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Workers of the world, unite! —Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

In political and social sciences, communism (from Latin communis, "common, universal") is the philosophical, social, political, and economic ideology and movement whose ultimate goal is the establishment of the communist society, which is a socioeconomic order structured upon the common ownership of the means of production and the absence of social classes, money, and the state. Communism includes a variety of schools of thought, which broadly include Marxism, anarchism (anarchist communism), and the political ideologies grouped around both. All these share the analysis that the current order of society stems from its economic system, capitalism, that in this system, there are two major social classes: the working class—who must work to survive, and who make up the majority within society—and the capitalist class—a minority who derives profit from employing the working class, through private ownership of the means of production—and that conflict between these two classes will trigger a revolution. The revolution, in turn, will establish social ownership of the means of production, which is, according to this analysis, the primary element in the transformation of society towards communism.

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Russian Communism is the illegitimate child of Karl Marx and Catherine the Great. —Clement Attlee
  • Dogbert: Hey Gorby, did you hear this quote ... "Communism is the most painful path between capitalism and capitalism."
  • To be a Communist is to be a partisan and artisan of Marxism-Leninist philosophy: of dialectical materialism.
  • Στον καπιταλισμό οι κουμουνιστές είναι πάντα καλύτεροι.
    • In capitalism, communists are always better.
    • Adonis Georgiadis about the way the Communist Party of Greece handles money (12 May 2018)
  • There is nothing else in Communism — a Jewish conspiracy to grab the whole world in their clutches; and no intelligent man in the world can find anything else, except the Jews, who rightly call it for themselves a “paradise on earth”. Jews are eager to bring Communism, because they know what it is and what it means. It is because Communism has not been fought for what it really is — a Jewish scheme invented by Jews — that it has progressed against all opposition to it. We have fought the smoke-screen presented by Jewish dialecticians and publicists, refusing to fight the inventor, profiteer and string-puller. Because Christians and Gentiles have come to fear the Jews, fear the truth, and they are paralyzed by the paradoxical slogans shouted by the Jews.
  • There are some of our own people who still think that the Communists are the left wing of the Socialist movement. They are not. The Socialist movement was a movement for freedom in its widest sense. From the point of view of freedom, Communists are on the extreme right—more reactionary than some of the old tyrannies which we knew in the past. What is the thing for which we fight, for which the men with whom we feel the stir of sympathy throughout the ages have fought? Freedom. But that fight changes from age to age and the freedom that some men fought for may turn out to be tyranny. Communists, concentrating solely on the economic aspects of freedom...have produced the ghastly travesty of Socialism in the lands behind the iron curtain.
    • Clement Attlee, speech in Glasgow (10 April 1949), quoted in The Times (11 April 1949), p. 4
  • Socialism was the only means of freeing the world from war and poverty. Socialism stood as a third alternative to a barbaric Communism and capitalism in a state of decay. Communism was a falsification of the principles of Socialism.
    • Clement Attlee, speech to the Swedish Social Democratic Party congress in Stockholm (5 June 1952), quoted in The Times (6 June 1952), p. 5
  • If communism ever reestablishes itself successfully upon earth, it must be on a foundation of soul's brotherhood and the death of egoism. A forced association and a mechanical comradeship would end in a world-wide fiasco.
    • Sri Aurobindo, quoted from Sri Aurobindo, Nahar, S., Aurobindo, ., & Institut de recherches évolutives (Paris). India's rebirth: A selection from Sri Aurobindo's writing, talks and speeches. Paris: Institut de Recherches Evolutives. 3rd Edition (2000). Chapter II


  • My generation of Communists everywhere accepted the Stalinist form of leadership. We acquiesced in the crimes. That is true not only of Soviet Communists, but of Communists all over the world. We, especially the active and leading members of the Party, carry a stain on our consciences individually and collectively. The only way we can erase it is to make sure that nothing of the sort ever happens again. How was all this possible? Did we all go crazy, or have we now become traitors to Communism? The truth is that all of us, including the leaders directly under Stalin, saw these crimes as the opposite of what they were. We believed that they were important contributions to the victory of socialism. We thought everything that promoted the power politics of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union and in the world was good for socialism. We never suspected that conflict between Communist politics and Communist ethics was possible.
  • The Communist Party is the sworn inveterate enemy of the Socialist and Democratic Parties. When it associates with them, it does so as a preliminary to destroying them. There is an old German aphorism which says: "To cast an enemy out it is first necessary to embrace him." That is what the Communists mean when they ask for co-operation and alliance with the Socialists... The Communist does not look upon a Socialist as an ally in a common cause. He looks upon him as a dupe, as a temporary convenience, and as something to be thrust ruthlessly to one side when he has served his purpose.
  • From the outset in 1917, the Communists believed in a utopian ideology, extreme, organised violence, atheism, a redefined place of the individual that served to reject Enlightenment precepts, and the rejection of preceding Russian history. During the Civil War and the 1920s, the Orthodox Church was crushed, with the slaughter of tens of thousands of priests and monks, and the desecration and destruction of churches, monasteries and the tombs of saints. The real and spiritual landscapes of Russia and the psychological life of the people were transformed as a consequence. Communism in its own way therefore constituted a major civilisational challenge to the notion in Europe and North America of a 'Western Civilisation', whether or not articulated explicitly in this fashion. This civilisation owed much to Christianity and placed considerable weight on liberalism and toleration. From this perspective, Communism, drawing both on a reconceptualisation of Russian authoritarianism and on a new, totalitarian ideology and practice, posed a counter-civilisational challenge with its own precepts, aims, methods and anticipated outcomes.


