Lenin

QUOTES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

V. I. Lenin

LENIN - QUOTES

 

Lenin Quotes



 

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.

Lenin, The Development of Capitalism in Russia, The “The Mission of Capitalism” (1899)

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Perhaps the profoundest cause of disagreement with the Narodniks is the difference in our fundamental views on social and economic processes. When studying the latter, the Narodnik usually draws conclusions that point to some moral; he does not regard the diverse groups of persons taking part in production as creators of various forms of life; he does not set out to present the sum-total of social and economic relationships as the result of the mutual relations between these groups, which have different interests and different historical roles. ...

Lenin, The Development of Capitalism in Russia, The “The Mission of Capitalism” (1899)

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If the writer of these lines has succeeded in providing some material for clarifying these problems, he may regard his labours as not having been fruitless.

Lenin, The Development of Capitalism in Russia, The “The Mission of Capitalism” (1899)

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In the history of modern socialism this is a phenomenon, that the strife of the various trends within the socialist movement has from national become international.

Lenin, What Is To Be Done?, “Dogmatism And ‘Freedom of Criticism’” (1901)

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If democracy, in essence, means the abolition of class domination, then why should not a socialist minister charm the whole bourgeois world by orations on class collaboration?

Lenin, What Is To Be Done?, “Dogmatism And ‘Freedom of Criticism’” (1901)

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Those who are really convinced that they have made progress in science would not demand freedom for the new views to continue side by side with the old, but the substitution of the new views for the old.

Lenin, What Is To Be Done?, “Dogmatism And ‘Freedom of Criticism’” (1901)

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We are marching in a compact group along a precipitous and difficult path, firmly holding each other by the hand. We are surrounded on all sides by enemies, and we have to advance almost constantly under their fire. We have combined, by a freely adopted decision, for the purpose of fighting the enemy, and not of retreating into the neighbouring marsh, the inhabitants of which, from the very outset, have reproached us with having separated ourselves into an exclusive group and with having chosen the path of struggle instead of the path of conciliation. And now some among us begin to cry out: Let us go into the marsh! And when we begin to shame them, they retort: What backward people you are! Are you not ashamed to deny us the liberty to invite you to take a better road! Oh, yes, gentlemen! You are free not only to invite us, but to go yourselves wherever you will, even into the marsh. In fact, we think that the marsh is your proper place, and we are prepared to render you every assistance to get there. Only let go of our hands, don’t clutch at us and don’t besmirch the grand word freedom, for we too are “free” to go where we please, free to fight not only against the marsh, but also against those who are turning towards the marsh!

Lenin, What Is To Be Done?, “Dogmatism And ‘Freedom of Criticism’” (1901)

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In a country ruled by an autocracy, with a completely enslaved press, in a period of desperate political reaction in which even the tiniest outgrowth of political discontent and protest is persecuted, the theory of revolutionary Marxism suddenly forced its way into the censored literature before the government realised what had happened and the unwieldy army of censors and gendarmes discovered the new enemy and flung itself upon him.

Lenin, What Is To Be Done?, “Criticism in Russia” (1901)

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This fear of criticism displayed by the advocates of freedom of criticism cannot be attributed solely to craftiness. No, the majority of the Economists look with sincere resentment upon all theoretical controversies, factional disagreements, broad political questions, plans for organising revolutionaries, etc.

Lenin, What Is To Be Done?, “Criticism in Russia” (1901)

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History has now confronted us with an immediate task which is the most revolutionary of all the immediate tasks confronting the proletariat of any country. The fulfilment of this task, the destruction of the most powerful bulwark, not only of European, but (it may now be said) of Asiatic reaction, would make the Russian proletariat the vanguard of the international revolutionary proletariat. And we have the right to count upon acquiring this honourable title, already earned by our predecessors, the revolutionaries of the seventies, if we succeed in inspiring our movement, which is a thousand times broader and deeper, with the same devoted determination and vigour.

Lenin, What Is To Be Done?, “Criticism in Russia” (1901)

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Since there can be no talk of an independent ideology formulated by the working masses themselves in the process of their movement, the only choice is – either bourgeois or socialist ideology. There is no middle course (for mankind has not created a “third” ideology).

(This does not mean, of course, that the workers have no part in creating such an ideology. They take part, however, not as workers, but as socialist theoreticians, as Proudhons and Weitlings, to the extent that they are able to acquire the knowledge of their age and develop that knowledge.)

