The Future of Lenin

Power, Politics, and Revolution in the Twenty-First Century

Edited by Alla Ivanchikova & Robert R. Maclean

Subjects: Political Theory, Radical History, Cultural Studies, Literary History, Marxism
Hardcover : 9781438488073, 375 pages, July 2022
Paperback : 9781438488066, 375 pages, January 2023

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Table of contents


Introduction: Does Lenin Have a Future?
Alla Ivanchikova

Part I: Lenin, Our Contemporary?

1. Rejecting Lenin for the Left
David J. Ost

2. What Is Leninist Thinking?
Jodi Dean

3. We're All (Romantic) Socialists: Lenin and the Struggle with Economic Romanticists Then and Now
Christian Sorace and Kai Heron

4. Whither the State? Steve Bannon, the Alt‑Right, and Lenin's State and Revolution
Alexandar Mihailovic

5. Saving the Vanguard: Lenin's Military Metaphors Today
Daniel Egan

Part II: Centering the Black Leninist Tradition

6. Elaborations of Leninism: Self-Determination and the Tradition of Radical Blackness
Charisse Burden‑Stelly

7. Black Leninist Internationalism: The Anticolonial Center
Robert R. Maclean

8. Lenin and East African Marxism: Abdul Rahman Mohamed Babu and Dani Wadada Nabudere
Zeyad el Nabolsy

Part III: The Actuality of Lenin's Theory

9. "Withering Away": State, Revolution, and Social Objectivity
Giovanni Zanotti

10. Lenin and the Materialist Critique of Law
Camila Vergara

11. Facing the Test: The Leninist Party as Proctor
Derek R. Ford

12. The Production of "Leninism" and Its Political Journeys
Zhivka Valiavicharska

13. Looking for Lenin in Bishkek
Text and Photos: Johann Salazar and Hjal(mar) Jorge Joffre‑Eichhorn

About the Editors

Essays that argue in favor of Lenin's continuing relevance for twenty-first century politics and thought.


Situated in a particular historical moment marked by the violent crises of capitalism—the rise of the alt-right, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Black Lives Matter movement—The Future of Lenin collects essays by an international cohort of scholars to assert Lenin's relevance for twenty-first-century politics and thought. Taking different and sometimes opposing vantage points on Lenin's value for the future, the contributions to this volume reveal an unexpected Lenin, one who escapes the stale Cold War-era discourse of demonization and hagiography. Instead, the future-oriented Lenin in these pages comes to life as our contemporary: an interlocutor who is surprisingly relevant for Black and anticolonial struggles in the US and beyond; for building the new Left; and for assessing Bernie Sanders' movement as well as alt-right anti-statism. In short, Lenin's concrete development of Marxism for his historical conditions may yet offer lessons for revolutionaries to come.

Alla Ivanchikova is Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Robert R. Maclean is an independent scholar.


"As an interdisciplinary and globally oriented text, The Future of Lenin provides nuance and complexity to a subject typically met with reductive thinking, ahistorical speculation, and ideological dismissal or praise. The contributions to this edited volume span the fields of political science, literary studies, cultural studies, education, rhetoric, and history, all while reaching beyond the academy to include activists and independent scholars. Unique to the volume, Alla Ivanchikova and Robert Maclean center revolutionary movements beyond the Euro-American spheres of influence by highlighting Black Leninist thinking and action both on the African continent and beyond. " — Jasmine Noelle Yarish, University of the District of Columbia