  • In Brazil, it goes like this: communists only read communist authors, (economic) liberals only read liberal authors and so on. Each one is afraid of tarnishing their little soul with sinful thoughts. In order for someone to speak with some propriety about the communist movement, they must have previously studied the following things:
  1. The classics of Marxism: Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, Mao Zedong.
  2. The most important Marxist philosophers: Lukács, Korsch, Gramsci, Adorno, Horkheimer, Marcuse, Lefebvre, Althusser.
  3. Main Currents of Marxism, by Leszek Kolakowski.
  4. Some good history and sociology books about the revolutionary movement in general, such as Fire in the Minds of Men, by James H. Billington, The Pursuit of the Millenium, by Norman Cohn, The New Science of Politics, by Eric Voegelin.
  5. Good books on the history of communist regimes written from a non-apologetic point of view.
  6. Books by the most famous critics of Marxism, like Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk, Ludwig von Mises, Raymond Aron, Roger Scruton, Nicolai Berdiaev and so many others.
  7. Books about the communist strategy and tactics on their rise to power, about the underground activities of the movement in the West and chiefly about the "active measures" (disinformation, agents of influence), like those by Anatolyi Golitsyn, Christopher Andrew, John Earl Haynes, Ladislaw Bittman, Diana West.
  8. The largest number possible of testimonies by former communist agents and militants who recall their experience in service of the movement or communist governments, such as Arthur Koestler, Ian Valtin, Ion Mihai Pacepa, Whittaker Chambers, David Horowitz.
  9. High-value testimonies about human condition in socialist societies, like those by Guillermo Cabrera Infante, Vladimir Bukovski, Nadiejda Mandelstam, Alexander Soljenítsin, Richard Wurmbrand.
This is a reading program that can be accomplished in four or five years by a good student. I do not know, either in the Brazilian right or left, anyone, absolutely anyone, who has accomplished it.
Olavo de Carvalho, in Estudar antes de falar, Diário do Comércio, 13 August 2013
  • 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.
  • Khrushchev’s revelations concerning Stalin are enough to have plunged all those who have participated in communist activity, to whatever degree, into an abyss of shock, pain, and shame (or, at least, I hope so).

    The dead, the tortured, the executed—no, neither posthumous rehabilitations, nor national funerals, nor official speeches can overcome them. These are not the kind of ghosts that one can ward off with a mechanical phrase.

    From now on, they will show up as watermarks in the very substance of the system.

  • The details supplied by Khrushchev on Stalin’s methods ... lead us to believe in the existence in these countries of a veritable state capitalism, exploiting the working class in a manner not very different from the way the working class is used in capitalist countries.
  • Across the world academics still clung to the words and ideas of Marx and Engels and even Lenin. Fools. There were even those who said that Communism had been tried in the wrong country; that Russia had been too far backward to make those wonderful ideas work.
  • [M]any archives and witnesses prove conclusively that terror has always been one of the basic ingredients of modern Communism. Let us abandon once and for all the idea that the execution of hostages by firing squads, the slaughter of rebellious workers, and the forced starvation of the peasantry were only short-term "accidents" peculiar to a specific country or era. Our approach will encompass all geographic areas and focus on crime as a defining characteristic of the Communist system throughout its existence.
  • [T]he intransigent facts demonstrate that Communist regimes have victimized approximately 100 million people in contrast to the approximately 25 million victims of the Nazis. This clear record should provide at least some basis for assessing the similarity between the Nazi regime, which since 1945 has been considered the most viciously criminal regime of this century, and the Communist system... The methods implemented by Lenin and perfected by Stalin and their henchmen bring to mind the methods used by the Nazis, but most often this is because the latter adopted the techniques developed by the former. Rudolf Hess, charged with organizing the camp at Auschwitz and later appointed its commandant, is a perfect example: "The Reich Security Head Office issued to the commandants a full collection of reports in great detail the conditions in, and organization of, the Russian camps, as supplied by former prisoners who had managed to escape. Great emphasis was placed on the fact that the Russians, by their massive employment of forced labor, had destroyed whole peoples."
  • Time and again the focus of the terror was less on targeted individuals than on groups of people. The purpose of terror was to exterminate a group that had been designated as the enemy. Even though it might be only a small fraction of society, it had to be stamped out to satisfy this genocidal impulse. Thus, the techniques of segregation and exclusion employed in a "class-based totalitarianism" closely resemble the techniques of "race-based totalitarianism." The future Nazi society was to be built upon a "pure race," and the future Communist society was to be built upon a proletarian people purified of the dregs of the bourgeoisie. The restructuring of these two societies was envisioned in the same way, even if the crackdowns were different.


