Lukács as Leninist
This chapter briefly considers the relationship between Lukács, the outstanding Marxist philosopher, and Lenin, the outstanding Marxist political figure. Classical Marxism, which was invented by Engels, is anti-Hegelian. Not surprisingly, views of the relationship between Lukács and Lenin differ. There is a basic difference between Marxist philosophy and Marxist politics. I will be suggesting there is a deep tension between Lukács’ philosophical Hegelian Marx interpretation and Lenin’s political version of Marxist orthodoxy. This tension is later partially covered up by Lenin’s philosophical turn to Hegel, hence to a Hegelian view of Marx he never worked out, as well as by Lukács’ turn, after the invention of Hegelian Marxism, to Marxist political orthodoxy. Classical Marxism is based philosophically on an anti-Hegelian reading of Marx invented by Engels and defended by a long series of later Marxists. Lukács made his breakthrough to an anti-Marxist Hegelian reading of Marx in ‘HCC.’ Lukács’ Hegelian interpretation of Marx led him to criticize Engels in that book and throughout his later writings. After ‘HCC,’ he remained faithful to his most important philosophical insights in continuing to defend and to develop Marxian Hegelianism. Yet beginning in his little book on Lenin, he accepted the political hegemony of Leninism suggested in the Leninist political concept of partyness. From a political angle of vision, in virtue of his acceptance of Marxist political hegemony, Lukács is a political but not a philosophical Leninist. But he is certainly not a Leninist in an unqualified sense. Under the influence of Engels and Plekhanov, Lenin initially adopted an anti-Hegelian approach before his later conversion to Hegelianism in the Philosophical Notebooks. Suffice it to say that as a philosopher, Lukács is neither a Leninist nor an anti-Leninist. He is rather the single most important Marxist philosopher, who, in formulating Hegelian Marxism, simultaneously refutes classical anti-Hegelian Marxism while inventing Western Marxism.