V. I.   Lenin



Published: First published in 1930 in Lenin Miscellany XIII. Sent from Helsingfors to Stockholm. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1976], Moscow, Volume 35, pages 318-324.
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.README

August 17 (30), 1917

Dear Friends,

With great difficulty, after long weeks of forced interruption, it seems as though we are successfully resuming our correspondence. Of course, to make this completely successful you will have to go to a lot of pains and effort to organise it at your end.

The shameful campaign of slander launched by the bourgeoisie about the alleged espionage, or connection therewith, of Hanecki, Kollontai and many others is, of course, a scoundrelly cover for the crusade against the internationalists on the part of our bold “republicans”, who want to “compare favourably” with tsarism in their slander– mongering.

(1) I have read somewhere in the Russian papers that Hanecki and Radek have been publishing a denial.[4] I don’t know whether this is true. But it is essential. The first thing to do is for Radek to write to Paris and get the minutes of the last Paris trial of himself (by various factions of the R.S.D.L.P.). Lunacharsky, denouncing these base slanderers, long ago described this trial in Novaya Zhizn.[5] But that is not enough. Someone should try to get the minutes or at least the full sentence of the court, and, if it cannot be printed, take several typed copies and send them here. If it is impossible to gel the minutes or the sentence, it would be desirable to procure at least a written account of the trial by one of the Parisians who look part in it, and to publish at least a small pamphlet in Russian (there is a Russian printing-press in Christiania), in order to give a documentary   refutation of these disgusting slanders. It will be possible to send us at least some copies of the pamphlet, and extracts from it should appear in Arbeiterpolitik, Politiken, Demain, etc.

(2) It is equally essential that Hanecki should give a documentary refutation of the slanderers, by publishing as rapidly as possible the financial accounts of his trading and his “business deals” with Sumenson (who is this lady? It’s the first time I have heard of her!) and with Kozlovsky (it is desirable that the accounts should be audited and signed by a Swedish notary or Swedish socialists, several of them, members of Parliament). It is also necessary to publish the text of the telegrams (there has already been something in the Russian papers, in Russkaya Volya, Bez Lishnikh Slov[6] and others, but probably not in full), and to analyse and explain each.

We must fight against this shameful Dreyfus campaign, against this slandering, by publishing the pamphlet, and as quickly as possible, not sparing toil, trouble or money, in order to brand the slanderers and, as far as possible, to help those who have been arrested on this base and slanderous charge.

(3) How are the financial affairs of the Bureau Abroad, which was appointed by our Central Committee? After the July persecutions it is clear that our C.C. cannot help (I think so at any rate). Write whether you have succeeded in collecting anything through the Swedish Left, and will the Bureau manage to exist? What about the Bulletin? How many issues have been published, and in what languages?[7] Has Guilbeaux bad all the issues? Have you a file of Demain? Was the Bulletin sent to America, North and South? Write about all this in as much detail as yon can.

(4) By the way. I don’t remember who informed us, but it seems that after Grimm, and independently of him, Moor appeared in Stockholm. That the scoundrel Grimm, as a Kautskian “Centrist”, proved capable of a scoundrelly understanding with “his” minister does not surprise me: anyone who does not break resolutely with the social– chauvinists always risks falling into this scoundrelly situation. But what kind of man is Moor? Has it been fully and absolutely proved that he is an honest man? That he never had,   and has not now, any direct or indirect dealings with the German social-imperialists? If it is true that Moor is in Stockholm, and if you know him, I would very, very much ask you, earnestly ask you, insistently ask you to lake every step to check this up in the most strict and the most documented fashion. There is not, or rather, should not he, any room even for a shadow of suspicion, reproach, rumour, etc. I very much regret that the “Zimmerwald Commission” did not condemn Grimm more severely![8] It should have been done more severely!

(5) I have been, and remain, unquestionably against participation in the Stockholm Conference.[9] I must observe that I am writing all this letter personally, as from myself, since I have had no chance either to ask the C.C. or even communicate with it. Therefore, in replying to me with particular detail, append to your letter your official, detailed, business-like, documentary report (of the whole Bureau) to the Central Committee, and I will send it on.

So, I am absolutely against participating in the Stockholm Conference. I consider Kamenev’s statement[10] (have you seen Novaya Zhizn? you ought to subscribe to it) the height of stupidity, if not of baseness, and have already written about this to the Central Committee and for the press. Luckily Kamenev was speaking only for himself, and was disavowed by another Bolshevik.

I consider participation in the Stockholm Conference, or in any other, with the Ministers (and scoundrels) Chernov, Tsereteli, Skobelev and their parties, to be direct betrayal, and will state this opinion in the press against all and sundry. If in the “Zimmerwald Commission” (judging by the report of the social-chauvinist Rozanov) it proved possible almost to reject Stockholm, or to half-reject it, this is very good. But “almost” and “half” are of no use at all, and all this “half”-social-chauvinist Zimmerwald Commission, which depends on the Italians and the Ledebourites, who desire “unity” with the social-chauvinists, is a most harmful institution.