  • I am a communist because I am convinced that the reason we have been forcefully compelled to eke out an existence at the very lowest level of American society has to do with the nature of capitalism. If we are going to rise out of our oppression, our poverty, if we are going to cease being the targets of the racist-minded mentality of racist policemen, we will have to destroy the American capitalist system. We will have to obliterate a system in which a few wealthy capitalists are guaranteed the privilege of becoming richer and richer, whereas the people who are forced to work for the rich, and especially Black people, never take any significant step forward.
    • Angela Y. Davis, "I am a Revolutionary Black Woman" (1970) in Let Nobody Turn Us Around: Voices of Resistance, Reform, and Renewal (2000), p. 483
  • The Right positions communism as a threat because communism names the defeat of and alternative to capitalism. It recognizes the crisis in capitalism: over-accumulation leaves the rich sitting on piles of cash they can't invest; industrial capacity remains unused and workers unemployed; global interconnections make unneeded skyscrapers, fiber-optic cables, malls, and housing developments as much a part of China as the US. At the same time, scores of significant problems – whether food shortages linked to climate change, energy shortages resulting from oil dependency, or drug shortages resulting from the failure of private pharmaceutical companies to risk their own capital – remain unmet because they require the kinds of large-scale planning and cooperation that capitalism, particularly in its contemporary finance and communications-driven incarnation, subverts.
    • Jodi Dean, The Communist Horizon (2012), pp. 51-52
  • Let me examine the alleged "distinction from capitalism" characteristic of the Soviet Union and see whether it isn't a distinction from a certain stage of capitalism rather than from capitalism as a whole. The determining factor in analyzing the class nature of a society is not whether the means of production are the private property of the capitalist class or are state-owned, but whether the means of production ... are monopolized and alienated from the direct producers. The Soviet Government occupies in relation to the whole economic system the position which a capitalist occupies in relation to a single enterprise. ... "Bureaucratic state socialism" is an irrational expression behind which there exists the real economic relation of state-capitalist-exploiter to the propertyless exploited.
    • Raya Dunayevskaya, "The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is a Capitalist Society" (1941), in Russia: From Proletarian Revolution to State-Capitalist Counter-Revolution, p. 210
  • The reason I am a communist is because I believe in a total revolution which is going to overthrow the capitalist control of the economy, which will seize the wealth from all of the giant corporations that exploit and control the lives of all working people.


Communism is the doctrine of the conditions of the liberation of the proletariat.Friedrich Engels
  • We must face the fact that, while we are trying to help build a world of freedom and justice among sovereign people, the masters of international Communism are working constantly to tear down this kind of world. Communism, according to all its own leaders, must be a system of international control and conformity. Thus, at its very heart, it is the complete opposite and enemy of any kind of nationalism. Its avowed program is to destroy totally the religion, governments, institutions and traditions of the Christian world, the Buddhist world, the Islamic world, the Judaic world, and the world of every religion and culture.
  • The Communist rulers then propose to substitute a whole new system of thought and control dictated from Communist Party headquarters. They think that a few theorists and rulers know what is best for everyone, and they are determined to drive everyone toward that kind of world. One small country after another has been swallowed up by international Communism. Their freedom is lost. Their national pride is crushed. Their religion is trampled on. Their economies are mere feeders for that of Russia. And if they attempt to assert their tradition of freedom, their people are shot down by the thousands. Witness: Hungary.
  • I should like to direct a special word to those people now living under the tyranny of international Communism: We want your friendship. We cherish the ties that have linked us in the past. And we wish you well in your aspirations toward freedom. For we know that, whatever the designs of power-hungry rulers may be, there dwells deep in the heart of every person this same God-given desire to realize freely his own destiny. And to all people, everywhere--this final pledge: With you we look forward to and shall never cease to work for a world of peace, based on justice. May the God of us all keep you--and hasten that glorious day.
  • What is a communist?
    One who hath yearnings
    For equal division of unequal earnings:
    Idler, or bungler, or both, he is willing
    To fork out his penny, and pocket your shilling.
  • What will be the attitude of communism to existing nationalities? The nationalities of the peoples associating themselves in accordance with the principle of community will be compelled to mingle with each other as a result of this association and thereby to dissolve themselves, just as the various estate and class distinctions must disappear through the abolition of their basis, private property.
  • Some propose mere welfare measures – while others come forward with grandiose systems of reform which, under the pretense of re-organizing society, are in fact intended to preserve the foundations, and hence the life, of existing society. Communists must unremittingly struggle against these bourgeois socialists because they work for the enemies of communists and protect the society which communists aim to overthrow.


