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Communist Ethics and Morality

K. Marx, F. Engels, V. Lenin,


. You can become a Communist only when you enrich your mind with the knowledge of all the treasures created by mankind....

.. If a Communist took it into his head to boast about his communism because of the ready-made conclusions he had acquired, without putting in a great deal of serious and hard work, without understanding the facts which he must examine critically, he would be a very deplorable Communist. Such superficiality would be decidedly fatal. If I know that I know little, I shall strive to learn more; but if a man says that he is a Communist and that he needs to know nothing thoroughly, he will never be anything like a Communist....

But is there such a thing as communist ethics? Is there such a thing as communist morality? Of course, there is. It is often made to appear that we have no ethics of our own; and very often the bourgeoisie accuse us Communists of repudiating all ethics. This is a method of shuffling concepts, of throwing dust in the eyes of the workers and peasants.

In what sense do we repudiate ethics and morality?

In the sense in which it is preached by the bourgeoisie, who derived ethics from ’God’s commandments. We, of course, say that we do not believe in God, and that we know perfectly well that the clergy, the landlords and the bourgeoisie spoke in the name of God in pursuit of their own interests as exploiters. Or instead of deriving ethics from the commandments of morality, from the commandments of God, they derived them from idealist or semi-idealist phrases, which always amounted to something very similar to God’s commandments. 

We repudiate all morality taken apart from human society and classes. We say that it is a deception, a fraud, a befogging of the minds of the workers and peasants in the interests of the landlords and capitalists.

We say that our morality is entirely subordinated to the interests of the class struggle of the proletariat. Our morality is derived from the interests of the class struggle of the proletariat.. ..

.. The class struggle is continuing, and it is our task to subordinate all interests to this struggle. And we subordinate our communist morality to this task. We say: morality is what serves to destroy the old exploiting society and to unite all the toilers around the proletariat, which is building up a new, communist society.

Communist morality is the morality which serves this struggle, which unites the toilers against all exploitation, against all small property; for small property puts into the hands of one person what has been created by the labour of the whole of society. In our country the land is common property.

But suppose I take a piece of this common property and grow on it twice as much grain as I need and profiteer in the surplus? Suppose I argue that the more starving people there are, the most they will pay? Would I then be behaving like a Communist? No, I would be behaving like an exploiter, like a proprietor. This must be combated. If this is allowed to go on things will slide back to the rule of the capitalists, to the rule of the bourgeoisie, as has more than once happened in previous revolutions. And 76in order to prevent the restoration of the rule of the capitalists and the bourgeoisie we must not allow profiteering, we must not allow individuals to enrich themselves at the expense of the rest, and the toilers must unite with the proletariat and form a communist society....

... When people talk to us about morality, we say: for the Communist, morality lies entirely in this solid, united discipline and conscious mass struggle against the exploiters. We do not believe in an eternal morality, and we expose the deceit of all the fables about morality. Morality serves the purpose of helping human society to rise to a higher level and to get rid of the exploitation of labour....

..The training of the communist youth must consist not in giving them sentimental speeches and moral precepts. This is not what training consists in. When people saw how their fathers and mothers lived under the yoke of the landlords and capitalists, when they themselves experienced the sufferings that befell those who started the struggle against the exploiters, when they saw what sacrifices the continuation of this struggle entailed in order to defend what had been won, and when they saw what frenzied foes the landlords and capitalists are-they were trained in this environment to become Communists. The basis of communist morality is the struggle for the consolidation and completion of communism. That too is the basis of communist training, education, and teaching. That is the reply to the question how communism should be learnt....

.. But our school must impart to the youth the fundamentals of knowledge, the ability to work out communist views independently; it must make educated people of them. In the time during which people attend school, it must train them to be participants in the struggle for emancipation from the exploiters. The Young Communist League will justify its name as the league of the young communist generation only when it links up every step of its teaching, training and education with participation in the general struggle of all the toilers against the exploiters...

. Thus, to be a Communist means that you must organise and unite the whole rising generation and set an example of training and discipline in this struggle. Then you will be able to start building the edifice of communist society and bring it to completion....

... The generation which is now about fifty years old cannot expect to see the communist society. This generation will die out before then. But the generation which is now fifteen years old will see the communist society, and will itself build this society. And it must know that the whole purpose of its life is to build this society. In the old society work was carried on by separate families, and nobody united their labour except the landlords and capitalists, who oppressed the masses of the people. We must organise all labour, no matter how dirty and arduous it may be, in such a way that every worker and peasant may say: I am part of the great army of free labour, and I can build my life without the landlords and capitalists, I can establish the communist system. The Young Communist League must train everybody to conscious and disciplined labour from an early age. In this way we shall be sure that the problems that are now confronting us will be solved. We must assume that no less than ten years will be required for the electrification of the country, so 78that our impoverished land may be served by the latest achievements of technology. And so, the generation which is now fifteen years old, and which in ten or twenty years’ time will be living in communist society, must approach all their tasks in education in such a way that every day, in every village and in every town, the young people shall engage in the practical solution of some problem of common labour, even though the smallest, even though the simplest. To the extent that this is done in every village, to the extent that communist emulation develops, to the extent that the youth prove that they can unite their labour, to that extent will the success of communist construction be ensured....