Lenin, What Is To Be Done?, “The Spontaneity of the Masses and the Consciousness of the Social-Democrats” (1901)

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To belittle the socialist ideology in any way, to turn aside from it in the slightest degree means to strengthen bourgeois ideology. There is much talk of spontaneity. But the spontaneous development of the working-class movement leads to its subordination to bourgeois ideology; for the spontaneous working-class movement is trade-unionism, and trade unionism means the ideological enslavement of the workers by the bourgeoisie. Hence, our task, the task of Social-Democracy, is to combat spontaneity, to divert the working-class movement from this spontaneous, trade-unionist striving to come under the wing of the bourgeoisie, and to bring it under the wing of revolutionary Social Democracy.

Lenin, What Is To Be Done?, “The Spontaneity of the Masses and the Consciousness of the Social-Democrats” (1901)

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Revolutionary Social-Democracy has always included the struggle for reforms as part of its activities. But it utilises “economic” agitation for the purpose of presenting to the government, not only demands for all sorts of measures, but also (and primarily) the demand that it cease to be an autocratic government.

Lenin, What Is To Be Done?, “Trade-Unionist Politics And Social-Democratic Politics” (1901)

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A basic condition for the necessary expansion of political agitation is the organisation of comprehensive political exposure.

Lenin, What Is To Be Done?, “Political Exposures And ‘Training In Revolutionary Activity’” (1901)

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It is particularly necessary to arouse in all who participate in practical work, or are preparing to take up that work, discontent with the amateurism prevailing among us and an unshakable determination to rid ourselves of it.

Lenin, What Is To Be Done?, “The Primitiveness of the Economists and the Organization of the Revolutionaries” (1901)

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This struggle must be organised, according to “all the rules of the art”, by people who are professionally engaged in revolutionary activity. The fact that the masses are spontaneously being drawn into the movement does not make the organisation of this struggle less necessary. On the contrary, it makes it more necessary.

Lenin, The Primitiveness of the Economists and the Organization of the Revolutionaries (1901)

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This struggle must be organised, according to “all the rules of the art”, by people who are professionally engaged in revolutionary activity.

Lenin, What Is To Be Done?, “The Primitiveness of the Economists and the Organization of the Revolutionaries” (1901)

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Attention, must be devoted principally to raising the workers to the level of revolutionaries; it is not at all our task to descend to the level of the “working masses.”

Lenin, What Is To Be Done?, “The Primitiveness of the Economists and the Organization of the Revolutionaries” (1901)

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Every question “runs in a vicious circle” because political life as a whole is an endless chain consisting of an infinite number of links. The whole art of politics lies in finding and taking as firm a grip as we can of the link that is least likely to be struck from our hands, the one that is most important at the given moment, the one that most of all guarantees its possessor the possession of the whole chain.

Lenin, What Is To Be Done?, “The Plan For an All-Russia Political Newspaper” (1901)

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A newspaper is not only a collective propagandist and a collective agitator, it is also a collective organiser.

Lenin, What Is To Be Done?, “The Plan For an All-Russia Political Newspaper” (1901)

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If the Congress was a struggle between the Iskra-ist and the anti-Iskra-ist elements, were there no intermediate, unstable elements who vacillated between the two? Anyone at all familiar with our Party and with the picture generally presented by congresses of every kind will be inclined a priori to answer the question in the affirmative.

Lenin, One Step Forward, Two Steps Back, (1904)

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But every little difference may become a big one if it is insisted on.

Lenin, One Step Forward, Two Steps Back, “Paragraph One of the Rules” (1904)

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Are we to build the Party on the basis of that already formed and welded core of Social-Democrats which brought about the Party Congress, for instance, and which should enlarge and multiply Party organisations of all kinds; or are we to content ourselves with the soothing phrase that all who help are Party members?

Lenin, One Step Forward, Two Steps Back, “Paragraph One of the Rules” (1904)

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In the beginning we had to teach the workers the ABC, both in the literal and in the figurative senses. Now the standard of political literacy has risen so gigantically that we can and should concentrate all our efforts on the more direct Social-Democratic objectives aimed at giving an organised direction to the revolutionary stream.

Lenin, New Tasks and New Forces (1905)

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Social-Democracy, however, wants, on the contrary, to develop the class struggle of the proletariat to the point where the latter will take the leading part in the popular Russian revolution, i.e., will lead this revolution to a the democratic-dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry.

