V. I.   Lenin



Written: Written in Paris and mailed to a local address
Published: First published in 1964 in Collected Works, Fifth (Russian) Ed., Vol. 47. Printed from a hectographed copy of the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1977], Moscow, Volume 43, pages 235b-242.
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.

Dear Comrades,

Our inquiry as to how you understand your competence in matters concerning conflicts in the Central Organ has   not yet been answered. Nevertheless we consider it necessary to offer you some explanation with regard to a number of conflicts that have occurred in the new Editorial Board of the C.0. since the plenum—as we propose to do in the near future for the information of the whole Party and all Social-Democrats.

We shall begin with the last statement of Comrades Dan and Martov of March 29.

1. It is not true that we decided to publish the article from Tiflis “containing violent attacks on the Caucasian Regional Committee”, for it had been decided to omit that section of the article and leave only the polemics on points of principle with the Georgian newspaper which the author, a local functionary, charges with liquidationism. The authors of the statement, moreover, conceal from you the fact that the manuscript of this polemical article was sent to the author of the Georgian article in order to give him an opportunity to reply in the same issue of the C.0. (Later on, at the last meeting of the Editorial Board, we decided to turn over the whole polemic together with the reply to Diskussionny Listok.[1] )

2. The authors of the statement conceal from you why we rejected Comrade Dan’s article on the tasks of the Party with regard to the persecution of the trade unions. We rejected it because the “tasks of the Party in this article are reduced to exchanging the struggle to overthrow the autocracy for the petty cash of Cadet ‘struggle for legality’”.

3. Comrades Dan and Martov consider it “unnatural” for us to have conferred separately on how to rebuff the base attacks on the C.0. and on the unity of the Party, while considering it “perfectly natural” that they them selves, two editors of the C.0., should have met with other editors of Golos Sotsial-Demokrata in order to launch a foul attack on the C.O.[5] A conference of like-minded people within a collegium and joint discussion of an article   before laying it on the editorial desk for final judgement (moreover, in a case such as the given one), they consider to be a violation of the law. But to be a member of the Editorial Board of the C.O., entrusted by the C.C., among other things, with the task of “explaining the danger of deviations” towards liquidationism . and otzovism, and at the same time a member of the Editorial Board of Golos Sotsial-Demokrata, which shields, encourages and defends liquidationism and with regard to which the C.C. has spoken of the need to terminate its existence—this they do not consider incompatible with political integrity. This habit of stabbing the Central Organ and Party unity in the back while at the same time demanding “collegiality” in drafting a reply to the back-stabbing they themselves have dealt, a habit characteristic of underground manipulators, we leave to the authors of the statement. To discuss with them their own attacks against the Central Organ would have been an undignified farce on our part. The only thing We could do was to lay the article on the editorial desk in order to give them a chance to acquaint themselves with its contents and to hear their objections. That is what was done.

4. The authors of the statement write that we “directly deceived” them, for “no mention was made of any intention to publish—and with shocking distortion of the truth to boot—part of the correspondence between members of the C.C. and the C.C. Bureau Abroad”. Not only did we not mention this to them, we made no mention of the contents of the article in general, for the simple reason that we gave the article to them. Comrade Dan actually looked through the manuscript. This is indeed deception on the part of Dan and Martov, who expected that you would not notice that a few lines earlier they write that we gave theta the article to read in the manuscript, in other words, had no intention to conceal anything from them. In order to show what our “shocking distortion of the truth” consists in, we are printing in No. 12 of the Central Organ all relevant excerpts from the C.C. letter. The reader will be able to judge for himself.

5. The authors of the statement write about the “secrecy aspect of the matter”. But they forget to tell you that we   did not disclose in the press the place occupied in the Party organisation by the three liquidators, that Dan and Martov themselves published not only their names but also those of other liquidators in Nos. 19–20 of Golos Sotsial-Demokrata. As for us, we can only reply to this in the words of Plekhanov that the only thing that “threatens” liquidators of the Party is “an order of merit round the neck”.

6. The authors of the statement write that Bolsheviks too refuse to go into the C.C.[2] But they deliberately forget to tell you that it is not a matter of who wants or does not want to enter the C.C. but of who considers the C.C. and the Party unnecessary and harmful.

