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Vladimir Lenin - Quotes

Under such capitalism, competition means the incredibly brutal suppression of the enterprise, energy and bold initiative of the mass of the population, of its overwhelming majority, of ninety-nine out of every hundred toilers; it also means that competition is replaced by financial fraud, nepotism, servility on the upper rungs of the social ladder.
Lenin, Vladimir and Yuri Sdobnikov and George Hanna (Translators). How to Organise Competition? 1917.

Far from extinguishing competition, socialism, on the contrary, for the first time creates the opportunity for employing it on a really wide and on a really mass scale, for actually drawing the majority of working people into a field of labour in which they can display their abilities, develop the capacities, and reveal those talents, so abundant among the people whom capitalism crushed, suppressed and strangled in thousands and millions.
Lenin, Vladimir and Yuri Sdobnikov and George Hanna (Translators). How to Organise Competition? 1917.

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 nationalisation of the banks. The next steps will be the nationalisation of the factories, the compulsory organisation 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.
Lenin, Vladimir and Yuri Sdobnikov and George Hanna (Translators). How to Organise Competition? 1917.

For the first time after centuries of working for others, of forced labour for the exploiter, it has become possible to work for oneself and moreover to employ all the achievements of modern technology and culture in one’s work.
Lenin, Vladimir and Yuri Sdobnikov and George Hanna (Translators). How to Organise Competition? 1917.

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.
Lenin, Vladimir and Yuri Sdobnikov and George Hanna (Translators). How to Organise Competition? 1917.

At all costs we must break the old, absurd, savage, despicable and disgusting prejudice that only the so-called "upper classes", only the rich, and those who have gone through the school of the rich, are capable of administering the state and directing the organisational development of socialist society.
Lenin, Vladimir and Yuri Sdobnikov and George Hanna (Translators). How to Organise Competition? 1917.

The workers and peasants are still "timid", they have not yet become accustomed to the idea that they are now the ruling class; they are not yet resolute enough. The revolution could not at one stroke instill these qualities into millions and millions of people who all their lives had been compelled by want and hunger to work under the threat of the stick.
Lenin, Vladimir and Yuri Sdobnikov and George Hanna (Translators). How to Organise Competition? 1917.

We must fight against the old habit of regarding the measure of labour and the means of production from the point of view of the slave whose sole aim is to lighten the burden of labour or to obtain at least some little bit from the bourgeoisie.
Lenin, Vladimir and Yuri Sdobnikov and George Hanna (Translators). How to Organise Competition? 1917.

Only the voluntary and conscientious co-operation of the mass of the workers and peasants in accounting and controlling the rich, the rogues, the idlers and the rowdies, a co-operation marked by revolutionary enthusiasm, can conquer these survivals of accursed capitalist society, these dregs of humanity, these hopelessly decayed and atrophied limbs, this contagion, this plague, this ulcer that socialism has inherited from capitalism.
Lenin, Vladimir and Yuri Sdobnikov and George Hanna (Translators). How to Organise Competition? 1917.

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!
Lenin, Vladimir and Yuri Sdobnikov and George Hanna (Translators). How to Organise Competition? 1917.

The class-conscious proletariat can give its consent to a revolutionary war, which would really justify revolutionary defencism, only on condition: (a) that the power pass to the proletariat and the poorest sections of the peasants aligned with the proletariat; (b) that all annexations be renounced in deed and not in word; (c) that a complete break be effected in actual fact with all capitalist interests.
Lenin, Vladimir and Isaacs Bernard (Translator). The Tasks of the Proletariat in the Present Revolution. 1917.

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 organisation 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.
Lenin, Vladimir and Isaacs Bernard (Translator). The Tasks of the Proletariat in the Present Revolution. 1917.

No support for the Provisional Government; the utter falsity of all its promises should be made clear, particularly of those relating to the renunciation of annexations. Exposure in place of the impermissible, illusion-breeding “demand” that this government, a government of capitalists, should cease to be an imperialist government.
Lenin, Vladimir and Isaacs Bernard (Translator). The Tasks of the Proletariat in the Present Revolution. 1917.

