lenin: vices of spontaneity and softness

…Lenin came to exercise enormous control over his emotions. He spurned all signs of softness and spontaneity. Even his marriage was a “revolutionary” one to a fellow conspirator…

The second incident illustrating Lenin’s denial of libidinal feelings involves his reaction to music. Lenin associated music with his family; as a child he had listened for hours to his mother playing the piano. Later, he became enormously ambivalent in his reaction to music. “One evening in Moscow,” Gorky relates, “when Lenin was Listening to Beethoven’s sonatas played by Isai Dobrowein at the home of Y. P. Peshkova in Moscow one evening, Lenin remarked:

“I know of nothing better than the Appassionata and could listen to it every day. What astonishing, superhuman music! It always makes me proud, perhaps naively so, to think that people can work such miracles!” Wrinkling up his eyes, he smiled rather sadly, adding: “But I can’t listen to music very often, it affects my nerves. I want to say sweet, silly things and pat the heads of people who, living in a filthy hell, can create such beauty. One can’t pat anyone on the head nowadays, they might bite your hand off. They ought to be beaten on the head, beaten mercilessly, although ideally we are against doing any violence to people. Hm-what a hellishly difficult job!”

---Socialist construction under Lenin’s banner. »  (Soviet constructivist poster, Gustav Klutsis, 1930*)---click image for source...

—Socialist construction under Lenin’s banner. »
(Soviet constructivist poster, Gustav Klutsis, 1930*)—click image for source…

Once again we have Lenin wishing to give away to libidinal feelings but afraid of being hurt if he does, and therefore repressing his softer emotions. The political consequences of this manifested themselves, at about the time of the break with Plekhanov, in Lenin’s conception of a party. In 1902 he wrote a pamphlet, “What Is To Be Done” ( borrowing the title from Chernyshevsky), that called for a party of dedicated professional revolutionaries. Their activities were to be conspirational rather than open, distrustful of all alliances rather than part of a general Social Democratic movement. Spntaneity and softness- these were the vices against which Lenin railed.( to be continued)


(see link at end)…Lenin “suffered for the Bolshevik cause”, when he was imprisoned in a tsarist jail for a brief period in the early years of Bolshevism, but he avoided the kind of danger that Stalin or the other revolutionaries endured. When Lenin was exiled to Siberia, he was still able to marry Krupskaya in a church when “forced” to do so by his mother-in-law. But “exile” under the tsars was very different to being “sent to count the birches” (the trees on the way to the Siberian slave camps) under Lenin or Stalin.

Lenin was a coward, running from demonstrations, his skull glistening in the sunlight. On the night of the October revolution, he disguised himself in a wig and catnapped on the floor of Trotsky’s room while Trotsky was left to deal with the messy business. Lenin was a bourgeois Puritan who was terrified of becoming obsessed by anything but politics. He gave up ice-skating, chess and listening to Beethoven because he loved them so much. He tells Armand while she is playing the Apassionata to him, “When I come to power, I may have to ban Beethoven. His compositions move me to the depths of my being. A politician must never be moved deeply by anything but politics, otherwise he’ll forget that his job is to bang people on the head.”

The Soviet archives reveal that the famous “sealed train” that brought Lenin, his wife and his mistress home to Russia after the fall of the Tsar was the result of Lenin’s treason. Lenin made a secret deal with the Germans, who provided him with the train and who used him, in Martov’s words, “as a revolutionary cancer to destroy Russia’s stability by providing you with all that money – and God knows what else – on their train”. Read More:http://www.newstatesman.com/node/138854

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