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Hannah Arendt, Leninism, &the Disappearance of Authority Author(s): Robert C. Mayer Reviewed work(s): Source: Polity, Vol. 24, No. 3 (Spring, 1992), pp. 399-416 Published by: Palgrave Macmillan Journals Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3235162 . Accessed: 18/01/2013 01:26
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however.Hannah Arendt.She claims that these "totalitarian"regimesare the most radicalmanifestationof the disappearance of authorityin the modernage.e. to changeand transformitself with ever-increasing rapidityfrom one shape into anwith a Proteanuniverse. This article. moral authority." RobertMayer is AssistantProfessor of Political Scienceat Loyola Universityin Chicago. 1968).contends that the earlysocialist movementwas concernedabout the modern crisis of authorityand that the type of authorityArendt describes the part in Lenin's theory. whichindeedsince then has begunto shift. "What is Authority?"in BetweenPast and Future(New York: Penguin."' other. & the Disappearanceof Authority Robert C. Polity Polity XXIV. as thoughwe werelivingand struggling 1.authorityhad servedto stabilize the worldby preserving foundationsof the body politic and by tying the a people back to its beginning." Its disintegration the in modernage. 91.. HannahArendtmakes the startlingclaim that "authorityhas vanishedfrom the modernworld.authorityhas in fact reemerged preciselythose regimesthat Arendt calls "anti-authoritarian.A relatedarticleon HannahArendt and National Socialismappearedrecentlyin the Reviewof Politics. however. and gavethe worldthe permanence whichhumanbeingsneedprecisely becausethey are mortalsdurability the most unstableand futilebeingswe knowof. Leninism."Authority. Number3 1992 Spring 1992 Spring This content downloaded on Fri. In BetweenPast and Future.was "tantamountto the loss of the groundwork of the world."In premodern societies. 18 Jan 2013 01:26:27 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . plays an important in authorconcludes. as a principleof political organization.Number Volume 3 Volume XXIV.Farfrom disappearing. Mayer Loyola Universityin Chicago HannahArendt arguesthat the socialist regimesthat came into existence in this centuryshould not be describedas "authoritarian" becausethey have dispensedwith "authority.restingon a foundationin the past as its unshakencornerstone. HannahArendt." and she argues that its disappearance resultedin "the loss of worldlypermanence had and reliability. 95."i.pp.
Arendtfailedto see the differencebetweenMarx'sprojectand Lenin's. 83. Hannah Arendt. but aimed instead to set the world in motion and to keep it moving. which are "movements in themselves. 113. C. 3. HannahArendt. Indeed.5 A more careful examinationof Leninism.was a prime example-emerged "against a of background a more or less general.pp. 59-66.400 The Disappearance Authority of of Symptomaticof the disappearance authority. These totalitarianor proto-totalitarian movements-of whichMarxism.p.. (Cambridge: University This content downloaded on Fri."and they fed on the resultingimpermanence. Ibid. pp." Marxismin bilizing theory and Bolshevismin practicehad substitutedthe laws of history.its strikingly 2. 4.2These movementsturnedaway from the project of foundation in and embraced historicalnecessityand "the elementof motioninherent the doctrineof necessity.Unlike Marx. revealsjust the of opposite.however.I redeployArendt'sconceptof authorityto make sense "orthodox"characof an importantfeatureof Bolshevism. 1977). Lenin sought to preservethe work of the "founder" (Marx)by creatingan "authoritarian" party.ed."4Bolshevism was an "antiauthoritarian"movement precisely because it did not seek to lay a for groundwork the world but wantedsocietyinsteadto evolvein accordance with the dialecticof history.more or less dramaticbreakdown of all traditionalauthorities. and he thereforeestablishedan authority(the Party)to groundthe movement WhileMarxdenied backto its foundingprinciples. was the emergence political"movements"in the nineteenth of centurywhich soughtnot to found a body politic and recreatea principleof authority." In placeof the higherlaws or era foundingprincipleswhichhad servedin the premodern as "the stasourceof authorityfor the actionsof mortalman. On Revolution(New York:Penguin.p. In this article. 96-100.1973). 1958). 463.Arendt claims. and especiallyBolshevism. "Whatwas Authority?"in Nomos I: Authority."3Arendtinsists that behind "the Bolsheviks' belief in class struggleas the expressionof the law of historylies Marx's notion of societyas the productof a gigantichistoricalmovementwhich racesaccordingto its own law of motion.it is my contention that a vibrantexperienceof "authority"in Arendt's sense of the term arose out of Lenin'sattemptto preservethe "foundations"of the socialistmovement. 91-92.Whilethereis an elementof truthin the interpretation Marx as a thinkerhostileto foundationand authority. Friedrich Harvard Press. 18 Jan 2013 01:26:27 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . The Origins of Totalitarianism (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. HannahArendt. Lenin was troubledby the instability and impermanence("spontaneity") of the labor movement. 5. andtie the proletariat the need for foundations.
