Social Scientist. v 10, no. 107 (April 1982) p. 1.


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Editorial Note

THE attack on Lenin in the name of Marxism has taken a novel form in recent years. The craze now is for finding in each country or region an independent route to Marxism, a route which bypasses Lenin. Leninism then becomes merely a Russian conduit for Marxism, a conduit that not only shaped Marxism to Russian conditions, but was itself shaped by the specifically Russian heritage. Leninism then is no longer the Marxism of the era of monopoly capitalism, but only a Russian phenomenon, Marxism in a specifically Russian garb. It is put on a par with other variants of Marxism developed in other regions, each shaped by and applicable to its own specific traditions and conditions. The most self-conscious exposition of this tendency is crystallized in the concept of "Western Marxism". The idea underlying this concept is that there is an independent non-Leninist tradition of Marxism in Western Europe through Rosa Luxemburg, Gramsci, Lukacs, even down to Sartre, which is no less valid, authentic and legitimate, in the Western European context at least, than Leninism was in the Russian context. Since this very conception of Marxism amounts to a denial of its scientific basis, the dissociation from Leninism is often carried forward into a distinction between the early Marx and the late Marx, the philosophical richness of the former being contrasted favourably with the narrow "scientificity" of the latter. Sometimes, paradoxically, a rupture is located within the writings of Lenin himself, between an early Lenin of Materialism and Empiric-Criticism and a late Lenin of the Philosophical Notebooks, this late Lenin being a Lenin who has "discovered" Hegel.



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