Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Vladimir Lenin, fully Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

Russian Marxist Revolutionary and Communist Politician who led the October Revolution of 1917

"The Congress decisively rejects terrorism, i.e., the system of individual political assassinations, as being a method of political struggle which is most inexpedient at the present time, diverting the best forces from the urgent and imperatively necessary work of organization and agitation, destroying contact between the revolutionaries and the masses of the revolutionary classes of the population, and spreading both among the revolutionaries themselves and the population in general utterly distorted ideas of the aims and methods of struggle against the autocracy."

"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."

"The final political result of the revolution may prove to be that, in spite of the formal independence of Social-Democracy, in spite of its complete organizational individuality as a separate party, it will in fact not be independent, it will not be able to put the imprint of its proletarian independence on the course of events, will prove so weak that, on the whole and in the last analysis, its dissolving in the bourgeois democracy will nonetheless be a historical fact."

"The functionaries of our political organizations and trade unions are corrupted — or rather tend to be corrupted — by the conditions of capitalism and betray a tendency to become bureaucrats, i.e., privileged persons divorced from the people and standing above the people."

"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."

"The goal of socialism is communism."

"The entire trend of development is towards abolition of coercive domination of one part of society over another."

"The government is tottering. We must deal it the death blow at any cost. To delay action is the same as death."

"The first step towards the emancipation of the people from this penal servitude is the confiscation of the landed estates, the introduction of workers’ control and the nationalization of the banks. The next steps will be the nationalization of the factories, the compulsory organization of the whole population in consumers’ societies, which are at the same time societies for the sale of products, and the state monopoly of the trade in grain and other necessities."

"The immediate union of all banks in the country into a single national bank, and the institution of control over it by the Soviet of Workers’ Deputies."

"The history of all countries shows that the working class exclusively by its own effort is able to develop only trade-union consciousness."

"The government considers it the greatest of crimes against humanity to continue this war over the issue of how to divide among the strong and rich nations the weak nationalities they have conquered, and solemnly announces its determination immediately to sign terms of peace to stop this war on the terms indicated, which are equally just for all nationalities without exception."

"The intellectuals who are accustomed to serving the capitalists and the capitalist state say in order to console themselves: You cannot do without us. But their insolent assumption has no truth in it; educated men are already making their appearance on the side of the people, on the side of the working people, and are helping to break the resistance of the servants of capital."

"The intellectual forces of the workers and peasants are growing and getting stronger in their fight to overthrow the bourgeoisie and their accomplices, the educated classes, the lackeys of capital, who consider themselves the brains of the nation. In fact they are not its brains but its shit."

"The Labor Party is a thoroughly bourgeois party, because, although made up of workers, it is led by reactionaries, and the worst kind of reactionaries at that, who act quite in the spirit of the bourgeoisie. It is an organization of the bourgeoisie, which exists to systematically dupe the workers with the aid of the British Noskes and Scheidemanns."

"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."

"The most reliable and best armed groups of the mass of revolutionary contingents organized to take extreme measures to overcome the famine shall be detailed for dispatch to all stations and all uyezds of the principal grain supplying gubernias. These groups, with the participation of railwaymen delegated by local railway committees, shall be authorized, firstly, to control the movement of grain freights; secondly, take charge of the collection and storage of grain; thirdly, adopt the most extreme revolutionary measures to fight speculators and to requisition grain stocks. When making any record of requisition, arrest or execution, the revolutionary contingents shall summon at least six witnesses to be selected from the poorest section of the population closest at hand."

"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."

"The nearer we come to the full military suppression of the bourgeoisie, the more dangerous becomes to us the high flood of petty-bourgeois Anarchism. And the struggle against these elements cannot be waged with propaganda and agitation alone. … The struggle must also be waged by applying force and compulsion."

"The 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."

"The masses must be made to see that the Soviets of Workers’ Deputies are the only possible form of revolutionary government, and that therefore our task is, as long as this government yields to the influence of the bourgeoisie, to present a patient, systematic, and persistent explanation of the errors of their tactics, an explanation especially adapted to the practical needs of the masses."

"The most important thing when ill is to never lose heart."

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

"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."

"The practical activity of man had to lead his consciousness to the reptetition of various logical figures thousands of millions of times in order that these figures could obtain the significance of axioms."