K. MARX and F. ENGELS • From the Manifesto of the Communist Party 

 .The proletarian is without property; his relation to his wife and children has no longer anything in common with the bourgeois family relations; modern industrial labour, modern subjection to capital, the same in England as in France, in America as in Germany, has stripped him of every trace of national character. Law, morality, religion, are to him so many bourgeois prejudices, behind which lurk in ambush just as many bourgeois interests.

All the preceding classes that got the upper hand sought to fortify their already acquired status by subjecting society at large to their conditions of appropriation. The proletarians cannot become masters of the productive forces of society, except by abolishing their own previous mode of appropriation, and thereby also every other previous mode of appropriation. They have nothing of their own to secure and to fortify; their mission is to destroy all previous securities for, and insurances of, individual property—–
.. In bourgeois society capital is independent and has individuality, while the living person is dependent and has no individuality.

And the abolition of this state of things is called by the bourgeois, abolition of individuality and freedom! And rightly so. The abolition of bourgeois individuality, bourgeois independence, and bourgeois freedom is undoubtedly aimed at.

By freedom is meant, under the present bourgeois conditions of production, free trade, free selling and buying.

But if selling and buying disappears, free selling and buying disappears also. This talk about free selling and buying and all the other "brave words" of our bourgeoisie about freedom in general, have a meaning, if any, only in contrast with restricted selling and buying, with the fettered traders of the Middle Ages, but have no meaning when opposed to the communistic abolition of buying and selling, of the bourgeois conditions of production, and of the bourgeoisie itself.

You are horrified at our intending to do away with private property. But in your existing society, private property is already done away with for nine-tenths of the population; its existence for the few is solely due to its non-existence in the hands of those nine-tenths. You reproach us, therefore, with intending to do away with a form of property,

K. MARX • From the Article "Thoughts of a Young Man on Choosing a Profession" 

... If our conditions of life permit us to choose any profession, then we can select one that gives us the greatest dignity, one based on ideas of whose truth we are fully convinced. We can choose a profession that offers the greatest scope for work in behalf of mankind, and for 18ourselves to come closer to the common aim, in relation to which every profession is only a means for getting closer to perfection.

Dignity is precisely that which most of all elevates a man, which gives supreme nobility to his work, to all his aspirations, allowing him to rise firmly above the crowd, and to arouse its amazement.’ But only the profession in which we are not slavish tools, but create independently within our own circle, can give dignity, only the profession that does not demand reprehensible actions, even if reprehensible only in outward appearance, and which can be followed even by the best with noble pride. The profession which provides all this in the highest degree is not always the highest, but is always the most to be preferred.

... If a man works only for himself he can, perhaps, become a famous scientist, a great sage, an excellent poet, but he can never become a man that is truly perfect and great.

History recognises as great men those who, by working for a common aim, themselves become ennobled; experience extols as happiest the man who has brought happiness to the greatest number of people....

... If we have chosen a profession in which we can most of all work for mankind, we shall not bend under its burden, because this is a sacrifice made for all; then we shall experience not petty, limited egoistic joy, but our happiness will belong to the millions, our deeds will then live a peaceful but perpetually active life, and over our ashes hot tears will be shed by noble people.

K. MARX • From the Introduction to "On the Criticism of the Hegelian Philosophy of Right” 

... Religious misery is at the same time an expression of real misery and a protest against this real misery. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart 20of a heartless world, as it is the spirit of a soulless system. Religion is the opium of the people.
The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their true happiness. The demand to give up illusions about one’s position is the demand for the rejection of a position which needs illusions. It follows that criticism of religion is criticism in embryo oi the vale of tears, the sacred halo of which is religion.
Criticism has discarded from the chains the false flowers which adorned them-not so that mankind should continue to wear these chains in their form devoid of all joy and pleasure, but in order that it should throw off the chains and stretch its hand for the living flower.

Criticism of religion frees man from illusions so that he should think, act and build his own reality as one who has freed himself from illusions, who has become a rational man, in order that he should revolve around himself and his own real sun. Religion is only an illusory sun which moves around man until he begins to move around himself....

