V. I.   Lenin



Written: Written after January 14, 1913
Published: First published in 1964 in Collected Works, Fifth (Russian) Ed., Vol. 48. Sent from Cracow to Paris. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1977], Moscow, Volume 43, pages 329-331.
Translated: Martin Parker and Bernard Isaacs
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
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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Dear Comrade Albert,

I would like to have a talk with you about the resolution of the meeting on the non-Russian organisations.[1] You regard it as “diplomacy”—and that is a great mistake.

In what do you see diplomacy?

First of all in the fact that we raise a hue and cry against the Executive of the P.S.D.—“and all information comes from the members of the opposition”.

This is glaringly incorrect!

That Tyszka in the Executive evokes opposition and discontent among the P.S.D. we have known for years. Everyone who has worked with the Executive knows this.

The development of this opposition since 1910 has been in plain sight.

In the spring of 1912 Tyszka and Co. dismiss the War saw Committee, which they announce to be dependent on the secret political police, and set up a committee of “their own”.

In the autumn elections take place. And what happens? All the worker-electors of Warsaw belonging to the Social-Democratic Party are found to be on the side of the opposition!

I checked this fact.

The names of the electors are Zalewski and Bronowski. Malinovsky saw them and verified the fact himself.

Isn’t this proof enough??

On the side of the opposition we find also both the organisations abroad and Lodz.

Tyszka’s policy of manoeuvring has long been heading for a fall. It is inevitable. The 1912 January Conference (which did not touch at all on the subject of Tyszka’s (==the Executive’s) split with the opposition) had pointed   to this course of events which it appraised in principle.

The federation of the worst type[3] is breaking up.

A comeback (to 1907–11) is impossible.

This has got to be understood.

There was a similar period in Austria: a separate C.C. of the nationals; no separate C.C. of the Germans.

In Austria this did not last: from here the road leads either to complete federation, or to complete unity.

With us, too, semi-federation (1907–11) cannot last; no effort must be spared to make the Party workers grasp this thoroughly.

We are out for complete unity—from below—in the national question as well.

This is possible. We had and have it in the Caucasus (4 nations). We had it in 1907 in Riga (the Letts, Lithuanians and Russians) and in Vilna (Lithuanians, Letts, Poles, [Russians ],[2] Jews)—in both these cities against the separatism of the Bund.

In Austria federation ended in separatism and break down of the united party.[4] With us it would be criminal to countenance separatism of the Bund and cover it up.

You see “diplomacy” (20) in the fact that we blame the Bund and “grant almost an amnesty to the Lettish C.C., which is following the Bund”.

No. You are mistaken. This is not diplomacy. The Lettish Social-Democratic workers have always stood for unity from below, have always been for territorial autonomy, i.e., have taken an anti-separatist, anti-nationalist stand.

This is a fact.

You cannot deny it.

The inevitable conclusion to be drawn from this is: the Lettish C.C. is a deviation from the true path on the part of one of the bodies of the revolutionary proletariat among the Lettish Social-Democrats.

In the Bund, on the other hand, there is no such true path, there is no proletariat, no mass organisations—nothing but a circle of intellectuals (Lieber+Movich+Vinitsky—out-and-out opportunists and long-standing “bosses” of the Bund) and circles of artisans.

It would be a glaring untruth to confuse the Bund with the Letts.

The “national” question in the R.S.D.L.P. has come up for discussion. [This is inescapable.] The breakup of the non-Russian organisations is no accident. And we should exert every effort towards explaining the matter, towards renewing the struggle of the old Iskra.

We are against federation in principle. We are for utilising the deplorable experience of semi-federation (1907–11). We are in favour of a campaign for unity from below.

The comrades who used to work among the Jewish Social-Democratic workers of Russia or who are generally familiar with the conditions, should collect [information on] the harm of Bund separatism. The Bund wrecked the Stockholm [resolution ] (1906).[5] It united nowhere locally itself (the Letts never did anything like it).

Does anyone really believe that we shall forget this and allow ourselves again to be fed with empty promises??

Never! Unite in Warsaw, Lodz, Vilna, and so on, gentlemen “uniters” of the Bund!

[I would be glad ] if you would show this letter to the Bolsheviks interested [in the national question and if] work could be started everywhere on a serious study of the question and the collection of material (Russia’s experience) against the Bund “separatists”.

Beste Grü&Bwhatthe;e,


[1] A reference to the resolution of the Cracow meeting on the “Non Russian Social-Democratic Organisations” (see present edition, Vol. 18, pp. 465–66).—Ed.

[2] Manuscript partly damaged. Words in square brackets have been inserted as context suggests.—Ed.

[3] Federation of the worst type is the way the decisions of the 1912 Prague Party Conference describe the relationships with the national (non-Russian) Social Democratic organisations which existed within the R.S.D.L.P. since the Fourth (Unity) Congress, when the “non-Russians” worked “in total isolation from Russian organisations”, which had an extremely adverse effect upon the whole   work of the R.S.D.L.P. (for further details see present edition, Vol. 17, p. 464 and Vol. 18, pp. 411–12).

[4] The Social-Democratic Party of Austria was dissolved as a united party in 1897 at the Wiemberg (Vienna) Congress and a federative union of six national “Social-Democratic groups”: the German, Czech, Polish, Ruthenian, Italian and Southern Slav, was established in its stead. All these groups were linked merely by a common congress and a common Executive Committee. At the Brünn Congress in 1899 the party’s Executive Committee, was reorganised into a federative body consisting of executive committees of the national Social-Democratic parties.

[5] Lenin is referring to the “Draft Conditions of Amalgamation of the Bund with the R.S.D.L.P.” adopted at the Fourth (Unity) Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. held in 1906, from April 10 to 25 (April 23 to May 8) (see KPSS v rezolutsiyakh..., Part I, 1954, pp. 134–35).

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