Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

March 11, 2009

The Leninist Party: an annotated bibliography

Filed under: revolutionary organizing,sectarianism — louisproyect @ 6:08 pm

Last week I received this request:

Louis,

I want to ask you a favor….

I am engaged on a major writing project criticizing the rigid model of “leninist vanguard party” that was established (and mythologized) in the 1920s in the comintern. And (obviously) it is part of a larger project of conceiving of new forms of communist organization for now.

I’m well aware that this whole issue has been close to your heart…. so i want to ask you a favor:

Can you point me toward all your writings and explorations of this? Can you suggest what other writings I should give a close study? Are there valuable books demythologizing the Cominterns “bolshevization” campaign? The Zinoviev decisions of universal party formation? etc.?

Where are creative writings on the other possible forms and conceptions of communist organization?

I’m hoping that the names of works are at the tip of your tongue — so that it won’t be a lot of work to share them with me.

Thanks (in advance) for your help and advice.

This is a preface to the list of electronic and print resources below that might help put my response to this request in context.

To start with, I should begin by stating that my interest in Lenin’s party-building concepts is completely separate from what have been called “programmatic” questions. For example, I agree with perhaps 90 percent of what the Socialist Workers Party in Great Britain or the Democratic Socialist Perspective in Australia have written about ecology, the war in Iraq, the labor movement, etc. But I have sharp differences with them on organizational questions. When I first joined the Trotskyist movement in 1967, I was told that political and organizational questions cannot be separated. I no longer believe that.

In particular, I believe that unless revolutionaries really get to the bottom of what Lenin was trying to do when he built the Bolshevik Party they will continue to end up with sectarian formations no matter their best intentions. In my opinion, the following set of overlapping assumptions that “Leninists” share today have little to do with the way that the Bolshevik party functioned historically:

1. Democratic centralism must include defense of the party’s analysis of political questions in public as well as its discipline in actions such as demonstrations, strikes, votes in parliament, etc.

2. Party members must avoid disagreeing with each other in the mass movement. In the labor movement and the social movements, the party must speak with a single voice.

3. Debates in the party must be internal. Prior to conventions, party members have the freedom to submit resolutions that go against the current party line but once the convention is over, the debate ends as well.

4. Violations of these “norms” must be punished by expulsion.

5. Deep political differences reflect different class orientations. The Leninist party is subject to class pressures from outside society and must periodically purge elements that have caved in to petty bourgeois prejudices.

This bibliography is organized in chronological order roughly, but it also follows a certain conceptual framework since my thinking has naturally evolved over the years. For example, in the very first article I ever wrote on organizational questions I referred to the ANC and the Workers Party positively. History has of course rendered its unfavorable judgment on these two parties, at least from the standpoint of Marxism.

1) Peter Camejo’s “Against Sectarianism

In 1983 I became increasingly concerned about the SWP’s abstention from the Central American solidarity movement and began asking current members and ex-members like myself what was going on. Librarian union leader Ray Markey, who was still in the party but on his way out, sent me a copy of Peter’s article “Against Sectarianism” that had a major impact on my thinking about these questions. Although Peter was focusing on the SWP’s workerism, much of what he wrote has a general application.

2. Lenin in Context

In 1995, on the original Marxism list operated by the Spoons Collective, John Plant, a British Trotskyist who belonged to no party as far as I know, asked whether Lenin’s party-building concepts were still viable. This led me to post a series of articles that included the favorable reference to the ANC and the Workers Party. Except for the deletion of this reference, nothing has changed.

3. Three important books

In writing the article above, I found Lenin’s “What is to be Done” very useful but two books on Lenin helped me sharpen my analysis. One is Neil Harding’s “Lenin’s Political Thought” that received the Isaac Deutscher prize in 1981. The other is Paul LeBlanc’s “Lenin and the Revolutionary Party” that was written in 1993. Harding’s book, alas, is out of print but Paul’s is now available in paperback. Harding’s book was a scholarly effort to understand Lenin in his historical setting in the same spirit as Lars Lih’s recently published “Lenin Rediscovered“, a study of “What is to be Done”. Although I have not read Lih’s book, it is consistent with Harding’s analysis that “democratic centralism” and “vanguard” were not innovations by Lenin but concepts that he borrowed from Western European social democracy. Paul wrote his book for pretty much the same reason Peter wrote “Against Sectarianism” and I began writing about party-building questions. It was an attempt to diagnose the degeneration of the SWP into a workerist sect. George Breitman, a long-time SWP leader who had been expelled with LeBlanc from the SWP, pretty much commissioned Paul to write the book. They were grappling with the problem of what went wrong. Although I found much useful information in Paul’s book, it did not really go to the roots of the SWP’s collapse. He and Breitman pinned their hopes on a return to the party-building norms that were in place under SWP founder James P. Cannon and his successor Farrell Dobbs but I had come to believe that it was these “norms” that sank the SWP. This was the focus of my next article below.

