Here are a collection of quotes which show the true nature of revolution.

To preface: I think that people completely misunderstand the nature of revolution. All successful revolutions have only turned violent in self defence against the forces of reaction, no revolutionary wants violence but in the struggle to seize power where the ruling class have a tight control, violence is bound to happen.

There have actually been peaceful revolutions as a matter of fact (Such as in Somalia and the Eastern Bloc) and advocating for violence has never worked except with petit bourgeois classes who have some stake in the system but are poor such as the peasantry.

Once a movement becomes violent without it being in self defence and without the approval of the masses it over time just ends up as left adventurist terrorism and the end result is the selling of drugs. Revolutions do not happen by a few rogues with nothing to lose wielding guns (Except for national liberation movements where all it takes is a spark to light a fire), revolutions happen when the masses come together and organise on the streets and march to seize power, because they have just had enough. Defenceless revolutions and revolutions without a mass organisation have in the past happened but the people should be armed in self defence and there should be a mass communist party organising logistics and being with the people.

When the masses are behind something you cannot lose, it could even be peaceful because if the state fires on peaceful marchers then the law has broken loose and the states legitimacy vanishes (it no longer has a monopoly on violence).

A revolution is not some glorified fantasy where you let loose all your rage with the system and seek to abolish and destroy everything, it is about building a new and serving the people, more likely than not it would be in some united front with petit bourgeois elements and even the national bourgeois (As W.Z. Foster has written in detail about in the case of America). Even Marx and Lenin believed peaceful revolution was possible especially in the developed countries and Lenin thought the Russian revolution would be peaceful until March 1917.

For example, the Russian revolution only turned violent in self-defence as the forces of reaction led by the Kerensky government fired upon the peaceful general strike led by the Bolsheviks which was mobilising the working masses for change and to seize power. It was this act of the gov which saw the legitimacy of the law and the state break down and showed the gov for what it was. It was from this in self defence that the Bolsheviks fought back and won the civil war, (over white forces that emerged from the breakdown of the Kerensky regime) and established the USSR.

Similarly in China, initially the communists were allied with the KMT, as both shared the legacy of Sun Yat-sen. The communists were even encouraged to join the KMT because it was the pre-eminent force of progress in China as they overthrew the monarchy in the Xinhai revolution which awoke the Chinese people and paved the way for them to arise from the Century of Humiliation. However after Chiang Kai-shek took over the KMT took a turn and ended up supporting landlords and warlords as opposed to the masses. It was only when the KMT massacred communists (knew they were becoming a threat) did the communists fight back in self defence, and they still were able to ally with them against a common enemy later.

Part 8 of this series:

– “We must announce to the governments: We know you are the armed power which is directed against the proletarians; we will against you in peaceful way where it is possible, and with arms if it should become necessary” - Karl Marx

– “You know that the institutions, mores, and traditions of various countries must be taken into consideration, and we do not deny that there are countries - such as America, England, and if I were more familiar with your institutions, I would perhaps also add Holland - where the workers can attain their goal by peaceful means. This being the case, we must also recognize the fact that in most countries on the Continent the lever of our revolution must be force; it is force to which we must some day appeal in order to erect the rule of labor” - Karl Marx

– “The working class would, of course, prefer to take power peacefully (we have already stated that this seizure of power can be carried out only by the organised working class which has passed through the school of the class struggle), but to renounce the revolutionary seizure of power would be madness on the part of the proletariat, both from the theoretical and the practical-political points of view; it would mean nothing but a disgraceful retreat in face of the bourgeoisie and all other propertied classes. It is very probable - even most probable - that the bourgeoisie will not make peaceful concessions to the proletariat and at the decisive moment will resort to violence for the defence of its privileges. In that case, no other way will be left to the proletariat for the achievement of its aim but that of revolution. This is the reason the programme of ‘working-class socialism’ speaks of the winning of political power in general without defining the method, for the choice of method depends on a future which we can not precisely determine. But, we repeat, to limit the activities of the proletariat under any circumstances to peaceful ‘democratisation’ alone is arbitrarily to narrow and vulgarise the concept of working-class socialism” - V.I. Lenin

