V. I.   Lenin



Published: First published in 1929. Sent from Geneva to Russia. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1974, Moscow, Volume 34, pages 215-217.
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.
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December 30, 1903

We have received your letter of December 10 (old style). We are surprised and angered by your silence on burning issues and your unpunctuality in correspondence. It is really impossible for matters to be conducted in this fashion! Get another secretary if Bear and Doe are unable to write every week. Just think, so far nothing substantial has been received from Deer! So far (after 20 days) there has been no reply to our letter of December 10 (new style).[1] At all costs this scandalous state of affairs must be put an end to!

Further, we categorically insist on the need to know where we stand in the struggle against the Martovites, on the need to reach agreement among ourselves and to adopt an absolutely definite line.

Why haven’t you sent Boris over here, as Hans here wanted? If Boris were here, he would not be writing us ridiculous speeches about peace. Why hasn’t Hans fulfilled his promise to write to the Old Man an exact account of Boris’s mood? If you can’t send Boris, send Mitrofan or Beast in order to clear up the matter.

I repeat over and over again: Hans’s main mistake lies in having trusted to his latest impression. No. 53 ought to have sobered him. The Martovites have taken possession of the C.O. for the purpose of war, and now war is being waged all along the line: attacks in Iskra, brawling at public lectures (recently in Paris Martov read a lecture about the split to an audience of 100 and engaged in a   fight against Lebedev), the most shameless agitation against the Central Committee. It would be unpardonable short sightedness to think that this could not spread to Russia. Things here have reached a stage when the C.O. has broken off relations with the C.C. (the C.O. resolution of December 22, sent to you), and when the C.O. has published a false statement (Iskra No. 55) alleging an agreement about non-publication of the negotiations).

It is high time you gave serious thought to the political situation as a whole, took a broader view, got away from the petty, everyday concern with pence and passports, and, without burying your head in the sand, got clear on where you are going and for the sake of what you are dilly dallying.

There are two tendencies among us in the C.C., if I am not mistaken (or, perhaps, three? What are they?). In my opinion they are: 1) to procrastinate, without convening a congress and turning a deaf ear, as far as possible, to attacks and grossest insults, and to strengthen the position in Russia; 2) to raise a storm of resolutions against the C.O., to devote all efforts to winning over the shaky committees and to prepare a congress in two, or at most three, months’ time. And so, I ask: what does your strengthening of the positions consist in? Only in your losing time, while the adversary is mustering his forces here (and the groups abroad matter a lot!), and in your putting off a decision until you suffer defeat. Defeat is inevitable and will be fairly rapid—it would be sheer childishness to ignore that.

What will you leave us after the defeat? Among the Martovites—fresh and increased forces. Among us—broken ranks. For them—a strengthened Central Organ. For us—a bunch of persons badly handling the transportation of a Central Organ that abuses them. That is a sure path to defeat, a shameful and stupid postponement of inevitable defeat. You are merely closing your eyes to this, taking advantage of the fact that the war abroad is slow in reaching you. Your tactics literally amount to saying: after us (after the present composition of the C.C.), the deluge a deluge for the Majority).

I think that even if defeat is inevitable, we must make our exit straightforwardly, honestly and openly, and that   is possible only at a congress. But defeat is by no means inevitable, for the Five are not solid, Plekhanov is not with them, but in favour of peace, and a congress could show up both Plekhanov and them, with their supposed differences of opinion. The only serious objection to a congress is that it will necessarily legitimise a split. To this I reply: 1) even that is better than the present position, for then we can make our exit honestly instead of prolonging the disgraceful position of being spat upon; 2) the Martovites have missed the moment for a split, and their withdrawal from the Third Congress is improbable, for the present struggle and full publicity remove the possibility of a split; 3) a deal with them, if that were possible, is best of all done at the congress.

Discuss this matter seriously and send your reply at long last, giving the opinion of each (absolutely each) member of the Central Committee.

Don’t bother me about leaflets; I am not a machine and in the present scandalous situation I can’t work.


[1] See pp. 200–01 of this volume.—Ed.

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