(6) We are making the very greatest and unforgivable mistake in delaying or postponing the convening of a conference of the Left to found a Third International. It is just now, when Zimmerwald is so shamefully wavering or   obliged to be inactive, just now while there still is in Russia a legal (almost legal) internationalist party with more than 200,000 (240,000) members[1] (which does not exist anywhere else in the world in wartime), it is just now that we are in duty bound to call a conference of the Left, and we shall really be criminals if we are late in doing so (the Bolshevik Party in Russia is being driven more and more underground day by day).

Money for the conference will be found. It is possible to issue several numbers of its Bulletin. There is a centre for it in Stockholm. There is a French “foothold” (Demain) and an English one (the “Socialist Labour Party” of America; its delegate Reinstein[2] was recently in Petrograd and will probably be in Stockholm)—though by the way in addition to the S.L.P. (the “Socialist Labour Party” of America) there is also an English foothold, Tom Mann in Britain, the minorities within the British Socialist Party, the Scottish socialists and The International in America.

It would be simply criminal to postpone now the calling of a conference of the Left.

It would be immeasurably stupid to “wait” for a “large” number of participants, and to be “embarrassed” by the fact that at present there are “few”. For just now such a conference will be a moral force, independently of the number of participants, while later it may be hushed up.

The Bolsheviks, the P.S.D., the Dutch, Arbeiterpolitik, Demain—there is already a sufficient nucleus. They will certainly be joined, if energetic action is taken, by part of the Danes (Trier and others, who have left the party of the scoundrel Stauning), part of the Swedish Young (against whom we are sinning, in not leading them, because they must be led), some of the Bulgarians, the Lefts in Austria (“Franz”[11]), some of the friends of Loriot in France, part of the Lefts in Switzerland (Youth International) and in Italy, and then the elements in the Anglo-American movement which I have already mentioned.

The resolutions of the conference of the Bolsheviks (April 24–29), 1917) and of their congress (July 1917; see the resolutions in Novaya Zhizn),[12] the draft new programme of the same Party—there is a sufficient ideological basis (adding Vorbote, Tribune, Arbeiterpolitik and others) to be able to present the whole world with clear answers to the questions raised by imperialism, and to accuse the social-chauvinists and the Kautskians.

Such a conference must be called at once, its provisional Bureau must be set up, and its manifesto and draft resolutions printed in three languages for passing on to the parties. I repeat once again: I am profoundly convinced that, if we do not do this now, we shall make this work terribly difficult for ourselves in the future, and will terribly facilitate an “amnesty” for the traitors to socialism.

(7) The ministerialism of the Russian Menshevik-“ Zimmerwaldists” must be specially utilised to put an ultimatum to Zimmerwald in general: either a break with the Brantings, Huysmans and Co., or we walk out immediately. By the way: is Arbeiterpolitik making a campaign against Zetkin and against the Braunschweiger Volksfreund for the way these scoundrels, pursuing their intrigues, have been whitewashing and supporting the Russian Mensheviks, Chkheidze and Co., who have proved ministerial swine, just like Sembat, Renaudel, Thomas and Co.?

Has Mehring, too, still not understood to this day the utter baseness of Chkheidze, Tsereteli, Skobelev and Co.?

(8) You must get your letters sent on here—I hope to receive immediately just as detailed a letter as mine ( otherwise I do not agree to correspond)—and literature as well: files from the middle of June, at the very least, of Arbeiterpolitik, Demain, Kampf (Duisburg), Weekly People (S.L.P.), Leipziger Volkszeitung, Neue Zeit, The Call and others. Spartacus, the publications of Loriot and his friends, Avanti!, etc., etc. As a beginning, you might at least send cuttings.

(9) You should send here, if possible every week, first, articles for the provincial and Petrograd Party press ( reviews of the Left-wing movement abroad, facts, facts, facts); secondly, leaflets (4–8--16 small pages) for publication as booklets. Summaries of facts about the collapse of the International, the disgrace of the social-chauvinists, the   disgrace of the Kautskians, the growth of the movement of the Left: at least 4 booklets on each of these subjects, 16–32 small pages each. Facts and facts. There is a hope of publishing this. Reply at once whether you can take it on. When sending it on by our method (there can be no question now of sending it legally) I think it is all the same which language it is written in.

(10) I hope you have the file of Pravda, and are subscribing to Novaya Zhizn. If you have not received Rabochy i Soldat (closed down), Proletarskoye Dyelo (Kronstadt) and Sotsial-Demokrat (Moscow), write at once, and I will send them as soon as the new method, being tested for the first time by this letter, is organised satisfactorily.

