V. I.   Lenin



To Motya and Kostya, Members of the Majority of the Odessa organisation

Written: Written end of October-beginning of November 1905
Published: First published in 1931. Sent from Geneva to Odessa. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1974, Moscow, Volume 34, pages 367-368.
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.README

Dear Comrades,

I have received your “Letter to the Comrades”. I shall not publish it—indeed you do not ask me to do so. But I consider it my duty to reply to you. I have more than once stated in print what I am repeating to you now. It is useless to complain and mourn over the split. We must work hard to do away with it, we must think how to unite, and not indulge in platitudes and lamentation. Complaining about the struggle of two parties and creating a third, and a secret one at that, as you have done, hiding yourselves from both organisations—means intensifying the split. If you have been expelled for violating the rules of the organisation, it serves you right, and it’s no use trying to muddle things by making out that you were expelled for your opinions, for your conciliatory attitude, and not because of your disruptive activities.

An “inaugural congress” is an empty phrase. Just think a bit, the tiniest little bit, what groups precisely should send their delegates, and how many from each? Just think a tiny bit how you would react to the idea of an inaugural meeting without a basis of voting rights. Would you not call it charlatanry?

Why do you say nothing about the idea of two congresses, that of the Majority and the Minority, held at the same time and in the same place? This idea was put forward by the C.C. and by Proletary.[2] Would it not be easier to hold two congresses from the existing two parties than to start by creating a third (on which you will waste months, if not years) and then to convene three congresses? What idiot is going to submit to an “inaugural congress” without? knowing beforehand whether the Social-Democrats will really be represented there, which of them exactly, and in what proportions?

The slogan of “two congresses” has in its favour 1) the assent of one party of the two; 2) full readiness for a congress on the part of the Majority and the fact that its standards for convocation and the rights of its congress were made known; 3) the possibility of achieving the same thing very rapidly in the groups and organisations of the other party: by publicly listing all groups, getting their opinions, and publishing draft rules of the congress.

But all that your slogan of an “inaugural congress” has in its favour is the whining of certain whimperers, for not a single section of the Party knows the basis of this congress in any respect whatever. You are simply people of little faith and weak nerves. The sight of an unclean disease and ugly pimples has made you turn away. This is understandable, humanly speaking, but irrational. We think that one must not turn away, that a third party will not get us anywhere, whereas the two existing ones will unite after all, albeit not at once and not without painful treatment.


[1] The bearers of these pseudonyms have not been identified.—Ed

[2] In a note from the editorial board published in Proletary No. 20, for October 10 (September 27), 1905, Lenin wrote about the necessity of convening “two congresses”, that of the Majority and the Minority, “at the same time and in the same place”^^(see “On the Question of Party Unity”, Vol. 9, pp. 327–28, of this edition)^^.

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