her conceptrefersto an individualwho is thoughtto possess moral or intellectualauthority. HannahArendt.which presupposes equalityand works througha Wherearguments used."7 To use a common philosophicaldistinction. 7. I uncoverthe anti-democratic I. The first section describesArendt'sconcept of authorityin greater detail." in Crisesof the Republic(New York: Harcourt BraceJovanovich. of section. "On Violence." i. Arendt.pp. For a good description Arendt'sconof cept of authoritysee PatriciaBowen-Moore."in Conceptsin Socialand PoliticalPhilosophy. the second briefly shows that there is no trace of authorityor foundationalismin Marx's theory.ed. 18 Jan 2013 01:26:27 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .She insists that we must distinguishcarefully betweendifferentmethodsof politicalcoordination: Since authorityalways demandsobedience. authorityis of argumentation. are process left in abeyance.whereforce is used. is incompatible with persuasion. This content downloaded on Fri. 135-42. of course.p. In the final character Arendtianauthority.HannahArendt's Philosophyof Natality (New York:St. Mayer 401 ter. Flathman Philosophy. Martin'sPress. When Arendt declaredthat authorityhad vanished from the modern world she did not mean.1973).RobertC.8 Arendtwas quickto point out that Yet thereare differentkinds of moral authority. Richard (New York:Macmillan. that governmentitself or legitimate power had disappeared. it is commonly mistaken for some form of poweror violence. the third part demonstratesthe importanceof authorityand foundationto Lenin'sproject. Forthisdistinction Richard see "Onthe Conceptof Authority Political in Friedman.and that she was interested only in that type which is specificallypolitical.pp. Authority.6 Those with authorityrely on neither persuasionnor coercion but win "unquestioning"deferencebecause they are thought to possess some superiorqualitywhich makes their views "authoritative.on the other hand. authority itself has failed.e. "Whatis Authority?"pp.Yet authorityprecludes the use of externalmeansof coercion. 121-46.. 1989). 92-93. 144. 8. In her essay "What is Authority?" she argues that Plato tried to introducea kind of moral authorityinto Greekpolitics-the authorityof the expertwho possesses specialtechnicalknowledge-but this type of authorityarisesnot out of 6.1969).Arendt is referringspecificallyto one who is "an authority"but who need not be "in authority.
to those vested with the formal power to decide. but he drew on the non-political sphere of the family for his concept of authority. pp. pp.To be the engagedin politicsmeantfirst and foremostto preserve foundof the city of Rome. p. Ibid. See Hannah Arendt.but this introduces the violenceof fabricationinto politics and leads to domination. and this advice consistedof its judgment as to whetherthe laws proposedconformedto the foundationor constitutionof the city. and therefore has disastrous consequenceswhen appliedto the publicrealm.The authorityof the philosopher-kingis modelledon the authorityof the craftsman.Eachgeneration understood be bound to a commonprojectinitiatedby the founders.Insteadthe Senate merelyoffered its auctoritas patrum. Aristotle did something similar. 118-19. She claimsthat At the heartof Romanpolitics. from the beginningof the republic until virtuallythe end of the imperialera. This content downloaded on Fri.10 ing To createa communityand its publicspaceis a politicalact. for potestas and imperium belonged to the peo- ple and their elected magistrates. Ibid. Arendt. "What is Authority?" pp. was The type of authorityto whichArendtrefers(auctoritas) specifically Roman in origin and grew out of a politicalact of foundation. 194-95. but at Rome this originalaction was understoodto be constitutiveof all subsequent action so that everypoliticalinitiativethereafterhad to be tied back to to was the first act or foundation.this quality does not dependon age (the authorityof the parent)or technicalknowledge (the authorityof the expert).402 The Disappearance Authority of political action but fabrication. 1958). The RomanSenatewas composedof the fathers 9.9 While the authoritiesabout whom Arendtspoke win deferencebecause they possess some specialqualitywhich commandsrespect. 120. The Roman Senatewas said to lack the formal power to make laws for the community. the Senate. 18 Jan 2013 01:26:27 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .in the sensethat once somethinghas been founded it remainsbindingfor all futuregenerations.Auctoritaswas rootedin this conceptionof foundationas a bindingproject. 108-12.Arendtnotedthat the Romans distinguished between auctoritas and potestas. The Greek conception of foundation differed from the Roman because it was based on fabrication. standsthe convictionof of the sacredness foundation. and that auctoritas was lodged in a specific institution. not action. authority and power.. its authoritative advice or counsel. The Human Condition (Chicago: University of Chicago Press.. 10.
