Do we want to finish Leninism, or be finished with it? We must rediscover the real potential of the revolutionary future. It may require the idea of the ‘unfinished business’ from 1848+, to use our new logo’s useful term.
It is useful to interject this discussion of someone caught up in the ‘end of history’ maelstrom. The idea of ‘unfinished Leninism’ is a useful metaphor but in our terms Leninism is quite finished but its reflection of the outer potential of historical emergence is still unrealized. Leftists should ask why within a generation the rough entity called the Second International rapidly became a global movement while the period parallel and subsequent to emergent Stalinism saw a complete contraction. The answer is both obscure and completely obvious. In our terms, using problematical language, the Russian revolution, and its Leninism must have deviated from its ‘end of history’ slot into chaotification. Sloganeering marxism wasn’t enough. And Marx’s theories of historical materialism and stages of production theory seem to have misled their adherents. As we have often noted, the idea of the historical inevitability of communism was meaningless without specifying what it was. The mechanical ‘end of history’ gears crank out, not the answer, stop, system crash. Leninism thus unfinished, and best left that way as the ‘system’ reverts to its starting points, backtracking out of the woods. I848+…The left assumed it had a program but at the point of realization the absent of definition caused a crash.
With a system crash you must debug the whole program, the whole history, and that begins at the birth of socialism. Is the problem with Leninism, with marxism, with for that matter the French, and Amerian revolutions, or even the English Civil War.
Our suggestion is that the situation is like a bad pointer in c programming: an ‘x’ that is set in motion without any kind of assigned value. The system crashes because a key component (here the definition of an actual socialism) is not assigned a value. The program come to that point and crashes.
This analogy is itself problematical since we cannot point to deterministic programs without including the issue of freedom. We will discuss in the next few posts…