V. I.   Lenin



Written: Written between November 2 and 11, 1907
Published: First published in 1934. Sent from Kuokkala (Finland) to Italy. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1974, Moscow, Volume 34, pages 370-371.
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 An. Vas.,

I have received your pamphlet at last—the first part arrived quite a long time ago.[1] I kept waiting for the end so as to read it as a whole, but I waited in vain. So far the third supplement is still missing (“How Marx Regarded”, etc.). This is most unfortunate for, not having the complete manuscript, one is afraid of giving it to the press to be set up. If this third supplement has not been sent yet, please try to send it as quickly as possible. The money (200 rubles) has been sent to you; did you receive it?

As regards the content of your pamphlet, I liked it very much, as did all our people here. A most interesting pamphlet and excellently written. The only thing is, there are many unguarded statements, so to speak—I mean the kind of things which various S.R.s, Mensheviks, syndicalists, etc., will pick on. We discussed collectively whether we should touch it up or give an explanation in the preface. We decided on the latter course, as it would be a pity to touch it up; it would impair the integral character of the exposition.

The conscientious and attentive reader will be able to understand you correctly, of course; nevertheless, you should specially guard yourself against false interpreters, whose name is legion. For example, we must of course criticise Bebel, and I do not approve of Trotsky, who recently sent us a hymn of praise to Essen and German Social-Democracy in general. You are right in pointing out that in Essen Bebel was wrong both on the question of militarism and on the question of colonial policy (or rather on   the character of the radicals’ fight at Stuttgart on this subject).[2] But it should be mentioned in this connection that these are the mistakes of a person with whom we are going the same way, and which can only be rectified in this, Marxist, Social-Democratic way. For there are many people among us (you probably do not see their press) who maliciously chuckle over Bebel for the sake of glorifying Socialist-Revolutionarism, syndicalism (à la Yezersky, Kozlovsky, Krichevsky—see Obrazovaniye, etc.) and anarchism.

In my opinion, all your ideas can and should always be set forth in such a way that criticism will be aimed not at orthodoxy, not at the Germans in general, but at opportunism. Then it will be impossible to misinterpret you. Then the conclusion will be clear, namely, that Bolshevism, taking a lesson from the Germans and profiting by their experience (this demand of yours is a thousand times correct!), will take all that is vital from syndicalism in order to kill Russian syndicalism and opportunism. To do this is easier and more natural for us Bolsheviks than for anyone else, for in the revolution we have always fought against parliamentary cretinism and Plekhanovite opportunism. And it is we alone who, from the revolutionary and not from the pedantic Cadet standpoint of Plekhanov and Co., can refute syndicalism, which produces no end of confusion (particularly dangerous confusion in the case of Russia).

Proletary No. 17 has come out and has been sent to you, and so has Zarnitsy.[3] Have you received them? Do you read Tovarishch? How do you like it now? What about your remembering old times and poking fun at them in verse? Write please.

All the very best.


[1] This refers to the pamphlet by A. V. Lunacharsky (Voinov) on the attitude of the Party towards the trade unions, which was written in connection with the discussion of this question at the Seventh, Stuttgart, Congress of the Second International. Lunacharsky attended the Congress as a member of the Russian delegation and a representative of the Bolsheviks. He was elected to the committee that drafted a resolution on the question of “the relations between political parties and the trade unions”.

Lunacharsky’s pamphlet was not published owing to the tightening of the censorship in 1908. ^^See Lenin’s preface to the pamphlet in Vol. 13 of this edition.^^

[2] This refers to the Essen Congress of the German Social-Democratic Party, held on September 21–23, 1907, at which Bebel came out against Karl Liebknecht, who had criticised Noske’s chauvinist stand and the whole behaviour of the German delegation at the Stuttgart Congress. Bebel also came out against Rosa Luxemburg and all the German Left wingers for the “methods” (i.e., for their bloc, with the Bolsheviks) which they adopted at the Congress in their struggle against the social-chauvinists and social-imperialists.

[3] Proletary—a Bolshevik illegal newspaper, edited by Lenin, published from August 21 (September 3), 1906 to November 28 (December 11). 1909. Altogether 50 issues were put out. Proletary,   in effect, was the Central Organ of the Bolsheviks. The paper devoted a good deal of space to tactical and general political questions, and published reports on the activities of the C.C. of the R.S.D.L.P., the decisions of conferences and C.C. plenary meetings, C.C. letters on various questions of Party activity, and a number of other documents. The paper was in close touch with the local Party organisations.

During the years of the Stolypin reaction Proletary played an important role in preserving and strengthening the Bolshevik organisations and combating the liquidators, otzovists, ultimatumists and god-builders.

By a decision of the plenary meeting of the Party’s C.C. of January 1910 the paper was closed down.

Zarnitsy (Summer Lightning)—a Bolshevik legal symposium, published in St. Petersburg in 1907.

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