4. The Comintern and the German Communist Party

In August of 1998, I began writing a series of articles on Marxmail, which had been launched in May of that year, about the origins of Zinovievism, a term I coined to describe the kind of mechanical “democratic centralism” that was accepted by virtually all self-styled Leninist organizations whether Maoist, Trotskyist or Stalinist. I used that term since the organizational principles were the product of the 1924 “Bolshevization” Congress of the Comintern which adopted a proposal by Zinoviev to launch parties using the schemas I alluded to in my preface. I found Werner T. Angress’s 1963 “Stillborn Revolution, the Communist Bid for Power in Germany, 1921-1923” very useful as background material but it does not really address the organizational problems that were of interest to me.

5. The Cochranites

Not long after Marxmail was launched, someone named Sol Dollinger became a subscriber. The name rang a bell. I remembered that Genora Dollinger was a leader of the woman’s auxiliary in the Flint Sit Down strikes of 1938 and I asked if he was related. It turned out that this was his wife who had died in 1995. I also learned that the two were very involved with a non-sectarian initiative called the American Socialist Union that had split with the SWP in 1953 because of objections similar to those that Camejo and I had raised. Sol put me in contact with Cynthia Cochran, the widow of Bert Cochran who led the ASU with Harry Braverman, who would eventually join Monthly Review after the ASU folded in 1959. I scanned articles from their magazine American Socialist which can be read here.  I also made available a number of documents related to the Socialist Union that deal with party-building questions including Bert Cochran’s “Our Orientation” that is of key importance to me.  Another document worth reading is my own on “The Cochranite Legacy” that was presented to a conference on American Trotskyism organized by Paul LeBlanc in 2000.

6. Hal Draper

Around the time I began writing about Leninism on the Internet, I discovered Hal Draper’s writings. Like Bert Cochran and Harry Braverman, this veteran of the Trotskyist movement in its Shachtmanite flavor had rethought many of the same questions. I recommend the following:

1971 – Toward a New Beginning – On Another Road: The Alternative to the Micro-Sect

1973 – Anatomy of the Micro-Sect

1990 – The Myth of Lenin’s “Concept of The Party”

7. Critiques of the DSP, Socialist Alternative, and the British SWP

In the most recent past I have tried without much success to persuade the Australian DSP that they were going about things in the wrong way. I suppose if Peter Camejo could not penetrate through their thick wall of “Leninist” orthodoxy, there was not much I could do. Peter wrote a superb article in 1995 titled “Return to Materialism that like “Against Sectarianism” has general interest even though it was offered as advice to the DSP. My own advice was proffered in an article titled A debate with Links over the revolutionary party. The comrades don’t appreciate my advice but I will continue to offer it when the need arises. Socialist Alternative is a “state capitalist” formation in Australia that is sort of Avis to the DSP’s Hertz. Although they will have none of my ideas on party-building either, they at least took the trouble to publish my critique of the orthodoxy contained in an article by SA leader Mick Armstrong.  It is a useful summary of my views on “Zinovievism”. Finally, as many of you know, the British SWP has been going through a crisis that I view as rooted in “Zinovievist” misconceptions, although they obviously would not see it this way. The articles can be found on my Columbia web page on organizational problems of the revolutionary movement, along with a number of other articles not mentioned in this piece.

21 Comments »

  1. “When I first joined the Trotskyist movement in 1967, I was told that political and organizational questions cannot be separated. I no longer believe that.”

    The ex-Trotskyist SWP’s utterly reformist politics by 1967 had no coherent relationship to its phoney charade of ‘leninist’ organizational methods (which it retains to this day). What, after all, is the point of using ‘Leninist norms’ to realize slogans like ‘Send Federal Troops to enforce Black Civil Rights in the South’?

    Proyect has retained the reformist ‘movement is all’ politics but rightly concluded he has no use for the leninist theory of organization, which only makes sense to those who seek to overthrow capitalism.

