We discussed Lenin yesterday and cited the search list results comprising six biographies of Lenin at Amazon. Those listed at the link above at Verso are far superior in many ways, but all hagiographies, duds from the start. One ironic result of this situation is that leftists don’t understand Lenin because his career is subjected to idealized hagiography.
The public won’t read a single book at the Verso link. If they read on the subject at all they will read, or read someone’s version of, Lenin: A New Biography Hardcover – Import, 1994by Dmitri Volkogonov, a very poor biography, but the first one written (melodramatically) after the archives were opened in 1989. The result to me is actually worse than the others, but the point is clear that the Lenin paradox is not resolved via the hagiographies. The public is not going to manifest the reverence in many Lenin induced in the era of the earl twentieth century. He is the bad guy now, just behind Stalin.
The reality is hard to understand therefore, because we are always reading and reading and not understanding. But it seems that Lenin took a great risk and gambled on a moral daring that came to its result in what seemed like the success of ruthlessness in revolutionary action. But didn’t he wonder at the end if he had not compromised the result?
In any case, the question of Lenin is difficult. Beyond that it is not enough for a cult of leftists to simply give a pass to Lenin as an imaginary hero of revolution.
We must ask the hard question, did Lenin seed the failure of the whole communist experiment? To be fair here the world of marxists at the start of the twentieth century was threatened with the one thing figures like Lenin moved to forestall (e.g. figures like Bernstein). So the riddle is not easy to solve.
One thing is sure, the general public now in the US, for example, are not going to respect the legacy of Lenin, and leftist propaganda isn’t going to change its mind. In short, the issue of Lenin remains unsolved…
It is not hard to deal with this situation: we need new Lenins, but they will have to figure the riddle of the older Lenin without the disinfo forever discrediting him, consider if that older Lenin didn’t cause bolshevism to self-destruct in the end, and in any case be clear that repeating the past, if it failed, is a compulsive neurosis. A new approach is needed, but with a really acute ‘dialectic’ that might with some stealth learn from the old Lenin. But the return of Lenin from the grave type of plug as we see in Zizek’s book is going to freeze the chances of any second coming of a failed first attempt.
In any case, the US is not Russia. The example of Russia will completely confused marxists now. An entirely new canon must be produced, and it doesn’t have to honor ‘holy scripture’.