K. MARX and F. ENGELS • From The Holy Family or Critique of Critical Critique 

... If man draws all his knowledge, sensation, etc., from the world of the senses and the experience gained in it, the empirical world must be arranged so that in it man experiences and gets used to what is really human and that he becomes aware of himself as man. If correctly 21understood, interest is the principle of all moral, man’s private interest must be made to coincide with the interest of humanity. If man is unfree in the materialist sense, i.e., is free not through the negative power to avoid this or that, but through the positive power to assert his true individuality, crime must not be punished in the individual, but the anti-social source of crime must be destroyed, and each man must be given social scope for the vital manifestation of his being. If man is shaped by his surroundings, his surroundings must be made human. If man is social by nature, he will develop his true nature only in society, and the power of his nature must be measured not by the power of separate individuals but by the power of society.

F. ENGELS • From the Elberfeld Speeches 

... In communist society, where the interests of individuals do not conflict, but are identical, competition vanishes. There will be no longer any question, of course, of the ruin of individual classes, or of classes in general such as the rich and the poor’ at the present time. In the production and distribution of benefits essential to life, private appropriation, the striving of each individual to enrich himself at his own risk, will disappear....

... To protect itself from crime, from acts of open violence, society needs an extensive, complex organism of administrative and juridical institutions requiring an infinite 22expenditure of human forces. In communist society this will also be infinitely simplified, and for the precise reason -strange though it may sound-that in this society the administration will have to deal with not only individual aspects of social life, but with the whole life of society in all its manifestations and all its aspects. We destroy the antagonism between the individual and all the rest, we counter social war by social peace, we hack away the very roots of crime and thereby render superfluous a large, by far the largest, part of the present-day activities of the administrative and juridical institutions. Already now, crimes of passion are increasingly giving way to crimes committed by calculation, in pursuance of some interest; crimes against the person are decreasing, but crimes against property are increasing... . Crimes against property will disappear of themselves where each receives all that is needed to satisfy his physical and spiritual requirements, where social barriers and differences are removed. The criminal court will disappear of itself, the civil court which deals almost exclusively with property relations or, at any rate, relations which have for their premise the state of social war, will also disappear; the lawsuits which today are the natural result of universal enmity will then become rare exceptions easily settled by arbitration. The administrative organs today also have the constant state of war as the source of their activity-the police and the whole administration are only concerned that the war should remain concealed, indirect, that it should not degenerate into open violence, crime. But if it is far easier to maintain peace than to keep war within certain limits, it is also infinitely easier to administer communist society than a society in which competition holds sway. And if civilisation has already taught people to see that their interests lie in maintaining public order. 23ensuring public security and the interests of society, and thus make the police, the administration and justice as far as possible superfluous, how much more will this take place in a society where community of interests is made a basic principle, where public interests no longer differ from the interests of each individual! What is now taking place J27 spite oi public institutions will be far more widespread when public institutions no longer hamper but, on the contrary, promote this! . .

F. ENGELS • From Principles of Communism 

Question 21. What influence will the communist social system have on the family?
Answer. It will make relations between the sexes a purely private affair, which will be a matter only for the persons concerned, and in which society has no need to interfere. This is possible because of the abolition of private property and because of the public education of children, in consequence of which both of the bases for marriage hitherto-the dependence through private property of the wife on the husband and the children on the parents -are abolished.

It is here that we find the answer to the outcry of highlymoral philistines about common ownership of women under communism. .Common ownership of women is a phenomenon belonging wholly to bourgeois society and flourishing at the present time in the form of prostitution. But prostitution is based on private property and will disappear together with it. Consequently, instead of 24introducing common ownership of women, communist organisation will abolish it.. ..

K. MARX • From a Letter to S. Meyer 

... Well, why didn’t I answer you? Because I was constantly hovering at the edge of the grave. Hence, I had to make use of every moment when I was able to work to complete my book, to which I have sacrificed health, happiness, and family. I trust that this explanation needs no supplementation. I laugh at the so-called “practical” men with their wisdom. If one chose to be an ox, one could of course turn one’s back on the sufferings of mankind and look after one’s own skin. But I should have really regarded myself as impractical if I had pegged out without completely finishing my book, at least in manuscript.

K. MARX • Letter to F. Engels March 25, 1868

.. . My state of health is such that I really ought to quit working and thinking temporarily. But that would be hard on me, even it I had the means for loafing—–

K. MARX • From "The Civil War in France" 

... The English working class stretch the hand of fellowship to the French and German working people. They feel deeply convinced that whatever turn the impending horrid war may take, the alliance of the working classes of all countries will ultimately kill war. The very fact that while official France and Germany are rushing into a fratricidal feud, the workmen of France and Germany send each other messages of peace and goodwill; this great fact, unparalleled in the history of the past, opens the vista of a brighter future. It proves that in contrast to old society, with its economical miseries and its political delirium, a new society is springing up, whose international rule will be Peace, because its national ruler will be everywhere the same-Labour .