    Comment by Red Cloud — March 11, 2009 @ 8:04 pm

  2. Red Cloud, I do wish that you get on with it and overthrow capitalism. If you do, please nationalize my apartment building straightaway since I really can’t afford the rent much longer. Also, please see if you can do something about the intrusive use of cell phones on city buses. Firing squad, perhaps?

    Comment by louisproyect — March 11, 2009 @ 8:08 pm

  3. Isn’t it rather odd that according to LeBlanc (amongst others) the SWP could have been right on all the main “political” issues of the ‘60s and ‘70s but wrong on the “organizational” ones…at the same time? At the risk of sounding a bit too “dogmatic,” doesn’t this sound somewhat “undialectical,” separating the two like that? How is that Jack Barnes, Mary Alice Waters and Barry Sheppard, along with those who put them in power, Brietman, Hanson and Novack, made all the right moves on, say, nationalism, feminism, Castro, the anti-war movement, etc, but made all the wrong ones on “organizational” issues? Aren’t the two just somehow related to each other? Afterall, the bureaucratic degeneration, i.e., “organization,” of what was once the Bolshevik party and the Comintern by Stalin and his cohorts went hand-in-hand in with the step-by-step abandonment of revolutionary Marxism, i.e., “politics,” culminating in the out right reformism of the Popular Front period.

    In reality, undemocratic measures were taken by the SWP majority throughout the sixties and seventies against an assortment of minorities who opposed “the party’s” abandonment of class struggle politics for single-issueism, sectoralism and nationalist and feminist tail-ending. They ranged from easy targets like Robertson and Wohlforth to Clara and Richard Fraser (along with the whole Seattle branch which soon after became the FSP) to the POT and the “Mandelite” IT. Veterans like Murray and Myra Tanner Weiss were also driven out along the way.

    After each purge these abuses were then codified into organizational rules (or “norms,” to use the preferred party terminology) that eventually were used against many of those who had originally supported them in the mid-1980s, when Barnes finally cleaned house altogther. And just for the record, it was Cannon, to his credit, who opposed this back in 1965, when he wrote against adopting the Organizational Guidelines (see his “Don’t Strangle the Party”) that Dobbs, Kerry and their successors pushed for and got. No wonder that Barry Sheppard, one of the main players in all of the varuous purges of that period, rates Dobbs higher than Cannon in his memoirs.

    And why is it wrong for would-be revolutionaries to see the world through a misinterpretation (or misrepresentation) of what went on in the Bolshevik party between, say, 1903 through 1923, but not wrong to see anything and everything through the rather narrow prisim of what went down “organizationally” in the SWP (or the IS and the Maoists) of the ‘60s and ‘70s?

    Comment by MN Roy — March 11, 2009 @ 11:52 pm

  4. I still choke on “democratic centralism” as a harbinger of Stalinism.

    Let’s face it, the reason the left hasn’t succeeded in the USA has little or nothing to do with debates within its microcosm, but with an absence of adaptation to American reality.

    Comment by Cecilieaux — March 12, 2009 @ 2:31 pm

  5. “Red Cloud, I do wish that you get on with it and overthrow capitalism.”

    The very idea of taking the question of revolution seriously – even for a moment – is enough to send Proyect back into his default mode of social-democratic cynicism… These are the politics behind his contempt for Leninist organizing principles.

    Comment by Red Cloud — March 12, 2009 @ 5:58 pm

  6. These are the politics behind his contempt for Leninist organizing principles.

    I’ll have you know that cell phones are really quite fascistic. Your refusal to take a proper fighting stance on them is sure sign of Menshevism.

    Comment by louisproyect — March 12, 2009 @ 7:54 pm

  7. Re: Comment No. 4 “democratic centralism” as a harbinger of Stalinism”…

    As Trotsky, Serge, Deutscher and other Marxists have shown, the rise and consolidation of Stalinism in Russia had a lot more to do with the socio-economic conditions arising from the isolation of a worker-led revolution in a war-torn peasant country (“Third World” to use 1970s lingo) than with a particular form of party organization. That almost every imperialist power chose to invade Russia and the reformist Social Democracy helped to thwart revolution in Germany and Austria thus furthering that isolation didn’t help either. Indeed, the question that should be asked is not “what did the Bolsheviks do?” but “what didn’t the Social Democracy do?”