  • The economic independence and self-determination of all. Under a cybernetic communism, even during the socialist transition, work would be divorced from wages, the ownership of the means of production in the hands of all the people, and wealth distributed on the basis of need, independent of the social value of the individual’s contribution to society. We would aim to eliminate the dependence of women and children on the labour of men, as well as all other types of labour exploitation. Each person could choose his life style freely, changing it to suit his tastes without seriously inconveniencing anyone else; no one would be bound into any social structure against his will, for each person would be totally self-governing as soon as she was physically able.


  • Meanwhile, communism had promised a better life but failed to deliver. Marx insisted that the shifts in the means of production would increase inequality, provoke anger, and thereby fuel revolutionary consciousness within the "working class." He failed, though, to anticipate the kinds of shifts that would take place, for as post-industrial economies evolved they began to reward lateral over hierarchical forms of organization. Complexity made planning less feasible than under the earlier, simpler stages of industrialization: only decentralized, largely spontaneous markets could make the millions of decisions that had to be made each day in a modern economy if supplies of goods and services were to match demands for them. As a result, dissatisfaction with capitalism never reached the point at which "proletarians of all countries" felt it necessary to unite to throw off their "chains." That became clear during the Cold War, and it did so largely because western leaders disproved Marx's indictment of capitalism as elevating greed above all else. When set against the perversions of Marxism inflicted by Lenin and Stalin on the Soviet Union and by Mao on China—placing a ruling party and an authoritarian state in control of what was supposed to have been an automatic process of historical evolution—the effect was to discredit communism not just on economic grounds, but also because of its failure to bring about political and social justice. Just as a new world war did not come, so the anticipated world revolution did not arrive. The Cold War had produced yet another historical anachronism.
  • It must be admitted that politically communism is the same [as fascism].
    • Hugh Gaitskell, Notes for a speech on Fascism at Chatham on May Day 1935, quoted in Philip Williams, Hugh Gaitskell: A Political Biography (1979), p. 44
  • 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.
  • Communism had a potent message: deliver the poor of the world from their oppression; turn the vast productive system developed under capitalism to public purpose; substitute intelligent planning for market chaos; eliminate all manifestations of inequality. Its striving to create a society in which everyone could be freed from want and domination shared a good deal with its ostensible opponent, classical liberalism. Both communism and liberalism traced their origins back to a common moment of eighteenth-century revolution, with the former tying itself to the French Revolution and the latter to the American. Both camps saw in themselves as freeing humanity from old, encrusted social orders marked by privilege, inequality, and widespread misery. Both camps believed in the universalism of their message and sought to carry it to every portion of the globe.
  • What better time to resurrect the spectre of communism? As youth across the world become increasingly disenchanted with the savage inequalities of capitalism, defenders of the status quo will stop at nothing to convince younger voters about the evils of collectivist ideas. They will rewrite history textbooks, build memorials, and declare days of commemoration for the victims of communism – all to ensure that calls for social justice or redistribution are forever equated with forced labour camps and famine.
  • Older citizens of Eastern Europe fondly recall the small comforts and predictability of their life before 1989: free education and healthcare, no fear of unemployment and of not having money to meet basic needs. A joke, told in many East European languages, illustrates this sentiment:
    In the middle of the night a woman screams and jumps out of bed, eyes filled with terror. Her startled husband watches her rush to the bathroom and open the medicine cabinet. She then dashes to the kitchen and inspects the inside of the refrigerator. Finally, she flings open the window and gazes out onto the street below their apartment. She takes a deep breath and returns to bed.
    "What's wrong with you?" her husband says. "What happened?"
    "I had a terrible nightmare," she says. "I dreamed that we had the medicine we needed, that our refrigerator was full of food, and that the streets outside were safe and clean."
    "How is that a nightmare?"
    The woman shakes her head and shudders. "I thought the Communists were back in power."
  • In order to massacre them, it was necessary to proclaim that kulaks are not human beings. Just as the Germans proclaimed that Jews are not human beings. Thus did Lenin and Stalin: kulaks are not human beings... That is exactly how the Nazis put the Jewish children into the Nazi gas chambers: "You are not allowed to live, you are all Jews!"




