Revolution at the Gates: Zizek on Lenin: The 1917 Writings

How to reinvent Lenin in the era of “cultural capitalism.”

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 wider consideration than this, and his writings of 1917 are testament to a formidable political figure. They reveal 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 Žižek locates the 1917 writings in their historical context, while his afterword tackles the key question of whether Lenin can be reinvented in our era of “cultural capitalism.” Žižek is convinced that, whatever the discussion—the forthcoming crisis of capitalism, the possibility of a redemptive violence, the falsity of liberal tolerance—Lenin’s time has come again.


  • “A return to Marx may be acceptable today ... But a repetition of Lenin? ... Perhaps Žižek’s return to Lenin is merely tactical, figurative even. He can’t be serious, can he? ... Žižek claims that Lenin’s act, ‘his choice,’ continues to speak to those of us on the left today. Faced with our current conceptual deadlock, we must have the courage, the nerve, to risk isolation, self-annihilation even, in order to offer a real alternative to the false oppositions recuperated by and churned out for our consumption by the image industry of late capitalism ... The postmodernists and liberal multiculturalists, today’s Bernsteins and Kautskys – our contemporary Plekhanovs and Martovs, beware!”


  • 50% off all Slavoj Žižek books through Sunday!

    To celebrate the release of the paperback edition of Absolute Recoil (on sale today!), every single Slavoj Žižek title is now 50% off until Sunday at 8pm ET.

    In the New York Review of Books, John Gray states that, "few thinkers illustrate the contradictions of contemporary capitalism better than the Slovenian philosopher and cultural theorist Slavoj Žižek." 

    Now is your chance to collect every book in his vast bookshelf, from his plea to repeat and expand on the ideas of Hegel, in Less Than Nothing, his analysis of how Western society can face up to the end times if the end of capitalism means the end of the world, in Living in the End Times, and the connections between totalitarianism and modern liberal democracy in Did Somebody Say Totalitarianism?

    You can browse every title in the Žižek bookshelf sale below and by clicking the book jackets here ==============>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Includes free shipping (worldwide) and free bundled ebook where available.

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  • Political Theory Undergraduate Reading List: 50% off!

    All the books on this list are 50% off until Tuesday 8th September as part of our Back to University/Back to School sale. See all the books included in the sale here.

    Catch up on your radical political theory BEFORE you head back to class with books from Badiou, Butler, Žižek and more! The next time someone suggests pulling an all-nighter to finish that paper, you'll have Jonathan Crary's argument against capitalism infringing on our lives 24/7.

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  • A Library for #Occupy: Part 3

    After the Occupy Wall Street "People's Library" was brutally dismantled by the police, Paolo Mossetti of Through Europe asked some of his favourite writers, activists, and academics to help him compile a list of books that would recreate, though only virtually, the library's shelves.

    Here is the third part, with contributions from Gar Alperovitz, Mike Davis, Enrico Donaggio, Ann Ferguson, Shabnam Hashmi, John Holloway, Sandro Mezzadra, Douglas Rushkoff, Felix Stalder.

    The fourth part of the reading list will be online next week.


Other books by V. I. Lenin Edited by Slavoj Žižek