revolutionary intellectual

“i was doing some paper on the russian revolution and it struck me that this lenin was a person who had a tremendous capacity for intellectualizing and at the same time doing. in my own naive way, i called this phenomenon ‘a revolutionary intellectual.’

but the professor was very hard on this statement. he said: ‘there is no such thing. one can be an intellectual or one can be a revolutionary. you can’t combine the tow. lenin may at one time have been a revolutionary, at another time an intellectual, but the moment he moves into practical activity he must abandon itellectualism.’

this was a most curious argument. i just sensed that something was wrong about it. and i felt that somehow being a revolutionary intellectual might be a goal to which one might aspire, for surely there was no real reason why one should remain in the academic world–that is, remain an intellectual–and at the same time not be revolutionary.”

walter rodney, “lenin as a revolutionary intellectual,” from walter rodney speaks


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