– “Bourgeois states are most varied in form, but their essence is the same: all these states, whatever their form, in the final analysis are inevitably the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. The transition from capitalism to communism is certainly bound to yield a tremendous abundance and variety of political forms, but the essence will inevitably be the same: the dictatorship of the proletariat” - V.I. Lenin

– “In a country where the bourgeoisie will not offer such furious resistance, the tasks of the Soviet government will be easier; it will be able to operate without the violence, without the bloodshed that was forced upon us by the Kerenskys and the imperialists. We shall reach our goal even by this, more difficult, road. Russia may have to make greater sacrifices than other countries; this is not surprising considering the chaos that we inherited. Other countries will travel by a different, more humane road, but at the end of it lies the same Soviet power” - V.I. Lenin

– “In Russia, the dictatorship of the proletariat must inevitably differ in certain particulars from what it would be in the advanced countries, owing to the very great backwardness and petty-bourgeois character of our country. But the basic forces—and the basic forms of social economy—are the same in Russia as in any capitalist country, so that the peculiarities can apply only to what is of lesser importance” - V.I. Lenin

– “The history of revolutions in particular, is always richer in content, more varied, more multiform, more lively and ingenious than is imagined by even the best parties, the most class-conscious vanguards of the most advanced classes” - V.I. Lenin

– “You are wrong if you think that the Communists are enamoured of violence. They would be very pleased to drop violent methods if the ruling class agreed to give way to the working class. But the experience of history speaks against such an assumption” - J.V. Stalin

– “I don’t favour violence. If we could bring about recognition and respect of our people by peaceful means, well and good. Everybody would like to reach his objectives peacefully” - Malcolm X

– “No revolutionary wants violence, if the ruling class were to lay down their arms tomorrow there would be no need for violence” - Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara

– “Our enemies like to depict us Leninists as advocates of violence always and everywhere. True, we recognise the need recognise the need for the revolutionary transformation of capitalist society into socialist society. It is this that distinguishes the revolutionary Marxists from the reformists, the opportunists. There is no doubt that in a number of capitalist countries the violent overthrow of the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie and the sharp aggravation of class struggle connected with this are inevitable. But the forms of social revolution vary. It is not true that we regard violence and civil war as the only way to remake society. It will be recalled that in the conditions that arose in April 1917 Lenin granted the possibility that the Russian Revolution might develop peacefully" - N. Khrushchev

– “We shall use peaceful means and not use any other type of method” - Zhou Enlai

– “We believe it would be a fatal mistake to commit ground troops; If our troops went in, the situation in your country would not improve. On the contrary, it would get worse. Our troops would have to struggle not only with an external aggressor, but with a significant part of your own people. And the people would never forgive such things” - Alexei Kosygin

– “In Nicaragua, an entire people is fighting for its independence. I would condemn revolutionary violence if I thought that a non-violent way existed” - Rev. Miguel D’Escoto

– “Every great revolution in history has been an act of self-defence by people who would have preferred a peaceful resolution” - Caleb T. Maupin


As a class, it is the working class themselves who are the revolutionary subject because they work and toil and if they organise and come together they can halt production. Whereas the professionals such as teachers and engineers not doing something will not result in gains for us (nor should we be focusing on their organising as there was an actual working class strike wave that got ignored in Winter 2021) because they are trying to maintain their professional status when they organise (usually tends to not have a working class nature), while if we look at the petit bourgeoisie (and peasantry) if they organise it is just for individual benefit even if they are really poor (which the majority are as they are a dying class). While the lumpen is almost impossible to organise as a whole because they are the criminal elements at the bottom of society, where it is a dog eat dog. As this is a dog eat dog world, this manifests most harshly at the bottom because they are the people in society who are oppressed by their position to society under which they go unnoticed and lurk in the shadows of society. This reflects on that and the lumpen as a class are highly individualised, atomised and are dog eat dog towards everyone else in their position unless in a gang, or an enlightened lumpen who are in the minority. It is the working class, the proletariat who are the revolutionary subjects, who made the revolutions of the 20th century and will make the revolutions of the 21st century!

