V. I.   Lenin

Anarchism and Socialism (1901)

Written: Written in 1901
Published: First published in 1936 in the magazine Proletarskaya Revolutsia, No. 7. Published according to the manuscript.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1961, Moscow, Volume 5, pages 327-330.
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive (1901). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.
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See also in Volume 10: Socialism and Anarchism (1905)


1. Anarchism, in the course of the 35 to 40 years (Bakunin and the International, 1866–) of its existence (and with Stirner included, in the course of many more years) has produced nothing but general platitudes against exploitation.

These phrases have been current for more than 2,000 years. What is missing is (alpha) an understanding of the causes of exploitation; (beta) an understanding of the development of society, which leads to socialism; (gamma) an understanding of the class struggle as the creative force for the realisation of socialism.

2. An understanding of the causes of exploitation. Private property as the basis of commodity economy. Social property in the means of production. In anarchism–nil.

Anarchism is bourgeois individualism in reverse. Individualism as the basis of the entire anarchist world outlook.

Defence of petty property and petty economy on the land. Keine Majorität.[1]

Negation of the unifying and organising power of the authority.

3. Failure to understand the development of society–the role of large-scale production–the development of capitalism into socialism.

(Anarchism is a product of despair. The psychology of the unsettled intellectual or the vagabond and not of the proletarian.)

4. Failure to understand the class struggle of the proletariat.

Absurd negation of politics in bourgeois society.

Failure to understand the role of the organisation and the education of the workers.

Panaceas consisting of one-sided, disconnected means.

5. What has anarchism, at one time dominant in the Romance countries, contributed in recent European history?

– No doctrine, revolutionary teaching, or theory.

– Fragmentation of the working-class movement.

– Complete fiasco in the experiments of the revolutionary movement (Proudhonism, 1871; Bakuninism, 1873).

– Subordination of the working class to bourgeois politics in the guise of negation of politics.



[1] No majority (i.e., the anarchists’ non-acceptance of the submission by the minority to the majority).–Ed.Lenin

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