Leon Trotsky Internet Archive: Quotes

Trotsky Quotes

The only authentic, sourced list of quotes, passages and literary references by Leon Trotsky on the Internet


On Strikes

Only for its own purposes did the strike allow itself to break the vow of immobility. When it needed news bulletins of the revolution it opened a printing works; it used the telegraph to send out strike instructions; it let trains carrying strikers’ delegates pass.
Nothing else was exempt: the strike closed down industrial plants, chemists’ and grocers’ shops, courts of law, everything.
From time to time its attention wearied and its vigilance slackened, now here, now there. Sometimes a reckless train would break through the strike barrier: then the strike would set off in pursuit of it. The guilty train, like a criminal on the run, raced through dark and empty stations, unannounced by the telegraph, leaving a wake of fear and uncertainty behind it. But in the end the strike would catch up with the train, stop the engine, immobilize the driver, let off the steam.
It used every possible means. It appealed, convinced, implored; it begged on its knees—that is what a woman orator did at the Kursky Station in Moscow—it threatened, terrorized, threw stones, finally fired off its Brownings. It wanted to achieve its aim at whatever cost. It staked too much: the blood of fathers, the bread of children, the reputation of its own strength. An entire class obeyed it; and when a negligible fraction of that class, corrupted by the very forces it was fighting, stood in its path, it is scarcely surprising that the strike roughly kicked the obstacle aside.

Chapter 7 of 1905 (1907)


As a general rule, the party does not make a decision on every isolated strike. It helps le trade union to decide the question of knowing if the strike is opportune, by means of its political and economic information and by its advice. It serves the strike with its agitation, etc. First place in the strike belongs, of course to the trade union.

Communism and Syndicalism (1931)


In the trade unions, the Communists, of course, submit to the discipline of the party, no matter what posts they occupy. This does not exclude but presupposes their submission to trade union discipline. In other words, the party does not impose upon them any line of conduct that contradicts the state of mind or the opinions of the majority of the members of trade unions.

Communism and Syndicalism (1931)


In capitalist countries, where the Communist Party does not possess any means of coercion, it is obvious that it can give leadership only by Communists being in the trade unions as rank-and-file members or functionaries.

Communism and Syndicalism (1931)


The general strike is only a mobilization of the proletariat and its setting up against its enemy, the State; but that the strike in itself cannot produce the solution of the problem, because it exhausts the forces of the proletariat sooner than those of its enemies, and this, sooner or later, forces the workers to return to the factories. The general strike acquires a decisive importance only as a preliminary to a conflict between the proletariat and the armed forces of the opposition – i.e., to the open revolutionary rising of the workers. Only by breaking the will of the armies thrown against it can the revolutionary class solve the problem of power – the root problem of every revolution. The general strike produces the mobilization of both sides, and gives the first serious estimate of the powers of resistance of the counterrevolution.

Terrorism and Communism (1920)



Bureaucratism is not a fortuitous feature of certain provincial organizations, but a general phenomenon. It does not travel from the district to the central organization through the medium of the regional organization, but much rather from the central organization to the district through the medium of the regional organization. It is not at all a survival of the war period; it is the result of the transference to the party of the methods and the administrative manners accumulated during these last years.

The New Course (1923)


In playing the role of party leader and being absorbed by the questions of administration, the old generation accustomed itself to think and to decide, as it still does, for the party. For the communist masses, it brings to the forefront purely bookish, pedagogical methods of participating in political life: elementary political training courses, examinations of the knowledge of its members, party schools, etc. Thence the bureaucratism of the apparatus, its cliquism, its exclusive internal life, in a word, all the traits that constitute the profoundly negative side of the old course.

The New Course (1923)


Those comrades who assert most flatly, with the greatest insistence and sometimes most brutally, that every difference of opinion, every grouping of opinion, however temporary, is an expression of the interests of classes opposed to the proletariat, do not want to apply this criterion to bureaucratism.

The New Course (1923)


Mechanical centralism is necessarily complemented by factionalism, which is at once a malicious caricature of democracy and a potential political danger.