The capitalist class WILL use violence to stop the revolution. The only way to effectively counter violence is violence. Revolutionaries do not want violence, but they must be prepared to defend the revolution from the assaults of counter-revolutionary forces. Violence in revolutions must be used as self-defense when necessary. Excesses of violence must be avoided, the kind arising from anger, disgust and hatred. Torture, no quarter, physical/psychological/verbal/sexual abuse/harassment of POWs, deliberate use of lethal force against unarmed civilian populations, deliberate use of weapons of mass destruction, deliberate targetting of basic infrastructure such as water treatment facilities, power plants, farms, crop lands, food banks, hospitals and schools, posing as humanitarian aid workers and medical professionals to trick the enemy, deliberately devastating the enemy’s local ecosystem, deliberate killing of children and extrajudicial executions should be strictly forbidden and those guilty should be tried in the revolution’s own courts for war crimes or crimes against humanity.

We must focus on building a new, as opposed to focusing on tearing everything down. We must be optimistic, only then can we win the masses and be victorious.

– “The objective in the case under consideration is the emancipation of the working class and the revolution (transformation) of society implicit therein. An historical development can remain ‘peaceful’ only for so long as its progress is not forcibly obstructed by those wielding social power at the time. If in England, for instance, or the United States, the working class were to gain a majority in Parliament or Congress, they could, by lawful means, rid themselves of such laws and institutions as impeded their development, though they could only do so insofar as society had reached a sufficiently mature development. However, the ‘peaceful’ movement might be transformed into a ‘forcible’ one by resistance on the part of those interested in restoring the former state of affairs; if (as in the American Civil War and French Revolution) they are put down by force, it is as rebels against ‘lawful’ force” - Karl Marx

– “(Marx) led to the conclusion that, at least in Europe, England is the only country where the inevitable social revolution might be effected entirely by peaceful and legal means. He certainly never forgot to add that he hardly expected the English ruling classes to submit, without a ‘pro-slavery rebellion’, to this peaceful and legal revolution” - Friedrich Engels

– [As you wish to prepare for community of property by the enlightening and uniting of the proletariat, then you reject revolution?] “We are convinced not only of the uselessness but even of the harmfulness of all conspiracies. We are also aware that revolutions are not made deliberately and arbitrarily but that everywhere and at all times they are the necessary consequence of all circumstances which are not in any way whatever dependent either on the will or on the leadership of individual parties or of whole classes. But we also see that the development of the proletariat in almost all countries of the world is forcibly repressed by the possessing classes that thus a revolution is being forcibly worked for by the opponents of communism. If, in the end, the oppressed proletariat is thus driven into a revolution, then we will defend the cause of the proletariat just as well by our deeds as now by our words” - Friedrich Engels


– [Does this, your statement, mean that the Soviet Union has to any degree abandoned its plans and intentions for bringing about world revolution?] “We never had such plans and intentions; This is the product of a misunderstanding; No, a comical one. Or, perhaps, tragicomic. You see, we Marxists believe that a revolution will also take place in other countries. But it will take place only when the revolutionaries in those countries think it possible, or necessary. The export of revolution is nonsense. Every country will make its own revolution if it wants to, and if it does not want to, there willbe no revolution. For example, our country wanted to make a revolution and made it, and now we are building a new, classless society. But to assert that we want to make a revolution in other countries, to interfere in their lives, means saying what is untrue, and what we have never advocated” - J.V. Stalin

– “Communists do not in the least idealise the methods of violence. But they, the Communists, do not want to be taken by suprise, they cannot count on the old world voluntarily departing from the stage, they see the old system is violently defending itself, and that is why the Communists say to the working class: Answer violence with violence; do all you can to prevent the old dying order from crushing you, do not permit it to put manacles on your hands, on the hands which you will overthrow the old system” - J.V. Stalin