    As for the more difficult question concerning “the reason the left hasn’t succeeded in the USA has little or nothing to do with debates within its microcosm, but with an absence of adaptation to American reality,” there are at least two instances in the twentieth century where the socialist left did succeed, to an extent, in “adapt(ing) to American reality.” During the so-called “Progressive era,” the Socialist Party briefly flourished as Eugene V. Debs twice polled nearly a million votes and Socialist membership reached 125,000. In addition, Socialist publications had an audience close to Debs’ vote total. However the party was, like its fellow Second International organizations, all-inclusive, so that it was reformists like Victor Berger and the Kautsky-like centrist, Morris Hillquit, who were calling the shots, rather than Debs. They drove the Left, led by Big Bill Haywood, out of the party before WWI and did the same to the Communist Left afterwards…even though the latter was in the majority. Nor did they constitute an organized tendency within the AFL the way the CP would and they had little, if any, influence amongst Black workers or any interest in achieving any. Needless to say, there were heated debates within that microcosm that determined the direction that the SP chose to go in.

    While the influence of the Socialist Party was stronger amongst immigrant workers than amongst American born workers, the same cannot be said for the CP in the “Popular Front” period when its influence peaked to the point that it controlled almost 25% of the unions in the CIO, made up mostly of the next generation of American-born workers, including Black workers. That the CP could intervene in the labor movement and the Black community in a way that the SP could not had a great deal to do with what it had learned from the Russian revolution, even in its deformed Stalinist state. And that included organizational methods. Of course, organization doesn’t exist in the abstract, above or apart from politics. So amongst the “American realities” the CP chose to “adapt” itself it to was the two-party system. The left and the labor movement have yet to recover from that blunder. Again there were debates within the international Communist milleau, particularly those that took place between Stalin and Trotsky, that determined the policies that the CP would adhere to.

    The problem, then, would appear to be the manner in which socialists chose to adapt to American reality, and debates within its microcosm, ie, between reformists and revolutionaries for the most part, certainly played some part in determining the outcome.

    Comment by MN Roy — March 12, 2009 @ 11:16 pm

  8. In case it’s of any interest – I also address this issue to some extent historically in my book “Revolutionary Strategy – Marxism and the challenge of left unity” available from the CPGB website (cpgb.org.uk)

    Comment by Mike Macnair — March 13, 2009 @ 10:23 am

  9. Curious, if since Camejo’s “Against sectarianism” was so apparently influential on Proyect’s political evolution why it’s not also admitted that Camejo’s legacy so often winds up as RedBaiting from the Left?

    Take the current shameful blackout of the 3/21/09 mass mobilization against the 2 current US Imperialist Wars (plus 2 more potentially pending in Pakistan & Iran) for example. The mainstream left boycott this & other mass demos because there are “Marxist-Leninists” (ANSWER which is connected to the Workers World Party) leading it despite the fact that Cindy Sheehan, Code Pink, Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), Ron Kovic, Edward Asner, Mimi Kennedy, Ramsey Clark, School of the Americas Watch, San Francisco Labor Council (AFL-CIO) and many other labor locals as well as Green Party locals are participating.

    Don’t these Obama apologists have a direct political lineage with the First Gulf War obstructionists (Camejoists) who went out of their way to split the Peace Movement under the banner of “Give Sanctions A Chance”? Yes, they helped give sanctions a chance alright — a decade of them killed well over half a million Iraqi children and old people by ALL ACCOUNTS. It would have been more humane if Camejo & his followers in their sectarian anti-communist zeal just advocated the Pentagon to bomb the most vulnerable Iraqis rather than cut off their food, water & medicine for a decade.

    Of course now they’ll quietly admit that their advocacy of sanctions back in 1991 was a big mistake yet the “acceptable left” like MoveOn & UFPJ (Camejo’s legacies) still seek to thwart the Peace Movement via RedBaiting & Blackout as documented in a recent meeting by John Walsh in a 3/16/09 article on the CounterPunch.Org website entitled “Redbaiting on the Left.”

    Reminds me of a DSA orientation meeting I once attended as a grad student at an Ohio University whereby the moderator, one of my professors, started by saying that: “The DSA is an anti-sectarian organization. Anybody is free to join — except Marxist-Leninists!”
    That’s when I was compelled to pass around a photocopy of the 1968 NY Times article wherein DSA founder Norman Thomas admitted to accepting $50,000 from the CIA to expose Communists within the Latin American Trade Union Movement.

    Needless to say this DSA Professor voted for Clinton, thought the collapse of the USSR was a good thing for the 3rd World, couldn’t accept that foreign policy was an extension of domestic policy, and of course denied that the USA was based organically on a predatory system.

