A Look at Leninism - Ron Taber

A Look at Leninism - Ron Taber

Published in 1988 this work by Ron Taber takes a critical look at Lenin and the early Bolshevik parties ideology dubbed "Leninism".

Originally published as series of articles in Torch/La Antorcha a publication for the Revolutionary Socialist League in 1987 this book was inspired by some unanswered questions in and early investigation and critique(Trotskyism and the dilemma of Socialism) of Trotsky's explanation for the Soviet Union's transformation into Totalitarianism. Specifically the laying of full blame at the hands of Stalin whilst taking pains to exonerate Lenin.

Starting with the core question "What role did Bolshevik party founder and leader V.I. Lenin and his theories and practical activity play in the establishment of that oppressive society (Which we call state capitalism)?" Taber underwent an extensive rereading of the October Revolution and the Civil War and there aftermath. As well as a re-examination of Lenin's own words which uncovered a pronounced tendency towards Authoritarianism from the start.

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Posted By

Reddebrek
Dec 5 2012 10:51

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  • I could no longer square my acceptance of Leninism with my fundamental commitment to a revolutionary libertarian socialism.

    Ron Taber

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Comments

klas batalo
Dec 6 2012 04:08

So glad this finally is available and I didn't have to do the work.

arminius
Dec 6 2012 18:09

Iirc, albeit dimly, wasn't there a sequel/folo-up of sorts to this pamphlet?

syndicalist
Dec 6 2012 19:10
arminius wrote:
Iirc, albeit dimly, wasn't there a sequel/folo-up of sorts to this pamphlet?

Chris Hobson and Ron Tabor wrote a large volume entitled "Trotskyism and the Dilemma of Socialism". It's an interesting.

Kdog
Feb 18 2013 03:58

Ron has just finished an excellent book-length critique of Marxism, tentatively titled "The Tyranny of Ideology". The book got its start several years ago as a series in Love & Rage. (This makes it similar to Look at Leninism which was published a series of essays in The Torch, the RSL's newspaper.)

Unfortunately both AK and PM have declined to publish the book. If any one has alternative publisher suggestions, they would be welcome. Otherwise it will be self published some time soon.

Ron is a retired kindergarten teacher in Los Angeles and on the Editorial Board for The Utopian - A Journal of Anarchism and Libertarian Socialism (http://www.utopianmag.com/)and a member of First of May Anarchist Alliance (www.m1aa.org; www.facebook.com/1MayAA) .

Steven.
Feb 18 2013 09:21

Well, if it were sent to us to have a look I'm sure we would be happy to publish it online (but appreciate that is different to someone wanting it printed!)

Nate
Mar 31 2013 19:36

He should speak to Black Cat press.

Kdog
Jun 6 2014 02:22
jojo
Jun 6 2014 06:44

" I could no longer square my acceptance of Leninism with my fundamental commitment to a revolutionary libertarian socialism." Thus speaks Ron Taber.

But there's no such thing as Leninism. It's an important part of bourgeois ideology and a complete bourgeois invention. So what exactly was it that Taber thought he was "accepting" when he took Leninism on board? The idea of "the great leader"? The "great thinker", the "great producer of proletarian ideology"? These false concepts of the great this, that or the other, all reflect a bourgeois cast of thought. And of course the comforting bourgeois notion of there being something called "proletarian ideology" to contrast with "bourgeois ideology" is just crap.

There's no such thing as Leninism except for those who seek to hold the Bolsheviks, and above all the "power-hungry" Lenin, responsible for the proletarian defeat in Russia. In this they choose to overlook, ignore, or not understand, that communism cannot be achieved in one country and that the communist revolutionary wave 1917-1923 was defeated everywhere. Was it all Lenin's fault? Of course it was say the bourgeoisie. But is it true? Had the incipient communist parties in Germany, for example, had the understandings and made preparations for a revolutionary attempt in the way the Bolsheviks had tried, things might possibly have turned out better.

But this is to give credit to Lenin for being a revolutionary of advanced theoretical clarity, for being a communist of boundless commitment to the communist cause in the image of Marx himself, of Rosa Luxembourg, Anton Pannekoek and others, rather then to misrepresent him as the founder of an 'ism', a religion, a set of beliefs carved in stone which lead inevitably to Kronstadt, Stalin and Mao, and all the leftist crap so useful to the bourgeoisie these days in their non-stop attacks on proletarian thought.

But Kronstadt did take place and remains a scar on the proletarian soul. It was a ghastly unforgivable crime and a mistake. For the bourgeoisie it was heaven sent. It served, and still serves, not only to discredit the Bolsheviks, and Lenin and Trotsky, and the idea of the Communist Party as a necessary contributor to the success of the revolution, but the whole idea of communism as being anything other than a childish delusion, unattainable in a world where capitalism is already a more or less perfected way of life - apart that is from endless war, austerity, starvation death and destruction of the environment for profit. Just small things we have to put up with to maintain our political freedoms!

But Kronstadt and the failure of the revolutionary wave doesn't mean that everything Lenin achieved for the proletariat particularly theoretically should be consigned to the dustbins under the guise of something labelled "Leninism". What about "All power to the Soviets" and the Bolshevik realization that here at last was the discovered form of proletarian rule? What about the Bolshevik understanding of the educative function of the Party, not as something to substitute itself for the class, but as the distilling agent, the ferment, the yeast that aids the bubbling up and growth of proletarian thought? The understanding that the party is there to help express proletarian consciousness as it evolves in both words and action. At the time, 1917, these were new earth shattering ideas, the product of proletarian revolutionary fervor: that they went wrong at that time was the product of historical circumstances alone, not the result of some Machiavellian tactic called Leninism, an idea so useful for the bourgeoisie in seeking to discredit proletarian gains.

That Ron Taber is able to throw all this away under the flag of Leninism and commit instead to a potpourri called "revolutionary libertarian socialism" would be a tragedy if it wasn't a joke and a comic mouthful. Why doesn't he instead commit to communism, plain and simple, and in the process of so doing, make a serious appraisal of Lenin's contribution to proletarian struggle?

Reddebrek
Jun 6 2014 16:44
jojo wrote:
" I could no longer square my acceptance of Leninism with my fundamental commitment to a revolutionary libertarian socialism." Thus speaks Ron Taber.

But there's no such thing as Leninism.

Leninists disagree.

Quote:
It's an important part of bourgeois ideology and a complete bourgeois invention. So what exactly was it that Taber thought he was "accepting" when he took Leninism on board?

Read the book and find out.