V. I.   Lenin



Written: Written on November 25, 1916
Published: First published in 1949 in Bolshevik No. 1. Sent from Zurich to Sörenberg (Switzerland). Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1976], Moscow, Volume 35, pages 248-249.
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 Friend,

As regards rewording for the French, I would not under take it.[1] Perhaps you will try?

They were written for the Swiss: the “military part” here is a special one (for a small state), the inner-party situation is different, etc., etc. Besides, I would not be able to find concrete material about France.

I should be heartily glad to do something for the French Left, but somehow contacts don’t get established. Grisha writes long but exceptionally meaningless letters, full of water, chews old stuff, nothing business-like, tells us nothing precise about the French Left, and establishes no, absolutely no contact with them.

As regards the fatherland, you evidently want to establish a contradiction between my writings previously (when? 1913? where precisely? what precisely?) and now. I don’t think there are any contradictions. Find the exact texts, then we shall look at it again.

Of course, there were always differences between the orthodox and the opportunists as to the conception of fatherland (cf. Plekhanov 1907 or 1910, Kautsky 1905 and 1907, and Jaurès: L’armée nouvelle). I entirely agree with this: here the divergence was a radical one. I don’t think I have ever said anything against that.

That the defence of the fatherland is admissible (when it is admissible) only as the defence of democracy (in the appropriate epoch), is my opinion too.

Of course, proletarians should never “merge” with the general democratic movement. Marx and Engels did not “merge” with the bourgeois-democratic movement in Germany in 1848. We Bolsheviks did not “merge” with the bourgeois-democratic movement in 1905.

We Social-Democrats always stand for democracy, not “in the name of capitalism”, but in the name of clearing the path for our movement, which clearing is impossible without the development of capitalism.

Best greetings.

Yours, Lenin

P.S. If you need books, write.


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

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