V. I.   Lenin


Written: Written after June 4, 1916
Published: First published in 1929 in the journal Proletarskaya Revolutsia No. 7. Sent from Zurich to Christiania. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1971, Moscow, Volume 36, pages 401-402.
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 Alexander,

I wrote to you briefly yesterday. Today I want to have a further talk.

I am revolted by the “conditions” laid down by the Japanese. That two editors should have the right to decide on inserting an article written for discussion purposes by a contributor! Not even three, but only two: in other words, the publishers “depend” on no one but themselves.[1]

The meaning of this clause is clear: they want to hide behind Radek and inflame our differences with him and with the P.S.D.[2] This is not discussion, but the height of intrigue, the utmost cravenness. It’s just as it was in Paris in 1911, when we were “dragged” into a discussion with Rappoport, or Lyova, or Viktoryonok, or Bogdanov! I have written to, you that the Polish Gazeta Robotnicza (February 1916) is attacking us just like those Parisians did then.

In no circumstances will I join an editorial board which is intriguing in this way, under the guise of discussion. If you, Japanese, want to help to disorganise our Party, do it on your own responsibility. Your purse is full. Go ahead and publish the “discussion” by Radek or Gazeta Robotnicza: then the Russian workers will see at once that you are intriguers, and will kick you out. But you want to play this mean trick under cover of a “collective board”. Sorry, but I won’t accept this and will expose you. That is my reply to the Japanese on this question.

The same goes for “equal rights” (the elimination of the seventh member, or voting on him).[3] This is a continuation of the old “game”. What has Party membership got to do with it? The point is that we are to give “equal rights”   to people who have shown themselves in the negative! Why should we? Equal rights = the right to spoil the work! In the name of what? For what purpose? To make dissension permanent?

No. If they want to make a new experiment, we shall take a new journal, or more precisely miscellany, and try (the old confidence has been undermined) to issue one with an editorial board of seven. We shall make the experiment: this is the maximum concession which I can conscientiously allow. If the experiment fails, the intriguers and the capitalists lose nothing, because the “purse” can always be withdrawn. And we shall then issue our own miscellany. One that is simple, clear and without intrigue.

I wish you all the best, and ask you to be patient.



[1] A reference to the draft agreement on the further publication of Kommunist, drawn up by G. Pyatakov and Yevgenia Bosch, and transmitted by A. Shlyapnikov to Lenin. In the text of the draft Lenin struck out the following points:

The founders of the publishing house and its responsible representatives are Comrades P. and N. Kievsky”;

The consent of at least two editors is required for the insertion of articles by contributors in the Kommunist’s Discussion Section....”;

The sixth person is to be co-opted to the publishing house on the recommendation of Comrades Lenin and Zinoviev. Comrades Lenin and Zinoviev have the right to recommend a seventh person to the publishing house from among Party writers but his admission is to be subject to a vote and is to be decided by a simple majority of the editors....”

The Point 6 mentioned by Lenin is given in the draft agreement as follows:

“6. The Right of the C.C. 

The Party C.C. or its Bureau have the right to insert their official documents, statements, etc., in the magazine Kommunist, without however taking up more than 15 per cent of the total space.”

[2] Differences between Lenin, and Radek and the Social-Democratic Party of Poland and Lithuania on the national question. The essence of these differences is set out by Lenin in his article “The Discussion on Self-Determination Summed Up” (see present edition, Vol. 22, pp. 320–60).

[3] See Note 467.

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