Lenin, Two Tactics of Social Democracy (1905)

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The basic mistake made by those who now criticise What Is To Be Done? (1901) is to treat the pamphlet apart from its connection with the concrete historical situation of a definite, and now long past, period in the development of our Party.

Lenin, Preface to the Collection “Twelve Years” (1905)

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That today, when the wave has ebbed, there remain and will remain only real Marxists, does not frighten us but rejoices us.

Lenin, Two Letters (1908)

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When the masses are digesting a new and exceptionally rich experience of direct revolutionary struggle, the theoretical struggle for a revolutionary outlook, i.e., for revolutionary Marxism, becomes the watchword of the day.

Lenin, Two Letters (1908)

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1) Things exist independently of our consciousness, independently of our perceptions, outside of us, for it is beyond doubt that alizarin existed in coal tar yesterday and it is equally beyond doubt that yesterday we knew nothing of the existence of this alizarin and received no sensations from it.
2) There is definitely no difference in principle between the phenomenon and the thing-in-itself, and there can be no such difference. The only difference is between what is known and what is not yet known. And philosophical inventions of specific boundaries between the one and the other, inventions to the effect that the thing-in-itself is “beyond” phenomena (Kant), or that we can and must fence ourselves off by some philosophical partition from the problem of a world which in one part or another is still unknown but which exists outside us (Hume)—all this is the sheerest nonsense, Schrulle, crotchet, invention.
3) In the theory of knowledge, as in every other branch of science, we must think dialectically, that is, we must not regard our knowledge as ready-made and unalterable, but must determine how knowledge emerges from ignorance, how incomplete, inexact knowledge becomes more complete and more exact.

Lenin, Materialism and Empirio-Criticism (1908)

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Once we accept the point of view that human knowledge develops from ignorance, we shall find millions of examples of it just as simple as the discovery of alizarin in coal tar, millions of observations not only in the history of science and technology but in the everyday life of each and every one of us that illustrate the transformation of “things-in-themselves” into “things-for-us.”

Lenin, Materialism and Empirio-Criticism (1908)

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It goes without saying that in examining the connection between one of the schools of modern physicists and the rebirth of philosophical idealism, it is far from being our intention to deal with specific physical theories. What interests us exclusively is the epistemological conclusions that follow from certain definite propositions and generally known discoveries. Our object, therefore, will be confined to explaining clearly the essence of the difference between these various trends and the relation in which they stand to the fundamental lines of philosophy.

Lenin, The Recent Revolution in Natural Science and Philosophical Idealism (1908)

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Behind the epistemological scholasticism of empirio-criticism one must not fail to see the struggle of parties in philosophy, a struggle which in the last analysis reflects the tendencies and ideology of the antagonistic classes in modern society.

Lenin, The Recent Revolution in Natural Science and Philosophical Idealism, Conclusion (1908)

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The art of any propagandist and agitator consists in his ability to find the best means of influencing any given audience, by presenting a definite truth, in such a way as to make it most convincing, most easy to digest, most graphic, and most strongly impressive.

Lenin, The Slogans and Organisation of Social-Democratic Work (1919)

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All official and liberal science defends wage-slavery, whereas Marxism has declared relentless war on that slavery.

Lenin, The Three Sources and Three Component Parts of Marxism (1913)

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The Marxist doctrine is omnipotent because it is true. It is comprehensive and harmonious, and provides men with an integral world outlook irreconcilable with any form of superstition, reaction, or defence of bourgeois oppression. It is the legitimate successor to the best that man produced in the nineteenth century, as represented by German philosophy, English political economy and French socialism.

Lenin, The Three Sources and Three Component Parts of Marxism (1913)

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Where the bourgeois economists saw a relation between things (the exchange of one commodity for another) Marx revealed a relation between people.

Lenin, The Three Sources and Three Component Parts of Marxism (1913)

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Capital, created by the labour of the worker, crushes the worker, ruining small proprietors and creating an army of unemployed.

Lenin, The Three Sources and Three Component Parts of Marxism (1913)

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By destroying small-scale production, capital leads to an increase in productivity of labour and to the creation of a monopoly position for the associations of big capitalists.

Lenin, The Three Sources and Three Component Parts of Marxism (1913)

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Capitalism has triumphed all over the world, but this triumph is only the prelude to the triumph of labour over capital.

