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'Socialist in Form, National in Content'. the National-International Relation in the Ideological Economy of Romantic Leninism

'Socialist in Form, National in Content'. the National-International Relation in the Ideological Economy of Romantic Leninism

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Published by Emanuel Copilaș

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Published by: Emanuel Copilaș on Jan 30, 2013
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Valahian Journal of Historical Studies, ISSN: 1584-2525 Vol. 17 (August 2012), pp. 5-42 
‘Socialist in form, national in content’? The ‘national-international relation’ in the ideological economy of romantic Leninism
Emanuel COPILA
 
Keywords:
revolutionary workers democracy, socialist ethics, education, revolutionary socialist patriotism, democratic centralism, personality cult, socialist economy 
 Abstract
The present paper tries to bring forward an ideological reinterpretation of the Romanian communist ideology from the „golden age”. „Romantic Leninism” implies an apparently incompatible ideological hybridity between Leninism, Romanticism and even Fascism, endemic with reference to the other communist regimes from Eastern Europe and even the whole world. Without neglecting its international manifestations, the accent lies here on several concepts considered to be the theoretical backbone of what I have named romantic Leninism. Following the analysis of the ideological structure of romantic Leninism,this part of the paper deals with Nicolae Ceau 
 Ю
escu’s personality cult and the particular type of socialist economy implemented during his leadership, both underlined by the heroic-romantic ideal of „building socialism”. On the whole, I intend to prove that romantic Leninism represented, under different appearances, a unified assault over the „bourgeois” conscience of Romanian society, in the attempt of replacing it with another type of conscience, that of the well-known „new man”, robotized and following exclusively the party’s goals, which he accepts as his own.
Romantic Leninism. A brief introduction
adiating from Moscow, the Leninist ideology was absorbed by EastEuropean communist regimes in different forms and intensities. Somehave adopted it uncritically, without processing it, like in the case of Eastern Germany; others have followed it integrally in foreign policy in order toobtain a certain space of maneuver in domestic policy (Hungary), while states likesocialist Romania fully obeyed its forms of manifestation and only partially its contentin domestic policy, while considerably distancing themselves from Moscow’s political-ideological directives in international relations. Romantic Leninism, the main topic of this paper, represents a unique ideological combination consisting in Leninist,Romantic, Fascist or nationalist elements. It appeared more or less with NicolaeCeauescu’s rise to power, but it certainly does not equate his thinking, including social tendencies, mentalities, bureaucratic inertias and ideological fidelities with amuch larger application framework. The ideological components of romantic
*
Assistant, University of Timisoara, e-mail: copilasemanuel@yahoo.com.
 
 Emanuel Copila 
 Ю
Leninism, although contradictory, manage to coexist and even reciprocally potentiatethemselves, the result being a schizoid ideology in whose theoretical texture one canfind modern or ultramodern conceptualizations (Leninist ones, like the orientationtowards future as a legitimizing source for the present or exacerbated positivism, theregime considering it has the scientific mission to lead Romania on the road of ‘building socialism’, but also fascist ideas, Fascism being on its turn a modernphenomenon, and here we could include the diminishing role of the party in relationto that of the leader, xenophobic discourses or the affinities for military theories andactivities), respectively pre or antimodern conceptualizations (romanticism exemplifiedtrough the cult of heroism or the exaggerated nationalism through which the regimetried to mobilize the apathetic population, purging it in the same time of its‘bourgeois’ or ‘counterrevolutionary’ categories).
1
 
 Aspects regarding the ideological content of romantic Leninism
Confronted with the danger of dismemberment for the young Soviet statedue to its centrifugal nationalist forces, Lenin advanced the formula ‘national in form,socialist in content’, a compromise through which the cultural and nationalparticularities of the Soviet republics, the former Tsarist provinces, were recognizedalong with their economic, social and political transformation according with the mainideas of the Bolshevik revolution.
2
Referring to Ceauescu’s Romania, GeorgeSchöpflin considers that the Leninist desideratum had metamorphosed so much untilit became ‘socialist in form’ and ‘national in content’.
3
No matter how percussive thisexpression, I argue that it does not fully reflect the ideological content of romanticLeninism. On short, Leninism, in its post-revolutionary form,
4
was never inferior toFascistic nationalism, even if sometimes its visibility was lower; within romanticLeninism, nationalism and Leninism have approximately the same share. The attemptof comparing them can only provide disappointing results.Next, we shall shortly analyze the main political concepts of romanticLeninism, respectively their international equivalents. We will start with ‘revolutionary 
1
I widely analyze romantic Leninism in my doctoral thesis entitled
Geneza leninismului romantic. O perspectiv 
Ĉ 
 teoretic 
Ĉ 
asupra orient 
Ĉ 
rii interna 
 а 
ionale a comunismului românesc, 1948-1989 
, defended in December 2011 at theBabe-Bolyai University.
2
Emanuel Copila “The «Moscow centre» and its peripheries: an ideological overview of the Soviet’sUnion difficulties as a multinational state”,
Political studies forum 
, 1 (2009): 113-146.
3
George Schöpflin “Gorbachev, Romania and «Leninist nationalities policiy»”,
Background Report. Eastern  Europe 
, no. 96, 12 June, Arhiva 1989, 3.
4
I have advanced, in the article Counter-idea of the 20th century. Varieties of Leninism in Soviet andpost-Soviet Russia, under review at Communist and Post-Communist Studies, a typology of SovietLeninism as it follows: revolutionary Leninism (classical), post-revolutionary Leninism (Stalinism),Europeanized Leninism (Khrushchevism), systemic Leninism, (Brezhnevism) and post-Bolshevik Leninism (Gorbachevism). Without entering into details, I consider the first three types as revolutionary,in the sense that, in different degrees, appreciated the global revolution as unavoidable and acted, indifferent ways, for its reification, while at the last two types the revolutionary substance disappears, in thefirst case because of using strict political means and of the slow renunciation of ideology (globalrevolution) in the relations with ‘imperialism’, and in the last case due to the repudiation of the Bolshevik dimension of Leninism, of the ‘democratic centralism’ which instituted the infallibility of the communistparty and its role as the unique guide of the revolutionary process.
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