V. I.   Lenin



Published: First published in 1962 in French in Cahiers du Monde Russe et Soviétique No. 4. First published in Russian in 1964 in Collected Works, Fifth (Russian) Ed., Vol. 47. Sent to Brussels. Printed from a photo copy of the original. Translated from the French.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1977], Moscow, Volume 43, pages 213b-215a.
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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Dear Comrade Huysmans,

August 26, 1909

Your letter of August 23 received, and I thank you very much for the copy of the letter from Gertsik, which you forwarded to me.

This gentleman has long pestered me with his letters; he has even wished to speak to me, but, needless to say, I have refused, for there is a ruling by a revolutionary tribunal consisting of representatives of all parties according to which Mr. Gertsik cannot be a member of a revolutionary party. This ruling has not been rescinded, and Mr. Gertsik is definitely lying when he avoids mentioning the essential point of that ruling in his letter to you.[1]

He wants the ruling revised? There he is perfectly within his rights. But the gentleman cannot but know that there is a lawful and honest way of going about it, and if he avoids taking this way, if he prefers to turn to the I.S.B., this is further proof (it seems to me) of his dishonesty.

The lawful and honest way to ask for a re-examination would be to address the request to the central committees   of the parties whose representatives took part in the tribunal in Geneva. Why doesn’t Mr. Gertsik appeal to these committees? Why does he cite the private opinion of Mr. Burtsev instead of applying to the Central Committee of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party of which Burtsev is a member? Why does he turn to the I.S.B. with insinuations against the Bolsheviks, claiming that they are acting “dishonestly”, instead of appealing to the Central Committee of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party? The Bolsheviks belong to this Party. They have only five members in the Central Committee, which consists of fifteen members.

You can judge for yourself who it is that is acting dishonestly in this matter.

I never was a member of the Bolshevik group in Geneva which investigated the Gertsik affair. If Mr. Gertsik feels that the members of this investigating commission acted unlawfully, etc., it is his right (and his duty) to appeal to the Central Committee of the Party.

In my opinion, the International Socialist Bureau cannot accept complaints and requests that have not been first examined by the central committees of the parties affiliated with the International. I fully realise that Mr. Gertsik, like any other citizen, has the right to complain to the I.S.B. against a decision of the central committees of the parties belonging to the International. But if he does not wish to turn to the central committees of member parties of the International, he has no right, in my opinion, to appeal to the I.S.B. either.

I believe that the only answer the I.S.B. can give to Mr. Gertsik is this: apply to the central committees of all the parties whose representatives took part in the tribunal, that is, the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party, the Socialist-Revolutionary Party, the Bund, and so on. If these committees give no answer or turn down the re quest, only then can you turn to the I.S.B. with a request or complaint against one or another decision, against one or another central committee of a party affiliated with the International. This is my opinion, of which, as a member of the I.S.B., as a Bolshevik, and as a member of the Central Committee of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party, I am informing you. (There is a special bureau of   the Central Committee of the Social-Democratic Labour Party in Paris, and Mr. Gertsik knows very well that he should have applied to this bureau. I myself am not a member of this body.)

I am very sorry, dear Huysmans, that I cannot be in Paris on August 30 and 31, 1909, and therefore will not be able to discuss this matter with you. I hope you will forgive me for tormenting you with the bad French of this letter, which really has stretched out too long.

I am now holidaying out of town (Mr. Wl. Oulianoff. Chez M–me Lecreux. Bombon, Seine-et-Marne). I shall return to Paris by September 15.

N. Lenin


[1] The inter-party hearing of the charges against B. Gertsik by representatives of the Geneva groups of the R.S.D.L.P. (Bolsheviks and Mensheviks), the Band, the Socialist-Revolutionaries, representatives of the Social-Democrats of Poland and Lithuania and the Zurich group, and Latvian Social-Democracy, found Gertsik unworthy of membership in any revolutionary   organisation. The Geneva Bolshevik group found him to be a provocateur.

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