In his fascinating piece, ‘The Foundations of Leninism’, Stalin decisively claims Lenin’s heritage against the arrogant quirkiness of Trotsky. Among other gems is what Stalin calls the ‘Leninist style in work’. Now what does that mean?

It has two specific features:
a) Russian revolutionary sweep and
b) American efficiency.
The style of Leninism consists in combining these two specific features in Party and state work. Russian revolutionary sweep is an antidote to inertia, routine, conservatism, mental stagnation and slavish submission to ancient traditions. Russian revolutionary sweep is the life giving force which stimulates thought, impels things forward, breaks the past and opens up perspectives. Without it no progress is possible. But Russian revolutionary sweep has every chance of degenerating in practice into empty “revolutionary” Manilovism if it is not combined with American efficiency in work.

American efficiency … is an antidote to “revolutionary” Manilovism and fantastic scheme concocting. American efficiency is that indomitable force which neither knows nor recognises obstacles; which with its business-like perseverance brushes aside all obstacles; which continues at a task once started until it is finished, even if it is a minor task; and without which serious constructive work is inconceivable. But American efficiency has every chance of degenerating into narrow and unprincipled practicalism if it is not combined with Russian revolutionary sweep.

Works, volume 6, pp. 194-95

Lenin subbotnik

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