V. I.   Lenin



Published: First published in 1929. Sent from Geneva to Kiev. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1974, Moscow, Volume 34, pages 220-222.
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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January 4, 1904

Old Man writing. I have just received Deer’s letter with a reply to mine of December 10[1] and I am answering immediately. You don’t have to ask me for a criticism of Deer’s views! I will say straight out that I am furious with Deer’s timidity and naïveté.

1) To write to the C.O. from the C.C. in Russia is the height of tactlessness. Everything must go through the C.C.’s representative abroad, and no other way. I assure you, this is essential if you want to avoid a terrific row. The C.O. must be told once and for all that there is the C.C.’s plenipotentiary representative abroad and that’s flat.

2) It is not true that there was some sort of agreement about the League minutes. You said plainly that you were leaving the question of publishing or shortening them to us; (As a matter of fact there was no “agreement” for you to make on this. Not even for the entire C.C.). You are hopelessly muddled up on this, and if you were to write a single incautious word, it will all appear in the press with an immense hullabaloo.

3) If in your letter to the C.O. about No. 53 you did not use a single word of protest against the obscenities about Schweitzer, bureaucratic formalism, etc., then I am bound to say that we have ceased to understand each other. In that case I shall say no more and come out as a private writer against these obscenities. In print, I shall call these gentlemen hysterical tricksters.

4) While the C.C. is muttering about positive work, Yeryoma and Martyn are stealing Nikolayev from it. This is a downright disgrace and another warning to you, the hundredth, if not thousandth. Either we win over the committees and convene a congress, or ignominiously retire from the scene under the hail of obscene attacks by the C.O., which denies me access to Iskra.

5) To speak of a conference of the committees and of an “ultimatum” (after they have ridiculed our ultimatum!) is simply ridiculous. Why, the Martovites will simply burst out laughing in reply to this “threat”! What do they care about ultimatums when they brazenly hold back money, attack the C.C. and openly say: “We await the first break-down.”

Can Deer have forgotten already that Martov is a pawn in the hands of cunning persons? And after this to still talk about the attitude of Martov and George towards Deer and Nil! It is offensive to read this naïveté. In the first place, both Martov and George don’t care a hang about all your Deer and Nils. Secondly, George is pushed right into the background by the Martovites and he says plainly that they don’t listen to him (which is clearly evident from Iskra). Thirdly, I repeat for the hundredth time that Martov is a cipher. Why didn’t that good soul Hans make friends here with Trotsky, Dan and Natalya Ivanovna? What a pity the dear fellow missed such a chance (the last chance) to make a “sincere”, “happy peace”.... Would it not be wiser to write letters directly to these “masters” than to weep on the neck of that rag doll, Martov? rust try and write, it will sober you up! And until you have written to them and personally received a spit in the face from them, don’t bother us (or them) about “peace”. We here can clearly see who is doing the chattering and who the bossing among the Martovites.

6) I gave my arguments in favour of a congress already last time. For heaven’s sake, don’t pussyfoot to yourself; postponing the congress would only be a proof of our impotence. And if you continue harping on peace, it will not only be Nikolayev that the enemies will take from you.

It’s either war or peace. If peace—then it means that you are giving way to the Martovites, who are waging a   vigorous and clever war. In that case you will suffer in silence while mud is being flung at you in the C.O. (=the ideological leadership of the Party!). In that we have nothing to talk about. I have already said in the press everything there was to be said, and will go on saying everything in the full sense of the word.

It is clear to me that the hounding we feared if I were to take Iskra on my own, has started all the same, only now my mouth is stopped. And it is childishness to rely on Andreyevsky’s talk about the influence of Lenin’s name.

If it’s war, I would ask you in that case to explain to me by what means, other than a congress, a real and honest war can be carried on.

I repeat that a congress now is not pointless, for Plekhanov is no longer with the Martovites. Publication (which I shall secure at all costs)[3] will finally separate him from them. And he is already at loggerheads with them.

The Martovites will not even mention the Six at the Third Congress. A split would be better than what we have at present, when they have dirtied Iskra with tittle-tattle. But they will hardly seek a split at the Third Congress, and we shall be able to hand over Iskra to a neutral committee, taking it away from both sides.

7) Against the League, I shall do my utmost to achieve a decisive war.

8) If Nil is still for peace, let him come and talk a couple of times with Dan. That will be enough, I’m sure!

9) We need money. There is enough for two months, and after that not a farthing. Don’t forget we are now “keeping” a bunch of scoundrels, who spit on us in the C.O. That is called “positive work”, Ich  gratuliere![2]


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

[2] My congratulations!—Ed.

[3] Meaning the publication of material concerning the C.C.’s negotiations with the Menshevik (Geneva) opposition.

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