We arrived in London in April 1902.
The immensity of London staggered us. Although the weather was filthy the day we arrived, Vladimir Ilyich brightened up at once and began to look round at this citadel of capitalism with curiosity, Plekhanov and the editorial conflicts for the moment forgotten.
At the station we were met by Nikolai Alexeyev – a political emigrant living in London, who had mastered the English language. He acted as our guide at the beginning, as we found ourselves rather helpless. We thought we knew English, having in fact translated a thick book in Siberia from English into Russian (the Webbs' book). I had studied English in prison from a self-instructor but had never heard a word of spoken English. When we started translating the Webbs in Sushenskoye Vladimir Ilyich had been horrified at my pronunciation. "My sister had an English teacher, but she never sounded like that," he said. I did not argue, and started learning over again. When we arrived in London we found we could not understand a thing, nor could anybody understand us. It got us into comical situations at first. It amused Vladimir Ilyich, but at the same time put him on his mettle. He tackled English in earnest. We started going to all kinds of meetings, getting as close as we could to the speaker and carefully watching his mouth. We went fairly often to Hyde Park at the beginning. Speakers there harangue the strolling crowds on all kinds of subjects. One man – an atheist – tried to prove to a group of curious listener; that there was no God. We particularly liked one such speaker – he had an Irish accent, which we were better able to understand. Next to him a Salvation Army officer was shouting out hysterical appeals to Almighty God, while a little way off a salesman was holding forth about the drudgery of shop assistants in the big stores. Listening to English speech helped us a lot. Afterwards Vladimir Ilyich found two Englishmen through an advertisement, who wished to take Russian lessons in exchange for English, and began studying assiduously with them. He got to know the language fairly well.
Vladimir Ilyich studied London too. He did not go to the museums – I mean the ordinary museums, not the British Museum, where he spent half his time, attracted not by the museum itself, but by the world's richest library and the facilities it offered for study. After ten minutes in the museum proper, Vladimir Ilyich got very tired, and we would usually make a very quick exit from the rooms hung about with medieval armour and the endless halls filled with Egyptian and other ancient vessels. I remember only one museum Vladimir Ilyich could not tear himself away from – the Museum of the 1848 Revolution in Paris, housed in one little room – in the Rue den Cordeliers, I believe – where he examined every little thing, every drawing.
Ilyich studied living London. He liked taking long rides through the town on top of the bus. He liked the busy traffic of that vast commercial city, the quiet squares with their elegant houses wreathed in greenery, where only smart broughams drew up. There were other places too – mean little streets tenanted by London's work people, with clothes lines stretched across the road and anaemic children playing on the doorsteps. To these places we used to go on foot. Observing these startling contrasts between wealth and poverty, Ilyich would mutter in English through clenched teeth: "Two nations!"
But even from the top of the bus one could observe many characteristic scenes. Ill-clad lumpen-proletarians with pasty faces hung around the pubs, and often one would see among them a drunken woman with a bruised eye wearing a trailing velvet dress from which a sleeve had been ripped off. Once, from the top of a bus, we saw a huge "bobby" in his typical helmet and chin strap hustling before him with an iron hand a puny little urchin, who had evidently been caught stealing, while a crowd followed behind them whooping and whistling. Some of the people on the bus jumped up and began hooting at the little thief too. "Well, well!" Vladimir Ilyich would mutter sadly. Once or twice we took a ride on top of the bus to some working-class district on pay-day evening. An endless row of stalls, each lit up by a flare, stretched along the pavement of a wide road; the pavements were packed with a noisy crowd of working men and women, who were buying all kinds of things and satisfying their hunger right there on the spot. Vladimir Ilyich always fell drawn to the working-class crowd. Wherever there was a crowd he was sure to be there – whether it was an outing in the country, where the tired workers, glad to escape from the city, lay about for hours on the grass, or a public house, or a reading room. There are many reading rooms in London – just a single room opening straight on to the street, where there is not even a seat, but just a reading desk with newspaper files. The reader takes a file and when he is finished with it, hangs it back in its place. Ilyich, in years to come, wanted to have such reading rooms organized everywhere in our own country. He visited eating houses and churches. In English churches the service is usually followed by a short lecture and a debate. Ilyich was particularly fond of those debates, because ordinary workers took part in them. He scanned the newspapers for notices of working-class meetings in some out-of-the-way district, where there were only rank-and-file workers from the bench – as we say now – without any pomp and leaders. These meetings were usually devoted to the discussion of some question or project, such as a garden-city scheme. Ilyich would listen attentively, and afterwards say joyfully: "They are just bursting with socialism! If a speaker starts talking rot a worker gets up right away and takes the bull by the horns, shows up the very essence of capitalism." It was the rank and-file British worker who had preserved his class instinct in face of everything, that Ilyich always relied upon. Visitors to Britain usually saw only the labour aristocracy, corrupted by the bourgeoisie and itself bourgeoisified. Naturally Ilyich studied that upper stratum, too, and the concrete forms which this bourgeois influence took, without for a moment forgetting the significance of that fact. But he also tried to discover the motive forces of the future revolution in England.
