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

"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."

"We shall not achieve socialism without a struggle. But we are ready to fight, we have started it and we shall finish it with the aid of the apparatus called the Soviets."

"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."

"We set ourselves the ultimate aim of abolishing the state, i.e., all organized and systematic violence, all use of violence against people in general. We do not expect the advent of a system of society in which the principle of subordination of the minority to the majority will not be observed. In striving for socialism, however, we are convinced that it will develop into communism and, therefore, that the need for violence against people in general, for the subordination of one man to another, and of one section of the population to another, will vanish altogether since people will become accustomed to observing the elementary conditions of social life without violence and without subordination."

"We stand for an alliance with all countries without exception."

"We shall not bind ourselves by treaties. We shall not allow ourselves to be entangled by treaties. We reject all clauses on plunder and violence, but we shall welcome all clauses containing provisions for good-neighborly relations and all economic agreements; we cannot reject these."

"We want to achieve a new and better order of society: in this new and better society there must be neither rich nor poor; all will have to work. Not a handful of rich people, but all the working people must enjoy the fruits of their common labor. Machines and other improvements must serve to ease the work of all and not to enable a few to grow rich at the expense of millions and tens of millions of people. This new and better society is called socialist society. The teachings about this society are called socialism."

"We would be deceiving both ourselves and the people if we concealed from the masses the necessity of a desperate, bloody war of extermination, as the immediate task of the coming revolutionary action."

"We would like to hope that developments in world socialism will increasingly remove the grounds for this difference between us."

"What a waste that we lost Mussolini. He is a first-rate man who would have led our party to power in Italy."

"What caused the war? The greed of the Italian money bags and capitalists, who need new markets and new achievements for Italian imperialism. What kind of war was it? A perfected, civilised blood bath, the massacre of Arabs with the help of the “latest” weapons."

"What the Soviet Constitution gives us no other state has been able to give in two hundred years."

"What we prize most is peace and an opportunity to devote all our efforts to restoring our economy."

"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 re-division of the world."

"When a revolutionary party has not the support of a majority either among the vanguard of the revolutionary class or among the rural population, there can be no question of a rising. A rising must have not only the majority, but must have the incoming revolutionary tide over the whole country, the complete moral and political bankruptcy of the old regime--and a deep-seated sense of insecurity among all these irresolute elements."

"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."

"When one makes a Revolution, one cannot mark time; one must always go forward - or go back. He who now talks about the 'freedom of the press' goes backward, and halts our headlong course towards Socialism."

"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."

"When the Soviet government is experiencing a difficult period and plots are being hatched by bourgeois elements and when at a critical moment we manage to lay bare these plots — do they think they are discovered accidentally? Oh, no, not accidentally. They are discovered because the plotters live among the masses, because they cannot succeed in their plots without the workers and peasants and it is there that, in the long run, they run up against people who go to that badly organized, as they said here, Cheka and say that exploiters are gathered in a certain place."

"When the speeches of Wilson, Clemenceau, and Lloyd George, the worst of the predators, the wild beasts of imperialism, are repeated here by Martov in the name of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party … then I say to myself that we have to be on the alert and to realise that the Cheka is indispensable!"

"When we are reproached with having established a dictatorship of one party and, as you have heard, a united socialist front is proposed, we say, "Yes, it is a dictatorship of one party! This is what we stand for and we shall not shift from that position because it is the party that has won, in the course of decades, the position of vanguard of the entire factory and industrial proletariat. This party had won that position even before the revolution of 1905. It is the party that was at the head of the workers in 1905 and which since then — even at the time of the reaction after 1905 when the working-class movement was rehabilitated with such difficulty under the Stolypin Duma — merged with the working class and it alone could lead that class to a profound, fundamental change in the old society."

"When we say "the state," the state is We, it is we, it is the proletariat, it is the advanced guard of the working class."

"When there is state there can be no freedom, but when there is freedom there will be no state."

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

"When we are victorious on a world scale I think we shall use gold for the purpose of building public lavatories in the streets of some of the largest cities of the world."

"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 utilize our political power to make the urban worker an effective vehicle of communist ideas among the rural proletariat."

"Where and when have riots and anarchy been provoked by wise measures? If the government had acted wisely, and if their measures had met the needs of the poor peasants, would there have been unrest among the peasant masses?"

"Without a revolutionary theory there cannot be a revolutionary movement."

"Without revolutionary theory there can be no revolutionary movement. This idea cannot be insisted upon too strongly at a time when the fashionable preaching of opportunism goes hand in hand with an infatuation for the narrowest forms of practical activity."

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

"Whenever the cause of the people is entrusted to professors, it is lost."

"Worst of all, it is women who usually have to do, usually alone, all the dirty work of the kitchen and household, work that is unimportant, hard, tiresome, and soul-destroying."

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

"Workers and peasants, working and exploited people! The land, the banks and the factories have now become the property of the entire people! You yourselves must set to work to take account of and control the production and distribution of products—this, and this alone is the road to the victory of socialism, the only guarantee of its victory, the guarantee of victory over all exploitation, over all poverty and want!"

"You are known among us as a protector of the arts so you must remember that, of all the arts, for us the cinema is the most important."

"You cannot do anything without rousing the masses to action. A plenary meeting of the Soviet must be called to decide on mass searches in Petrograd and the goods stations. To carry out these searches, each factory and company must form contingents, not on a voluntary basis: it must be the duty of everyone to take part in these searches under the threat of being deprived of his bread card. We can't expect to get anywhere unless we resort to terrorism: speculators must be shot on the spot. Moreover, bandits must be dealt with just as resolutely: they must be shot on the spot."

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