Vladimir Lenin

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You can become a Communist only when you enrich your mind with a knowledge of all the treasures created by mankind.

Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (Russian: Владимир Ильич Ленин), born Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (Russian: Влади́мир Ильи́ч Ульянов) (22 April 1870 (10 April (O.S.)) – 21 January 1924) was a Russian revolutionary, the leader of the Bolshevik communist party, the first Premier of the Soviet Union and the main theorist of Leninism.

Quotes[edit]

To accept anything on trust, to preclude critical application and development, is a grievous sin; and in order to apply and develop, “simple interpretation” is obviously not enough.
Whoever wants to reach socialism by any other path than that of political democracy will inevitably arrive at conclusions that are absurd and reactionary both in the economic and the political sense.
These should be arranged chronologically by source (further dating of many of these is desirable for proper sortation)

1890s[edit]

  • The progressive historical role of capitalism may be summed up in two brief propositions: increase in the productive forces of social labour, and the socialisation of that labour. But both these facts manifest themselves in extremely diverse processes in different branches of the national economy.

1900s[edit]

Not a handful of rich people, but all the working people must enjoy the fruits of their common labour.
Everyone is free to write and say whatever he likes, without any restrictions... [but the party] would inevitably break up, first ideologically and then physically, if it did not cleanse itself of people advocating anti-party views.
  • To accept anything on trust, to preclude critical application and development, is a grievous sin; and in order to apply and develop, “simple interpretation” is obviously not enough.
  • The Congress decisively rejects terrorism, i.e., the system of individual political assassinations, as being a method of political struggle which is most inexpedient at the present time, diverting the best forces from the urgent and imperatively necessary work of organisation and agitation, destroying contact between the revolutionaries and the masses of the revolutionary classes of the population, and spreading both among the revolutionaries themselves and the population in general utterly distorted ideas of the aims and methods of struggle against the autocracy.
  • We want to achieve a new and better order of society: in this new and better society there must be neither rich nor poor; all will have to work. Not a handful of rich people, but all the working people must enjoy the fruits of their common labour. Machines and other improvements must serve to ease the work of all and not to enable a few to grow rich at the expense of millions and tens of millions of people. This new and better society is called socialist society. The teachings about this society are called socialism.
  • Only the most ignorant people can close their eyes to the bourgeois nature of the democratic revolution which is now taking place. Whoever wants to reach socialism by any other path than that of political democracy will inevitably arrive at conclusions that are absurd and reactionary both in the economic and the political sense.
    • Lenin, Vladimir Ilich (Summer) [1905], "Two Tactics of Social Democracy in the Democratic Revolution", Collected Works, 9, Marxists, p. 29 .
  • Everyone is free to write and say whatever he likes, without any restrictions. But every voluntary association (including the party) is also free to expel members who use the name of the party to advocate anti-party views. Freedom of speech and the press must be complete. But then freedom of association must be complete too. I am bound to accord you, in the name of free speech, the full right to shout, lie and write to your heart’s content. But you are bound to grant me, in the name of freedom of association, the right to enter into, or withdraw from, association with people advocating this or that view. The party is a voluntary association, which would inevitably break up, first ideologically and then physically, if it did not cleanse itself of people advocating anti-party views.
  • Notwithstanding all the differences in the aims and tasks of the Russian revolution, compared with the French revolution of 1871, the Russian proletariat had to resort to the same method of struggle as that first used by the Paris Commune — civil war. Mindful of the lessons of the Commune, it knew that the proletariat should not ignore peaceful methods of struggle — they serve its ordinary, day-to-day interests, they are necessary in periods of preparation for revolution — but it must never forget that in certain conditions the class struggle assumes the form of armed conflict and civil war; there are times when the interests of the proletariat call for ruthless extermination of its enemies in open armed clashes.
  • It is necessary to be able to withstand all this, to agree to any and every sacrifice, and even—if need be—to resort to all sorts of stratagems, manoeuvres and illegal methods, to evasion and subterfuges in order to penetrate the trade unions, to remain in them, and to carry on Communist work in them at all costs.
    • Reported in "'Left-Wing' Communism, An Infantile Disorder", V. I. Lenin; Selected Works (1938), vol. 10, p. 95.

Materialism and Empirio-Criticism (1908)[edit]

Full text online; Collected Works, Vol. 14
  • The sole "property" of matter with whose recognition philosophical materialism is bound up is the property of being an objective reality, of existing outside the mind.
  • Human thought by its nature is capable of giving, and does give, absolute truth, which is compounded of a sum-total of relative truths.
  • The reflection of nature in man’s thought must be understood not lifelessly but in the eternal process of movement, the arising of contradictions and their solution.
  • Human reason has discovered many amazing things in nature and will discover still more, and will thereby increase its power over nature.
  • If the world is eternally moving and developing matter (as the Marxists think), reflected by the developing human consciousness, what is there “static” here? The point at issue is not the immutable essence of things, or an immutable consciousness, but the correspondence between the consciousness which reflects nature and the nature which is reflected by consciousness.
  • Materialism is the recognition of "objects in themselves", or outside the mind; ideas and sensations are copies of images of those objects.
  • Sensation is a subjective image of the objective world.
  • To be a materialist is to acknowledge objective truth, which is revealed to us by our sense organs.

1910s[edit]

