V. I.   Lenin



Written: Written on February 3, 1917
Published: Sent from Zurich to Clarens (Switzerland). Printed from the original. Published for the first time in the Fourth (Russian) Edition of the Collected Works.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1976], Moscow, Volume 35, pages 282-284.
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

Dear Friend,

I was very glad to have your letter. I like the plan of your lecture[1] very much. I advise you to be sure to repeat it, to challenge H. Droz to battle, to supplement the lecture with a section on the revolution (only perhaps the size of the lecture will not permit it?), i.e., how can the revolution take place, what is the dictatorship of the proletariat, why is it necessary, why is it impossible without arming the proletariat, why is it fully compatible with complete, all-round democracy (in spite of the vulgar opinion)?

Droz and the other Swiss social-pacifists do not under stand it; they have not thought it out; and the Swiss conditions d’un petit État et de la petite bourgeoisie d’un petit État[2] generate in every possible way precisely pbs (=petty bourgeois) pacifism.

If you receive Volksrecht and Berner Tagwacht (it is essential to read these two papers), that is, in my opinion, enough for judging the position of the Centre, which is exactly the position of Grimm (the scoundrel! How fraudulently he “fights” the social-patriot Huber-Rohrschach!!), and to which both Nobs and Platten have (3/4) descended. You are terribly mistaken if you are not joking, when you write of my “influence” on Platten. This is how matters   stand: he and Nobs “put themselves down” as Lefts at Zimmerwald and Kienthal. I made dozens of attempts to draw them into discussions, a study circle, talks. All in vain!! They are afraid of Grimm and of a struggle against him. They are 3/4 in the “Centre”. They are almost hopeless. Perhaps a strong movement of the Left will straighten them out, but even that is hardly likely!

Today we have not yet received the corrected resolution. We hope for it tomorrow.

Münzenberg told me yesterday that on Tuesday they are having a conference of the Young from German- and French-speaking Switzerland. By that time we must have our resolution on the question of the war. (Radek undertook to draft one, but so far has not produced it.) My opinion is that you should set to work as hard as you can, so as before Tuesday to be able (1) to write to Geneva and Ch.-de-F.[3] that for the time being they should take my theses (the paragraphs on the question of the war, section I) as a basis; (2) to discover who will be at the meeting of the Young from French Switzerland; (3) to “work them over”, “instruct” them, so that they understand what really distinguishes us from (α) social-pacifism and (β) the “Centre” (=Grimm and Co.). (Platten has understood absolutely nothing, and doesn’t want to learn.) Our position, in general, =Karl Liebknecht, the struggle against social-patriotism and the Centre of one s own country; the inseparable connection between the struggle against the war and the struggle against opportunism, and all-round and immediate revolutionary work for the socialist revolution.

The preamble to the referendum, by the way,=the first step to a platform of the Left in Switzerland. N.B. this.

On Tuesday the Young from French Switzerland will definitely put forward a draft Left resolution and fight for it. I have not yet seen the corrections, but I am sure that he is injuring the cause (reconciling and muddling the differences between the Left and the Swiss social patriots, not opening them up. In this lies the whole essence and the whole foulness of Grimm’s articles in Berner Tagwacht and Neues Leben about the majority and the minority).

Try to make friends with the French internees, start corresponding with them, make contacts, found (a secret and informal) group of Lefts among them. Most important!

The slogan of “a mass movement” is not bad, but it is not completely correct. Because it forgets the revolution, the conquest of power, the dictatorship of the proletariat. N.B. this!! Or more correctly: the support and development (at once) of every kind of revolutionary mass actions, with the object of bringing nearer the revolution, etc.

Platten = a muddlehead. With Scheidemann or with Liebknecht? he asks, not understanding that the very thing Grimm is doing is “reconciling”, uniting, confusing the Swiss social-patriots (Greulich and Co.) and the Swiss “Left”, who are quite politically unconscious!!!

You are right: revolutionary struggle against the high cost of living, strikes, demonstrations, etc., at once. At once “go to the people”, i.e., to the masses, to the majority of the oppressed, preaching the socialist revolution (i.e., taking over the banks and all large-scale enterprises).

Very best wishes.

Yours, Lenin


[1] A lecture on pacifism.—Ed.

[2] Of a little state and of the petty bourgeoisie of a little state.—Ed.

[3] La Chaux-de-Fonds.—Ed.

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