Lenin ... not such a nice guy!

Lenin attacks workers

All sorts of nonsense is talked about Lenin by his fans today, below I collect some of the quotes you are less likly to hear. Feel free to email me any additional ones but do include a reference to where they were said.

According to Trotskys recollection in 'My Life' p157 in 1903 they had the following exchange

"We are the stable centre, Lenin said, 'we are stronger in ideas, and we must exercise the guidance from here.'

'Then this will mean a complete dictatorship of the editoral board?' I asked

'Well, what wrong with that?' retorted Lenin"

At the start of 1917 (22/1/1917) Lenins clear historic vision led him to conclude that

"We of the older generation may not live to see the decisive battles of this coming revolution"
Lenin, Vol 23, p253

Lenin, on August 9th, 1918, sent the following telegram to the chairman of the Executive Committee of the Nizhnii Novgorod provincial soviet:

"Clearly a Whiteguardist rising is brewing i Nizhnii. You must exert every effort, form a troika of dictators (you Markin and another), instantly introduce mass terror, shoot and deport hundreds of prostitutes who get the soldiers drunk, ex-officers etc. Not a minute to be wasted."
[Lenin (5) Voume L, page 142, item 257]

April 28, 1918 in The Immediate Tasks of the Soviet Government published in Isvestiya of the All - Russian Central Executive Committee.

"We must raise the question of piece - work and apply and test it in practice . . . we must raise the question of applying much of what is scientific and progressive in the Taylor system . . . the Soviet Republic must at all costs adopt all that is valuable in the achievements of science and technology in this field . . . we must organise in Russia the study and teaching of the Taylor system". Only "the conscious representatives of petty bourgeois laxity" could see in the recent decree on the management of the railways "which granted individual leaders dictatorial powers" some kind of "departure from the collegium principle, from democracy and from other principles of soviet government".

"The irrefutable experience of history has shown that the dictatorship of individual persons was very often the vehicle, the channel of the dictatorship of the revolutionary classes"

"Large - scale machine industry which is the material productive source and foundation of socialism - calls for absolute and strict unity of will . . . How can strict unity of will be ensured? By thousands subordinating their will to the will of one".

"unquestioning submission to a single will is absolutely necessary for the success of labour processes that are based on large - scale machine industry .... today the Revolution demands, in the interests of socialism, that the masses unquestioningly obey the single will of the leaders of the labour process".

May 5th 1918 in 'Left wing childishness and petty bourgeois mentality'

"If we introduced state capitalism in approximately 6 months' time we would achieve a great success and a sure guarantee that within a year socialism will have gained a permanently firm hold and will have become invincible in our country". "Economically, state capitalism is immeasurably superior to the present system of economy ...the soviet power has nothing terrible to fear from it, for the soviet State is a state in which the power of the workers and the poor is assured"

The task of the Bolsheviks was "to study the state capitalism of the Germans, to spare no effort at copying it".

The allegation that the Soviet Republic was threatened with "evolution in the direction of state capitalism" would "provoke nothing but Homeric laughter". If a merchant told him that there had been an improvement on some railways "such praise seems to me a thousand times more valuable than twenty communist resolutions".

"Socialism is nothing but state capitalist monopoly made to benefit the whole people".


Send to Penza To Comrades Kuraev, Bosh, Minkin and other Penza communists

Comrades! The revolt by the five kulak volost's must be suppressed without mercy. The interest of the entire revolution demands this, because we have now before us our final decisive battle "with the kulaks." We need to set an example.

1.You need to hang (hang without fail, so that the public sees) at least 100 notorious kulaks, the rich, and the bloodsuckers.
2.Publish their names.
3.Take away all of their grain.
4.Execute the hostages - in accordance with yesterday's telegram.

This needs to be accomplished in such a way, that people for hundreds of miles around will see, tremble, know and scream out: let's choke andstrangle those blood-sucking kulaks.

Telegraph us acknowledging receipt and execution of this.

Yours, Lenin

P.S. Use your toughest people for this."

Article 9 of a decree, signed by Lenin, from 14 November 1919 stated that:

"Particular obstructive workers who refuse to submit to disciplinary measures will be subject, as non-workers, to discharge and confinement in concentration camps."