... Wonderful, indeed, was the change the Commune had wrought in Paris! No longer any trace of the meretricious Paris of the Second Empire. No longer was Paris the rendezvous of British landlords, Irish absentees, 29American ex-slaveholders and shoddy men, Russian exserfowners, and Wallachian boyards. No more corpses at the morgue, no nocturnal burglaries, scarcely any robberies; in fact, for the first time since the days of February 1848, the streets of Paris were safe, and that without any police of any kind. "We," said a member of the Commune, "hear no longer of assassination, theft and personal assault; it seems indeed as if the police had dragged along with it to Versailles all its Conservative friends." The cocottes had refound the scent of their protectors-the absconding men of family, religion, and, above all, of property. In their stead, the real women of Paris showed again at the surface-heroic, noble, and devoted, like the women of antiquity. Working, thinking, fighting’; bleeding Paris-almost forgetful, in its incubation of a new society, of the cannibals at its gates-radiant in the enthusiasm of its historic initiative!

K. MARX • From a Letter to W. Bios, November 10, 1877

... Because I am opposed to every kind of personality cult, during the existence of the International I have never allowed to be made public the numerous messages, expressing recognition of my services, with which I was pestered from various countries. I never even replied to them, except that I sometimes gave a piece of my mind to the authors. Engels and I joined our first secret society of Communists on condition that everything that might foster superstitious worshipping of authority be deleted from the rules. . .

F. ENGELS • From Anti-Duhring 

... The conceptions of good and evil have varied so much from nation to nation and from age to age that they have often been in direct contradiction to each other.

But all the same, someone may object, good is not evil and evil is not good; if good is confused with evil there is an end to all morality, and everyone can do as he pleases. This is also, stripped of all oracular phrases, Herr Duehring's opinion. But the matter cannot be so simply disposed of. If it were such an easy business, there would certainly be no dispute at all over good and evil; everyone would know what was good and what was bad. But how do things stand today? What morality is preached to us today? There is first Christian-feudal morality, inherited from earlier religious times; and this is divided, essentially, into a Catholic and a Protestant morality, each of which has no lack of subdivisions, from the Jesuit-Catholic and Orthodox Protestant to loose “enlightened” moralities. Alongside these we find the modern-bourgeois morality and beside it also the proletarian morality of the future, so that in the most advanced European countries alone the past, present and future provide three great groups of moral theories which are in force simultaneously and alongside each other. Which, then, is the true one? Not one of them, in the sense of absolute finality; but certainly that morality contains the maximum elements promising permanence which, in the present, represents the overthrow of the present, represents the future, and that is proletarian morality.

But when we see that the three classes of modern society, the feudal aristocracy, the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, each have a morality of their own, we can only draw the one conclusion: that men, consciously or unconsciously, derive their ethical ideas in the last resort from the practical relations on which their class position is based-from the economic relations in which they carry on production and exchange.

But nevertheless, there is quite a lot which the three moral theories mentioned above have in common-is this not at least a portion of a morality which is fixed once and for all? These moral theories represent three different stages of the same historical development, have therefore a common historical background, and for that reason alone they necessarily have much in common. Even more. At similar or approximately similar stages of economic development moral theories must of necessity be more or less in agreement. From the moment when private ownership of movable property developed, all societies in which this private ownership existed had to have this moral injunction in common: Thou shalt not steal. Does this injunction thereby become an eternal moral injunction? By no means. In a society in which all motives for stealing have been done away with, in which therefore at the very most only lunatics would ever steal, how the preacher of morals would be laughed at who tried solemnly to proclaim the eternal truth: Thou shalt not steal!

We therefore reject every attempt to impose on us any moral dogma whatsoever as an eternal, ultimate and forever immutable ethical law on the pretext that the moral world, too, has its permanent principles which stand above history and the differences between nations. We maintain on the contrary that all moral theories have been hitherto the product, in the last analysis, of the economic conditions of society obtaining at the time. And as society has hitherto moved in class antagonisms, morality has always been class morality; it has either justified the domination and the interests of the ruling class, or, ever since the oppressed class became powerful enough, it has represented its indignation against this domination and the future interests of the oppressed. That in this process there has on the whole been progress in morality, as in all other branches of human knowledge, no one will doubt. But we have not yet passed beyond class morality. A really human morality which stands above class antagonisms and above any recollection of them becomes possible only at a stage of society which has not only overcome class antagonisms but has even forgotten them in practical life....