People always have been the foolish victims of deception and self-deception in politics, and they always will be, until they have learned to seek out the interests of some class or other behind all moral, religious, political and social phrases, declarations and promises.
Man's consciousness not only reflects the objective world, but creates it.
The Bolsheviks will do everything to secure this peaceful development of the revolution.
Victory will belong only to those who have faith in the people, those who are immersed in the life-giving spring of popular creativity.
We shall not bind ourselves by treaties. We shall not allow ourselves to be entangled by treaties.
The war is relentless: it puts the alternative in a ruthless relief: either to perish, or to catch up with the advanced countries and outdistance them, too, in economic matters.
When violence is exercised by the working people, by the mass of exploited against the exploiters — then we are for it!
  • Political institutions are a superstructure resting on an economic foundation.
    • The Three Sources and Three Constituent Parts of Marxism (1913)
  • What caused the war? The greed of the Italian money bags and capitalists, who need new markets and new achievements for Italian imperialism. What kind of war was it? A perfected, civilised blood bath, the massacre of Arabs with the help of the “latest” weapons.
  • People always have been the foolish victims of deception and self-deception in politics, and they always will be, until they have learned to seek out the interests of some class or other behind all moral, religious, political and social phrases, declarations and promises.
    • "Three Sources and Three Components of Marxism" (1913), as cited by Lloyd L. Brown in a letter to the editor "What Lenin Really Said", The New York Times (14 April 1990), p. 122
  • The bourgeoisie incites the workers of one nation against those of another in the endeavor to keep them disunited. Class-conscious workers, realising that the break-down of all the national barriers by capitalism is inevitable and progressive, are trying to help to enlighten and organise their fellow-workers from the backward countries.
  • An end to wars, peace among the nations, the cessation of pillaging and violence — such is our ideal, but only bourgeois sophists can seduce the masses with this ideal, if the latter is divorced from a direct and immediate call for revolutionary action.
  • Peaceful surrender of power by the bourgeoisie is possible, if it is convinced that resistance is hopeless and if it prefers to save its skin. It is much more likely, of course, that even in small states socialism will not be achieved without civil war, and for that reason the only programme of international Social-Democracy must be recognition of civil war, though violence is, of course, alien to our ideals.
  • Disarmament is the ideal of socialism. There will be no wars in socialist society; consequently, disarmament will be achieved. But whoever expects that socialism will be achieved without a social revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat is not a socialist. Dictatorship is state power based directly on violence. And in the twentieth century — as in the age of civilisation generally — violence means neither a fist nor a club, but troops. To put “disarmament” in the programme is tantamount to making the general declaration: We are opposed to the use of arms. There is as little Marxism in this as there would be if we were to say: We are opposed to violence!
  • International unity of the workers is more important than the national.
    • Letter to Inessa Armand (20 November 1916) Collected Works, Vol. 35, pp. 246-247
  • The “democratisation” of the ownership of shares, from which the bourgeois sophists and opportunist so-called “Social-Democrats” expect (or say that they expect) the “democratisation of capital”, the strengthening of the role and significance of small scale production, etc., is, in fact, one of the ways of increasing the power of the financial oligarchy.
  • It is essential to grasp the incontestable truth that a Marxist must take cognisance of real life, of the true facts of reality, and not cling to a theory of yesterday, which, like all theories, at best only outlines the main and the general, only comes near to embracing life in all its complexity.
  • Our business is to help get everything possible done to make sure the "last" chance for a peaceful development of the revolution, to help by the presentation of our programme, by making clear its national character, its absolute accord with the interests and demands of a vast majority of the population.
  • Where and when have riots and anarchy been provoked by wise measures? If the government had acted wisely, and if their measures had met the needs of the poor peasants, would there have been unrest among the peasant masses?
  • The government considers it the greatest of crimes against humanity to continue this war over the issue of how to divide among the strong and rich nations the weak nationalities they have conquered, and solemnly announces its determination immediately to sign terms of peace to stop this war on the terms indicated, which are equally just for all nationalities without exception.
  • No mercy for these enemies of the people, the enemies of socialism, the enemies of the working people! War to the death against the rich and their hangers-on, the bourgeois intellectuals; war on the rogues, the idlers and the rowdies!
  • We know that an unskilled labourer or a cook cannot immediately get on with the job of state administration.
    • Will the Bolsheviks Retain Government Power? (1917); this is often misquoted as "every cook must learn to govern the state" or even "every cook can govern the state."
  • The war is relentless: it puts the alternative in a ruthless relief: either to perish, or to catch up with the advanced countries and outdistance them, too, in economic matters.
    • The Impending Catastrophe and How to Fight It (1917)
  • Does not the whole history of socialism, particularly of French socialism, which is so rich in revolutionary striving, show us that when the working people themselves take power in their hands the ruling classes resort to unheard-of crimes and shootings if it is a matter of protecting their money-bags.
    • "Report on the Activities of the Council of People’s Commissars" (24 January 1918); Collected Works, Vol. 26, pp. 459-61
  • We must not depict socialism as if socialists will bring it to us on a plate all nicely dressed. That will never happen. Not a single problem of the class struggle has ever been solved in history except by violence. When violence is exercised by the working people, by the mass of exploited against the exploiters — then we are for it!
    • "Report on the Activities of the Council of People’s Commissars" (24 January 1918); Collected Works, Vol. 26, pp. 459-61
  • We shall not achieve socialism without a struggle. But we are ready to fight, we have started it and we shall finish it with the aid of the apparatus called the Soviets.
    • Report on the Activities of the Council of People’s Commissars (24 January 1918); Collected Works, Vol. 26, pp. 459-61
  • After retaining power for two months and ten days, the workers of Paris, who for the first time in history established the Commune, the embryo of Soviet power, perished at the hands of the French Cadets, Mensheviks and Right Socialist-Revolutionaries of a Kaledin type. The French workers had to pay an unprecedentedly heavy price for the first experience of workers' government, the meaning and purpose of which the overwhelming majority of the peasants in France did not know.
  • You cannot do anything without rousing the masses to action. A plenary meeting of the Soviet must be called to decide on mass searches in Petrograd and the goods stations. To carry out these searches, each factory and company must form contingents, not on a voluntary basis: it must be the duty of everyone to take part in these searches under the threat of being deprived of his bread card. We can't expect to get anywhere unless we resort to terrorism: speculators must be shot on the spot. Moreover, bandits must be dealt with just as resolutely: they must be shot on the spot.
  • The most reliable and best armed groups of the mass of revolutionary contingents organised to take extreme measures to overcome the famine shall be detailed for dispatch to all stations and all uyezds of the principal grain supplying gubernias. These groups, with the participation of railwaymen delegated by local railway committees, shall be authorised, firstly, to control the movement of grain freights; secondly, take charge of the collection and storage of grain; thirdly, adopt the most extreme revolutionary measures to fight speculators and to requisition grain stocks. When making any record of requisition, arrest or execution, the revolutionary contingents shall summon at least six witnesses to be selected from the poorest section of the population closest at hand.
    • “Meeting of the Presidium of the Petrograd Soviet With Delegates From the Food Supply Organisations” (27 January 1918); Collected Works, Vol. 26, p. 503
  • It is obvious that a whiteguard insurrection is being prepared in Nizhni. You must strain every effort, appoint three men will) dictatorial powers (yourself, Markin and one other), organise immediately mass terror, shoot and deport the hundreds of prostitutes who are making drunkards of the soldiers, former officers and the like.
    • Statement (9 August 1918) Collected Works, Vol. 35, p. 349
  • It is not national interests we are upholding — we claim that the interests of socialism, the interests of world socialism, rank higher than national interests, higher than the interests of the state. We are defenders of the socialist fatherland.
    • Address to the Party Central Committee (14 May 1918); Collected Works, Vol. 27, pp. 365-381
  • Let us...take the most concrete example of state capitalism...It is Germany. Here we have the 'last word' in modern, large-scale capitalist engineering and planned organization, subordinated to Junker-bourgeois imperialism. Cross out the words in italics and [substitute] a Soviet state, that is, a proletarian state, and you will have the sum total of the conditions necessary for socialism.
    • "Left Wing' Childishness", Pravda (May 1918)
  • Hang (hang without fail, so the people see) no fewer than one hundred known kulaks, rich men, bloodsuckers.
    • "Lenin's Hanging Order" (11 August 1918), an order for the execution of kulaks, as translated in The Unknown Lenin : From the Secret Archive (1996) by Richard Pipes, p. 50
    • Variant translation: Hang (and make sure that the hanging takes place in full view of the people) no fewer than one hundred known landlords, rich men, bloodsuckers. … Do it in such a fashion that for hundreds of kilometres around the people might see, tremble, know, shout: "they are strangling, and will strangle to death, the bloodsucking kulaks".
      • As translated in Lenin : A Biography (2000) by Robert Service, p. 365
  • The Poor Peasants’ Committees are necessary to fight the kulaks, the rich, the exploiters, who shackle the working peasants. But between the kulaks, who are a small minority, and the poor or semi-proletarians there is the section of the middle peasants. The Soviet government has never declared or conducted any struggle against them. Any steps or measures to the contrary must be condemned most vigorously and stopped. The socialist government must pursue a policy of agreement with the middle peasants.
  • It is necessary — secretly and urgently to prepare the terror. And on Tuesday we will decide whether it will be through SNK or otherwise.
  • Recovery proceeding excellently. Am sure that the crushing of the Kazan Czechs and whiteguards, as well as of the kulak extortioners supporting them, will be exemplarily ruthless.
    • Telegram to Leon Trotsky (7 September 1918) as translated by Andrew Rothstein; the recovery he mentions was of the wounds he received in the assassination attempt on him a few days earlier; published in Collected Works, Vol. 35, p. 359
    • I am confident that the suppression of the Kazan Czechs and White Guards, and likewise of the bloodsucking kulaks who support them, will be a model of mercilessness.
      • As translated in The Cheka : Lenin’s Political Police (1981) by George Leggett, p. 119,
  • No Bolshevik, no Communist, no intelligent socialist has ever entertained the idea of violence against the middle peasants. All socialists have always spoken of agreement with them and of their gradual and voluntary transition to socialism.
  • Из всех искусств важнейшим для нас является кино.
    • You are known among us as a protector of the arts so you must remember that, of all the arts, for us the cinema is the most important.
    • Conversation with A.V.Lunacharsky (April 1919); also quoted in A Concise History of the Cinema: Before 1940 (1971) by Peter Cowie, p. 137, Complete Works of V.I.Lenin - 5th Edition - Vol. 44. - p. 579
  • When we are reproached with having established a dictatorship of one party and, as you have heard, a united socialist front is proposed, we say, "Yes, it is a dictatorship of one party! This is what we stand for and we shall not shift from that position because it is the party that has won, in the course of decades, the position of vanguard of the entire factory and industrial proletariat. This party had won that position even before the revolution of 1905. It is the party that was at the head of the workers in 1905 and which since then — even at the time of the reaction after 1905 when the working-class movement was rehabilitated with such difficulty under the Stolypin Duma — merged with the working class and it alone could lead that class to a profound, fundamental change in the old society.
  • When the Soviet government is experiencing a difficult period and plots are being hatched by bourgeois elements and when at a critical moment we manage to lay bare these plots — do they think they are discovered accidentally? Oh, no, not accidentally. They are discovered because the plotters live among the masses, because they cannot succeed in their plots without the workers and peasants and it is there that, in the long run, they run up against people who go to that badly organised, as they said here, Cheka and say that exploiters are gathered in a certain place.
  • When the speeches of Wilson, Clemenceau, and Lloyd George, the worst of the predators, the wild beasts of imperialism, are repeated here by Martov in the name of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party … then I say to myself that we have to be on the alert and to realise that the Cheka is indispensable!
    • Address to the Seventh All-Russia Congress (5 December 1919); Collected Works, Vol. 30

