April 15, 2020 at 7:41 am #198729LBirdParticipant
An older book about Lunacharsky:
The Commissariat of Enlightenment: Soviet Organisation of Education and the Arts under Lunacharsky Sheila Fitzpatrick. Cambs. UP (2002; first 1970)April 16, 2020 at 7:04 pm #198874AnonymousInactive
Bogdanov was a very good writer. There are so many books who have unmasked the falsehood of the Bolsheviks and Leninism, but most peoples do not read or they do not want to hear about them, it is much better to hide the head in the sand. Martov was forced to exile because he was too dangerous for them despite the fact that he was a nationalist.
The term Marxism Leninism was created by Joseph Stalin on his book on the Foundations of Leninism, I think that Lenin himself would not have created that concept, as well he wanted to be buried next to his mother.
Many Leninist do not like to read Kruspkaya who was the wife of Lenin, because she would disagree with many of them, as well Natalia Sedovia disagreed with her husband Leon Trotsky, and she was expelled from the Fourth International, she knew that the Soviet economy was based on State CapitalismMarch 7, 2022 at 9:35 am #227402ZJWParticipant
One of the three recent books about Bogdanov that Bird mentioned here — https://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/forum/topic/search-for-some-books/#post-198727 — is the 480 page-something ‘Red Hamlet — The Life and Ideas of Alexander Bogdanov’ (2018) by James D. White. The book is freely-easily downloadable from libgen (not libcom).
In this book (which takes a very negative view of Lenin) Bogdanov’s anti-authoritarianism is repeatedly stressed. Under the asterisks some very much at-random quotes from it:
There are several aspects to Bogdanov’s concept of collectivism, reflecting different strands in his thought. One of these is the elimination of the organiser/ \executor division, that is the distinction between people who organise and those who carry out orders. For Bogdanov this is the earliest and most fundamental social division which afflicted mankind, one which preceded the formation of social classes. It was responsible for authoritarian thinking and for the dualist view of the world that divided phenomena into the physical and the psychical. In socialist society this division is overcome, and the monist view of the world is restored.
Even on the trip to Mars Leonid discovers that Martian society is not authoritarian. Menni is the captain of the spacecraft, but he does not have the power of command. His instructions are followed because he happens to be the most experienced pilot of the spacecraft.75 On Mars itself the comradely relations prevailed between the individuals, with a directness and absence of formality. Great individuals are not commemorated, only important events.
Lenin’s perspective was very different. He did want to be a revolutionary leader and he did crave power and authority. The kind of organisation he favoured was of like-minded people in which he would be the acknowledged head. From Lenin’s point of view Bogdanov was an obstacle to his aspirations. Bogdanov had a claim to influence the direction that the Bolshevik fraction took, because he had rescued it from oblivion in 1904. Moreover, in a Marxist party the legitimation of leadership was the mastery of socialist theory, and this Bogdanov had in abundant measure. He was coming to be thought of as the leading theoretician of Russian Social-Democracy. By comparison, Lenin’s contribution to theory was modest. It was contained in his pamphlet What Is to Be Done?: the idea that the workers’ socialist consciousness had to be brought to them from outside, by the intelligentsia. This idea was so alien to Bogdanov’s way of thinking that the price Lenin paid for Bogdanov’s help in reviving the Bolshevik fraction was that this idea should be abandoned.
Despite his conviction that the Bolshevik seizure of power was not the socialist revolution that Lenin claimed, but merely a ‘war communist’ one, Bogdanov did not stand aloof from the Soviet regime or go into emigration in the West, as many Russian intellectuals did after 1917. He lent his support to the new regime, applying his organisational theory to the problem of economic planning. Bogdanov never became a political dissident in Soviet Russia, and he never wrote a critique of the increasingly repressive Soviet system. It would probably have served Lenin’s purposes better if he had. But in the early 1920s, when opposition movements emerged, all of Bogdanov’s existing writings, suffused as they were with the condemnation of authoritarianism, were of themselves subversive.March 7, 2022 at 2:01 pm #227413LBirdParticipant
ZJW quoted White: “There are several aspects to Bogdanov’s concept of collectivism, reflecting different strands in his thought. One of these is the elimination of the organiser/ \executor division, that is the distinction between people who organise and those who carry out orders. For Bogdanov this is the earliest and most fundamental social division which afflicted mankind, one which preceded the formation of social classes. It was responsible for authoritarian thinking and for the dualist view of the world that divided phenomena into the physical and the psychical. In socialist society this division is overcome, and the monist view of the world is restored.”
The ‘dualist view’ that both White and Bogdanov, in company with Marx himself, condemned, is ‘materialism’. This 18th century view regards ‘the physical’ as the source of ‘the psychical’ – ‘mind’ originates in ‘matter’.
Marx unified ‘mind’ and ‘matter’ in a theory of ‘social production’ – that is, both ‘mind’ and ‘matter’ are products of our conscious activity, and so we can change both ‘mind’ and ‘matter’. The monist view makes human conscious activity its ontology.
And as both Marx and Bogdanov were democrats, they believed that only society as a whole (no ‘elite’ politicians, scientists or technocrats) can determine our world, our nature, our universe.
Bogdanov and Lunacharsky both tried to build ‘Proletcult’, a democratic workers movement which embodied Marx’s concept of “workers’ self-determination”.
This movement, weak though it was, was destroyed by the Bolsheviks. The Leninists have ‘Scientific Socialism’, which makes ‘Scientists’ the creator of ‘Socialism’, and not the workers themselves. Socialism is democratic, and the only acceptable ‘science’ is one built by workers themselves, employing democratic means.
Leninists and Materialists will always deny this.
- This reply was modified 1 year, 11 months ago by LBird.
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.