V. I.   Lenin

From the Camp of the Stolypin “Labour” Party (September 4, 1911)

Dedicated to Our “Conciliators” and Advocates of “Agreement”

Published: Sotsial-Demokrat, No. 23, September 14 (1), 1911. Published according to the Sotsial-Demokrat text.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1974], Moscow, Volume 17, pages 242-244.
Translated: Dora Cox
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive (2004). 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

Comrade K.’s[1] letter deserves the profound attention of all to whom our Party is dear. A better exposure of Golos policy (and of Golos diplomacy), a better refutation of the views and hopes of our “conciliators” and advocates of “agreement” it is hard to imagine.

Is the case cited by Comrade K. an exception? No, it is typical of the advocates of a Stolypin labour party, for we know very well that a number of writers in Nasha Zarya, Dyelo Zhizni, etc., have already been systematically preaching these very liquidationist ideas for many a year. These liquidators do not often meet worker members of the Party; the Party very rarely receives such exact information of their disgraceful utterances as that for which we have to thank Comrade K.; but, always and everywhere, the preaching of the group of independent legalists is conducted precisely in this spirit. It is impossible to doubt this when periodicals of the Nasha Zarya and Dyelo Zhizni type exist. It is to the advantage of only the most cowardly and most despicable defenders of the liquidators to keep silent about this.

Compare this fact with the methods employed by people like Trotsky, who shout about “agreement” and about their hostility to the liquidators. We know these methods only too well; these people shout at the top of their voices that they are “neither Bolsheviks nor Mensheviks, but revolutionary Social-Democrats”; they zealously vow and swear that they are foes of liquidationism and staunch defenders of the illegal R.S.D.L.P.; they vociferously abuse those who   expose the liquidators, the Potresovs; they say, that the anti liquidators are “exaggerating” the issue; but do not say a word against the definite liquidators, Potresov, Martov, Levitsky, Dan, Larin, and so on.

The real purpose of such methods is obvious. They use phrase-mongering to shield the real liquidators and do everything to hamper the work of the anti-liquidators. This was exactly the policy pursued by Rabocheye Dyelo,[2] so notorious in the history of the R.S.D.L.P. for its unprincipled character; it vowed and swore, “We are not Economists, not at all, we are wholly in favour of political struggle”; but in reality it provided a screen for Rabochaya Mysl[3] and the Economists, directing its whole struggle against those who exposed and refuted the Economists.

Hence it is clear that Trotsky and the “Trotskyites and conciliators” like him are more pernicious than any liquidator; the convinced liquidators state their views bluntly, and it is easy for the workers to detect where they are wrong, whereas the Trotskys deceive the workers, cover up the evil, and make it impossible to expose the evil and to remedy it. Whoever supports Trotsky’s puny group supports a policy of lying and of deceiving the workers, a policy of shielding the liquidators. Full freedom of action for Potresov and Co. in Russia, and the shielding of their deeds by “revolutionary” phrase-mongering abroad—there you have the essence of the policy of “Trotskyism”.

Hence it is clear, furthermore, that any “agreement” with the Golos group that evades the question of the liquidators’ centre in Russia, that is, the leading lights of Nasha Zarya and Dyelo Zhizni, would be nothing but a continuation of this deception of the workers, this covering up of the evil. Since the Plenary Meeting of January 191O the Golos sup porters have made it abundantly clear that they are capable of “subscribing” to any resolution, not allowing any resolution “to hamper the freedom” of their liquidationist activities one iota. Abroad they subscribe to resolutions saying that any disparagement of the importance of the illegal Party is evidence of bourgeois influence among the proletariat, while in Russia they assist the Potresovs, Larins, and Levitskys, who, far from taking part in illegal work, scoff at it and try to destroy the illegal Party.

At present Trotsky, together with Bundists like Mr. Lieber (an extreme liquidator, who publicly defended Mr. Potresov in his lectures and who now, in order to hush up the fact, is stirring up squabbles and conflicts), together with Letts like Schwartz,[4] and so on, is concocting just such an “agreement” with the Golosgroup. Let nobody be deceived on this score: their agreement will be an agreement to shield the liquidators.

P.S. These lines were already set up when reports appeared in the press of an “agreement” between the Golos group and Trotsky, the Bundist and the Lett liquidator. Our words have been fully borne out: this is an agreement to shield the liquidators in Russia, an agreement between the servants of the Potresovs.


[1] In this letter, published in Sotsial-Democrat, No. 23, September 1 (14), 1911, it was reported that a prominent St. Petersburg liquidator, addressing a meeting of worker members of the Party in Vyborg District, proposed that instead of reviving the Party organisation they should set up “organising groups” for legal educational work. This proposal was met with a unanimous rebuff, no one voting in its favour.

[2] Rabocheye Dyelo (Workers’ Cause)—a magazine of the Economists, organ of the Union of Russian Social-Democrats Abroad. It was published at irregular intervals in Geneva from 1899 to 1902. Lenin criticised the views expressed by the Rabocheye Dyelo group in a number of articles published in Iskra and in his book What Is To Be Done?

[3] Rabochaya Mysl (Workers’ Thought)—the Economist newspaper published from 1897 to 1902. Lenin’s criticisms of the views of Rabochaya Mysl as a Russian variety of international opportunism appeared in articles published in Iskra and in his book What Is To Be Done?

[4] Schwartz (U. Elias)—a Latvian Social-Democrat, liquidator.

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