October 17, 2016

Leon Trotsky Quotes

“A means can be justified only by its end. But the end in its turn needs to be justified.”

“A sledgehammer breaks glass but forges steel.”

“An ally has to be watched just like an enemy.”

“As for us, we were never concerned with the Kantian-priestly and vegetarian-Quaker prattle about the sacredness of human life.”

“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!”

“England is nothing but the last ward of the European madhouse, and quite possibly it will prove to be the ward for particularly violent cases.”

“Fascism is nothing but capitalist reaction; from the point of view of the proletariat the difference between the types of reaction is meaningless.”

“From being a patriotic myth, the Russian people have become an awful reality.”

“Ideas that enter the mind under fire remain there securely and for ever.”

“If we had had more time for discussion we should probably have made a great many more mistakes.”

“In a serious struggle there is no worse cruelty than to be magnanimous at an inopportune time.”

“In not more than a month’s time terror will assume very violent forms, after the example of the great French Revolution; the guillotine… will be ready for our enemies… that remarkable invention of the French Revolution which makes man shorter by a head.”

“In our eyes, individual terror is inadmissible precisely because it belittles the role of the masses in their own consciousness, reconciles them to their own powerlessness, and turns their eyes and hopes toward a great avenger and liberator who someday will come and accomplish his mission.”

“Insurrection is an art, and like all arts has its own laws.”

“It was as the supreme expression of the mediocrity of the apparatus that Stalin himself rose to his position.”

“Learning carries within itself certain dangers because out of necessity one has to learn from one’s enemies.”

“Let a man find himself, in distinction from others, on top of two wheels with a chain — at least in a poor country like Russia — and his vanity begins to swell out like his tires. In America it takes an automobile to produce this effect.”

“Life is not an easy matter… You cannot live through it without falling into frustration and cynicism unless you have before you a great idea which raises you above personal misery, above weakness, above all kinds of perfidy and baseness.”

“Man will become immeasurably stronger, wiser, and subtler; his body will become more harmonious, his movements more rhythmic, his voice more musical. The forms of life will become dynamically dramatic. The average human type will rise to the heights of an Aristotle, a Goethe, or a Marx. And above these heights, new peaks will rise.”

“Not believing in force is the same as not believing in gravity.”

“Old age is the most unexpected of all things that happen to a man.”

“Revolutions are always verbose.”

“Root out the counterrevolutionaries without mercy, lock up suspicious characters in concentration camps… Shirkers will be shot, regardless of past service.”

“Technique is noticed most markedly in the case of those who have not mastered it.”

“The depth and strength of a human character are defined by its moral reserves. People reveal themselves completely only when they are thrown out of the customary conditions of their life, for only then do they have to fall back on their reserves.”

“The end may justify the means as long as there is something that justifies the end.”

“The historic ascent of humanity, taken as a whole, may be summarized as a succession of victories of consciousness over blind forces — in nature, in society, in man himself.”

“The life of a revolutionary would be quite impossible without a certain amount of fatalism.”

“The struggle against war and its social source, capitalism, presupposes direct, active, unequivocal support to the oppressed colonial peoples in their struggles and wars against imperialism. A ‘neutral’ position is tantamount to support of imperialism.”

“The struggle against war, properly understood and executed, presupposes the uncompromising hostility of the proletariat and its organizations, always and everywhere, toward its own and every other imperialist bourgeoisie…”

“There are no absolute rules of conduct, either in peace or war. Everything depends on circumstances.”

“There is a limit to the application of democratic methods. You can inquire of all the passengers as to what type of car they like to ride in, but it is impossible to question them as to whether to apply the brakes when the train is at full speed and accident threatens.”

“We can only be right with and by the Party, for history has provided no other way of being in the right… And if the Party adopts a decision which one or other of us thinks unjust, he will say, just or unjust, it is my party, and I shall support the consequences of the decision to the end.”

“We must rid ourselves once and for all of the Quaker-Papist babble about the sanctity of human life.”

“Where force is necessary, there it must be applied boldly, decisively and completely. But one must know the limitations of force; one must know when to blend force with a maneuver, a blow with an agreement.”

“You may not be interested in strategy, but strategy is interested in you.”