the natureof auctoritas FritzFurst.p. Authorityin the ancientworldwas thereforeintimatelylinkedto traditionand religion.one also needed extensivepolitical and military On i. members of the most august families of the city.. See also Arendt. a kindof practical Lebender romischen Die Bedeutung Auctoritasimprivatenund offentlichen der Republik Hamel. "by virtue of auctoritas.. "What is Authority?"pp. 120-25.pp.Lex Publica: Gestzt und Recht in der (Marburg: romischen Republik(Berlin:Walterde Gruyter. 18 Jan 2013 01:26:27 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions ." This content downloaded on Fri.In the Res was by Gestae(section34) Augustusdeclared that afterthe civil wars"I excelledall in auctoritas. permanence and change were tied together. and Arendt argues that the specific function of the authorities was to advise the community about how it could adapt to changing circumstances and yet remain true to its founding principles. 14. the ancestors whose only claim to authority in the body politic was precisely that they had founded it. but the authorities offered counsel about how to make these changes an augmentation of the original founding instead of an entirely new act. Those with auctoritas did not possess any special technical knowledge but were simply those who were tied back to the ancestors and who represented their counsel. and they held their authority because they represented." Through the Roman Senators. which preserved the original act of founding by constantly calling to mind its spirit and the intentions of the founders.1975). the beginning. On Revolution.11 It was precisely auctoritas. however. the founders of the city of Rome were present.pp. "What is Authority?"p. Arendt. who as the bearer of the keys of St.12 Auctoritas is rooted in augere. 201. Peter reincarnated the ancestors (the Apostles and the early Church fathers) 11. and with them the spirit of foundation was present. Mayer 403 (patres) of the republic.Robert C. On Revolution. To become a Senator. to augment. Auctoritas appropriated theprincepsafterthe fall of the republic. and changing conditions call forth new laws and institutions. 12. the principium and principle. Arendt. experience. With the collapse of the Roman political world the locus of auctoritas shifted from the Senate (and later the princeps14)to the Catholic clergy and in particular to the Pope. 1934). or rather reincarnated."'3 Roman authority helped to stabilize the public realm by connecting the present to the past and all action to the firm foundation of the community. 122. Change is inevitable in the human condition. See also Arendt. see knowledge. 13. 294-322. whereby . and Jochen Bleicken. Thus. that they were the "founding fathers. no in but I possessed morepotestasthanthe otherswho weremy colleagues the magistracy. 200-01. change could only mean increase and enlargement of the old. then.e.
the proletariat to be guidedby the higherlaws of history.but used its auctoritas to guide the potestas of the princes so that they remained tied back to the founding. "Declarations of Independence: Arendt and Derrida on the Problem of Founding a Republic.16 underthe onslaughtof the most vehementand shatterpoliticalstructure of social instability"to the act of foundationand the reemergence ing in the AmericanRevolution.." The Jacobinsthought that the conspring stitutionshould flow from the will of the people. "the fateful blunderof the men of the French Revolution belief that powerand law consistedin their almostautomatic. 125-27. 18. 163. Arendtclaimsthat the "will of a multitude. 198-204. Arendt. 165. 198-200. 16. Honig. 18 Jan 2013 01:26:27 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . a structure sand. Ibid. pp. authoritywas embranchof the government-the SupremeCourtbodied in a particular whose functionit is to judge the positivelaws by the higherstandardof backto its founding the Constitutionand continuallycall the community Arendtcredited"the surprising stabilityof [the American] principles. pp. " Historisches Jahrbuch. Note that authority reemerged in America despite the decline of tradition and religion. "Auctoritas und Potestas. pp." American Political Science Review. On Revolution. 17.. On the American form of authority see B. In this instance. did not succeedin layinga foundationand givingbirthto authoritybecauseit failedto separatelaw from powerand subjectthe will of the peopleto a higherlaw. See Wilhelm Ensslin. Arendt. 85 (March 1991): 97-113. "What is Authority?" p.15 The Churchitself did not the seekto wieldthe secularswordwithinthe medievalconstitution. 185. The original act must become the absoluteto which all subsequentaction is tied back. is ever-changing defiby built on it as a foundationis built on quicknition. 74 (1955): 661-68. 140. but Arendtarguesthat for Marxand his followers"the term 'law' itself changedits meaning:from expressingthe frameworkof stability within which humanactions and motions can take place.404 The Disappearance Authority of and preserved teachingsof the founder.uncritical from the selfsame source. On Revolution. 19. in the wake of the American founding. Some have questioned whether this distinction holds for the medieval era. According to Arendt.19 is In Marxism. After the declineof traditionand religionin the modernage this experienceof authorityappeardonce more. and . This content downloaded on Fri. Arendt. "What is Authority?" pp.on the otherhand."18Stability only comes when the original act of foundation is raised above the will of the people and serves as the higher authority which guides the exerciseof power.. it becamethe 15. Arendt.17 authority The FrenchRevolution... but this made the law subjectto the will and defeatedthe attemptto lay a stable foundation.