The State and Revolution (1917)[edit]

We set ourselves the ultimate aim of abolishing the state, i.e., all organized and systematic violence, all use of violence against people in general.
The State and Revolution (August - September 1917)
While the State exists, there can be no freedom. When there is freedom there will be no State.
  • Although the Russian bourgeois revolution of 1905-07 displayed no such “brilliant” successes as at time fell to the Portuguese and Turkish revolutions, it was undoubtedly a "real people's" revolution, since the mass of the people, their majority, the very lowest social groups, crushed by oppression and exploitation, rose independently and stamped on the entire course of the revolution the imprint of their own demands, their attempt to build in their own way a new society in place of the old society that was being destroyed.
  • For the state to wither away completely, complete communism is necessary.
    • Ch. 3
  • We set ourselves the ultimate aim of abolishing the state, i.e., all organized and systematic violence, all use of violence against people in general. We do not expect the advent of a system of society in which the principle of subordination of the minority to the majority will not be observed.
    In striving for socialism, however, we are convinced that it will develop into communism and, therefore, that the need for violence against people in general, for the subordination of one man to another, and of one section of the population to another, will vanish altogether since people will become accustomed to observing the elementary conditions of social life without violence and without subordination.
  • Пока есть государство, нет свободы. Когда будет свобода, не будет государства.
    • While the State exists, there can be no freedom. When there is freedom there will be no State.
    • Ch. 5
  • Freedom in capitalist society always remains about the same as it was in the ancient Greek republics: freedom for the slave-owners.
    • Ch. 5
  • The functionaries of our political organizations and trade unions are corrupted — or rather tend to be corrupted — by the conditions of capitalism and betray a tendency to become bureaucrats, i.e., privileged persons divorced from the people and standing above the people.

1920s[edit]

We stand for an alliance with all countries without exception.
What we prize most is peace and an opportunity to devote all our efforts to restoring our economy.
If it is necessary for the realization of a well-known political goal to perform a series of brutal actions then it is necessary to do them in the most energetic manner and in the shortest time, because masses of people will not tolerate the protracted use of brutality.
When we say "the state," the state is We, it is we, it is the proletariat, it is the advanced guard of the working class.
  • We stand for an alliance with all countries without exception.
  • To carry on a war for the overthrow of the international bourgeoisie, a war which is a hundred times more difficult, protracted and complex than the most stubborn of ordinary wars between states, and to renounce in advance any change of tack, or any utilisation of a conflict of interests (even if temporary) among one’s enemies, or any conciliation or compromise with possible allies (even if they are temporary, unstable, vacillating or conditional allies) — is that not ridiculous in the extreme?
  • For any truth, if overdone (as Dietzgen Senior put it), if exaggerated, or if carried beyond the limits of its applicability, can be reduced to absurdity.
    • Left-Wing Communism, An Infantile Disorder (April - May 1920)
  • Communism is Soviet government plus the electrification of the whole country. Otherwise the country will remain a country of small peasant economy, and it is up to us to realize this quite clearly.
    • New External and Internal Position and the Problems of the Party (1920); as quoted in The Soviet Power : The Socialist Sixth Of The World (1940) by Hewlett Johnson
  • We must pursue the removal of church property by any means necessary in order to secure for ourselves a fund of several hundred million gold rubles (do not forget the immense wealth of some monasteries and lauras). Without this fund any government work in general, any economic build-up in particular, and any upholding of soviet principles in Genoa especially is completely unthinkable. In order to get our hands on this fund of several hundred million gold rubles (and perhaps even several hundred billion), we must do whatever is necessary. But to do this successfully is possible only now. All considerations indicate that later on we will fail to do this, for no other time, besides that of desperate famine, will give us such a mood among the general mass of peasants that would ensure us the sympathy of this group, or, at least, would ensure us the neutralization of this group in the sense that victory in the struggle for the removal of church property unquestionably and completely will be on our side.
    One clever writer on statecraft correctly said that if it is necessary for the realization of a well-known political goal to perform a series of brutal actions then it is necessary to do them in the most energetic manner and in the shortest time, because masses of people will not tolerate the protracted use of brutality. … Now victory over the reactionary clergy is assured us completely. In addition, it will be more difficult for the major part of our foreign adversaries among the Russian emigres abroad, i.e., the Socialist-Revolutionaries and the Milyukovites, to fight against us if we, precisely at this time, precisely in connection with the famine, suppress the reactionary clergy with utmost haste and ruthlessness.
    Therefore, I come to the indisputable conclusion that we must precisely now smash the Black Hundreds clergy most decisively and ruthlessly and put down all resistance with such brutality that they will not forget it for several decades.The greater the number of representatives of the reactionary clergy and the reactionary bourgeoisie that we succeed in shooting on this occasion, the better because this "audience" must precisely now be taught a lesson in such a way that they will not dare to think about any resistance whatsoever for several decades.
    • Letter to Comrade Molotov for the Politburo (19 March 1922)
    • Variant translation:
    • It is precisely now and only now, when in the starving regions people are eating human flesh, and hundreds if not thousands of corpses are littering the roads, that we can (and therefore must) carry out the confiscation of church valuables. … I come to the categorical conclusion that precisely at this moment we must give battle to the Black Hundred clergy in the most decisive and merciless manner and crush its resistance with such brutality that it will not forget it for decades to come. The greater the number of representatives of the reactionary clergy and reactionary bourgeoisie we succeed in executing for this reason, the better.
      • As translated in The Unknown Lenin : From the Secret Archive (1996) edited by Richard Pipes, pp. 152-4
  • The trial of the insurrectionists from Shuia, for opposing aid to the starving, should be carried out in utmost haste and should end not other than with the shooting of the very largest number of the most influential and dangerous of the Black Hundreds in Shuia, and, if possible, not only in this city but even in Moscow and several other ecclesiastical centers.
    • Letter to Comrade Molotov for the Politburo (19 March 1922)
  • When we say "the state," the state is We, it is we, it is the proletariat, it is the advanced guard of the working class.
    • Speech (27 May 1922)
  • I absolutely do not pretend in the slightest fashion to knowledge of military science.
    • As quoted in Stalin : A Biography (2004) by Robert Service, p. 183

