A radical social revolution is tied to certain historical conditions of economic development; these are its prerequisites. It is therefore only possible where, with capitalist production, the industrial proletariat occupies at least a significant position among the mass of the people. And so in order to have any chance whatever of victory, it must at least be able to do as much immediately for the peasants, mutatis mutandis, as the French bourgeoisie did in its revolution for the then existing French peasants. A fine idea, that the rule of labour includes the suppression of all rural labor!
…Now since all hitherto existing economic forms, developed or undeveloped, include the servitude of the worker he believes that in all of them a radical revolution equally possible. But even more! [Mr. Bakunin] wants the European social revolution, founded on the economic basis of capitalist production, to take place at the level of the Russian or Slav agricultural and pastoral people. Will, not economic conditions, is the foundation of his social revolution…
- Karl Marx, “On Bakunin’s Statism and Anarchy”; from Karl Marx Selected Writings (ed. by David McLellan), p. 606-607 (via weil-weil)
The strategic task of the next period – prerevolutionary period of agitation, propaganda and organization – consists in overcoming the contradiction between the maturity of the objective revolutionary conditions and the immaturity of the proletariat and its vanguard (the confusion and disappointment of the older generation, the inexperience of the younger generation. It is necessary to help the masses in the process of the daily struggle to find the bridge between present demand and the socialist program of the revolution. This bridge should include a system of transitional demands, stemming from today’s conditions and from today’s consciousness of wide layers of the working class and unalterably leading to one final conclusion: the conquest of power by the proletariat.

[T]he fundamental lesson of revolutionary materialism is that revolution must strike twice, and for essential reasons. The gap [between both revolutions] is not simply the gap between form and content: what the “first revolution” misses is not the content, but the form itself—it remains stuck in the old form, thinking that freedom and justice can be accomplished if we simply put the existing state apparatus and its democratic mechanisms to use. […] The partisans of the “first revolution” want to subvert capitalist domination in the very political form of capitalist democracy. This is the Hegelian “negation of the negation”: first the old order is negated within its own ideologico-political form; then this form itself has to be negated. Those who oscillate, those who are afraid to take the second step of overcoming this form itself, are those who (to repeat Robespierre) want a “revolution without revolution”…

In his 1917 writings, Lenin saves his most acerbic irony for those who engage in the endless search for some kind of “guarantee” for the revolution; this guarantee assumes two main forms: either the reified notion of social Necessity (one should not risk the revolution too early; one has to wait for the right moment when the time is “ripe” with regard to the laws of historical development: “It is too early for the Socialist revolution, the working class is not yet mature”) or normative (“democratic”) legitimacy (“The majority of the population are not on our side, so the revolution would not really be democratic”) - as Lenin repeatedly puts it: as if, before the revolutionary agent risks the seizure of state power, it should get some permission from some figure of the big Other (organize a referendum with will ascertain that the majority support the revolution). With Lenin, as with Lacan, the point is that they revolution ‘ne s’autorise que d’elle même’: we should venture the revolutionary ‘act’ not covered by the big Other—the fear of taking power “prematurely’, the search for a guarantee, is the fear of the abyss of the act. That is the ultimate dimension of what Lenin incessantly denounces as “opportunism”, and his premiss is that “opportunism” is a position which is in itself, inherently, false, masking a fear of accomplishing the act with the protective screen of “objective” facts, laws or norms…

Lenin’s answer is not the reference to a different set of “objective facts”, but the repetition of the argument made a decade ago by Rosa Luxemburg against Kautsky: those who wait for the objective conditions of the revolution to arrive will wait forever—such a position of the objective observer (and not of an engaged agent) is itself the main obstacle to the revolution.

- Slavoj Žižek, ‘Revolution At The Gates’  (via aidsnegligee)
We should not say that one man’s hour is worth another man’s hour, but rather that one man during an hour is worth just as much as another man during an hour. Time is everything, man is nothing: he is at the most time’s carcass.
- Karl Marx, The Poverty of Philosophy (via revjalen)
The problem is England’s singular relationship to modernity, or perhaps its singular inability to achieve modernity in the European manner. The failure of the English revolution is all around us: England is caught in an unresolved tension between its apparent modernity and the reality of its deeply embedded semi-feudal social relations. It is this unresolved tension and the inability to really grasp the nettle of what is necessary for genuine social change in England (i.e. a restaging of the Revolution that failed) that fuels much of the rage that underpins English life just as it fuels the fantasy, especially exaggerated in the early nineties under New Labour, that somehow the class system can be wished, or better still shopped, away.
- Carl Neville, Classless (via its-london-calling)
The masses are in reality their own leaders, dialectically creating their own development process.
- Rosa Luxemburg (via fyeahrosaluxemburg)
Reblogged from amodernmanifesto
You don’t have a revolution in which you love your enemy, and you don’t have a revolution in which you are begging the system of exploitation to integrate you into it. Revolutions overturn systems. Revolutions destroy systems.
- Malcolm X  (via chavista)
As long as I breathe I hope. As long as I breathe I shall fight for the future, that radiant future, in which man, strong and beautiful, will become master of the drifting stream of his history and will direct it towards the boundless horizons of beauty, joy and happiness!
- Leon Trotsky (via youruniverseislovelyhubble)
A revolution is not a trail of roses.… A revolution is a fight to the death between the future and the past.
- Fidel Castro, Speech on the second anniversary of the triumph of the revolution (2 January 1961)
The working class movement itself never is independent, never is of an exclusively proletarian character until all the different factions of the middle class, and particularly its most progressive faction, the large manufacturers, have conquered political power, and remodeled the State according to their wants. Is then that the inevitable conflict between employer and employed becomes imminent, and cannot be adjourned any longer; that the working class can no longer be put off with delusive hopes and promises never to be realised; that the great problem of the nineteenth century, the abolition of the proletariat, is brought forward fairly and in its proper light.
- Karl Marx, Revolution and Counter-Revolution in Germany

A collection of Leftist quotations, sayings, and aphorisms.

Compiled by Euan and Brandon