I want to point out two great posts at Gathering Forces, about Lenin. There’s this one and then there’s this other one, the second is in response to Don Hamerquist’s essay. I still don’t feel equipped to assess claims about Lenin’s relative importance compared to other possible thinkers to think with or to to assess claims about Lenin historically, let alone feeling equipped to make my own claims about this. As such, my (for me) very old hesitation about Lenin and the Bolsheviks remains. None the less, whether or not Lenin per se is necessary for or incidental to the particular problems addressed, the problems addressed in these posts are important the posts address them in a serious way.

My primary reaction personally is that a key task right now for those of us who can be called ‘younger’ (at least in an expansive sense of the term, I don’t feel young very often anymore, sadly) is to build up our skills. My hunch is that a lot of us young-ish leftist lack some knowhow that we will need regardless of our theoretical and strategic perspectives (I have a further hunch that this is tied to a breakdown in intergenerational transmission on the left today). I think finding a way to coordinate on this would be valuable in and of itself – because it’d make efforts more powerful – and might lay the groundwork for some common political projects that put those skills to use. I wish I had more concrete ideas than that to say on this.

While I’m tipping my hat to other blog posts re: politics and whatnot, folk should also see these blogs:


DH’s recommendations of Lenin stuff to read, to come back to ASAP (thanks Don!). A lot of other stuff in v24 of the collected workes in particular looks interesting, just based on the titles.

Vol. 23 of the Collected Works contains the “Lecture on the 1905 Revolution” (p. 236-254), presented to a group of young Swiss workers a few weeks before the February, 1917 Revolution. Check it out; particularly the last paragraph. Then read the Letters from Afar and the April Theses in Vols 23 & 24. If possible pick up Sukhanov’s Memoirs of a Revolutionist to read an account of a left Menshevik of the various issues that were confronted. Then look at Badiou’s speech in New York last year; “Is the Word ‘Communism’ Forever Doomed?’ (Kasama) I think you will see where I find the relevance of Lenin in grasping the development of the ‘possibility of possibility’ and understanding that, “…the truth is not purely composed of facts…The truth is also the becoming of the new subject, the new collective subject.” (p.12). As well, on p. 16, note what Badiou presents as the limitations of the ‘second sequence’.