V. I.   Lenin



Published: First published in 1924 in Lenin Miscellany II. Sent from Berne to Stockholm. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1976], Moscow, Volume 35, pages 167-169.
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.README

October 27, 1914

Dear Friend,

I have just received your second letter, and sit down to have a talk with you.

Many thanks for the letter about events in St.  Petersburg.[3] It will make an excellent report for the Central Organ. An issue of the Central Organ will be published in a few days, and we shall send it to you. Wait for it. Wait also for the next issue. You must stay for the time being in Stockholm until transport through Stockholm (1) of letters, (2) of people and (3) of literature has been completely organised. For this you should systematically train and test a good transmitting agent in Stockholm. Is Comrade Skovno suitable for this? What’s good about her is that she is a Bolshevik. She won’t go over to the other side. But is she business-like, is she alert, does she attend to details?

I am delighted if Comrade Kollontai[4] has taken up our position, and I am also glad at the excellent (on the whole) management of Golos by Martov in Paris. But I am in deadly fear that Martov (and others akin to him) will go over ... to the position taken up by Kautsky and Troelstra. I hate and despise Kautsky now more than anyone, with his vile, dirty self-satisfied hypocrisy. Nothing has happened, so he says, principles have not been abandoned, everyone was entitled to defend his fatherland. It is internationalism, if you please, for the workers of all countries to shoot one another “in order to defend their fatherland”.

Rosa Luxemburg was right when she wrote, long ago, that Kautsky has the “subservience of a theoretician”— servility, in plainer language, servility to the majority of the Party, to opportunism. Just now there is nothing in the world more harmful and dangerous for the ideological independence of the proletariat than this rotten self– satisfaction and disgusting hypocrisy of Kautsky, who wants to smother and cover up everything, to tranquillise the awakened conscience of the workers by sophistries and pseudo-scientific chatter. If Kautsky succeeds in this, he will become the main representative of bourgeois corruption in the working-class movement. And Troelstra will be for him —oh, that Troelstra is a more skilful opportunist than the “kind” little old man Kautsky! How that Troelstra manoeuvred in order to drive honest men and Marxists out of the Dutch Party (Gorter, Pannekoek, Wijnkoop)!! I shall never forget how Roland-Hoist, when she once visited me in Paris, said about Troelstra: “ein hundsgemeiner Kerl” (gredin, in French)[1] .... I am sorry that you cast pearls before him....[5] Troelstra+the opportunist scoundrels in the Vorstand[2] of the German Social-Democrats are carrying on a dirty little intrigue in order to cover everything up. Be on your guard, don’t become the unwilling victim of that intrigue!! Don’t accidentally give any help to these worst enemies of the working-class movement, who in an epoch of crisis are defending chauvinism “theoretically”, and carrying on a petty and revolting diplomacy. The only one who has told the workers the truth—although not loudly enough, and sometimes not quite skilfully—is Pannekoek, whose article we have sent to you (pass on a translation to the Russians).[6] His words, that if now the “ leaders” of the International that was murdered by the opportunists and Kautsky come together and begin “papering over” the cracks, this “will be of no significance whatever”— these are the only socialist words. They are the truth. Bitter, but the truth. And now the workers need the truth, the whole truth, more than at any other time, not rotten diplomacy, not playing at “papering over”, not smearing over the evil with indiarubber resolutions.

It is clear to me that Kautsky, Troelstra plus Vandervelde (it may be plus X+Y+Z or minus X, Y, Z—this is not important) are now busy with an intrigue for that purpose. The transfer of the International Bureau to Holland is a similar intrigue by the same scoundrels.

I shall keep away from them and from it—and will give the same advice to our representative in the International Socialist Bureau (Litvinoff, 76. High Street. Hampstead, London, N. W.)—and I advise you to do the same.

Don’t attend the counsels of the impious”,[7] don’t put any faith in Troelstra, and the like, etc., etc., just present them with a brief ultimatum: here is the manifesto (a revision of the theses; we shall send it to you in print in a few days) of our C.C. on the war: do you want to publish it in your language?? No? Well, then adieu, our roads diverge!

If Kollontai is on our side, let her help to “push” this manifesto in the other languages. Make the acquaintance of Höglund, a young Swedish Social-Democrat, leader of the “opposition”, read him our manifesto (refer to me: we became acquainted at Copenhagen). Sound out whether he Is ideologically close to us (he is only a naïve, sentimental anti-militarist: these are the very people who should be told—either the watchword of civil war, or remain with the opportunists and the chauvinists).

The essence of the whole problem in Russia now is to organise an ideological rebuff to the opportunists of the International and to Kautsky. This is the key question. Won’t Martov go over at this point??... I fear so!...

All the best,


[1]A scoundrelly son of a bitch.”—Ed.

[2] Executive or C.C.—Ed.

[3] Die Neue Zeit (New Times)—theoretical journal of the German Social-Democratic Party. It was published in Stuttgart from 1883 to 1923. Up to October 1917 it was edited by Karl Kautsky, and afterwards by Heinrich Cunow. During the First World War the journal took up a Centrist position and virtually supported the social-chauvinists.

[4] Kollontai, Alexandra (1872–1952)—-member of the Social-Democratic movement from the 1890s, took part in the revolution of 1905–07. Between 1906 and 1915 she was associated with the Mensheviks. In 1915 she became a member of the Bolshevik Party, having adopted a revolutionary-internationalist stand at the out break of war. After the October Socialist Revolution she held responsible posts.

[5] At the end of October 1914 Shlyapnikov talked with Pieter Troelstra, leader of the Dutch Social-Democratic movement, who had come to Stockholm on behalf of the opportunist leaders of German Social-Democracy to get an agreement on the transfer of the Inter national Socialist Bureau (I.S.B.) to Amsterdam for the duration of the war, and to influence the Scandinavian Social-Democrats towards justifying the treacherous position taken up by the leaders of German Social-Democracy. During his meeting with Troelstra, which took place in the presence of a representative of the Organising Committee, Y. Larin, the Menshevik Dalin, Alexandra Kollontai and others, Shlyapnikov handed him the manifesto of the C.C. of the R.S.D.L.P., and the reply of the Bolshevik group in the Duma to Emile Vandervelde, and later, at his request, sent him letters explaining the Bolsheviks’ attitude to the war.

[6] Reference is to Anton Pannekoek’s article “Der Zusammenbruch der Internationale” (“The Collapse of the International”), printed in Berner Tagwacht, the organ of the Swiss Social-Democratic Party, Nos. 245, 246 and 247, for October 20, 21 and 22, 1914.

[7] Lenin refers to the conference of socialists of the neutral countries proposed by Pieter Troelstra and Thorvald Stauning. The conference took place in Copenhagen on January 17–15, 1915. It was attended by representatives of the socialist parties of Sweden, Den mark, Norway and Holland. The conference approved a resolution calling on the Social-Democratic parties of the neutral countries to urge their governments to mediate between the belligerent countries and thereby help to restore peace. Some of the Social-Democratic parties placed before the conference declarations on their attitude to the war. From the C.C. of the R.S.D.L.P. the conference received No. 33 of Sotsial-Demokrat containing the manifesto “The War and Russian Social-Democracy”, and an official report of the arrest of the Bolshevik deputies to the Duma.

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