is to Be Done? Leninism, Anti-Leninist Marxism and the Question of Revolution Today, .pdf


    I will repeat here what I pointed out in #200677 in 2020:

    ‘[T]here are two ‘Chris Wright’s. There is that dumb one, and there is also this very good one: https://libcom.org/library/stupid-regulators-greedy-financiers-or-business-usual-chris-wright

    The ‘dumb one’ means that reformist promoter of cooperatives whose name has come up on this forum from time to time. The article I linked in the post above to is by the good one.

    (And I still recommend his critical summary/review of the book by Mattick Jnr. )

    • This reply was modified 10 months, 3 weeks ago by ZJW.
    • This reply was modified 10 months, 3 weeks ago by ZJW.
    • This reply was modified 10 months, 3 weeks ago by ZJW.
    Bijou Drains

    Found this on t’internet, haven’t gone through it with a fine toothcomb but makes several mentions of the party and makes one reference to ALB. The author states at one point that “The Bordigists and the SPGB championed a super-Marxian intransigence in theoretical matters.” If any one out there can explain to me what the f… that means I would be very grateful.



    Thanks for this, ZJW. I think he has a valid point when he says that up till 1917 Lenin, like many others, was an anti-revisionist Social Democrat who held Kautsky in high regard, even though he felt that conditions in tsarist Russia did not permit socialists to organise in a mass, democratic party; that in fact he wanted to overthrow Tsarism in order to create the conditions for this. Some of the general theoretical stuff Lenin wrote in this period wasn’t too bad. For instance:


    But the rest of Wright’s article degenerates into this sort of thing:

    “Marx (and Hegel) put the ontological into its proper place, as part of the process of becoming. Being and its negation (Nothing) form the ground for Becoming and are interlocked moments, although not in a general sense in capital, but in the historically and socially specific modes of existence of the value-form and the form of labour as abstract labour. Being finds itself reified, objectified, under capital, and, as such, appears to be the primary category, when in fact the negation of Being in favour of the non-being of value brought on by the specific social relations of capital dominates. A ‘positive-ontological’ reading of Marx leads us back to the objectivism of the Second and Third Internationals.”

    Why not simply say that Marx did not regard value as a thing but as a manifestation of a social relation that would disappear when that social relation did? More people might understand the point you are trying to make. And did the Second International go off the rails because it got its ‘ontology’ wrong?

    His conclusion seems to be that “pro-revolutionaries” should simply describe and record working-class struggles:

    “I think that a discussion of the ideas of C.L.R. James and Raya Dunayevskaya’s ‘full fountain pen’ idea, that an organisation of revolutionaries provide a medium or multiple media, for the workers to say what they want in their own words, to allow them to hear each other and debate, would have been both useful and appropriate.“

    The opposite mistake to Leninism — that left to themselves workers will evolve a socialist consciousness without needing any input from other workers who have already become socialists.


    I think Ojeili means that we stuck rigidly to Marxian economics and the materialist conception of history, and were “intransigent” about advocating political action for socialism and nothing else (no reform programme). The Bordigists were more super-Leninists as they were “intransigent” that Lenin was right about the workers only being able to evolve a trade Union consciousness under capitalism and that therefore they needed to be led by a vanguard party. They also argued that the “communist programme” hadn’t changed since the 1848 Communist Manifesto.

    The full passage has some relevance to Chris Wright. It reads:

    “For many Marxian libertarian socialists, the political bankruptcy of socialist orthodoxy necessitated a theoretical break. This break took a number of forms. The Bordigists and the SPGB championed a super-Marxian intransigence in theoretical matters. Other socialists made a return ‘behind Marx’ to the anti-positivist programme of German idealism.”

    The last sentence describes precisely Wright’s position.

    Incidentally, Ojeili knows our position well through his contact with the World Socialist Party of New Zealand.

Viewing 10 posts - 1 through 10 (of 10 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.