There was hardly a meeting anywhere we did not go to. Once we wandered into a socialist church. There are such churches in England. The socialist in charge was droning through the Bible, and then delivered a sermon to the effect that the exodus of the Jews from Egypt symbolized the exodus of the workers from the kingdom of capitalism into the kingdom of socialism. Everyone stood up and sang from a socialist hymn-book: "Lead us, O Lord, from the Kingdom of Capitalism into the Kingdom of Socialism." We went to that church again afterwards – it was the Seven Sisters Church – to hear a talk for young people. A young man spoke about municipal socialism and tried to prove that no revolution was needed, while the socialist who had officiated as clergyman during our first visit declared that he had been a member of the party for twelve years and for twelve years he had been fighting opportunism – and that was what municipal socialism was – opportunism pure and simple.
We know little about English socialists in their home surroundings. The English are a reserved people. They regarded the Bohemianism of the Russian emigrants with naive wonder. I remember an English socialist we once met at the Takhtarevs' asking me: "Do you mean to say you've been in prison? If my wife were put in prison I don't know what I'd do! I just can't imagine it!" How strong these petty-bourgeois prejudices were we had an opportunity of observing in the case of our landlady's family – a working-class family – and the Englishmen we exchanged lessons with. This was where we were able to Study to our heart's content all the abysmal philistinism Of petty-bourgeois English life. One of the Englishmen `who came to us for his lessons was the manager of a large bookstore. He contended that socialism was a theory that set the most correct value on things. "I am a convinced socialist," he said. "At one time I even started to make socialist speeches. Then my employer sent for me and said he had no need for socialists, and if I wanted to keep my job I would have to hold my tongue. Well, I thought, socialism is inevitable, whether I speak for it or not, and I have a wife and children to look after. I no longer tell anyone that I'm a socialist, but you I can tell."
This Mr. Raymond, who has been nearly all over Europe, lived in Australia and other places, and spent most of his life in London, had not seen half of what Vladimir Ilyich had managed to see in London during his one year's stay there. One day Ilyich dragged him off to a meeting in Whitechapel. Like most Englishmen, Mr. Raymond had never been in that part of London, inhabited mostly by Russian Jews who lived a life of their own there unlike that of the rest of the city. He was astonished at what he saw.
We were in the habit of going for rambles in the suburbs too. More often than not we went to Primrose Hill. It was the cheapest trip – the fare only costing sixpence. The hill commanded a view of almost the whole of London – a vast smoke-wreathed wilderness of houses. From here we took long walks into the parks and country lanes. Another reason we liked going to Primrose Hill was because it was near the cemetery where Karl Marx was buried. We used to go there.
