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 i ek 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,' i ek 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.
Slavoj i ek is a senior researcher at the institute of Sociology, University of Ljubljana. His books include The Sublime Object of Ideology, The Plague of Fantasies, The Ticklish Subject, Welcome to the Desert of the Real and most recently Iraq: The Borrowed Kettle