V. I.   Lenin

Articles for “Rabochaya Gazeta”



Dear Comrades!

In response to your request I am sending three articles for the newspaper and deem it essential to say a few words about my collaboration in general and the relations between us in particular.

From your previous communication I gathered that you wanted to found a publishing firm and give me a series of Social-Democratic pamphlets to edit.

Now I see that matters are different, that you have set up your Editorial Board, which is beginning the publication of a newspaper and invites me to collaborate.

Needless to say, I agree willingly to this proposal as well, but I must state, in doing so, that I consider successful collaboration possible only on the following terms: 1) regular relations between the editors and the collaborator, who shall be informed of decisions on all manuscripts (accepted, rejected, changed) and of all publications of your firm; 2) my articles to be signed with a special pseudonym (if the one I sent you has been lost, choose another yourselves); 3) agreement between the editors and the collaborator on fundamental views concerning theoretical questions, concerning immediate practical tasks, and concerning the desired character of the newspaper (or series of pamphlets).

I hope the editors will agree to these terms and, in order to effect the earliest possible agreement between us, I will deal in brief with the questions arising out of the third condition.

I am informed that you find that “the old current is strong” and that there is no particular need for a polemic against Bernsteinism and its Russian echoers. I consider this view to be too optimistic. Bernstein’s public announcement that the majority of the Russian Social-Democrats agree with him[1]; the split between the “young” Russian Social-Democrats abroad and the Emancipation of Labour group[2] which is the founder, the representative, and the most faithful custodian of the “old current”; the vain efforts of Rabochaya Mysl to say some new word, to revolt against the “extensive” political tasks, to raise petty matters and amateurish work to the heights of apotheosis, to wax vulgarly ironical over “revolutionary theories” (No. 7, “In Passing”); lastly, complete disorder in the legal Marxist literature and the frantic efforts on the part of the majority of its representatives to seize upon Bernsteinism, the “criticism” à la mode—all this, in my opinion, serves to show clearly that the re-establishment of the “old current” and its energetic defence is a matter of real urgency.

You will see from the articles what my views on the tasks of the paper and the plan of its publication are, and I should very much like to know the extent of our solidarity on this question (unfortunately the articles have been written in somewhat of a hurry: it is very important for me to know the deadline for their delivery).

I think it is necessary to launch a direct polemic against Rabochaya Mysl, but for this purpose I should like to receive Nos. 1-2, 6, and those following 7; also Proletarskaya Borba.[3] I need the last-named pamphlet also in order to review it in the paper.

As to length, you write that I am to impose no constraint on myself. I think that as long as there is a newspaper I shall give preference to newspaper articles and deal in them even with pamphlet themes, reserving for myself the right to work the articles up into pamphlets at a later date. The subjects with which I propose to deal in the immediate future are: 1) the Draft Programme (I’ll send it soon)[4]; 2) questions of tactics and organisation that are to be discussed at the next congress of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party[5]; 3) a pamphlet on rules of conduct for workers and socialists at liberty, in prison, and in exile—modelled after   the Polish pamphlet (on “rides of conduct”—if you can, I should like you to obtain it for me); 4) strikes (I —their significance, II—laws on strikes; Ill—a review of some of the strikes of recent years); 5) the pamphlet, Woman and the Working-Class Cause, and others.

I should like to know approximately what material the Editorial Board has in hand, so as to avoid repetition and the tackling of questions that have already been “exhausted.”

I shall await an answer from the Editorial Board through the same channels. (Apart from this way I have not had nor have I any other means of communicating with your group.)




[1] Russian opportunists, the “economists” and the Bundists, were in agreement with Bernstein’s views. In his Premises of Socialism, Bernstein represented their agreement with his views as being that of the majority of the Russian Social-Democrats.

[2] This is a reference to the split in the Union of Russian Social-Democrats Abroad at its first conference held in Zurich in November 1898.

[3] The collection, Proletarskaya Borba (Proletarian Struggle), No. 1, published by the Social-Democratic group of the Urals, was printed in the winter of 1898-99 at the group’s own press. The writers who prepared the collection adopted an “economist” position, denied the necessity for an independent working-class political p arty and believed that the political revolution could be effected by a general strike. Lenin characterised the views of the authors of this collection in an assessment in Chapter IV of What Is to Be Done? (see present edition, Vol. 5).

[4] The reference is to “A Draft Programme of Our Party” (see pp. 227-54 of this volume).

[5] This refers to the Second Congress of the R.S.D.L.P., which was to have been convened in the spring of 1900. For Lenin’s attitude to the convening of a congress at this time see pp. 323 and 353 of this volume.

[6] F. P.— one of Lenin’s pen-names.


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