    If Lenin was correct about anything he was certainly correct about mobilizing against imperialist war. Does anyone on this forum deny this? If one boycotts a mass march against imperialist war on the grounds there may be sectarians leading it then I for one question which side they’re on? Yet that’s precisely what Camejo did in the 90’s and his political brethren are doing today.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — March 18, 2009 @ 10:28 am

  10. Hopefully not everyone who looks at this article on the Leninist theory of organization will be ready to buy Proyect’s version of ‘Trotskyism’ as a denatured, house-broken, handbag-sized fashion accessory for admission to the salons of the Democratic Party ‘left’.

    Such readers should check out the legacy of James P. Cannon, a founding leader of the U.S. Communist Party and (after his expulsion from that party) American Trotskyism. The stars of Project’s bibliography above are united in their hatred of Cannon (but rarely have the guts to say so directly, preferring the method of ‘damnation with faint praise’) – specificially in their opposition to Cannon’s life’s work, the struggle to build an authentic Leninist party to make a proletarian revolution in the U.S. Cannon was recognized, even by his (more honest) opponents, as ‘the finest communist leader this country has ever produced.’

    Some of Cannon’s works are available online. These include ‘The Struggle for a Proletarian Party’ addressing the 1939-40 fight he waged, together with Trotsky, against the petty-bourgeois Burnham/Shachtman opposition in the Socialist Workers Party.

    http://www.marxists.org/archive/cannon/works/1940/party/index.htm

    A particularly good sample of Cannon’s work is found in his ‘Speech on the Russian Question,’ addressing the key political issue of that fight:

    http://www.marxists.org/archive/cannon/works/1939/ussr.htm

    It’s easy to see from this one example why the proyectian squeezed-lemon left despises Cannon so deeply. Whatever may have been his actual flaws, Cannon’s ‘crime’ for these people was to take complex Marxist ideas out of the exclusive guardianship of the academic/bohemian priesthood and translate it, for practical application, into the language of class conscious American workers. This is the reason why Cannon will be honored when his detractors are long forgotten. Labor historian Bryan Palmer has published the very fine first volume of a biography of James P. Cannon which is still, as far as I know, available for purchase:

    http://www.press.uillinois.edu/books/catalog/83cyh3wc9780252031090.html

    Comment by Red Cloud — March 19, 2009 @ 3:54 pm

  11. Just a brief reply to comments 9 & 10.

    I have no idea why Karl Friedrich believes that MoveOn was one of Camejo’s “legacies”. MoveOn was formed by Democratic Party loyalists while to his dying day Peter Camejo was trying to form an independent party. Furthermore, he had well-publicized polemics against Medea Benjamin, a key figure in UFPJ.

    On Red Cloud’s endorsement of Bryan Palmer’s book, I have not read it but think it is probably not half-bad since he managed to annoy the Spartacist League members who attended his talk at NYU. Here’s my report on that meeting: https://louisproyect.wordpress.com/2007/10/13/bryan-palmer-speaks-at-nyu/

    Finally, on “despising” Cannon. I don’t despise anybody on the left. I only despise bourgeois figures such as George Soros or Thomas Friedman. In fact, I think that sectarian leftists perform a useful function by selling their tracts. Back in 1957, I was first exposed to socialism through the letter-writing in a local newspaper by an SLP member. Sectarian preaching does have a place, even if it will never lead to a revolution.

    Comment by louisproyect — March 19, 2009 @ 4:15 pm

  12. If you really want to understand what the problem of revolutionary organization, and don’t want to waste your time arriving at the same old misconceptions, I strongly suggest you put aside all the usual texts, including Lenin. The texts are all ‘position taking’ in the bitter aftermath of the defeat of the Russian Revolution and the rise of Stalinism.

    Just consider how one gets organised to undertake a revolution. And I am not talking about organising a protest, or a campaign, or a strike. The problem is, how are you going to encourage the majority of ordinary workers to overthrow a ruling elite and its State? Go out into the street and look straight into the face of the first worker you meet and ask yourself, How am I going to get this chap to be a revolutionary communist? The second question is, of course, why am I, a Marxist, approaching a worker? Why isn’t he approaching me? Why, if the emancipation of the working class is the task of the working class, why are we pondering the problem? Why not just wait until they start to emancipate themselves? Why should I, and you, both of us external to the class, bother ourselves with something that is not our business?

    The second problem is, how do you get about 20 or 30 people together so you can form a study circle that can produce a concrete and comprehensive analysis of the state of politics and society – both nationally and internationally. You are not going to approach the working class with just a few slogans, are you? You have to know what you are doing. To have a comprehensive world view.