Lenin, The Three Sources and Three Component Parts of Marxism (1913)

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When feudalism was overthrown and “free” capitalist society appeared in the world, it at once became apparent that this freedom meant a new system of oppression and exploitation of the working people.

Lenin, The Three Sources and Three Component Parts of Marxism (1913)

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People always have been the foolish victims of deception and self-deception in politics, and they always will be until they have learnt to seek out the interests of some class or other behind all moral, religious, political and social phrases, declarations and promises.

Lenin, The Three Sources and Three Component Parts of Marxism (1913)

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And there is only one way of smashing the resistance of those classes, and that is to find, in the very society which surrounds us, the forces which can—and, owing to their social position, must—constitute the power capable of sweeping away the old and creating the new, and to enlighten and organise those forces for the struggle.

Lenin, The Three Sources and Three Component Parts of Marxism (1913)

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I am in general trying to read Hegel materialistically: Hegel is materialism which has been stood on its head (according to Engels) – that is to say, I cast aside for the most part God, the Absolute, the Pure Idea, etc.

Lenin, Conspectus of Hegel’s Logic (1914)

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Dialectics is the teaching which shows how Opposites can be and how they happen to be (how they become) identical,—under what conditions they are identical, becoming transformed into one another,—why the human mind should grasp these opposites not as dead, rigid, but as living, conditional, mobile, becoming transformed into one another.

Lenin, Conspectus of Hegel’s Logic (1914)

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These parts of the work should be called: “a best means for getting a headache!”

Lenin, Conspectus of Hegel’s Logic (1914)

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It is impossible completely to understand Marx’s Capital, and especially its first Chapter, without having thoroughly studied and understood the whole of Hegel’s Logic. Consequently, half a century later none of the Marxists understood Marx!!

Lenin, Conspectus of Hegel’s Logic (1914)

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Dialectics as living, many-sided knowledge (with the number of sides eternally increasing), with an infinite number of shades of every approach and approximation to reality (with a philosophical system growing into a whole out of each shade)

Lenin, Summary of Dialectics (1914)

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Philosophical idealism is only nonsense from the standpoint of crude, simple, metaphysical materialism. From the standpoint of dialectical materialism, on the other hand, philosophical idealism is a one-sided, exaggerated, development (inflation, distension) of one of the features, aspects, facets of knowledge, into an absolute, divorced from matter, from nature, apotheosised.

Lenin, Summary of Dialectics (1914)

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Human knowledge is not (or does not follow) a straight line, but a curve, which endlessly approximates a series of circles, a spiral. Any fragment, segment, section of this curve can be transformed (transformed one-sidedly) into an independent, complete, straight line, which then (if one does not see the wood for the trees) leads into the quagmire, into clerical obscurantism (where it is anchored by the class interests of the ruling classes).

Lenin, Summary of Dialectics (1914)

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To the socialist it is not the horrors of war that are the hardest to endure ... but the horrors of the treachery shown by the leaders of present day socialism, the horrors of the collapse of the present-day International.

Lenin, The European War and International Socialism (1914)

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War cannot be abolished unless classes are abolished and Socialism is created.

Lenin, Socialism and War (1915)

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We fully regard civil wars, i.e., wars waged by the oppressed class against the oppressing class, slaves against slave-owners, serfs against land-owners, and wage-workers against the bourgeoisie, as legitimate, progressive and necessary.

Lenin, Socialism and War (1915)

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If tomorrow, Morocco were to declare war on France, India on England, Persia or China on Russia, and so forth, those would be “just” “defensive” wars, irrespective of who attacked first; and every Socialist would sympathise with the victory of the oppressed, dependent, unequal states against the oppressing, slave-owning, predatory “great” powers.

Lenin, Socialism and War (1915)

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The working class cannot play its world-revolutionary role unless it wages a ruthless struggle against this renegacy. spinelessness, subservience to opportunism and unexampled vulgarization of the theories of Marxism.

Lenin, Socialism and War (1915)

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Convert the imperialist war into civil war.

Lenin, Socialism and War (1915)

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A revolutionary class cannot but wish for the defeat of its government in a reactionary war.

Lenin, Socialism and War (1915)

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Socialists must explain to the masses that they have no other road of salvation except the revolutionary overthrow of “their” governments, and that advantage must be taken of these governments’ embarrassments in the present war precisely for this purpose.