– “The draft of the programme correctly puts forward the task of utilising the traditional English institutions (Parliament) in the struggle for socialism. It is well known that the English Communists are being accused that they will establish Soviet Power in England. Hence it is imperative that in the draft of the programme it should be very clearly and definitely stated that the English Communists are not going to delegitimise Parliament, that England shall come to socialism through its own path and not through Soviet Power, but through Peoples’ Democracy that would be guided by people’s power and not by capitalists” - (J.V. Stalin, letter to CPGB leader Harry Pollitt on the draft of the party’s British Road to Socialism, September 28th 1950)

– “There is no reason to doubt that in the future that Soviet Union will be true to its policy - the policy of peace and security, the policy of the equality and friendship of the peoples” - J.V. Stalin

– “The peaceful coexistence of capitalism and communism is quite possible if there is a mutual desire to cooperate, with a willingness to fulfill the obligations assumed, while respecting the principle of equality and non-interference in the internal affairs of other states” - J.V. Stalin

– “They, these aggressive forces, control the reactionary governments and direct them. But at the same time they are afraid of their peoples who do not want a new war and stand for the maintenance of peace. Therefore they are trying to use the reactionary governments in order to enmesh their peoples with lies, to deceive them, and to depict the new war as defensive and the peaceful policy of the peace-loving countries as aggressive. They are trying to deceive their peoples in order to impose on them their aggressive plans and to draw them into a war. Precisely for this reason they are afraid of the campaign in defence of peace, fearing it can expose the aggressive intentions of the reactionary governments. Precisely for this reason they turned down the proposal of the Soviet Union for the conclusion of a Peace Pact, for the reduction of armaments, for banning the atomic weapon, fearing that the adoption of these proposals would undermine the aggressive measures of the reactionary governments and make the armaments of the reactionary governments and make the armaments race unnecessary. What will be the end of this struggle between the aggressive and the peace-loving forces? Peace will be preserved and consolidated if the peoples will take the cause of preserving peace into their own hands and will defend it to the end. War may become inevitable if the warmongers succeed in entangling the masses of the people in lies, in deceiving them and drawing them into a new world war. That is why the wide campaign for the maintenance of peace as a means of exposing the criminal and machinations of the warmongers is now of a first-state importance. As for the Soviet Union, it will continue in the future as well firmly to pursue the policy of averting war and maintaining peace” - J.V. Stalin

– “Alexander Werth: Do you believe that with the further progress of the Soviet Union towards communism the possibilities of peaceful co-operation with the outside world will not decrease as far as the Soviet Union is concerned? Is “communism in one country” possible? Stalin: I do not doubt that the possibilities of peaceful co-operation, far from decreasing, may even grow. “Communism in one country” is perfectly possible, especially in a country like the Soviet Union” - (J.V. Stalin interview with Alexander Werth, September 24th 1946)

– “The US and USSR systems are different but we didn’t wage war against each other and the USSR does not propose to. If during the war they could co-operate, why can’t they today in peace, given the wish to co-operate?” - J.V. Stalin

– “Let us not mutually criticise our systems. Everyone has the right to follow the system he wants to maintain. Which one is better will be said by history. We should respect the systems chosen by the people, and whether the system is good or bad is the business of the American people. To co-operate, one does not need the same systems. One should respecct the other system when approved by the people. Only on this basis can we secure co-operation. Only if we criticise, it will lead us too far. As for Marx and Engels, they were unable to foresee what would happen forty years after their death. But we should adhere to mutual respect to people. Some call the Soviet system totalitarian. Other people call the American system monopoly capitalism. If we start calling each other names with the words monopolist and totalitarian, it will lead to no co-operation. We must start the historical fact that there are two systems approved by the people. Only on that basis is co-operation possible. If we distract each other with criticism, that is propaganda” - J.V. Stalin

– “Liberation wars will continue to exist as long as imperialism exists, as long as colonialism exists. These are revolutionary wars. Such wars are not only admissible but inevitable since the colonialists do not grant independence voluntarily… We recognise such wars, we help and will help the people striving for their independence… These uprisings must not be identified with wars among states, with local wars, since in these uprisings the people are fighting for implementation of their right for self-determination, for independence social and national development” - N. Khrushchev