7. The authors of the statement complain that their articles have been rejected. But all these complaints have only one object: artificially to create the grounds for the existence of Golos Sotsial-Demokrata. For this reason the authors of the statement are boycottingDiskussionny Listok”, in which their articles could be freely printed. They are deliberately wrecking this Party publication, too, whose purpose it is to obviate the need for factional organs, to enable all trends in the Party freely to express themselves whenever their views differ from those of the Central Organ. For example, we suggested that Comrade Martov’s article “On the Right Path” be printed either in the Central Organ with an editorial comment (since the article challenges C.C. decisions) or in Diskussionny Listok. The first of these alternatives was called giving the article a “gendarme” escort, and the second, “exiling” it. And we were literally told: “now we shall open hostilities against you.”

8. The authors of the statement complain that we print ed an article about the conference which they allege “completely distorts the decisions of the plenary meeting on this question”. What lies behind this complaint is this: the article in question wholly agrees with the C.C. letter on the conference,[6] and the anti-liquidationist letter of the C.C. about the conference is not to the taste of the extreme liquidator Dan. The article was written by the comrade who wrote the C.C. letter. And Comrade Martov signed the C.C. letter. It was adopted unanimously. When he sent the proofs to the author of the letter, Comrade Martov wrote: “I have no objections to your text of the letter about the conference.” But now, before the liquidationist cock has had time to crow thrice, L. Martov hastens (together with Dan) to disavow the letter he himself accepted. The statement of ... written by Dan and signed also by Martov naïvely reveals the real cause of the dissatisfaction of the Golos people with the C.C. letter on the conference and with our article on the same subject: the plenary meeting, it appears, allegedly decided to “reconcile” the Party with the “so-called liquidationism” and to “fill in the gulf” between the liquidators and the Party. But the Central Organ is not carrying out this task. We confess that we are doing the exact opposite. What is surprising is only this: why did the authors of the statement complaining about the rejection of articles themselves reject in Golos Sotsial-Demokrata an article signed among others by Comrade Martov, namely, the “Letter of the C.C.” concerning the conference? Why did they not reprint it either in full or at least in part? Probably because the C.C. letter “completely distorts the decisions” of the Central Committee.

9. The authors of the statement have the audacity to turn to you, the Central Committee Bureau Abroad, with a demand for “satisfaction” for the unpleasantness caused them by the exposure of the three practical liquidators. They evidently believe that you might agree not to bring into the light of day the monstrous outrage against our Party committed by their associates Mikhail, Roman and Yuri. They evidently ascribe to you the intention of concealing from the Party the conspiracy against the Party   which we exposed and which a member of the C.C. in his letter from Russia asked you to make public. We of course leave it to you to give an appropriate reply to such an insult to your Party conscience. We on our part believe that no Party body will venture to side with the Romans, Yuris, Mikhails and their accomplices to any extent or in any way, not even indirectly. Such individuals and bodies should be pilloried without delay and openly in the name of the entire Party. We in the Central Organ of our Party, where we have been placed by the will of the plenum, shall unswervingly pursue this line. The same fate will befall anyone who throws in his lot with those who would destroy the Party—whoever he may be.

10. The authors end their statement by threatening you that if you do not do as they wish they will set about exposing cases that were closed by the plenary meeting of the C.C. And this they promise to do despite the C.C. decision. But this threat is no longer an instance of the usual fraktioneller Dreck,[3] as the representative of Latvian Social-Democracy put it at the plenary meeting of the C.C. referring to the way the Golos people had seized on these issues for the sake of factional muck; it is downright factional blackmail with regard to the C.C. Bureau Abroad. And, of course, we leave it to you, comrades, to deal worthily with these blackmailers operating with factional muck.

But we refuse to go into all the falsifications, distortions of facts and downright lies amassed against us in the statements, complaints and protests of Martov and Dan. You yourselves, comrades, will unquestionably be able to get to the bottom of all this factional muck, although we do not doubt that it will evoke in you the same natural feeling of revulsion it has aroused in us. Nevertheless we would like in conclusion to draw your attention to two things.

