Lenin: A Study in the Unity of His Thought



Lenin: A Study in the Unity of His ThoughtIn Luk Cs Elegantly Crafted, Concise And Accessible Account, Lenin Emerges As The Consummate Dialectician, The Theoretician Of Practice And The Practitioner Of Theory

Gy rgy Luk cs was a Hungarian Marxist philosopher, aesthetician, literary historian and critic He is a founder of the tradition of Western Marxism, an interpretive tradition that departed from the Marxist ideological orthodoxy of the Soviet Union He developed the theory of reification, and contributed to Marxist theory with developments of Karl Marx s theory of class consciousness He was also a philosopher of Leninism He ideologically developed and organised Lenin s pragmatic revolutionary practices into the formal philosophy of vanguard party revolution His literary criticism was influential in thinking about realism and about the novel as a literary genre He served briefly as Hungary s Minister of Culture as part of the government of the short lived Hungarian Soviet Republic.

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  • Paperback
  • 104 pages
  • Lenin: A Study in the Unity of His Thought
  • György Lukács
  • English
  • 06 September 2018
  • 1859841740

10 thoughts on “Lenin: A Study in the Unity of His Thought

  1. sologdin says:

    Written in part as an elegy upon Lenin s decease, and in part as insurance against author s own impending liquidation for his magnum opus, History and Class Consciousness, had been condemned by Soviet authorities in 1924 at the fifth World Congress of the Comintern Jay, Marxism Totality, at 103 this book is a funny little thing Jay avers that even Lukacs enemies recognized the HCC as the first book in which philosophical Marxism ceases to be a cosmological romance and thus a surrogate Written in part as an elegy upon Lenin s decease, and in part as insurance against author s own impending liquidation for his magnum opus, History and Class Consciousness, had been condemned by Soviet authorities in 1924 at the fifth World Congress of the Comintern Jay, Marxism Totality, at 103 this book is a funny little thing Jay avers that even Lukacs enemies recognized the HCC as the first book in which philosophical Marxism ceases to be a cosmological romance and thus a surrogate religion for the lower classes loc cit at 102 According to Kolakowski, no friend of marxism, the HCC criticized Engels idea of the dialectic of nature and disputed the theory of reflection which Lenin had declared to be the essence of Marxist epistemology Kolakowski, Main Currents of Marxism The Breakdown, at 260 In jolly commie land, that means your ass It is unlikely that this slim volume can be properly understood without reference to the HCC I m not going to make that reading here it s too hard But one should rest assured that all of the generic hegelocommietalk herein actually signifies something.In this context, Lukacs publishes this study of Lenin It begins poorly with a bizarre declaration that historical materialism is the theory of the proletarian revolution 9 Um, yeah We can measure the stature of a proletarian thinker with reference to the extent to which he is able accurately to detect beneath the appearances of bourgeois society those tendencies towards proletarian revolution which work themselves in and through it to their effective being and distinct consciousness id In what can only be considered a very limited or backhanded compliment, Lukacs submits that by these criteria Lenin is the greatest thinker to have been produced by the revolutionary working class movement since Marx id The remainder of the book works through standard marxist categories of analysis in evidencing this thesis.The key concern is that the actuality of the revolution is the core of Lenin s thought 11 This means that theory is transformed into praxis by the dialectical revolutionist So, against the Mensheviks and Bernstein Kautsky types, Lenin did not accept that the backward Russian empire was unsuitable for socialism for lack of successful bourgeois revolution in economics or politics rather, the bourgeoisie had ceased to be a revolutionary class having allied with the old ruling powers, a compromise which springs from mutual fear of a greater evil and not a class alliance based on common interests 20 This sleight of mind allows the bolsheviks to seize the state, despite the prior dispositions of marxist theory to the contrary.Lenin is presented as inferior to Hilferding in economics and to Luxemburg on the issue of imperialism but Lenin trumps because of his concrete articulation of the economic theory of imperialism with every political problem of the present epoch 41 In the penultimate chapoter, Lenin is presented as a compromiser, practitioner of realpolitik, contrary to the posturing of Herr Pipes in his sophomoric histories.1967 coda backs off the primary text in some ways, suggesting that Lenin s theory of imperialism is invalid after all 91 Some odd references to Shakespeare in the postscript, and a surreal fundamentalist bit about human salvation early in the primary essay 11 Jay presents this volume as one in which virtually all residues of his ultra leftist sectarianism were purged from the argument loc cit at 120 Kolakowski, for his part, correctly summarizes this text as using the notion of Totalitat to describe the core of Lenin s doctrine, but then goes way off the rails into disingenuous fantasy by suggesting Lukacs position is that Lenin discerned the revolutionary trend of the age independently of particular facts and events, or rather in the facts themselves, and united all current issues loc cit at 267 Anyway, recommended for western marxists and rabid but bored anti communists

