V. I.   Lenin



Published: First published in 1929 in the journal Proletarskaya Revolyutsiya No. 8-9. Sent from Shushenskoye to Podolsk. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 37, pages 281-282.
Translated: The Late George H. Hanna
Transcription\Markup: D. Moros
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive.   You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work, as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.
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September 1, 1899

I did not manage to write to you on Sunday, Mother dearest, and am writing in the middle of the week.

Yesterday we received books by Bernstein and Vandervelde[1] and two issues of Moskovskiye Vedomosti—Bernstein was wrapped in one of them—and half another issue (No. 223) came in a separate packet, which surprised us more than a little. Has something been lost, or has there been a mistake?

As regards Bernstein—I have decided that I may consider it mine; Manyasha did not say exactly that she wants it back by a certain date, but wrote that she is taking steps to obtain another copy. I need that book very much. If, contrary to expectations, Manyasha needs the copy she sent me, she should write to me about it immediately.

Nadya and I started reading Bernstein’s book immediately; we have read more than a half and its contents astonish us more and more as we go on. It is unbelievably weak theoretically—mere repetition of someone else’s ideas. There are phrases about criticism but no attempt at serious, independent criticism. In effect it is opportunism (or rather, Fabianism—the original of many of Bernstein’s assertions and ideas is to be found in the Webbs’ recent books), unbounded opportunism and possibilism, and cowardly opportunism at that, since Bernstein does not want to attack the programme directly. There is little doubt but what it   will be a fiasco. Bernstein’s statement that many Russians agree with him ... (pp. 170 and 173, footnotes) made us very indignant. We people here must indeed be getting “old” and must be “lagging behind” the “new words”... copied from Bernstein. I shall soon be writing to Anyuta on this subject in detail.[2]

Yesterday (at long last!) we received Webb, Volume II in English (no German—we are asking for it today)— without any letter or news about the first volume!

I now find that it is essential to make a few changes and add something to my article against Bulgakov. I will do this in the rough copy I have here. I ask Anyuta to demand the immediate return of the second article and to keep it until she receives my corrections.[3]

We have little news. Anatoly gets worse and worse. Gleb is leaving soon for Nizhneudinsk (Irkutsk Gubernia) to work on the railway. Yelizaveta Vasilyevna yesterday received a money order for 100 rubles.

Many kisses for you,
V. U.

Regards from all.

P.S. I have found out that the Frankfurter Zeitung is delivered to someone not far from here, so you need not subscribe to it. I ask Manyasha to obtain for me (order from Dresden or try to find them among acquaintances) issues of the Sächsische Arbeiterzeitung for 1898 (1) containing Parvus’s articles against Bernstein and (2) issues Nos. 253, 254 and 255 for 1898.[4]


[1] It is not known which of Vandervelde’s books is referred to here—Ed.

[2] Here a letter in invisible ink is meant.—Ed.

[3] Owing to the loss of the manuscript, it is impossible to say what corrections to his second article on “Capitalism in Agriculture” Lenin is referring to. As can be seen by the next letter, he sent them long before the article was published.

[4] Sächsische Arbeiterzeitung (Saxon Workers’ Gazette)—a Social-Democratic daily published in Dresden from 1890. From May 1, 1908 it was published as Dresdener Volkszeitung (Dresden People’s Gazette).

An article by G. V. Plekhanov “Wofür sollen wir ihm dankbar sein? Offener Brief an Karl Kautsky” (What Should We Thank Him For? An Open Letter to Karl Kautsky) appeared in issues 253, 254 and 255; in this article Plekhanov criticised Bernstein sharply. Bernstein polemised with Plekhanov over this article in a footnote to the last chapter of his Voraussetzungen des Sozialismus.

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