V. I.   Lenin

Better Late Than Never

Written: Written on January 8 (19), 1913
Published: Published in Pravda No. 8, January 11, 1913. Published according to the newspaper text.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1975], Moscow, Volume 18, pages 469-470.
Translated: Stepan Apresyan
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

I have had to be very late in coming out with a denial of what L. Martov wrote in Luch (No. 37, October 28, 1912). But how can it be helped? It is easy to tell an untruth, but sometimes it takes a long time to find out the truth.

In Luch No. 37, L. Martov heaped upon me the choicest abuse seasoned with the sort of “obscure” innuendoes that are usual with that writer. Having become accustomed in ten years to these methods of struggle used by L. Martov, I did not even read his article to the end. But some colleagues pointed out to me that L. Martov alleges that Comrade Haase, a member of the Central Committee of the German Social-Democrats, has said: “Lenin is deceiving the International.”

To get at the truth, I had to find the source of Martov’s allegation. He referred to a certain MinersNewspaper No. 225. I could not find it. Vorw\"arts (central organ of the German Social-Democratic Party) contains no such words. I only found them in the Bremer B\"urger-Zeitung[1] (the organ of the Bremen Social-Democrats).

I was faced with the necessity of questioning Haase himself if I did not want to imitate L. Martov’s frivolous attitude.

I sent a written inquiry to the Central Committee of the German Social-Democrats.

Here is Haase’s reply:

Central Committee of the German Social-Democratic Party
Berlin, December 31, 1912

In reply to your inquiry, I wish to inform you that the wording which, according to you, Luch used in reporting my speech in the International Socialist Bureau, is not in accord with the facts. The Dear Comrades,   question discussed at the meeting was whether the Organising Committee can claim representation on the International Socialist Bureau. I said this was impermissible because, even according to its own statement, the Organising Committee is not an organisation but merely wants to be a union of groups for restoring the unity of the organisation. In this connection, I raised the question of who specifically was entitled to represent the Russian party in its present state, and remarked that if it was true that in its relations with the International Bureau the Central Committee acted as the “R.S.D.L.P.”, this name might give rise to misunderstandings.

Thus there was no attack on Lenin here, and In general, the re mark was not an insulting one at all. I wanted only to ascertain the state of affairs in view of the above-mentioned assertion, and primarily to raise the question whether the time had not come to take steps towards unifying all the Russo-Polish groups. I was very sorry Lenin was absent.

For the sake of completeness only, I wish to point out that the word “deceit” never passed my lips.

With comradely greetings, Haase

And so, in order to heap abuse on me for the thousandth time, L. Martov has repeated (echoing someone else) an untruth about Haase.

Haase was against the Organising Committee being represented, but he did not dispute the representation of the Central Committee.

Haase does not consider that the Central Committee represents the entire R.S.D.L.P., including the non-Russians and the liquidators; but then, as far as I know, the Central Committee itself has never claimed that it represented either of these.

The non-Russians (the Poles, the Bund, the Letts) have special representatives of their own.

I confine, myself to this factual denial.

N. Lenin


[1] Bremer Bürger Zeitung—a Social-Democratic daily published from 1890 to 1919. It was under the influence of the Left Social-Democrats of Bremen until 1916, when it passed into the hands of social chauvinists.

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