V. I.   Lenin



Written: Written December 18, 1903
Published: First published in 1929. Sent from Geneva to Kiev. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1974, Moscow, Volume 34, pages 204-206.
Translated: Clemens Dutt
Transcription\Markup: D. Moros
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive (2005). 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.README

Dear friend,

It is essential that we clear up in all details a question on which we apparently differ, and I beg you to forward this letter of mine for discussion by all members of the C.C. (or its Executive Committee[2]). The difference is this: 1) you think that peace with the Martovites is possible (Boris even congratulates us on peace! It is both comic and tragic!); 2) you think that an immediate congress is an acknowledgement of our impotence. I am convinced that on both points you are cruelly mistaken. 1) The Martovites are heading for war. At the meeting in Geneva, Martov bluntly shouted: “We are a force.” They vilify us in their newspaper and basely sidetrack the issue, covering up their trickery by yelling about bureaucracy on your part. On every hand Martov continues to clamour about the C.C. being absolutely ineffective. In short, it is native and quite impermissible to doubt that the Martovites are out to seize the C.C. as well by the same methods of trickery, boycott and brawling. A fight with them on this level is beyond our strength, for the C.O. is a powerful weapon and our defeat is inevitable, especially in view of the arrests. By letting the time slip by you are heading for the certain and complete defeat of the entire Majority, you are silently swallowing the insults which the C.C. is suffering abroad (at the hands of the League) and asking for more. 2) A congress will demonstrate our strength, will prove that not merely in words but in fact we shall not permit a clique of brawlers abroad to boss the whole movement. It is now that a congress is needed, when the watchword is: the fight against disruption. Only this watchward justifies   a congress, and justifies it completely In the eyes of Russia as a whole. By losing this opportunity, you lose this watchword and prove your impotent, passive subordination to the Martovites. To dream of strengthening our positions by positive work in face of the attacks on the part of the C.O. and the Martovites’ boycott and agitation is simply ludicrous. It means slowly perishing in an inglorious struggle against the intriguers, who will say afterwards (and are already saying): see how ineffective this Central Committee is! I repeat, don’t harbour any illusions. Either you dictate peace to the Martovites at a congress, or they will kick you out ingloriously or replace you at the first setback caused by arrests. The congress now has an aim, namely: to put an end to the intolerable disruption, to sweep away the League, which flaunts every and any C.C., to take the Council firmly into its hands and put the Central Organ in order. How to put it in order? At worst by leaving even the Five (or by restoring the Six); but this worst event is improbable if we get a big majority. Then we shall either rout the Martovites completely (Plekhanov is beginning to talk of a new Vademecum, seeing that there is no peace, and is threatening to attack both contending sides. That’s just what we want!), or we shall say frankly that we have no guiding C.O. and we shall convert it into an organ for discussion, with freedom for signed articles of the Majority and the Minority (or even better: relegate the polemic with the Martovites to pamphlets, and in Iskra fight only against the government and the enemies of Social-Democracy).

And so, abandon the naïve hope of working peacefully in such an impossible atmosphere. Send all the main forces out on tours, let Deer travel, secure immediately the absolute support of your own committees, then launch an attack on those of the others, and—a congress, a congress not later than January!

P.S. If Martov asks Deer concerning publication[3]—let Deer without fail transfer his vote to Stake; without fail, otherwise there will be an arch-scandal! When Martov and Dan speak to Stake at rendezvous they treat him with intolerable insolence!

P.P.S. Today, 18th, another dirty trick of the Martovites: their refusal to publish in No. 54 my letter on why   I resigned from the editorial board,[1] on the pretext that Hans was against publication of documents (they have become inveterate liars! Hans was against it provided there was peace!). The refusal is accompanied by a heap of dis gusting statements, such as that the C.C. has been trying to lay hands on the C.O., that negotiations have gone on for restoring confidence in the C.C., and so on. The tactic is clear: hypocritically to disguise the opposition of the Dans, Martyns, etc., to the C.C. and on the sly to fling mud at the C.C. in the newspaper. On no account shall I leave the vile No. 53 unanswered. Wire immediately: 1) do you agree to the publication of my letter outside Iskra? 203 shares; 2) do you agree to devote all efforts immediately to the congress? 204 shares. If the answer to both questions is “yes”, then wire: 407 shares. If it is “no” to both, then 45 shares.

The day after tomorrow I shall send you my letter of resignation from the editorial board. If you do not agree to an immediate congress and intend to suffer Martov’s Insults without saying anything, then I shall probably have to resign from the Central Committee as well.


[1] See present edition, Vol. 7.—Ed.

[2] The C.C.’s Executive Committee was set up in the second half of October 1903 and consisted of three C.C. members—G. M. Krzhizhanovsky, L. B. Krasin and F. V. Gusarov.

[3] This refers to the publication of material concerning the C.C.’s negotiations with the Menshevik (Geneva) opposition abroad.

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