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Marx, Engels and Lenin on the Dictatorship of the Proletariat

[This article is reprinted from Peking Review, #9, February 28, 1975, pp. 5-12.]

In accordance with Chairman Mao’s instruction, “Renmin Ribao” and “Hongqi” selected and compiled part of the expositions from Marx, Engels and Lenin on the dictatorship of the proletariat. On February 22, “Renmin Ribao” devoted three and a half pages to these quotations together with an editor’s note by “Renmin Ribao” and “Hongqi.” Following are the editor’s note and the quotations. —P.R. Ed.

Our great leader Chairman Mao recently gave an important instruction on the question of theory.

Chairman Mao said: Why did Lenin speak of exercising dictatorship over the bourgeoisie? This question must be thoroughly understood. Lack of clarity on this question will lead to revisionism. This should be made known to the whole nation.

Speaking of the socialist system, Chairman Mao said: In a word, China is a socialist country. Before liberation she was much the same as capitalism. Even now she practises an eight-grade wage system, distribution to each according to his work and exchange by means of money, which are scarcely different from those in the old society. What is different is that the system of ownership has changed. Chairman Mao pointed out: Our country at present practises a commodity system, and the wage system is unequal too, there being the eight-grade wage system, etc. These can only be restricted under the dictatorship of the proletariat. Thus it would be quite easy for people like Lin Piao to push the capitalist system if they come to power. Therefore, we should read some more Marxist-Leninist works.

Chairman Mao also pointed out: Lenin said, “Small production engenders capitalism and the bourgeoisie continuously, daily, hourly, spontaneously, and on a mass scale.” This also occurs among a section of the workers and a section of the Party members. Both within the ranks of the proletariat and among the personnel of state organs there are people who follow the bourgeois style of life.

Chairman Mao’s instruction profoundly expounds the Marxist theory on the dictatorship of the proletariat and indicates the utmost importance of the study of the theory on the dictatorship of the proletariat at present. This should draw top attention among the comrades of the whole Party and the people of the whole country.

In accordance with Chairman Mao’s instruction, we have selected and compiled part of the expositions by Marx, Engels and Lenin on the dictatorship of the proletariat for everybody to study. First of all, the leading cadres should be in the van in studying these quotations well and they should conscientiously study the principal works on the dictatorship of the proletariat by Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin and by Chairman Mao. At the same time, it is necessary to organize the Party members, cadres and the broad masses to study them well. We should fully grasp the tremendous current significance and the far-reaching historical significance of Chairman Mao’s instruction.

It is a major matter of combating and preventing revisionism and consolidating and strengthening the dictatorship of the proletariat for the hundreds of millions of people throughout the country to study and master the Marxist theory on the dictatorship of the proletariat. The Party committees at all levels should firmly and effectively grasp the study of the theory on the diciatorship of the proletariat, more consciously implement the Party’s basic line and policies, achieve greater success in the movement to criticize Lin Piao and Confucius, and continue the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat through to the end.

No credit is due to me for discovering the existence of classes in modern society, nor yet the struggle between them. Long before me bourgeois historians had described the historical development of this class struggle and bourgeois economists the economic anatomy of the classes. What I did that was new was to prove: 1) that the existence of classes is only bound up with particular historical phases in the development of production, 2) that the class struggle necessarily leads to the dictatorship of the proletariat, 3) that this dictatorship itself only constitutes the transition to the abolition of all classes and to a classless society.
Marx to J. Weydemeyer (March 5, 1852)

Between capitalist and communist society lies the period of the revolutionary transformation of the one into the other. There corresponds to this also a political transition period in which the state can be nothing but the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat.
—Karl Marx: Critique of the Gotha Programme (April-early May 1875)

This Socialism is the declaration of the permanence of the revolution, the class dictatorship of the proletariat as the necessary transit point to the abolition of class distinctions generally, to the abolition of all the relations of production on which they rest, to the abolition of all the social relations that correspond to these relations of production, to the revolutionizing of all the ideas that result from these social relations.
—Karl Marx: The Class Struggles in France, 1848-1850 (January-November 1, 1850)

In destroying the existing conditions of oppression by transferring all the means of labour to the productive labourer, and thereby compelling every able-bodied individual to work for a living, the only base for class rule and oppression would be removed. But before such a change can be consummated, a dictatorship of the proletariat is necessary, and its first premiss is an army of the proletariat.
—Karl Marx: Speech on the Seventh Anniversary of the Interntational (September 1871)