– “The stated provisions of the Marxist-Leninist theory are they also overturn the notorious formulation of the question of ‘ex-port of the revolution’. It is Marxism, in contrast to all bourgeois ideological concepts, proved that revolutions occur do not occur by order, not because of the desires of individuals, but due to the natural course of the historical process. ‘Of course,’ Lenin pointed out, ‘there are people who think that a revolution can be born in a foreign country by order, by co-announcement. These people are either madmen or provocateurs… We know that they cannot be made either by order or by agreement that they grow when tens of millions of people come to the conclusion that it is impossible to live like this any longer” - N. Khruschev

– “To strengthen the cause of peace in the entire world it would be of great importance to establish strong friendly relations between the two major powers of the world, the Soviet Union and the United States of America. We believe that if the basis of relations between the USSR and the USA was based on the known five principles of peaceful coexistence, it would be truly a remarkable value for all of humanity and it would certainly be healthy to the people of America, no less than the peoples of the Soviet Union and all other nations. The principles are mutual respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty, non-aggression, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, peaceful coexistence and economic cooperation are now shared and supported by two dozen states” - N. Khrushchev


– “In advocating peaceful coexistence, we of course have no intention of saying that there are no contradictions between socialism and capitalism, that complete ‘harmony’ can be established between them, or that it is possible to reconcile the communist and bourgeois ideologies. Such a viewpoint would be tantamount to retreating from Marxism-Leninism. The ideological differences are irreconcilable and will continue so” - N. Khrushchev

– “When we talk about that in the competition between the two systems, capitalism and socialism, wins the socialist system, then that does not mean at all that victory will be achieved through armed interference by the socialist countries in the internal affairs of the capitalist countries” - N. Khrushchev

– “The system under which some states sell arms to others is not for our invention. France, Britain and the United States have long since been supplying arms to very many countries, and particularly to the countries whose governments take the most hostile attitude towards the Soviet Union. Therefore we have nothing else to do but to act in the same way. We sell arms to countries which ask us to do so and want to be friendly with us. Apparently they buy arms because they fear the countries which you supply with arms. Thus we are doing only the same thing which you have been doing for a long time. If the Western powers want to come to agreement on this score, we are willing to do so. We said this as far back as 1955 in London and made a statement to this effect. The Soviet Union is prepared to reach agreement that no country should sell its arms to any other country” - N. Khrushchev

– “Our enemies like to depict us Leninists as advocates of violence always and everywhere. True, we recognise the need recognise the need for the revolutionary transformation of capitalist society into socialist society. It is this that distinguishes the revolutionary Marxists from the reformists, the opportunists. There is no doubt that in a number of capitalist countries the violent overthrow of the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie and the sharp aggravation of class struggle connected with this are inevitable. But the forms of social revolution vary. It is not true that we regard violence and civil war as the only way to remake society. It will be recalled that in the conditions that arose in April 1917 Lenin granted the possibility that the Russian Revolution might develop peacefully… Leninism teaches us that the ruling class will not surrender their power voluntarily. And the greater or lesser degree of intensity which the struggle may assume, the use or the non-use of violence in the transition to socialism, depends on the resistance of the exploiters, on whether the exploiting class itself resorts to violence, rather than the proletariat. In this connection the question arises of whether it is possible to go over to socialism by using parliamentary means. No such course was open to the Russian bolsheviks… Since then, however, the historical situation has undergone radical changes which make possible a new approach to the question. The forces of socialism and democracy have grown immeasurably throughout the world, and capitalism has become much weaker… In these circumstances the working class, by ralling around itself the working peasantry, the intelligentsia, all patriotic forces, and resolutely repulsing the opportunist elements who are incapable of giving up the policy of compromise with the capitalists and landlords, is in a position to defeat the reactionary forces opposed to the interests of the people, to capture a stable majority in parliament, and transform the latter from an organ of bourgeois democracy into a genuine instrument of the people’s will… In the countries where capitalism is still strong and has a huge military and police apparatus at its disposal, the reactionary forces will, of course, inevitably offer serious resistance. There the transition to socialism will be attended by a sharp class, revolutionary struggle. Whatever the form of transition to socialism, the decisive and indispensible factor is the political leadership of the working class headed by its vanguard. Without this there can be no transition to socialism” - N. Khrushchev