By a remorseless logic, ... representation of the proletariat turns into its opposite, administration over the proletariat. ~ C. L. R. James
  • Communism was a very defective answer to some very good questions. In throwing out the bad answer, we have forgotten the good questions. I want to put the good questions back on the table.
    • Tony Judt, quoted in Evan R. Goldstein, "The Trials of Tony Judt", The Chronicle of Higher Education (January 06, 2010)


  • A specter is haunting Europe, the specter of Communism.
  • I’m more and more convinced it’s only through communism that we can become human.
  • Communism is like an autoimmune disorder; it doesn't do the killing itself, but it weakens the system so much that the victim is left helpless and unable to fight off anything else.
  • 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.
  • Communism forgets that life is individual. Capitalism forgets that life is social, and the kingdom of brotherhood is found neither in the thesis of communism nor the antithesis of capitalism but in a higher synthesis. It is found in a higher synthesis that combines the truths of 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.
  • In Russia, all you have to do to get a house is to be born in the Soviet Union. You are entitled to housing. In America, if you don't have a dollar you have a right to choose between sleeping in a house or on the pavement. Yet you say we are the slave to communism.
  • Communism was a gigantic façade, and the reality concealed behind it was the sheer drive for power, for total power as an end in itself. The rest was merely instrumental -- a matter of tactics and some necessary self-restrictions to achieve the desired end. But the façade was more than mere decoration: it was communism's only means of survival; its respiratory system. It was also the ineradicable residue of the tradition of the Enlightenment and nineteenth-century socialism, of which communism was indeed a deformed descendant. As with all descendants, however deformed, some inherited traits are always visible, and in communism, too, these were evident. The rationalism, contempt for tradition, and hatred for the mythological layer of culture to which the Enlightenment gave birth developed, under communism, into the brutal persecution of religion, but also into the principle (practiced rather than directly expressed) that human beings are expendable: that individual lives count only as instruments of the 'greater whole' or the 'higher cause,' i.e. the state, for no rational grounds exist for attributing to them any special, non-instrumental status. Thus rationalism was transformed under communism into the idea of slavery. And romantic and early socialist strains -- the search for lost community and human solidarity, the protest against social disintegration caused by the industrial revolution and urbanization -- developed, under communism, into caricature: solidarity imposed by force, in an attempt to create a fake, merely ostensible unity -- the unity of despotism.
    • Leszek Kołakowski, "Communism as a Cultural Force", as quoted in Is God Happy? Selected Essays (2013), Basic Books, pp. 36-37


  • As a result of this failure of communist ideology to comprehend the nature of man, Stalin decided to alter the Russian constitution. No longer would economic rewards be distributed on the basis of ‘need’; rather, the new concept was to be ‘to each according to his work.’
    • Quote from The Fundamentals of Liberty by Robert LeFevre, Santa Ana: CA, Rampart Institute, 1988, p. 402
  • For the state to wither away completely, complete communism is necessary.
  • We Communists are all dead men on leave. Of this I am fully aware. I do not know if you will extend my leave or whether I will have to join Karl Liebkneccht and Rosa Luxemburg. In any case I wait your verdict with composure and serenity.
  • There are certain types of people who are political out of a kind of religious reason [...] I think it's fairly common among socialists: They are, in fact, God-seekers, looking for the kingdom of God on earth. A lot of religious reformers have been like that, too. It's the same psychological set, trying to abolish the present in favor of some better future — always taking it for granted that there is a better future. If you don't believe in heaven, then you believe in socialism. When I was in my real Communist phase, I and the people around me really believed — but, of course, this makes us certifiable — that something like 10 years after World War II, the world would be Communist and perfect.