In London we met a member of our St. Petersburg group, Apollinaria Yakubova. Back in St. Petersburg she had been a very active worker. Everyone had thought highly of her and liked her, and she and I were bound still closer together by the fact that we had worked together in the Sunday School in the Nevskaya Zastava District and had a common friend in the person of Lydia Knipovich. Alter escaping from Siberian exile Apollinaria had married Takhtarev, former editor of Rabochaya Mysl. They were now living in London, but took no part in our activities. Apollinaria was delighted when we arrived. The Takhtarevs took us under their wing, and helped to fix us up in cheap and fairly comfortable lodgings. We saw Takhtarev very often, but as the subject of Rabochaya Mysl was generally avoided, our relations had a strained quality. Once or twice there was an explosion, and we had it out. In January 1903, I believe, the Takhtarevs officially declared their sympathy with the Iskra trend.
My mother was due to arrive soon, and we decided to set up on our own by renting two rooms and having our meals at home. We found that all those "ox-tails," skates fried in fat, and indigestible cakes were not made for Russian stomachs. Besides, we, wore living at the organization's expense, and that meant we had to economize every penny. Living at home would be cheaper.
As far as secrecy was concerned conditions could not have been better. No identity papers were needed in London at that time, and one could go under any name. We took the name of Richter. Another advantage was that all foreigners look alike to English people, and our landlady took us for Germans all the time we were there.
Shortly Martov and Vera Zasulich arrived and set up a communal household with Alexeyev in a continental-style apartment house not far away from us. Vladimir Ilyich made immediate arrangements to work at the British Museum.
He usually went there first thing in the morning, while Martov and I – Martov came early in the morning too – would an through the mail together. In this way Vladimir Ilyich was relieved of much of the tiresome routine.
The conflict with Plekhanov was over more or less. Vladimir Ilyich took a month off to go to Brittany to see his mother and sister Anna, and spend a few weeks with them by the seaside. He loved the sea with its incessant movement and vast spaces, and could relax properly there.
In London we immediately started getting visitors. Inna Smidovich (Dimka) came too – she soon after left for Russia. Another visitor was her brother Pyotr, who at the initiative of Vladimir Ilyich, had been christened Matryona. He had just come out of prison alter serving a long term, and become an ardent Iskra-ist. He considered himself an expert at erasing passports, the secret of which, he claimed, was "the use of sweat." He would turn all the tables in the commune upside down to serve as presses for sponging out the passports. The technique was extremely primitive, as was the whole of our secrecy technique at the time. Re-reading today the correspondence that we carried on with Russia makes one marvel at the naivete of our secrecy methods. All those letters about handkerchiefs (meaning passports), brewing beer and warm fur (illegal literature), all those code-names for towns beginning with the same letter as the town itself (Osip for Odessa, Terenty for Tver, Peter for Poltava, Pasha for Pskov, and so on), all that substituting of women's names for men's and vice versa – the whole thing was so thin, so transparent. It had not struck us as naive at the time, and to a certain extent it had succeeded in throwing the police off the track. There had not been so many agents provocateurs at the beginning as there were later. All our people were trustworthy and well known to each other. Iskra agents were working in Russia, who took delivery of all literature from abroad – Iskra and Zarya and pamphlets. They saw to it that the Iskra literature was reprinted at the illegal printing plants and distributed to the various locals. They arranged for correspondence to be delivered to Iskra, saw to if that it was kept informed of all the illegal work being conducted in Russia, and collected money for the newspaper.
In Samara (at Sonya's) there were the Rodents – -the Krzhizhanovskys (Clair – Gleb Krzhizhanovsky and Snail – his wife Zinaida). Lenin's sister Maria – Bear Cub, also lived there. A kind of centre was quickly formed in Samara. The Krzhizhanovskys had a knack of gathering people around them. Lengnik (Kurz) moved to the South, lived for a time in Poltava (at Petya's), then in Kiev. In Astrakhan there was Lydia Knipovich (Uncle). In Pskov Lepeshinsky (Bast Shoe) and Lyubov Radchenko (Pasha). Stepan Radchenko was utterly worn out and had given up illegal work, but then his brother Ivan (alias Arkady, alias Kasyan) worked unflaggingly for Iskra. He was a travelling agent. Another travelling agent who delivered Iskra all over Russia was Silvin (Vagabond). In Moscow there was Bauman (alias Victor, Tree, Rook), working in close contact with Ivan Babushkin (alias Bogdan). Other agents were Yelena Stasova (alias Thick and Absolute), who was closely associated with the St. Petersburg organization, and Glafira Okulova, who, after the arrest of Bauman, had moved to Moscow where she lived (at the Old Woman's) cinder the name of Baby Hare. With all these people Iskra carried on a lively correspondence. Vladimir Ilyich looked through every letter. We knew exactly what the various Iskra agents were doing and discussed all their work with them. When they lost touch with one another we put them in touch again, informed them of arrests, and so on.
