Let this cup of revolutionary-democratic dictatorship pass from me

A couple of days I ago I had a thoroughly enjoyable, comradely and fiery discussion with a militant icon of the Left in Australia, the 70-something Carole Ferrier. In reply to her accusation that I am a pseudo-Marxist, I told her she was full of old-fashioned, economist and crude understandings of religion. I guess there are still those who feel that religion is simply an obfuscation, a mystification used by the ruling class to further its exploitation (in short, Althusser’s ‘cynical priests’).  Pity really. But it also struck me that many Marxists are perfectly happy being in opposition. Any successful revolution – of which there are many – is simply a betrayal of the ideal, romanticised revolution that never comes. This is of course a position particularly endemic among Trotskyites, even though Trotsky himself (as Lunacharsky noted) always acted with one eye on the mirror of history. Here Lenin’s criticism of the various Mensheviks, liberals and assorted others is worth remembering: ‘Away, away! Let this cup of revolutionary-democratic dictatorship pass from me!’ (Collected Works, vol. 8, p. 288).

Of course, on saying farewell, I gave a Carole a hug and said ‘Keep the faith!’ She growled and said, ‘I ain’t got no f&@kin’ faith’. Love her all the same.


12 thoughts on “Let this cup of revolutionary-democratic dictatorship pass from me

  1. If only the priests knew what they were doing – but I suspect it’s normally the case that self-delusion precedes deluding others.

    There’s an interesting debate along these lines about Rechtsgeschichte, between Bernard Levinson (“the priests are cynical”) and Eckart Otto (“the priests are self-deluded”).

    1. And did you call me “crude”? “Crude”? I mean, that’s fine, but get your sights off that cynical-priest strawman before you come at that caper again, Mister.

  2. A most-important correction is required here, Roland: Carole Ferrier is mid-60s, not 70-something 🙂

  3. I always check in on your blog daily and followed your -reading Lenin- posts with pleasure and learned quite a bit. But, it’s Trotskyists, not “Trotskyites.”

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