V. I.   Lenin



Written: Written earlier than June 17, 1916
Published: First published in 1929. Sent from Zurich to Christiania (Oslo). Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1976], Moscow, Volume 35, pages 223-225.
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.
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Dear A.,

Evidently there has been an interruption in our correspondence, and quite a number of misunderstandings have been caused by your not receiving our second letter sent to Stockholm. Otherwise I cannot understand how you can write that we don’t answer your questions. We replied to everything in the greatest detail; it was you who didn’t reply to us. N. K. is writing very often; we will have to be patient and repeat some things in order to achieve results. It is essential to maintain regular correspondence.

About Kommunist you write to me that the split with Chkheidze arouses no doubts. In whom? In Bukharin and Co.! But what I wrote was that this relates not to Bukharin and Co. but to Radek and Co.

Kommunist was our temporary bloc with two groups or elements—(1) Bukharin and Co., (2) Radek and Co. While it was possible to march together with them, this was the right thing to do. Now it is not—and we must temporarily part or, more correctly, move away.

The Poles adopted in the summer of 1915 (after No. 1–2 of Kommunist) and printed only in 1916 a resolution which once again showed their wobblings on the question of Chkheidze. Is it reasonable now to afford them the possibility and right (they are, after all, staff members of Kommunist!!) to muscle in and spoil the journal with their squabbling??

In my belief, it is not reasonable. It is much more useful for the cause to take another title (Sbornik Sotsial– Demokrata) and wait a while, until the Poles have learned better (or until they come under Germany) or until the situation changes.

Further. About Bukharin and Co. I will certainly send you (though not very soon, because it depends on a journey to Berne) Bukharin’s “theses” of the spring of 1915. Then you will see what it is all about:

1) In the spring of 1915 Bukharin (at the Conference!) writes theses in which he is visibly rolling down into the swamp. The Japanese[2] are against him. (Therefore we temporarily accept the maximum of concessions in Kommunist, in order to create a form convenient for clearing up the affair: shall we succeed in overcoming Bukharin’s waverings “in comradely fashion”? will E. B., who calls herself a Bolshevik, help in this or not?)

2) In the summer of 1915 (or approaching the autumn) Bukharin-H^e Japanese, now as a group of three, sign the theses about self-determination. Utterly wrong, in our opinion, and a repetition of Bukharin’s mistakes.

3) At the beginning of 1916 Bukharin on the question of the “Dutch Programme” (from No. 3 of the Bulletin of the I.S.C.) again returns to the ideas of his spring theses of 1915!!!

The conclusion? A bloc is impossible in this case also. We must wait until Bukharin’s waverings have ceased. A journal which would be an organ of Polish-Bukharin waverings would be harmful. It would be harmful in such a situation to cling to the old title, and not to be capable of selecting another (Sbornik Sotsial-Demokrata).

The non-Party and dishonest behaviour of the Japanese lies in this, that they want to throw the responsibility for their wobblings on us. Excuse us, kind friends, we shall not allow you to do this! If you want to be Party people, you will help us partly in money to publish Sbornik Sotsial-Demokrata, where we (after all, we are not wobbling) will analyse your mistakes in comradely fashion without naming you, not giving the enemy the chance to rejoice and gloat.

Moreover, if the Japanese took seriously the most serious question of differences (abroad il n’y a qu’un pas[1] to a separate faction!! You can believe me, I’ve been seeing this happen for about 20 years!!), they would force themselves to study the difference, think it over, work at it (they did   not think and did not study, but, simply blurted out the first thing that came into their heads). They would have given a full statement of their differences, either in a manuscript for an intimate circle of leading comrades (who could have helped in not giving publicity to the question in the press), or in a pamphlet if they wanted to “go into print” (they’ve got the money).

Then they themselves would he answering for their “ideas”. That is essential. If you want to teach the workers now truths—answer for them, and don’t throw responsibility on us, don’t hide behind us (we are nobodies, let Lenin and Co. answer to the Party for the “discussion”, i.e., for the gloating of our enemies).

No, kind friends!! That won’t wash!! I am not going to answer for your wobblings. We shall publish Sbornik Sotsial-Demokrata even without your help, Messrs. Japanese. We shall grant you a postponement: think it over, clear up your ideas, decide finally whether you want to assume responsibility for a new muddle or not. If all you want is to “match” us against the Poles and the Dutch in the Russian press, that we won’t allow you to do.

This is the situation, these are my views; and I repeat that I will certainly send you Bukharin’s spring theses, so that you can judge the whole situation according to the documents.

N. K. is writing today about self-determination. We are not for fragmentation. But what about the question of annexations? Bukharin and Co. (just like Radek with Rosa Luxemburg and Pannekoek) have not thought over what it means to be “against old and new annexations” (the formula in the press drawn up by Radek)?? Why, that is “ self-determination of nations”, only expressed in other words!

Well, so long until next time.



[1] There is but one step.—Ed.

[2] The “Japanese” was a name for G. L. Pyatakov and Eugène Bosh, who emigrated from Russia to Switzerland through Japan.

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