And it makes an interesting summary of the situation for the mass of people as ideologically restricted.
It is one of Krausz’s strongest virtues, that his book clarifies the overarching focus of Lenin's politics: the need to change the patterns of everyday life, combined with the ability to project political force on all levels of the class struggle, but especially on the level most directly shaping ideological space (what I am calling a general descriptor of the patterns of everyday life shaped by the effects of hegemony).
To think of the patterns of daily life means to think politics in terms of the flows of time and space, and their connection to political force
(power). In terms of the everyday, Henri Lefebvre very incisively wrote that, to not have power means to live "inside a narrow time scale, with no understanding of what time is, not because they (the proletariat) are stupid, but because they are unaware. They do not understand time (because they are immersed in it)” 13
Political oppression extends over social space and time, and thus actualized across class lines, casting profound effects on the temporal dimension of our lives.
This narrowing of time can be experienced in different ways, but the common thread is the general limiting of the temporal horizon of the imaginary: less time and emphasis in abstract concept formation, less formed knowledge on daily events in their political totality (due to lack of ability and practice for/in abstract thought), less thinking about the future, a narrowing of historical sense to that which is now immediately in front of me. The reduction of life, in other words, to its bare, most immediate functions necessary for physical reproduction. The reduction of thinking from the rich complexities inherent in our abilities as humans, to simplistic, mechanical mutterings, internalized from the oppressor and its technologies of subject-formation. To think requires time, as many have written since Aristotle, and this specific use of time is what is most restricted for the proletariat. 14
Here, Krausz excels in his clarification of Lenin’s often-discussed and criticized
emphasis on the practical need to expand the political horizon of the proletariat "from without”. Contrary to worn-out critiques, “from without”
does not mean the importing of revolutionary politics “from outside the proletariat”, as an expression of snobbish political elitism by a self-chosen “few”, but an intervention aiming to disrupt the closed loop of narrow time
as the temporal experience of everyday life on the level of thought. Lenin's
emphasis on “from without” means from outside the narrow time and space
of internalized bourgeois ideology, optimized (i.e. simplified and dumbed down) for the proletariat, and consigning it to living with less knowledge of 15 time is what is most restricted for the proletariat.
the present (to follow Lefebvre again), and less thinking about the future
It seemed interesting also in part as there seemed to be great emphasis on changing cultural artifacts such as street names, creating statues and symbols to be part of everyday life.
So whilst some warn that tearing down statues and renaming buildings from slave owners or proslavery figures is insufficient, it seems to be an interesting point of conflict about the ideological space of society.
In the article it examines post-soviet Ukraine and the tearing down of the statues of Lenin and wonders why this is significant and what its implications are.
He asserts by changing such symbols/representations one can change the transference of meaning through generations and thus narrow or extend the temporal sense of an ideology.
It makes me think to Andy Blunden and Alisdair MacIntyre in their cultural historical thinking: So there are individuals who live a lifetime, social practices which extend through generations and then there are traditions which are across history. Where as there is emphasis on statues I wonder about the actual practices of people rather than necessarily a statue they don’t give much mind to.
But such objects are important to the continuation of meaning as ideas not objectified and sustained as part of common life become irrelevant.
What it makes me think of also is how spaces and practices such as unions and their regular meetings/activities is an example where there is a space for counter hegemonic tendencies to challenge and offer an alternative to dominant and spontaneous ideological presumptions.
Its not enough to argue ones points, one must construct the continuation of ideas and thought otherwise ones ideas die with them. Many a inspired idea of schooling has existed in the US but never lasted more than a generation as they were unable to secure allies or followers of a next generation to continue them.
So activism isn’t merely struggle but about creating the new means of association that sustains itself even in family upbringing.
One might have had formative experiences of being exposed to certain views and values from family that express in them a political orientation even if it wasn’t explicit to you at the time.
I guess the sentiment here is that “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”
What do you make of this sentiment and the objectification of counter ideology to dominant views? Does it hold any truth or does it seem a bitta bullshit?
- Andy Blunden