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Lenin quote bleg:

Did the father of modern tyranny actually say "The capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them"? If any commenter could supply a proper citation to Lenin himself, I would be grateful. Or does Lenin, like his elder brother Satan and his younger brother Hitler, sometimes get credited with clever things that he never really said?

Russ (mail):
I've looked at this and can find no conclusive evidence that Lenin said this(it's reported to not be found in any of his published works). I've seen it credited to Lenin, Marx, and Stalin.

Likely a fabrication.
10.29.2008 5:20am
Jesse M. (mail) (www):
According to the book "They Never Said It" on p. 64 (which I found at http://tinyurl.com/6ys9b6 thanks to google book search), there is no hard evidence he ever said it:
There may be truth in the much-quoted remark that Lenin is alleged to have made about the capitalists' eagerness to sell their goods (the profit motive is, after all, unideological), but it is almost certainly a fake. Lenin was supposed to have made his observation to one of his close associates, Grigori Zinoviev, not long after a meeting of the Politburo in the early 1920s, but there is no evidence that he ever did. Experts on the Soviet Union reject the rope quote as spurious.
10.29.2008 5:21am
Smokey:
ACORN's motto:

"Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything"

~Vladimir Lenin.
10.29.2008 7:28am
Tom Hanna (www):
I've seen this attributed to Lenin, Marx, Stalin and even Mao. I've seen several variations including one referencing Red Square, which would limit it to Stalin or Lenin.

I think it was actually Marx, Groucho.
10.29.2008 7:47am
Grant Gould (mail):
It was Yogi Berra, of course.
10.29.2008 7:57am
rbj:
From Fred Shapiro's book The Yale Book of Quotations (2006):


"They [capitalists] will furnish credits which will serve us for the support of the Communist Party in their countries and, by supplying us materials and technical equipment which we lack, will restore our military industry necessary for our future attacks against our suppliers. To put it in other words, they will work on the preparation of their own suicide"


It is noted right after that the "rope to hang them" quote hasn't been found in his published works.
10.29.2008 8:53am
Eric Muller (www):
Not Lenin at all. Barack Obama said that to Bill Ayers in the latter's living room, where Obama launched his political career.

Right?
10.29.2008 9:00am
Chris 24601 (mail) (www):
Lenin went to Yale?
10.29.2008 9:39am
PaulK:
I would check Volkogonov's biography of Lenin.
10.29.2008 9:48am
Sarcastro (www):
Those family renunions must be murder!
10.29.2008 10:00am
Tracy Johnson (www):
Eugene's dad may know, having grown up near exemplars that may have actually heard it.
10.29.2008 10:20am
GMUSOL05:

ACORN's motto:


Then it's a good thing that ACORN submitted every voter registration form they were given and took the time to flag suspicious voter registration forms for those who "count the votes," so that there's no question as to whose can and can't be counted.
10.29.2008 11:01am
Joseph Hindin (mail) (www):
According to the Russian Wikiquote, the quote is apocryphal.
10.29.2008 11:07am
Kevin R (mail):
"It's like Lenin said, look for the person who will benefit, and, uh..."

"I am the walrus."
10.29.2008 11:08am
tim maguire (mail):
In Rules for Radicals, Saul Alinsky said something like, "You can convince a capitalist to take an action on Friday that will make him a million dollars on Saturday even if he knows it will result in his hanging on Sunday."
10.29.2008 11:50am
Profane (mail) (www):
'The development of modern industry, therefore, cuts from under its feet the very foundation on which the bourgeoisie produces and appropriates products. What the bourgeoisie therefore produces, above all, are its own grave-diggers.'

Marx &Engels, The Communist Manifesto
10.29.2008 12:20pm
Rodger Lodger (mail):
I believe it was said by Joe the Rope Maker.
10.29.2008 12:25pm
Floridan:
"You can convince a capitalist to take an action on Friday that will make him a million dollars on Saturday even if he knows it will result in his hanging on Sunday."

This pretty much explains how Sarah Palin become the GOP VP nominee.
10.29.2008 12:35pm
Ken Hirsch (mail):
This is unrelated, but might be of interest to people here. Just two weeks ago I discovered the source of a different quote "Where the people fear the government you have tyranny. Where the government fears the people you have liberty."

It's from John Basil Barnhill, c. 1912. I found it on Google Book Search here from "The American Anti-Socialist" (1912) and then in a PDF of Barnhill-Tichenor Debate on Socialism (3MB PDF), p. 34.
10.29.2008 1:43pm
Fub:
Eric Muller wrote at 10.29.2008 8:00am:
Not Lenin at all. Barack Obama said that to Bill Ayers in the latter's living room, where Obama launched his political career.
That was a misquote by the capitalist MSM. Obama, whose piety demands euphemism even for strong religious language, was only complaining mildly about the expense of packaging Rev. Wright's message for the press.

He really said "The capitalists will sell us the hope with which we will dang them."
10.29.2008 1:54pm
john w. (mail):
This (from wikipedia) is the closest I could come:

' ...a reference to the Marxist saying, "The proletariat is the undertaker of capitalism" ...'
10.29.2008 2:05pm
Michael B (mail):
Regardless, far more intriguing is the relationship between V.I.Lenin and Benito Mussolini, the intellectual, spiritual and political founder of fascism. Out of that relationship, together with Mussolini's break from his own deeply rooted Marxian past, Lenin managed what is arguably the single, most critical rhetorical coup of the 20th century when he decreed Mussolini's fascism to reflect an advancing stage of capitalist demise. That rhetorical foray, oft repeated by Lenin and picked up by the avante garde and then the more popular press, represents the root of the fundamental deceit that assigns fascism to the right rather than to the left, continuing to this day.