Letter to Party Meetings (1923)


The Soviet bureaucracy is like all ruling classes in that it is ready to shut its eyes to the crudest mistakes of its leaders in the sphere of general politics, provided in return they show an unconditional fidelity in the defense of its privileges.

Revolution Betrayed (1936)


If the leaders seek only to preserve themselves, that is what they become; preserves, dried preserves.

Some Questions on American Problems (1940)


The Soviet Union emerged from the October Revolution as a workers state. State ownership of the means of production, a necessary prerequisite to socialist development, opened up the possibility of rapid growth of the productive forces. But the apparatus of the workers’ state underwent a complete degeneration at the same time: it was transformed from a weapon of the working class into a weapon of bureaucratic violence against the working class and more and more a weapon for the sabotage of the country’s economy. The bureaucratization of a backward and isolated workers’ state and the transformation of the bureaucracy into an all-powerful privileged caste constitute the most convincing refutation – not only theoretically, but this time, practically – of the theory of socialism in one country.

The USSR and Problems of the Transitional Epoch (1938)


The goal to be attained by the overthrow of the bureaucracy is the reestablishment of the rule of the Soviets, expelling from them the present bureaucracy. It is the task of the regenerated Soviets to collaborate with the world revolution and the building of a socialist society. The overthrow of the bureaucracy therefore presupposes the preservation of state property and of planned economy.

The USSR and War (1939)


One has to put a wadded nightcap not only over one’s eyes, but over one’s nose and ears, to be able to-day, after the inglorious collapse of the Second International, after the disgraceful bankruptcy of its leading party, after the bloody lunacy of the world slaughter and the gigantic sweep of the civil war, to set up in contrast to us, the profundity, the loyalty, the peacefulness and the sobriety of the Second International, the heritage of which we are still liquidating.

Terrorism and Communism (1920)


On Art and Literature

It is untrue that revolutionary art can be created only by workers. Just because the revolution is a working-class revolution, it releases – to repeat what was said before – very little working-class energy for art.

Communist Policy Toward Art (1923)


Art must make its own way and by its own means. The Marxian methods are not the same as the artistic. The party leads the proletariat but not the historic processes of history.

Communist Policy Toward Art (1923)


Such terms as “proletarian literature” and “proletarian culture” are dangerous, because they erroneously compress the Culture of the future into the narrow limits of the present day. They falsify perspectives, they violate proportions, they distort standards and they cultivate the arrogance of small circles which is most dangerous.

Literature and Revolution (1924)


The ancient philosopher said that strife is the father of all things. No new values can be created where a free conflict of ideas is impossible. To be sure, a revolutionary dictatorship means by its very essence strict limitations of freedom. But for that very reason epochs of revolution have never been directly favorable to cultural creation: they have only cleared the arena for it. The dictatorship of the proletariat opens a wider scope to human genius the more it ceases to be a dictatorship. The socialist culture will flourish only in proportion to the dying away of the state.

Revolution Betrayed (1936)


Generally speaking, art is an expression of man’s need for an harmonious and complete life, that is to say, his need for those major benefits of which a society of classes has deprived him. That is why a protest against reality, either conscious or unconscious, active or passive, optimistic or pessimistic, always forms part of a really creative piece of work. Every new tendency in art has begun with rebellion.

Art and Politics in Our Epoch (1938)


On Marxist Philosophy

The essence of Marxism consists in this, that it approaches society concretely, as a subject for objective research, and analyzes human history as one would a colossal laboratory record. Marxism appraises ideology as a subordinate integral element of the material social structure. Marxism examines the class structure of society as a historically conditioned form of the development of the productive forces; Marxism deduces from the productive forces of society the inter-relations between human society and surrounding nature, and these, in turn are determined at each historical stage by man’s technology, his instruments and weapons, his capacities and methods for struggle with nature. Precisely this objective approach arms Marxism with the insuperable power of historical foresight.

