Lenin

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By Doug Enaa Greene

August 26, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Cosmonaut — It is 1919 and Russia is in the midst of a ruthless civil war with fronts stretching for thousands of kilometers across a ruined country. On one side are aristocrats and capitalists who had been overthrown less than two years before and are now desperately fighting to return to power. On the other side are the workers and peasants of the former Russian Empire, who had seized power from their former masters and were now determined to defend it. It is a savage struggle between two irreconcilable worlds with only two ways it can end: total victory or death. 

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By Julian Coppens

April 27, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — For Stalinists and liberals, Vladimir Lenin has been useful both as a myth and as a scapegoat. For the former, a myth selectively cited and distorted to justify the terror of bureaucratic rule and the theory of socialism in one country that undermined the international communist movement; for the latter, a scapegoat on which to attribute the Stalinist degeneration of the Soviet Union and, therefore, of Marxist practice.

However, the lessons and legacy of one of the most prominent and influential figures in the history of the labour movement and revolutionary praxis, despite deliberate discredit, remain valid 150 years after his birth on April 22, 1870.

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By Doug Enaa Greene May 5, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Left Voice with permission — There is a relatively common justification among large sections of the American left who offer various levels of support to the Democratic Party that they are merely creatively applying Lenin’s tactics to the present moment. The argument is familiar: the British Labour Party had the allegiance of the trade unions and millions of workers. And in order not to be isolated from the mass of workers, Lenin argued that British communists should affiliate to the Labour Party and support its candidates in elections. In present day America, it is claimed that the Democrats are an equivalent to the Labour Party since they have the support of organized labor and that their candidates, especially “democratic socialist” ones, deserve the support of socialists in order to advance working-class interests. However, this is a false equivalence. The Labour Party of 1920 and the Democratic Party of 2019 are fundamentally different organizations, with the former owing its origin to trade unions and the latter being a thoroughly bourgeois institution.
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By Doug Enaa Greene March 26, 2019  
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Left Voice with the author's permission — With the 2020 U.S. presidential election already in full swing, we are already hearing the familiar clichés from liberals: that this is the “most important election in our lifetime” and that we must support the Democrats to defeat Donald Trump. Any left-wing criticism of the Democrats is met with a prompt demand to “shut up,” renounce our principles and get in line. Unfortunately, there are socialists and communists who not only repeat these liberal refrains, but also quote Lenin to justify supporting for the Democratic Party and to attack other socialists and communists as “dogmatists,” “purists” and “ultra-leftists.” The Lenin text most often cited as providing “loopholes” for radicals to abandon their principles and support the class enemy is “‘Left-Wing’ Communism: An Infantile Disorder” (LWC). This is, however, a gross misinterpretation of the purpose of Lenin’s LWC, which is not about rationalizing opportunism; rather, it is intended to help communists think seriously about strategy and tactics in order to successfully lead the working class.
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By Rohit Krishnan September 7, 2018
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Africa is a Country — In 1920, prior to the second Congress of the Comintern, Lenin circulated a draft of his theses on “The Question of Colonized People and Oppressed Minorities.” The end-result of this was the inclusion in the “21 Conditions” for Comintern membership, of an obligation to provide “direct aid to the revolutionary movements among the dependent and underprivileged nations and in the colonies.” While often cited by Marxists as evidence of the Bolshevik’s commitment to anti-imperialism, few cite the role of colonized activists in its formation.
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By Doug Enaa Greene January 25, 2018
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal When Karl Korsch is remembered, he is generally alongside Georg Lukács and Antonio Gramsci as one of the founders of “Western Marxism”. Western Marxism is typically viewed as a diverse trend that focuses more on issues of culture and ideology instead of political economy, and eschews political engagement. It is certainly the case that most of what we understand by Western Marxism, notably the Frankfurt School, falls under that broad definition. After the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, Korsch believed that Marxism needed to be restored as a revolutionary philosophy. Korsch wrote his most famous work, Marxism and Philosophy, in 1923 when he was a leader in the Communist Party of Germany. Far from being a Western Marxist, Korsch like Gramsci and Lukács, is better characterized as a “Philosophical Bolshevik” who was committed to the theory and practice of socialist revolution.
 
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By Lars T. Lih

In place of an introduction

February 25, 2017 Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from John Riddell's Marxist Essays and Commentary websiteThe following essay was written in 2011 for circulation among colleagues. I have decided to publish it unchanged in 2017 for two main reasons. First and foremost, the essay explains and documents the views of Lenin, the Russian Bolshevik Alexander Bogdanov, and Karl Kautsky on a crucial issue: the proper relations between workers and intellectuals within Social Democracy. It therefore serves as an extension of my earlier attack on the “textbook interpretation” of Lenin’s views.