Communism

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Proletarians of all countries, unite! — Karl Marx

Communism is a revolutionary socialist movement to create a classless, moneyless and stateless social order structured upon common ownership of the means of production, as well as a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of this social order.

Quotes[edit]

(in alphabetic order, by author)

  • When I feed the hungry, they call me a saint. When I ask why people are hungry, they call me a Communist.
    • Dom Helder Camara, Brazilian archbishop, as quoted in Peace Behind Bars : A Peacemaking Priest's Journal from Jail (1995) by John Dear, p. 65; this is a translation of "Quando dou comida aos pobres chamam-me de santo. Quando pergunto por que eles são pobres chamam-me de comunista."
    • Variant translations:
    • When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why are they poor, they call me a Communist.
    • When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a Communist.
  • Communism is essentially 'people's capitalism'—and, as an economic system, it is not inherently more 'ecological' or less damaging to natural systems than capitalism is.
    • Jim DeKorne, The Survival Greenhouse: An Eco-System Approach to Home Food Production (1975)
  • Bolshevism was the perfect ideology for Stalin: it provided him with a historical justification for the accumulation of unlimited personal power. The Bolsheviks believed that they were an elite chosen by history to implement the will of the masses. Only the politically conscious avant-garde could divine the true interests of the people as determined by Karl Marx: the people themselves were unable to see clearly because their minds were muddled by "false consciousness," including religion and nationalism. Since the revolution was historically necessary, any action that contributed to its success was not only permitted, but required. Stalin believed the ends always justified the means.
    • Michael Dobbs, Six Months in 1945: FDR, Stalin, Churchill, and Truman - From World War to Cold War (2012) p. 40
  • I can no more tolerate the yoke of Bolshevism (as described by Mr. Roy) than of capitalism.
    • Mohandas Gandhi, The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Volume XXV-531, Publications Division of the Government of India.
  • There is not so much difference between the ideologies of capitalism and communism, you know. The difference is simple. Capitalism is the exploitation of man by man, and communism is the reverse.
  • The Communists are determined to destroy us, and regardless of what hand of friendship we may hold out or what arguments we may put up, the only thing that will make that decisive difference is the strength of the United States.
    • John F. Kennedy, Speech by Senator John F. Kennedy, Democratic Rally, George Washington High School Stadium, Alexandria, VA, August 24, 1960. - The American Presidency Project.
  • There are many people in the world who really don't understand, or say they don't, what is the great issue between the free world and the Communist world. Let them come to Berlin. There are some who say that communism is the wave of the future. Let them come to Berlin. And there are some who say in Europe and elsewhere we can work with the Communists. Let them come to Berlin. And there are even a few who say that it is true that communism is an evil system, but it permits us to make economic progress. Lass' sie nach Berlin kommen. Let them come to Berlin.
  • Communism has sometimes succeeded as a scavenger, but never as a leader. It has never come to power in a country that was not disrupted by war or corruption, or both.
  • In the social equation, the value of a single life is nil; in the cosmic equation, it is infinite... Not only communism, but any political movement which implicitly relies on purely utilitarian ethics, must become a victim to the same fatal error. It is a fallacy as naïve as a mathematical teaser, and yet its consequences lead straight to Goya's Disasters, to the reign of the guillotine, the torture chambers of the Inquisition, or the cellars of the Lubianka.
  • But to make the comparison applicable, we must compare Communism at its best, with the regime of individual property, not as it is, but as it might be made... The laws of property have never yet conformed to the principles on which the justification of private property rests.
    • J. S. Mill, Principles of Political Economy p. 14
  • When ecclesiastic love waned, when waves of capitalistic greed surged across Christian Europe, when starving masses cried out bitterly in the slums, the promise of their salvation came not from heaven but from the earth. Its name was communism. Christianity, though it professed the love of God, had degenerated into a dead body of clergy trailing empty slogans. It was then only natural that a banner of rebellion would be raised, arguing that a merciless God who would allow such suffering could not exist. Hence, modern materialism was born. Western society became a hotbed of materialism; it was the fertile soil in which communism flourished.
  • Nonetheless, one final and inescapable conflict remains before us, the war between democracy and communism. Although each side has equipped itself with fearsome weapons and is pitted against the other in readiness for battle, the core of their conflict is internal and ideological. Which side will triumph in this final ideological conflict? Anyone who believes in the reality of God will surely answer that democracy will win.
