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Factory of StrategyThirty-Three Lessons on Lenin$
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Antonio Negri

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231146821

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231146821.001.0001

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Opportunist and Revolutionary Conceptions of the Withering-Away of the State

Opportunist and Revolutionary Conceptions of the Withering-Away of the State

(p.216) 21 Opportunist and Revolutionary Conceptions of the Withering-Away of the State
Factory of Strategy

Antonio Negri

, Arianna Bove
Columbia University Press

This chapter examines Vladimir Lenin’s opportunist and revolutionary conceptions of the withering-away of the state, which can be found in his The State and Revolution as a commentary to Friedrich Engels’s Antidühring. The target of Lenin’s attack is a gradualist notion of the revolutionary process: the withering-away of the state, as opposed to the anarchist notion of the abolition of the state, was understood as a “vague idea of a slow, equal, gradual change without leaps and storms.” This chapter analyzes the methodological and substantial aspects of Lenin’s notion of dialectics and its subjectivist character in the insistence on the relation between the notion of the state and the notion of politics, the analysis of reality, and the forces of mass and revolutionary change. It also discusses Lenin’s remarks in his analysis of Engels regarding the impossibility of the proletariat recuperating the state of the bourgeoisie, as well as the destructive determination of the revolutionary process and its punctual and extreme violence and how they are mediated through the process of withering away.

Keywords:   withering-away of the state, Vladimir Lenin, The State and Revolution, Friedrich Engels, Antidühring, revolution, dialectics, politics, proletariat, bourgeoisie

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