Iskra had a printing press working for it in Baku. The work was carried on in strictest secrecy. The Yenukidze brothers worked there, and Krasin (Horse) was the manager. The plant was called Nina. Afterwards an attempt was made to run a printing press in Novgorod – Akulina, we called it, but it was soon suppressed. The former secret plant at Kishinev run by Akim (Leon Goldman) had fallen through by this time.
Shipments were made via Vilna (through Grunya).
The St. Petersburg comrades tried to arrange transportation through Stockholm. We had heaps of correspondence over this avenue, which operated under the name of Beer. We shipped literature to Stockholm by the hundred-weight and received confirmation that the Beer had been delivered. We were sure that it was being received in St. Petersburg and went on sending more literature to Stockholm. It was not until 1905, when we were returning to Russia via Sweden, that we learnt the beer was still in the brewery, in other words in Stockholm's People's House, where a whole cellar was stacked with literature.
The "Smaller Casks" were shipped through Vardo. Only one parcel, I believe, was received, and then some hitch occurred. Matryona was sent to live in Marseilles. She was to arrange shipment through cooks working on boats going to Batum. There delivery of the literature was organized by the Baku comrades (the Horses). Most of the literature, though, was thrown into the sea (it was wrapped up in tarpaulin and dropped overboard at a prearranged spot, where our comrades fished it out). Mikhail Kalinin, a member of our organization, who was then working at a factory in St. Petersburg, gave a sailor an address in Toulon through Stasova (Thick). Literature was also shipped via Alexandria (Egypt), and transportation was arranged through Persia. Afterwards it was arranged through Kamenets-Podolsk and Lvov. All these shipments ate up a mass of money and energy, not to mention the tremendous risks involved, and yet not more than a tenth of all we sent probably ever reached destination. We also used double-bottomed trunks and bookbindings to smuggle literature through. It was snapped up immediately.
What Is To Be Done? was a great success. It supplied the answers to a number of vital and pressing questions. Everyone keenly felt the need for an underground organization working according to plan.
A conference was opened in Belostok in June 1902 by the Bund (Boris). All the delegates with the exception of the St. Petersburg delegate, were arrested. As a result, Bauman and Silvin were arrested too. The conference decided to set up an organizing committee for convening a Party congress. Delays occurred, however. Representation by the local organizations was required, but these were still of an extremely unorganized and heterogeneous nature. For instance, in St. Petersburg the organization was split up into a workers committee (Manya), and an intellectuals' committee (Vanya). The workers' committee was chiefly to carry on the economic struggle, while the intellectuals' committee was to handle matters of high policy. This high policy, by the way, was of a very insignificant kind, and was more like liberal policy than revolutionary. This structure was a result of "Economism." Defeated in principle, it still held a secure footing locally. The Iskra group estimated this structure at its true worth. Vladimir Ilyich played an important part in the struggle for a proper structure of the organizations. His Letter to Yerema, better known as Letter to a Comrade (of which more anon) played an exceptionally important role in organizing the Party. It helped to strengthen the worker element in the Party and ensure the workers' active cooperation in deciding all urgent questions of policy. It broke down the wall which the Rabocheye Delo adherents had raised between the workman and the intellectual. The winter of 1902-03 saw a desperate struggle of tendencies within the organizations. The Iskra-ists steadily won ground, but sometimes they were "thrown out."