P.S. August 18. I have just received Nos. 1, 2, 4 of the new paper Proletary, the Central Organ[13]—of course, they will soon close it down, f will try and send it to you. I am sending Nos. 1–7.

August 20. I have still not succeeded in sending off my letter, and probably won’t succeed for some time. So this is becoming something like a diary instead of a letter! It can’t be helped. You must have a lot of patience and determination, if you want to communicate at all with internationalists in the “most free” imperialist republic. Today I have learned from Izvestia that News of the Stockholm Information Bureau of the Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies is being published weekly in Stockholm. Try to send files of all Stockholm publications. We see nothing.

August 25 (September 7). It looks as though tomorrow it will be possible to send this letter. Make every effort to organise delivery from your end. Reply without fail at once, if only briefly, to the address (within your country) which the comrade delivering this letter (or his friend) communicates to you. He will also pass on a cipher; as an experiment 1 am writing a few words in this cipher, and please reply to them in the same cipher.[3]

P.S. Write one more pamphlet, 16–32 small pages, about the secret diplomatic treaties of Russia: brief, precise, facts, facts. Such-and-such a treaty of such-and-such a dale, month,   year, content so-and-so. A list of the treaties. A summary. As brief and factual as possible. Reply whether you undertake to do it, and when yon will send it.

I conclude: for God’s sake, a conference of the Left immediately, a bureau of the Left, a bulletin of the bureau, and decide on a second conference in 2 (1 1/2) months.




[1] Seventeen daily papers; 1,415,000 copies weekly altogether; 320,000 daily.—Lenin

[2] I have no idea what sort of a bird this is. According to the press, he greeted the “Unity Congress” of the Mensheviks!! That means he’s a suspect bird.—Lenin

[3] A few lines are in cipher here.—Ed.

[4] Pravda No. 88 for June 22 (July 5), 1917 published Hanecki’s cable from Stockholm denying the slanderous statements made about him in the newspaper Dyen (Day). The same issue of Pravda also contained a telegram signed by Bronski, Orlovsky and Radek affirming Hanecki’s innocence.

[5] Novaya Zhizn (New Life) (Petrograd, 1917–18)—Menshevik-orientated daily, organ of a group of Social-Democrats known as the “Internationalists”, which included Menshevik supporters of Martov and various semi-Menshevik intellectuals.

Reference is to Lunacharsky’s letter to the editor published in Novaya Zhizn No. 60, June 28 (July 11), 1917.

[6] Bez Lishnikh Slav (Without Wasting Words)—scurrilous weekly paper published by the Black-Hundred leader Alexinsky in Petrograd in July 1917.

[7] Reference is to Russische Korrespondenz “Prawda” (“Pravda” Russian Bulletin), published by the R.S.D.L.P. Central Committee Bureau Abroad in Stockholm in 1917. It was published in German; a French edition also appeared.

[8] While Robert Grimm, Chairman of the International Socialist Commission (I.S.C.), was in Russia in the spring of 1917, he ex changed secret dispatches with the Swiss statesman Hoffmann concerning the German terms for conclusion of a separate peace treaty between Germany and Russia. When this became known, he was expelled from Russia. The investigation of the case was entrusted to a special commission nominated by the I.S.C., which declared Grimm’s actions contradictory to the principles of the Zimmerwald movement. Grimm was removed from his post of Chairman of the I.S.C. and the commission’s decision on the case was ratified by the Third Zimmerwald Conference, held in Stockholm in September 1917.

[9] Reference is to the International Socialist Conference, which was to take place in Stockholm in the summer of 1917. The conference had been proposed by social-chauvinists of the neutral countries.

[10] On August 6 (19), 1917, at a meeting of the Central Executive Committee, held to discuss preparations for the Stockholm Conference, Kamenev spoke in favour of participation in the conference and revision of the Bolsheviks’ decision on this question. The Bolshevik group in the C.E.C. dissociated itself from Kamenev’s speech.

Lenin sent the editor of the newspaper Proletary an open letter called “Kamenev’s Speech in the C.E.C. on the Stockholm Conference” (see present edition, Vol. 25, pp. 240–42).

[11] Reference is to Franz Koritschoner. See Note 248.

[12] Reference is to the resolutions passed at the Seventh (April) Conference and the Sixth Congress of the R.S.D.L.P.(B.) (see KPSS v rezolyutsiyakh i resheniyakh syezdov, konferentsii i plenumov Tseka, 7th ed., Part 1, 1954, pp. 335–53 and 372–89).

[13] Proletary (The Proletarian)—daily paper, central organ of the Bolshevik Party; it appeared from August 13 (26) to August 24 (September 6), 1917 in place of Pravda, which had been banned by the Provisional Government. Ten issues were published.

< backward   forward >
Works Index   |   Volume 35 | Collected Works   |   L.I.A. Index