Lenin, Socialism and War (1915)

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Socialists cannot achieve their great aim without fighting against all oppression of nations.

Lenin, Socialism and War (1915)

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The Socialists of oppressed nations must, in their turn, unfailingly fight for the complete (including organisational) unity of the workers of the oppressed and oppressing nationalities.

Lenin, Socialism and War (1915)

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The war of 1914-18 was imperialist (that is, an annexationist, predatory, war of plunder) on the part of both sides; it was a war for the division of the world, for the partition and repartition of colonies and spheres of influence of finance capital.

Lenin, Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism (1914)

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We Social-Democrats always stand for democracy, not “in the name of capitalism, ” but in the name of clearing the path for our movement, which clearing is impossible without the development of capitalism.

Lenin, Letter to Inessa Armand (1916)

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Monopolies, oligarchy, the striving for domination and not for freedom, the exploitation of an increasing number of small or weak nations by a handful of the richest or most powerful nations — all these have given birth to those distinctive characteristics of imperialism which compel us to define it as parasitic or decaying capitalism.

Lenin, Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism (1914)

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When nine-tenths of Africa had been seized (by 1900), when the whole world had been divided up,there was inevitably ushered in the era of monopoly possession of colonies and, consequently, of particularly intense struggle for the division and the redivision of the world.

Lenin, Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism (1914)

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The so-called Great Powers have long been exploiting and enslaving a whole number of small and weak nations. And the imperialist war is a war for the division and redivision of this kind of booty.

Lenin, State and Revolution (1917)

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It is not done in modern socialist parties to talk or even think about the significance of this idea, — the “withering away” of the state.

Lenin, State and Revolution (1917)

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A standing army and police are the chief instruments of state power.

Lenin, State and Revolution (1917)

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Our Socialist-Revolutionaries and Mensheviks themselves share, and instil into the minds of the people, the false notion that universal suffrage “in the present-day state” is really capable of revealing the will of the majority of the working people and of securing its realization.

Lenin, State and Revolution (1917)

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the working class must break up, smash the “ready-made state machinery,” and not confine itself merely to laying hold of it.

Lenin, State and Revolution (1917)

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Democracy is a form of the state, it represents, on the one hand, the organized, systematic use of force against persons; but, on the other hand, it signifies the formal recognition of equality of citizens, the equal right of all to determine the structure of, and to administer, the state.

Lenin, State and Revolution (1917)

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Democracy for an insignificant minority, democracy for the rich — that is the democracy of capitalist society.

Lenin, State and Revolution (1917)

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The oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class shall represent and repress them in parliament.

Lenin, State and Revolution (1917)

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The dictatorship of the proletariat, i.e., the organization of the vanguard of the oppressed as the ruling class for the purpose of suppressing the oppressors, cannot result merely in an expansion of democracy. Simultaneously with an immense expansion of democracy, which for the first time becomes democracy for the poor, democracy for the people, and not democracy for the money-bags, the dictatorship of the proletariat imposes a series of restrictions on the freedom of the oppressors, the exploiters, the capitalists.

Lenin, State and Revolution (1917)

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And so in capitalist society we have a democracy that is curtailed, wretched, false, a democracy only for the rich, for the minority. The dictatorship of the proletariat, the period of transition to communism, will for the first time create democracy for the people, for the majority, along with the necessary suppression of the exploiters, of the minority.

Lenin, State and Revolution (1917)

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In our attitude towards the war, which under the new government of Lvov and Co. unquestionably remains on Russia’s part a predatory imperialist war owing to the capitalist nature of that government, not the slightest concession to “revolutionary defencism” is permissible.

Lenin, April Theses (1917)

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In view of the undoubted honesty of those broad sections of the mass believers in revolutionary defencism who accept the war only as a necessity, and not as a means of conquest, in view of the fact that they are being deceived by the bourgeoisie, it is necessary with particular thoroughness, persistence and patience to explain their error to them, and to prove that without overthrowing capital it is impossible to end the war by a truly democratic peace.

Lenin, April Theses (1917)

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The masses must be made to see that the Sovietsof Workers’ Deputies are the only possible form of revolutionary government.

Lenin, April Theses (1917)

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Abolition of the police, the army and the bureaucracy. The salaries of all officials, all of whom are elective and displaceable at any time, not to exceed the average wage of a competent worker.