Vladimir Ilyich directed the struggle of the Iskra-ists, and warned them against a too vulgar interpretation of centralism. He combatted the tendency to regard every instance of live independent activity as "amateurish." This work of Vladimir Ilyich's, which so profoundly influenced the qualitative structure of the committees, is little known to the present generation, yet it was this that stamped the character of our Party and laid the foundation of its present organization.
The "Economists" of the Rabocheye Delo trend were strongly opposed to this struggle, as a result of which they had lost their influence, and resented "taking orders" from abroad.
Comrade Krasnukha arrived from St. Petersburg on August 6 to discuss organizational questions. His password was "Have you read No 47 of the Citizen?" Citizen became his Party sobriquet afterwards. Vladimir Ilyich had long talks with him about the St. Petersburg organization and its structure. Others who took part in these talks were P. A. Krasikov (alias Musician, Hairpin, Ignat and Pankrat) and Boris Noskov. From London Citizen went to Geneva to talk with Plekhanov and get properly "Iskra-fied." A week or two later we received a letter from Yerema giving his views about how the work ought to be organized locally. It was not clear from this letter whether Yerema was a single propagandist or a group of propagandists. But that was unimportant. Vladimir Ilyich began to think out a reply. The reply expanded into a pamphlet Letter to a Comrade on Our Organizational Tasks. It was first hectographed and distributed, and later, in June 1903, printed illegally by the Siberian Committee.
Babushkin, who had escaped from prison in Ekaterinoslav, arrived at the beginning of September 1902. He and Gorovits had been helped to escape and cross the frontier by gymnasium schoolboys, who had dyed his hair. It turned crimson after a while, and attracted general attention. When he came to us he had crimson hair. In Germany he fell into the hands of commission agents and very nearly got himself shipped off to America. We fixed him up in the commune, where he lived throughout his stay in London. Babushkin had developed politically beyond recognition. He was now an experienced revolutionary with a mind of his own, a man familiar with all kinds of working-class organizations, who, being himself a worker, had nothing to learn in the matter of approaching the workers. When he first came to the Sunday School several years before he had been quite an inexperienced young man. I remember the following episode. At first he was in Lydia Knipovich's group. They were having a Russian lesson, and quoting grammatical examples. Babushkin wrote on the board: "There will soon be a strike in our factory." Lydia called him aside after the lesson and told him off: "If you want to be a revolutionary you must not try to show off that you are one. You must be able to control yourself." Babushkin had reddened, but afterwards regarded Lydia as his best friend, and often consulted her, speaking to her in a tone he used with no one else.
At that time Plekhanov arrived in London. A meeting was arranged with Babushkin. Russian affairs were discussed. Babushkin had opinions of his own and stood up for them very firmly, so much so that Plekhanov was impressed and began to study him more closely. About his future work in Russia, though, he spoke to no one but Vladimir Ilyich, with whom he was particularly intimate. I remember another small but rather characteristic incident. A couple of days after Babushkin's arrival we were astonished, on coming into the communal room, to find how tidy it was. All the litter had been cleared away, newspapers were spread on the tables, and the floor had been swept. We learnt that Babushkin had tidied up. "The Russian intellectual is so untidy – he needs a servant to tidy up for him, he can't do it himself," said Babushkin.
He soon went back to Russia. We did not see him any more. He was seized in Siberia in 1906 with a consignment of arms and was shot with other comrades over an open grave.
A group of Iskra comrades, who had escaped from prison in Kiev, arrived in London while Babushkin was still there. They were Bauman, Krokhmal, Blumenfeld (the latter had been caught on the frontier with a trunk of literature and addresses and taken to Kiev prison), Vallach (alias Litvinov, Daddy) and Tarsis (alias Friday).