(James Bunyan: "The Origin of Forced Labor in the Soviet State, 1917-1921. Documents and Materials" (John Hopkins Press,1967), page 88; and George Legget: "The Cheka: Lenin's politcal police" (Clarendon Press, rev.utg. 1986), page 179)

April 6th 1920 at the Third All-Russian Congress of Trade Unions.

claimed that in 1918 he "pointed out the necessity of recognising the dictatorial authority of single individuals for the purpose of carrying out the Soviet idea"

December 30 1920 at Joint meeting of the Party fraction to the Eighth Congress of Soviets, of Party members on the All-Russian Central Council of Trade Unions

Describes Bukharin's platform as "a full break with communism and a transition to a position of syndicalism". "It destroyed the need for the Party. If the trade unions, nine-tenths of whose members are non-Party workers, appoint the managers of industry, what is the use of the Party?"

"The decisions on the militarisation of labour, etc., were incontrovertible and there is no need whatsoever to withdraw my words of ridicule concerning references to democracy made by those who challenged these decisions . . . we shall extend democracy in the workers' organisations but not make a fetish of it . . . "

Jan 20th, 1921 in Pravda article

"Now we add to our platform the following: we must combat the ideological confusion of those unsound elements of the opposition who go to the lengths of repudiating all 'militarisation of economy', of repudiating not only the 'method of appointing' which has been the prevailing method up to now, but all appointments. In the last analysis this means repudiating the leading role of the Party in relation to the non-Party masses. We must combat the syndicalist deviation which will kill the Party if it is not completely cured of it".

March 18, 1921 at 10th Party Congress

"Marxism teaches us that only the political party of the working class, i.e. the Communist Party. is in a position to unite, educate, organise . . . and direct all sides of the proletarian movement and hence all the working masses. Without this the dictatorship of the proletariat is meaningless".


"Class political consciousness can be brought to workers only from without, that is, only from outside the sphere of relations between workers and employers"
Lenin, Vol 5, p 422

"the proletariat...is not in a position to create a party embracing the entire working class.."
Lenin Vol 9 p363

"The history of all countries shows that the working class, exclusively by its own effort, is able to develop only trade-union consciousness..."
Lenin vol 5 p375

"The organisational principle of revolutionary Social-Democracy...strives to proceed from the top downward, and upholds as extension of the rights and powers of the centre in relation to the parts".
Lenin Vol 7, p396-397

"Obedience, and unquestioning obedience at that, during work to the one-man decisions of Soviet directors, of the dictators elected or appointed by Soviet institutions, vested with dictatorial powers."
Lenin, Six Theses on the Immediate Tasks of the Soviet Government, April/May 1918


"We must combat ideological disharmony and those unhealthy elements of the opposition who renounce any 'militarization of economy;' thus rejecting not only the 'methods of appointment' which have been in practise until now, but any possible 'system of appointments' (rather than elections); in the last analysis this means the denial of the leading role of the Party in regard to the mass of non-party people. We must fight against this syndicalist deviation, which will ruin the party, if adopted".
Lenin, The Party Crisis, 1921

"After two years of Soviet power we openly declared at the Communist International to the entire world that the dictatorship of the proletariat is possible only through the Communist Party. . . Despite all this, there are people 'class conscious people, who tell us that 'organising management of national economy belongs to the All-Russian Convention of Producers.' An All-Russian Convention of Producers-what would that be? Should we waste our time on such oppositions within the party? It seems to me that we have had enough of this. All this talk of freedom of speech and freedom of criticism constitutes nine tenths of the meaning of the speeches of the 'Workers Opposition,' which in reality have no meaning at all.
....The All-Russian Convention of Producers should manage production? I am really at loss when I try to characterise this jumble of words. But I am comforted by the thought that we have here party and soviet workers who have been engaging in revolutionary activities for the last one, two or three years, and it would be a mere waste of time to criticise such phrases before these comrades, for they themselves close discussion when they hear such speeches; these are boring and it shows a lack of seriousness when people talk about an All-Russian Convention of Producers which is to manage the national economy".
Lenin, Report on the Political Activity of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, 1921 (10th Party Congress)

"The peculiarity of war communism consisted in the fact that we really took from the peasants all their surpluses, and some times even what was not surplus, but part of what was necessary to feed the peasant... We took it for the most part on credit..."
.... an understatement by V.I. Lenin (source unknown, email me if you know it)

"...those who believe that socialism will be built at a time of peace and tranquillity are profoundly mistaken: it will everywhere be built at a time of disruption, at a time of famine."

Lenin, Collected Works, Vol.27 page 517.


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