V. I.   Lenin



Published: First published in 1964 in Collected Works, Fifth (Russian) Ed., Vol. 49. Sent to Zwolle. Printed from the original. Translated from the German.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1977], Moscow, Volume 43, pages 465-466a.
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.

Sörenberg, 15/VII. 1915

Dear Comrade,

I am sending you the report on the Berne preliminary conference by our representative Comrade Zinoviev. Will you please show it to Comrades Pannekoek and Gorter and let us know as soon as possible your opinion and that of your party (or resolution).

I think this preliminary conference was very important and useful only in the sense that it definitely showed up the “strange” (to put it mildly) role of certain German “Leftists” (Frau Clara Zetkin in particular). A few months ago I asked one of the German “Leftists” in the presence of Comrade Radek whether, if things came to a split, Clara Zetkin would go with the old or with the new party (that is, the revolutionary, and not the national-liberal party like that of today). “With the old one,” this “Leftist” answered without hesitation.

Comrade Radek got very angry with this Leftist and assured me that the man was mistaken, and that Clara Zetkin would decidedly and sincerely fight the mean German social-chauvinists.

And now this argument has definitely been settled, but not in favour of Radek. Zetkin wishes to go together with Haase-Kautsky, but Haase-Kautsky desire “unity” (with Südekum: we call this in Russian “unity of lackeys, a splitting of revolutionaries”, that is, unity with the national bourgeoisie, a splitting of the international working class)!! I am convinced that this “Left” conference with Zetkin, with Haase, without Lichtstrahlen and the Tribune people, is sheer hypocrisy: the objective significance of this conference consists merely in strengthening the old disreputable party by means of a sham struggle of the “Left” (à la Zetkin) against the “Right” (the Whigs and Tories of present-day Britain!).

We must (together with the Tribunists and some of the German Leftists, not à la Zetkin—perhaps also with the Lettish party and the Polish Social-Democrats (known as   the Opposition)) do something very quickly, if we do not want to miss this very important moment.

Comrade Radek promised to translate our resolutions into German.[1] You are already familiar with our Manifesto (of the Central Committee)—it has been published, unfortunately in abbreviated form, in your Tribune. David in his book quotes this Manifesto very conscientiously (almost unbelievably so for an opportunist). We are sending you Radek’s translation and would ask you to let us know as soon as you can whether you consider it possible and advisable to prepare a joint resolution and come for ward with a joint declaration of protest against the “Left” conference (Zetkin & Co.). We, I believe, shall do it—in one form or another.

With best regards,
N. Lenin

P.S. Please show this also to Comrade Luteraan, with whom we once came out together against the “Marsh” (the Centre), (naturally, if you think it would be useful to show this letter to Comrade Luteraan).

Wl. Uljanow in Sörenberg (Kanton Luzern) Schweiz. All this is strictly confidential!


[1] Meaning the resolutions of the Berne Conference of the R.S.D.L.P. Groups Abroad (see present edition, Vol. 21, pp. 158–64).—Ed.

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