V. I.   Lenin

Note on the Position of the New Iskra

Written: Written in December 1903
Published: First published in 1929 in Lenin Miscellany X. Published according to the manuscript.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, publisher??, pubdate??, Moscow, Volume 7, pages 130-131.
Translated: Fineberg Abraham
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala and D. Walters
Copyleft: V. I. Lenin Internet Archive (www.marxists.org) © 2002 Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.
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What angers me most in the position taken up by the “Martovite” Iskra is its intrinsic dishonesty and falsehood, the attempt to evade the essence of the matter, the attempt to falsify Party opinion and judgement, to misrepresent concepts and facts. And I think that the obtuseness and indifference shown by some comrades, their insensitiveness to this falsehood, can only be due to their ignorance of the facts. Ignorance must be combated by explanation, and I shall certainly keep to my intention of explaining the whole matter in the greatest detail (if necessary, with all the documents) in a special pamphlet, which I shall undertake as soon as the minutes of the Party and League Congresses come out, that is to say, very soon.[1]

The chief distortion by which the Martovites try to deceive the Party (in their hysterical state very possibly, and even probably, primarily deceiving themselves) is, firstly, misrepresentation of the true sources and causes of the divergence among the Iskra-ists, and, secondly, mis- rep resentation of the concepts of circle spirit and disruption, of sectarianism and party spirit.

The first misrepresentation is that they represent as a difference of “principle” the recriminations—for that is what they actually were—exchanged by the two sides after the Congress, during the struggle between the central bodies and the opposition. These recriminations consisted in the opposition calling the majority autocrats, formalists, bureaucrats, etc., while the majority called the opposition hysterical place-seekers, a party of rejected Ministers or hysterical rowdies (vide the Congress of the League). And now a n e side of these mutual “compliments” is being held   up in the Central Organ as a difference of principle! Isn’t that despicable?

In reality the cause of the divergence was the Martov ites’ swing-over to vards the Marsh. That swing-over was clearly to be seen at the Congress in the matter of Paragraph I of the Rules and in the grouping in the elections to the central bodies. This difference, which in a measure certainly was one of principle, is evaded and hushed up.

The second misrepresentation is that, when it is they who have for three months been disrupting the whole Party and all the work in the interests of a circle, in order to worm themselves into the central bodies (for no one ever restrict ed genuine controversy or the free expression of opinion; on the contrary, the Martovites were invited and urged to write), the Martovites now, after getting into the editorial board by the back door, bring forward the ludicrous accusation that the majority is disruptively formalistic, bureaucratic, etc., saying nothing about their own boycott, their place-seeking, etc. Isn’t that despicable? Either—or; either consign the whobe “squabble” to oblivion, and in that case don’t talk about it at all, do not countenance in the Central Organ any recrudescence of the squabble—for this outcry about bureaucracy is precisely a recrudescence of wretched place-seeking; or raise the question of the diver gence, and in that case disclose everything.


[1] This pamphlet was One Step Forward, Two Steps Back (pp. 203-425 of this volume).

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