Dialectical Materialism and Science (1925)


If it is possible to place a given person’s general type of thought on the basis of his relation to concrete practical problems, it is also possible to predict approximately, knowing his general type of thought, how a given individual will approach one or another practical question. That is the incomparable educational value of the dialectical method of thought.

A Petty-Bourgeois Opposition in the Socialist Workers Party (1939)


Dialectical thinking is related to vulgar in the same way that a motion picture is related to a still photograph. The motion picture does not outlaw the still photograph but combines a series of them according to the laws of motion. Dialectics does not deny the syllogism, but teaches us to combine syllogisms in such a way as to bring our understanding closer to the eternally changing reality.

The ABC of Materialist Dialectics (1939)


The dialectic is not a magic master key for all questions. It does not replace concrete scientific analysis. But it directs this analysis along the correct road, securing it against sterile wanderings in the desert of subjectivism and scholasticism.

The ABC of Materialist Dialectics (1939)


The democratic regime is the most aristocratic way of ruling. It is possible only to a rich nation.

Discussions on the Transitional Program (1938)


We must give a scientific explanation of society, and clearly explain it to the masses. That is the difference between Marxism and reformism.

Discussions on the Transitional Program (1938)


Such categories as ‘commodity’, ‘money’, ‘wages’, ‘capital’, ‘profit’, ‘tax’, and the like are only semi-mystical reflections in men’s heads of the various aspects of a process of economy which they do not understand and which is not under their control. To decipher them, a thoroughgoing scientific analysis is indispensable.

Marxism in Our Time (1939)


It was not Marx’s aim to discover the ‘eternal laws’ of economy. He denied the existence of such laws. The history of the development of human society is the history of the succession of various systems of economy, each operating in accordance with its own laws. ... In his Capital, Marx does not study economy in general, but capitalist economy, which has its own specific laws. Only in passing does he refer to the other economic systems to elucidate the characteristics of capitalism.

Marxism in Our Time (1939)


Just as the operation of the laws of physiology yields different results in a growing than in a dying organism, so the laws of Marxist economy assert themselves differently in a developing and disintegrating capitalism.

Marxism in Our Time (1939)


Problems of Everyday Life

Our Soviet bureaucratic machine is unique, complex, containing as it does the traditions of different epochs together with the germs of future relationships. With us, civility, as a general rule, does not exist. But of rudeness, inherited from the past, we have as much as you please.

Civility and Politeness as a Necessary Lubricant in Daily Relations (1923)


There are two big facts which have set a new stamp on working class life. The one is the advent of the eight-hour working day; the other, the prohibition of the sale of vodka.

Vodka, the Church and the Cinema (1923)


The workers’ state must become wealthier in order that it may be possible seriously to tackle the public education of children and the releasing of the family from the burden of the kitchen and the laundry. Socialization of family housekeeping and public education of children are unthinkable without a marked improvement in our economics as a whole. We need more socialist economic forms. Only under such conditions can we free the family from the functions and cares that now oppress and disintegrate it. Washing must be done by a public laundry, catering by a public restaurant, sewing by a public workshop. Children must be educated by good public teachers who have a real vocation for the work. Then the bond between husband and wife would be freed from everything external and accidental, and the one would cease to absorb the life of the other. Genuine equality would at last be established.

Vodka, the Church and the Cinema (1923)


A certain advance towards the new family is possible even now. It is true that the state cannot as yet undertake either the education of children or the establishment of public kitchens that would be an improvement on the family kitchen, or the establishment of public laundries where the clothes would not be torn or stolen. But this does not mean that the more enterprising and progressive families cannot group themselves even now into collective house keeping units. Experiments of this kind must, of course, be made carefully.

Vodka, the Church and the Cinema (1923)


The proletariat has made a big stride, but more in politics than in life and morals. Life is conservative. In its primitive aspect, of course, Rasteryaev Street [referring to a book by Uspensky] no longer exists. The brutal treatment accorded to apprentices, the servility practiced before employers, the vicious drunkenness, and the street hooliganism have vanished. But in the relations of husband and wife, parents and children, in the domestic life of the family, fenced off from the whole world, Rasteryaevism is still firmly implanted. We need years and decades of economic growth and culture to banish Rasteryaevism from its last refuge – individual and family life – recreating it from top to bottom in the spirit of collectivism.