Collected Works[edit]

Quotes as yet only identified by location in the volumes of the Collected Works — Individual titles and dates of writing or publication should be provided for these, so they can be further sorted by date.
One cannot live in society and be free from society.
To picture world history as advancing smoothly and steadily without sometimes taking gigantic strides backward is undialectical, unscientific and theoretically wrong.
The natural scientist must be a modern materialist, a conscious adherent of the materialism represented by Marx, i.e., he must be a dialectical materialist.
To be successful, insurrection must rely not upon conspiracy and not upon a party, but upon the advanced class.
Only by abolishing private property in land and building cheap and hygienic dwellings can the housing problem be solved.
The state does not function as we desired. The car does not obey. A man is at the wheel and he seems to lead it, but the car does not drive in the desired direction. It moves as another force wishes.
Human reason has discovered many amazing things in nature and will discover still more, and will thereby increase its power over nature.
The world is eternally moving and developing matter, reflected by the developing of human consciousness.
We have the following of the majority of a class, the vanguard of the revolution, the vanguard of the people, which is capable of carrying the masses with it.
  • Trade unions and strikes cannot help in times of crisis when there is no demand for this “commodity”, they cannot change the conditions which, convert labour-power into a commodity and which doom the masses of working people to dire need and unemployment. To change these conditions, a revolutionary struggle against the whole existing social and political system is necessary; the industrial crisis will convince very many workers of the justice of this statement.
  • It is not for nothing that Skaldin in one part of his book quotes Adam Smith: we have seen that both his views and the character of his arguments in many respects repeat the theses of that great ideologist of the progressive bourgeoisie.
    • Lenin᾿s Collected Works, Vol. 2, pp. 491–534[page needed].
  • Terrorists bow to the spontaneity of the passionate indignation of intellectuals, who lack the ability or opportunity to connect the revolutionary struggle and the working-class movement into an integral whole. It is difficult indeed for those who have lost their belief, or who have never believed, that this is possible, to find some outlet for their indignation and revolutionary energy other than terror.
  • And, indeed, there could not be any other grouping among our students, because they are the most responsive section of the intelligentsia, and the intelligentsia are so called just because they most consciously, most resolutely and most accurately reflect and express the development of class interests and political groupings in society as a whole.
  • To call a fight for the Zionist idea of a Jewish nation, for the federal principle of Party organisation, a “fight for the equality of the Jews in the world family of the proletariat” is to degrade the struggle from the plane of ideas and principles to that of suspicion, incitement and fanning of historically-evolved prejudices. It glaringly reveals a lack of real ideas and principles as weapons of struggle.
  • One cannot live in society and be free from society.
  • Present-day society is wholly based on the exploitation of the vast masses of the working class by a tiny minority of the population, the class of the landowners and that of the capitalists. It is a slave society, since the “free” workers, who all their life work for the capitalists, are “entitled” only to such means of subsistence as are essential for the maintenance of slaves who produce profit, for the safeguarding and perpetuation of capitalist slavery.
  • Discrimination among citizens on account of their religious convictions is wholly intolerable. Even the bare mention of a citizen’s religion in official documents should unquestionably be eliminated.
  • We would be deceiving both ourselves and the people if we concealed from the masses the necessity of a desperate, bloody war of extermination, as the immediate task of the coming revolutionary action.
    • "Lessons of the Moscow Uprising" Collected Works, Vol. 11, p. 174
  • The proletariat should not ignore peaceful methods of struggle — they serve its ordinary, day-to-day interests, they are necessary in periods of preparation for revolution — but it must never forget that in certain conditions the class struggle assumes the form of armed conflict and civil war; there are times when the interests of the proletariat call for ruthless extermination of its enemies in open armed clashes. This was first demonstrated by the French proletariat in the Commune and brilliantly confirmed by the Russian proletariat in the December uprising.
  • It is logical to assert that all matter possesses a property which is essentially akin to sensation, the property of reflection.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 14, pp. 17–362
  • Modern militarism is the result of capitalism. In both its forms it is the “vital expression” of capitalism — as a military force used by the capitalist states in their external conflicts and as a weapon in the hands of the ruling classes for suppressing every kind of movement, economic and political, of the proletariat.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 15, pp. 191–201
  • Down with all colonial policy, down with the whole policy of intervention and capitalist struggle for the conquest of foreign lands and foreign populations, for new privileges, new markets, control of the Straits, etc.!
    • Collected Works, Vol. 15, p. 229
  • The real emancipation of the Chinese people from age-long slavery would be impossible without the great, sincerely democratic enthusiasm which is rousing the working masses and making them capable of miracles, and which is evident from every sentence of Sun Yat-sen’s platform.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 18, pp. 163–169
  • The worker is becoming impoverished absolutely, i.e., he is actually becoming poorer than before; he is compelled to live worse, to eat worse, to suffer hunger more, and to live in basements and attics.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 18, pp. 435–436
  • Shame on America for the plight of the Negroes!
    • Collected Works, Vol. 18, p. 543–544
  • Complete equality of rights for all nations; the right of nations to self-determination; the unity of the workers of all nations — such is the national programme that Marxism, the experience of the whole world, and the experience of Russia, teach the workers.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 20, pp. 393–454
  • Pacifism, the preaching of peace in the abstract, is one of the means of duping the working class.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 21, pp. 158–164
  • A United States of Europe is possible as an agreement between the European capitalists ... but to what end? Only for the purpose of jointly suppressing socialism in Europe
    • Collected Works, Vol. 21, p 341
  • To picture world history as advancing smoothly and steadily without sometimes taking gigantic strides backward is undialectical, unscientific and theoretically wrong
    • Collected Works, Vol. 22, pp. 305–319
  • Socialism, by organising production without class oppression, by ensuring the well-being of all members of the state, gives full play to the “sympathies” of the population, thereby promoting and greatly accelerating the drawing together and fusion of the nations.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 22, pp. 320–360
  • The entire trend of development is towards abolition of coercive domination of one part of society over another.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 23, pp. 28–76
  • To become a power the class-conscious workers must win the majority to their side. As long as no violence is used against the people there is no other road to power. We are not Blancists, we do not stand for the seizure of power by a minority.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 24, pp. 38–41
  • Humanity has not yet evolved and we do not as yet know a type of government superior to and better than the Soviets of Workers’, Agricultural Labourers’, Peasants’, and Soldiers’ Deputies.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 24, pp. 38–41
  • The passing of state power from one class to another is the first, the principal, the basic sign of a revolution, both in the strictly scientific and in the practical political meaning of that term.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 24, pp. 42–54
  • Our aim is to achieve a socialist system of society, which, by eliminating the division of mankind into classes, by eliminating all exploitation of man by man and nation by nation, will inevitably eliminate the very possibility of war.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 24, pp. 398–421
  • Only by abolishing private property in land and building cheap and hygienic dwellings can the housing problem be solved.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 24, p. 455–480