Lenin, April Theses (1917)

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It is not our immediate task to “introduce” socialism, but only to bring social production and the distribution of products at once under the control of the Soviets of Workers’ Deputies.

Lenin, April Theses (1917)

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It is, of course, much easier to shout, abuse, and howl than to attempt to relate, to explain.

Lenin, April Theses (1917)

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A party is the vanguard of a class, and its duty is to lead the masses and not merely to reflect the average political level of the masses.

Lenin, Speech On The Agrarian Question November 14 (1917)

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It is the duty of the revolution to put an end to compromise, and to put an end to compromise means taking the path of socialist revolution.

Lenin, Speech On The Agrarian Question November 14 (1917)

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The Russian is a bad worker compared with people in advanced countries. It could not be otherwise under the tsarist regime and in view of the persistence of the hangover from serfdom. The task that the Soviet government must set the people in all its scope is - learn to work. The Taylor system, the last word of capitalism in this respect, like all capitalist progress, is a combination of the refined brutality of bourgeois exploitation and a number of the greatest scientific achievements in the field.

Lenin, The Immediate Task of the Soviet Government (1918)

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Human child birth is an act which transforms the woman into an almost lifeless, bloodstained heap of flesh, tortured, tormented and driven frantic by pain.

Lenin, Prophetic Words (1918)

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Let the “socialist” snivellers croak, let the bourgeoisie rage and fume, but only people who shut their eyes so as not to see, and stuff their ears so as not to hear, can fail to notice that all over the world the birth pangs of the old, capitalist society, which is pregnant with socialism, have begun.

Lenin, Prophetic Words (1918)

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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. To this extent, the bourgeois, or the bourgeois-democratic, revolution in Russia is completed.

Lenin, Letters on Tactics (1918)

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The Bolshevik slogans and ideas on the whole have been confirmed by history; but concretely things have worked out differently; they are more original, more peculiar, more variated than anyone could have expected..

Lenin, Letters on Tactics (1918)

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“The revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry” has already become a reality in the Russian revolution, for this “formula” envisages only a relation of classes, and not a concrete political institution implementing this relation.

Lenin, Letters on Tactics (1918)

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The crisis in Germany has only begun. It will inevitably end in the transfer of political power to the German proletariat. The Russian proletariat is following events with the keenest attention and enthusiasm. Now even the blindest workers in the various countries will see that the Bolsheviks were right in basing their whole tactics on the support of the world workers' revolution.

Lenin, Letter To A Joint Session Of The All-Russia Central Executive Committee (1918)

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In the course of two years Soviet power in one of the most backward countries of Europe did more to emancipate women and to make their status equal to that of the “strong” sex than all the advanced, enlightened, “democratic” republics of the world did in the course of 130 years.

Lenin, Soviet Power and the Status of Women (1919)

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Down with this contemptible fraud! There cannot be, nor is there nor will there ever be “equality” between the oppressed and the oppressors, between the exploited and the exploiters. There cannot be, nor is there nor will there ever be real “freedom” as long as there is no freedom for women from the privileges which the law grants to men, as long as there is no freedom for the workers from the yoke of capital, and no freedom for the toiling peasants from the yoke of the capitalists, landlords and merchants.

Lenin, Soviet Power and the Status of Women (1919)

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Bourgeois democracy is democracy of pompous phrases, solemn words, exuberant promises and the high-sounding slogans of freedom and equality. But, in fact, it screens the non-freedom and inferiority of women, the non-freedom and inferiority of the toilers and exploited.

Lenin, Soviet Power and the Status of Women (1919)

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Modern monopolist capitalism on a world-wide scale — imperialist wars are absolutely inevitable under such an economic system, as long as private property in the means of production exists.

Lenin, Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism (1920)

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We must display determination, endurance, firmness and unanimity. We must stop at nothing. Everybody and everything must be used to save the rule of the workers and peasants, to save communism.

Lenin, Speech to Third All-Russia Congress of Textile Workers (1920)

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But the dictatorship of the proletariat cannot be exercised through an organisation embracing the whole of that class, because in all capitalist countries (and not only over here, in one of the most backward) the proletariat is still so divided, so degraded, and so corrupted in parts (by imperialism in some countries) that an organisation taking in the whole proletariat cannot directly exercise proletarian dictatorship.

