“A New Beginning of Marxist thought” turns out to be a very old, old capitulation to the hundred-year-old prejudiced middle-class hatred of the Soviet dictatorship of the proletariat, dressed up as being “daringly” pro-Lenin.
But Lenin was not “against bureaucracy” in the sense of wanting to overthrow Soviet power; he recognised bad bureaucratic practices as an evil that could only be combatted by STRENGTHENING the Soviet workers state, so that, once having defended the October Revolution, proletarian dictatorship would spread first via the East (as it did to China), and then (Lenin envisaged) eventually to the world’s richest countries, and after, say, 200 years of STRENGTHENING AND SPREADING proletarian dictatorship through socialist revolution all states could then dialectically wither away into the Marxist self-administration of things (because class war is ended, and everyone is used to socialist self-management).
Badiou’s “theory” that the Soviet workers state (“the Russian revolution”) ended in “at the maximum 1929” runs into the huge historic problem of what to say about the 1930s industrialisation of Russia (all capitalist again? - are you kidding?), collectivisation (ditto), the heroic defeat of Nazi Germany (double ditto) and the vast support given by the USSR to Third World revolution.
Yes, I know it is typical for Trots and “lefts” to despise all that, but the revolutionary world proletariat doesn’t. Cuba doesn’t. Vietnam gained. The Third World rebellion gained. The national liberation heroes all supported Soviet power and assistance. That Moscow under Stalin’s leadership became increasingly revisionist is not the same as declaring the Russian Revolution as being “over”. It was “over” in 1989-91 under Gorbachev, when the revisionist slide into miserable anti-Marxist and pro-“markets” gibberish did sink socialism in Russia and Eastern Europe.
As for “totalitarianism”, the USSR did emerge from the Stalin period of grievous errors and arbitrary heavy-handedness but its leadership was never able to correct the block-headed revisionist weaknesses, which were all to do with RETREATING from Lenin’s view of strengthening and propagating the socialist revolution. Instead, the inanities of “popular frontism”, “permanent peaceful co-existence” and “the peaceful road to socialism” prevailed - eventually destroying the world communist movement and bringing down the USSR itself as all socialist ideology was obliterated under Gorbachev and his pro-Western professorial cronies.
Truly “new” Marxist thinking can only mean applying Marx’s, Engels’ and Lenin’s proven science to today’s capitalist world - which is a world of masses of poverty-stricken people confronting handfuls of billionaires; US imperialist degeneration into overt fascism and warmongering which has blitzed the Middle East and Afghanistan - killing millions; Trump’s trade war and looming financial meltdown in the global banking system threatening a “new” world war (WW3); plus the degeneration into fascist populism of Europe’s middle class, Brazil’s neo-fascist presidency, death squads in Central America, China’s amazing economic strength, Britain’s Brexit Tories running around like headless chickens, French strikes, etc, etc, - and piddling bogus promises from “lefts” of all varieties to “end austerity” and “get jobs for all” etc, etc. It looks like “old” Leninism is needed to me.
As mentioned in my previous posts on e-flux, it is easy to spot Leninism - every other attempt at “Marxism” immediately capitulates to imperialism by failing to point out the global imperialist-warmongering crisis and by supporting the West’s fraudulent “war on terror” ( by “condemning terror” ie. the sporadic retaliations of the oppressed Third World and Middle East to incessant US coalition bombing and the Zionist invasion of Arab land).
How about doing something truly “new” (as far as “lefts” are concerned) and NOT falling for the West’s lying hypocrisy about “terror” - since all the war imperialism makes is actually carried out to decide who’s the imperialist “top dog” (currently Washington - but it is failing) and as part of the overall effort by capitalism to destroy all its boom-created surplus capital, which is clogging up its global economic system?
It seems to me that old, dead Lenin still reigns supreme.