V. I.   Lenin

Draft of a Letter from the Central Committee and the Editorial Board of the Central Organ to
The Members of the Opposition

Written: Written in early part of October 1903
Published: First published in 1927, in Lenin Miscellany VI. Published according to the manuscript.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, publisher??, pubdate??, Moscow, Volume 7, pages 66-68.
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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After a number of unsuccessful attempts to reach an understanding in private conversations, the Central Commit tee of the Party and the editorial board of the Central Organ deem it their duty to address you officially in the name of the Party which they represent. The refusal of Comrade Martov to take his seat on the editorial board or to collaborate on Iskra, the refusal of the ex-members of the Iskra editorial board to collaborate, and the hostile attitude of several comrades engaged in practical work towards the central institutions of our Party are creating an absolutely abnormal attitude on the part of this “opposition”, so called, towards the Party as a whole. Their passive aloofness from Party work, their attempts to “boycott” the central Party institutions (as expressed, for example, in ceasing to contribute to Iskra beginning from its 46th issue and in the resignation of Comrade Blumenfeld from the printing establishment), their persistence, in conversation with a member of the Central Committee,[1] in calling themselves a “group”, in defiance of the Party Rules, their violent attacks on the Congress-approved personal composition of the central bodies and their demand to have it changed as a condition for ending the boycott—all this is conduct which cannot be regarded as consistent with Party duty. Such conduct borders on a direct breach of discipline and nullifies the decision adopted by the Congress (in the Party Rules) that the   allocation of the Party’s forces and resources is the function of the Central Committee.

The Central Committee and the editorial board of the Central Organ therefore remind all members of the so-called “opposition” of their Party duty. Dissatisfaction with the personal composition of the central bodies, whether due to personal resentment or to differences of opinion which particular Party members may consider serious, cannot and must not lead to disloyal actions. If, in the opinion of any person, the central bodies are committing mistakes, it is his duty as a Party member to point to these mistakes in the full view of the entire Party membership, and, above all, to point them out to the central bodies themselves. It is likewise the Party duty of the Central Committee and the editorial board of the Central Organ to examine all such intimations with the utmost care, no matter from whom received. Yet neither the editorial board of the Central Organ nor the Central Committee has received from the so-called opposition any clear and definite intimations of mistakes or expressions of dissatisfaction or disagreement on any score whatever. Comrade Martov even refuses to take his seat on the editorial board of the Central Organ and on the supreme Party Council, though only in that post would he be able to lay bare before the Party all such mistakes as he may descry in the activities of the central bodies.

The Central Committee and the editorial board of the Central Organ are firmly convinced that the Russian Social- Democratic Labour Party will not allow the institutions it has set up to be influenced by the illegitimate, covert (in relation to the Party) and disloyal method of pressure and boycott. The Central Committee and the editorial board of the Central Organ declare that they will remain at their posts come what may, until such time as the Party shall remove them, and that they will do their duty and spare no effort to perform the functions with which they have been charged. The attempts at “boycott” will not induce either the editorial board of the Central Organ or the Central Committee to swerve one hair’s breadth from the path they are following, in pursuance of the will of the Congress;   such attempts will only cause minor unpleasantnesses and major damage to individual branches of Party work, and will convict those who persist in them of failing to under stand their Party duty and of violating it.


[1] This member of the Central Committee was F. V. Lengnik (pseudonyms—Vasilyev, Kol).

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