.. In making itself the master of all the means of production to use them in accordance with a social plan, society puts an end to the former subjection of men to their own means of production. It goes without saying that society cannot free itself unless every individual is freed. The old mode of production must therefore be revolutionized from top to bottom, and in particular the former division of labour must disappear. Its place must be taken by an organisation of production in which, on the one hand, no individual can throw on the shoulders of others his share in productive labour, this natural condition of human existence; and in which, on the other hand, productive labour, instead of being a means of subjugating men, will become a means of their emancipation, by offering each individual the opportunity to develop all his faculties, physical and mental, in all directions and exercise them to the full-in which, therefore, productive labour will become a pleasure instead of being a burden. .. .

... All religion, however, is nothing but the fantastic reflection in men’s minds of those external forces which control their daily life, a reflection in which the terrestrial forces assume the form of supernatural forces. In the beginning of history it was the forces of nature which were first so reflected, and which in the course of further evolution underwent the most manifold and varied personifications among the various peoples. This early process has been traced back by comparative mythology, at least in the case of the Indo-European peoples, to its origin in the Indian Vedas, and in its further evolution it has been demonstrated in detail among the Indians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Germans and, so far as material is available, also among the Celts, Lithuanians and Slavs. But it is not long before, side by side with the forces of nature, social forces begin to be active-forces which confront man as equally alien and at first equally inexplicable, dominating him with the same apparent natural necessity as the forces of nature themselves. The fantastic figures, which at first only reflected the mysterious forces of nature, at this point acquire social attributes, become representatives of the forces of history. At a still further stage of evolution, all the natural and social attributes of the numerous gods are transferred to one almighty god, who is but a reflection of the abstract man. Such was the origin of monotheism, which was historically the last product of the vulgarised philosophy of the later Greeks and found its incarnation in the exclusively national god of the Jews, Jehovah. In this convenient, handy and universally adaptable form, religion can continue to exist as the immediate, that is, the sentimental form of men’s relation to the alien, natural and social forces which dominate them, so long as men remain under the control of these forces. However, we have seen repeatedly that in existing bourgeois society men 34are dominated by the economic conditions created by themselves, by the means of production which they themselves have produced, as if by an alien force. The actual basis of the reflective activity that gives rise to religion therefore continues to exist, and with it the religious reflection itself. And although bourgeois political economy has given a certain insight into the causal connection of this alien domination, this makes no essential difference. Bourgeois economics can neither prevent crises in general, nor protect the individual capitalists from losses, bad debts and bankruptcy, nor secure the individual workers against unemployment and destitution. It is still true that man proposes and God (that is, the alien domination of the capitalist mode of production) disposes. Mere knowledge, even if it went much further and deeper than that of bourgeois economic science, is not enough to bring social forces under the domination of society. What is above all necessary for this, is a social act. And when this act has been accomplished, when society, by taking possession of all means of production and using them on a planned basis, has freed itself and all its members from the bondage in which they are now held by these means of production which they themselves have produced but which confront them as an irresistible alien force; when therefore man no longer merely proposes, but also disposes-only then will the last alien force which is still reflected in religion vanish; and with it will also vanish the religious reflection itself, for the simple reason that then there will be nothing left to reflect. ...

F. ENGELS • From The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State 

. . . Thus full freedom in marriage can become generally operative only when the abolition of capitalist production, and of the property relations created by it, has removed all those secondary economic considerations which still exert so powerful an influence on the choice of a partner. Then, no other motive remains than mutual affection....

.. With the disappearance of the economic considerations which compelled women to tolerate the customary infidelity of the men-the anxiety about their own livelihood and even more about the future of their children-the equality of woman thus achieved will, judging from all previous experience, result far more effectively in the men becoming really monogamous than in the women becoming polyandrous.

What will most definitely disappear from monogamy, however, is all the characteristics stamped on it in consequence of its having arisen out of property relationships. These are, first, the dominance of the man, and secondly, the indissolubility of marriage. The predominance of the man in marriage is simply a consequence of his economic predominance and will vanish with it automatically. The indissolubility of marriage is partly the result of the economic conditions under which monogamy arose, and partly a tradition from the time when the connection between these economic conditions and monogamy was not yet correctly understood and was exaggerated by religion. Today it has been breached a thousandfold. If only marriages that are based on love are moral, then, also, only 37those are moral in which love continues. The duration of the urge of individual sex love differs very much according to the individual, particularly among men; and a definite cessation of affection, or its displacement by a new passionate love, makes separation a blessing for both parties as well as for society. People will only be spared the experience of wading through the useless mire of divorce proceedings.