  • To decide once every few years which members of the ruling class is to repress and crush the people through parliament — this is the real essence of bourgeois parliamentarism, not only in parliamentary- constitutional monarchies, but also in the most democratic republics.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 25, p.381–492
  • We have the following of the majority of a class, the vanguard of the revolution, the vanguard of the people, which is capable of carrying the masses with it.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 26, pp. 22–27
  • To be successful, insurrection must rely not upon conspiracy and not upon a party, but upon the advanced class. That is the first point. Insurrection must rely upon a revolutionary upsurge of the people. That is the second point. Insurrection must rely upon that turning-point in the history of the growing revolution when the activity of the advanced ranks of the people is at its height, and when the vacillations in the ranks of the enemy and in the ranks of the weak, half-hearted and irresolute friends of the revolution are strongest. That is the third point. And these three conditions for raising the question of insurrection distinguish Marxism from Blanquism.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 26, pp. 22–27
  • We love our language and our country, and we are doing our very utmost to raise her toiling masses (i.e., nine-tenths of her population) to the level of a democratic and socialist consciousness.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 26, p. 107
  • The civil war which was started by the Cadet-Kaledin counter-revolutionary revolt against the Soviet authorities, against the workers’ and peasants’ government, has finally brought the class struggle to a head and has destroyed every chance of setting in a formally democratic way the very acute problems with which history has confronted the peoples of Russia, and in the first place her working class and peasants.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 26, pp. 379–383
  • The bourgeois court, which claimed to maintain order, but which, as a matter of fact, was a blind, subtle instrument for the ruthless suppression of the exploited, and an instrument for protecting the interests of the moneybags.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 26, pp. 453–482
  • History is moving in zig-zags and by roundabout ways.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 27, pp. 159–63
  • The bourgeoisie are today evading taxation by bribery and through their connections; we must close all loopholes.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 27, pp. 383–387
  • The capture of Simbirsk, my home town, is a wonderful tonic, the best treatment for my wounds. I feel a new lease of life and energy.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 28, p. 98
  • No revolution is worth anything unless it can defend itself.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 28, pp. 113–126
  • America has become one of the foremost countries in regard to the depth of the abyss which lies between the handful of arrogant multimillionaires who wallow in filth and luxury, and the millions of working people who constantly live on the verge of pauperism.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 28, p. 62–75
  • The status of women up to now has been compared to that of a slave; women have been tied to the home, and only socialism can save them from this. They will only be completely emancipated when we change from small-scale individual farming to collective farming and collective working of the land.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 28, pp. 180–182
  • Communism cannot be imposed by force.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 29, pp. 141–225
  • The practical activity of man had to lead his consciousness to the reptetition of various logical figures thousands of millions of times in order that these figures could obtain the significance of axioms.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 29, p.172
  • Shame on accursed tsarism which tortured and persecuted the Jews. Shame on those who foment hatred towards the Jews, who foment hatred towards other nations.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 29, p.252–53
  • The truth about Kolchak (and his double, Denikin) has now been revealed in full. The shooting of tens of thousands of workers. The shooting even of Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries. The flogging of peasants of entire districts. The public flogging of women. The absolutely unbridled power of the officers, the sons of landowners. Endless looting. Such is the truth about Kolchak and Denikin.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 29, p. 436–455
  • The proletarian revolution is impossible without the sympathy and support of the overwhelming majority of the working people.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 30, pp. 52–62
  • For the first time the peasant has seen real freedom — freedom to eat his bread, freedom from starvation.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 30, pp. 107–117
  • Do everything to demonstrate, and in the most emphatic manner, our sympathy for the Moslems, their autonomy, independence, etc.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 30, p. 494
  • You can become a Communist only when you enrich your mind with a knowledge of all the treasures created by mankind.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 31
  • From the vulgar bourgeois standpoint the terms dictatorship and democracy are mutually exclusive. Failing to understand the theory of class struggle, and accustomed to seeing in the political arena the petty squabbling of the various bourgeois circles and coteries, the bourgeois conceives dictatorship to mean the annulment of all the liberties and guarantees of democracy, tyranny of every kind, and every sort of abuse of power in the personal interests of a dictator.
    • Collected Works, Vol. 31
  • The proletarian state must effect the transition to collective farming with extreme caution and only very gradually, by the force of example, without any coercion of the middle peasant.
  • The Labour Party is a thoroughly bourgeois party, because, although made up of workers, it is led by reactionaries, and the worst kind of reactionaries at that, who act quite in the spirit of the bourgeoisie. It is an organisation of the bourgeoisie, which exists to systematically dupe the workers with the aid of the British Noskes and Scheidemanns.
  • As long as the bourgeois parliament remains a means of duping the workers, and phrases about “democracy” are used to cover up financial swindling and every kind of bribery (the particularly “subtle” brand of bribery the bourgeoisie practise with regard to writers, N.P.s, lawyers, and others is nowhere to be seen on so wide a scale as in the bourgeois parliament), we Communists are in duty bound to be in this very institution (which is supposed to express the people’s will but actually covers up the deception of the people by the wealthy) to untiringly expose this deception, and expose each and every case of the Renners and Co.’s desertion to the capitalists, against the workers
  • There are at present 300,000 bourgeois in the Crimea. These are a source of future profiteering, espionage and every kind of aid to the capitalists. However, we are not afraid of them. We say that we shall take and distribute them, make them submit, and assimilate them.
    • Collected Works, 4th English Edition, Vol. 31, pp. 438–59[page needed].
  • A full 'definition of an object must include the whole of human experience, both as a criterion of truth and a practical indicator of its connection with human wants.
  • All over the world, wherever there are capitalists, freedom of the press means freedom to buy up newspapers, to buy writers, to bribe, buy and fake “public opinion” for the benefit of the bourgeoisie.
  • The natural scientist must be a modern materialist, a conscious adherent of the materialism represented by Marx, i.e., he must be a dialectical materialist.
  • Rectilinearity and one-sidedness, woodenness and petrification, subjectivism and subjective blindness — voilà the epistemological roots of idealism.
  • Tsar Nicholas the Bloody, who has dispersed the First and Second Dumas, who has drowned Russia in blood, enslaved Poland and Finland, and is in alliance with out — and-out reactionaries conducting a policy of stifling the Jews and all “aliens”, the tsar whose loyal friends shot down the workers on the Lena and ruined the peasants to the point of starvation all over Russia — that tsar pretends to be the champion of Slav independence and freedom!"
  • Hundreds of thousands and millions of wage slaves of capital and peasants downtrodden by the serf-owners are going to the slaughter for the dynastic interests of a handful of crowned brigands, for the profits of the bourgeoisie in its drive to plunder foreign lands.
  • To hoard surpluses of grain and other food products at a time when the people in Petrograd, in Moscow, and in dozens of non-agricultural uyezds are not only suffering from a shortage of bread, but are cruelly starving, is an enormous crime deserving the most ruthless punishment.