Habit and Custom (1923)


Abusive language and swearing are a legacy of slavery, humiliation, and disrespect for human dignity, one’s own and that of other people.

The Struggle for Cultured Speech (1923)


The husband, torn away from his usual surroundings by mobilization, changed into a revolutionary citizen at the civic front. A momentous change. His outlook is wider, his spiritual aspirations higher and of a more complicated order. He is a different man. And then he returns to find everything there practically unchanged. The old harmony and understanding with the people at home in family relationship is gone. No new understanding arises. The mutual wondering changes into mutual discontent, then into ill will. The family is broken up.

From the Old Family to the New (1923)


The workers state has rejected church ceremony, and informed its citizens that they have the right to be born, to marry, and to die without the mysterious gestures and exhortations of persons clad in cassocks, gowns, and other ecclesiastical vestments. But custom finds it harder to discard ceremony than the state.

The Family and Ceremony (1923)


The dictatorship will have to become softer and milder as the economic welfare of the country is raised. The present method of commanding human beings will give way to one of disposing over things. The road leads not to the robot but to man of a higher order.

Family Relations Under the Soviets (1932)


These gentlemen have, it seems, completely forgotten that socialism was to remove the cause which impels woman to abortion, and not force her into the “joys of motherhood.” with the help of a foul police interference in what is to every woman the most intimate sphere of life.

Thermidor in the Family—from Revolution Betrayed (1936)


The place of the family as a shut-in petty enterprise was to be occupied, according to plans, by a finished system of social care and accommodation: maternity houses, creches, kindergartens, school and hospitals, sanatoria, athletic organisations, film theatres, etc.
The complete absorption of the housekeeping functions of the family by institutions of the socialist society, uniting all generations in solidarity and mutual aid, was to bring women, and thereby to the loving couple, a real liberation from the thousand-year-old fetters.

Trotsky, Thermidor in the Family—from Revolution Betrayed (1936)


On Revolution

Just as a blacksmith cannot seize the red hot iron in his naked hand, so the proletariat cannot directly seize the power; it has to have an organisation accommodated to this task. The co-ordination of the mass insurrection with the conspiracy, the subordination of the conspiracy to the insurrection, the organisation of the insurrection through the conspiracy, constitutes that complex and responsible department of revolutionary politics which Marx and Engels called “the art of insurrection.” It presupposes a correct general leadership of the masses, a flexible orientation in changing conditions, a thought-out plan of attack, cautiousness in technical preparation, and a daring blow.

History of the Russian Revolution, Chpter 30 (1930)


Eclectics live by means of episodic thoughts and improvisations that originate under the impact of events. Marxist cadres capable of leading the proletarian revolution are trained only by the continual and successive working out of problems and disputes.

What Next for the German Revolution? (1932)


A revolution is “made” directly by a minority.

Hue and Cry Over Kronstadt (1938)


Nothing is more dangerous in politics, especially in a critical period, than to repeat general formulas without examining their social content.

Whither France? (1934)


“Guerrillaism” was the military expression of the peasant background of the revolution.

Preface to the Military Writings (1923)


Arguments to the effect that all violence, including revolutionary violence, is evil and that Communists therefore ought not to engage in “glorification” of armed struggle and the revolutionary army, amount to a philosophy worthy of Quakers and the old maids of the Salvation Army. Permitting such propaganda in a Communist Party is like permitting Tolstoyan propaganda in the garrison of a besieged fortress.

Introduction to the Military Writings (1923)


On Permanent Revolution

With regard to countries with a belated bourgeois development, especially the colonial and semi-colonial countries, the theory of the permanent revolution signifies that the complete and genuine solution of their tasks of achieving democracy and national emancipation is conceivable only through the dictatorship of the proletariat as the leader of the subjugated nation, above all of its peasant masses.

