New World Disorder: The Leninist Extinction

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New World Disorder: The Leninist Extinction

By Ken Jowitt
University of California Press, 1992
342 pp. $30.00
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As the author, one of academia's most original and at times sulfurous minds, announces in the introduction, this book is about "the character, development, extinction and legacy of the Leninist phenomenon." It is, in fact, a collection of his essays written from 1974 to 1992, essays that are sometimes startling in their associations (for example, Christianity, Nazism and Leninism or the Bolshevik party and the U.S. marines), sometimes guaranteed to provoke dissent, but never dull or unproductive. If social scientists were artists-and Jowitt by style and temperament often seems more the artist-he would be a Cubist, taking apart familiar political realities and reassembling them in different forms and on different planes in order to show in them features the conventional eye has missed.

His newest essays on the legacy of Leninism and what its disappearance will mean predict that the survivor-"liberal capitalist democracy"-will probably not have long to glory in its triumph; soon, he argues, other inspired movements against "individualism, materialism, achievement and rationality" are likely to rise up.