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The marxist concept of the party in Lenin

17 January 2017

In this part of lecture, Bensaïd talks about the "Leninist revolution" on organisational question. He continues discussing the involvement of workers, such as professional revolutionaries, and democratic centralism, which implies that the party will act as a single body through a discipline which submits minority to majority decisions in action. All these points may look technical or administrative, but are geared towards the same goal: to distinguish the party from the class, and to protect the party from the dissolving influence of the bourgeoisie in the daily struggle of the class itself. Establishing a border between the party and the class corresponds to a new concept of strategy. The break comes with Lukacs, who underlines consciousness. For the proletariat, the strategical goal is taking power and destroying the bourgeois state; and only the party can build the conscious project and plan to solve this question of power. The Leninist concept of the party is intertwined with the concept of strategy, of taking power. Bensaïd sets out positions of the Mensheviks and Bolsheviks with respect to their conjectural differences. He then starts talking about the context of German Revolution as well as the problems of organisational conception and struggle for power, with references to Rosa Luxemburg, Trotsky and Lenin. The differences between Lenin and Trotsky when they entered the process of Russian Revolution are discussed: Trotsky had a clearer view of the dynamics of the revolution, but he didn't have the organisational tool for that. Lenin, although he had a more confused view at the beginning, had the organisational mediation to correct his position and to put it into practice. Lastly, Bensaïd talks about some polemical aspects of the Leninist theory of organisation. Lenin's theory of organisation represents a very specific moment in the history of working class. Bensaïd mentions the debates between the Second International and Lenin and talks about the question of programme. He underlines that the two following distinctions should be maintained and well understood to avoid complexities: party and class; system and principles. The distinction between party and class implies democratic centralisation, selection and concept of professional revolutionaries.

Duration: 86:47
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