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Communism and Socialism

1. Socialism substitutes for individual energy the energy of the government…for human personality the blind, mechanical power of the State.

Benjamin Nathan Cardozo (1870-1938) U.S. jurist and writer. Commencement oration, Columbia College, New York (1889)


2. The strike is the weapon of the oppressed, of men capable of appreciating justice and having the courage to resist wrong and contend for principle.

Eugene V. Debs (1855-1926) U.S. politician and labor union leader. Speaking during the strike of engineers and firefighters on the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Rail Line (1888)


3. In moving towards the market we are moving not away from socialism, but towards a fuller realization of society’s capabilities.

Mikhail Gorbachev (b.1931) Russian former president. Speech, 28th Congress of the Soviet Communist Party (July 3, 1990)


4. The market came with the dawn of civilization and is not the invention of capitalism. If the market leads to the improvement of people’s daily lives, then there is no contradiction with socialism.

Mikhail Gorbachev (b.1931) Russian former president. Responding to allegations by conservative critics that his perestroika policies were an attempt to restore capitalism in the Soviet Union. Speech, Moscow (June 1990)


5. It would be very superficial to think that the Soviet Union can be bought for dollars.

Mikhail Gorbachev (b.1931) Russian former president. Guardian (London) (September 14, 1990)


6. A community in which power, wealth and opportunity are in the hands of the many not the few…in which the enterprise of the market and the rigour of competition are joined with the forces of partnership and co-operation.

Labour Party, British political party. This new version of the Labour Party Constitution’s Clause Four compares with the 1918 (revised 1928) original: “To secure for workers…the full fruits of their industry and the most equitable distribution thereof that may be possible upon the basis of common ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange.” Clause Four, Labour Party Constitution (April 29, 1995)


7. Accounting and control-that is mainly what is needed for the “smooth working,” for the proper functioning, of the first phase of communist society.

Vladimir Ilich Lenin (1870-1924) Russian revolutionary leader and political theorist. The State and Revolution (1924), ch. 5


8. To the ordinary working man, the sort you would meet in any pub on Saturday night, Socialism does not mean much more than better wages and shorter hours, and nobody bossing you about.

George Orwell (1903-50) British novelist, critic, and essayist. The Road to Wigan Pier (1937)


9. The most remarkable thing about socialist competition is that it creates a basic change in people’s view of labor, since it changes the labor from a shameful and heavy burden into a matter of honor…valor, and heroism.

Joseph Stalin (1879-1953) Soviet secretary-general Speech (June 27, 1930)


10. Socialism proposes no adequate substitute for the motive of enlightened selfishness that to-day is at the basis of all human labor and effort, enterprise and new activity.

William Howard Taft (1857-1930) U.S. president. Popular Government (1913)


11. Marxism is above all a method of analysis.

Leon Trotsky (1879-1940) Russian revolutionary leader and Marxist theorist. Permanent Revolution (1928)