First published in 1924.
Sent from Paris to the Isle of Capri (Italy).
Printed from original the.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1974, Moscow, Volume 34, pages 446-447.
Translated: Clemens Dutt
Transcription\Markup: D. Moros
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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May 27, 1911
Dear A. M.,
A few days ago I received a letter from Poletayev. He writes, inter alia: “We have received a letter from Gorky. He is proposing that N. I. should come abroad to work out a plan for unity around some organ, and adds that he has spoken to you about this and to the Menshevik M” (Martov, I assume).
Poletayev adds that N. I. is hardly suitable for this plan and that if somebody must come, it should be somebody else. It is hardly likely that Pokrovsky will make the journey.
Reading this in Poletayev’s letter frightened me—no, really.
Our uniting with Mensheviks like Martov is absolutely hopeless, as I told you here. If we start arranging a meeting for such a hopeless plan—the result will be nothing but a disgrace (personally I would not go even to a meeting with Martov).
Judging from Poletayev’s letter, the participation of the Duma group is planned. Is this necessary? If it is a question of a journal, then the Duma group has nothing to do with it. If it is a question of a newspaper, it should be borne in mind that we have had plenty of discord as it is with Zvezda: they have no line, they are afraid of going with us, afraid of going with the liquidators, they play hot and cold, they give themselves airs, they vacillate.
Besides, a union of the Plekhanovites+our people+the Duma group threatens to give Plekhanov a preponderance, for Mensheviks predominate in the Duma group. Is it desirable and reasonable to give Plekhanov a preponderance?
I very much fear that Yordansky is unsuitable for such plans (for he has “his” own journal and he will either raise obstacles or try to impose “his” journal, leaving it as his, that is, a semi-liberal organ).
To avoid disappointments and hopeless squabbles, I think we should be very careful as regards “unity”. Upon my word, we should be not uniting now, but dissociating! If a publisher can be found for a journal or a newspaper, you should conclude an agreement with him off your own bat (or take money from him without an agreement, if possible), but the arrangement of a meeting will only make a mess. Truly, the result will be a mess.
I am writing to you because I do not want to see you of all people wasting your time, nervous energy, etc , on a mess. I know from my own bitter experience of 1908-11 that it is impossible to “unite” now. In our Mysl, for example, Plekhanov more than once behaved temperamentally—he was dissatisfied, for example, with my article on strikes and on Potresov, saying that I was abusing “him”! We managed to smooth things over and for the time being we can and must work with Plekhanov, but formal unions and meetings are premature and could spoil everything.
Don’t hurry with the meeting!
It is said positively among us that there exists a government oircular of Stolypin’s for closing down all Social-Democratic publications. It sounds like the truth Before the Fourth Duma they will probably put the screw on ten times tighter.
Legal opportunities will evidently diminish in the immediate future. We must push on with illegal work.
M. F. wrote that you have completely withdrawn from Znaniye. That means a complete break with Pyatnitsky and my last letter came too late?
All the best.
P. S. Sovremennaya Zhizn in Baku has also been raided and suppressed!
 “Strike Statistics in Russia”, “Those Who Would Liquidate Us” (see present edition, Vol. 16, and Vol. 17).—Ed.
 Sovremennaya Zhizn (Modern Life)—a Bolshevik legal journal, appeared in Baku in March–April 1911.