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Revolution at the Gates: Selected Writings of Lenin from 1917by Vladimir Lenin
Synopses & Reviews
On September 11, 2001, a central critique of missile defence — that it will be futile against the lowest-tech and most likely type of attack against the United States — was brought home with terrible force. Yet the programme continues, as it has in one form or another, regardless of political or material conditions, consuming $133 billion over the past fifty years. In a book that combines travelogue and technological assessment, political history and polemic, JoAnn Wypijewski visits some of the places where National Missile Defense lives a real life, where it is tested and researched, and where America's exercise of empire on earth meets its ambitions for space.<P>Across the geography of missile defense — from Huntsville, Alabama, to California's Central Coast, to the cliffs of O'ahu, to Kwajalein atoll in the Marshall Islands — Wypijewski excavates a history of dispossession, of imperial fantasies made real. From the Marshall Islands, she presents pictures of an American suburb serviced by a slum, of some of the world's most sophisticated technology existing offshore from a cholera ward, of a native culture hammered for the sake of a military programme that 'works' only to the extent that it keeps itself going. This is a story of Star Wars quite unlike any other. It argues that the system is best understood not through its expense, faulty tests or political machinations, but through its claims on space, in the history and lives of people on earth.
Lenin's writings of 1917 are testament to a formidable political figure. They reveal his ability to grasp the significance of an extraordinary moment in history. In this work, Slavoj Zizek situates the 1917 writings in their historical context.
The idea of a Lenin renaissance might well provoke an outburst of sarcastic laughter. Marx is OK, but Lenin? Doesn’t he stand for the big catastrophe which left its mark on the entire twentieth century?
Lenin, however, deserves more profound consideration than this, and his writings of 1917 are testament to a formidable political figure, revealing as they do his ability to grasp the significance of an extraordinary moment in history. Everything is here, from Lenin-the-ingenious-revolutionary strategist to Lenin-of-the-enacted-utopia. To use Kierkegaard’s phrase, what we can glimpse in these writings is Lenin-in-becoming: not yet Lenin-the-Soviet-institution, but Lenin thrown into an open, contingent situation.
In Revolution at the Gates, Slavoj iek locates the 1917 writings in their historical context, while his extensive Afterword tackles the key question of whether Lenin can be reinvented in our era of ‘cultural capitalism,’ iek is convinced that, whatever the discussion—the forthcoming crisis of capitalism, the possibility of a redeeming violence, the falsity of liberal tolerance—Lenin’s time has come again.
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