The Communist revolution is the most radical rupture with traditional property relations; no wonder that its development involves the most radical rupture with traditional ideas.
—Karl Marx and Frederick Engels: Manifesto of the Communist Party (February 1848)

Those who recognize only the class struggle are not yet Marxists; they may be found to be still within the boundaries of bourgeois thinking and bourgeois politics. To confine Marxism to the doctrine of the class struggle means curtailing Marxism, distorting it, reducing it to something which is acceptable to the bourgeoisie. Only he is a Marxist who extends the recognition of the class struggle to the recognition of the dictatorship of the proletariat. This is what constitutes the most profound difference between the Marxist and the ordinary petty (as well as big) bourgeois. This is the touchstone on which the real understanding and recognition of Marxism is to be tested.
—V.I. Lenin: The State and Revolution (August-September 1917)

The dictatorship of the proletariat is a most determined and most ruthless war waged by the new class against a more powerful enemy, the bourgeoisie, whose resistance is increased tenfold by its overthrow (even if only in one country), and whose power lies not only in the strength of international capital, in the strength and durability of the international connections of the bourgeoisie, but also in the force of habit, in the strength of small production. For, unfortunately, small production is still very, very widespread in the world, and small production engenders capitalism and the bourgeoisie continuously, daily, hourly, spontaneously, and on a mass scale. For all these reasons the dictatorship of the proletariat is essential, and victory over the bourgeoisie is impossible without a long, stubborn and desperate war of life and death, a war demanding perseverance, discipline, firmness, indomitableness and unity of will.
—V.I. Lenin: “Left-Wing” Communism, An Infantile Disorder (April-May 1920)

During every transition from capitalism to Socialism, dictatorship is necessary for two main reasons, or along two main channels. Firstly, capitalism cannot be defeated and eradicated without the ruthless suppression of the resistance of the exploiters, who cannot at once be deprived of their wealth, of their advantages of organization and knowledge, and consequently for a fairly long period will inevitably try to overthrow the hated rule of the poor; secondly, every great revolution, and a socialist revolution in particular, even if there were no external war, is inconceivable without internal war, i.e., civil war, which is even more devastating than external war, and involves thousands and millions of cases of wavering and desertion from one side to another, implies a state of extreme indefiniteness, lack of equilibrium and chaos. And of course, all the elements of disintegration of the old society, which are inevitably very numerous and connected mainly with the petty bourgeoisie (because it is the petty bourgeoisie that every war and every crisis ruins and destroys first) cannot but “reveal themselves” during such a profound revolution. And these elements of disintegration cannot “reveal themselves” otherwise than in the increase of crime, hooliganism, corruption, profiteering and outrages of every kind. To put these down requires time and requires an iron hand.
There has not been a single great revolution in history in which the people did not instinctively realize this and did not reveal salutary firmness by shooting thieves on the spot. The misfortune of previous revolutions was that the revolutionary enthusiasm of the masses, which sustained them in their state of tension and gave them the strength ruthlessly to suppress the elements of disintegration, did not last long. The social, i.e., the class reason for this instability of the revolutionary enthusiasm of the masses was the weakness of the proletariat, which alone is able (if it is sufficiently numerous, class conscious and disciplined) to win over to its side the majority of the working and exploited people (the majority of the poor, to speak more simply and popularly) and retain power sufficiently long to suppress completely all the exploiters as well as all the elements of disintegration.
It was this historical experience of all revolutions, it was this world-historical—economic and political—lesson that Marx summed up in giving his short, sharp, concise and expressive formula: dictatorship of the proletariat.
—V.I. Lenin: The Immediate Tasks of the Soviet Government (March-April 1918)

The class of exploiters, the landlords and capitalists, has not disappeared and cannot disappear all at once under the dictatorship of the proletariat. The exploiters have been smashed, but not destroyed. They still have an international base in the form of international capital, a branch of which they represent. They still retain a part of certain means of production, they still have money, they still have vast social connections. Just because they have been defeated, their energy of resistance has increased a hundred- and thousand-fold. The “art” of state, military and economic administration gives them a superiority, and a very great superiority, so that their importance is incomparably greater than their numerical strength among the population would warrant. The class struggle waged by the overthrown exploiters against the victorious vanguard of the exploited, i.e., the proletariat, has become incomparably more bitter. And it cannot be otherwise in the case of a revolution, if this concept is not replaced (as it is by all the heroes of the Second International) by reformist illusions.
—V.I. lenin: Economics and Politics in the Era of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat (October 1919)

