V. I.   Lenin


To:   A. I. RYKOV

For Comrade Vlasov (and also, if he wishes, for the Poles)

Written: Written after February 11, 1911
Published: First published in 1931 in Lenin Miscellany XVIII. Sent from Paris to Berlin. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1977], Moscow, Volume 43, pages 266-268a.
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 Friends,

After giving thought to the whole agreement (resp. the formulation of a common base and line of action for all of us) arrived at in the Bureau between the P.S.D.[1] and both Bolshevik trends, I cannot but point to the weakness, the shortcomings of that base.[2]

The essence of the agreement is (a) to lay down a precise, clear-cut anti-Golos and anti-Vperyod line of principle, i.e., to reiterate and reaffirm struggle against both liquidationism and otzovism in absolutely concrete terms ruling out any misrepresentations and evasions (from which the Party has suffered so much);

(b) a practical “reform”, i.e., such a change in the composition of all centres (or rather in the “factions” or “trends” represented in them) as would guarantee the pursuance of this line of principle.

How does this work out? Both the theoretical “line” and the practical activities are determined by the Central Committee. And its composition? In the event of a simple “ultimatum” (and a cheap, very cheap one to boot) from notorious dodgers, prevaricators, scoundrels and unprincipled bargainers (like the Bund), etc., you are “prepared” to set the number of members at 8. And this 8 is equivalent (as is now obvious) to two groups of four.

The result: neutralisation, i.e., the complete impotence of the C.C.!!

This is exactly what the liquidators want.

No reforms in our sense (i.e., as we have all agreed) could be carried out with such a composition.

It is an absurd situation: we agree to give the Party   the money, Rabochaya Gazeta[3] and all our energies conditionally. On what conditions? The line of principle and the reform. Who carries out the one and the other? The C.C. And what is the guarantee that they will be carried out by the C.C.? A chance ultimatum presented by the enemies of Social-Democracy (such as the liquidators from the Bundist intelligentsia)!!

An agreement to do what the C.C. cannot possibly do with eight members.

That is the result.

That result is a repetition of the mistake made by the plenary meeting[4]: good wishes, nice words, excellent ideas—but no power to carry them into effect. Castigation of the liquidators in words and captivity to the liquidators in reality.

It is for you practical workers to carry out the “agreement”—you are the ones who introduced the clause concerning the eight. It is my duty, after studying the agreement carefully, to warn you: the liquidators will again make fools of you!

It is easy to “call oneself” a Plekhanovite (Adrianov and his ilk would doubtless call themselves the devil and satan if only to get some small concession: a title is a word, but a concession is reality).

In reality you will be getting with your eight an impotent institution shackled by the liquidators. That is the danger of which I consider it my duty specially to warn you.

If you, as practical workers, undertake to establish a C.C. (or rather, an eight) capable both of condemning the Golos and Vperyod people, and of carrying out the reform—that is up to you. Heartily desiring peace and accord with you, I am pledged to help you to carry out your plan.

But to help does not mean lulling you with “the enchantment of fine words”. To help means to point to the real dangers which one must be able to avoid.

The plenary meeting of January 1910 held up the practical work of the centres for a year by tying their hands, letting them be shackled by the liquidators. In the spring of 1910 Inok did not succeed in escaping from that   bondage. In the beginning of 1911 you will not be able to either, unless you take urgent measures to carry out the agreement.

Best wishes,
N. Lenin


[1] Polish Social-Democracy.—Ed.

[2] A reference to the “Points of Agreement” drawn up by the Polish Social-Democrats, on the one hand, and the Bolsheviks and the conciliators, on the other, and adopted on February 11, 1911, in   Paris, concerning the composition and the immediate tasks of the central Party bodies, and especially to Point 2 of the agreement, which read as follows: “The C.C. is to consist of 4 Bolsheviks+1 Polish Social-Democrat+2 Plekhanovites (variant: 1 Plekhanovite +1 from Golos)+1 from the Bund+1 Latvian.” This was followed by the reservation which Lenin criticises as reducing the first part of the point to nought: “Only after the Latvian and Bundist have formally announced on behalf of their organisations that they are withdrawing from the C.C. if it is thus constituted, will we demand as the ultimate minimum: 3 Bolsheviks+1 Polish Social-Democrat+1 from Golos+1 Plekhanovite+1 Latvian+1 Bundist.” The agreement was signed by Leon Tyszka, A. Rykov, G. Zinoviev, and others.

[3] Rabochaya Gazeta (Workers’ Gazette)—an illegal popular Bolshevik paper published irregularly in Paris from October 30 (November 12), 1910. to July 30 (August 12), 1912. All told nine issues came out. Launched on Lenin’s initiative, it was officially founded in August 1910 by decision of a conference of representatives of the Bolsheviks, pro-Party Mensheviks, the Social-Democratic group in the Duma, and other sections of the R.S.D.L.P. Lenin was the paper’s guiding spirit and editor.

The Sixth (Prague) All-Russia Conference of the R.S.D.L.P. commended the paper’s vigorous and consistent defence of the Party and Party principle and proclaimed it an official organ of the C.C., R.S.D.L.P.

[4] A reference to the plenary meeting of the C.C., R.S.D.L.P., known as the “Unity Plenum” held January 2–23 (January 15–February 5), 1910, in Paris. For more detailed information on this meeting see present edition, Vol. 16, Note 76.

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