V. I.   Lenin

On Plekhanov’s Article[1]

Published: Proletary, No. 18, October 29, 1907. Published according to the text in Proletary.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1972, Moscow, Volume 13, pages 133-134.
Translated: Bernard Isaacs
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive (2004). 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

In his article in Tovarishch of October 20 Plekhanov continues his campaign of lies and scoffing at the discipline of the Social-Democratic Party. Here are some specimens of these lies. “Tovarishch, as everyone knows, was an organ of the Left bloc,” says Plekhanov in reply to the accusation that he had become a regular collaborator of Prokopovich, Kuskova & Co. It is a lie. First, Tovarishch never was an organ of the Left bloc. The latter could not have had a common organ. Secondly, the Bolsheviks never conducted any political campaign in Tovarishch, never came out against fellow-members of the Social-Democratic Party in such a newspaper. Thirdly, the Bolsheviks, having formed a Left bloc, split Tovarishch and drove out of it (only for a week, it is true) those who stood for the Cadets. And Plekhanov is dragging both the proletariat and the petty-bourgeois democrats towards flunkeyism before the Cadets. The Bolsheviks, without participating in Tovarishch, shifted it to the left. Plekhanov participates and drags it to the right. It need hardly be said that his reference to a Left bloc is not a happy one!

Plekhanov thus side-steps the question of his being accepted by a bourgeois newspaper to write things agreeable to the bourgeoisie and gives still greater pleasure to the liberals by scoffing at the discipline of the workers’ party. I am not obliged to obey when I am asked to betray principles, he exclaims.

This is an anarchist platitude, my dear sir, because the principles of the Party are watched over between congresses and interpreted by the Central Committee. You are entitled to refuse to obey if the Central Committee violates   the will of the Congress, the Party Rules, etc. In the present case, however, not a single person has even attempt ed to contend that the Central Committee violated the will of the Congress by its directives in regard to the elections. Consequently, Plekhanov is simply using the phrase about “betrayal of principles” to cover up his own betrayal of the Party.

Lastly, Plekhanov tries to attack the St. Petersburg Committee by saying that it itself refused to obey the Central Committee during the elections to the Second Duma. We answer: first, the St. Petersburg Committee refused to carry out the demand to divide the organisation, i. e., it rejected interference in its autonomy, which is guaranteed by the Party Rules. Secondly, during the elections to the Second Duma the Mensheviks split the organisation; this aspect of the conflict is passed over in silence by Plekhanov in the bourgeois newspaper! Plekhanov’s arguments amount to only one thing: during the elections to the Second Duma the Mensheviks split the St. Petersburg. part of the Party, consequently, I have a right now to split the whole Party! Such is Plekhanov’s logic, such are Plekhanov’s actions. Let everyone bear in mind that Plekhanov is a splitter. Only he is afraid to call a spade a spade.


[1] Lenin’s comment “On Plekhanov’s Article” was published in Proletary as an editorial postscript to I.P. Meshkovsky’s article “And This Is Called ‘Polemics’\thinspace".

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