V. I.   Lenin



Written: Written December 17, 1918
Published: First published in 1964 in Collected Works, Fifth (Russian) Ed., Vol. 49. Sent from Zurich to Clarens. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1977], Moscow, Volume 43, pages 587b-588.
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 Friend,

I have just received your postcard. I sent a postcard to you in Berne, poste restante, a very short one containing a single request for your response, as your silence began to worry me a bit.

I am very keen now on the idea of publishing leaflets on Swiss affairs.

Something in the nature of a circle of Left-wingers has formed here. This term is inaccurate, though: so far just a number of meetings (evoked by my theses). Attended by Nobs, Platten, Münzenberg and several others of the Young. We discuss the war resolution in connection with the tasks of the Lefts. These talks have brought home to me most clearly: 1) how devilishly weak (in all respects) the Swiss Lefts are; 2) how poor is the “system” of influence of Bronski and Radek, who have been writing articles about the Lefts in other countries! The whole point is that everyone is willingly Left when it comes to foreign countries: it’s cheap!! But when it comes to Switzerland... nothing doing!

Abramovich promises to distribute 1,500 copies of pamphlets and leaflets (will you undertake to translate them? Systematically and regularly? Answer!), while Münzenberg, with whom I spoke yesterday, the head of the organisation of the Young with 4,000!! German members, undertakes to distribute a maximum of 1,500!!

Guilbeaux, to whom I sent the theses,[1] writes that he is very pleased with them and will use them as a basis for his newly formed Committee of Internationalists. We shall see!

I have read Humbert-Droz’s Plaidoirie!![2] My God, what muddle in his head! And this in 1916! A hopeless Tolstoyan, I’m afraid.

Grigory writes me that in No. 25 of Arbeiterpolitik there is a paragraph on “Three Editors of Kommunist[3] and that “Radek is taking the same line with Y. B.+Bukharin as Tyszka with Lyova”.... At last Grigory too has come to see it, although he still hangs back on the grounds that “despite this we ought not to break with Radek”. Ha, ha!

I wonder how you are fixed up. It’s a cold flat, Maison Vincent, isn’t it? Do you go skiing? I strongly recommend it—it’s very good for the health. Go skiing in the mountains near Rocher de Naye.

My best regards,

P.S. What sort of person is Usiyevich’s wife? An energetic woman, I believe? Will he make a Bolshevik of her or she make a neither-this-nor-that of him?


[1] See “Tasks of the Left Zimmerwaldists in the Swiss Social-Democratic Party” (present edition, Vol. 23, pp. 137–48).—Ed.

[2] This refers to Humbert-Droz’s pamphlet Guerre à la Guerre. A bas l’Armèe. Plaidoirie complète devant le Tribunal Militaire à Neuch&ahat;tel le 26 ao&uhat;t 1916 (War to the War. Down with the Army. Complete text of a speech for the defence at the Military Tribunal in Neuch&ehat;tel on August 26, 1916). Its author was arrested for refusing to answer a call-up notice.

[3] The newspaper Arbeiterpolitik No. 25 for December 9, 1916, published in its “Our Political Diary” section an unsigned paragraph dated December 6, 1916. Touching on the discussion of the question of the right of nations to self-determination in the pages of No. 1 of Sbornik Sotsial-Demokrata, the writer stated that Lenin’s views on this question were not shared by “three members of the Editorial Board of Kommunist, a theoretical review of Russian Left radicals”. Such a report could only disorientate the reader, as it did not mention a word either about the theoretical mistakes or the anti-Party factional behaviour of this group after the appearance of Kommunist.

The same issue of Arbeiterpolitik carried as an editorial a short article by Bukharin entitled “The Imperialist State” with a footnote from the editors commenting favourably on his article.

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