[Marxism] Seeking Lenin attribution

LouPaulsen LouPaulsen at comcast.net
Sat Jun 12 22:54:17 MDT 2004

----- Original Message -----
From: "Eli Stephens" <elishastephens at hotmail.com>
To: <marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>

> In the new book Banana Republicans, by Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber
> new book from the authors of Weapons of Mass Deception), they quote David
> Horowitz in his book The Art of Political War as quoting Lenin saying "In
> political conflicts, the goal is not to refute your opponent's argument,
> to wipe him from the face of the earth." However no attribution is given
> the Lenin quote. Can anyone confirm that this is a valid quote, and
> the source, or is it apocryphal (or worse)?

My best guess is that this is ultimately a mangled version of the following
passage from Marx, in "Introduction to A Contribution to the Critique of
Hegel's Philosophy of Right" (1843):

War on the German state of affairs! By all means! They are below the level
of history, they are beneath any criticism, but they are still an object of
criticism like the criminal who is below the level of humanity but still an
object for the executioner. In the struggle against that state of affairs,
criticism is no passion of the head, it is the head of passion. It is not a
lancet, it is a weapon. Its object is its enemy, which it wants not to
refute but to exterminate. For the spirit of that state of affairs is
refuted. In itself, it is no object worthy of thought, it is an existence
which is as despicable as it is despised. Criticism does not need to make
things clear to itself as regards this object, for it has already settled
accounts with it. It no longer assumes the quality of an end-in-itself, but
only of a means. Its essential pathos is indignation, its essential work is


It is possible that Lenin quoted or paraphrased the above passage from Marx
but I haven't found it.

Lou Paulsen
member, WWP, Chicago

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