An Avant-Garde for All
DOI link for An Avant-Garde for All
An Avant-Garde for All book
In What Is to Be Done?, one of the most famous texts in the intellectual history of Marxism, and in the history of the Socialist world, Lenin cast the Communist Party as the avant-garde of the working class. 1 His pronouncements of 1902 have been seen as the beginning of a problematic interpretation of the Communist Party’s role, one that haunted both the Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc until their respective dissolutions. The idea of the historically necessary intellectual avant-garde was presented already in The Communist Manifesto as constitutive of the process of the proletarian attainment of class consciousness. 2 Furthermore, the problematic relationship between the political and the aesthetic avant-gardes has been traced back to the era of the Paris commune and the 1870s debates among the “utopian Socialists.” 3 But, given the importance of all ur-pronouncements in “really realized Socialisms,” Lenin’s position on the “intellectual avant-garde” provided a convenient, ready-made alibi for the practices of bureaucratic and ideological apparatuses.