IN DEFENCE OF SERIOUS POLEMICS 57
critique of Perry Anderson's Considerations on Western Marxism and EMS Namboodiripad's review of Debiprasad Chattopadhyaya's Lenin the Philosopher. The former informs us that New Left is simply "Anderson and his ilk", while the latter tells us that the other similar critics are "Mao Zedong whose dabbling into the theory of contradictions and his anti-Leninist perceptions of world reality are inseparable from one another" and "India's Marxist-Leninists— (those) sections who look upon 'Mao's theory of contradictions' as a development of Marxism". Presumably, Madhu Prasad and her ilk will, in subsequent articles, elaborate on the "ilk" of Anderson. For the present New Left is only Perry Anderson and "other similar tendencies" allude to Maoism alone.
The criminals have been tracked. But what is their crime? Anti-Leninism, of course! But there is Leninism and Leninism, and these sinister characters have, time and again, quoted from the texts to claim their Leninist antecedents. So what does SS mean by Leninism which these devious anti-Leninists oppose? Namboodiripad, a very precise philosopher who shuns the amateurish dabbling of Mao, has given us some pointers. We are told that Lenin devoted his 'short life' to "the struggle against revisionism". (We had thought that there were other varieties of anti-Marxists too against whom he had polemicised. But let that pass). So Leninism is anti-revisionism. Now, this is a word which has to be problematised. We are told further on that Lenin in his most important tracts fought non-proletarian ideologies. So he was a proletarian ideologue. But so would the Maoists claim for Mao. Let us go on: "(Lenin) being a true Marxist defended the tenets of Marxism". Good for him, perhaps? But not much there for us. So we move on to the pithy philosophical statements. Namboodiripad says that Lenin's great contribution was to shift the emphasis (within dialectical materialism) to dialectics. Clarifying, he adds: "He (Lenin) was using Hegelian dialectics to substantiate the materialist world outlook". To Namboodiripad, apparently, 'dialectical materialism' is not a whole world view. Marxism is merely the synthesis, or symbiosis, or (perhaps more impressively) the dialetical unity of two totally different philosophies (or of a method of a philosophy and a philosophy) which can exist separately and again can be used for substantiating one another. This begs the question wliether the method, or protocol of proof, is separable from the underlying philosophy and its epistemology. Namboodiripad demands even more than this: not only the separation but the transplanting of alien method into a philosophy. To raise the question is not to prejudge the issue. He may be right, but considering that so much has been written,1 particularly by the European 'Marxists' which contends that dialectics and materialism are not separable, that it is not as if one is a method and the other a philosophy, an opposite position can only be