Theory of Permanent Revolution (1931)


The dictatorship of the proletariat which has risen to power as the leader of the democratic revolution is inevitably and, very quickly confronted with tasks, the fulfillment of which is bound up with deep inroads into the rights of bourgeois property. The democratic revolution grows over directly into the socialist revolution and thereby becomes a permanent revolution.

Theory of Permanent Revolution (1931)


The utopian hopes of the epoch of military communism came in later for a cruel, and in many respects just, criticism. The theoretical mistake of the ruling party remains inexplicable, however, only if you leave out of account the fact that all calculations at that time were based on the hope of an early victory of the revolution in the West.

Revolution Betrayed (1936)


The completion of the socialist revolution within national limits is unthinkable.

Theory of Permanent Revolution (1931)


On the United Front and the Fight Against Fascism

To say to the Social Democratic workers: “Cast your leaders aside and join our ‘non-party’ united front” means to add just one more hollow phrase to a thousand others. We must understand how to tear the workers away from their leaders in reality. But reality today is the struggle against fascism. ... The overwhelming majority of the Social Democratic workers will fight against the fascists, but – for the present at least – only together with their organizations. This stage cannot be skipped.

For a Workers’ United Front Against Fascism (1931)


When a state turns fascist, it doesn’t only mean that the forms and methods of government are changed in accordance with the patterns set by Mussolini – the changes in this sphere ultimately play a minor role – but it means, primarily and above all, that the workers’ organizations are annihilated; that the proletariat is reduced to an amorphous state; and that a system of administration is created which penetrates deeply into the masses and which serves to frustrate the independent crystallization of the proletariat. Therein precisely is the gist of fascism.

What Next for the German Revolution? (1932)


The progress of a class toward class consciousness, that is, the building of a revolutionary party which leads the proletariat, is a complex and a contradictory process. The class itself is not homogeneous. Its different sections arrive at class consciousness by different paths and at different times. The bourgeoisie participates actively in this process. Within the working class, it creates its own institutions, or utilizes those already existing, in order to oppose certain strata of workers to others. Within the proletariat several parties are active at the same time. Therefore, for the greater part of its historical journey, it remains split politically. The problem of the united front – which arises during certain periods most sharply originates therein. The historical interests of the proletariat find their expression in the Communist Party – when its policies are correct. The task of the Communist Party consists in winning over the majority of the proletariat; and only thus is the socialist revolution made possible. The Communist Party cannot fulfill its mission except by preserving, completely and unconditionally, its political and organizational independence apart from all other parties and organizations within and without the working class.

Bureaucratic Ultimatism (1932)


Ultimatism is an attempt to rape the working class after failing to convince it.

Bureaucratic Ultimatism (1932)


The stubborn, doltish, and insensate rejection by the Communist Party of the policies of the united front provides the Social Democracy, under the present conditions, with its most important political weapon.

Bureaucratic Ultimatism (1932)


All talk to the effect that we should accept a united front with the masses but not with the leaders is sheer scholasticism. This is like saying that we agree to conduct strikes against the capitalists but refuse to enter into negotiations with them. It is impossible to lead strike struggles without entering at a certain moment into negotiations with the capitalists or their plenipotentiaries. It is just as impossible to summon the organized masses to a united struggle without entering into negotiations with those whom a particular section of the mass has made its plenipotentiaries.

First Five Years of the Communist International (1924)


The Fascists find their human material mainly in the petty bourgeoisie. The latter has been entirely ruined by big capital. There is no way out for it in the present social order, but it knows of no other.

Whither France? (1934)


The situation is revolutionary, as revolutionary as it can be, granted the non-revolutionary policies of the working-class parties. More exactly, the situation is pre-revolutionary. In order to bring the situation to its full maturity, there must be an immediate, vigorous, unremitting mobilization of the masses, under the slogan of the conquest of power in the name of socialism. This is the only way through which the pre-revolutionary situation will be changed into a revolutionary situation.