"The Poor Peasants’ Committees are necessary to fight the kulaks, the rich, the exploiters, who shackle the working peasants. But between the kulaks, who are a small minority, and the poor or semi-proletarians there is the section of the middle peasants. The Soviet government has never declared or conducted any struggle against them. Any steps or measures to the contrary must be condemned most vigorously and stopped. The socialist government must pursue a policy of agreement with the middle peasants."

"The proletarian revolution is impossible without the sympathy and support of the overwhelming majority of the working people."

"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."

"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."

"The proletariat should not ignore peaceful methods of struggle — they serve its ordinary, day-to-day interests, they are necessary in periods of preparation for revolution — but it must never forget that in certain conditions the class struggle assumes the form of armed conflict and civil war; there are times when the interests of the proletariat call for ruthless extermination of its enemies in open armed clashes. This was first demonstrated by the French proletariat in the Commune and brilliantly confirmed by the Russian proletariat in the December uprising."

"The proletariat aimed at those machine that bears the name of the state and that people stand on them to respect the unblemished Balkhcua and believe upon ancient myths view it the authority of the whole people, and declare the proletariat: the bourgeois lie. We have Antzaana this machine from the hands of the capitalists and we took it for ourselves. In this machine, or stick. We invest forms, and when lacking in minimum investment potential, when lawless Mlako land, Mlako factories, when relieved of this situation, which affects the other Baltkhmh and starves others, when disappear possibilities that, then just let this machine to break down. State then go away and disappear investment."

"The proletarian state must effect the transition to collective farming with extreme caution and only very gradually, by the force of example, without any coercion of the middle peasant."

"The reflection of nature in man’s thought must be understood not lifelessly but in the eternal process of movement, the arising of contradictions and their solution."

"The real emancipation of the Chinese people from age-long slavery would be impossible without the great, sincerely democratic enthusiasm which is rousing the working masses and making them capable of miracles, and which is evident from every sentence of Sun Yat-sen’s platform."

"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."

"The revolution war, and this war is the only legitimate war in the world"

"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."

"The revolutionary way is the way of quick amputation, which is the least painful to the proletariat, the way of the direct removal of the decomposing parts, the way of fewest concessions to and least consideration for the monarchy and the disgusting, vile, rotten and contaminating institutions which go with it."

"The Social-Democratic movement is in its very essence an international movement. This means, not only that we must combat national chauvinism, but that an incipient movement in a young country can be successful only if it makes use of the experiences of other countries."

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

"The sole "property" of matter with whose recognition philosophical materialism is bound up is the property of being an objective reality, of existing outside the mind."

"The specific feature of the present situation in Russia is that the country is passing from the first stage of the revolution—which, owing to the insufficient class-consciousness and organization of the proletariat, placed power in the hands of the bourgeoisie—to its second stage, which must place power in the hands of the proletariat and the poorest sections of the peasants."

"The state does not function as we desired. The car does not obey. A man is at the wheel and he seems to lead it, but the car does not drive in the desired direction. It moves as another force wishes."

"The state is a machine for the maintenance of the rule of class to another."

"The state is a machine for the oppression layer by other machine intended to be subject to other layers layer adapted other."

"The status of women up to now has been compared to that of a slave; women have been tied to the home, and only socialism can save them from this. They will only be completely emancipated when we change from small-scale individual farming to collective farming and collective working of the land."

"The surest way to destroy a nation is to debauch its currency."

"The trial of the insurrectionists from Shuia, for opposing aid to the starving, should be carried out in utmost haste and should end not other than with the shooting of the very largest number of the most influential and dangerous of the Black Hundreds in Shuia, and, if possible, not only in this city but even in Moscow and several other ecclesiastical centers."

"The truth about Kolchak (and his double, Denikin) has now been revealed in full. The shooting of tens of thousands of workers. The shooting even of Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries. The flogging of peasants of entire districts. The public flogging of women. The absolutely unbridled power of the officers, the sons of landowners. Endless looting. Such is the truth about Kolchak and Denikin."

"The war is relentless: it puts the alternative in a ruthless relief: either to perish, or to catch up with the advanced countries and outdistance them, too, in economic matters."