V. I.   Lenin



Written: Written after November 21, 1915
Published: First published in 1984 in Collected Works, Fifth (Russian) Ed., Vol. 49. Sent to Zurich. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1977], Moscow, Volume 43, pages 499b-501a.
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.

Dear Comrade,

I was very glad to hear about your speech at Aarau and I heartily congratulate you on the success. It couldn’t have been better.[3]

(If you have a full verbatim report of the congress, please let me have it if only for a short time.)

Radek told me that he had advised you not to take the floor first, as this on the part of a Russian would not be “tactful” (Radek has proved to be entirely wrong), and it would be better if Platten did it, etc.

You proved to be entirely right!

I don’t think it’s worth having Gezänk[1] with Radek over the “pighead”, etc. Trifles! A mere nothing! Scandal, which the O.C. people, Dymki, etc., have always gone in for, and Ryazanov now in particular (Radek too says he is furious: funny chap, what made him poke his nose in things he doesn’t understand?).

Take no notice of the scandal, spend less time on the Zurich colonial marsh, give more of it to contacts with Platten and the business of publishing and circulating Internationale Flugblätter[4] (if you spend less time on the O.C. people & Co. you will have more for Internationale Flugblätter).

The money for Internationale Flugblätter (370 copies?) and the account (how many left over? How many given out on credit? Total, etc.) send direct to me (Platten’s address has been given only for outsiders).

As regards the translation of Internationale Flugblätter No. 1 into Italian, I think our mutual acquaintance will help you.[2] She and Siefeldt have already found several Italian addresses; she has found an Italian to go through the translation. You too. I think the first thing to do now is to have it translated into Italian and given to an Italian to be vetted. And then (avoiding Balabanova, who apparently won’t be of any help and is even capable of being an obstacle) it is necessary to start looking out for some newspaper or a league of Italians in Switzerland who would agree to publish it at their own expense: I don’t think this is a utopia, as the publication of 2,000 copies will cost 80 frs., and at 10 cts. each it will yield a profit.

If a publisher cannot be found, then we shall try and publish it ourselves, in which case distribution must be   organised with special zeal: our mutual acquaintance, to whom I am writing, will help us in this.

I would ask you to maintain and cultivate in every way your “close acquaintance” with Platten: he is extremely important just now for publication of Internationale Flugblätter.

Does Platten attend the meetings of the party’s Executive? Does he have the minutes? Has he a vote or not?Does he agree to develop the decision on “revolutionäre Aktionen” to keep it from being a dead letter? (In that case we should arrange publications, pamphlets, supplements to Swiss papers concretising the idea of “revolutionäre Aktionen”, and smuggle all this into Germany.) Does he agree to help import Internationale Flugblätter No. 1 into Germany?

How are things going with the sale of the pamphlet Sozialismus und Krieg? Write. Drop the Zurich colony and get busy with the affairs der Zimmerwalder Linken!

All the best. My regards to your wife and all our friends.


P.S. Write direct to my address:
Wl. Uljanow. Seidenweg. 4-aIII
(bei Frau Schneider) Bern.


[1] A row.—Ed.

[2] The person referred to has not been identified.—Ed.

[3] Lenin is referring to M. M. Kharitonov’s speech at the Aarau Congress vi the Swiss Social-Democratic Party held November 20–21, 1915. The central issue was the party’s attitude to the Zimmerwald internationalist group. The Bolshevik Kharitonov, a voting delegate from one of the party’s organisations, moved an amendment to Grimm’s Centrist resolution; it called for a mass revolutionary struggle against the war and declared that only a victorious proletarian revolution could put an end to the imperialist war. The amendment of the Left was carried by 258 votes to 141.

[4] In November 1915 the Zimmerwald Left issued a pamphlet in German entitled Internationale Flügblätter No. 1 (Die Zimmerwalder Linke über die Aufgaben der Arbeiterklasse) (International Leaflet No. 1—the Zimmerwald Left on the Tasks of the Working Class).

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