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.
Lenin, Vladimir and Isaacs Bernard (Translator). The Tasks of the Proletariat in the Present Revolution. 1917.

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, Vladimir and Isaacs Bernard (Translator). The Tasks of the Proletariat in the Present Revolution. 1917.

Confiscation of all landed estates. Nationalisation of all lands in the country, the land to be disposed of by the local Soviets of Agricultural Labourers’ and Peasants’ Deputies.
Lenin, Vladimir and Isaacs Bernard (Translator). The Tasks of the Proletariat in the Present Revolution. 1917.

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.
Lenin, Vladimir and Isaacs Bernard (Translator). The Tasks of the Proletariat in the Present Revolution. 1917.

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, Vladimir and Isaacs Bernard (Translator). The Tasks of the Proletariat in the Present Revolution. 1917.

They have got themselves in a mess, these poor Russian social-chauvinists—socialists in word and chauvinists in deed.
Lenin, Vladimir and Isaacs Bernard (Translator). The Tasks of the Proletariat in the Present Revolution. 1917.

From the correct Marxist premise concerning the deep economic roots of the class struggle in general and of the political struggle in particular, the Economists have drawn the singular conclusion that we must turn our backs on the political struggle and retard its development, narrow its scope, and reduce its aims. The political wing, on the contrary, has drawn a different conclusion from these same premises, namely, that the deeper the roots of our present struggle, the more widely, the more boldly, the more resolutely, and with greater initiative must we wage this struggle.
Lenin, Vladimir and Abraham Fineburg and Julius Katzer (Translators). Two Tactics of Social-Democracy in the Democratic Revolution. 1905.

Just as the Economists would, by repeating the truism that politics are subordinated to economics, cover up their incapacity to understand urgent political tasks, so the newIskra-ists, by repeating the general truism that struggles will take place in a politically emancipated society, cover up their failure to understand the urgent revolutionary tasks of the political emancipation of this society.
Lenin, Vladimir and Abraham Fineburg and Julius Katzer (Translators). Two Tactics of Social-Democracy in the Democratic Revolution. 1905.

Marxists are absolutely convinced of the bourgeois character of the Russian revolution. What does this mean? It means that the democratic reforms in the political system and the social and economic reforms, which have become a necessity for Russia, do not in themselves imply the undermining of capitalism, the undermining of bourgeois rule; on the contrary, they will, for the first time, really clear the ground for a wide and rapid, European, and not Asiatic, development of capitalism; they will, for the first time, make it possible for the bourgeoisie to rule as a class.
Lenin, Vladimir and Abraham Fineburg and Julius Katzer (Translators). Two Tactics of Social-Democracy in the Democratic Revolution. 1905.

A bourgeois revolution is a revolution which does not go beyond the limits of the bourgeois, i.e., capitalist, social and economic system. A bourgeois revolution expresses the need for the development of capitalism, and far from destroying the foundations of capitalism, it does the opposite, it broadens and deepens them.
Lenin, Vladimir and Abraham Fineburg and Julius Katzer (Translators). Two Tactics of Social-Democracy in the Democratic Revolution. 1905.

From the standpoint of theory, this idea disregards the elementary propositions of Marxism concerning the inevitability of capitalist development where commodity production exists. Marxism teaches that a society which is based on commodity production, and which has commercial intercourse with civilised capitalist nations, at a certain stage of its development, itself, inevitably takes the road of capitalism.
Lenin, Vladimir and Abraham Fineburg and Julius Katzer (Translators). Two Tactics of Social-Democracy in the Democratic Revolution. 1905.

A bourgeois revolution is absolutely necessary in the interests of the proletariat. The more complete and determined, the more consistent the bourgeois revolution, the more assured will be the proletarian struggle against the bourgeoisie for Socialism. Only those who are ignorant of the rudiments of scientific Socialism can regard this conclusion as new or strange, paradoxical.
Lenin, Vladimir and Abraham Fineburg and Julius Katzer (Translators). Two Tactics of Social-Democracy in the Democratic Revolution. 1905.