But what will be added? That will be settled after a new generation has grown up: a generation of men who never in all their lives have had occasion to purchase a woman’s surrender either with money or with any other means of social power, and of women who have never been obliged to surrender to any man out of any consideration other than that of real love, or to refrain from giving themselves to their beloved for fear of the economic consequences. Once such people appear, they will not care a rap about what we today think they should do. They will establish their own practice and their own public opinion, conformable therewith, on the practice of each individual —and that’s the end of it. ..

F. ENGELS • From a Letter to Gertrude Guillaume-Schak 

... That the working woman needs special protection against capitalist exploitation because of her special physiological functions seems obvious to me. The English women who championed the formal right of members of their sex to permit themselves to be as thoroughly exploited 38by the capitalists as the men are mostly, directly or indirectly, interested in the capitalist exploitation of both sexes. I admit I am more interested in the health of the future generations than in the absolute formal equality of the sexes during the last years of the capitalist mode of production. It is my conviction that real equality of women and men can come true only when the exploitation of either by capital has been abolished and private housework has been transformed into a public industry. ...


From the Article "A Retrograde Trend in Russian Social-Democracy" 

... We recognise the duty of comradeship, the duty to support all comrades, the duty to tolerate the opinions of comrades, but as far as we are concerned, the duty of comradeship derives from our duty to Russian and international Social-Democracy, and not vice versa.

We recognize our comradely obligations to Rabochaya Mysl  not because its editors are our comrades; we consider the editors of Rabochaya Mysl our comrades only because and to the extent that they work in the ranks of Russian (and, consequently, of international) Social Democracy. Therefore, if we are certain that the “comrades” are moving backwards, away from the Social Democratic programme, that the “comrades” are hemming in and distorting the aims of the working-class movement, we consider it our duty to give expression to our convictions with a complete certainty that leaves nothing unsaid!

From the Article "The Right of Nations to Self-Determination" 

. The reactionaries are opposed to freedom of divorce; they say that it must be "handled carefully", and loudly declare that it means the "disintegration of the family". The democrats, however, believe that the reactionaries are hypocrites, and that they are actually defending the omnipotence of the police and the bureaucracy, the privileges of one of the sexes, and the worst kind of oppression of women. They believe that in actual fact freedom of divorce will not cause the “disintegration” of family ties, but, on the contrary, will strengthen them on a democratic basis, which is the only possible and durable basis in civilized society.

From the Article "On Compromises" 

... The task of a genuinely revolutionary party is not to proclaim as impossible rejection of all compromises but, to be able to carry through all compromises-insofar as they are inevitable-its loyalty to principles, to its class, to its revolutionary task, to its work of preparing for the revolution and educating the mass of the people for victory in the revolution. ...

From the Concluding Speech at the Meeting of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee 

Comrade Chudnovsky said here that he "allowed himself" to subject the actions of the Commissars to sharp criticism. There can be no question here of whether it is permissible or impermissible to allow oneself to criticize sharply; it is the duty of a revolutionary to make such criticism, and the People’s Commissars do not consider themselves infallible. ...

From the Article "A Little Picture to Explain Big Questions" 

We can build communism only from the materials created by capitalism, from the cultural apparatus which is a product of the bourgeois conditions and therefore inevitably steeped-since the question is one of human material as part of the cultural apparatus-in bourgeois psychology. Here lies the difficulty in building communist society, but here also lies the guarantee that it can be built and built successfully. Marxism differs from the old Utopian socialism in that the latter wanted to build a new society not from the mass representatives of human material which are produced by bloody, filthy, plundering, petty-trading capitalism, but from especially virtuous people reared in special greenhouses and conservatories. Everyone now finds this ridiculous idea ludicrous, and everyone has abandoned it, but not everyone wants or is able to give thought to the opposite doctrine of Marxism, to think over how it is possible (and essential) to build communism from the mass of human material spoilt by ages and millennia of slavery, feudalism and capitalism, from small, scattered enterprises, and wars of all against all for a place in the market, for a higher price for products, or for labour. ...

From the Article "A Great Beginning" 

The press reports many instances of the heroism of the Red Army men. In the fight against the Kolchakites, Denikinites and other forces of the landlords and capitalists, the workers and peasants very often display miracles of bravery and endurance, defending the gains of the socialist revolution. The overcoming of the guerrilla spirit, weariness and indiscipline is a slow and difficult process, but it is making headway in spite of everything. The heroism of the toiling masses who are voluntarily making sacrifices for the cause of the victory of socialism-this is the foundation of the new, comradely discipline in the Red Army, the foundation on which it is regenerating, gaining strength and growing.

