Originally published in 1984 this book reconsiders the effect of Lenin on the politics and culture of the 20th Century. In a detailed examination of Lenin's famous text, The State and Revolution, the author argues that the peculiar status of this work presents readers with major problems of interpretation and shows how a failure to identify these problems has prevented an adequate understanding of important issues in modern politics, history and social theory. The book compares Lenin's 'radical utopia' with the ideas of politics offered by other theorists, centrally Weber and Sartre, but also writers such as Jefferson and Habermas. This original approach shows the impact of Lenin's text on political history and theory and leads to a new understanding of the connection between revolution and violence, social change and authoritarianism.
'One of the most exciting and clear pieces of political thought I have read….simply brilliant.' Bernard Crick
'A devastating critique of Lenin's conception of the post-revolutionary state and society.' Paul Hirst
Introduction. 1. Lenin's The State and Revolution: Problems of a Text and Its Discourse 2. The Text and its Consequences: A Subterranean Authoritarianism 3. The Text and Its Assumptions: The Misunderstanding of a Century 4. The Text and Its Context: A Microscopic Universe 5. The Text and Its Secret: A Politics for the End of Time 6. Conclusion