V. I.   Lenin



Written: Written on March 12, 1912
Published: First published in 1930 in Lenin Miscellany XIII. Sent from Paris to Berne. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1976], Moscow, Volume 35, pages 25-26.
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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Dear Comrade,

I hasten to reply to some of your questions. A report on the Conference is a necessary and most important thing. I hope that, once you have taken it on, you will go round all Switzerland, and not only the two cities.[2]

From the Announcement I cannot make out what steps the Conference took to draw in various trends abroad and national organisations.” These are your words.

But the Announcement stated clearly and precisely that the Vperyod group[3] + Trotsky + Plekhanov[4] were invited, and the nationals three times. What more was needed?

Lunacharsky at Zinoviev’s lecture in Paris had the brass face to say that it was a “Gaunerkniff”,[1] because, he said, the invitations were sent out not by the Conference but by delegates who had arrived. Well, isn’t this Lunacharsky a scoundrel? 23 sessions = 12 days: if the invitations hadn’t been sent out beforehand, the people who were invited would have missed half (letter has to be sent off, secret addresses given, then they have to arrive—just add it all up!). And from Trotsky’s letter you can see that the invitation was from 7 people = 1/2 of the total of 14.

I was against the invitation, but the delegates invited the Vperyod group and Trotsky and Plekhanov.

The chairman of the credentials committee was the delegate from Kiev (a Menshevik). Even Trotsky has admitted (under pressure!) that this is a bona fide organisation.

Whom will the worker believe, then? The Kiev organisation or ranters abroad?

Don’t believe rumours. Neither the Plekhanovites nor the Vperyod people, no one left the Conference. There were in all two pro-Party Mensheviks. The one from Kiev   behaved with extreme correctness and on the whole went with us. The one from Ekaterinoslav behaved with extreme obstructiveness, but even he did not leave the Conference and only moved “protests” in the spirit of Plekhanov.

The Ekaterinoslav delegate moved his own draft resolution on the constitution of the Conference, in which he fully admitted that everyone had been notified, protested that some had not come, but wanted the Conference to constitute itself as representing Russian organisations. He remained on this in a minority of one.

Now 12 delegates are in Russia, making reports everywhere. There are already letters about this from St.  Petersburg, Moscow, Kiev, Samara, Nikolayev and Tiflis. The work has begun and will continue.

The Bund[5] + the Letts are trying to fix up a conference with the liquidators. Let them try! It’s deeds that are needed, gentlemen, and not words!! You have been impotent (+ Trotsky + Vperyodists) since November 26, 1910[6] —when Trotsky proclaimed the calling of a conference— and you will remain impotent.

We have broken with the liquidators, the Party has broken with them. Let someone try to set up a different R.S.D.L.P. with the liquidators! It would be laughable.

The Duma Social-Democratic group is directly neither for us nor for them. But (1) there were two deputies at our Conference[7]; (2) Zvezda has nine Social-Democratic deputies on its list of contributors, while the liquidationist Zhivoye Dyelo has four. There are facts for you!

Among the Letts the Bolsheviks have declared war on their Central Committee.

Well, I wish you every success! Greetings to all our friends.

N. Lenin


[1]Swindler’s trick”.—Ed.

[2] Lenin refers to reports on the Sixth (Prague) All-Russia Conference of the R.S.D.L.P. (January 1912). G. L. Shklovsky made reports on the Conference in Berne and Lausanne, but his tour of all Switzerland did not take place.

[3] Vperyod group—an anti-Party group of otzovists, ultimatumists and god-builders (see Notes 73 and 77); was organised in December 1909 on the initiative of A. Bogdanov and G. Alexinsky. It had its own organ called Vperyod (Forward). Lacking the support of the workers, the group had virtually collapsed by 1913. Its complete and formal dissolution occurred in 1917, after the February bourgeois-democratic revolution.

[4] Trotsky (Bronstein), L. D. (1879–1940)—joined the R.S.D.L.P. in 1897, became a Menshevik. During the years of reaction (1907– 10) and the subsequent revolutionary revival, though ostensibly an advocate of “non-factionalism”, he in fact adopted the position of the liquidators. In 1912 he was the organiser of the anti-Party August bloc. During the First World War he took up a Centrist stand. Returning from emigration after the February bourgeois-democratic revolution of 1917, he joined the Inter-District Organisation and together with its other members was admitted to the Bolshevik Party at the Sixth Congress of the R.S.D.L.P.(B.). After the October Socialist Revolution Trotsky held a number of government posts. In 1918 he was opposed to the Brest Peace Treaty, in 1920–21 he led the opposition in the discussion on the trade unions, and from 1923 conducted a bitter factional struggle against the Party’s general line, against Lenin’s programme of building socialism, and preached the impossibility of the victory of socialism in the U.S.S.R. In 1927 Trotsky was expelled from the Party. For anti-Soviet activities he was deported from the U.S.S.R. in 1929, and in 1932 deprived of Soviet citizenship.

Plekhanov, G. V. (1850–1918)—outstanding figure in the Russian and international working-class movement, the first propagandist of Marxism in Russia. In 1883 he set up in Geneva the   first Russian Marxist organisation, the Emancipation of Labour group. An opponent of Narodism, Plekhanov also opposed revisionism in the international working-class movement. He wrote a number of works that played a big part in defending and propagating materialist philosophy. After the Second Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. (1903) Plekhanov took up a position of reconciliation with opportunism and later joined the Mensheviks. In the years of reaction (1907–10) and during the subsequent revolutionary revival Plekhanov came out against the Machist revision of Marxism and against liquidationism. During the First World War he became a social-chauvinist. After the February bourgeois-democratic revolution he returned to Russia from emigration, and opposed the Bolsheviks and the socialist revolution on the grounds that Russia was not ripe for socialism. When the October Socialist Revolution occurred, his attitude to it was negative, but he took no part in the struggle against Soviet power.

[5] Bund (General Jewish Workers’ Union of Lithuania, Poland and Russia) was organised in 1897; it spread nationalism and separatism in the working-class movement in Russia. It disbanded in March 1921.

[6] Lenin has in mind the resolution of November 26, 1910, passed at a meeting of the so-called Party Social-Democratic Club in Vienna (mainly composed of Trotskyists) and aimed against Rabochaya Gazeta (Workers’ Gazette) (see Note 29).

[7] The delegates whom the Social-Democratic group in the Third Duma sent to the Prague Party Conference were N. G. Poletayev and V. Y. Shurkanov (the latter was subsequently exposed as an agent provocateur). They arrived late at the Conference. Lenin met them in Leipzig.

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