What was Leninism?

This is an interesting clip from the question and answer period of a talk Noam Chomsky gave in 1989. The questioner, a member of the International Socialist Organization, challenges Chomsky on a comment he made about Leninism. This is the question and his response:

As an anarchist who believes in organization, I think it’s important to understand past attempts at revolution and learn from them. I think this clip provides some food for thought.

What is this?

According to Buddhism, as has been pointed out earlier, history and society are the modes of actualization and perpetuation of man’s karmic energies; therefore, all attempts to realize freedom through socio-historical processes are doomed to failure. Such attempts, instead of leading to the mastery of karmic determinations and therewith to freedom, simply yield to them, thereby¬†furthering the state of ignorance, bondage, and unfreedom.

This is not to say, however, that Buddhism is totally unconcerned with the social, political and historical conditions of man. On the contrary, in his infinite compassion, the Buddhist would work toward the realization of such a society as would be most conducive to the attainment of true freedom. But he never falls victim to the fond delusion that social and political revolutions are in themselves adequate for the attainment of freedom and enlightenment.

Thus it is correct to say that, in sharp contrast to the ends and goals of socio-political revolutions, the ends which Buddhism seeks to realize are outside of any social or historical contexts; hence the ultimate source of the Buddhist revolutionary spirit lies beyond all social and historical contexts: it neither begins nor ends in the realization of any form of social order. Paradoxically, then, it is precisely this fundamentally asocial, negative view of Buddhism on society that renders it a philosophy of perpetual revolution.

-By R. Puligandla and K. Puhakka, “Buddhism and Revolution