Russian Marxist Revolutionary and Communist Politician who led the October Revolution of 1917
Vladimir Lenin, fully Vladimir Ilyich Lenin
Russian Marxist Revolutionary and Communist Politician who led the October Revolution of 1917
We must pursue the removal of church property by any means necessary in order to secure for ourselves a fund of several hundred million gold rubles (do not forget the immense wealth of some monasteries and lauras). Without this fund any government work in general, any economic build-up in particular, and any upholding of soviet principles in Genoa especially is completely unthinkable. In order to get our hands on this fund of several hundred million gold rubles (and perhaps even several hundred billion), we must do whatever is necessary. But to do this successfully is possible only now. All considerations indicate that later on we will fail to do this, for no other time, besides that of desperate famine, will give us such a mood among the general mass of peasants that would ensure us the sympathy of this group, or, at least, would ensure us the neutralization of this group in the sense that victory in the struggle for the removal of church property unquestionably and completely will be on our side. One clever writer on statecraft correctly said that if it is necessary for the realization of a well-known political goal to perform a series of brutal actions then it is necessary to do them in the most energetic manner and in the shortest time, because masses of people will not tolerate the protracted use of brutality. … Now victory over the reactionary clergy is assured us completely. In addition, it will be more difficult for the major part of our foreign adversaries among the Russian emigres abroad, i.e., the Socialist-Revolutionaries and the Milyukovites, to fight against us if we, precisely at this time, precisely in connection with the famine, suppress the reactionary clergy with utmost haste and ruthlessness. Therefore, I come to the indisputable conclusion that we must precisely now smash the Black Hundreds clergy most decisively and ruthlessly and put down all resistance with such brutality that they will not forget it for several decades.… The greater the number of representatives of the reactionary clergy and the reactionary bourgeoisie that we succeed in shooting on this occasion, the better because this "audience" must precisely now be taught a lesson in such a way that they will not dare to think about any resistance whatsoever for several decades.
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.
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.
We need the real, nation-wide terror which reinvigorates the country and through which the Great French Revolution achieved glory.
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.
Without such thorough, circumspect and long preparations [since 1903], we could not have achieved victory in October 1917, or have consolidated that victory.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
You can become a Communist only when you enrich your mind with a knowledge of all the treasures created by mankind.
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.
When there is state there can be no freedom, but when there is freedom there will be no state.
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.
We stand for an alliance with all countries without exception.
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.
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.