Vladimir Lenin - Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels - Jean-Paul Sartre - Leon Trotsky - Osbert Sitwell - Jules Renard - Gustave Flaubert - Allan Bloom - Alain de Botton - Adam Curtis TV - George Orwell -
Bourgeois democracy, although it is a historical advance in comparison with medievalism, always remains, and under capitalism is bound to remain, restricted, truncated, false and hypocritical. A paradise for the rich and a snare and a deception for the exploited, for the poor.
The whole point is that a bourgeois state which is exercising the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie through a democratic republic cannot confess to the people that it is serving the bourgeoisie. It cannot tell the truth and has to play the hypocrite. Vladimir Lenin
The way to crush the bourgeoisie is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation. Vladimir Lenin
The bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upper hand, has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations. It has pitilessly torn asunder the motley of ties that bound man to his ‘natural superiors’, and left remaining no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous ‘cash payment’. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto
What the bourgeoisie therefore produces, above all, are its own grave-diggers. Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable. ibid.
And here it becomes evident that the bourgeoisie is unfit any longer to be the ruling class in society and to impose its conditions of existence upon society as an over-riding law. It is unfit to rule because it is incompetent to assure an existence to its slave within his slavery, because it cannot help letting him sink into such a state that it has to feed him instead of being fed by him. Society can no longer live under this bourgeoisie; in other words, its existence is no longer compatible with society.
The essential condition for the existence, and for the sway of the bourgeois class, is the formation and augmentation of capital; the condition for capital is wage-labour. Wage-labour rests exclusively on competition between the labourers. The advance of industry, whose involuntary promoter is the bourgeoisie, replaces the isolation of the labourers, due to competition, by their revolutionary combination, due to association. 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. Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable. ibid.
I have never seen a class so deeply demoralised, so incurably debased by selfishness, so corroded within, so incapable of progress, as the English bourgeoisie; and I mean by this, especially the bourgeoisie proper, particularly the Liberal, Corn Law repealing bourgeoisie. For it nothing exists in this world, except for the sake of money, itself not excluded. It knows no bliss save that of rapid gain, no pain save that of losing gold. In the presence of this avarice and lust of gain, it is not possible for a single human sentiment or opinion to remain untainted. Friedrich Engels, The Condition of the Working Class in England, 1845
You have to understand that all revolutionaries understand today that there is no way of overthrowing modern society except by violence for the very good reason that this society defends itself by oppression and violence. I’m defending a revolutionary cause because my personal goal which is that of all those here is to overthrow Bourgeois society. Jean-Paul Sartre
Civilisation has made the peasantry its pack animal. The bourgeoisie in the long run only changed the form of the pack. Leon Trotsky, History of the Russian Revolution, 1933
The British Bourgeoisie
Is not born,
And does not die,
But, if it is ill,
It has a frightened look in its eyes. Osbert Sitwell, At the House of Mrs Kinfoot, 1921
The bourgeois are other people. Jules Renard, diary 28th January 1890
Hatred of the bourgeois is the beginning of wisdom. Gustave Flaubert, Letter to George Sand
The whole dream of democracy is to raise the proletarian to the level of bourgeois stupidity. ibid.
In America we have only the bourgeoisie, and the love of the heroic is one of the few counterpoises available to us. In us the contempt for the heroic is only an extension of the perversion of the democratic principle that denies greatness and wants everyone to feel comfortable in his skin without having to suffer unpleasant comparisons. Students have not the slightest notion of what an achievement it is to free oneself from public guidance and find resources for guidance within oneself. Allan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind, 1988
The bourgeois thinkers of the eighteenth century thus turned Aristotle’s formula on its head: satisfactions which the Greek philosopher had identified with leisure were now transposed to the sphere of work, while tasks lacking in any financial reward were drained of all significance and left to the haphazard attentions of decadent dilettantes. It now seemed as impossible that one could be happy and unproductive as it had once seemed unlikely that one could work and be human. Alain de Botton, The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work, 2009
The European bourgeoisie took the momentous steps of co-opting on behalf of both marriage and work the pleasures hitherto pessimistically – or perhaps realistically – confined, by aristocrats, to the subsidiary realms of the love affair and the hobby. ibid.
Their leader Pol Pot had also studied revolutionary theories in Paris. And he believed that the only way for Cambodian society to reach utopia was to destroy the whole of Bourgeois society and start again back to year zero. Within hours of arriving in the capital Phnom Penh the Khmer Rouge set about slaughtering all the middle classes, some three million people in the end, because under Pol Pot’s logic they stood in the way of allowing the rest of the people to become truly free individuals. Adam Curtis, The Trap, BBC 2007
A person of bourgeois origin goes through life with some expectation of getting what he wants, within reasonable limits. Hence the fact that in times of stress ‘educated’ people tend to come to the front; they are no more gifted than the other and their ‘education’ is generally quite useless in itself, but they are accustomed to a certain amount of deference and consequently have the cheek necessary to a commander. George Orwell, The Road to Wigan Pier