V. I.   Lenin

TO ***[1]

Written: Written in Munich between September 6 and 15, 1900
Published: First published in 1921 in Lenin Miscellany I. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1971, Moscow, Volume 36, pages 32-33.
Translated: Andrew Rothstein
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
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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Dear Comrade,

We have received your letter, and hasten to reply.

If you consider the passing on of my words to G. as “ retribution”, as an unpleasant duty, then of course I must withdraw my request. If you do not find it unpleasant, please pass on my words on some suitable occasion, in a conversation, not as a complaint but as a correction. At all events, please bear in mind that I do not insist.

We are not displaying the “revolutionary Sotsial-Demokrat organisation”[2] signboard: when we wrote to you we emphasised that we were an independent literary undertaking.[3]

Whether we shall have an “impossible” polemic is a question we dealt with in our previous letter.

We have no intention whatever of forgoing personal acquaintance with this or that ally, but see no useful purpose in having special relations between the Literary Group[4] and the Union[5] at the present time, because the Union’s distrust of us can be dissipated, I repeat, only by our publications, and any preliminary conversations would be futile.

There has not been, and cannot be any question of “ considering the Literary Group’s attitude to the Union binding upon you”.

If your refusal to participate is quite out of the question, we are very glad not to have understood you quite correctly, and hasten to send you an address to which all material from Russia could be sent (the Rögner address given you can be used only from abroad, and please don’t pass it on to anyone else). Please inform us what you might   contribute to the journal and the newspaper, whether or not you have anything ready and, if not, when you think you could write.


[1] The addressee is unknown.

[2] Revolutionary Sotsial-Demokrat organisation was formed by the members of the Emancipation of Labour group and their supporters in May 1900, following the split of the Union of Russian Social-Democrats Abroad at its Second Congress. In October 1901, on Lenin’s proposal, the revolutionary Sotsial-Demokrat organisation united with the Iskra organisation abroad into the League of Russian Revolutionary Social-Democracy Abroad.

[3] A reference to the newspaper Iskra.

[4] The Literary Group, consisting of Lenin, L. Martov and A. N. Potresov, was set up on Lenin’s initiative after his return from exile in early 1900. Its main task and programme of action were to organise an all-Russia political newspaper and unite the best Social-Democratic forces around it.

[5] Union of Russian Social-Democrats Abroad was set up in Geneva in 1894 on the initiative of the Emancipation of Labour group. It had its own printing press for issuing revolutionary literature, and published the journal Rabotnik (Worker). Initially, the Emancipation of Labour group directed the Union and edited its publications. But afterwards opportunist elements (“the young” or Economists) gained the upper hand within the Union. At the Union’s first congress in November 1898, the Emancipation of Labour group announced that it would no longer edit the Union’s publications. The final break and the group’s withdrawal from the Union took place at the Union’s second congress in April 1900; the Emancipation of Labour group and its followers walked out of the congress and set up an independent organisation, Sotsial-Demokrat.

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