Whither France? (1934)


Contemporary society is composed of three classes: the big bourgeoisie, the proletariat and the ‘middle classes’, or the petty bourgeoisie. The relations among these three classes determine in the final analysis the political situation in the country. The fundamental classes of society are the big bourgeoisie and the proletariat. Only these two classes can have a clear, consistent, independent policy of their own. The petty bourgeoisie is distinguished by its economic dependence and its social heterogeneity. Its upper stratum is linked directly to the big bourgeoisie. Its lower stratum merges with the proletariat and even falls to the status of lumpen proletariat. In accordance with its economic situation, the petty bourgeoisie can have no policy of its own. It always oscillates between the capitalists and the workers. Its own upper stratum pushes it to the right; its lower strata, oppressed and exploited, are capable in certain conditions of turning sharply to the left.

Whither France? (1934)


These [Fascist] demagogues shake their fists at the bankers, the big merchants and the capitalists. Their words and gestures correspond to the feelings of the small proprietors bogged up a blind alley. The Fascists show boldness, go out into the streets, attack the police, and attempt to drive out parliament by force. That makes an impression on the despairing petty bourgeois. He says to himself: “The Radicals, among whom there are too many swindlers, have definitely sold themselves to the bankers; the Socialists have promised for a long time to abolish exploitation but they never pass from words to deeds, the Communists one cannot understand at all – today it is one thing tomorrow another; let’s see if the Fascists cannot save us.”

Whither France? (1934)


On Planning

If a universal mind existed, of the kind that projected itself into the scientific fancy of Laplace – a mind that could register simultaneously all the processes of nature and society, that could measure the dynamics of their motion, that could forecast the results of their inter-reactions – such a mind, of course, could a priori draw up a faultless and exhaustive economic plan. The bureaucracy often imagines that just such a mind is at its disposal; that is why it so easily frees itself from the control of the market and of Soviet democracy.

The Art of Planning (1932)


The politicians of reformism, these dexterous wirepullers, artful intriguers and careerists, expert parliamentary and ministerial maneuvrists, are no sooner thrown out of their habitual sphere by the course of events, no sooner placed face to face with momentous contingencies, than they reveal themselves to be utter and complete fools.

What Next for the German Revolution? (1932)


And as to prices, they will serve the cause of socialism better, the more honestly they begin to express the real economic relations of the present day.

Revolution Betrayed (1936)


It is possible to build gigantic factories according to a ready-made Western pattern by bureaucratic command – although, to be sure, at triple the normal cost. But the farther you go, the more the economy runs into the problem of quality, which slips out of the hands of a bureaucracy like a shadow. The Soviet products are as though branded with the gray label of indifference. Under a nationalized economy, quality demands a democracy of producers and consumers, freedom of criticism and initiative – conditions incompatible with a totalitarian regime of fear, lies and flattery.

Revolution Betrayed (1936)


On the Party

The party that leans upon the workers but serves the bourgeoisie, in the period of the greatest sharpening of the class struggle, cannot but sense the smells wafted from the waiting grave.

What Next for the German Revolution? (1932)


The Jesuits represented a militant organization, strictly centralized, aggressive, and dangerous not only to enemies but also to allies. In his psychology and method of action the Jesuit of the heroicperiod distinguished himself from an average priest as the warrior of a church from its shopkeeper. We have no reason to idealize either one or the other. But it is altogether unworthy to look upon a fanatic warrior with the eyes of an obtuse and slothful shopkeeper. ... Opportunists are peaceful shopkeepers in socialist ideas while Bolsheviks are its inveterate warriors.

Their Morals and Ours (1938)


The petty-bourgeois moralist is the younger brother of the bourgeois pacifist who want to ‘humanize’ warfare by prohibiting the use of poison gases, the bombardment of unfortified cities, etc. Politically, such programs serve only to deflect the thoughts of the people from revolution as the only method of putting an end to war.

Moralists and Sycophants Against Marxism (1939)


There is only one way of avoiding the war – that is the overthrow of this society. However, as we are too weak for this task, the war is inevitable.

