By Alan Shandro

In Lenin and the good judgment of Hegemony, through a cautious textual and contextual research of the writings of Lenin and his Marxist contemporaries, Alan Shandro lines the contours of the ‘(anti-) metaphysical event’ pointed out by way of Gramsci in Lenin’s political perform and conception, the emergence of the ‘philosophical fact’ of hegemony. In so doing, he successfully disputes traditional caricatures of Lenin’s function as a political actor and philosopher and finds the underlying parameters of the idea that of hegemony within the type fight. He thereby clarifies the conceptual prestige of this pervasive yet now more and more elusive proposal and the common sense of idea and perform at paintings in it.

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Extra resources for Lenin and the Logic of Hegemony: Political Practice and Theory in the Class Struggle (Historical Materialism Book Series, Volume 72)

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A final chapter suggests the pertinence to present-day class and popular struggles of Lenin’s politico-strategic logic of the struggle for hegemony. Taking as exemplary the influential Empire trilogy of Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, I show how the practice of framing analyses of the current state of capitalism and the class struggle in terms of opposition to (a typically caricatured image of) Lenin’s vanguardism undermines the authors’ capacity to engage critically and productively with much of the experience of the proletarian and popular struggles of the past century; thus they deny themselves the footholds in history and tradition from which to reach into the future.

May open a possibility for rethinking the challenges of proletarian hegemony in historical materialist terms, it does not yet meet them. In the fifth chapter I revisit the status of Marxist theory in What Is to Be Done? in the context of Lenin’s response to his polemical adversaries’ call for freedom of criticism within the social-democratic movement. When Lenin’s argument against the appeal to ‘freedom of criticism’ is read carefully, it can be shown to assume not only the irreconcilability of the class struggle but also the desirability of such constitutional norms as freedom of speech and freedom of association.

And to refute a caricature is to risk reproducing the real errors of the position criticised (and the real defeats that stem therefrom).  form two different sides of one and the same process, the capitalist process of production, and consequently the direction of production and the despotic rule of capital over the worker also seem inseparable’. 24 Thus was he able, following Marx, to theorise class struggle and politics in organic connection with the material process of production. The power of a ruling class is dependent upon its performance of definite social functions connected with 22 23 24 at all.

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