V. I.   Lenin

Session of the Council of the R.S.D.L.P. (January 1904)

January 15-17 (28-30), 1904


Before speaking on the substance of the matter, let me say in passing once again that no one ever takes offence at the word Sumpf.[1]

Then as to the negotiations with Travinsky. My words have been interpreted here to mean that I deny that there were negotiations with him. Nothing of the sort. I did not deny that negotiations took place, but merely pointed to the difference between the significance private negotiations can have and that attaching to official ones. I quoted here a letter by Comrade Travinsky himself as proof that if formerly he viewed things as Comrade Plekhanov does, after wards he altered his view. That being the case, I would consider it quite out of place to raise the question of whom France will believe.[2] There is no need whatever to appeal to “France”.

Comrade Plekhanov declares that my peaceable “appeal” has had no effect even on myself. I repeat, all I do in that “appeal” is express the desire that certain methods of struggle should not be used. I call for peace. People reply by attacking the Central Committee, and then wonder that I thereupon attack the Central Organ. Alter the Central Committee has been attacked, I am accused of lack of peaceableness for hitting back! One has only to review our whole debate here in the Council in order to see who led off by proposing peace on the basis of the status quo and who   continued with war against the Central Committee. It has been claimed that Lenin did nothing but tell the opposition: "Do what you’re told and don’t argue!..." That is not quite so. All our September and October correspondence is evidence to the contrary. Let me remind you, for instance, that at th  beginning of October, I was prepared (with Plekhanov) to co-opt two to the editorial board. Then, as regards the ultimatum, which I myself helped to draw up, I was willing at that time to cede you two seats on the Central Committee. Next, I made another concession by resigning from the editorial board, which I did so as not to stand in the way of others joining. It will thus be seen that I did not only say “Do what you’re told and don’t argue”, but made concessions too. Now to the actual matter in hand. The attitude to my resolution strikes me as very strange. For does that resolution accuse anyone, is it in the nature of an attack upon anyone? All it speaks of is whether such-and-such forms of struggle are permissible or not. That there is a struggle is a fact, and the idea is purely and solely to draw a line between permissible and impermissible forms of it. And what I’m asking is: is that idea acceptable or not? Thus the expressions instrument of struggle”, “attack on the minority”, etc., in relation to my resolution are quite out of place. Possibly its form is not very happy—I would not argue particularly about that and would be prepared to modify the wording—but its essence, which is that the contending sides in the Party must keep their struggle within definite permissible bounds—that is not open to question. The kind of attitude the resolution is encountering here seems to me one-sided, for one of the sides concerned rejects it because it purports to discern in it some danger to itself. (Plekhanov: “I wish to offer a reminder that I have already pointed out several times that there are no two sides in this Council.") To that I can say that I am referring to the two sides that exist in actual fact, not to any juridical division of the Council into two. To Comrade Plekhanov’s resolution, on the substance of which nothing has been said here, the representatives of the editorial board have added nothing. Yet I was waiting all the time for the one-sided character of that resolution to be modified.



[1] Marsh.—Ed.

[2] This refers to the preceding speech of Plekhanov, who claimed that Krzhizhanovsky (Travinsky) had conceded in negotiations with him that the composition of the Iskra editorial board with the Menshe viks co-opted to it would be normal, and went on to add: “And if the truth of my words were to be called in question, I would reply as a certain Minister once did to Louis Philippe, who questioned his words: ’I say that it was so. You say that it was not. We shall see whom France will believe."’ (Lenin Miscellany X, p. 238.)

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