V. I.   Lenin



Published: First published in 1926. Sent from Geneva to St. Petersburg. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1974, Moscow, Volume 34, pages 338-341.
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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September 14, 1905

Dear friend,

I hasten to reply to your pessimistic letter. I cannot verify the facts, but it seems to me that you are exaggerating; that’s the first point. The C.C. ’s leaflets are good, and Rabochy No. 1 is very good.[1] This is a big thing. At the moment financial affairs are bad, but connections exist and the prospects are very good. One big enterprise, very solid and profitable, has been set up, so the “financier”[2] is certainly not asleep. The second point: you take a wrong view of things. To wait until there is complete solidarity within the C.C. or among its agents is utopian. “Not a circle, but a party”, dear friend! Focus attention on the local committees; they are autonomous, they give full scope, they free one’s hands for financial and other connections, for statements in the press, and so on and so forth. Mind you don’t make the same mistake you are blaming others for; don’t moan and groan, and if you don’t like working as an agent, push on with committee work -and urge those who think like you to do the same. Assuming that you do have differences of opinion with the “agents”. It is far more advisable for you to get your views accepted in the committee, especially if it is a united, principled committee, and to conduct an open, straightforward, vigorous policy in it than to argue with the “agents”. If you are right about the anaemia of the committees and a plethora of “agents”, the remedy for this malady is in your own hands: flock into the committees. The committee is autonomous. The committees decide everything at congresses. The committees can pass resolutions. The committees have the   right to go into print. Don’t sit idle, looking up at the “heads”, but get down to business on your own. You now have a broad, free field and independent, rewarding work in a most important committee. Throw yourself into it, pick a willing team, approach the workers boldly and widely, run off leaflets, order them from us, Schwarz, me, Galyorka, loudly voice your Party opinion in the name of the committee. In this way, I assure you, you will do a thousand times more to influence the whole Party and the C.C. in the direction you desire than by bringing personal influence to bear on the agents and members of the C.C. It strikes me that you are looking at things in the old parochial way, and not from the Party standpoint. The C.C. is elective, the congress is not faroff, you have your rights, make use of them and bring all energetic, resolute sup porters on to the same road: into the committees! Pressure must be brought to bear formally, through the committees, and not personally through talks with the agents. No one is obliged to be an agent if he wants to work in the committees!

You write that the agent Myamlin stated that Iskra’s Khlestakovian report is fair.[3] Very well. That is his right. But in Letuchy Listok No. 1, the C.C. stated that two-thirds of the Party is on our side. That means that Myamlin has hit out at himself! Your job is to curb the Myamlins and expose and discredit them through your own committee, and not through talks with them. The committees will elect people who appoint the Myamlins, but it is not the Myamlins who decide the fate of the Party. Let energetic people capture the committees: there you have a slogan for all, which I advise you to spread, to drum into people’s heads and to implement.

The agent Myamlin stands for two central organs. Again: who will decide? The committees and their delegates to the fourth congress. Prepare one, two or more committees—there you have a rewarding and practical task. Suppose the Myamlins are victorious. The committees have the right to start their own organ of the press, even a single committee! That is why you err and drift into the old, pre-party point of view when you write: “They are printing Trotsky’s leaflets” (there is nothing wrong in that if the leaflets are fairly   good and vetted. I advise the St. Petersburg Committee, too, to print his leaflets vetted, say, by you), or when you write: “A fall from grace à la Boris is imminent.” I don’t understand it. Suppose there are Borises. This junk is always plentiful. Suppose the Borises and Myamlins prove to have the majority (of the committees, don’t forget that, of the committees). Then “all the preceding work is undone”, you conclude. Why? How can Proletary become undone, what can cause its undoing? Even the absurdity of “two central organs” will not cause the undoing of Proletary, it will only introduce absurdity into the Rules. Life will only preserve Proletary and sweep away the absurdity. Even the Myamlins will not dare to close down Proletary. And finally, let us assume the worst of possible endings, in the vein of your pessimism: suppose the closing down does take place. I shall then ask: what is the St. Petersburg Commit tee for? Is it likely that Proletary will be weaker as the organ of the St. Petersburg Committee than as one of “two” central organs? Take immediate energetic measures to have the St. Petersburg Committee establish not formal, but business-like, close, permanent ties with Proletary, and you will strengthen your position and the impact of your ideas so much that you will defy a hundred Myamlins. The St. Petersburg Committee is a force three times as great as all the “agents” put together. Make Proletary the organ of the St. Petersburg Committee and the St. Petersburg Committee the thorough-going executor of the ideas and tactics of Proletary; there you have a real struggle against Myamlinism, and not a struggle by complaints and groaning. Hundreds of addresses can be found in St. Petersburg, and a host of opportunities for organising workers’ correspondence, revitalising contacts, placing orders for leaflets, republishing articles from Proletary in leaflet form, retelling them in leaflets, re-writing them in the form of leaflets, etc., etc. Leaflets can and should deal also with general Party problems (the other day the Kostroma Committee sent us a resolution against Plekhanov being appointed to the International Bureau: a downright smack in the eye, and no mistake!). Myamlinism must be combated by exemplary organisation of committee agitation, by militant leaflets to the Party and not by wry complaints to the C.C.!

What article of mine in No. 5 (?) of Zarya (on Prokopovich) are you referring to?[4] I am puzzled. Why are you dissatisfied with Ruben? Put me in direct touch with him and Lalayants without fail.

All the very best. Write oftener and cheer up! The Myamlins be damned!

N. Lenin


[1] Letuchie Listki (Leaflets) of the Central Committee of the R.S.D.L.P.—a non-periodical publication dealing with current tactical and organisational questions in keeping with the decisions of the Third Congress of the Party. Altogether four numbers were put out. Listok No. 1 was printed in June 1905 at the print-shop of the St. Petersburg Committee of the Party and reprinted in abridged form in July by the Moscow Committee of the Party.

Rabochy (The Worker)—an illegal popular Social-Democratic newspaper, published in pursuance of the decision of the Third Congress of the Party by the Central Committee of the R.S.D.L.P. in Moscow in August–October 1905. The de facto editor of the paper was A. A. Bogdanov.

[2]Financier”—L. B. Krasin ^^(see Note 241)^^.

[3] The report of the Menshevik Iskra published in the French socialist newspaper Le Socialiste No. 11, dealt with the attitude of the local Party organisations to the Third Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. Iskra declared that the Congress was recognised as lawful by only eight organisations of the R.S.D.L.P. (Tver, Tula, Ivanovo-Voznesensk, Yaroslavl, Kostroma, Orel, Kursk and Minsk) uniting 2,000,000–2,500,000 workers; 25 organisations,   according to Iskra, did not recognise the Congress; in four organisations the Congress was recognised by a minority, and the attitude to the Congress on the part of nine organisations was unascertained. Since this false information was not given by Iskra to the press in Russia, Lenin published in Proletary No. 9, for July 26 (13), 1905, under the heading “Our Khlestakovs” a full translation of the article printed in Le Socialiste with his introductory and concluding comments. The statistics concerning the committees of the R.S.D.L.P. which allegedly “refused to recognise” the Third Congress of the Party were also dealt with by Lenin in his article “Keeping International Social-Democracy Informed of Our Party Affairs” published in Proletary No. 15, for September 5 (August 23), 1905 ^^(See Vol. 9 of this edition)^^.

[4] Issue No. 5 of the Marxist journal Zarya was being prepared for the press but did not appear.

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