Factory of Strategy: Thirty-Three Lessons on Lenin (Insurrections: Critical Studies in Religion, Politics, and Culture)
Factory of Strategy is the last of Antonio Negri's major political works to be translated into English. Rigorous and accessible, it is both a systematic inquiry into the development of Lenin's thought and an encapsulation of a critical shift in Negri's theoretical trajectory.
Lenin is the only prominent politician of the modern era to seriously question the "withering away" and "extinction" of the state, and like Marx, he recognized the link between capitalism and modern sovereignty and the need to destroy capitalism and reconfigure the state. Negri refrains from portraying Lenin as a ferocious dictator enforcing the proletariat's reappropriation of wealth, nor does he depict him as a mere military tool of a vanguard opposed to the Ancien Régime. Negri instead champions Leninism's ability to adapt to different working-class configurations in Russia, China, Latin America, and elsewhere. He argues that Lenin developed a new political figuration in and beyond modernity and an effective organization capable of absorbing different historical conditions. He ultimately urges readers to recognize the universal application of Leninism today and its potential to institutionally―not anarchically―dismantle centralized power.
and only to the extent that it is so, it is also the solution to an overarching problem: an analysis, interpretation, and practical solution determined by a class relationship as well as an overall general contribution to the construction of the revolutionary project for all situations of a given epoch. The shift toward the last phase of capitalism is the possibility of turning the struggle between autocracy and proletariat (“the fatal moment of this nation”) in favor of the proletariat and the
and power is what characterizes, effectively, Leninism and turns it into a permanent category, a discriminator between who is revolutionary and who is not. I believe that, taking this fundamental character of Leninism as a point of departure, and seeing how it has penetrated into the masses, we can revaluate a set of questions, though they pertain, in Leninism, to a particular class 89 L E N I N A N D O U R G E N E R AT I O N composition. Let us see how. For instance, let us look into the
and thought that the project of a democratic organization of labor was merely a support for the capitalist organization of labor, and thus nothing but a sign of immaturity and political impotence.1 But in the same text Marx already outlines a definition of the relation between the struggle of the working class and the political movement of capital. Beyond the mystifying effect of the reformist institution, there is the fact that the proletariat had won it as a concession from the bourgeoisie. The
that it was a constitutional organ, but it was in fact a revolutionary organ (the Cadets abused us for regarding the Duma as a stage or an instrument of the revolution, but experience has fully confirmed our view). The Cadet Duma imagined that it was an organ of struggle against the Cabinet, but it was in fact an organ of struggle for the overthrow of the entire old regime.3 But the Duma was not an instrument of “workers’ power”! In fact, any organization can carry out the revolutionary task
organization and command)—seem to have come to fruition. But it is important, here, to fully use the dialectical potential of Marx’s teachings: this fullness of power is both a fullness of capitalist power and a full potential of workers’ power, because the capitalist unification of society and its totalizing organization reproduce the entire potential of class antagonism in the social fabric as a whole, which is essential to the definition of capital. If we move from the abstract image to the