By Esther Kingston-Mann
As a Marxist, Lenin believed that peasants have been petty bourgeois members and stubbornly denied the collective styles of peasant political resistance. but while, he embraced the peasant militance that so strongly contrasted with what he known as the choice of liberal and radical intellectuals for 'a little drab, beggarly yet peaceable legality'. This compelling account of Lenin's peasant process, which emerged out of a long time of contradiction among Marxist dogma and the realities of Russian rural lifestyles, makes abundantly transparent either the explanations for Lenin's good fortune and the resources of destiny catastrophe.
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Extra info for Lenin and the Problem of Marxist Peasant Revolution
G. " From the first, Chernyshevskii's view of Russian society and the West was more complex than Herzen's. For Chernyshevskii the commune was not the embodiment of decent human relationships. His memories of childhood in the provincial town of Saratov made it impossible for him to believe that peasants miraculously preserved any particular moral and social virtue under the degrading circumstances of Russian rural life. However, Chernyshevskii's refusal to claim superiority for any Russian social group or institution did not make him into an uncritical champion of the West.
Although Plekhanov did not make the claim that either group was numerically dominant, the populist focus on the peasant majority who neither hired labor nor hired themselves out to others would nevertheless become his proof that populists were ignorant of the realities of Russian rural life. In some of his early writings Plekhanov was scrupulous enough to refer to Marx's favorable comments on the commune, but he no longer did so in Our Differences (1885), his Marxist polemic against the populists.
Certain that history proceeded according to discrete and rigidly ordered phases of development, Lenin scornfully observed that progress was not simply a matter of "plucking elements from various social formations,"13 whatever muddleheaded thinkers like Mikhailovskii might pretend. Lenin found the populists sensitive to the evils of capitalism, but curiously blind to the "Asiatic abuse of human dignity" which prevailed in pre-capitalist rural life. " In contrast, Lenin insisted, the brutality of capitalism forced the patriarchal peasantry out of medieval stagnation, breaking the chains of enslavement to the local "work-giver" and disclosing the basis of exploitation in general, of class exploitation as distinct from the depredations of a particular viper.
Lenin and the Problem of Marxist Peasant Revolution by Esther Kingston-Mann