V. I.   Lenin


Written: Written before December 20, 1912
Published: First published in 1930 in Lenin Miscellany XIII. Sent from Cracow to Berne. Printed from a copy of the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1971, Moscow, Volume 36, pages 211-213.
Translated: Andrew Rothstein
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive.   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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Your letter is the first, I believe, to offer a “report” on Basle![2] It’s rather late.... Evidently something was lacking (or in excess?) at Basle.... I believe that what the delegates lacked was organisation. And that is extremely sad. Kamenev, of course, was run off his feet, but what about the other five? Was it really not clear that it was necessary to write to Pravda daily? Was it really so difficult to assign the various duties? We’ve not had a single letter in Pravda from the spot, while the liquidators had several in Luch.

Isn’t it a shame? Of course, so long as we sleep and the liquidators work, they will make more headway. Is anything being done to collect money for Pravda? It doesn’t look like it, while the liquidators have reports in Luch of collections abroad. Yet Pravda is very, very, very much in need.

Not a single one of the delegates (except Kamenev) has written here about Basle. It was essential to get organised and write twice a day. But all kept silent. Evidently there is some dissatisfaction. What with? God only knows! I am tremendously satisfied with the results of Basle, because the liquidator idiots let themselves be caught out on the question of the initiating group![3] You couldn’t have pinned down the riffraff better. But I’m worried by the inactivity of our delegates, and a sort of “in-the-pouts” behaviour on their part, for no apparent reason. Did they talk with the German delegates? (After all, 4 or 5 did know German!) Who? With whom? How? What about? There’s not a word, except from Kamenev. Agitation among the Germans is very important.

You write that “with us things are not too good in the press and in the Duma group”. They are not too good with Prosveshcheniye.[4] There is no money. It’s a serious crisis. It should be given help to enable it to pull through.

Pravda’s circulation is about 23,000. Luch has 8,000– 9,000. It would be sinful to complain thus far. But in April and May Pravda had 60,000, and in the summer dropped to 20,000. It’s rising very slowly. Without help it won’t pull through. In the Duma group things are better than ever before. All the six seats in the workers’ curia are ours.[5] That’s something we’ve never had. For the first time, we have taken the South. Six and six out of 12. Mankov is a Menshevik. Rusanov is a question mark. We can fight. Here are precise data on our progress. Deputies in the workers’ curia:

II Duma— 12 Mensheviks, 11 Bolsheviks (=47%) III Duma— 4 ” 4 ” (=50%) IV Duma— 3 ” 6 ” (=67%) (“Minutes of London Congress”, p. 451).[6]

If you have anyone anywhere who is losing heart, let him think over these figures and be ashamed of his faint-heartedness. For the first time we have among our people in the Duma an outstanding workers’ leader (Malinovsky). He will read the declaration. There’s no comparing him with Alexinsky. And the results—maybe not at once— will be great. In the III Duma we started out with 0!

In the sphere of illegal work, thanks to the Bureau’s moving here, more has been done than before. We are moving ahead, even if slowly. We are publishing illegally more than others. But we have no money. If we get help, we shall also publish Rabochaya Gazeta, etc.

Illegal work can be helped from abroad only by visits. Then help is very important in the form of new connections (1) letters; (2) chance visits; (3) passports; (4) etc., etc. What is being done in this respect is not enough. Only one per cent is being done in the localities abroad of what could be done. The most important thing right now is to help Pravda to pull through. And it is getting poor help. One man in Vienna (Bukharin) is making an effort. But nothing is being done in the other cities! No one writes regular reports. No one makes collections. No one collects   interesting local books and pamphlets for dispatch here ...[1] material for interesting articles. Comrades, we must give more thought to these things! For example, who among the Social-Democrats at Neuenburg in Switzerland ... has done anything? What has been done about it?

All the best....

P.S. Please send this letter to Yuri, for him to pass on to Antonov in Paris, and from there on to Vienna. To this day, we have not yet found out whether Plekhanov had spoken at the October meeting of the Bureau on unity with the S.R.s (cf. Martov in No. 37 of Luch.[7]) Didn’t anyone make inquiries about this with Rubanovich, or N&ewhatthe;mec, or Huysmans, or anyone else?


[1] An illegible word in the copy at this point looks like “as”.—Ed.

[2] The report of the R.S.D.L.P. C.C. delegation on the Basle Congress of the Second International. The report appeared in No. 30 of the newspaper Sotsial-Demokrat on January 12 (25), 1913.

[3] The withdrawal of six representatives of the C.C. from the R.S.D.L.P. subsection at the Basle Congress in protest against the endorsement of the credentials of the representative of the St. Petersburg Initiating Group, an organisation which was hostile to the Party and fought it.

[4] Prosveshcheniye (Enlightenment)—a legal theoretical monthly of the Bolsheviks, published in St. Petersburg from December 1911 to June 1914. The magazine was organised on Lenin’s initiative in place of Mysl (Thought), a Bolshevik journal closed down by the tsarist government. It had a circulation of up to 5,000. Lenin directed Prosveshcheniye first from Cracow and then from Poronin.

On the eve of the First World War, the magazine was closed down by the tsarist government. In the autumn of 1917, its publication was resumed, but only one (double) issue appeared.

[5] The six Bolshevik deputies in the Social-Democratic group in the Fourth Duma.

[6] See Pyaty (Londonsky) syezd RSDRP (Fifth [London] Congress of the R.S.D.L.P.). Minutes, Moscow, 1963, p. 660.

[7] Martov’s article “The International Bureau on Social-Democratic Unity” quoted Plekhanov as saying at an I.S.B. meeting in Brussels (October 28 and 29, 1912) that “the time is not far off when the Russian Social-Democrats will unite not only among themselves but also with the S.R.s”.

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