V. I.   Lenin

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

January 15-17 (28-30), 1904


Speeches On the Publication of Party Literature, January 17 (30)


I shall begin from the end. Comrade Martov has misunderstood the Central Committee’s letters, particularly on the subject of funds, and given a wrong interpretation of them. He leaves out of account that these letters were a sequel to a conversation which he, Martov, had with Travinsky. Martov himself wrote about the purport of that conversation in these terms: “To Comrade Travinsky, as to yourself, I mentioned 5,000-6,000 as the expected minimum of what could over a year be obtained for the Party from the two sources to which the members of the editorial board have access." I must state that Travinsky spoke of this being made available as a lump sum, not over the course of a year, so that there is some misunderstanding. The fact is that we counted on these 5,000 and apportioned funds between the Russian and the foreign treasury accordingly.

Comrade Martov said that both the financial sources (incidentally, how greatly the editorial board in its irritation misrepresents the matter is evident from the fact that in letters to the Central Committee Martov actually used the word “moneybags” in quotation marks and blamed us for this expression, when in reality it was his own expression, not ours)—I repeat, Comrade Martov said that both the financial sources were known to us. Yes, they are known, but the point is not whether they are known, but whether they are accessible. I know that one of these sources could provide up to   10,000 a year, the other up to 40,000, but that does not help, for to me they are inaccessible. And it is their conversion from accessible into inaccessible sources that constitutes the cutting off of funds, which is an absolutely impermissible method of waging the struggle in the Party.

There is also the fact of the recent arrests, involving people who were due to obtain money in Russia. We have no money here, getting any from Russia will be a long business, and it will cost hundreds of rubles for the dispatch of special messengers. Some money will be coming through eventually, of course, barring further mishaps, but not soon, nor, in all likelihood, really enough.

That there were threats in the Central Committee’s letter is quite untrue. There was no question of any threatening, for what the Central Committee was concerned for all along was the publication of the Central Organ. The point about addresses Comrade Vasilyev will deal with. According to our information, the editorial board is sending agents of its own to Russia. This implies a separate Central Organ treasury, which means a de facto split in the Party. It is contrary to the Rules, which require that the Central Committee should be kept fully informed and that all funds and all organisation of practical activities should be wholly concentrated in its hands. The Central Organ is grossly violating the Rules by setting up its own centre of travelling agents, its own centre of practical leadership and intervention in the affairs of the committees. The existence of these agents, contrary to the Party Rules, introduces direct disorganisation into the work. The Central Committee cannot and will not be answerable for order in the conduct of affairs when disorder is systematically introduced by the Central Organ itself. Here are letters from Odessa and Baku which illustrate how the matter stands. The Odessa letter, of December 24, says: "We had a visit yesterday from Zagorsky,[1] who announced that he had been delegated by the editorial board to inform the committees of the latest developments, the negotiations, the present position in the editorial board and the editors’ request to send in material and contributions and to commission leaflets or suggest topics for leaflets of general interest, and also for pamphlets, to issue which a special group has been set up. He repeated all the old stuff and   worked hard to prove the minority right, nobleminded and ’loyal’. The committee heard him out, then asked some questions, one of them being whether the Central Committee was informed of his mission; whereupon, instead of giving a straight yes or no, he proceeded to exonerate himself and prove that the editorial board had every right to approach the committees without the Central Committee’s knowledge. He insisted that his communication should be discussed and a resolution drawn up there and then, in his presence; to which the committee replied that it took note of the communication, but that as to discussing it and passing a resolution, it would do that when it saw fit, while now it was going on to its regular business."[2] And here is what we read in a letter of January 1 from Baku: “The Baku Committee. has received a visit from Martyn,[3] who came with a com  munication from the Central Organ and with the undisguised object of sowing distrust in the Central Committee. When, at the end of his statement, he inquired as to the committee’s opinion, the answer he got was: The Central Committee has our implicit confidence. And when he retorted that he would like to know their attitude to the Central Organ, he was told without any mincing of words that after what they had just heard (the statement of his mission) confidence in the latter ’had been shaken’."[4]

Equally improper and against the rules of secrecy is it that the Central Organ gives information on the composition of the Central Committee not only to the committees, but to private individuals (as for instance to Druyan, as the Central Committee pointed out in a letter to the Central Organ). As to “waging war”, the fact is that Comrade Martov here confuses two totally different things. In the sphere of positive work and procuring funds any warfare (boycotts and the like) is most certainly impermissible, and the Central Committee has never engaged in any such thing. In the sphere of literature, however, “war   is permissible, and no one has ever restricted the Central Organ’s polemics. You vill recall that even at a much earlier period the Central Committee expressed complete readiness to publish both Dan’s letter on the slogans of the opposition and Martov’s pamphlet Once More in the Minority, though both contain attacks upon itself.

The Central Committee has never once caused any delay in issuing the Central Organ’s publications. Nor has there been a single case of the Central Committee improperly or unfairly distributing literature, of its “discriminating” against the minority committees. On the contrary, Travinsky has here testified and proved that the minority committees were first of all generously supplied; Comrade Martov has had to admit that in this respect the Central Committee’s activities are above reproach. As to refusing people Party literature, the matter stands as follows. Every Party member without exception (if he inspires confidence as regards secrecy precautions, etc.) is given literature free to transport to Russia and there hand over to the Central Committee agents for distribution. But when people have the hardihood to call themselves members of the Party and at the same time refuse to hand over literature to the Central Committee agents for general distribution, then naturally the Central Committee cannot (and has not even the right to) deal with such individuals. And if these people afterwards buy up literature for their separate parochial enterprises which disorganise the common work, so much the worse for them.


[1] Zagorsky—pseudonym of the Menshevik V. N. Krokhmal.

[2] Lenin is quoting a letter of December 24, 1903 (January 6, 1904), from I. K. Lalayants to N. K. Krupskaya.

[3] Martyn—pseudonym of the Menshevik V. N. Rozanov.

[4] Lenin is quoting a letter of January 1 (14), 1904, from L. B. Krasin to the Foreign Branch of the Central Committee.

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