V. I.   Lenin


To:   S. I. GUSEV

To Nation from Lenin

Published: First published in 1926. Sent from Geneva to Odessa. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1974, Moscow, Volume 34, pages 342-343.
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 20, 1905

Dear friend,

Thanks for letter No. 3. We may publish part of it.[1] You have made a start with the talks with the editorial board not merely on formal questions (on the Rules, contacts, addresses, and so on), not only on subjects for reportage (such and such events occurred), but on the subject of the gist of your views, your understanding of our tactics, and how precisely you put these tactics into effect in lectures, at meetings, etc. Such talks between practical workers in Russia and ourselves are extremely valuable to us, and I request you most earnestly to advocate, remind and insist everywhere that anyone who wants to consider the Central Organ his own C.O. (and every Party member should want that), should not restrict himself to formal answers or reports, but should talk with the editorial board about the views he is advocating, talk not for publication, but to create an ideological connection. To regard such talks as a mere pastime is to lapse into narrow-minded practicalism and leave to chance the entire principled, ideological aspect of all our practical work, all agitation, for without a clear, well-thought-out ideological content agitation degenerates into phrase-mongering. And to work out a clear ideological content it is not enough to be merely a contributor to the C.O., it requires also joint discussions about how the practical workers understand one or other proposition, how they are putting into actual practice particular views. Without this, the editorial board of the C.O. is left in the air, it will not know whether its advocacy is   accepted, whether there is any response to it, how practical life modifies it, what amendments and additions are needed. Without it, Social-Democrats will sink to a level where the writer scribbles and the reader reads from time to time. Consciousness of connection with the Party is still weak among us, it has to be strengthened by word and deed.

I shall try to make use of your example by publishing part of your letter. On the whole we are in agreement and see eye to eye with you (your ideas coincide with mine in Two Tactics). In particular, it seems to me that you are wrong in attacking the Mensheviks for the words “preparation of the masses for an uprising”. If there is a mistake here, it is not a cardinal one.

All the very best.


[1] S. I. Gusev, who worked as secretary of the Odessa Committee of the R.S.D.L.P. during the latter half of 1905, wrote to Lenin about the tactics of the Bolsheviks in the revolution of 1905, reported what educative work the Odessa Committee was doing among the masses, and criticised the resolutions of the Geneva Conference of the Mensheviks. Excerpts from Gusev’s letter were published in Proletary No. 20, for October 10 (September 27), 1905, with an editor’s preface written by Lenin ^^(See Vol. 9, p. 335, of this edition)^^.

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