  • The Communist revolution is the most radical rupture with traditional property relations; no wonder that its development involved the most radical rupture with traditional ideas.
    • Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto: Chapter II. Proletarians and Communists (1848)
The trouble with Communism is the Communists, just as the trouble with Christianity is the Christians. They really do not believe in it and hence are hypocrites. All of them pant for money and hope to collar it by changing the rules. This fundamental false pretense colors their whole propaganda. They have no more sense of honor than so many congressmen and engage constantly in wholesale lying. —H. L. Mencken
  • The tragedy of Korea is further heightened by the fact that its military action is confined to its territorial limits. It condemns that nation, which it is our purpose to save, to suffer the devastating impact of full naval and air bombardment while the enemy's sanctuaries are fully protected from such attack and devastation. Of the nations of the world, Korea alone, up to now, is the sole one which has risked its all against communism. The magnificence of the courage and fortitude of the Korean people defies description. They have chosen to risk death rather than slavery. Their last words to me were: 'Don't scuttle the Pacific!'
  • 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).
  • Communism is for us not a state of affairs which is to be established, an ideal to which reality [will] have to adjust itself. We call communism the real movement which abolishes the present state of things. The conditions of this movement result from the premises now in existence.
  • Communism differs from all previous movements in that it overturns the basis of all earlier relations of production and intercourse, and for the first time consciously treats all natural premises as the creatures of hitherto existing men, strips them of their natural character and subjugates them to the power of the united individuals. Its organisation is, therefore, essentially economic, the material production of the conditions of this unity; it turns existing conditions into conditions of unity. The reality, which communism is creating, is precisely the true basis for rendering it impossible that anything should exist independently of individuals, insofar as reality is only a product of the preceding intercourse of individuals themselves.
  • Communism deprives no man of the power to appropriate the products of society; all that it does is to deprive him of the power to subjugate the labour of others by means of such appropriation.
  • It destroys the conditions for the existence of class antagonism, destroys classes in general, and thereby also its domination as a class.
  • The trouble with Communism is the Communists, just as the trouble with Christianity is the Christians. They really do not believe in it and hence are hypocrites. All of them pant for money and hope to collar it by changing the rules. This fundamental false pretense colors their whole propaganda. They have no more sense of honor than so many congressmen and engage constantly in wholesale lying.
  • The chief weakness of Communism is that it is, itself, only another breed of the same materialism which is the source and root of all the evils which it so clearly sees, and it is evidently nothing but another product of the breakdown of the capitalist system. Indeed, it seems to be pieced together out of the ruins of the same ideology that once went into the vast, amorphous, intellectual structure underlying capitalism in the nineteenth century.
  • 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.
  • If the roused and insurgent consumers secure the means of production of the salt industry, in all probability they will confiscate this industry for their own profit, and their first thought will be, not to relegate it to free competition, but rather to exploit it, in common, for their own account.  They will then name a director or a directive committee to operate the saltworks, to whom they will allocate the funds necessary to defray the costs of salt production.  Then, since the experience of the past will have made them suspicious and distrustful, since they will be afraid that the director named by them will seize production for his own benefit, and simply reconstitute by open or hidden means the old monopoly for his own profit, they will elect delegates, representatives entrusted with appropriating the funds necessary for production, with watching over their use, and with making sure that the salt produced is equally distributed to those entitled to it.  The production of salt will be organized in this manner.

    This form of the organization of production has been named communism.

    When this organization is applied to a single commodity, the communism is said to be partial.

    When it is applied to all commodities, the communism is said to be complete.

    But whether communism is partial or complete, political economy is no more tolerant of it than it is of monopoly, of which it is merely an extension.

  • 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.
  • Governments and Parties which have relied on the normal instruments of government ... have fallen easy and ignoble victims to the forces of anarchy. If, therefore, such a situation arises in Britain, we shall prepare to meet the anarchy of Communism with the organised force of Fascism.
    • Oswald Mosley, The Greater Britain, 1932. Quoted in John Stevenson and Chris Cook, The Slump : Britain in the Great Depression New York : Pearson Longman, 2010.
  • What is Communism? It is that when you have eaten enough food for your hunger and still food is left — it belongs to another man.


  • America continues to aid us; then we continue to fight the communists.
    • Nguyễn Văn Thiệu, as quoted in Vietnam, the Ten Thousand Day War (1984), by Michael MacLear.
    • Original Vietnamese quote: Mỹ còn viện trợ, thì chúng tôi còn chống cộng!


  • Philosophically, Communism and Anarchism are poles apart. Practically - i.e. in the form of society aimed at - the difference is mainly one of emphasis, but it is quite irreconcilable. The Communist's emphasis is always on centralism and efficiency, the Anarchists's on liberty and equality.
  • If anything the war made the world safe for communism, which was as embattled as democracy in the 1930s and close to eclipse by 1942. One of the most significant consequences of the war was the spread of communism in Europe and Asia and its consolidation in the Soviet Union. The outcome reflected the significant role played by Soviet forces in defeating Germany. There is now widespread recognition that the decisive theatre of operations lay on the eastern front. Without Soviet resistance it is difficult to see how the democratic world could have defeated the new German empire, except by sitting tight and waiting until atomic weapons had been developed. The great paradox of the Second World War is that democracy was saved by the exertions of communism.


