[T]he fundamental lesson of revolutionary materialism is that revolution must strike twice, and for essential reasons. The gap [between both revolutions] is not simply the gap between form and content: what the “first revolution” misses is not the content, but the form itself—it remains stuck in the old form, thinking that freedom and justice can be accomplished if we simply put the existing state apparatus and its democratic mechanisms to use. […] The partisans of the “first revolution” want to subvert capitalist domination in the very political form of capitalist democracy. This is the Hegelian “negation of the negation”: first the old order is negated within its own ideologico-political form; then this form itself has to be negated. Those who oscillate, those who are afraid to take the second step of overcoming this form itself, are those who (to repeat Robespierre) want a “revolution without revolution”…

In his 1917 writings, Lenin saves his most acerbic irony for those who engage in the endless search for some kind of “guarantee” for the revolution; this guarantee assumes two main forms: either the reified notion of social Necessity (one should not risk the revolution too early; one has to wait for the right moment when the time is “ripe” with regard to the laws of historical development: “It is too early for the Socialist revolution, the working class is not yet mature”) or normative (“democratic”) legitimacy (“The majority of the population are not on our side, so the revolution would not really be democratic”) - as Lenin repeatedly puts it: as if, before the revolutionary agent risks the seizure of state power, it should get some permission from some figure of the big Other (organize a referendum with will ascertain that the majority support the revolution). With Lenin, as with Lacan, the point is that they revolution ‘ne s’autorise que d’elle même’: we should venture the revolutionary ‘act’ not covered by the big Other—the fear of taking power “prematurely’, the search for a guarantee, is the fear of the abyss of the act. That is the ultimate dimension of what Lenin incessantly denounces as “opportunism”, and his premiss is that “opportunism” is a position which is in itself, inherently, false, masking a fear of accomplishing the act with the protective screen of “objective” facts, laws or norms…

Lenin’s answer is not the reference to a different set of “objective facts”, but the repetition of the argument made a decade ago by Rosa Luxemburg against Kautsky: those who wait for the objective conditions of the revolution to arrive will wait forever—such a position of the objective observer (and not of an engaged agent) is itself the main obstacle to the revolution.

- Slavoj Žižek, ‘Revolution At The Gates’  (via aidsnegligee)
This dictatorship consists in the manner of applying democracy, not in its elimination, but in energetic, resolute attacks upon the well-entrenched rights and economic relationships of bourgeois society, without which a socialist transformation cannot be accomplished. This dictatorship must be the work of the class, and not of a little leading minority in the name of the class — that is, it must proceed step by step out of the active participation of the masses; it must be under their direct influence, subjected to the control of complete public activity; it must arise out of the growing political training of the mass of the people.
- Rosa Luxemburg (via rethinksocialism)

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The masses are in reality their own leaders, dialectically creating their own development process.
- Rosa Luxemburg (via fyeahrosaluxemburg)

A collection of Leftist quotations, sayings, and aphorisms.

Compiled by Euan and Brandon