Factory of Strategy: Thirty-Three Lessons on Lenin

Antonio Negri, Author, Arianna Bove, Translator
Antonio Negri, trans. from the Italian by Arianna Bove. Columbia Univ., (368p) $35 ISBN 978-0-231-14682-1
Reviewed on: 03/03/2014
Release date: 02/01/2014
These lessons on Lenin by Negri (Empire, with Michael Hardt) are taken from lectures that the Italian Marxist philosopher gave in the 1970s; they focus on Leninism, rather than on Lenin himself, taking issues raised by socialist debates in pre-revolutionary Russian and applying them to the contemporary conjuncture. Negri meticulously examines key texts by Lenin, including What Is to Be Done? (1902) and The State and the Revolution (1917), comparing them with the works of Marx and quoting long passages from both thinkers. Negri doesn't editorialize much, instead providing clear explanations of Lenin's advice to activists—whether Lenin followed his own advice or not. Statements from Lenin and Marx about "current" situations and "today's times" resonate with circumstances in the present. Anticapitalism did not begin or end with Lenin: Marx wrote of class struggle half a century earlier, and though the terms have shifted (from "proletariat" vs. "bourgeois" to "the 99%" vs. "the 1%"), the battle continues, according to Negri. (Feb.)