  • After 7,000 biblical years — 6,000 years of restoration history plus the millennium, the time of completion — communism will fall in its 70th year. Here is the meaning of the year 1978. Communism, begun in 1917, could maintain itself approximately 60 years and reach its peak. So 1978 is the border line and afterward communism will decline; in the 70th year it will be altogether ruined. This is true. Therefore, now is the time for people who are studying communism to abandon it.
  • In my opinion, nothing has contributed so much to the corruption of the original idea of socialism as the belief that Russia is a socialist country and that every act of its rulers must be excused, if not imitated. And so for the last ten years, I have been convinced that the destruction of the Soviet myth was essential if we wanted a revival of the socialist movement.
  • In examining any dictatorship, there are two good tests. Firstly, what is the relation between the rulers and the proletariat or common people? Are the rulers members of the proletariat, as they would have you believe? Do they even identify their interests with those of ordinary citizens? The truth seems to be that, no matter where you find them, the so-called proletarian dictatorships are actually controlled by a small elite who ordinarily lose little sleep in worrying about the rights of the common man. Secondly, have the proletariat any effective say in what the rulers do? In the proletarian dictatorships I am familiar with, ordinary people enjoy little or no control over their Government or over their own lives and futures.
  • I think that communism was a major force for violence for more than 100 years, because it was built into its ideology—that progress comes through class struggle, often violent. It led to the widespread belief that the only way to achieve justice was to hurry this dialectical process along, and allow the oppressed working classes to carry out their struggle against their bourgeois oppressors.
  • I have one question for those rulers: If communism is the wave of the future, why do you still need walls to keep people in and armies of secret police to keep them quiet?
  • [Cold war demonology] is a color word, and I probably should not have used it. It means just sort of interpreting everything in terms of a great communist conspiracy and in terms of communists being supermen who somehow can overcome the great problems of differences between national units, and so on. They are not supermen at all. They are men with feet of clay which extend almost all the way up to their brains.
    • Edwin O. Reischauer, former U.S. ambassador to Japan, testimony at hearing, January 31, 1967. Asia, the Pacific, and the United States, hearing before the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, 90th Congress, 1st session, p. 19 (1967).
  • The hopes which inspire communism are, in the main, as admirable as those instilled by the Sermon on the Mount, but they are held as fanatically and are as likely to do as much harm.
    • Bertrand Russell, The Practice and Theory of Bolshevism (1920), Part I, The Present Condition of Russia, Ch. 1: What Is Hoped From Bolshevism.
  • The way to combat Communism is not war. What is needed in addition to such armaments as will deter Communists from attacking the West, is a diminution of the grounds for discontent in the less prosperous parts of the non-communist world. ...Communism is a doctrine bred of poverty, hatred and strife. Its spread can only be arrested by diminishing the area of poverty and hatred.
  • I think all the great religions of the world - Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Islam and Communism – both untrue and harmful.
    • Bertrand Russell, My Religious Reminiscences (1957) reprinted in The Basic Writings of Bertrand Russell
  • I dislike Communism because it is undemocratic, and capitalism because it favors exploitation.
  • The fall of the present bureaucratic dictatorship [in the Soviet Union], if it were not replaced by a new socialist power, would thus mean a return to capitalist relations with a catastrophic decline of industry and culture.
  • It was in prison that we found the hope of salvation for the Communists. It was there that we developed a sense of responsibility toward them. It was in being tortured by them that we learned to love them.
  • Some tell me "Preach the pure gospel!" This reminds me that the Communist secret police also told me to preach Christ, but not to mention communism. Is it really so, that those who are for what is called "a pure gospel" are inspired by the same spirit as those of the Communist secret police?
  • We communists are like seeds and the people are the soil. Wherever we go, we must unite with the people, take root and blossom among them.
    • Mao Zedong, Quotations from Chairman Mao Zedong (The Little Red Book) (1964)
  • [T]he perversion of Stalinist Communism consists in the fact that the view by means of which the Party looks at history coincides immediately with history's gaze upon itself. To use good old Stalinist jargon, today already half-forgotten, Communists act immediately in the name of "objective laws of historical progress"; it is history itself, its necessity, that speaks through their mouths.

See also[edit]

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