First. We should like to remind you that the present attempt of the Golos people to disrupt the C.C. is not the first. As far back as the summer of 1908, when the Bolshevik members of the C.C. were arrested, the Golos people made   a valiant attempt of this kind which was exposed at the plenary meeting of the C.C. (in August 1908). At that time the Golos people proposed to the Bund comrades to join in a conspiracy to disrupt the C.C. But a member of the C.C. of the Bund (Comrade E.) informed of this a Bolshevik member of the C.C. (Comrade G.) who had just been released from prison, and the conspiracy failed. We still have on file the letter from the member of the Bund C.C. in which he writes that the Golos leaders deny the C.C. its very “Existenzreckt” (right to exist) and propose replacing it with some sort of information bureau.[7] The fact that the proposal to betray the Party was made by the Golos people in the C.C. to the Bund C.C. was confirmed also by other comrades from the Bund at the December (1908) conference (see the minutes of the conference). Add to this the recent exposure by the Menshevik comrades Alexei Moskovsky and G. V. Plekhanov, and also the fact that Golos Sotsial-Demokrata has not once come out against the liquidators, but, on the contrary, constantly defends them, demanding that they now be recognised on a par with the Party, and even takes up the cudgels for Roman, Mikhail and Yuri, and you will have a pretty clear picture of the prolonged, indefatigable, stubborn and most insidious attempts of all kinds by which the liquidators are seeking to achieve their purpose—to wreck the Party. At the same time the danger of the liquidationist trend and the need to fight it most vigorously will become obvious even to the blind. In view of this we believe that now is the time to publish also the letter of the Bund C.C. member Comrade E. and in general all the facts relative to the attempts to liquidate the Party.

Second. If the two Golos men—our colleagues on the Central Organ—write you that “a minimum of respect for the Party should have obliged” us “to relinquish, our responsible Party positions”, we believe that common political decency and a minimum of self-respect should have induced them to abandon the false position they adopt in the Party and in the Central Organ by coming out simultaneously in defence of the liquidators. Incidentally, as distinct from them, we are not at all inclined to ascribe   evil intentions to them as individuals. The lies, the black mail threats and all their other virtues spring not from their ill will, hut from their false position which compels them to breed falsehood at every step. Es ist der Fluch der bösen Tat, dass sie immer Böses muss gebähren.[4] And the curse of their misdeed consists precisely in that they simultaneously occupy seats in the Party organ and in the organ which is out to liquidate the Party, with the result that they assume the contradictory mission of standing both for the Party and against it. For this reason they do not even have the “courage” of the Romans, the Yuris and the Mikhails. This position of theirs is compatible neither with common political decency nor with a minimum of self-respect. This is what creates that false position, that, so to speak, peculiar brand of Azefism[8] for liquidationist purposes, which impels them, with the best of intentions, toward the most unworthy actions.

Members of the Editorial Board
of the Central Organ A. Var
G. Zinoviev
N. Lenin

April 5, 1910

P.S. For the time being, we are sending a copy of this statement at once only to the Russian collegium of the C.C., the “national” C.C.s and our Party press.


[1] A reference to an article by J. V. Stalin, “Letter from the Caucasus”.—Ed.

[2] Here the authors of the statement indignantly say that the “readers of the article are likewise not told that the Polish Social-Democrats to this day have not been able to find anybody who would agree to represent them in the C.C.” More, they have the temerity to underline these words. This is just as foul a lie as the other allegations in the statement. Just as the Polish Social-Democrats had their representative in the C.C. before the plenary meeting, so they have one now, after it, who is waiting for word when to attend the C.C. meeting. Already a week ago the Polish C.C. member received a letter from his colleague in Moscow to the effect that he still has to wait, for the C.C. cannot be convened as yet. —Lenin

[3] Factional muck.—Ed.

[4] The worst thing about evil is that it inevitably breeds evil (Schiller, Wallenstein. “Die Piccolomini”, Act V, Scene 1).—Ed.

[5] A reference to publication by the Editorial Board of Golos Sotsial Demokrata in February 1910 in Paris of a leaflet entitled “Letter to the Comrades” and signed by Axelrod, Dan, Martov and Martynov. The authors of the leaflet charged the paper Sotsial-Demokrat with having become an affiliate of Proletary and declared their intention to continue publishing Golos Sotsial-Demokrata. Lenin analysed this document and gave it a political appraisal in the articles “Golos (Voice) of the Liquidators Against the Party (Reply to Golos Sotsial-Demokrata)” and “Party Unity Abroad” (see present edition, Vol. 16, pp. 156–64 and 185–89).

[6] Sotsial-Demokrat No. 12 carried an unsigned article “On the Party Conference”. The letter referred to, “To the Party Organisations (on the Coming Party Conference)”, was written by   a commission consisting of G. Y. Zinoviev, I. F. Dubrovinsky and Y. 0. Martov.

[7] A reference to a letter from M. M. Rosen (Ezra), a member of the C.C. of the Bund, addressed to G. Y. Zinoviev.

[8] Azefism—a synonym for political betrayal, from the name of E. F. Azef, a Socialist-Revolutionary leader who proved to be a secret police agent.

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