It wasn’t a theoretical project for some distant future: in October 1917, Lenin claimed that

‘we can at once set in motion a state apparatus consisting of ten if not twenty million people.’

What we should recognise is the ‘madness’ (in the Kierkegaardian sense) of this utopia – in this context, Stalinism stands for a return to ‘common sense’. The explosive potential of The State and Revolution can’t be overestimated: in its pages, as Neil Harding wrote in Leninism (1996), ‘the vocabulary and grammar of the Western tradition of politics was abruptly dispensed with.’

What followed can be called, borrowing the title of Althusser’s text on Machiavelli, la solitude de Lenine: a time when he stood alone, struggling against the current in his own party.

Slavoj Zizek, Revolution must strike twice 

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