V. I.   Lenin


Written: Written late in May 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 399-400.
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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For Comrade Alexander

Dear Alexander,

Of course we shall give Belenin 300 kronen, if he has already so firmly decided on his plan for a trip. It will be a pity if he goes. In any case, you must do everything to ensure his return in a few months.

As regards the “Japanese”, you shouldn’t think that they have made “considerable concessions” in the draft you have sent on. They haven’t made any at all! On the contrary, the demand that the two should have the right to haul in dissenting contributors is an innovation, an addition, a surenchère. And this innovation clearly exposes their “policy” in the worst sense of the word. If the founders, the publishers, the young contributors want freedom of opinion for themselves—freedom of discussion—that is legitimate. But if people, behind this legitimate desire, try to smuggle in “discussion” which is not their own, but that of “ contributors”, isn’t it clear that this is a game?

Never has there been anything like this anywhere. If the two want publicity for all kinds of intrigues abroad—let them go ahead, and let them be responsible for it. I cannot participate in this either directly or indirectly.

You will ask, perhaps, where is the proof that it is a question of intrigues abroad? I wrote to you about this long ago, and you have not replied a single time. The proof is the issue of Gazeta Robotnicza (February 1976), from which we have Radek and Bronski as “contributors”.

That is a fact.

These gentlemen were the first in the Zimmerwald Left to start an intrigue—and at what a time! They want to “play off” Chkheidze and Trotsky.

At such a moment the two publishers do not blush to propose to us that we should give them “freedom and a guarantee” of discussion for such contributors! This is either madness, or the height of impudence.

And equal representation with them (6=3+3), is that not the same thing? Why, they once gave you to understand (and you wrote this yourself) that they would accept the co-opting of two, supporters of the C.O. But when it came to having a written agreement, they beat a retreat. Isn’t that the game of petty hucksters?

If people are in agreement, sincerely and in principle, to have a journal or a miscellany support the Programme of the Party, then the majority must be for it. Otherwise there is no sincerity, no principle, only “the purse strings”.

My view is, explain all this to them clearly, in popular language, if necessary in writing, and give them an ultimatum: either this way (7=4+3), or you send in your conclusion about their “game” to the Bureau.[1] That will be the correct Party reply.

All the best,


[1] On A. Shlyapnikov’s proposal, the C.C. Bureau in Russia examined the friction within the editorial board of Kommunist and adopted the following resolution: “Having heard the statement of Comrade Belenin (A. Shlyapnikov) concerning the differences within the collegium of workers of the Party press on various points of the Party programme and tactics, the C.C. Bureau deems it necessary to inform the C.O. editorial board abroad of the   following: = 1) The C.C. Bureau in Russia, declaring its complete solidarity with the main line of the C.C., being conducted in the C.O., Sotsial-Demokrat, expresses the wish that all C.C. publications should be edited in a strictly consistent spirit, in complete accord with the C.C. line adopted by it at the outbreak of war; = 2) The Bureau goes on record as opposing the transformation of C.C. publications into discussion publications; = 3) The Bureau believes that the differences between contributors on some questions of the minimum programme and the C.O. editorial board cannot be an obstacle to their participation in C.C. publications, and invites the C.O. Editorial Board to accept their collaboration on other questions which are not at issue; = 4) The Bureau suggests that private publishers should be used in Russia and abroad to clear up and eliminate differences through the issue of special discussion collections.”

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