Anti-futurism, diplomacy and grog: Lenin’s management style

I have one more night of reading Lenin, the last section of volume 45, which is full of telegrams and telephone conversations as Lenin rapidly worked himself to death in the new Soviet state.

First, in response to Lunacharsky’s championing of futurism, Lenin writes:

Comrade Pokrovsky:

Again and again, I request you to help us fight futurism, etc

Could you find some reliable anti-futurists?

CW 45: 139.

On the best form of diplomacy in relation to the British:

I think we should make a strict application of the ‘eye for an eye’ rule to British representatives. Pedantically: treat them just as badly and a little worse.

CW 45: 289.

On shit:

The fact is that our Party suffers terribly from the abominable shit of our administrative apparatus.

CW 45: 143.

And grog – in relation to my discussion of ‘spiritual booze’:

Comrade Kiselyov, Chairman of the Narrow C.P.C.

I wrote you concerning A. P. Smirnov’s memo that I resolutely object to any waste of potatoes on making alcohol, and said that alcohol could and should be made of peat.

Take all measures to accelerate in every way the starting of the experimental plant to make alcohol from peat— the former Givartovsky yeast plant in Moscow.

I strongly object to Smirnov’s proposal that we should pay the peasants in alcohol for their potatoes. If Smirnov insists, let him take the matter to the C.C.

CW 45, p. 324.

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Quote of the day: Hegel, pearls and the realities of the farm

One of the great consistent themes in Lenin’s works is agriculture, peasants, ‘down-to-earth’ parables and analogies … and farmyard shit:

Hegelian dialectics – that pearl which those farmyard cocks [insert names of philosophers here] could not pick out from the shit-heap of absolute idealism.

Lenin, Collected Works, vol 14, p. 243.