We in Russia (in the third year since the overthrow of the bourgeoisie) are going through the first steps in the transition from capitalism to Socialism, or the lower stage of Communism. Classes have remained, and will remain everywhere for years after the conquest of power by the proletariat. Perhaps in England, where there is no peasantry (but where there are small owners!), this period may be shorter. The abolition of classes means not only driving out the landlords and capitalists—that we accomplished with comparative ease—it also means abolishing the small commodity producers, and they cannot be driven out, or crushed; we must live in harmony with them; they can (and must) be remoulded and re-educated only by very prolonged, slow, cautious organizational work. They encircle the proletariat on every side with a petty-bourgeois atmosphere, which permeates and corrupts the proletariat and causes constant relapses among the proletariat, into petty-bourgeois spinelessness, disunity, individualism, and alternate moods of exaltation and dejection. The strictest centralization and discipline are required within the political party of the proletariat in order to counteract this, in order that the organizational role of the proletariat (and that is its principal role) may be exercised correctly, successfully, victoriously. The dictatorship of the proletariat is a persistent struggle—bloody and bloodless, violent and peaceful, military and economic, educational and administrative—against the forces and traditions of the old society. The force of habit of millions and tens of millions is a most terrible force. Without an iron party tempered in the struggle, without a party enjoying the confidence of all that is honest in the given class, without a party capable of watching and influencing the mood of the masses, it is impossible to conduct such a struggle successfully. It is a thousand times easier to vanquish the centralized big bourgeoisie than to “vanquish” the millions and millions of small owners; yet they, by their ordinary, everyday, imperceptible, elusive, demoralizing activity, achieve the very results which the bourgeoisie need and which tend to restore the bourgeoisie. Whoever weakens ever so little the iron discipline of the party of the proletariat (especially during the time of its dictatorship), actually aids the bourgeoisie against the proletariat.
—V.I. Lenin: “Left-Wing” Communism, An Infantile Disorder (April-May 1920)

Ay, the working class is not severed by a Chinese Wall from the old bourgeois society. And when a revolution takes place, it does not happen as in the case of the death of an individual, when the deceased person is simply removed. When the old society perishes, you cannot nail the corpse of bourgeois society into a coffin and lower it into the grave. It disintegrates in our midst; the corpse rots and poisons us.
—V.I. Lenin: Report to a Joint Session of the All-Russia Central Executive Committee, the Moscow Soviet of Workers’, Peasants’, and Red Army Deputies and the Trade Unions (June 1918)

What we have to deal with here is a communist society, not as it has developed on its own foundations, but, on the contrary, just as it emerges from capitalist society; which is thus in every respect, economically, morally and intellectually, still stamped with the birth marks of the old society from whose womb it emerges. Accordingly, the individual producer receives back from society—after the deductions have been made—exactly what he gives to it. What he has given to it is his individual quantum of labour. For example, the social working day consists of the sum of the individual hours of work; the individual labour time of the individual producer is the part of the social working day contributed by him, his share in it. He receives a certificate from society that he has furnished such and such an amount of labour (after deducting his labour for the common funds), and with this certificate he draws from the social stock of means of consumption as much as the same amount of labour costs. The same amount of labour which he has given to society in one form he receives back in another.
Here obviously the same principle prevails as that which regulates the exchange of commodities, as far as this is exchange of equal values. Content and form are changed, because under the altered circumstances no one can give anything except his labour, and because, on the other hand, nothing can pass into the ownership of individuals except individual means of consumption. But, as far as the distribution of the latter among the individual producers is concerned, the same principle prevails as in the exchange of commodity-equivalents: a given amount of labour in one form is exchanged for an equal amount of labour in another form.
Hence, equal right here is still—in principle—bourgeois right, although principle and practice are no longer at loggerheads, while the exchange of equivalents in commodity exchange exists only on the average and not in the individual case.
In spite of this advance, this equal right is still perpetually burdened with a bourgeois limitation. The right of the producers is proportional to the labour they supply; the equality consists in the fact that measurement is made with an equal standard, labour. But, one man is superior to another physically or mentally and so supplies more labour in the same time, or can work for a longer time; and labour, to serve as a measure, must be defined by its duration or intensity, otherwise it ceases to be a standard of measurement. This equal right is an unequal right for unequal labour. It recognizes no class differences, because everyone is only a worker like everyone else; but it tacitly recognizes unequal individual endowment and thus productive capacity of the worker as natural privileges. It is, therefore, a right of inequality, in its content, like every right. Right by its very nature can consist only in the application of an equal standard; but unequal individuals (and they would not be different individuals if they were not unequal) are measurable only by the same standard in so far as they are brought under the same point of view, are taken from one definite side only, for instance, in the present case, are regarded only as workers, and nothing more is seen in them, everything else being ignored. Further, one worker is married, another not; one has more children than another, and so on and so forth. Thus, with an equal performance of labour, and hence an equal share in the social consumption fund, one will in fact receive more than another, one will be richer than another, and so on. To avoid all these defects, right instead of being equal would have to be unequal.
But these defects are inevitable in the first phase of communist society as it is when it has just emerged after prolonged birth pangs from capitalist society. Right can never be higher than the economic structure of society and its cultural development conditioned thereby.
—Karl Marx: Critique of the Gotha Programme (April-early May 1875)

