Lenin and Religion

by Roland Boer Lenin’s writings on religion may be divided into two categories: those that explicitly deal with religion and those that do so implicitly. In this article, I focus on the former. Too often, Lenin is understood as a doctrinaire atheist who has no time for religion. Yet, detailed attention to his statements on religion reveals a more ambivalent and complex position. I deal with four elements: (1) the duality of religion as both response to and cause of suffering; (2) the metaphors of opium and booze; (3) the question of freedom of conscience in relation to religion and … Continue reading Lenin and Religion

Reflections on resistance, reform, and revolution

by Ross Wolfe How can the respective political modes of resistance, reform, and revolution be deployed to advance social and individual freedom? How might they reinforce each other on a reciprocal basis? Today, with the recent upsurge in global activism, we stand on the precipice of what promises to herald the rebirth of such a politics. These questions have acquired a renewed sense of urgency in this light. Now more than ever, they demand our attention if we are to forge a way forward without repeating the mistakes of the past. Reform, revolution, and resistance — each of these concepts exercises … Continue reading Reflections on resistance, reform, and revolution

What does Revolution mean today?

by Jeff Noonan On May 31st what began months before as opposition to the cutting down of trees in Taksim Square in Istanbul exploded into country-wide opposition to the increasingly authoritarian rule of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.  As was the case with the Arab Spring and Occupy, the Turkish youth and workers’ movement caught global commentators unawares.  Turkey had been held up as a model of “moderation” amongst “Muslim” countries:  tolerant, democratic, capitalist, a NATO member, and a trusted American ally.  Suddenly, the social fissures that had opened up the space for revolution in Tunisia and Egypt, for Occupy … Continue reading What does Revolution mean today?

Teaching democracy and revolution

by Angelo J. Letizia The next dialectal step toward demolishing capitalism and bringing the next phase of the Enlightenment is brewing. As Marx noted, the present world contains the seeds to its own destruction. The present world is the womb of the new world. But this dialectic or historical movement is not immutable; we cannot sit around and wait for it to sweep us into the golden age of history like Marx prophesized (Zizek, 2009). We must take control of it and the first step to controlling the dialectic of history and the Enlightenment is through education, this includes higher … Continue reading Teaching democracy and revolution

Taking notes 13: Roadblocks of the Old New Left

by Roland Boer Too often the road to the most valuable lessons from the revolutionary past faces a series of roadblocks. I think here of the way the Old New Left sets up and maintains those roadblocks. But who makes up the Old New Left? I mean those who grew up in the 1960s and 1970s – a significant section of the Baby Boomers – and who were part of the Western wave of the “New Left” at that time. Soon enough they took over important leadership positions, gained control of organisations and journals, took up academic posts, and opted … Continue reading Taking notes 13: Roadblocks of the Old New Left

Illusion of the epoch: Twentieth century socialism

by Paresh Chattopadhyay In the eyes of a considerable section of the Left the Bolshevik seizure of power signalled the victory of socialist revolution leading to the establishment of socialism in Russia and setting the stage for a number of such seizures of power by the communist parties in the different parts of the world — China, Vietnam, Cuba, etc, though the latter events were  considered not quite  as socialist revolution, but as democratic revolution preparing the way towards socialism. Nevertheless, the regimes that ultimately resulted in all these lands have also been considered as socialist. In this paper we … Continue reading Illusion of the epoch: Twentieth century socialism

The relevance of Lenin today

by Chris Cutrone If the Bolshevik Revolution is — as some people have called it — the most significant political event of the 20th century, then Lenin must for good or ill be considered the century’s most significant political leader. Not only in the scholarly circles of the former Soviet Union, but even among many non-Communist scholars, he has been regarded as both the greatest revolutionary leader and revolutionary statesman in history, as well as the greatest revolutionary thinker since Marx. — Encyclopedia Britannica 2011 — year of revolution?  [1] Time magazine nominated “the protester,” from the Arab Spring to … Continue reading The relevance of Lenin today

We need to begin again

by Slavoj Žižek In his wonderful short text ‘Notes of a Publicist’—written in February 1922 when the Bolsheviks, after winning the Civil War against all odds, had to retreat into the New Economic Policy of allowing a much wider scope to the market economy and private property—Lenin uses the analogy of a climber who must backtrack from his first attempt to reach a new mountain peak to describe what retreat means in a revolutionary process, and how it can be done without opportunistically betraying the cause: Let us picture to ourselves a man ascending a very high, steep and hitherto … Continue reading We need to begin again

Marxism, the 21st century and social transformation

by Bill Fletcher, Jr. A discussion of the future of socialism and social transformation must be grounded in two realities.  The first reality is the broader economic, environmental and state-legitimacy crises in which humanity finds itself.  In other words, the convergence of these three crises means that the necessity for a genuine Left capable of leading masses of people is more pressing than ever.  It means that while one cannot sit back and wait for the supposed “final” crisis of capitalism to open up doors to freedom — since capitalism is largely defined by its continual crises — it is … Continue reading Marxism, the 21st century and social transformation