V.I.Lenin was awarded the slow, emaciating, zombie-like death that he so richly deserved. There is that.
10.29.2008 2:39pm
SSFC (www):
Капиталисты готовы продать нам веревку, на которой мы их повесим

as I understand it is the exact saying. The most prominent mention I could find attributing it to Lenin came from this site:

http://www.nameofrussia.ru/person.html?id=93&id_type=1

which was a Russian tv poll to name the hundred greatest Russians for a documentary. (Thankfully Nevsky beat Stalin.) The problem with asking us, even Americans who speak the language (poorly) as I do, is that we're not likely to find the exact phrase through Google even if Lenin said it.

Perhaps one or three of your co-bloggers could help?
10.29.2008 3:18pm
Mr. Bingley (www):
Didn't Lenin say "E-myehr-gency! E-myehr-gency! Every one to get from street!" ?
10.29.2008 3:46pm
Mikhail Koulikov (mail) (www):
re/rbj:

The Shapiro translation is of a quote attributed to Lenin (in a notebook or note) in Анненков Ю. Дневник моих встреч. Цикл трагедий. В 2-х томах. Т. 1. Л.: Искусство, 1991.

The original of the quote is: "Капиталисты всего мира и их правительства в погоне за завоеванием советского рынка откроют кредиты, которые послужат нам для поддержки коммунистической партии в их странах и, снабжая нас недостающими у нас материалами и техниками, восстановят нашу военную промышленность, необходимую для наших будущих победоносных атак против наших поставщиков. Иначе говоря, они будут трудиться по подготовке их собственного самоубийства!"

So, there is no direct confirmation that the citation in its popular form can be traced to Lenin.

And, "Mr. Bingley", you are just f-ing hilarious, aren't you. Thank you so much for wasting our time. Asshole.

- M.
10.29.2008 4:20pm
ys:
True, according to all accounts this quote is not found in Lenin's Complete Works. According to the same accounts he may or may not have said this privately, but he would have been justified saying it as he knew very well of the left-wing Russian capitalists who supported the bolsheviks with their plentiful rubles.
10.29.2008 4:31pm
SSFC (www):
Mikhail Koulikov, thanks that was informative.
10.29.2008 4:46pm
Nony Mouse:
Since I can't read Russian, I'm afraid I can't tell exactly what Koulikov's post said the quote was. But I can easily see the quote of rjb's post being reworked by a wit and consolidated into the above one, kinda like "Nice guys finish last" and "Come up and see me some time" weren't originally said that way, but since it was the spirit of the quote and flowed better, that's how the phrase is remembered. After all, how many people (vs historians) believe that Nathan Hale actually said, "I only regret that I have but one life to give [for] my country."
10.29.2008 5:31pm
Seamus (mail):
Mikhail Koulikov, thanks that was informative.

Not to those of us who don't read Russian. Would it have been so hard to provide a translation?
10.29.2008 5:34pm
ys:

Seamus (mail):
Mikhail Koulikov, thanks that was informative.

Not to those of us who don't read Russian. Would it have been so hard to provide a translation?


It's essentially the same quote that was provided earlier by rbj:


"They [capitalists] will furnish credits which will serve us for the support of the Communist Party in their countries and, by supplying us materials and technical equipment which we lack, will restore our military industry necessary for our future attacks against our suppliers. To put it in other words, they will work on the preparation of their own suicide"
10.29.2008 6:07pm
Mikee (mail):
I read a memoir of a Korean War POW, who was forced to read the works of Lenin in his captivity by his captives. His opinion, having studied the works of Lenin for several years, was that the works were composed of multiple authors' works, like that literature produced by the proverbial infinite number of monkeys. Lenin may have such a statement in his collected works, without ever having said or written it.
10.29.2008 6:07pm
Michael B (mail):
Parenthetically it might be noted that Lenin, with the help of Dzerzhinsky, instigated the mass famine that began in 1918, killing in the area of six to seven million people, likely more. As with Stalin's famine in the Ukraine c. 1933 - perhaps murdering similar numbers, perhaps fewer - it's one of the great under-reported and misreported stories of the 20th century.
10.29.2008 7:26pm
Smokey:
20th Century all-purpose liberal translation:

Stalin g-o-o-o-o-o-d,

Hitler b-a-a-a-a-a-d.


Carry on.
10.30.2008 12:12am
Mark Rockwell (mail):
If you think about, ACRON is worse than Lenin.
10.30.2008 12:30am
Mark Rockwell (mail):
ACORN is too... but less so.
10.30.2008 12:31am
Randy R. (mail):
Michael B: "V.I.Lenin was awarded the slow, emaciating, zombie-like death that he so richly deserved. There is that."

AND, he got his body embalmed, stuffed and displayed for decades while it slowly detioriorated in public view. Can't beat that. (Except for Mao).
10.30.2008 1:42am
MikeS (mail):

It was Yogi Berra, of course.


What Yogi said is "If you give people enough rope, they'll shoot themselves".
10.30.2008 4:55am
Mr. Bingley (www):

And, "Mr. Bingley", you are just f-ing hilarious, aren't you. Thank you so much for wasting our time. Asshole.


Dude, you really need to get out more or up your meds or something.

Or at least put one of the better Cold War comedies on your NetFlix list.
10.30.2008 11:07am
Bleepless:
The story I heard from historians of Communism and the USSR was that the source was Trotsky.
10.30.2008 10:59pm