. but he did not think that a "constitution" (class consciousness) could be laid down at the beginning of the movement and for all time.and BikhuParekh.21 For Marx." Marx added that "in the struggle ." it is "not yet for itself. and these in turn would guide future practice. On Arendt'smisinterpretation Marx see W.ed. she was right that Marx was not interested in the project of foundation." in HannahArendt: The Recoveryof the Public World. 21. The interests it defends become class interests. Arendt.. KarlMarxand Friedrich and Engels. 73 (October1962):47-55. Mayer 405 expression of the motion itself. What the proletariat would be and what it would create could not be fixed for all time in advance of the movement. and although "this mass is thus already a class as against capital." a process of self-development by the proletariat." The Marxists explicitly rejected the attempt to lay foundations or to make the law a fixed point. 18 Jan 2013 01:26:27 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . 20. Suchting."22 Marx believed that the class could only become constituted gradually through its own action. 260. M. he argued that the proletariat starts as a dispersed mass in bourgeois society without an identity or consciousness of itself as a class. this mass becomes united. interpret Alvin Gouldner. Hill (New York:St.The TwoMarxisms(New York:SeaburyPress. 22. and constitutes itself as a class for itself. In The Poverty of Philosophy. 1980). The point was not to lay a foundation but to move forward and overcome outdated conceptions and forms of organization. Martin'sPress. As Arendt notes. "HannahArendt'sCritiqueof Marx. This content downloaded on Fri. Certainly Marx believed that the working class must become "constituted" to achieve liberation."Ethics.6:211. The Originsof Totalitarianism.pp. 177(emphasis added). and that for this reason its "constitution" could never be fixed or permanent. 464. pp." II. but would arise precisely out of the selfmovement and will necessarily evolve with further struggle and motion."Marxand Hannah of Arendt's The Human Condition. the socialist movement was indeed a "movement.Onthis issuesee thoughtis deterministic. Practice would shape an identity and goals.Whilethereis evidencein Marx'swork for Arendt's determinist of interpretation the "laws of history. "the only thing that counts in a movement is precisely that it keeps itself in constant motion.of praxis. A. 1975-). 67-100.CollectedWorks (London:Lawrence Wishart. 1979). While much of Hannah Arendt's interpretation of Karl Marx is problematic."20 As a movement Marxism is therefore fundamentally "anti-authoritarian." I do not believethat the tenor of his I Marxas a theoristof action.Robert C.
Collected Works. but the people make the constitution. dance here!23 An immutable foundation and "religious" reverence for the beginning would only impede this process of forward movement. . insisting that "the constitution does not make the people. . The young Marx was dismissive of Hegel's fear of the unmediated democratic will. The constitution is in appearance what it is in reality: the free creation of man. Ibid.. 18 Jan 2013 01:26:27 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . for it collapses law into power and makes the people sovereign..406 The Disappearance of Authority Marx's rejection of fixed foundations was captured in the first pages of The Eighteenth Brumaire. Indeed. 5:49. 11:107. The constitution is thus posited as the people's own creation. not a state of affairs to be established.. or to place a law or constitution above the will of the class. Marx rejected the project of foundation precisely because his politics grew directly out of the radical democratic tradition of the French Revolution. 24. criticize themselves constantly.."24 This refusal to construct foundations." In democracy the constitution itself appears only as one determining characteristic of the people. and indeed as its self-determination. We call communism the real movement that abolishes the present state of things. . 3:29. Marx declared that "communism is . is also apparent in Marx's comments on the seizure of power. which was hostile to constitutionalism. recoil again and again from the indefinite prodigiousness of their own aims. . In the early Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right. This content downloaded on Fri. After all.. and the conditions themselves cry out: Here is the rose.25 Marx argued that the constitution must be a direct expression of the popular will. interrupt themselves continually in their own course. 25. But from Arendt's perspective this is to repeat the very mistake of the French revolutionaries. Marx observed that Proletarian revolutions . until a situation has been created which makes all turning back impossible.. Marx seemed aware of this consequence but was 23.. Ibid. Marx criticized Hegel for separating law from power and placing the constitution above the will of the people. an ideal to which reality will have to adjust itself. that it cannot be placed above the power of the democratic nation. Marx and Engels..
. 3:30-31. He therefore "reproached Camphausen for not acting dictatorially. however. He was therefore critical of the American solution precisely because it separated the constitution from the direct will of the people. 27. On Marx's concept of dictatorship see Hal Draper. 7:431. which people "enter into . 1987). But there is another reason why Marx was not interested in the act of foundation. would not have the task of restoring the old constitution but rather of breaking it. Marx sharply criticized Minister Camphausen for trying to maintain continuity between the old constitution and the new provisional regime and for refusing to act "dictatorially."28 Marx's revolutionary dictatorship was meant to reflect the will of the majority. independent of their will. and that is because he believed that the real foundation (Grundung. as well as to the project of foundation. unlike the Roman version. "foundationalism" was a subterfuge to thwart the popular will." Marx claimed that "the totality of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society.26 Because of his commitment to radical democracy Marx adhered to this position throughout his life and never recognized the need to lay foundations.. This content downloaded on Fri. Marx believed that a society in revolution is "unconstituted" and that "in any unconstituted state of affairs. Grundlage) of government lies in the relations of production. ..Robert C. the public welfare. and not this or that principle. in the midst of the German revolutionary crisis of 1848. The "Dictatorship of the Proletariat" from Marx to Lenin (New York: Monthly Review Press. what matters is only the salut public. would be temporary. and any laws or constitutions it adopted could also be changed at will. Ibid. for not immediately shattering and eliminating the remnants of old institutions. but which.." and that "the changes in the economic foundation [Grundung] lead sooner or later to the transformation 26. Indeed. Ibid. Mayer 407 not frightened by it. 7:31-32. like the Roman model. 18 Jan 2013 01:26:27 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions ." Camphausen claimed that "the new constitution evolved from the existing structure with the legal machinery offered by it without the bond which ties the old to the new being severed. For Marx. Marx was actively hostile to the constitutionalism later embraced by Arendt."27 Marx insisted. 28. Ibid. the real foundation [Basis] on which rises a legal and political superstructure." Marx favored a revolutionary "dictatorship" which. that the revolution had broken the chain of continuity and that the new constitution must be created from scratch by the revolutionary people. for he believed that the project of foundation is by nature anti-democratic.
