Factory of Strategy: Thirty-Three Lessons on Lenin (Insurrections: Critical Studies in Religion, Politics, and Culture)
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Factory of Strategy is the last of Antonio Negri's major political works to be translated into English. Rigorous and accessible, it is both a systematic inquiry into the development of Lenin's thought and an encapsulation of a critical shift in Negri's theoretical trajectory.
Lenin is the only prominent politician of the modern era to seriously question the "withering away" and "extinction" of the state, and like Marx, he recognized the link between capitalism and modern sovereignty and the need to destroy capitalism and reconfigure the state. Negri refrains from portraying Lenin as a ferocious dictator enforcing the proletariat's reappropriation of wealth, nor does he depict him as a mere military tool of a vanguard opposed to the Ancien Régime. Negri instead champions Leninism's ability to adapt to different working-class configurations in Russia, China, Latin America, and elsewhere. He argues that Lenin developed a new political figuration in and beyond modernity and an effective organization capable of absorbing different historical conditions. He ultimately urges readers to recognize the universal application of Leninism today and its potential to institutionally―not anarchically―dismantle centralized power.
when in Lenin, as we have already begun to see and as our analysis will make clearer, the crucial problem is that of the determinacy of the revolutionary subject and its temporal and spatial constitution? Obviously establishing the party is quite different from longing for it! But going back to the problem at hand, what does it mean to subject Lenin to the very scientific model he himself helped develop? It means asking two questions. First: what is the subject that is being interpreted in
democratic-progressive or socialist form.1 This is done with great clarity, and Lenin’s greatness consists in his ability to accept all these conditions and bring them forward without ever being touched by the opportunism of those who believe that each of these shifts is sufficient; on the contrary, he does so with the ability to place in this paradox the working class will to destroy labor and the wage system, so that only the construction of capitalism can give us truly revolutionary
Lenin. Now the conversation can continue to offer new elements, if not solutions, to our discussion. A further relevant consideration emerging from our discussion is that when confronting Lenin the actual reality of power displays a character of 148 THE QUESTION OF WHETHER THE SOVIET IS AN ORGAN OF POWER enormous complexity. When confronted with the actual figure of workers’ power as the Soviet form that lives in the masses, it has to resolve a particular and wholly original aporia. This
organization of civil war is a fact of the masses: the Soviet and the 153 LENIN AND THE SOVIETS vanguards that composed it must be recuperated into this destructive function of the masses and not into impossible attempts at democratic reintegration. The theory of civil war as class and mass practice (and we insist on this mass practice at the exclusion of individual ravings and deliriums on violence) is clearly alluded to in this period. Of course, it is a minor moment in Lenin’s thought,
composition of class, on the proletariat dictatorship as the first phase of socialist development, overturning the same Bolshevik orthodoxy, which instead saw the opposite process: organization, democratic revolution, and organization toward socialism, and therefore insurrection. The ability to accelerate and anticipate events, which even Lenin had already expressed in 1905, at this point takes on a more explicit and knowledgeable form, through which the possession of these methodological 164