Attributions[edit]

Every cook must learn to rule the State.
It is true that liberty is precious — so precious that it must be rationed.
  • I am not fond of the Germans by any means but at the present time it is more advantageous to use them than to challenge them. An independent Poland is very dangerous to Soviet Russia: it is an evil which, however, at the present time has also its redeeming features; for while it exists, we may safely count on Germany, because the Germans hate Poland and will at any time make common cause with us in order to strangle Poland. ... Everything teaches us to look upon Germany as our most reliable ally. Germany wants revenge, and we want revolution. For the moment our aims are the same. When our ways part they will be our most ferocious and our great enemies. Time will tell whether a German hegemony or a Communist federation is to arise out of the ruins of Europe.
    • Quoted from a "Speech to followers" by Ost-Information (Berlin), No. 81 (4 December 1920); as quoted in The Foreign Policies of Soviet Russia (1924) by A. L. O. Dennis, p. 154
  • Ничего не знаю лучше «Apassionata», готов слушать ее каждый день. Изумительная, нечеловеческая музыка. Я всегда с гордостью, может быть, наивной, детской, думаю: вот какие чудеса могут делать люди ... Но часто слушать музыку не могу, действует на нервы, хочется милые глупости говорить и гладить по головкам людей, которые, живя в грязном аду, могут создавать такую красоту. А сегодня гладить по головке никого нельзя — руку откусят, и надобно бить по головкам, бить безжалостно, хотя мы, в идеале, против всякого насилия над людьми. Гм-гм, - должность адски трудная!
    • I know of nothing better than the Appassionata and could listen to it every day. What astonishing, superhuman music! It always makes me proud, perhaps with a childish naiveté, to think that people can work such miracles! ... But I can’t listen to music very often, it affects my nerves. I want to say sweet, silly things, and pat the little heads of people who, living in a filthy hell, can create such beauty. These days, one can’t pat anyone on the head nowadays, they might bite your hand off. Hence, you have to beat people's little heads, beat mercilessly, although ideally we are against doing any violence to people. Hm — what a devillishly difficult job!
  • By destroying the peasant economy and driving the peasant from the country to the town, the famine creates a proletariat... Furthermore the famine can and should be a progressive factor not only economically. It will force the peasant to reflect on the bases of the capitalist system, demolish faith in the tsar and tsarism, and consequently in due course make the victory of the revolution easier... Psychologically all this talk about feeding the starving and so on essentially reflects the usual sugary sentimentality of our intelligentsia.
    • As quoted in Michael Ellman, The Role of Leadership Perceptions and of Intent in the Soviet Famine of 1931-1934, Europe-Asia Studies, September 2005, page 823
  • Every cook must learn to rule the State.
    • As quoted in Woman's Place by Florence Becker, in New International, Vol. 2 No. 5 (August 1935), pp.175-176; also in Woman in Soviet Russia (1935) by Fannina W. Halle
  • It is true that liberty is precious — so precious that it must be rationed.
    • As quoted in Soviet Communism : A New Civilization? (1936) by Sidney & Beatrice Webb
  • The nearer we come to the full military suppression of the bourgeoisie, the more dangerous becomes to us the high flood of petty-bourgeois Anarchism. And the struggle against these elements cannot be waged with propaganda and agitation alone. … The struggle must also be waged by applying force and compulsion.
    • The Guillotine At Work : Twenty Years of Terror In Russia (1940) by Grigoriĭ Petrovich Maksimov, p. 38
  • They will furnish credits which will serve us for the support of the Communist Party in their countries and, by supplying us materials and technical equipment which we lack, will restore our military industry necessary for our future attacks against our suppliers. To put it in other words, they will work on the preparation of their own suicide.
    • Reported by I. U. Annenkov in an article entitled, "Remembrances of Lenin", Novyi Zhurnal/New Review (September 1961), p. 147.
  • I don't care what becomes of Russia. To hell with it … All this is only the road to a World Revolution.
    • Statement after the October Revolution of 1917, as quoted in "Communists: The Battle over the Tomb" in TIME (24 April 1964)
  • It is in prison … that one becomes a real revolutionary.
    • Attributed in "Communists: The Battle over the Tomb" in TIME (24 April 1964)
  • The state does not function as we desired. The car does not obey. A man is at the wheel and he seems to lead it, but the car does not drive in the desired direction. It moves as another force wishes.
    • As quoted in A Fate Worse than Debt (1988) Susan George
  • It is stupid to tolerate "Nikola;" all Chekists have to be on alert to shoot anyone who doesn't turn up to work because of "Nikola."
    • Nikola" here is St. Nickolas' Day, as quoted in Autopsy for an Empire (1998) by Dmitri Volkogonov, p. 74
  • Russians are too kind, they lack the ability to apply determined methods of revolutionary terror.
  • [Use] rifles, revolvers, bombs, knives, knuckle-dusters, sticks, rags soaked in kerosene for starting fires... barbed wire, nails (against cavalry)… or acids to be poured on the police... The killing of spies, policemen, gendarmes, the blowing up of police stations... [must start] at a moment’s notice.
    • As quoted in Tasks of Revolutionary Army Contingents, Collected Works, Vol. 9, pages. 420-24
  • We would be deceiving both ourselves and the people if we concealed from the masses the necessity of a desperate, bloody war of extermination, as the immediate task of the coming revolutionary action.
    • As quoted in Lessons of the Moscow Uprising, Collected Works, Vol. 11, page 174
  • ...there are times when the interests of the proletariat call for ruthless extermination of its enemies in open armed clashes.”
    • As quoted in Lessons of the Commune, Collected Works, Vol. 13, page 478
  • He who accepts the class struggle cannot fail to accept civil wars, which in every class society are the natural, and under certain conditions inevitable, continuation, development and intensification of the class struggle… To repudiate civil war, or to forget about it, is to fall into extreme opportunism and renounce the socialist revolution.
    • As quoted in The Military Programme of the Proletarian Revolution, Collected Works, Vol. 23, pages 78-9
  • War to the death against the rich and their hangers-on, the bourgeois intellectuals... ‘He who does not work, neither shall he eat’ – this is the practical commandment of socialism... [Our] common aim [is] to clean the land of Russia of all vermin, of fleas – the rogues, of bugs – the rich, and so on and so forth.
    • As quoted in How to Organise Competition? Collected Works, Vol. 26, pages. 411, 414
  • Not a single problem of the class struggle has ever been solved in history except by violence... The class struggle did not accidentally assume its latest form, the form in which the exploited class takes all the means of power in its own hands in order to completely destroy its class enemy, the bourgeoisie...
    • As quoted in Report on the Activities of the Council of People’s Commissars, Collected Works, Vol. 26, pages 459-61
  • We can’t expect to get anywhere unless we resort to terrorism: speculators must be shot on the spot. Moreover, bandits must be dealt with just as resolutely: they must be shot on the spot.
    • As quoted in Meeting of the Presidium of the Petrograd Soviet With Delegates From the Food Supply Organisations, Collected Works, Vol. 26, page 501
  • Surely you do not imagine that we shall be victorious without applying the most cruel revolutionary terror?
    • As quoted in George Leggett, The Cheka: Lenin’s Political Police (1981), page 57
  • ... prepare eveything to burn Baku to the ground, if there is an attack…
    • As quoted in Richard Pipes, The Unknown Lenin: From the Secret Archive (1996), page 46
  • ... carry out merciless mass terror against the kulaks, priests and White Guards; unreliable elements to be locked up in a concentration camp outside the town.
    • As quoted in George Leggett, The Cheka: Lenin’s Political Police (1981), page 103
  • The uprising of the five kulak districts should be mercilessly suppressed… Hang (hang without fail, so the people see) no fewer than one hundred kulaks, rich men, bloodsuckers... Do it in such a way that for hundreds of versts [km] around, the people will see, tremble, know, shout: they are strangling and will strangle to death the bloodsucker kulaks.
    • As quoted in Richard Pipes, The Unknown Lenin: From the Secret Archive (1996), page 50
  • About three million must be regarded as middle peasants, while barely two million consist of kulaks, rich peasants, grain profiteers... Ruthless war on the kulaks! Death to them! ... [Class struggle entails] ruthless suppression of the kulaks, those bloodsuckers, vampires, plunderers of the people and profiteers, who batten on famine.
    • As quoted in Comrade Workers, Forward To The Last, Decisive Fight! Collected Works, Vol. 28, pages 53-7
  • I am confident that the suppression of the Kazan Czechs and White Guards, and likewise of the bloodsucking kulaks who support them, will be a model of mercilessness.
    • As quoted in George Leggett, The Cheka: Lenin’s Political Police (1981), p. 119
  • Dictatorship is rule based directly upon force and unrestricted by any laws. The revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat is rule won and maintained by the use of violence by the proletariat against the bourgeoisie, rule that is unrestricted by any laws.
    • As quoted in The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky (1972), p. 11
  • ... when people charge us with harshness we wonder how they can forget the rudiments of Marxism.
    • As quoted in Speech All-Russia Extraordinary Commission Staff, Collected Works, Vol. 28, pp. 169-70
  • ... catch and shoot the Astrakhan speculators and bribe-takers. These swine have to be dealt [with] so that everyone will remember it for years.
    • As quoted in Dmitri Volkogonov, Lenin: Life and Legacy (1994), p. 201
  • When we are reproached with having established a dictatorship of one party... we say, ‘Yes, it is a dictatorship of one party! This is what we stand for and we shall not shift from that position...’”
    • As quoted in Speech to the First All-Russia Congress of Workers in Education and Socialist Culture, Collected Works, Vol. 29, p. 535)
  • Russians are too kind, they lack the ability to apply determined methods of revolutionary terror.
    • As quoted in Dmitri Volkogonov, Lenin: Life and Legacy (1994), p. 203
  • Use both bribery and threats to exterminate every Cossack to a man if they set fire to the oil in Guriev.
    • As quoted in Richard Pipes, The Unknown Lenin: From the Secret Archive (1996), p. 69
  • Treat the Jews (express it politely: Jewish petty bourgeoisie) and urban inhabitants in the Ukraine with an iron rod, transferring them to the front, not letting them into the government agencies (except in an insignificant percentage, in particularly exceptional circumstances, under class control).
    • As quoted in Richard Pipes, The Unknown Lenin: From the Secret Archive (1996), p. 77
  • It is precisely now and only now, when in the starving regions people are eating human flesh, and hundreds if not thousands of corpses are littering the roads, that we can (and therefore must) carry out the confiscation of church valuables... I come to the categorical conclusion that precisely at this moment we must give battle to the Black Hundred clergy in the most decisive and merciless manner and crush its resistance with such brutality that it will not forget it for decades to come… The greater the number of representatives of the reactionary clergy and reactionary bourgeoisie we succeed in executing for this reason, the better.”
    • As quoted in Richard Pipes, The Unknown Lenin: From the Secret Archive (1996), pp. 152-4