The heroism of the workers in the rear is no less worthy of attention. In this connection, the communist subbotniks (voluntary workers)   organised by the workers on their own initiative are of enormous significance. Evidently, this is only a beginning, but it is a beginning of unusually great importance. It is the beginning of a revolution that is more difficult, more material, more radical and more decisive than the overthrow of the bourgeoisie, for it is a victory over their own 61conservatism, indiscipline, petty-bourgeois egoism, a victory over the habits that accursed capitalism left as a heritage to the worker and peasant. Only when this victory is consolidated will the new social discipline, socialist discipline, be created; then and only then will a reversion to capitalism become impossible, will communism become really invincible....

... The communist organisation of social labour, the first step towards which is socialism,,rests, and will do so more and more as time goes on, on the free and conscious discipline of the toilers themselves who have thrown off the yoke both of the landlords and capitalists. ...

... In order to achieve victory, in order to build and consolidate socialism, the proletariat must .fulfil a twofold or dual task: first, it must, by its supreme heroism in the revolutionary struggle against capital, win over the entire mass of the toilers and exploited; it must win them over, organise them and lead them in the struggle to overthrow the bourgeoisie and utterly suppress its resistance. Second, it must lead the whole mass of the toilers and exploited, as well as all the petty-bourgeois strata, into the road of new economic construction, into the road to the creation of new social ties, a new labour discipline, a new organisation of labour, which will combine the last word in science and capitalist technology with the mass association of classconscious workers creating large-scale socialist production.

The second task is more difficult than the first, for it cannot possibly be fulfilled by single acts of heroic fervour; it requires the most prolonged, most persistent and most difficult mass heroism in prosaic, everyday work. . . .

The "communist subbotniks" are so important because they were initiated by workers who were by no means placed in exceptionally good conditions, by workers of various specialities, and some with no speciality at all, just unskilled labourers, who are living under ordinary, i.e., exceedingly hard, conditions... .

... And yet these starving workers, surrounded by the malicious counter-revolutionary agitation of the bourgeoisie, the Menshevjks and the Socialist-Revolutionaries,  [62•*  are organising "communist subbotniks", working overtime without any pay, and achieving an enormous increase in productivity of labour in spite of the fact that they are weary, - tormented, and exhausted from malnutrition. Is this not supreme heroism? Is this not the beginning of a change of momentous significance?

In the last analysis, productivity of labour is the most important, the principal thing for the victory of the new social system. ...

... If in starving Moscow, in the summer of 1919, the starving workers who had gone through four trying years of imperialist war and another year and a half of still more trying civil war could start this great work, how will it develop later when we triumph in the civil war and win peace?

Communism is the higher productivity of labour– compared with that existing under capitalism-of voluntary, class-conscious and united workers employing advanced technique. Communist subbotniks are extraordinarily valuable as the actual beginning of communism; and this is a very rare thing, because we are in a stage when "only the first steps in the transition from capitalism to communism are being taken" (as our Party programme quite rightly says).

Communism begins when the rank-and-file workers begin to display a self-sacrificing concern that is undaunted by arduous toil for increasing productivity of labour, for husbanding every pood of grain, coal, iron and other products, which do not accrue to the workers personally or to their “close” kith and kin, but to their “distant” kith and kin, i.e., to society as a whole, to tens and hundreds of millions of people united first in one socialist state, and then in a Union of Soviet Republics. .. .

... Fewer pompous phrases, more plain, everyday work, concern for the pood of grain and the pood of coal! More concern for supplying this pood of grain and pood of coal needed by the hungry workers and ragged and barefooted peasants, not by means of huckstering, not in a capitalist manner, but by means of the conscious, voluntary, boundlessly heroic labour of plain working men like the unskilled labourers and workers of the Moscow-Kazan Railway....

.. Take the position of women. Not a single democratic party in the world, not even in the most advanced bourgeois republic, has done in tens of years a hundredth part of what we did in the very first year we were in power. We literally did not leave a single stone standing of the despicable laws which placed women in a position of inequality, or which restricted divorce and surrounded it 64with disgusting formalities, or which denied recognition to illegitimate children and enforced a search for their fathers, etc.-laws, numerous survivals of which, to the shame of the bourgeoisie and of capitalism be it said, are to be found in all civilised countries. We have a thousand times the right to be proud of what we have done in this sphere. But the more thoroughly we have cleared the ground of the lumber of the old, bourgeois, laws and institutions, the clearer it is to us that we have only cleared the ground to build on but are not yet building.

Notwithstanding all the laws emancipating woman, she continues to be a domestic slave, because petty housework crushes, strangles, stultifies and degrades her, chains her to the kitchen and to the nursery, and wastes her labour on barbarously unproductive, petty, nerve-racking, stultifying and crushing drudgery. The real emancipation of women, real communism, will begin only where and when a mass struggle begins (led by the proletariat wielding the power of the state) against this petty domestic economy, or rather when its wholesale transformation into largescale socialist economy begins.

