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.
stable organization of leaders that maintains continuity. . . . Such an organization must consist chiefly of people professionally engaged in revolutionary activity.”6 On centralization and the division of labor: “specialization necessarily presupposes centralization, and in turn imperatively calls for it.”7 “Conspiratorial organization” of combat.8 Above all, in the following passage the Leninist model of the party is clearly outlined: For instance, this same “Practical Worker” of the
particular the historical texts. Phrases and concepts, such as the continuous reduction of the margins of the defense of democracy, are recurrent: The idea of seeking salvation for the working class in anything save the further development of capitalism is reactionary. In countries like Russia, the working class suffers not so much from capitalism as from the insufficient development of capitalism. The working class is therefore decidedly interested in the broadest, freest and most rapid
these two. To Luxemburg, the Soviets appear as the living proof of the validity of the theses she proposed earlier around the polemic on the Massenstreik in Belgium. Russia was a “grandiose example” of the fact that “the living, dialectical explanation makes the organization arise as a product of the struggle.”8 The Russian proletariat, even though politically immature and of recent formation, had learned how to impose its own political experience and move to a “comprehensive network of
in the imperialist war reached simultaneously its apotheosis and its limit, was spontaneous. His evaluation and subsequent exaltation of spontaneity offer the grounds for a definition of the very high degree of development of the revolutionary consciousness of the Russian working class, and of the material conditions of the political planning of the shift from the first to the second phase of the revolution.7 This definition of spontaneity is not surprising. It is not really contradictory, but
grave error, which is the scission between this material construction of socialism and the permanent revolutionary transformation of the forces of production. The dictatorship of the proletariat, in that situation, institutionalized the relations that were recuperated in the revolutionary phase and made them rigid in a view of the material basis as the determining force, as the only variable of the process: a huge force of transformation was blocked, and the dictatorship of the proletariat was