Lenin Rediscovered?

In: Historical Materialism
Author: Chris Harman
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Abstract

By framing Lenin’s thought squarely within the mainstream of classical Marxism, Lars Lih’s Lenin Rediscovered acts as a powerful contribution to rescuing Lenin’s Marxism from the condescension of the ‘textbook-interpretation’ of Leninism. However, the power of Lih’s book is weakened by a failure to grasp the slippage between what Kautsky wrote and the various ways in which his writings were interpreted within the Second International. While Lenin attempted to apply lessons from the German Social-Democratic Party to Russian conditions, so too did his opponents within the Russian socialist movement. The actual degree of difference between what Lenin did and what Kautsky wrote became fully apparent only after the events of 1914 and 1917.

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