We knew that a group of prisoners had been preparing to break jail in Kiev. Deutsch, an expert on breaking jail, who had just arrived, declared that it was impossible (he had first-hand knowledge of conditions in the Kiev prison). Nevertheless the prisoners succeeded in making their escape. Ropes, grappling irons and passports were smuggled into the prison. During the walk in the prison yard the guard and warder were gagged and bound, and the prisoners climbed over the wall. The last one in the queue – Silvin, who was holding the warder – failed to make good his escape.
Several hectic days followed.
In the middle of August we received a letter from the editors of Yuzhny Rabochy a popular illegal organ of the workers, reporting arrests in the South and saying that they wished to establish close contact with the Iskra and Zarya organization.They also declared their solidarity with our views. This, of course, was a great step towards uniting our forces. In their next letter, however, the Yuzhny Rabochy group expressed disapproval with the sharp tone of Iskra's polemics with the liberals. Then they went on to speak about the literary group of Yuzhny Rabochy continuing to preserve its independence, and so on. Obviously, they were keeping something back.
The Samara comrades ascertained by means of negotiations that Yuzhny Rabochy's stand was characterized by: 1) underestimation of the peasant movement; 2) dissatisfaction at the sharp tone of the polemics with the liberals and 3) a desire to remain an independent group and publish their own popular organ.
At the beginning of October, Trotsky, who had escaped from Siberia, arrived in London. He considered himself then an Iskra-ist. Vladimir Ilyich studied him, and asked him many questions about his impressions of Russian work. Trotsky was being called back to Russia, but Vladimir Ilyich thought he ought to stay abroad to learn things and help in the work of Iskra. Trotsky went to live in Paris.
A new arrival was Ekaterina Alexandrova (Jacques), who had come from exile in Olekma. She had been a prominent Narodovolets, and this had left its mark upon her. She was unlike our enthusiastic gushing girls, such as Dimka, and was highly self-possessed. She was an Iskra-ist now, and what she said carried weight.
Vladimir Ilyich held the old revolutionaries of the Narodnaya Volya in great respect.
When Alexandrova arrived, his attitude towards her was not uninfluenced by the fact that she was a former Narodovolets, who had now joined the Iskra group. As for me, I looked up to her. Before definitely becoming a Social-Democrat I had gone to the Alexandrovs (Olminskys) to ask to be given a study-circle of workers. I remember being greatly impressed by the simple furniture, the stacks of statistical manuals piled up everywhere, the figure of Mikhail Stepanovich sitting at the far end of the room, and the fervent speeches of Ekaterina, his wife, who urged me to join the Narodnaya Volya. I told Vladimir Ilyich this before her arrival. She became one of our current enthusiasms. Vladimir Ilyich was always being enthusiastic over somebody or other. On detecting in a person some valuable trait, he would fairly pounce on him. Ekaterina Alexandrova left London for Paris. She did not prove to be a very staunch Iskra-ist. The web of opposition against Lenin's "grasping" tactics at the Second Party Congress was spun not without her assistance. Later she was on the conciliatory Central Committee, and afterwards quitted the political arena.
Of the other comrades from Russia who visited London I remember Boris Goldman (Adele) and Dolivo-DobrovolSky (Depth).
I had known Boris Goldman back in St. Petersburg, where he had been a technical worker of the organization engaged in printing leaflets for the League of Struggle. A great waverer, he was at that time an Iskra-ist. Dolivo was an amazingly quiet man. He used to sit as quiet as a mouse. Shortly after returning to St. Petersburg he went mad, and then, when half cured, shot himself. The underground in those days was a hard life, and not everyone could stand it.
Intensive preparations for the congress went forward all the winter. An Organizing Committee for preparing the congress was set up in December 1902, consisting of members of Yuzhny Rabochy, the Northern Union, of Krasnukha, I. I. Radchenko, Krasikov, Lengnik and Krzhizhanovsky; the Bund did not join it until afterwards.