In the first phase of communist society (usually called Socialism) “bourgeois right” is not abolished in its entirety, but only in part, only in proportion to the economic revolution so far attained, ie only in respect of the means of production. “Bourgeois right” recognizes them as the private, property of individuals. Socialism converts them into common property. To that extent—and to that extent alone—“bourgeois right” disappears.
However, it continues to exist as far as its other part is concerned; it continues to exist in the capacity of regulator (determining factor) in the distribution of products and the allotment of labour among the members of society. The socialist principle: “He who does not work, neither shall he eat,” is already realized; the other socialist principle: “An equal amount of products for an equal amount of labour,” is also already realized. But this is not yet Communism, and it does not yet abolish “bourgeois right,” which gives to unequal individuals, in return for unequal (really unequal) amounts of labour, equal amounts of products.
—V.I. Lenin: The State and Revolution (August-September 1917)

Marx not only most scrupulously takes account of the inevitable inequality of men, but he also takes into account the fact that the mere conversion of the means of production into the common property of the whole of society (cdtnnionly called “Socialism”) does not remove the defects of distribution and the inequality of “bourgeois right” which continues to prevail as long as products are divided “according to the amount of labour performed.”
—V.I. Lenin: The State and Revolution (August-September 1917)

Of course, bourgeois right in regard to the distribution of articles of consumption inevitably presupposes the existence of the bourgeois state, for right is nothing without an apparatus capable of enforcing the observance of the standards of right.
It follows that under Communism there remains for a time not only bourgeois right, but even the bourgeois state—without the bourgeoisie!
—V.I. Lenin: The State and Revolution (August-September 1917)

Herr Duhring gives everyone a right to “quantitatively equal consumption,” but he cannot compel anyone to exercise it. On the contrary, he is proud, that in the world he has created everyone can do what he likes with his money. He therefore cannot prevent some from setting aside a small money hoard, while others are unable to make ends meet on the wage paid to them. He even makes this inevitable by explicitly recognizing in the right of inheritance that family property should be owned in common; whence comes also the obligation of the parents to maintain their children. But this makes a wide breach in quantitatively equal consumption. The bachelor lives like a lord, happy and content with his eight or twelve shillings a day, while the widower with eight minor children finds it very difficult to manage on this sum. On the other hand, by accepting money in payment without any question, the commune leaves open the door to the possibility that this money may have been obtained otherwise than by the individual’s own labour. Non olet. [It (money) does not smell.] The commune does not know where it comes from. But in this way all conditions are created permitting metallic money, which hitherto played the role of a mere labour certificate, to exercise its real money function. Both the opportunity and the motive are present, on the one hand to form a hoard, and on the other to run into debt. The needy individual borrows from the individual who builds up a hoard. The borrowed money, accepted by the commune in payment for means of subsistence, once more becomes what it is in present-day society, the social incarnation of human labour, the real measure of labour, the general medium of circulation. All the “laws and administrative regulations” in the world are just as powerless against it as they are against the multiplication table or the chemical composition of water. And as the builder of the hoard is in a position to extort interest from people in need, usury is restored along with metallic money functioning as money.
—Frederick Engels: Anti-Duhring (September 1876-June 1878)

Once the commodity-producing society has further developed the value form, which is inherent in commodities as such, to the money form, various germs still hidden in value break through to the light of day. The first and most essential effect is the generalization of the commodity form. Money forces the commodity form even on the objects which have hitherto been produced directly for self-consumption; it drags them into exchange. Thereby the commodity form and money penetrate the internal husbandry of the communities directly associated for production; they break one tie of communion after another, and dissolve the community into a mass of private producers.
—Frederick Engels: Anti-Duhring (September 1876-June 1878)