    Since this is a discussion circle, there can be no centralism as intellectual discussion cannot be agreed by majority. Yet discussion needs to be focused and disciplined otherwise all you have is interesting chat and people who meet in pubs for decades (or ‘discuss’ things on Louis Proyect’s list). But you cannot get focused and disciplined discussion unless your 20 – 30 initial people are already committed and experienced Marxists who understand the need to embark on a course of focused and disciplined discussion with a view of producing a set of provisional theoretical conclusions that serve as the basis for the next stage. Lenin’s Capitalism in Russia is an example of such work.

    Susil Gupta

    Comment by Susil Gupta — March 20, 2009 @ 11:47 pm

  13. Excellent points Susil!

    I think it’d be a joy to meet you in a pub.

    I can think of worse ways to spend decades.

    Your articulately expressed sentiments are very thought provoking.

    Regarding Camejo, true enough, he was for an Independent Party.

    By “legacy” I meant the political legacy of reformists & redbaiters hellbent to undermine anti-imperialist coalitions like ANSWER because of their communist affiliations.

    Despite their current polemics both Camejo & Benjamin and supported “sanctions” for Iraq during the 1st Gulf War — an utterly putrid line if there ever was one — not to mention a very murderous one for at least half a million Iraqis, who, of course, were comprised mostly of children and old people.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — March 21, 2009 @ 3:13 am

  14. To introduce the rather brief remarks by CPGB comrade Mike Macnair above on his profoundly true and important work, I hereby present this video link and the video quote below which summarizes Revolutionary Strategy:

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8682919597603842499&hl=en

    “You have to be a Kautskyan on the question of organizing in “Educate, Agitate, Organize!” as opposed to “Agitate, Agitate, Agitate!” to get to the point of having a mass workers’ party which can possibly pose the question of power.” (Mike Macnair)

    And I – as a “neo-Kautskyist” / revolutionary *centrist* – have a naturally more respectful opinion of the true founder of “Marxism” (according to Cyril Smith) than Macnair does.

    Comment by Jacob Richter — March 21, 2009 @ 11:05 pm

  15. I read with interest your views on the type of new party needed.

    I have a few questions I hope you can answer.

    What role if any do you see for party press? Traditional newspaper? If the party doesn’t take positions on historical questions what does it fill its press with? What does it do when confronted with the issues of Stalin, Mao, etc.? How would the party raise funds? What would be the practical, day-to-day work of its members?

    Do you consider this model valid solely in the United States?

    Do you see a need for a new international? If so, what kind of body do you see and how would it come about?

    Your attention is appreciated.

    Comment by VROT — March 22, 2009 @ 1:17 am

  16. Very glad to see Neil Harding’s two volumes on the list; they are BY FAR the best books on Lenin’s political theory.

    The only problem with Harding is that he blames a so-called confusion in Marx for the confusions in Lenin and Bolshevism that eventually spilled into Stalinism.

    Harding says that Marx had two models of revolution — the DOTP and the Commune — and that Lenin inherited his confusions from Marx.

    I think this approach is too idealist and puts too much emphasis on pure theory.

    I am suprised, though, that you don’t mention David Mandel’s two volumes on the social history of the Petrograd working class. These books reveal the real history from below of the working-class revolution and are amazingly useful for GROUNDING the far too abstract way in which “Leninism” is usually discussed.

    Comment by asdf — March 25, 2009 @ 8:04 pm

  17. Thanks for reminding me about David Mandel’s book. Sol Dollinger held this book in very high regard.

    Comment by louisproyect — March 25, 2009 @ 8:58 pm

  18. I discovered today that Neil Harding’s book “Lenin’s Political Thought” is back in print as of September 2009. See here: http://tinyurl.com/yfpq44p.

    Comment by Czeslaw Czapla — October 28, 2009 @ 1:42 am

  19. Lih’s bio is quite good.

    Comment by Binh — November 28, 2011 @ 3:38 pm

  20. […] See Louis Proyect, “The Leninist Party: an annotated bibliography,” Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist, March 11, […]

    Pingback by The great Lenin debate of 2012 | Red Atlanta — June 9, 2014 @ 5:43 pm

  21. […] See Louis Proyect, “The Leninist Party: an annotated bibliography,” Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist, March 11, […]

    Pingback by The great Lenin debate of 2012 | External Bulletin — June 21, 2014 @ 5:51 pm


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