V. I.   Lenin



From Lenin to the Members of the C.C.

Published: First published in 1926. Sent from Geneva to Russia. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1974, Moscow, Volume 34, pages 326-327.
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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August 14, 1905

Dear friends,

I have just read in Iskra No. 107 the minutes of the meeting of July  12, 1905, between the C.C. and the Organisation Committee.[1] It is most regrettable that so far the promised minutes have not been received from you. There have been no letters either. Really, it is impossible to work in this way. I knew nothing about the plan to issue the “Open Letter” or the plan of negotiations, or the plan for some sort of concessions. Is such an attitude to a member of the collegium permissible? Think of the position you put me in! The position is absolutely impossible, for it is precisely here, abroad, that I have to answer everybody frankly—you will admit this yourself on calm reflection.

Your reply to the Organisation Committee gives rise to a number of perplexities. I can’t make out whether you are trying to be cunning or what? Can you have forgotten that there is the straightforward resolution of the Third Congress that the terms 6f unification must be endorsed by a new congress? How could one talk seriously of co-opting to the C.C. when there are two rival organs? How could one leave unanswered the toleration of two central organs, i.e., a complete violation both of the Rules and of the decisions of the Third Congress? How was it possible not to present the Mensheviks with a principled ultimatum on the organisational question: (1) congresses instead of plebiscites as the supreme organ of the Party; (2) unconditional subordination of Party literature to the Party; (3) direct elections to the C.C.; (4) subordination of the minority to the majority, etc.?

Haven’t you taken warning from the unfortunate exam pie of the transportation “agreement”, which was immediately wrecked by Frockcoat, causing so much fresh bitterness?[2] Nothing can do such harm to the cause of future unity as a fictitious agreement which satisfies no one and leaves grounds for a struggle; such an “agreement” will inevitably lead to a new rupture and redoubled bitterness!

Or are you being cunning? Are you hoping to “take in” the Organisation Committee, or to set the Mensheviks in Russia at loggerheads with those abroad? Has there not been sufficient experience on this score, proving the futility of such attempts?

I repeat in all seriousness: you are putting me in an impossible position. I am not exaggerating. I earnestly request you to answer these questions: 1) shall we have the meeting on September 1, as we decided, or have you rescinded this decision? 2) if you have rescinded it, then how, when and where will your meeting (of C.C. members) be held and what measures do you intend to take to enable me to cast my vote and (what is much more important) discover your real intentions. A meeting is devilishly necessary on a thousand matters. We have no money. The Germans, for some reason, are not giving any. If you do not send 3,000 rubles, we shall go under. Practically all the minutes have been set up,[3] 1,500 rubles are needed for the publication. The treasury is empty as never before.

What is this resolution of the Orel-Bryansk Committee? (Iskra No. 106.)[4] There is some muddle here. For heaven’s sake, tell us what you know. Couldn’t someone be sent there—Lyubich from Voronezh, for example?


[1] The Menshevik Iskra published the minutes of the meeting between the C.C. of the R.S.D.L.P. and the Mensheviks’ centre—the Organisation Committee—held on July 12, 1905, to discuss unification of the Party. The Mensheviks proposed a plan, which, considering the impossibility of convening a Congress, called for unification of the Party “by means of sufficient mutual concessions by both sections of the Party”. The plan set forth in the minutes provided for the Organisation of a Central Committee consisting of representatives of both sections of the Party, and for retaining Iskra and Proletary as the official organs of the Party. The   representatives of the C.C. of the R.S.D.L.P. found the point concerning the formation of a Central Committee consisting of representatives of both sections of the Party acceptable; the question of the functioning of two organs was postponed pending clarification of the attitude towards this on the part of the editorial boards concerned; as to the terms in general, the representatives of the C. C. of the R.S.D.L.P. considered that, although they did not conflict with the basic principles of the Party Rules, not all of them were practicable.

[2] This refers to the agreement concluded by member of the C.C. of the R.S.D.L.P. Leonid Krasin and the Social-Democrat V. L. Kopp (Frockcoat) arranging for illegal transportation to and from Russia. On the basis of this agreement V. L. Kopp attempted not only to monopolise the business of illegal communication with Russia, but to seize some of the property and literature belonging to the Bolsheviks.

[3] This refers to the publication of the minutes of the Third Congress of the R.S.D.L.P.

[4] The Oral-Bryansk Committee, having heard the report on the Third Congress of the R.S.D.L.P., did not “consider it possible to take one or another stand” and recommended the Minority, not represented at the Third Congress, “to amalgamate with the Party”, declaring that “in the area of its revolutionary work it would make no distinction between the comrades of the Minority and those of the Majority, both of which it considered members of a single Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party”.

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