  2. Роман Батяев says:

    Lucacs says some interesting things about connection of ideas Rosa Luxemburg and Lenin in real politik Vladimir Ilyich was not utopist but realist He wanted to build socialism in hard reality Lucacs gives him respect for it.

  3. Tyler says:

    After the Soviet state arose and before Stalin s iron heel came down this fleeting snapshot captured a true Marxist revolution Lukacs s polemic is at once too good to dismiss and too hostile to its own ideas to redeem Such contradictory moments within the same work make up a dialectic whose relevance to socialism just may beimportant than the book itself But how so can a book negate its own content The reading gives a trenchant, brilliant explanation of the ideas that, exactly 100 years After the Soviet state arose and before Stalin s iron heel came down this fleeting snapshot captured a true Marxist revolution Lukacs s polemic is at once too good to dismiss and too hostile to its own ideas to redeem Such contradictory moments within the same work make up a dialectic whose relevance to socialism just may beimportant than the book itself But how so can a book negate its own content The reading gives a trenchant, brilliant explanation of the ideas that, exactly 100 years ago, guided the Russian Revolution The theme exalts Lenin s genius, with Lukacs telling the story of how one man breathed life and fire into a socialist uprising But this theme comes back to haunt his exposition The portrait he hangs in the pantheon of Marxist thinkers offers viewers a subjective guarantee of objective theoretical advances In the postscript, written decades later, the true flaw of the earlier presentation battens upon the unwary like vampires at sunset Lukacs identifies ideas too closely with persons Aprecise title might say, Lenin A Study on the Synthesis of his Thought The admiring writer lauds Lenin for certain ideas better associated with Trotsky The unity in the title is actually Lenin s program But in these pages a reader could be forgiven for imagining the revolution to be the work of a single superhero Without Lenin the uprising could not have succeeded On the other hand, he didn t cook it up out of thin air All s the worse then, when after decades in Stalinist parties and concentration camps, this writer pens a postscript in which he repudiates both Marx and Lenin over eleven sloppy pages The earlier logic of argumentation gives way to gauzy impressionism Here Lukacs turns Lenin into a grandfatherly caricature, the somewhat doting and batty darling of the post Stalinist kindergarten At the heart of the postscript lies the notion that there was no alternative to Stalin Here the author s quest for superheroes backfires His point hinges on the relevance of counterfactuals, the what if here pertaining to the Left Opposition Because they so completely vanish as the negative pole in his appraisal of Stalin, Lukacs s assertion of the inapplicablility of counterfactuals to the study of history takes on the aura of a factual determination The author s earlier none other than Lenin now implies none other than Stalin.Such studied amnesia turns those final pages into a sleight of hand But the blindness runs deeper The author treats the whole interwar period as a blank space yielding no historical facts Lukacs informs us that Lenin s theory of imperialism has been disproven After World War I, he writes, no other worldwide imperialist wars predicted by Lenin occurred again with the amnesia The non historical, post Marx world of Hungary in 1967 becomes the repository of a spotless future free of the past The author writes off Lenin as a dead horse It reminds me of a masking of Lenin s original work by Penguin Classics in The State and Revolution Heigh ho Today s pundits get so bent out of shape about socialism But if the horse is dead, my how they do keep beating on it For the rest of us, readers can judge from the juxtaposition of the author s contrasting worldviews the potency of the respective ideas There lies the value to the study of Marxism of this unique and engaging discourse

  4. Henrique Valle says:

    Depois preciso reler, li com a minha bunda

  5. says:

    Crisp and powerful The State as a Weapon.

