The Hangman and the Priest

For every revolutionary minister or priest, there are at least two reactionary ones:

All oppressing classes stand in need of two social functions to safeguard their rule: the function of the hangman and the function of the priest. The hangman is required to quell the protests and the indignation of the oppressed; the priest is required to console the oppressed, to depict to them the prospects of their sufferings and sacrifices being mitigated (this is particularly easy to do without guaranteeing that these prospects will be “achieved”), while preserving class rule, and thereby to reconcile them to class rule, win them away from revolutionary action, undermine their revolutionary spirit and destroy their revolutionary determination.

Lenin, Collected Works, volume 21, pp. 231-2.

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One thought on “The Hangman and the Priest

  1. I think I said earlier that Lenin was by far the most sympathetic and perceptive among all the socialists and anarchists (and even liberals) towards Gapon. In St. Petersburg the local Bolshies didn’t want to get involved and disrupted Gapon’s meetings – Lenin had a go at them for that. In the end, Gapon was a little too naive.

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