  • The system of production developed in Russia is State socialism. It is organized production, with the State as universal employer, master of the entire production apparatus. The workers are master of the means of production no more than under Western capitalism. They receive their wages and are exploited by the State as the only mammoth capitalist. So the name State capitalism can be applied with precisely the same meaning. The entirety of the ruling and leading bureaucracy of officials is the actual owner of the factories, the possessing class.
  • The overthrow of communism gave a green light to the unbridled exploitative impulses of Western corporate interests. No longer needing to convince workers that they live better than their counterparts in Russia, and no longer constrained by a competing system, the corporate class is rolling back the many gains that working people in the West have won over the years. Now that the free market, in its meanest form, is emerging triumphant in the East, so will it prevail in the West.
    • Michael Parenti, Blackshirts and Reds: Rational Fascism and the Overthrow of Communism. (1997), p. 58
  • Having never understood the role that existing communist powers played in tempering the worst impulses of Western capitalism and imperialism, and having perceived communism as nothing but an unmitigated evil, the left anticommunists did not anticipate the losses that were to come. Some of them still don't get it.
    • Michael Parenti, Blackshirts and Reds: Rational Fascism and the Overthrow of Communism. (1997), p. 58
  • Perhaps communism may even have been a viable solution to the problems of the unequal distribution of wealth that characterized the industrial age, if all of the hypothetically oppressed were good people and all of the evil was to be found, as hypothesized, in their bourgeoisie overlords. Unfortunately for the communists, a substantial proportion of the oppressed were incapable, unconscientious, unintelligent, licentious, power mad, violent, resentful, and jealous, while a substantial proportion of the oppressors were educated, able, creative, intelligent, honest, and caring.
  • 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).
  • Seventy years ago people used to die for this idea [communism] [...], in Turin the members of the Communist Party, during the Resistance, had to endure 8 hours of torture. [Fascists] would pull your eyes out with teaspoons, they'd rip your nails out with tweezers. And you had to stay silent for eight hours, and only after that you were allowed to confess and give the names of your comrades, and that was a Party guideline, to ensure the comrades' flight in those eight hours. Those men and women died for this idea. And what's politics today? They must be rolling in their own grave, can't you see that?
  • Communism is like prohibition, it's a good idea but it won't work.
  • 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 dislike Communism because it is undemocratic, and capitalism because it favors exploitation.


  • Durable communist regimes had much in common. They eliminated or emasculated rival political parties. They attacked religion, culture, and civil society. They trampled on every version of nationhood except the one approved by communist rulership. They abolished the autonomy of the courts and the press. They centralised power. They turned over dissenters to forced-labour camps. They set up networks of security police and informers. They claimed infallibility in doctrine and paraded themselves as faultless scientists of human affairs. They insulated societies against alien influences in politics and culture. They fiercely barricaded their frontiers. They treated every aspect of social life as in need of penetration by the authorities. They handled people as a resource to be mobilised. They showed little respect for ecology, charity, or custom. These commonalities make it sensible to speak of a communist order.
    • Robert Service, Comrades! A History of World Communism (2007), p. 9
  • Communism, including its first phase (socialism), is an ideology based on destroying harmony among social classes and eliminating traditional beliefs and moral values.
  • What struck me most about the Russian Communists, even in such really exceptional personalities as Lenin and Trotsky, was their utter incapacity to be fair in discussing opinions that conflicted with their own. The adversary, simply for daring to contradict, at once became a traitor, an opportunist, a hireling. An adversary in good faith is inconceivable to the Russian Communists. What an aberration of conscience this is, for so-called materialists and rationalists absolutely in their polemics to uphold the primacy of morals over intelligence! To find a comparable infatuation one has to go back to the Inquisition.
    • Ignazio Silone, in The God That Failed, Crossman, Richard, ed. (1963). New York, NY: Harper & Row. p. 108.
  • Picket lines, school boycotts/They try to say it's a communist plot/All I want is equality/For my sister, my brother, my people, and me
  • Communism is as crude an attempt to explain society and the individual as if a surgeon were to perform his delicate operations with a meat-axe. All that is subtle in human psychology and in the structure of society (which is even more delicate) all of this is reduced to crude economic processes. This whole created being - man - is reduced to matter. It's characteristic that Communism is so devoid of arguments that it has none to advance against its opponents in our Communist countries. It lacks arguments and hence there is the club, the prison, the concentration camp, and insane asylums with forced confinement.


