V. I.   Lenin



To Comrade August Bebel

Written: Written February 22, 1910
Published: First published in 1964 in Collected Works, Fifth (Russian) Ed., Vol. 47. Sent from Paris to Berlin. Printed from the text in an unknown handwriting and signed by Lenin.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1977], Moscow, Volume 43, pages 232b-233.
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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On behalf of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party, on behalf of all the workers of Russia who are waging a bitter struggle against oppression by tsarism and the bourgeoisie joined in counter-revolution, we send you, vanguard fighter of international and leader of German Social-Democracy, hearty greetings on the occasion of your 70th birthday.

You began your activity in the working-class movement almost half a century ago as a young turner, first a patriot, then a democrat who worked devotedly in workers’ educational societies—and the path you have traversed reflects the stride forward which the entire international proletariat has made in that period. At the beginning of that period most class-conscious workers either followed the bourgeois parties or at best sought their own class road to socialism by switching from one socialist or anarchist sect to another. Now the vast majority of class-conscious workers in the civilised world are Social-Democrats, and it is precisely in Germany that the theoretical principles of Marxism have taken deepest root and spread most widely among the masses of the proletariat, illumining with radiant light their struggle for the complete overthrow of capitalism.

In your person we honour a working-class leader who has shown by his example that the emancipation of the workers must be accomplished by the workers themselves. Drawing on the theory of Marxism, the German class-conscious workers, more than the workers of other countries, have been able to safeguard their movement against the mistakes of opportunism and anarchism, they have succeeded in building up powerful mass trade union and political organisations and uniting in a single class force. And at all crucial moments in history—when waves of national chauvinism rose high, or when rampant feudal-monarchist and clerical reaction declared a war of annihilation on socialist organisations—this class force was able to find the right road, to uphold its revolutionary world outlook, its confidence in the inevitability of the coming great socialist revolution, and carry it ever more broadly and deeply into the masses.

In the half-century of your activity the workers of Russia see a guarantee that in the coming decisive battle, the dawn of which is clearly visible in Germany and other advanced countries, the Social-Democratic proletariat will not only fight with the same selfless energy and faith in its strength with which it won many a victory in the epoch of bourgeois revolutions, but will be able also to win and to smash for ever the entire edifice of capitalist exploitation.

Members of the Editorial Board
of the Central Organ
of the Russian Social-Democratic
Labour Party
L. Martov
N. Lenin
Y. Kamenev[1]


[1] The message was signed also by members of the C.C., R.S.D.L.P.—Ed.

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