What is freedom of turnover? Freedom of turnover is freedom to trade, and freedom to trade means going back to capitalism. Freedom of turnover and freedom to trade mean commodity exchange between individual, small proprietors. All of us who have learnt at least the A B C of Marxism know that this turnover and freedom to trade inevitably lead to the division of the commodity producers into owners of capital and owners of labour power, a division into capitalists and wage workers, i.e., the restoration of capitalist wage slavery, which does not come like a bolt from the blue, but all over the world grows precisely out of commodity agriculture. We know this perfectly well, theoretically, and, in Russia no one who has watched the life and economic conditions of the small farmer can have failed to observe this.
—V.I. Lenin: Report at the Tenth Congress of the R.C.P. (B.) (March 1921)

The bourgeoisie is born of commodity production; the peasant who has a surplus of hundreds of poods of grain that he does not need for his family and does not deliver to the workers’ state as a loan to help the hungry worker, and profiteers under the prevailing conditions of commodity production—what is he? Is he not a bourgeois? Is the bourgeoisie not born in this way?
—V.I. Lenin: Seventh All-Russia Congress of Soviets (December 1919)

Yes, by overthrowing the landowners and bourgeoisie we cleared the way but we did not build the edifice of socialism. On the ground cleared of one bourgeois generation, new generations continually appear in history, as long as the ground gives rise to them, and it does give rise to any number of bourgeois. As for those who look at the victory over the capitalists in the way that the petty proprietors look at it—“they grabbed, let me have a go too”—indeed, every one of them is the source of a new generation of bourgeois.
—V.I. Lenin: Session of the All-Russia C.E.C. (April 1918)

Comrade Rykov, who in the economic sphere knows the facts very well, told us of the new bourgeoisie which exists in our country. That is true. It is arising not only from among our Soviet government employees—to an insignificant degree it can arise from them also—it is arising from among the peasants and handicraftsman, who have been liberated from the yoke of the capitalist banks and who are now cut off from railway transport. That is a fact. How do you expect to get around this fact? You are only flattering your illusions, or introducing badly digested book learning into reality, which is far more complex. It shows us that even in Russia capitalist commodity production is alive, operating, developing and giving birth to a bourgeoisie, just as in every capitalist society.
—V.I. Lenin: At the Eighth Congress of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks) (March 1919)

Among the Soviet engineers, the Soviet school-teachers and the privileged, i.e., the most highly skilled and best situated, workers in the Soviet factories, we observe a constant revival of absolutely all the negative traits peculiar to bourgeois parliamentarism, and we are conquering this evil—gradually—only by tireless, constant, prolonged and persistent struggle, proletarian organization and discipline.
—V.I. Lenin: “Left-Wing” Communism, An Infantile Disorder (April-May 1920)

The workers were never separated by a Chinese Wall front the old society. And they have preserved a good deal of the traditional mentality of capitalist society. The workers are building a new society without themselves having become new people, cleansed of the filth of the old world; they are still standing up to their knees in that filth. We can only dream of cleansing ourselves of that filth. It would be the height of utopianism to think that this can be done all at once. It would be a utopianism which in practice would only postpone socialism to kingdom come.
No, that is not the way we are setting out to build socialism. We are doing so while still standing on the soil of capitalist society, combating all those weaknesses and shortcomings with which the working people are also affected and which tend to drag the proletariat down.
—V.I. Lenin: Report at Second All-Russian Trade Union Congress (January 1919)

There is a petty-bourgeois tendency to transform the members of the Soviets into “parliamentarians,” or else into bureaucrats. We must combat this by drawing all the members of the Soviets into the practical work of administration. In many places the departments of the Soviets are gradually becoming merged with the Commissariats. Our aim is to draw the whole of the poor into the practical work of administration, and every step that is taken in this direction—the more varied they are, the better—should be carefully recorded, studied, systematized, tested by wider experience and embodied in law. Our aim is to ensure that every toiler, after having finished his eight hours’ “task” in productive labour, shall perform state duties without pay: the transition to this is particularly difficult, but this transition alone can guarantee the final consolidation of Socialism.
—V.I. Lenin: The Immediate Tasks of the Soviet Government (March-April 1918)

We do not need fictitious Party members even as a gift. Our Party, the Party of the revolutionary working class, is the only government party in the world which is concerned not in increasing its membership but in improving its quality, and in purging itself of “self-seekers.” We have more than once carried out re-registration of Party moembers in order to get rid of these “self-seekers” and to leave in the Party only politically enlightened elements who are sincerely devoted to Communism. We have further taken advantage of the mobilizations for the front and of the subbotniks to purge the Party of those who are only “out for” the benefits accruing to membership of a government party and do not want to bear the burden of self-sacrificing work on behalf of Communism.
—V.I. Lenin: The Workers’ State and Party Week (October 1919)

