Re: [xmca] Vygotsky, Lukacs and Lenin - another try

From: Bruce Robinson <bruce who-is-at>
Date: Sun Apr 27 2008 - 12:21:17 PDT

I am sorry not to have responded to this earlier but I am on holiday and
away from home so not really able to kick things off or participate at
the moment. However I would also like to have a mini-discussion on this
and will write something to continue where we left off when i get back
and settled, which will be around the 12th of May.

Best wishes,

I think Andy is right that there was an underlying common issue in terms
of the development of a revolutionary political consciousness from
everyday struggles and consciousness in Lenin, Trotsky, Lukacs (though I
think his approach was different) and also Rosa Luxemburg. Wayne Au in
his article draws the parallel between Lenin's 1903 conception of how
such a consciousness could develop and Vygotsky's conception of how
scientific consciousness develops as 'directly correlated' as a result
of their existing 'parallel structures of individual and social
developme*n*t' and similar learning processes. He writes: "In drawing a
parallel between Lenin’s conceptual framework for the development of
theconsciousness of workers with Vygotsky’s conceptual framework for the
development of conscious awareness in students, this paper in no way
implies that the workers are childlike or that Lenin or Vygotsky viewed
workers as children. The intention here is to showthe correlation
between these two frameworks and make the argument that they were both
providing a conception of how consciousness develops generally."

Steve Gabosch wrote:
> Vygotsky and Lenin on Learning: The Parallel Structures of Individual
> and Social Development
> by Wayne Au
> Science & Society, Vol. 71, No. 3, July 2007, 273–298
> Here is a .pdf file of Wayne Au's article, which Wayne was kind enough
> to recently send me, and just gave me permission to send on to xmca.
> This article was discussed in some depth by Zeus Leonardo, a presenter
> in the AERA session on Vygotsky and Freire. Anna Stetsenko and Martin
> Packer, Tamara Ball and others also presented. I thought it was a
> great session. I was intrigued by this article, which I hadn't known
> about. Wayne says he had trouble getting it published in the regular
> academic journals, so he sent it to Science and Society, an
> intellectual leftist journal.
> Bruce, I'd like to discuss this article, and maybe some others would,
> too, now that it is accessible. Would you be willing to write up some
> introductory comments to kick off a little impromptu mini-discussion?
> You have already gotten us started nicely. Your comment about Trotsky
> and transitional politics might be helpful to explain, for example.
> Perhaps Lenin's theory of the revolutionary proletarian party fits in,
> too. The question of whether Vygotsky specifically adapted some of his
> ideas from Lenin's WITBD is academically interesting, but my take on
> the more fundamental level is that it was the Russian Revolution
> itself, and the way class society and class politics in Russia
> actually developed in the decades leading up to 1917, the connections
> this revolution had with the rest of the world, and the lessons that
> Lenin, Trotsky, Lukacs, Vygotsky, Luria, Leontiev and many, many all
> over the world more drew from that remarkable experience, that creates
> the most important synchronicity between Lenin and Vygotsky. Both were
> very much products, participants, and leaders in that revolution. The
> question I find myself asking is what did Vygotsky, Lenin and others
> specifically learn from those years that can inform us today - in
> class politics, in cultural psychology, in .... ?
> - Steve
> On Apr 20, 2008, at 4:45 PM, Andy Blunden wrote:
>> I think you are right Bruce that these writers are all moving in the
>> same space so to speak. The stuff in WITBD about scientific
>> consciousness, which BTW, utilises a famous quote from Kautsky is
>> very relevant and connects up with Lukacs' famous contribution:
>> basically, working class people cannot learn about the dynamics of
>> society as a whole, knowledge which they need if they are to become
>> the ruling class and be responsible for managing social life as a
>> whole, out of the conditions of everyday life in the factory. They
>> have to become intellectuals, sort of, and acquire the knowledge of
>> their age, and they have to get involved in the struggles and
>> problems of the students, the intellecuals, the small business
>> people, peassants and so on, in order to develop a universal
>> consciousness, and they need a party organisation to achieve all that
>> learning.
>> A lot of this has been attacked for being elitist - why can't workers
>> know and do everything? why is their experience in factory work so
>> inferior - and such rhetoric, but it is really just very basic
>> marxism, which is why Lenin used the quote from Kautsky in his
>> polemic against the Mensheviks, to set it all off.
>> Andy
>> Bruce Robinson wrote:
>>> Perhaps a link here is the relation of both to Lenin's ideas. In his
>>> article in
>>> Science and SOCIETY July 2007 on Vygotsky and Lenin, Wayne Au draws
>>> a very direct
>>> link between Lenin's 'What is to be done?' and LSV on two issues
>>> related to
>>> learning: the difference between everyday and scientific
>>> consciousness and the
>>> ZPD. Au concludes LSV might have been directly aware of WITBD in his
>>> writing or
>>> it might also have been that they approached related problems from
>>> the same
>>> dialectical materialist framework, thus reaching similar
>>> conclusions. The former
>>> seems possible to me.
>>> Lukacs of course took up these ideas of Lenin's in 'history and Class
>>> Consciousness', in my view in a rather fetishised way, making the
>>> revolution the
>>> point at which the proletariat leapt to a realisation of its
>>> historic class
>>> consciousness. I'm not sure if this is what you're referring to
>>> Joao, but I feel
>>> that much closer relationship to the ZPD can be found in Lenin and also
>>> particularly in Trotsky with his conception of transitional politics
>>> and demands.
>>> I'm afraid I don't have the exact reference for the Au article with
>>> me but it
>>> should be easy to find as the title starts with 'Vygotsky and
>>> Lenin'. I would be
>>> interested to hear what xmca'ers think of it.
>>> BTW, I think there is a lot in Lukacs' last unfinished text 'The
>>> Ontology of
>>> Social Being' that is of interest from a CHAT perspective.
>>> Bruce Robinson
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> xmca mailing list
>> --
>> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> Andy Blunden +61 3 9380 9435 Skype
>> andy.blunden
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Received on Sun Apr 27 12:21 PDT 2008

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