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.
Lenin, Vladimir and Abraham Fineburg and Julius Katzer (Translators). Two Tactics of Social-Democracy in the Democratic Revolution. 1905.

We cannot jump out of the bourgeois-democratic boundaries of the Russian revolution, but we can vastly extend these boundaries, and within these boundaries we can and must fight for the interests of the proletariat, for its immediate needs and for the conditions that will make it possible to prepare its forces for the future complete victory.
Lenin, Vladimir and Abraham Fineburg and Julius Katzer (Translators). Two Tactics of Social-Democracy in the Democratic Revolution. 1905.

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 organisational 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.
Lenin, Vladimir and Abraham Fineburg and Julius Katzer (Translators). Two Tactics of Social-Democracy in the Democratic Revolution. 1905.

Nothing will raise the revolutionary energy of the world proletariat so much, nothing will shorten the path leading to its complete victory to such an extent, as this decisive victory of the revolution that has now started in Russia.
Lenin, Vladimir and Abraham Fineburg and Julius Katzer (Translators). Two Tactics of Social-Democracy in the Democratic Revolution. 1905.

“Freedom of criticism” is undoubtedly the most fashionable slogan at the present time, and the one most frequently employed in the controversies between socialists and democrats in all countries.
Lenin, Vladimir and Joe Fineberg and George Hanna (Translators). What Is To Be Done? 1902.

In view of the fact that this criticism of Marxism has long been directed from the political platform, from university chairs, in numerous pamphlets and in a series of learned treatises, in view of the fact that the entire younger generation of the educated classes has been systematically reared for decades on this criticism, it is not surprising that the “new critical” trend in Social-Democracy should spring up, all complete, like Minerva from the head of Jove.
Lenin, Vladimir and Joe Fineberg and George Hanna (Translators). What Is To Be Done? 1902.

He who does not deliberately close his eyes cannot fail to see that the new “critical” trend in socialism is nothing more nor less than a new variety of opportunism. And if we judge people, not by the glittering uniforms they don or by the highsounding appellations they give themselves, but by their actions and by what they actually advocate, it will be clear that “freedom of criticism” means’ freedom for an opportunist trend in Social-Democracy, freedom to convert Social-Democracy into a democratic party of reform, freedom to introduce bourgeois ideas and bourgeois elements into socialism.
Lenin, Vladimir and Joe Fineberg and George Hanna (Translators). What Is To Be Done? 1902.

“Freedom” is a grand word, but under the banner of freedom for industry the most predatory wars were waged, under the banner of freedom of labour, the working people were robbed. The modern use of the term “freedom of criticism” contains the same inherent falsehood.
Lenin, Vladimir and Joe Fineberg and George Hanna (Translators). What Is To Be Done? 1902.

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, Vladimir and Joe Fineberg and George Hanna (Translators). What Is To Be Done? 1902.

The chief distinguishing feature of Russia in regard to the point we are examining is that the very beginning of the spontaneous working-class movement, on the one hand, and of the turn of progressive public opinion towards Marxism, on the other, was marked by the combination of manifestly heterogeneous elements under a common flag to fight the common enemy (the obsolete social and political world outlook).
Lenin, Vladimir and Joe Fineberg and George Hanna (Translators). What Is To Be Done? 1902.

The case of the Russian Social-Democrats manifestly illustrates the general European phenomenon (long ago noted also by the German Marxists) that the much vaunted freedom of criticism does not imply substitution of one theory for another, but freedom from all integral and pondered theory; it implies eclecticism and lack of principle.
Lenin, Vladimir and Joe Fineberg and George Hanna (Translators). What Is To Be Done? 1902.

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.
Lenin, Vladimir and Joe Fineberg and George Hanna (Translators). What Is To Be Done? 1902.

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.
Lenin, Vladimir and Joe Fineberg and George Hanna (Translators). What Is To Be Done? 1902.

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.
Lenin, Vladimir and Joe Fineberg and George Hanna (Translators). What Is To Be Done? 1902