Lenin as Philosopher: A Critical Examination of the Philosophical Basis of Leninism

Lenin as Philosopher: A Critical Examination of the Philosophical Basis of Leninism

Lenin as Philosopher: A Critical Examination of the Philosophical Basis of Leninism

Lenin as Philosopher: A Critical Examination of the Philosophical Basis of Leninism

Synopsis

"First published in 1938 by a leader of the Council Communism movement, Anton Pannekoek's Lenin as Philospher offers a classic left-wing interpretation and critique of Lenin's philosophical accomplishment and its relationship to the development of Leninism as perhaps the dominant political theory of the twentieth century. Providing a detailed discussion of the philosophical background to the Machist controversy which occasioned Lenin's Materialism and Empirio criticism, Pannekoek's study still stands as one of the most forceful and politically astute discussions of the topic available. Published here for the first time in an annotated and scholarly edition, this masterpiece of Marxist criticism is accompanied by a lengthy new introduction expanding and assessing Pannekoek's discussion and arguing for the continuing relevance of Lenin's thought for Marxism in the new millennium." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

Anton Pannekoek's Lenin as Philosopher occupies a unique po— sition within the literature on Lenin. Some eighty years after Lenin's death and nearly a century after the appearance of his Materialism and Empirio—criticism, Pannekoek's slim volume remains one of the most substantive and focused discussions of Lenin's materialist philosophy available. Moreover, it is unsurpassed (at least within the English literature) for its detailed discussion of the late—nineteenth century background to Lenin's thought, a period in the history of philosophy largely forgotten today even by most scholars. For that reason alone, Pannekoek's book merits reading and reflection, and not just by students of the history of Marxism but by anyone interested in the course of modern intellectual history.

Moreover, with the exception of Georg Lukacs, whose small book on Lenin — really just a longish essay — is curiously unphilosophical (or at least unmetaphysical), Lenin as Philosopher is the only serious assessment of Lenin's thought written by a major figure in revolutionary politics. As a result, few other works offer such a creative connection of his philosophy (of 1908, at least) to his subsequent political activity — perhaps the most important question of all when assessing his philosophy from a Marxist perspective. If, as Lenin himself demanded, Marxist theory is to be done not by scholars but by revolutionaries, this is no small consideration in assessing its ultimate value. The judgment of Karl Korsch — certainly a comparable figure within Marxist politics and an even larger one within Marxist theory — that Pannekoek, because of his unique combination of scientific training and political activism, “undoubtedly … is better . . .

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