1960-). 30. The rise and fall of these foundations is the product of historical evolution. Ryazanof skaia (Moscow:Progress. for Marx. I. and his commitment to radical democracy made him oppose constitutionalism and the attempt to place the law above the popular will. it cannot have a foundation in Arendt's sense of the term.pp.Polnoe SobranieSochinenii. the very language of Marx's materialism.408 The Disappearance of Authority of the whole immense superstructure.1970)." Law and SocietyReview. then.S. Politizdat. Lenin cannot be considered the founder of the soviets. does not predetermine the specific character of the new proletarian government but only makes its construction possible. V. This content downloaded on Fri. not conscious human action."30 But if the state is intended to be mortal and transitory."29In other words. that we do not find anything like auctoritas in Marx's theory or practice. The shape of the new regime must be worked out by the class in the course of practice. Lenin did not seek to found a state as such. Lenin adopted Engels' doctrine of the withering away of the state and therefore conceived of the dictatorship as "a state which is so constituted that it begins to wither away immediately.A Contribution the Critique PoliticalEconomy. What is more. however. The dictatorship must consciously not be founded. Like Marx. 18 Jan 2013 01:26:27 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Although his conception of the "dictatorship of the proletariat" differed from Marx's. Thus the task of the proletariat is not to found a new social order but to become aware that the old foundations are crumbling and that a new socialist foundation exists within the old walls. not animal laborans. Lenin also understood dictatorship as a radical break with the past and as an unconstituted provisional government not subject to a higher law (or even to the will of the majority).5th ed.See also PiersBeirneandAlanHunt. and cannot but wither away. as the direct action of the people. KarlMarx. And certainly in practice. and it was Lenin who helped to make the councils "wither" as autonomous bodies after the October Revolution. In short. It is not surprising.34:33-47.trans.22 (1988):576-614. we do find in Leninism an authentic experience of foun- to 29. Nevertheless. of 33:24. the foundations of a regime lie outside the sphere of action. and cannot be consciously created. Lenin. (Moscow:Gos. and then to build a new regime on this basis. He admitted that they had appeared spontaneously. The socialist foundation. 20-21. which is the language of homofaber. kept him from conceiving of the proletarian revolution as an act of foundation. "Lawandthe Constitution Soviet Society:The Case of ComradeLenin. III. in our material relations.
Ibid. 386. however. and we mustthereforeconsiderLenin'sactivityprior to the October Revolution to understandhis project."33 Accordingto Lenin.the movementof the class constituteda problem since he believedthat it would not inevitablyachievevictoryby its own effort. is able to developonly means the ideotrade-unionconsciousness"and that "trade-unionism The of the workersby the bourgeoisie.Like the classicalfounders."The workers'movementby itself was ly purelytradeunionist. .Leninasserted. 32. a per government se. Ibid. Mayer 409 dation. 18 Jan 2013 01:26:27 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . not however. were utopians who "stood asidefromthe workingclassmovement. the class movementwould perpetuatethe slaveryof the proletariat.RobertC."34But then therecame unto the people "the 31. and was not enlightened by the ad- vancedscienceof its time. tradeunioniststrivingto come underthe wing of the bourgeoisie. 5:384. the class had to be diverted from its course by an outside agent.. Becauseit was not spontaneouslysocialist. 33.. Indeed. . Indeed. Lenin.5:375. 34. CollectedWorks.conscious of its own interests. fragmented . I. Ibid. in the last decadesof the nineteenthcenturywith the formationof the workers into a consciousclass. exclusivelyby its own effort.and to bring it underthe wing of revolutionary Social-Democracy. Lenin repeatedlyclaimed movementexistedseparatethat "at firstsocialismand the working-class in all the Europeancountries. 5:384-85(Lenin'semphasis). Lenin thoughtit was necessaryto found the class before state power could be seized. V.whilesocialismgrewup amongthe radicalintelligentsia."andthe lattertherefore "remained petty. out of which auctoritasreemerges.The early socialists.Lenin thereforeconcludedthat the socialistswould have to "divert the working-classmovement from this spontaneous.Leninwas concernedto found a people (the proletariat).the movementcouldnot be left to its own motion. Lenin'sprojectbeganto divergefrom Marx'swhen at the turn of the centuryhe becameconvincedthat the workersby theirown effortswould be unable to constitutethemselvesas a class-for-itself."32 Lenin. Just as Moses foundedthe Jewishpeoplebeforethey reachedthe promisedland. WhenSoviet ideologytells the story of the RussianRevolutionit but beginsnot in 1917with the creationof the Sovietgovernment.4th ed..1960). This content downloaded on Fri.He insistedthat "the history of all countriesshows that the workingclass. 384."31 workinglogical enslavement in the direction that class movement was not spontaneouslyheading Marxhad indicated(socialism)since "the spontaneousdevelopmentof the working-classmovement leads to its subordinationto bourgeois For ideology. 4:257. (Moscow:Progress.
