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Daniel Bensaïd, a central leader of the French Ligue Communiste Revolutionnaire (LCR), spoke on Leninism in the 21st century at the Marxism 2001 event organised by the British SWP. Phil Hearse spoke to him there.

Q. Lenin made important contributions to Marxist thinking about imperialism, the national question, revolutionary strategy and socialist democracy. But when parties and groups call themselves ‘Leninist’ they are generally referring to organisational forms. Yet the modern experience of such organisations has shown they have quite diverse organisational practices. What is special about ‘Leninism’ as an organisational form?

A. We have to start by remembering that the very term ‘Leninism’ only appeared after the death of Lenin, notably in the speech by Zinoviev to the Fifth Congress of the Communist International (1924). It corresponds to the codification of an organisational model then associated with the ‘Bolshevisation’ of the Comintern, which allowed the Kremlin to brutally subjugate the young Communist parties to its own tutelage, in the name of combating social democracy – which had been corrupted by parliamtentarism.

The invention of ‘Leninism’ as a religiously mummified orthodoxy, was part of the process of bureaucratisation of the Comintern and the Soviet Union. That’s why, as far as possible, I personally avoid utilising this ‘ism’. However, if you attempt to summarise what appears essential in Lenin’s own organisational ideas, I would highlight two ideas which seem to me essential revolutionary conceptions for this epoch, and which retain their validity today.

full: https://www.marxists.org/archive/bensaid/2001/11/leninism.htm
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