Tag: power

The Fight for Freedom Begins in Culture

(FEE) – To a first approximation, American political history before the 18th century is British political history. As most American schoolchildren know, in the 17th century, John Locke crystallized the idea that human law should reflect Natural Law, but the idea…

Seizing Power: Leninism, Anarchism, and the View from Hotel Continental

Recent claims within the right wing of the Labour Party concerning the allegiance of new members to supposedly Trotskyist causes have by now been thoroughly refuted and justifiably mocked. However, less attention has been given to the British Left’s historical and contemporary sympathies with Leninism. This ideology is often defined as being concerned with establishing a particularly hierarchical political party in the service of subsequently bringing about a ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’, which in turn is geared towards bringing about socialism. Many prominent figures on the Left have often expressed their admiration for Vladimir Lenin, citing him as a political and personal inspiration. These include Chris Nineham, Alex Callinicos, Richard ‘Lenin’ Seymour and numerous others, from trade unionists to academics. Strong, almost fanatical support for political figures such as Lenin is perhaps to be expected given that after the undermining of the traditional religions during the Enlightenment, ideologies such as Jacobinism and the more zealously violent forms of nationalism began to replace deity worship as belief systems ordinary people could feel some form of meaningful connection to. Today we have things like Leninism, the neoliberal belief in ‘free markets’, and the often belligerently war-mongering, racist presence of the New Atheists, all of which are ultimately forms of irrational adherence to a belief system. Why, then, does Leninism get a free pass as the ‘common sense’ of the Left?