The word "organizing" was very much to the point Without the O.C. it would not have been possible to call the congress. The complicated task of organizationally and ideologically coordinating bodies which were either newly formed or still in the process of formation, and arranging for their representation on a congress to he held abroad, had to be carried out under the extremely difficult conditions of police regime. Actually the entire work of communicating with the O.C. devolved on Vladimir Ilyich. Potresov was ill – London's fogs did not agree with his lungs, and he was taking medical treatment somewhere. Martov found London and its secluded life trying, and had gone to Paris and stayed there. Deutsch, an old member of the "Emancipation of Labour" group, who had escaped from exile, was to have lived in London too. The group had had great hopes for him as an organizer. "Wail till Zhenka (Deutsch's alias) comes," Vera Zasulich said, "he will organize contacts with Russia splendidly." Plekhanov and Axelrod relied on him, too, hoping that he would represent them on Iskra and keep an eye on things. When Deutsch arrived, however, we found that being cut off for so many years from Russia had left its mark upon him. He was quite unfit to handle contacts with Russia and was unfamiliar with the new conditions. His hunger for companionship led him to join the League of Russian Revolutionary Social-Democrats Abroad. He established wide contacts with the Russian colonies abroad, and shortly also left for Paris.
Vera Zasulich resided permanently in London. She listened eagerly to stories about work in Russia but was herself incapable of handling contacts with Russia. Vladimir Ilyich bore the brunt of all this work. Correspondence with Russia frayed his nerves badly. Those weeks and months of waiting for answers to his letters, constantly expecting the whole thing to fall through, that constant state of uncertainty and suspense were anything but congenial to Vladimir Ilyich's character. His letters to Russia were full of requests to write punctually. "We beg you again most earnestly and insistently to write us more often and more fully. Answer us without fail immediately you receive our letter, or at least drop us a line that you have received it." His letters were full of requests to act promptly. He did not sleep at night after receiving a letter from Russia saying that "Sonya is silent as the dead," or that "Zarin did not join the committee in time," or that "we have no contact with the Old Woman." I shall never forget those sleepless nights. It was Vladimir Ilyich's passionate desire to create a united solid party, merging into one all the detached groups whose attitude to the party was based on personal sympathies or antipathies. He dreamt of a party in which there would be no artificial barriers, national ones included. Hence the Struggle with the Bund. The majority of the Bund at that time adopted the standpoint of Rabocheye Delo. Vladimir Ilyich had no doubts that if the Bund joined the Party and kept its autonomy only in purely national matters it would inevitably have to come into line with the Party. But the Bund wanted complete independence on all questions. Its leaders talked about a political party of their own, unconnected with the R.S.D.L.P., and agreed to affiliate only on a federal basis. Such tactics were disastrous to the Jewish proletariat. The latter could never win by itself. Only by joining with the proletariat of all Russia could it become a force. The Bundists failed to understand that. And so Iskra waged a fierce struggle with the Bund. It was a fight for unity, for solidarity or the working-class movement. The whole editorial board was in it, but the Bundists knew that the most ardent champion in the struggle for unity was Vladimir Ilyich.
The "Emancipation of Labour" group once more raised the question of moving to Geneva, and this time Vladimir Ilyich had been the only one to vote against it. We began making preparations for the journey. Vladimir Ilyich's nerves were in such a bad state that he developed a nervous disease caused by inflammation of the nerve endings of the back and chest.
As soon as I saw the redness I looked up a medical handbook. I made it out to be ring-worm. Takhtarev, who had been a medical student in his fourth or fifth year, confirmed my conjecture, and I painted Vladimir Ilyich with iodine, which caused him excruciating pain. It had not occurred to us to send for an English doctor, as that would have cost a guinea. Workers in England are usually their own doctors, since medical assistance is very expensive. During the journey to Geneva Vladimir Ilyich was in great pain, and on arriving there he took to bed and lay there for a fortnight.
A job which did not get on Vladimir Ilyich's nerves in London, but rather gave him satisfaction, was the writing of the pamphlet To the Rural Poor. The peasant uprisings of 1902 suggested to him the necessity of a pamphlet for the peasants. He explained in it what the workers' Party was out for and why the peasant poor should go with the workers. It was the first pamphlet in which Vladimir Ilyich addressed himself to the peasantry.