Lenin: Loot the Looters

Vladimir Lenin, Advice to Workers and Peasants. 1917

 

Original Source: Pravda, No. 18, 6 February 1918, p. 3.

You … have before you the very difficult and noble task … of organizing the new economic order in the provinces and of establishing on a firm foundation the power of the Soviets. In doing this you will be helped … by all workers and peasants … who are coming more and more to see that apart from the Soviet Government there is no escape from famine and death …

The bourgeoisie … and the saboteurs are … conspiring against us. They know that they will be completely ruined … if the people succeed in dividing the national wealth which is now in the exclusive possession of the rich …

That is where your function begins. You must organize and consolidate the Soviet power in the villages. You will encounter there the village-bourgeoisie–the kulaks-who will hinder your work in every way. But to fight them will be an easy matter. The masses will be with you …

Make it clear to the peasant that the kulaks and the bloodsuckers must be expropriated in order to bring about a just and equitable distribution of goods … The bourgeoisie are concealing in their coffers the riches which they have plundered, and are saying, “We shall sit tight for a while.” We must catch the plunderers and compel them to return the spoils.

Your chief business will be this: do not let the brigands get away with their riches, otherwise we shall perish …

That Bolshevik was right who in reply to a question whether or not it was true that the Bolsheviks are looters, said, “Yes, we loot the looters.”

Source: James Bunyan and H.H. Fisher, ed., Bolshevik Revolution, 1917-1918; Documents and Materials (Stanford: Stanford University Press; H. Milford, Oxford University Press, 1934), pp. 542-543.

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