January 16, 2013

On "Leninism and the Ultra-Left" Recently some folks have suggested that I take a look at texts associated with communization theory, in part because of the critique of the party raised in these texts. "Leninism and the Ultra-Left" is on the list (presented initially in 1969, by Gilles Dauve and Francois Martin). The text criticizes both Leninism and ultra-leftism. The primary charge against the ultra-leftist view is that it remains too tied to Leninism in its own critical rejection of Leninism. Thus, ultra-leftism fails to address the economy in the way that it should. My own view is that the criticisms of Leninism summarized in the text are not persuasive. At the same time, recognizing why they are not persuasive illuminates a place where some of my ideas about the party converge with the idea of a party of communists suggested at the end of the piece. Although the ultra-left designates groups and positions that changed over time, for the sake of clarity Dauve and Martin present the ultra-left view of organization as follows: any revolutionary organization coexisting with the organs created by the workers themselves, and trying to elaborate a coherent theory and political line, must in the end attempt to lead the workers. Therefore revolutionaries do not organize themselves outside the organs "spontaneously" created by the workers: they merely exchange and circulate information and establish contacts with other revolutionaries; they never try to define a general theory or strategy. Attempting to lead the workers is bad (actually, impossible and because it is impossible...

Jodi Dean

Jodi Dean is a political theorist.

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