becausefor Lenin"the doctrinesof Marx and Engels were consideredto be the firm foundationof revolutionary Whathe was tryingto do was not to beginfrom scratchbut to theory. The foundershad laid down the originalprincipleof action which later generationsmust preserveand repeat. the Marxistone. for Lenin Social-Democracy fined not by being a movementof workersbut by possessingthe right by By ideology. The the constitutionof the class was not an act of self-determination. Ibid. 39. 37. p. Collected Works. 35.that "the emancipation the working classesmustbe conquered the workingclassesthemselves.The "constitution"of the class.LeninagreedwithMarxthat of powerbelongedto the workers. i. The Life of the Mind (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. whichis 'proletarian' definition."39 that the law of the movementarose outsidethe class and that its will or powermustbe subjectto this higherlaw."35 Lenin'smind. its class consciousness. Lenin. Arendt. Leszek Kolakowski."but unlike by Leninbelieved Marxhe did not treatthe workingclass as "sovereign. 36.For Lenin. Main Currents of Marxism (Oxford: Oxford University Press. 4:210. Lenin.she argues. 1978). was "deAs Leszek Kolakowskinotes. On Revolution.are actuallyunderstood as refoundings restorations an earlieract. Marx was the lawgiveror externalagent who had discoveredthe class consciousness of the proletariat-its constitution-and brought it to the workersfrom without. 18 Jan 2013 01:26:27 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions ." The founders "created a revolutionarytheory that explained the necessity for this fusion and gave socialists the task of the In organizing classstruggleof the proletariat. 38.All foundings.e.was laid down by the founders. 2:389-90.410 The Disappearance Authority of founders [osnovateli] of modern scientific socialism.and the task of it the class is to adhereto this law and implement in practice.Marxfoundedthe classby diverting spontaneits ous movementand fusing it with the class conscioussocialistsorganized in a vanguardparty (the CommunistLeague). See also Hannah Arendt. 5:366-67. 4:257. 210. Lenineffectivelyseparatedlaw frompowerwithinthe movement. Marx and Engels. Collected Works. 1978). Arendtnotes that "the foundationof Rome was not understoodas an absolutelynew beginning. This content downloaded on Fri." and they "directedsocialism towards a fusion with the working-class movement."37 refound that originalact in Russianconditions. 5:375..36 of This certainlyheld true or for the originsof Bolshevism. 2:211-13."for Rome was tied back to the foundingof TroythroughAeneas."38 recasting proletarian class consciousness as a ready-made doctrine broughtto the class from withoutby a founder.
This content downloaded on Fri. 5:369. 41.was therefore"religious"in Arendt's sense of religare. 5:386."40 fought mercilessly against"opportunism.The purposeof the Party was not to replacethe proletariatbut to provideguidanceto the class.Socialistsmust thereforeguide the movement so that. Ibid. .on the contrary. It was from this experienceof foundationthat auctoritasemergesin the Leninistmovement.of being an heirto a tradition which must be preserved. 4:354. 42.we are convinced that it has only laid the foundationstone of the sciencewhich socialists must develop."42 Arendtnotes that auctoritaswas alwayslodgedin a specificinstitution that institutionwasthe (the Senate." He demandedthat "before we can unite. and in orderthat we may unite. Powerbelongedto the workersthemselves.Lenin had a strong sense of being tied back to what he took to be the originalfounding. it means eclecticismand lack of principle."and "critical Marxism"becausethese distort or rejectthe principlesof the founding andlead to "the corruption the socialistconsciousness the working of of masses. 18 Jan 2013 01:26:27 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . 5:354.Indeed.andin Leninism Party.. unlike Marx's.. Lenin treated the founders as sacred and infallible. as it advanced. knowledge it had acquiredthrough careful study." and he insisted that "our movement .it remainedconnectedto the past and the founding. Ibid.it is interesting note that this distincto augmented tion betweenpowerand authorityexplicitlyenteredSovietideologydur40. the workersmovementwoulddivergefromthe true path towardrevisionism. The moral authority of the Party did not depend on technical expertiseor mereage.RobertC. we must first of all drawfirm and definitelines of demarcation. Mayer 411 originalact of founding had become an absolute which the will of the class could not alter.By itself. must become imbued withintolerance againstthose who retardits growthby theirsubservience to spontaneity.for it was theirmovement and they had to carrythroughthe revolution. and he rejected "freedomof criticism"becauseit led to "freedomfrom all integraland Lenin ponderedtheory.the Supreme Court). Ibid.The task of the socialistswas to conservethe principlesof the ancestorsand to guidethe actionsof the proletariat by theseprinciples. . Lenin's party. but was born of its knowledgeof the teachingsof the founders."'4 At the same time. Lenin refused to treat the works of the founders as a dead dogma: "we do not regard Marx's theory as somethingcompletedand inviolable. 4:211.""revisionism.. The so Partythen used this knowledgeto guidethe proletariat that its actions the founding.