Misattributed[edit]

  • First, we will take Eastern Europe, then the masses of Asia, then we will encircle the United States which will be the last bastion of capitalism. We will not have to attack. It will fall like an overripe fruit into our hands.
    • Cardinal Francis Spellman used this attribution in his speech to the 1954 National Convention of the American Legion. It has been debunked repeatedly, for example in They Never Said It (1999) by Paul F. Boller and John H. George. The last two sentences have also been misattributed to Nikita Krushchev. The metaphor of the ripe fruit appears much earlier in US policy discussions about Cuba:
      • If an apple, severed by the tempest from its native tree, cannot choose but fall to the ground, Cuba, forcibly disjoined from its unnatural connexion with Spain, and incapable of self-support, can only gravitate towards the North American Union.
      • The fruit will fall into our hands when it is ripe, without an officious shaking of the tree. Cuba will be ours … in due season, without the wicked impertinence of war.
        • Parke Godwin, "Annexation" (February 1854)
  • We will hang the capitalists with the rope that they sell us.
    • According to the book, "They Never Said It", p. 64, there is no evidence Lenin ever said this. Lenin was supposed to have made his observation to one of his close associates, Grigori Zinoviev, not long after a meeting of the Politburo in the early 1920s, but there is no evidence that he ever did. Experts on the Soviet Union reject the rope quote as spurious.
  • Practice is the criterion of truth.
  • The way to crush the bourgeoisie is to grind them down between the millstones of taxation and inflation.
  • Socialized medicine is the keystone to the arch of the socialist state.
    • Fabricated quote from The Voluntary Way is the American Way (1949) by PR firm Whitaker and Baxter. According to The Heart of Power by David Blumenthal and James Morone (pp. 91-92):
      Whitaker and Baxter published a fifteen-page pamphlet of questions and answers entitled The Voluntary Way is the American Way, which, deep in the Q&A, concocted a quotation from Lenin:
      Q: Would socialized medicine lead to socialization of other phases of American life?
      A: Lenin thought so. He declared: socialized medicine is the keystone to the arch of the socialist state.
      Senator Murray asked the Library of Congress to track down the quote and, as expected, they found nothing like it—most scholars assume Whitaker and Baxter dreamed it up.
    • Alternate form: "Socialized medicine is a keystone to the establishment of a socialist state."

