V. I.   Lenin



Written: Written after April 10, 1916
Published: First published in 1964 in Collected Works, Fifth (Russian) Ed., Vol. 49. Sent from Zurich to Stockholm. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1977], Moscow, Volume 43, pages 529b-530.
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

It is no use your trying, in your letter, to ignore the main thing, not daring to deny a fact of which you are only too well aware. Namely, that the organisation was based (provisionally) on the principle of federation—this was reiterated by us in every possible way as clear as clear can be. Your long speeches do not alter this a whit. And further, that this   principle was abnormal, anti-Party. This, too, was stated. And this is the crux of the matter.

Abnormality was tolerable as a temporary measure in the interests of agreement. After your removal it appears that you came to an agreement, all three, on the “theses”,[2] for which we can bear no responsibility either directly or indirectly, not even recognise any proximity to them, leave alone equality, in our Party.

If you wish to persist in them and in such an “agreement” and in federation, we can only regret it.

You ask about contributions—to what journal? Kommunist has been suspended owing to breach of the temporary agreement. That means to a new journal? That is, to yours, on the basis of the “theses”? We cannot contribute and shall be compelled to fight it, since we find your attitude to the Party’s Programme (§ 9) to be not only wrong and harmful, but frivolous. Really, during 8 months of agreement and life together you three never once drew a pen on this question, which has a 12–year history within the Party, never once made a statement in the Editorial Board of the C.O., never once attempted to refer back to Party literature, etc.

Your arguments for a “free” journal (free from the Party Programme? from the central bodies of the Party?) are just as frivolous, if not worse—anti-Party.

If you wish to persist in the theses, we (1) are prepared to publish them and (2) we are bound to give our opinion: publish them yourselves (if you do not want us to do it) and furnish them with a discussion pamphlet in which all three of you could make clear to the Party your motives.

P.S. You write that the question of money is “unpleasant”. Not always. When money is treated in a true Party manner, it is a pleasant thing to the Party. When money is used as a weapon against the Party, it is indeed “unpleasant”, even worse than unpleasant.


[1] This letter was written in reply to that of Pyatakov, Bosh and Bukharin to the editors of Sotsial-Demokrat concerning the disagreements on the Editorial Board of the journal Kommunist.

[2] This refers to the removal to Christiania (Oslo) of Pyatakov, Bosh and Bukharin, and to their theses “On the Slogan of the Right of Nations to Self-Determination” sent in to the editors of Sotsial Demokrat in November 1915.

The writers of the “theses” were opposed to Clause 9 of the R.S.D.L.P. Programme dealing with the right of nations to self-determination.

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