V. I.   Lenin



To the Moscow Committee

Written: Written in April, prior to 11th, 1909, in Paris
Published: First published in 1964 in Collected Works, Fifth (Russian) Ed., Vol. 47. Printed from a copy in Krupskaya’s handwriting.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1977], Moscow, Volume 43, pages 201b-202.
Translated: Martin Parker and Bernard Isaacs
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
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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In reference to the M.C.’s reply to the “Open Letter” on the “Party school”[1] signed NN, the Editorial Board of Proletary (enlarged) expresses its full solidarity with the view of the M.C. that a local organisation cannot and should not take the responsibility for any such undertaking. Considering the character of the future school and the range of its activities as planned by its sponsors, and its extreme remoteness from the areas of local activity, effective supervision over such a school could be exercised only by the Party centres.

Further, the editors of Proletary consider it necessary to amplify one of the statements contained in the “Open Letter” you have received.

Among other things it says that the matter of “supplying the school with literary and practical workers” (teaching personnel) is “well in hand and proceeding successfully”; that “all the prominent Party theoreticians, mainly Bolsheviks, will take part” in the school.

The addition that should be made to these statements is that both the Editorial Board of Proletary and the theoreticians and practical workers of our group who are members of the narrow and enlarged Editorial Board and also of the C.C. of the Party, first learned of the said school from the Moscow Committee, while having had no intimation of it up till now from the organisers and the participants in the school. In the given instance, the Editorial Board cannot but regard the course of isolated action chosen by the organisers of this undertaking as inevitably stem ming from deep ideological roots. Here it will suffice to call attention to the open criticism by Proletary (see No. 42) of “god-building” and other distortions of Marxism associated with it.

In these organisational conditions and in view of the obvious exceptionally close connection of the future school with elements preaching “god-building” or supporting that preachment, the Editorial Board of Proletary considers itself in duty bound to declare that it cannot vouch for the character of the school being either Bolshevik or Marxist in general.

For all that the Editorial Board assumes that the legal right of the projected school to exist within the frame work of the Party is at the present time indisputable. The group should not involve itself in an enterprise the Bolshevik and Marxist character of which is not ensured; however, the Party as a whole in its present state, when in some of its very important institutions (e.g., in the collegium of advisers to the Duma group) there are even extreme opportunists of the type of Prokopovich or Kuskova, cannot deny it the right to exist. The Editorial Board therefore considers that the Bolsheviks in the C.C., to which the initiators should apply for endorsement of the school project, should vote in favour of endorsement.


[1] A school organised on the Island of Capri by the otzovists, ultimatumists and god-builders as an attempt to create an ideological and organisational centre for a new anti-Bolshevik faction. For more about the Capri school see the resolutions “The Party School Being Set Up Abroad at X” and “The Breakaway of Comrade Maximov” adopted by a conference of the enlarged Editorial Board of Proletary in June 1909, and Lenin’s articles “The Faction of Supporters of Otzovism and God-Building” and “A Shameful Fiasco” (present edition, Vol. 15, pp. 450, 451; Vol. 16, pp. 29–61, 85–86).

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