Vladimir Lenin Quotes

Lenin Red Square
In October of 1917, the Bolshevik-dominated Soviet government was established, with Lenin (pictured here) as chairman.

Ann Ronan Pictures / Getty Images

Russian revolutionary, politician, and political theorist Vladimir Lenin (1870—1924) embraced revolutionary socialist politics right after his brother was executed by Russian emperor Alexander III in 1887. As a founder of the Russian Communist Party, Lenin’s ultimate goal was the total replacement of capitalism with socialism. While opinions on communism and socialism vary, the words of Lenin established him as one of history’s greatest revolutionary leader. These are some of the most relevant Lenin quotes.

Lenin on Capitalism vs. Socialism

“The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them.”

“Freedom in capitalist society always remains about the same as it was in ancient Greek republics: Freedom for slave owners.”

“There can be no real and effective ‘freedom’ in a society based on the power of money, in a society in which the masses of working people live in poverty and the handful of rich live like parasites.”

“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 freedom of the bourgeois writer, artist or actress is simply masked dependence on the money-bag, on corruption, on prostitution.”

Imperialism is the final stage of Capitalism.”

“Every society is three meals away from chaos.” 

“What caused the war? The greed of the Italian money bags and capitalists, who need new markets and new achievements for Italian imperialism.”

“All official and liberal science defends wage-slavery, whereas Marxism has declared relentless war on that slavery.”

“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?”

“Is it not a fact that the more rapidly trade and capitalism develop, the greater is the concentration of production and capital which gives rise to monopoly?”

“A monopoly, once it is formed and controls thousands of millions, inevitably penetrates into every sphere of public life, regardless of the form of government and all other ‘details.’”

“Democracy is of great importance for the working class in its struggle for freedom against the capitalists.”

“Disarmament is the ideal of socialism. There will be no wars in socialist society; consequently, disarmament will be achieved.” 

Lenin on the Socialist Revolution 

“It is in prison … that one becomes a real revolutionary.”

“No mercy for these enemies of the people, the enemies of socialism, the enemies of the working people! War to the death against the rich and their hangers-on, the bourgeois intellectuals; war on the rogues, the idlers and the rowdies!”

“Revolution can never be forecast; it cannot be foretold; it comes of itself. Revolution is brewing and is bound to flare up.”

“Revolutionary Social-Democracy has always included the struggle for reforms as part of its activities. But it utilizes ‘economic’ agitation for the purpose of presenting to the government, not only demands for all sorts of measures, but also (and primarily) the demand that it cease to be an autocratic government.”

“Not a single problem of the class struggle has ever been solved in history except by violence. When violence is exercised by the working people, by the mass of exploited against the exploiters—then we are for it!”

“It is more pleasant and useful to go through the 'experience of the revolution' than to write about it."

“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 (explicative).” 

“Attention must be devoted principally to raising the workers to the level of revolutionaries; it is not our task to descend to the level of the 'working masses.’”

“To us, it is most painful to see and feel the outrages, the oppression and the humiliation our fair country suffers at the hands of the tsar's butchers, the nobles and the capitalists.” 

“But whoever expects that socialism will be achieved without a social revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat is not a socialist.”

“The best way to control the opposition is to lead it ourselves.”

“We are not utopians, we do not ‘dream’ of dispensing at once with all administration, with all subordination. These anarchist dreams, based upon incomprehension of the tasks of the proletarian dictatorship, are totally alien to Marxism, and, as a matter of fact, serve only to postpone the socialist revolution until people are different. No, we want the socialist revolution with people as they are now, with people who cannot dispense with subordination, control, and ‘foremen and accountants.’”

Lenin on Communism 

“The goal of Socialism is Communism.”

“Communism is emerging in positively every sphere of public life; its beginnings are to be seen literally on all sides.”

“Democracy for the vast majority of the people, and suppression by force, i.e., exclusion from democracy, of the exploiters and oppressors of the people—this is the change democracy undergoes during the transition from capitalism to Communism.”

“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.”