Lenin, The Trade Unions, The Present Situation and Trotsky's Mistakes (1920)

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The Bolsheviks could not have retained power for two and a half months, let alone two and a half years, without the most rigorous and truly iron discipline in our Party.

Lenin, Left-Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder (1920)

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How is the discipline of the proletariat’s revolutionary party maintained? How is it tested? How is it reinforced? First, by the class-consciousness of the proletarian vanguard and by its devotion to the revolution, by its tenacity, self-sacrifice and heroism. Second, by its ability to link up, maintain the closest contact, and—if you wish—merge, in certain measure, with the broadest masses of the working people—primarily with the proletariat, but also with the non-proletarian masses of working people. Third, by the correctness of the political leadership exercised by this vanguard, by the correctness of its political strategy and tactics, provided the broad masses have seen, from their own experience, that they are correct.

Lenin, Left-Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder (1920)

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Russia achieved Marxism—the only correct revolutionary theory—through the agony she experienced in the course of half a century of unparalleled torment and sacrifice, of unparalleled revolutionary heroism, incredible energy, devoted searching, study, practical trial, disappointment, verification, and comparison with European experience.

Lenin, Left-Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder (1920)

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Thanks to the political emigration caused by tsarism, revolutionary Russia acquired a wealth of international links and excellent information on the forms and theories of the world revolutionary movement, such as no other country possessed.

Lenin, Left-Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder (1920)

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Bolshevism went through fifteen years of practical history (1903-17) unequalled anywhere in the world in its wealth of experience. During those fifteen years, no other country knew anything even approximating to that revolutionary experience, that rapid and varied succession of different forms of the movement—legal and illegal, peaceful and stormy, underground and open, local circles and mass movements, and parliamentary and terrorist forms.

Lenin, Left-Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder (1920)

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It is at moments of need that one learns who one’s friends are. Defeated armies learn their lesson.

Lenin, Left-Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder (1920)

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Experience has proved that, on certain very important questions of the proletarian revolution, all countries will inevitably have to do what Russia has done.

Lenin, Left-Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder (1920)

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Without such thorough, circumspect and long preparations [since 1903], we could not have achieved victory in October 1917, or have consolidated that victory.

Lenin, Left-Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder (1920)

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To reject compromises “on principle,” to reject the permissibility of compromises in general, no matter of what kind, is childishness. A political leader who desires to be useful to the revolutionary proletariat must be able to distinguish concrete cases of compromises that are inexcusable and are an expression of opportunism and treachery.

Lenin, Left-Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder (1920)

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In 1912 the agent provocateur Malinovsky got into the Bolshevik Central Committee. He betrayed scores and scores of the best and most loyal comrades; he was obliged, with the other, to assist in the education of scores and scores of thousands of new Bolsheviks through the medium of the legal press.

Lenin, Left-Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder (1920)

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If you want to help the “masses” and win the sympathy and support of the “masses,” you should not fear difficulties, or pinpricks, chicanery, insults and persecution from the “leaders,” but must absolutely work wherever the masses are to be found.

Lenin, Left-Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder (1920)

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All efforts and all attention should now be concentrated on the next step — the search after forms of the transition or the approach to the proletarian revolution.

Lenin, Left-Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder (1920)

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One must not count in thousands, like the propagandist belonging to a small group that has not yet given leadership to the masses; in these circumstances one must count in millions and tens of millions.

Lenin, Left-Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder (1920)

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any army which does not train to use all the weapons, all the means and methods of warfare that the enemy possesses, or may possess, is behaving in an unwise or even criminal manner. This applies to politics even more than it does to the art of war.

Lenin, Left-Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder (1920)

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It is not difficult to be a revolutionary when revolution has already broken out and is in spate, when all people are joining the revolution just because they are carried away, because it is the vogue, and sometimes even from careerist motives. It is far more difficult—and far more precious—to be a revolutionary when the conditions for direct, open, really mass and really revolutionary struggle do not yet exist.

Lenin, Left-Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder (1920)

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One of the biggest and most dangerous mistakes made by Communists is the idea that a revolution can be made by revolutionaries alone. On the contrary, to be successful, all serious revolutionary work requires that the idea that revolutionaries are capable of playing the part only of the vanguard of the truly virile and advanced class must be understood and translated into action.

Lenin, The Significance of Militant Materialism (1922)

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Without an alliance with non-Communists in the most diverse spheres of activity there can be no question of any successful communist construction.