Do we in practice pay sufficient attention to this question, which, theoretically, is indisputable for every Communist? Of course not. Are we sufficiently solicitous about the young shoots of communism which already exist in this sphere? Again we must say emphatically. No! Public dining rooms, creches, kindergartens-here we have examples of these shoots, here we have the simple, everyday means, involving nothing pompous, grandiloquent or ceremonial, which can in actual fact emancipate women, which can in actual fact lessen and abolish their inequality with men as regards their role in social production and public life....

From the Article "The Workers’ State and Party Week" 

... 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 members 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 mobilisations 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 selfsacrificing work in behalf of communism.

And at this juncture, when intensified mobilisation for the front is in progress. Party Week is a good thing because it offers no temptation to the self-seekers. We extend a broad invitation into the Party only to the rankand-file workers and to the poor peasants, to the labouring peasants, but not to the peasant profiteers. We do not promise and do not give these rank-and-file members any advantages from joining the Party. On the contrary, just now harder and more dangerous work than usual falls to the lot of Party membe’rs.

All the better. Only sincere supporters of communism, only persons who are conscientiously devoted to the workers’ state, only honest working people, only genuine representatives of the masses that were oppressed under capitalism will join the Party.

And it is only such members that we need in the Party.

From the Speech at the First All-Russian Inaugural Congress of Mineworkers 

... At every difficult moment during the war, the Party mobilised the Communists, and it was they who were the first to perish in the front ranks; they perished in thousands on the Yudenich and Kolchak fronts; the, finest 67people of the working class perished, those who sacrificed themselves realising that they would die but save generations, save thousands upon thousands of workers and peasants. They branded with ignominy and hounded the self-seekers, those who during the war were concerned for their own skins, and mercilessly shot them. We are proud of this dictatorship, of this iron power of the workers who declared: we overthrew the capitalists, and we shall lay down our lives at their slightest attempt to restore their power again. No one starved as much in these two years as the workers of Petrograd, Moscow and Ivanovo Voznesensk. It has now been calculated that in these two years they received not more than 7 poods of bread a year, while the peasants of the grain gubernias ate not less than 17 poods. The workers made great sacrifices, suffered disease and the death rate among them increased, and they will prove that the workers rose in revolt against the capitalists not out of feelings of revenge, but out of their inflexible determination to create a new social order in which there would be no landlords and capitalists. It was for this that the sacrifices were made; only thanks to these unprecedented sacrifices which, moreover, were made consciously, voluntarily and were consolidated by the discipline of the Red Army, which did not resort to the old methods of discipline, only thanks to these greatest sacrifices did the vanguard workers maintain their dictatorship and win for themselves the right to the respect of the workers of the entire world. It should not be forgotten by those who particularly slander the Bolsheviks that the dictatorship meant the greatest sacrifices, the greatest starvation for the workers themselves, for those who exercised it. The Ivanovo-Voznesensk, Petrograd and Moscow workers suffered in those two years more than anyone else ever suffered in the struggle on the Red fronts....

From the Article "From the Destruction of the Age-Old Order to the Creation of the New" 

... Communist labour in the narrower and stricter sense of the word is unpaid labour for the benefit of society, labour performed not as a compulsory duty, not in order to have the right to a certain amount of products, not according to previously established and accepted quotas, but labour that is voluntary, labour without quotas, labour performed without expecting remuneration, without any condition about remuneration, labour performed out of a habit of working for the common good, out of a conscious attitude (that has become a habit) to the need to work for the common good, labour as the requirement of the healthy organism....

From the Article "From the First Subbotnik on the Moscow-Kazan Railway to the All-Russian May-Day Subbotnik" 

..-. We shall work so as to root out the cursed rule: "each for himself and the devil take the hindmost", in order to eradicate the habit of regarding labour merely as a compulsory duty and considering as rightful only that labour which is paid for at a definite rate. We shall work in order to introduce in the minds, habits and daily life of the masses the rule: "all for one and one for all", the rule: "from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs", in order gradually but inflexibly to introduce communist discipline and communist labour....

From the Report “The New Economic Policy and the Tasks of Political Education" Delivered at the Second All-Russian Congress of Political Education Workers 

In my view, there are three main enemies which now face man irrespective of his departmental role, tasks which confront the political education worker if he is a Communist, and most of them are. The three main enemies facing him are the following: the first-communist conceit; the second-illiteracy, and the third-bribery....

 The Tasks of the Party in the Spheres of Ideology, Education, Instruction, Science, and Culture 

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