Friday, September 25, 2009

Sketchy Thoughts: Drawing Lessons from Our Past - Lenin and Leninism

What can we draw from the past? And how do we draw things from the past? These questions, when you get down to it, are key to our project.

Lenin is a figure whose historic role was so major, that to think about him in isolation is impossible. We contextualize him whether we want to or not, in ways both conscious and unconscious. For some comrades he "has to be" one of history's good guys, for others he "has to be" one of its villains.

Atttempting a more nuanced view, and an appraisal of what we can learn - both good and bad - from the Leninism experience, Don Hammerquist has written an important length discussion of the Russian revolutionary and his legacy. Hammerquist has more experience than most of us in that regard, having been an important figure in the Sojourner Truth Organization in the 1970s. As Michael Staudenmaier tells us, STO was a

revolutionary group based largely in Chicago during the 1970’s and 1980’s. STO, as it is commonly known, created a small but vibrant political tendency around the concepts of challenging dual consciousness, opposing white supremacy, supporting extra-union organizing in factory settings, defending anti-imperialist and national liberation struggles, and building an internal culture of intellectual rigor and sophistication.
Over the next little while, i will be posting Hammerquist's discussion of Lenin, and responses from other comrades, on this blog and as PDFs on the Kersplebedeb website. To follow the discussion, just follow the Leninism label.

Don Hamerquist: Lenin, Leninism, and some leftovers



Tom Wetzel's Reply to Hamerquist



Noel Ignatiev: C.L.R. James on the Marxist Organization



Dave Renney: Scattered thoughts on the Leninist Party and Don’s Paper

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