Arendt. I. those who areruledaretreated as objects or things to be manipulated. L. 45. 5:501-02. Lenin. Polnoe Sobranie Sochinenii. Brezhnev.412 The Disappearance Authority of ing the Brezhnev years.rather. The term Lenin used to capturethis relationshipwas "leadership" (rukovodstvo).Leadership. 1978). In the discussionof the draftof the Constitution in 1977. 6:635. "What is Authority?" pp. 43. 18 Jan 2013 01:26:27 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Brezhnevcriticizedthose who wantedto describethe Party as exercising "power" (vlast') within the Soviet political system. Leninskim Kursom (Moscow: Politizdat. 188-89.47 made this mistakebecauseshe thought the attemptto lay a foundation for the new regimebeganin 1917. 139-41. and Leninwouldhavestrenuously and in to Arendt'schargethat he followedMachiavelli Robespierre conArendt ceivingof foundationas a matterof violence and fabrication. Collected Works.and earlierout of the peacefulactionsof Marx and Engelsin the CommunistLeague.he wanted the Party "line.In Left-Wing Communism. the conceptof rulingis drawnfrom the sphereof fabrication and entailsviolenceand domination. but thanks to its great political avtoritetand ideological influence on the masses. 46. but it is important note that Lenindid not understand as a matter of the Party "ruling" over the proletariat. we want to command". He assertedinsteadthat "the guidingrole of the CPSU is madepossiblenot because of power.but in fact for the Bolsheviks act of the foundinggrewout of a Party Congressin 1903. 41:30."44 Partyleads becauseit knowsthe way and becausethe classby itself would follow the to this wrongpath. if properlylaid. power belongedto the soviets (and the people) but authoritybelongedto the Party.45Thisis how Leninconceivedof Partyleaderact ship-the Partyled the way in orderto help the proletariat and carry through a revolution. Lenin was dismissiveof those who "shout that in stretchingout the line. whichwas acrimonious but nevertheless peaceful. Arendt. to be respectedbecauseit was correctand not becauseit had been laid by an official organ. This content downloaded on Fri."46 Party leadershipdid not involve objected issuingordersor usingforce."43According to Brezhnev. 47. firstgrewout of the sphereof actionand it helpedto set othersin motion so that they could act too.on the other hand. 44.he explainedthat "the dictatorshipis exercisedby the proletariat organizedin the soviets.the proletariatis led by the Communist The Partyof Bolsheviks. Lenin. The Human Condition. pp. but the Party could not accomplishthis act by itself.As leadership Arendtnotes.
Like the American Founders. the fusing of socialism with the workers movement. that no act of a popular assembly should be valid unless approved by the auctoritaspatrum. The founding of the people had to be preserved against backsliding and revisionism in order to reach the promised land. which Arendt held up as a model.On Revolution.32. 49. Lenin argued that the only way to "ensure the stability of the movement" was to "begin with the solid foundation of a strong organization of revolutionaries. "the dominus of public policy" in the republic. 204. who was unperturbed by the fact that "all that is solid melts into air" in the modern world-she failed to see that Lenin's attitude toward the "movement" was quite different. the Party would seem to have substituted tyranny for authoritarianism as its mode of political coordination." This content downloaded on Fri. the Senate was. 50. He addedthat "the government so administered was by the Senatethat. that as soon as the Party seized power in 1917 it forfeited its "authoritarian" character and became what Arendt called a revolutionary "dictatorship. was the founder of an "authoritarian" party.5:460.Robert C. after all. Lenin. however. For Lenin. Mayer 413 IV.p. He feared its "spontaneity" and in What Is To Be Done? and other works complained of the lack of continuity and stability. the higher law was not a historical law of motion but Marx's act of foundation." 0 In practice. While the formal power to make laws was said to belong to the Roman people and their magistrates. 48. a principle "most important to the retention of power by the nobility was strictly maintained." the Party steadily reduced their autonomy through the course of the civil war and came to dominate completely the political life of the country." By laying its hands on coercive power and using it against even worker organizations and recalcitrant soviets beginning in 1918. then. CollectedWorks. While Arendt correctly observes that there is no place for authority in Marx's movement-it was Marx.2."49 One might object.56.De republica. in Cicero's words. Arendt. and it used a variety of techniques to co-opt and control the elected officials so that its "advice" was nearly always accepted. According to Cicero. Lenin. Lenin discovered that the " 'absolute' lies in the very act of beginning itself. a kind of modern Senate."48In other words. Yet one finds something similar in the Roman practice of auctoritas. 18 Jan 2013 01:26:27 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . the class could only escape enslavement in bourgeois society and achieve liberation if the power of the workers was guided by the authority of the socialists.few politicalacts wereperformed them by was since practically everything done by the senatusauctoritate. Cicero. whilethe peoplehad liberty. Though it began by preaching "all power to the soviets.