  • The history of Communism, originally inspired by noble ideals, clearly illustrates what happens when people attempt to change external reality – create a new earth – without any prior change in their inner reality, their state of consciousness. They make plans without taking into account the blueprint for dysfunction that every human being carries within: the ego.
  • A citizen of a Western democracy fondly imagines that totalitarianism lies utterly beyond the pale of normal human aspirations. And yet, totalitarianism could never have survived so long had it not been able to draw so many people into its fold. There is something else—it is a formidably efficient machine. Communist ideology offers an idealised model for society and exhorts us toward it. The desire to change the world in the name of an ideal is, after all, an essential characteristic of human identity... Furthermore, Communist society strips the individual of his responsibilities. It is always "somebody else" who makes the decisions. Remember, individual responsibility can feel like a crushing burden... The attraction of a totalitarian system, which has had a powerful allure for many, has its roots in a fear of freedom and responsibility. This explains the popularity of authoritarian regimes (which is Erich Fromm's thesis in Escape from Freedom). None of this is new; Boethius had the right idea long ago when he spoke of "voluntary servitude."


  • From the 1940s to the 1960s one alternative world covered the globe from the Arctic through the center of Europe to the Adriatic, and from there through the Caucasus and central Asia to Korea and the city of Vladivostok on the Pacific Ocean. That city’s name, meaning “the conqueror of the east,” now symbolized Communist victory in a very large part of Eurasia. But the Communist world did not stop there. From Vladivostok it moved south, through China, the most populous country on earth, to end off the shores of Vietnam, in the South China Sea. What is remarkable about this world is how it was connected. It was not just a security alliance, such as NATO was for the north Atlantic states. It was an integrationist political and economic project, built on a common understanding of how the world worked and how it ought to be changed. It based itself on the teachings of Marx and Lenin, and on the practices that had developed in the Soviet Union under Stalin. It was fiercely protective of its unity and committed to supporting the Soviet Union in the Cold War. It was, or so it seemed, a full-fledged alternative to capitalism and a rebuke to those who believed the United States was the great victor of the Second World War.
    • Odd Arne Westad, The Cold War: A World History (2017)
  • Everywhere, the imposition of Communist rule was based on military power. In eastern Europe and North Korea the Soviet Red Army helped put Communist regimes in place. In China, Yugoslavia, and Albania, local Communist armies took power on their own. But in all cases their leaders identified the Communist military takeover with a socialist revolution. They left behind Marx’s concepts of capitalism under bourgeois rule gradually developing the foundations of socialism. Like Stalin, they believed that Communist regimes could create socialism in their own countries, especially since the Soviet Union had blazed a path for such development. But the realization of socialism under Communist rule would have to happen in stages, so as to conform to the Marxist elements of Stalinism. The regimes were therefore forced to claim that they at first represented a “national” revolution, which would then later go on to develop socialism, because that was the best for the nation. With a dishonesty remarkably similar to private companies claiming that they are acting for the public good, Communists claimed to be acting for all the nation, even though their programs were blatantly intent on empowering some social classes and marginalizing others.
    • Odd Arne Westad, The Cold War: A World History (2017)
  • Among the biggest difficulties for Communists in power everywhere was their claim to stand for the international. The future, they said, belonged to the proletarians and the peasants—to classes, not to nation-states. The problem was that for many ordinary people in the 1940s and ’50s, a strong nation-state was what they wished for most. The war had shown what would happen to those groups who did not have the protection of their own state. The massive bloodletting in eastern Europe, the mass murders of Jews and Roma, and the moving of borders had made it possible for Poles, Hungarians, or Romanians to claim their countries to be nation-states. The Communists, even when professing to carry out a “national” revolution, also had to stand for internationalism, especially since Moscow made that the test case for the loyalty of each Communist regime. From the very beginning, therefore, the Communists had a troubled relationship with concepts of nation and nationhood, or even state independence.
    • Odd Arne Westad, The Cold War: A World History (2017)
  • It is obvious: the division of Europe has become politically untenable: not because of Western "revanchism" to which Mr. Shevardnadze referred: not because of our interference in their domestic affairs. No. Simply for two reasons. First, because communism has failed as much in ideological as in economic and social terms. It is not able to solve the problems of modern industrialised societies in the age of global communication. And even more important: second, because you cannot suppress freedom forever. The natural aspiration of men to live and work freely is the driving force behind the historical process of change which we are witnessing. And no dictator or system - not even by using force - will be able to stop or prevent this dynamic change in the long-term.
  • 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?


  • There has been a considerable penetration of the ranks of Jewry by Communism, and Jewry in turn has come to wield a considerable power in the Communist Party.


  • The biggest threat to America today is not communism. It's moving America toward a fascist theocracy, and everything that's happened during the Reagan administration is steering us right down that pipe … I really think that. … When you have a government that prefers a certain moral code derived from a certain religion and that moral code turns into legislation to suit one certain religious point of view, and if that code happens to be very, very right wing, almost toward Attila the Hun...
  • The 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.

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