V. I.   Lenin



A letter to the Editors

Written: Written not earlier than November 1, 1913
Published: First published in 1933 in Lenin Miscellany XXV. Sent from Cracow to St. Petersburg. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1977], Moscow, Volume 43, pages 362-364a.
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.README

Dear Comrade Editors,

Allow me, in the columns of your newspaper, to announce our reply to the many people from the Far North, the West, East and other places, who have written to us for information about the liquidators’ “campaign” against the “insurance” expert, Comrade X.

The liquidators accused him of duplicity, of serving both the employers and the workers.[5]

What does the organisation do in the case of such accusations?

It calls together representatives of different bodies serving the labour movement and authorises them to investigate the matter. That is what it did. The findings of the committee of representatives from five bodies (1. the Editorial Board of Pravda; 2. the Editorial Board of Prosveshcheniye; 3. the Editorial Board of the Polish Marxist organ; 4. the six Social-Democratic deputies in the Duma; 5. the Chair man of the Metalworkers’ Union) were published in No. 12 of Za Pravdu for October 17.[1]

The committee found,

——that the allegation of the liquidatorsis untrue”;

——-that X., having given up working for the employers, thereby fulfilled his duty.

In the previous issue (No. 11 of Za Pravdu for October 16) A. Vitimsky made it amply clear that X. was “guilty” only of leaving the employers to serve the labour movement. Vitimsky added that he had communicated to the secretary of Za Pravdu the names of the liquidators working as secretaries of employers’ bodies.[2]

And what did the liquidators reply? They made no at tempt to deny either Vitimsky’s statement or the fact that X. had given up working for the employers.

Nor did they attempt to form any kind of committee   from among “their own” seven deputies, or from any trade union, or from any “leading body” of Letts, Jews or Caucasians.

They did nothing of the kind!

People devoted to the organisation set up a committee, investigate the matter and adopt a decision.

The liberal hacks of Novaya Rabochaya(??) Gazeta, who are independent of the workers’ organisations, are continuing their campaign of vicious lies and slander!! They are trying to fool simpletons and ignoramuses by accusing X. of “duplicity” on the grounds that he secretly began, under a pseudonym, to help the workers, though he had not yet given up his job for the employers!![3]

Clearly, the workers are turning away with disgust from these contemptible anonymous slanderers from the liquidators’ rag of a newspaper, which is supported by the bourgeoisie.

But that is not enough. Turning away is not enough. A shameless smear campaign against a person is an old device of the liquidators, who are out to destroy the organisations of the workers.

No organisation is possible without an organisational rebuff to such a method of political “struggle”. What should such an organisational rebuff consist in?

Every worker must demand that the liquidators, from whom Marxists have turned away with contempt, should set up a committee of “their own” from “their” seven members, their “own” “leading body” of Jews, Letts, Caucasians, etc. Let them try to arrive at “their own” decision and communicate it to the International. Then we shall brand these slanderous rascals before the whole world.

While these scoundrels, these dirty characters, are hiding behind anonymous articles in the liquidators’ newspaper, let every union of workers charge its executive with the investigation of this matter, by collecting all documents and information from everywhere, by checking the decision of the Marxist committee of five bodies and adopting a decision of their own.

Universal condemnation of the slanderers, a universal   demand: “Retract your base slander, or we shall not let you enter a single organisation”—that should be the reply of the working class, the organisational reply to the wreckers of the organisation.

V. Ilyin[4]

This question of principle should be raised in the Duma.

P.S. If Za Pravda is closed down, you must tone down fivefold, become more legal and tamer. This can and should be done. Write the way they do in Voprosy Strakhovaniya[6] and establish your own censorship. For God’s sake, do this, otherwise you will just ruin the business.


[1] This refers to the article (unsigned) “Liars!”—Ed.

[2] This refers to the article “On ‘Criminals’” byA. Vitimsky (M. S. Olminsky).—Ed.

[3] Articles in Novaya Rabochaya Gazeta: “Call Them to Account” (in Nos. 55 and 56) and “To the Pillory!” (in No. 60).—Ed.

[4] This letter was signed also by L. B. Kamenev and G. Y. Zinoviev.—Ed.

[5] X—K. A. Komarovsky (B. G. Dansky). He joined the R.S.D.L.P. in 1911, wrote for Zvezda and Pravda and took part in the insurance movement; in 1913–14 ho was a member of the Editorial Board of the Bolshevik journal Voprosy Strakhovaniya. In order to discredit the Bolsheviks the liquidators accused Dansky of working in the bourgeois press. The Party committee investigating this accusation found that Dansky, since joining the ranks of the Bolshevik Party, had ceased working in the bourgeois press, and therefore recognised him as an honest member of the Party and qualified the accusation levelled against him by the liquidators as slander.

The question of Komarovsky was dealt with a second time by a committee consisting of representatives of the newspaper Za Pravdu and the journals Prosveshcheniye and Voprosy Strakhovaniya, 6 worker deputies, in the Duma, members of the staff of the Priboi Publishers and a representative of the “organised Marxist workers”. The committee’s findings, published in No. 32 of the newspaper Za Pravdu for November 10, 1913, under the heading “An End to Slander”, stated that “the committee sees no obstacles whatever to X’s continued contributions to Marxist publications and to his presence in comrades’ midst”.

The liquidators’ smear campaign against Komarovsky was mentioned by Lenin in the Report of the C.C., R.S.D.L.P. to the Brussels Conference (see present edition, Vol. 20, p. 524).

[6] Voprosy Strakhovaniya (Insurance Question)—a Bolshevik legal journal, appeared in St. Petersburg at intervals from October 1913 to March 1918. Among its contributors were prominent   organisers of the insurance campaign, such as the Bolsheviks N. A. Skrypnik, P. I. Stu&cwhatthe;ka, A. N. Vinokurov and N. M. Shvernik.

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