414 The Disappearance Authority of the adviceof the Fatherswas treatedby the magistrates a kindof veto as over the resolutionsadopted by the people. whichwas not afraidto use coercionto enforceits advice. Livy.Ab urbecondita. Rome and America succeededin founding individual liberty. This content downloaded on Fri. made action impossiblefor those who had to live in the building which the Fathershad constructed. On the distinctionbetweenfreedomand libertysee Hanna FenichelPitkin. it turned out. 18 Jan 2013 01:26:27 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .It is true that Lenin did not lay a foundationfor "freedom"in Arendt'ssenseof the term.1-6. and yet it is importantto note that neitherRome nor Americasucceededin this task either.The deification of the foundation.Indeed. but this always led to a confrontation with the Senate. accordingto Arendt-and that this separatesBolshevismfrom the other cases she considered.42.51 republic The was neverintendedto be a democracy.21.Authority. In auctoritascompletelyoverwhelmed and established thorougha potestas authoritarian ly regime. repression The same holds true for the Leninistparty-state.6.after all. and it is this whichset them off of from the experience the BolshevikRevolution.4.the veryexistenceof auctoritasmeantthat the people was not sovereignand that it was subjected to a higherpower.16 (November1988):523-52.Coercionagainstthose workerswho succumbed to "counter-revolutionary ideology" did not undercut the "authoritarian"characterof the regime so long as that coercion was exercisedonly by the state apparatusunderthe guidanceof the Party. Roman"authoritarianism" not inconsistent was with of the will of the people.And certainlythe historyof the Romanrepublic could be readas one long attemptby the senatorial elite to preventthe of a democratic that would createa space for political emergence polls action for the many. by creatingan effective division of powersbetweenauctoritasandpotestas. for example. 51.49.9-10.52 the Soviet Union. Livy. described a number of cases in Romanhistorywhen the people tried to legislatewithoutor againstthe auctoritaspatrum. Theremay be a furtherobjection.who bemoanedthe constitution-worship made that it impossiblefor later generationsto experience public happinessof the the Founders. 52.however. "Are Freedomand LibertyTwins?"Political Theory.that Lenindid not succeed in "founding freedom"-the real task of the modern revolutions. emergedin the PartypreciselybecauseLeninwas suspiciousof the spontaneouswill of the proletariat. and she gave a sympathetic accountof Jefferson.Consideralso the historyof the Gracchi. 6. thus severelyconstraining popular power. not public freedom. Arendt admits that the Americanfounding did not create a space for public freedom. 3.In the final chapterof On Revolution.
"s5 Arendt seems to think that authorityand the Romanmodel of foundation could reconcilethesetwo opposingtendencies.54 while That is. This content downloaded on Fri. To found is to act or begin. Ibid.p. 56. the Leninistexampledemonstrates the opposite:founjust dation stifles futureaction. 232.60 1983):3-19.60 (Spring-Summer 1983): 123-39. 18 Jan 2013 01:26:27 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .Arendt admits that its loss "does not entail. spontaneousdirectionof action but ties them back to the originalact.56 Whilethe disappearance authoritydoes confrontus with the probof lem of instability. and that Arendt's "authoritarianism" irreconcilably opposed to freedomas action. "Parableand Paradox:In Responseto (Spring-Summer Arendt's On Revolution."Salmagundi. Arendt. .Arendtposes an unsettlingquestionfor her whole analysis:"should freedomin its most exaltedsense as freedomto act be She resisted an affirmative the price to be paid for foundation?"53 and yet these cases demonstrate that the layingof firm foundaanswer. but this first act is then convertedinto an absolutewhich overawesand thwartsall later action. pp. in this grave businessare bound to which those who are engaged have is the exhilaratingawareness of the human capacity of beginning.on the other hand." Salmagundi.p. Mayer 415 In On Revolution.preserving." Salmagundi. Arendt. From this perspective. . 55."Arendtand Representative Democracy. Roman foundationresultsin the dominationof the first act.. act of foundingthe new body politic . involves the grave concern with the stability and the durabilityof the new structure.but she did not prove this. 222-23.the loss of the humancapacityfor building. 54.On Revolution. (Spring-Summer 1983): 20-59. 234.not to secure is it. experience. action involves "the spontaneous beginning of something new. Thereis a deeptensionin Arendt'sthought for betweena longingfor stabilityand an admiration actionand its spontaneity. tions and the emergenceof authority results in the disappearance of publicfreedom.RobertC.TheHumanCondition.it would appearthat one founds in orderto preventpublicfreedom. On the relationship betweenfreedomand foundationin the AmericanRevolution see Sheldon Wolin. NormanJacobson.and George 60 Kateb. for it does not allow othersto begin a new. In fact. "Hannah Arendt: Democracyand the Political. at least not necessarily. foundationis concernedwith stabilityand preservation. 53. Arendtobservesthat the spirit of revolutioncontains two elements which to us seem and The irreconcilable even contradictory.
Arendt. fleeing the motion inherentin action but by embracing that "neitherthe Greek 57. p. 18 Jan 2013 01:26:27 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .416 The Disappearance Authority of and caringfor a worldthat can surviveus and remaina placefit to live in for those who come after us."57 By Arendt's own account. "What is Authority?"p."Ibid. This content downloaded on Fri. the demo- of in craticpolis lackeda principle authorityandyet it succeeded creating both a space for action and a stable world. Arendtmaintained of languagenor the variedpoliticalexperiences Greekhistoryshows any knowledgeof and politicsis akin authority the kindof ruleit implies.Marx'sdemocratic of and to the Greekmodelin its rejectionof authority its glorification action(movement). 95. however. 104. It did so.not by it..
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