Given the collapse of communism and actually existing socialism, we should not be surprised that there have been various attempts to revisit the meaning of V. I. Lenin and Leninism. While political answers have seemed relatively easy, several thinkers, including Alain Badiou, Slavoj Žižek, and Etienne Balibar, have taken up some of the conceptual difficulties in play in Lenin's ideas (and in Mao's) with a view to recasting communism in the present (I take my title, for instance, from Badiou's Communist Hypothesis). This essay addresses both key elements in this rethinking (such as concepts of repetition and event) and an exegesis of what remains, and remains to be elaborated, in the utopianism of Leninism. I am particularly interested in the force of Fredric Jameson's call for “anti-anti-utopianism” in understanding the aesthetic and political processes of “repeating Lenin” in cultural theory and practice. Ultimately, the attempt is to assess the impetus of such utopianism in articulating futurity.
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Peter Hitchcock; The Leninist Hypothesis. Poetics Today 1 June 2016; 37 (2): 295–308. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/03335372-3481955
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