Lenin on Writing

I am against non-partisan writing, and, not altogether randomly, want to refer to Lenin to support this, where he writes:

“Down with non-partisan writers. Down with literary supermen. Literature must become part of the common cause of the proletariat” (Lenin 1905 Party Organisation and Party Literature).

In a way that long anticipates the post-structuralist interest in the political importance of the structures of information dissemination, Lenin wrote in 1905 that:

literature must by all means necessary become an element of … party work … Newspapers must become the organs of the various party organisations, and their writers must by all means become members of these organisations. Publishing and distributing centres, bookshops and reading rooms, libraries and similar establishments — must all come under party control (Lenin 1905 Party Organisation and Party Literature – emphasis added)

Still earlier Lenin had placed the founding of the party newspaper at the beginning of the project of founding a party:

“We can and must immediately set about founding the party organ — and, it follows, the Party itself — and putting them on a sound footing” (Lenin 1899 An Urgent Question).

In this text Lenin says that discussion and haphazard or eclectic communist work is ‘amateurish’ when it is not all organised in “such a way that it is reflected in its entirety in one common organ” (Lenin 1899). The whole of What is to be done? takes this up in detail. Lenin offers a deconstruction, or rather demolition, of the arguments of the ‘opportunists’ who opposed the founding of Iskra. The need for such a ‘common’ forum, of course in no way implies the homogenisation of all communist work into the one mold (as if this would be desirable, possible or meaningful at all). But it does demand organisation and discipline.

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