V. I.   Lenin



Written: Written March 7 or 8, 1911
Published: First published in 1933 in Lenin Miscellany XXV. Sent from Paris to St. Petersburg. Printed from a typewritten copy found in police records.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1977], Moscow, Volume 43, pages 269b-271.
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.README

Dear Colleague,

I received your letter of February 10 about the betrayal of the person you call —Y.—.

You ask me to “announce this” to the 58 Mensheviks.[6] You must forgive me but I cannot comply with the request. I do not intend to announce anything or to have anything to do with such individuals. If you do not understand why, I shall tell you once again.

You close your letter with the words: “Don’t you people in Paris realise how your squabbles affect us?”

The liquidators in Paris understand full well what they are doing. It is a pity that among you in St. Petersburg there are people who do not understand what they are doing and what they read. A great pity! Such people are fated always to be led by the nose. The liquidators here, i.e., the Golos people, put out leaflets, such as the leaflet of the 58, specially to provoke squabbles and confuse the struggle over issues of principle. We have declared (in every issue of the Central Organ and every issue of other publications[1] known to you and closer to you—spatially) that we shall not tolerate the group of Mr. Potresov   and Co., the ideas of Nasha Zarya, etc., that we cannot tolerate them, but are fighting them and shall continue to fight them unrelentingly. This is a company of liquidators, enemies of Social-Democracy, and their ideas are the ideas of traitors.

The Golos people are unable to wage a principled struggle against this and hence the Martovs, Dans, Axelrods and Martynovs reply with scandals and blackmail. Is the leaflet of the 58 not an instance of blackmail? The leaflet of the 58 contains false accusations (insinuations)...,[2] for instance, although the Bolsheviks absolutely loyally liquidated after the January 1910 plenary meeting ... every thing connected with them, Why make these accusations in the form of dark hints? The answer is: a leaflet, also printed, also put out in Paris, also originating in the Golos camp, only signed not by the 58 but by the “Editorial Board of Golos Sotsial-Demokrata”. What is the content of this leaflet? It amounts to this: equality in the Editorial Board of the C.O. and there will be peace.[7]

One comrade writes: is this not despicable? To level criminal charges today and to write tomorrow: “Let in one more man into the Editorial Board and there will be peace.” Why, that is blackmail!

Can people with any political experience fail to see dozens of such examples everywhere (especially in the Third Duma)? Has not the history of Menshevism given a mass of examples of such blackmail? How often “crimes” have been charged and then forgotten after equality or the majority has been gained.

As for me, I called the blackmailers blackmailers in print in May 1910 and in Diskussionny Listok.[3] If there were some who did not heed the warning, so much the worse for them.

Y.— called the paper “foul”. —Y.— was right. I do not know —Y.—. I do not know what sort of retraction in press he seeks, I have no idea of his views, his understanding, what he is doing. To sum up: until you learn to fight   the blackmailers they will continue to frustrate your efforts with scandals, to spit in your face. If you do not like it, learn to fight and not complain.

Needless to say, we answered the blackmailers properly and will not agree to any equality with them. We completely exposed the Potresov gang for the liquidators they are. More, this gang is now flirting with the group that violated after the January 1910 plenary meeting the resolution on....[4] The Golos people are covering up ... who are “against” Lenin-Plekhanov. This too we will expose, I can assure you.

You cannot sit between two stools—either you are with the liquidators or against them. I reserve the right to publish this letter. How are things in the Editorial Board?[5] You must see to it that we should be represented, by your self, if there is no one else. At any rate you are obliged to find us a representative. Why don’t you return rejected articles? Rappoport has sent two articles but has received no reply.

A young man, short, thick-set (Jewish), with a recommendation from me, will shortly come to see you. Help him in any way you can.

As for the paper, in my opinion, you should join it yourself for the time being, so that our trend should not be left without a representative, for that would be disgraceful. For we hope they will not give up under the first pressure but will try to carry on despite the closures. All the more necessary, then, is it for you to be there. Send us at once the text of the platform worked out by the group for the Moscow elections.[8] Will you come here to see us at Easter? There is much to talk about. Do you know what has happened to Os. Petr.?


[1] The newspaper Zvezda and the journal Mysl.—Ed.

[2] Here and further, blank spaces in the text.—Ed.

[3] See “Notes of a Publicist” (present edition, Vol. 16, pp. 195–259).—Ed.

[4] A reference evidently to the resolution adopted by the plenary meeting, “On Factional Centres” (see KPSS v rezolutsiyakh i resheniyakh syezdov, konferentsii i plenumov TsK [The C.P.S.U. in Resolutions and Decisions of Congresses, Conferences and Plenary Meetings of the Central Committee], Part I, 1954, pp. 241–43).—Ed.

[5] Editorial Board of the newspaper Zvezda.—Ed.

[6] The58 Mensheviks” were the members of the “first” (Menshevik) R.S.D.L.P. promotion group in Paris who adopted at a general meeting of the group an appeal “To All Members of the R.S.D.L.P.” framed as a resolution on the state of affairs in the Party and later   published as a supplement to Golos Sotsial-Demokrata No. 24, February 1911.

[7] A reference to the leaflet “Letter to the Comrades” put out in Paris in February 1911 by the Editorial Board of Golos Sotsial-Demokrata.

[8] The by-election to the Third Duma held in Moscow on March 20 (April 2), 1911. The Social-Democratic candidate was I. I. Skvortsov-Stepanov, who had been arrested in February and exiled just about the time of the elections for three years to Astrakhan Gubernia.

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