  6. William West says:

    This might seem to some like nothingthan a concise explication of the principle themes of Lenin s writings Indeed, it is that and it functions quite well in that regard However, it is also mucha work of Lukacsian philosophy than it might at first seem Whether this makes this short workor less valuable depends on your opinions regarding Lukacs s brand of Hegelianism Throughout the book, Lukacs argues that Lenin s thought distinguishes itself from other Marxists by its focus This might seem to some like nothingthan a concise explication of the principle themes of Lenin s writings Indeed, it is that and it functions quite well in that regard However, it is also mucha work of Lukacsian philosophy than it might at first seem Whether this makes this short workor less valuable depends on your opinions regarding Lukacs s brand of Hegelianism Throughout the book, Lukacs argues that Lenin s thought distinguishes itself from other Marxists by its focus on the actuality of the revolutionary situation Lenin s work purges itself of the utopianism and metaphysics that so many thinkers who tackle Marxist dialectics, Lucaks tells us, and theorizes about the matters at hand, in the historical situation This, at first, sounds militantly materialist Was Lukacs, in fact, an arbiter of Althusserian Maoism, a school of thought that would go on to, indirectly at least, use Lukacs s philosophy as a theoretical punching bag The answer is no Perhaps Lukacs doesn t want to fully admit it, being a Marxist materialist and all, but in fact it is not theory that pierces through to reality for Lucaks, but reality that, because of the interventions of Lenin and his Bolsheviks, reaches the heights of theory To put it another way, it is not so much that becoming coalesces into being for Lukacs as that being becomes becoming Material history becomes one with the Idea of the Revolution In the afterwards to the text, written in the 1960s, Lukacs bemoans the superhuman image of Lenin constructed by the Stalin regime But in the same few pages he describes Lenin as a Hegelian superman, in which the individual and collective come together, a thinker in which practice and theory fuse into one It is true that Lukacs hated Stalinism, but did not his brand of dialectical messianism not contribute to setting the stage for political absolutism Lukacs s work reminds me of a philosophical equivalent of the Russian futurist movement which strove to instill a sense of the universal in certain geometric forms Similarly, Lukacs seeks a philosophical totality through the gyrations of history We are told that Stalin hated the Soviet avant garde, yet did not the formalist impulse to deliver all that could be said and known through one image not pave the way for a totalitarian aesthetic in which Stalin s face became that of the people

  7. Sugarpunksattack Mick says:

    Extremely sympathetic and brief assessment of Lenin s thought presented as exhibiting a coherence both from work to work, but as the well deserved decedent of Marx and Engels Luk cs presents Lenin as redemming the dialectic of Marx from poor interpretations think Bernstein Evolutionary Socalisim and moving the dialectic forward Good introductory text that summarizes each work and is worth reading before diving into primary source material.

  8. Tom says:

    I found this quite useful as a summary of Lenin s theories of imperialism, the role of the vanguard party, and the nature of the workers state It s just an introduction and doesn t go into huge amounts of detail.

  9. Augusto Delgado says:

    Valid attempt to gather the elements that formed Lenin s framework that updated Marxism during his time, and immediately after the Bolsheviks victory Unfortunately it falls short, with tangled language perhaps it s the translation that makes one long for this book s subject s clarity and straightforwardness.

  10. Daniel says:

    A short but urgent book, and quite enjoyable as a result, although most claims are remarkably sweeping Nevertheless, many of these do stand up to scrutiny and are animated by the energy of the time in which they were written as a consequence, the 1967 postscript is a bit drab by comparison.

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