– “Some bourgeois leaders raise a howl over the solidarity of Soviet Communists, the Soviet people, with the struggle of other peoples for freedom and progress. This is either naivete or a deliberate befuddling of minds. Detente and peaceful coexistence have to do with interstate relations. This means above all that conflicts between countries are not to be settled by war, by the use or threat of force. Detente cannot abolish or alter the laws of class struggle. No one should expect that detente will cause Communists to reconcile themselves with capitalist exploitation or that monopolists will become revolutionists. On the other hand, strict observance of the principle of non-interference in the affairs of other states and respect for their independence and sovereignty is one of the essential conditions of detente. We make no secret of the fact that we see detente as the way to create more favorable conditions for peaceful socialist and communist construction. This only confirms that socialism and peace are indissoluble. As for the ultra-leftist assertion that peaceful coexistence is the next thing to ‘helping capitalism’ and ‘freezing the socio-political status quo’, our reply is this: every revolution is above all a natural result of the given society’s internal development. Life itself has refuted the inventions about ‘freezing of the status quo’. Suffice it to recall the far-reaching revolutionary changes in the world in recent years - Leonid Brezhnev

– “Socialist emulation spells out innovation by the people. Underlying it are the people’s high level of consciousness and initiative. It is this initiative that helps to reveal and tap the potentialities of production, and enhance efficiency and quality. But in practice - there’s no hiding it - socialist commitments are sometimes not worked out from below but handed down from above, from higher bodies. This is prejudicial to the very spirit of labour emulation. In it the emphasis should be on upwardly revised plans and other similar initiatives going from below to the top: worker-team-factory-industry. Only then should these initiatives be dovetailed with the state plan. This accords with the nature of socialist emulation and with the planned character of our economy” - Leonid Brezhnev

– “Every Communist must grasp the truth: Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun” - Mao Zedong

– “In 1954 the Chinese Government initiated the celebrated Five Principles of peaceful coexistence. They are mutual respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence. Together with other Asian and African countries, we formulated the Ten Principles on the basis of the Five Principles at the Bandung Conference of 1955” - Mao Zedong

– "Mao being interviewed in 1938 by Haldore Hanson, a foreign correspondent: ‘You mean to say,’ I commented, ‘that the Chinese Communist party is willing to support a democratic government after this war and does not intend to renew its struggle against the landlords?’ Mao nodded. ‘How then, I asked, do you hope to achieve Communism? How can you build a socialist republic?’ Mao said he hoped that the change from Democracy to Socialism would be ‘evolutionary, not revolutionary. The chief weapon would be education, not an execution ax.’ ‘But there is no historical precedent for a peaceful introduction of Socialism,’ I protested. Mao smiled and added, ‘We are trying to make history, not to imitate it’ - (Hanson, Humane Endeavour: The Story of the China War, 1939, p. 310)

– “The nature of the panther is that he never attacks. But if anyone attacks or backs into a corner, the panther comes up to wipe that agressor or that attacker out” - Huey P. Newton

– “It’s hard to believe. That such a peaceful country wants war. And Brezhnev. I never thought he was such a quiet and calm person. It is difficult to imagine that he can be the person who would start a war. I have not seen a hitchhiker on the road. And I have not seen a single beggar on the streets of Soviet Russia. I had never felt so safe. No risk of being robbed. I was told that there is no freedom of religion in the Soviet Union. But Muslims, Christians and Jews worship freely here. I think the relationship between our people is bad just because of false propaganda” - Muhammad Ali

– “Once he [Stalin] asked Vassily and myself who we wanted to be when we grew up. Vassily said we shall become officers and go to the capitalist countries and help the proletariat to break free from the bourgeoisie. Stalin replied to this: ‘Are you sure you will be welcome? First, make it attractive here in the USSR, so that all the world appreciates how we live. Then, probably, you will be asked for help. But you will surely have to fight for our motherland. We have many enemies’” - (Artyom Sergeyev, adopted son of Stalin)

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