Some Questions on American Problems (1940)


On the 3rd of April Lenin arrived in Petrograd from abroad. Only from that moment does the Bolshevik Party begin to speak out loud, and, what is more important, with its own voice.

History of the Russian Revolution, Chapter 15 (1930)


On the Chinese Revolution

It is one thing when a Communist party, firmly resting on the flower of the urban proletariat, strives through the workers to lead a peasant war. It is an altogether different thing when a few thousand or even tens of thousands of revolutionists, who are truly Communists or only take the name, assume the leadership of a peasant war without having serious support from the proletariat. This is precisely the situation in China.

Problems of the Chinese Revolution (1932)


On the Fourth International

The strategic task of the Fourth International lies not in reforming capitalism but in its overthrow. The present epoch is distinguished not for the fact that it frees the revolutionary party from day-to-day work but because it permits this work to be carried on indissolubly with the actual tasks of the revolution.
The Fourth International does not discard the program of the old “minimal” demands to the degree to which these have preserved at least part of their vital forcefulness. Indefatigably, it defends the democratic rights and social conquests of the workers. But it carries on this day-to-day work within the framework of the correct actual, that is, revolutionary perspective. Insofar as the old, partial, “minimal” demands of the masses clash with the destructive and degrading tendencies of decadent capitalism - and this occurs at each step-the Fourth International advances a system of transitional demands, the essence of which is contained in the fact that ever more openly and decisively they will be directed against the very bases of the bourgeois regime. The old “minimal program” is superseded by the transitional program, the task of which lies in systematic mobilization of the masses for the proletarian revolution.

Transitional Program (1938)


On Conscription

We can’t oppose compulsory military training by the bourgeois state just as we can’t oppose compulsory education by the bourgeois state. Military training in our eyes is a part of education.

On Conscription (1940)


On Britain

The British monarchy, hypocritical British conservatism, religiosity, servility, sanctimoniousness all this is old rags, rubbish, the refuse of centuries which we have no need for whatsoever.

Through What Stage Are We Passing? (1921)


Our class enemies [the British bourgeoisie] are empiricists, that is, they operate from one occasion to the next, guided not by the analysis of historical development, but by practical experience, routinism, rule of thumb, and instinct.

Military Doctrine or Pseudo-Military Doctrinairism (1921)


The social revolution is entirely based upon the growth of proletarian consciousness and on the faith of the proletariat in its own strength and in the party which is leading it. One may play a double game with the enemies of the proletariat, but not with the proletariat itself. Our party has made mistakes, together with the masses which it was leading. We have always quite openly acknowledged these mistakes to the masses.

Between Red and White (1922)


Let us declare frankly: the sincere and profound enthusiasm with which we contemplate the products of the British genius in the most varied spheres of human creative endeavour, only the more sharply and pitilessly accentuates the sincere and profound contempt with which we regard the spiritual narrow-mindedness, the theoretical banality and the lack of revolutionary dignity, which characterize the authorized leaders of British socialism. They are not the heralds of a new world; they are but the surviving relies of an old culture, which in their person expresses anxiety for its further fate. And the spiritual barrenness of these relics seems to be a sort of retribution for the profligate lavish past of bourgeois culture.

Between Red and White (1922)


The principle, the end justifies the means, naturally raise the question “and what justifies the end?” In practical life as in the historical movement the end and the means constantly change places. A machine under construction is an “end” of production only that upon entering the factory it may become the “means” Democracy in certain periods is the end of the class struggle only that later it may be transformed into its “means.”

Their Morals and Ours (1938)


Despite all the indisputable greatness of Anglo-Saxon genius one cannot help observing that it is precisely in the Anglo-Saxon countries that the laws of revolution are least understood. This can be explained on the one hand by the fact that the phenomenon of revolution itself in these countries relates to a far distant past and evokes from the official “sociologists” the condescending smile intended for a naughty child. On the other hand the pragmatism so characteristic of Anglo-Saxon thinking is of least avail for the understanding of revolutionary crises.

The Philosophy of British Capitalism (1938)