Opportunism is our principal enemy. Opportunism in the upper ranks of the working class movement is not proletarian socialism, but bourgeois socialism. Practice has shown that the active people in the working class movement who adhere to the opportunist trend are better defenders of the bourgeoisie, than the bourgeoisie itself.
—V.I. Lenin: Report at the Second Congress of the Communist International (July-August 1920)

The bourgeoisie in our country has been vanquished, but it has not yet been uprooted, not yet destroyed, and not even utterly broken. That is why a new and higher form of struggle against the bourgeoisie is on the order of the day, the transition from the very simple task of further expropriating the capitalists to the much more complicated and difficult task of creating conditions in which it will be impossible for the bourgeoisie to exist, or for a new bourgeoisie to arise. Clearly, this task is immeasurably more significant than the previous one; and until it is fulfilled there will be no Socialism.
—V.I. Lenin: The Immediate Tasks of the Soviet Government (March-April l9l8)

Clearly, in order to abolish classes completely, it is not enough to overthrow the exploiters, the landlords and capitalists, not enough to abolish their rights of ownership; it is necessary also to abolish all private ownership of the means of production, it is necessary to abolish the distinction between town and country, as well as the distinction between manual workers and brain workers. This requires a very long period of time.
—V.I. Lenin: A Great Beginning (June 1919)

“Communist” features begin only with the appearance of subbotniks, that is, the unpaid work of individual persons, unregulated by any government or state, performed on a wide scale for the public good. This is not help rendered to a neighbor, such as was always practised in the countryside; this is labour to satisfy a general need of the state, organized on a wide scale, and unpaid. It would therefore be more correct to apply the word communist not only to the name of the Party, but also, and exclusively, to such economic phenomena in our social life as are “communist” in fact. If there is anything communistic in our present system in Russia it is the subbotniks, and only the subbotniks; everything else is but a fight against capitalism for the consolidation of socialism, from which, after its complete triumph, should grow that communism which we observe in the subbotniks, not as a theoretical thing but as an actual fact.
—V.I. Lenin: Subbotniks (December 1919)

The revolution we have begun and have already been making for two years, and which we are firmly determined to carry to its conclusion, is possible and feasible only provided we achieve the transfer of power to the new class, provided the bourgeoisie, the capitalist slave-owners, the bourgeois intellectuals, the representatives of all the owners and property holders are replaced by the new class in all spheres of government, in all government affairs, in the entire business of directing the new life, from top to bottom.
—V.I. Lenin: Report at Second All-Russian Trade Union Congress (January 1919)

In a higher phase of communist society, after the enslaving subordination of the individual to the division of labour, and with it also the antithesis between mental and physical labour, has vanished; after labour has become not only a means of life but itself life’s prime want; after the productive forces have also increased with the all-round development of the individual, and all the springs of co-operative wealth flow more abundantly—only then can the narrow horizon of bourgeois right be crossed in its entirety and society inscribe on its banners: From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs!
—Karl Marx: Critique of the Gotha Programme (April-early May 1875)

The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win.
—Karl Marx and Frederick Engels: Manifesto of the Communist Party (February 1848)

I also hope that in addition to talks and lectures, you will devote some time to reading at least some of the most important works of Marx and Engels. I have no doubt that these most important works are to be found in the catalogues of literature and in the handbooks which are available to the pupils of the Soviet and Party school; and although, again, some of you may at first be dismayed by the difficulty of the exposition, I must again warn you that you should not be perturbed by this fact and that what is unclear at a first reading will become clear at a second reading, or when you subsequently approach the question from a somewhat different angle. For I once more repeat that the question is so complex and has been so confused by bourgeois scholars and writers that anybody who desires to study this question seriously and to master it independently must attack it several times, return to it again and again and consider the question from various angles in order to attain a clear and definite understanding of it. And it will be all the easier to return to this question because it is such a fundamental, such a basic question of all politics, and because not only in such stormy and revolutionary times as the present, but even in the most peaceful times, you will come across this question in any newspaper in connection with any economic or political question. Every day, in one connection or another, you will be returning to this question: what is the state, what is its nature, what is its significance and what is the attitude of our Party, the Party that is fighting for the overthrow of capitalism, the Communist Party—what is its attitude to the state?
—V.I. Lenin: The State (July 1919)

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