V. I. Lenin

To the Central Committee of the R.S.D.L.P.

Written: Written on or about May 2, 1910
Published: First published in 1933 in Lenin Miscellany XXV. Mailed from Paris to Russia. Signed: Members of the Editorial Board of the Central Organ Lenin and others. Published according to the manuscript.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1974], Moscow, Volume 16, pages 191-194.
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
Copyleft: V. I. Lenin Internet Archive (www.marxists.org) © 2004 Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.  

Dear Comrades,

We consider it our duty to inform you that it is our deep and firm conviction that the state of affairs in the editorial board of the Central Organ has become absolutely intolerable and that it is quite impossible for us to carry out the Party line unless the board’s composition is changed.

Only the first two meetings of the editorial board since the plenum afforded us any hope of the possibility of joint work with Comrades Martov and Dan. Comrade Martov’s agreement with the Central Committee’s letter on the Conference (see No. 11 of the Central Organ. Martov signed this letter) certainly testified to his endeavour loyally to carry out the decisions of the plenum. A different tone was earliest of all adopted by Comrade Dan, who declared the leading article of the Central Organ No. 11{1} harmful and in our presence accused Martov of opportunism like that of the Central Organ. It has already become clear to us from this that the out-and-out Golosists consider Martov an “opportunist” in the sense of being ready to comply with the decisions of the Party, and the whole question reduces itself to whether Martov will surrender to their attack.

Martov’s article “On the Right Path” has shown that the answer is yes. His refusal to insert it in Diskussionny Listok (although it obviously discusses the Central Committee’s decision on the composition of the Central Organ) is evidence of the outbreak of hostilities. On the question of the relation of illegal organisations and those active in them to legal ones, Martov in this article has obviously gone over from the Central Committee (the letter on the Conference   which Martov signed) to Dan. “The theory of equality” of illegalists and legalists denotes a departure from the Central Committee’s letter, a turn on the part of Martov, for the contradiction between this “theory” and the Central Committee’s letter is evident to anyone who does not want to close his eyes to it.

When, after the rejection of his article (he refused its publication as a comment, and in Diskussionny Listok as well), Martov announced in the editorial board of the Central Organ the outbreak of hostilities by him, his position and that of Dan became quite clear to us.

It was definitely made clear to the Party by: 1) the behaviour of Mikhail, Roman and Yuri; 2) the manifesto of the sixteen Russian Mensheviks; 3) Golos No. 19–2O; and 4) the splitting manifesto of the four editors of Golos. To this has now been added 5) the openly liquidationist statement of Potresov in Nasha Zarya{4} No. 2, where he writes along with Martov and others, and 6) the statement of the editors of Golos Sotsial-Demokrata against Plekhanov (“A Necessary Supplement to Dnevnik{5}), where, side by side with the same Potresov, Martynov, Martov and Axelrod treat the Central Organ of the Party and pro-Party Menshevisn en canaille.

In our leaflet “Golos (Voice) of the Liquidators Against the Party” and in No. 12 of the Central Organ we gave an appraisal of the first four statements.{2} In No. 13 of the Central Organ, which will be out next week, Plekhanov gives his appraisal of Potresov’s article in Nasha Zarya.

As shown already by the four resolutions of the Menshevik groups and parts of the Menshevik groups abroad (Paris, Nice, San Remo, Geneva{3} ), the pro-Party Mensheviks are beginning to unite and come out against Golos Sotsial Demokrata, which has definitely gone over to the liquidators. The pro-Party Mensheviks openly oppose Golos and the Russian liquidators openly admit Golos’s turn to liquidationism after the plenum.

The result is that the situation in the Party has altered considerably from that obtaining at the time of the plenum   and hence absolutely requires changes in the composition of the Central Organ. The plenum wanted to give the possibility of returning to the Party and working loyally in the Party to all Golosists, all Social-Democrats, all legal participants in the workers’ movement desiring to come over to the pro-Party position. It was counting not on a split between J the two sections of Menshevism but on a general passage of

both sections to the pro-Party position.

The blame rests with the Russian centre of the legalists (Potresov, Mikhail and Co.) and with Golos Sotsial-Demokrata that things turned out otherwise. Their split with the pro-Party Mensheviks became a fact. Around the Central Organ and Diskussionny Listok we united a number of pro-Party Mensheviks (Plekhanov, Rappoport, Avdeyev), with whom we were fully able to arrange Party work devoid of any kind of factionalism, despite all our differences of opinion. Steps are being taken abroad to unite the Bolshevik groups and the pro-Party Mensheviks. The Golos groups, on the other hand, have definitely taken a course against union.

Consequently, it is not for accidental or personal reasons that an absolutely impossible situation has been created within the editorial board of the Central Organ. If a state of continual squabbling, from which there is no way out, prevails on our editorial board, if we three are definitely powerless to overcome the hostile attitude of the two other editors, if all work in the Central Organ is held up, it is the inevitable result of the false position. In accordance with the plenum decisions, rapprochement with the pro-Party Mensheviks is essential, but in our Central Organ the anti-Party Mensheviks wage a relentless struggle against the pro-Party Mensheviks who are outside the Central Organ and helping it!

We are fully confident that the comrades in the Central Committee will realise the absolute impossibility of this situation and will not demand that we exemplify it by recounting the innumerable conflicts and rows in the editorial board. These conflicts, accusations and frictions, the total disruption of the work, are simply the result of the changed political situation, which is inevitably bound to lead to the disintegration of the Central Organ if the step   dictated by the whole spirit of the plenum decisions is not taken, viz., the replacement of the anti-Party, liquidationist, Golosist Mensheviks by pro-Party Mensheviks, whose entry into the Party and its leading bodies we are obliged to assist.

In the Central Committee Bureau Abroad the pro-Party Mensheviks have already announced their desire to have their representatives, i.e., supporters of pro-Party Menshevism, on the editorial board of the Central Organ (and in the Central Committee Bureau Abroad).

We for our part declare that we are definitely not in a position to conduct the Party Organ in collaboration with the Golosists, for it is impossible to carry out work exclusively by means of a mechanical majority over people with whom we have no common Party ground.

We hope that the Central Committee will take the necessary organisational steps to change the composition of the editorial board of the Central Organ and to set up a pro-Party collegium that is capable of functioning.


{1} See pp. 147-55 of this volume.—Ed.

{2} See pp. 156–64 of this volume.—Ed.

{3} See pp. 185–88 of this volume.—Ed.

{4} Nasha Zarya (Our Dawn)—a legal monthly journal of the Menshevik liquidators published, in St. Petersburg from 1910 to 1914. It served as a rallying centre for the liquidators in Russia.

{5} A Necessary Supplement to C. V. Plekhanov’s “Dnevnik”—a Menshevik liquidationist leaflet issued by the editors of Color Sotsial Demokrata in April 1910, directed against G. V. Plekhanov.

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