Quotes about Lenin[edit]

Lenin and Stalin have evidenced their outstanding brilliance as mass leaders in every revolutionary requirement… ― William Z. Foster
Alphabetized by author or source
The names of Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler will forever be linked to the tragic course of European history in the first half of the twentieth century. ― Robert Gellately
I had resolved to kill Lenin long ago. I consider him a traitor to the Revolution. ― Fanni Kaplan
Lenin is not comparable to any revolutionary figure in history… ― Peter Kropotkin
  • Lenin was sent into Russia by the Germans in the same way that you might send a phial containing a culture of typhoid or cholera to be poured into the water supply of a great city, and it worked with amazing accuracy.
    • Winston Churchill, On Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, in the House of Commons, November 5, 1919 as cited in Churchill by Himself (2008), Ed. Langworth, PublicAffairs, p. 355
  • Lenin is an artist who has worked men, as other artists have worked marble or metals. But men are harder than stone and less malleable than iron. There is no masterpiece. The artist has failed. The task was superior to his capacities.
    • Benito Mussolini, Popolo d'Italia (14 July 1920) "The Artificer and the Material," quoted in Mussolini in the Making (1938) by Gaudens Megaro, p. 326
  • Lenin and Stalin have evidenced their outstanding brilliance as mass leaders in every revolutionary requirement: in Marxian theory, political strategy, the building of mass organizations, and in the development of the mass struggle. The characteristic feature of their work is its many-sidedness. Both men of action as well as of thought, they have exemplified in their activities that coordination of theory and practice which is so indispensable to the success of the every-day struggles of the masses and the final establishment of socialism. Both have worked in the clearest realization of the twin truths that there can be no revolutionary movement without revolutionary theory, and that revolutionary theory unsupported by organized mass struggle must remain sterile.
  • The names of Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler will forever be linked to the tragic course of European history in the first half of the twentieth century. Only weeks after the Russian Revolution the Bolsheviks created secret police forces far more brutal than any that had existed under the tsar. The Nazis followed suit and were no sooner in power than they instituted the dreaded Gestapo. Under both regimes millions of people were incarcerated in concentration camps where they were tortured and frequently worked to death.
    • Gellately, Robert (2007), Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler: The Age of Social Catastrophe .
  • Not since Marx had the proletarian struggle for emancipation given the world a thinker and leader of the working class and all toilers of Lenin’s stature. He combined scientific genius, political wisdom, and perspicacity with great organizational ability, an iron will, courage, and daring. He had a boundless faith in the creative powers of the popular masses, was close to them, and enjoyed their total confidence, love, and support. All of Lenin’s activity embodied the organic unity between revolutionary theory and practice. As leader and man Lenin possessed a selfless devotion to communist ideals and to the cause of the party and of the working class and a supreme conviction of the righteousness and justice of that cause. He subordinated every facet of his life to the struggle for the emancipation of the toilers from social and national oppression. He both loved his homeland and was a consistent internationalist. Intransigent toward the class enemy, he had a touching concern for comrades. He was highly exacting toward himself and others and was morally pure, simple, and modest.
  • The great actors and theorists of twentieth-century politics, on the right and left, agree on this point: Max Weber and Vladimir Lenin say, in almost identical words, that with regard to the use of force the state is always a dictatorship.
  • The monstrous evils of the twentieth century have shown us that the greediest money grubbers are gentle doves compared with money-hating wolves like Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler, who in less than three decades killed or maimed nearly a hundred million men, women, and children and brought untold suffering to a large portion of mankind.
  • Today I shot at Lenin. I did it on my own. I will not say from whom I obtained my revolver. I will give no details. I had resolved to kill Lenin long ago. I consider him a traitor to the Revolution.
    • Fanni Kaplan, in a statement during her interrogation after an assassination attempt on Lenin, as quoted in Shub, David (1976), Lenin: A Biography, p. 362 .
  • Vladimir Ilyich, your concrete actions are completely unworthy of the ideas you pretend to hold.
    Is it possible that you do not know what a hostage really is — a man imprisoned not because of a crime he has committed, but only because it suits his enemies to exert blackmail on his companions?... If you admit such methods, one can foresee that one day you will use torture, as was done in the Middle Ages.
    I hope you will not answer me that Power is for political men a professional duty, and that any attack against that power must be considered as a threat against which one must guard oneself at any price. This opinion is no longer held even by kings... Are you so blinded, so much a prisoner of your own authoritarian ideas, that you do not realise that being at the head of European Communism, you have no right to soil the ideas which you defend by shameful methods... What future lies in store for Communism when one of its most important defenders tramples in this way every honest feeling?
    • Peter Kropotkin, in a letter to Lenin (21 December 1920); as quoted in Woodcock, George; Avakumovic, Ivan (1990), Peter Kropotkin: From Prince to Rebel, p. 426 .
  • Lenin is not comparable to any revolutionary figure in history. Revolutionaries have had ideals. Lenin has none. He is a madman, an immolator, wishful of burning, and slaughter, and sacrificing.
  • Lenin is an artist who has worked men, as other artists have worked marble or metals. But men are harder than stone and less malleable than iron. There is no masterpiece. The artist has failed. The task was superior to his capacities.
    • Benito Mussolini, as quoted in Megaro, Gaudens (1938), Mussolini in the Making, p. 326 .
  • Lenin, the greatest man of action in our century and at the same time the most selfless.
    • Romain Rolland, as quoted in Fülöp-Miller, René (1930), Lenin and Gandhi, p. 102 .
    • Variant: Lenin was the greatest man of action in our century and at the same time the most selfless.
      • As quoted in Through the Eyes of Foreigners, 1917–1932, 1932, p. 222 .
  • Soon after my arrival in Moscow I had an hour's conversation with Lenin in English, which he speaks fairly well... I have never met a personage so destitute of self-importance. He looks at his visitors very closely, and screws up one eye, which seems to increase alarmingly the penetrating power of the other. He laughs a great deal; at first his laugh seems merely friendly and jolly, but gradually I came to feel it rather grim. He is dictatorial, calm, incapable of fear, extraordinarily devoid of self-seeking, an embodied theory. The materialist conception of history, one feels, is his life-blood. He resembles a professor in his desire to have the theory understood and in his fury with those who misunderstand or disagree, as also in his love of expounding, I got the impression that he despises a great many people and is an intellectual aristocrat... He described the division between rich and poor peasants, and the Government propaganda among the latter against the former, leading to acts of violence which he seemed to find amusing... I think if I had met him without knowing who he was, I should not have guessed that he was a great man; he struck me as too opinionated and narrowly orthodox. His strength comes, I imagine, from his honesty, courage, and unwavering faith—religious faith in the Marxian gospel.
  • This most powerful machinist of the revolution... was irrevocably controlled by one and the same idea, the goal. He was probably the most extreme utilitarian whom the laboratory of history has produced. But his utilitarianism was of the broadest historical scope. His personality did not grow flat or poor thereby, but on the contrary developed and enriched itself in extent, as his experience of life and sphere of activity grew.
  • Through the ages of world history thousands of leaders and scholars appeared who spoke eloquent words, but these remained but words. You, Lenin, were an exception. You not only spoke and taught us, but translated your words into deeds. You created a new country. You showed us the road of joint struggle... You, great man that you are, will live on in the memories of the oppressed peoples through the centuries.
    • Sun Yat-sen in a 1924 response to Lenin's death, as quoted in Manfred, Albert Zakharovich (1974), A Short History of the World, 2 ; also in Lenin: A Biography, Moscow: Progress, 1983 .

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