Lenin, The Significance of Militant Materialism (1922)

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The most important thing is to know how to awaken in the still undeveloped masses an intelligent attitude towards religious questions and an intelligent criticism of religions.

Lenin, The Significance of Militant Materialism (1922)

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No natural science can hold its own in the struggle against the onslaught of bourgeois ideas and the restoration of the bourgeois world outlook unless it stands on solid philosophical ground. In order to hold his own in this struggle and carry it to a victorious finish, 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.

Lenin, The Significance of Militant Materialism (1922)

* * *

Modern natural scientists (if they know how to seek, and if we learn to help them) will find in the Hegelian dialectics, materialistically interpreted, a series of answers to the philosophical problems which are being raised by the revolution in natural science.

Lenin, The Significance of Militant Materialism (1922)

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the prime factors in the question of stability are such members of the C.C. as Stalin and Trotsky. I think relations between them make up the greater part of the danger of a split.

Lenin, Letter to the Congress (1922)

* * *

Comrade Stalin, having become Secretary-General, has unlimited authority concentrated in his hands, and I am not sure whether he will always be capable of using that authority with sufficient caution.

Lenin, Letter to the Congress (1922)

* * *

Stalin is too rude and this defect, although quite tolerable in our midst and in dealing among us Communists, becomes intolerable in a Secretary-General. That is why I suggest that the comrades think about a way of removing Stalin from that post and appointing another man in his stead.

Lenin, Letter to the Congress (1922)

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Our schoolteacher should be raised to a standard he has never achieved, and cannot achieve, in bourgeois society. This is a truism and requires no proof.

Lenin, Pages from a Diary (1923)

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If a definite level of culture is required for the building of socialism (although nobody can say just what that definite ‘level of culture’ is, for it differs in every Western European country), why cannot we began by first achieving the prerequisites for that definite level of culture in a revolutionary way, and then, with the aid of the workers’ and peasants’ government and Soviet system, proceed to overtake the other nations?

Lenin, Our Revolution (1923)

* * *

Napoleon, I think, wrote: “On s’engage et puis ... on voit.” rendered freely this means: “First engage in a serious battle and then see what happens. ” Well, we did first engage in a serious battle in October 1917. And now there can be no doubt that in the main we have been victorious.

Lenin, Our Revolution (1923)

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We must follow the rule: Better fewer, but better. We must follow the rule: Better get good human material in two or even three years than work in haste without hope of getting any at all.

Lenin, Better fewer, but Better (1923)

* * *

While the bourgeois state methodically concentrates all its efforts on doping the urban workers, adapting all the literature published at state expense and at the expense of the tsarist and bourgeois parties for this purpose, we can and must utilise our political power to make the urban worker an effective vehicle of communist ideas among the rural proletariat.

Lenin, Pages from a Diary (1923)

* * *

Without revolutionary theory there can be no revolutionary movement.

Lenin, What Is To Be Done?, “Dogmatism And ‘Freedom of Criticism’” (1902)

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So long as the state exists there is no freedom. When there is freedom, there will be no state.

Lenin, The State and Revolution (1917)

* * *

Democracy means equality. The great significance of the proletariat's struggle for equality and of equality as a slogan will be clear if we correctly interpret it as meaning the abolition of classes. But democracy means only formal equality. And as soon as equality is achieved for all members of society in relation to ownership of the means of production, that is, equality of labor and wages, humanity will inevitably be confronted with the question of advancing father, from formal equality to actual equality, i.e., to the operation of the rule “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs”.

Lenin, The State and Revolution (1917)

* * *

We say: 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.

Lenin, War and Revolution (1917)

* * *

The real education of the masses can never be separated from their independent political, and especially revolutionary, struggle. Only struggle educates the exploited class. Only struggle discloses to it the magnitude of its own power, widens its horizon, enhances its abilities, clarifies its mind, forges its will.

Lenin, Lecture on the 1905 Revolution (1917)

* * *

Capital is an international force. To vanquish it, an international workers' alliance, an international workers' brotherhood, is needed.
We are opposed to national enmity and discord, to national exclusiveness. We are internationalists.

Lenin, Letter to the Workers and Peasants of the Ukraine (1919)

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[...] I must say that the tasks of the youth in general, and of the Young Communist Leagues and all other organisations in particular, might be summed up in a single word: learn.

Lenin, The Tasks of the Youth Leagues (1920)

 


 

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