V. I.   Lenin



Written: Written on February 19, 1917
Published: First published in 1949 in Bolshevik No. 1. Sent from Zurich to Clarens (Switzerland). Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1976], Moscow, Volume 35, pages 288-289.
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,

The other day we had a gratifying letter from Moscow (we shall soon send you a copy, although the text is uninteresting). They write that the mood of the masses is a good one, that chauvinism is clearly declining and that probably our day will come. The organisation, they say, is suffering from the fact that the adults are at the front, while in the factories there are young people and women. But the fighting spirit, they say, is not any the less. They send us the copy of a leaflet (a good one) issued by the Moscow Bureau of the Central Committee.[1] We shall print it in the next issue of the Central Organ.

Richard is himself again! It’s difficult for people to live, and for our Party in particular. But still they do live.

There is also a letter from Kollontai, who (let this be entre nous for the time being) has returned to Norway from America. N. Iv. and Pavlov (the Lett who was in Brussels: Pavel Vasilyevich) had won Novy Mir, she says (I get this paper very irregularly), but ... Trotsky arrived, and this scoundrel at once ganged up with the Right wing of Novy Mir against the Left Zimmerwaldists!! That’s it!! That’s Trotsky for you!! Always true to himself=twists, swindles, poses as a Left, helps the Right, so long as he can....

Among the Left in America, she says, things are not going badly, though Kollontai is afraid of anarcho-syndicalist tendencies in the S.L.P. (N. Iv., she says, is not afraid of this). I have read in the S.L.P. organ (The Weekly People)[2] that they are throwing overboard their minimum programme.... N. Iv. has been stumbling “at that there   spot” since 1915. I fear for him! But the post to America is not working.

I have been putting in a lot of study recently on the question of the attitude of Marxism to the state; I have collected a lot of material and arrived, it seems to me, at very interesting and important conclusions, much more against Kautsky than against N. Iv. Bukharin (who, how ever, is not right all the same, though nearer to the truth than Kautsky). I would terribly much like to write about this: perhaps publish No. 4 of Sbornik Sotsial-Demokrata with Bukharin’s article, and with my discussion of his little mistakes and Kautsky’s big lying and vulgarisation of Marxism.

Nadya is ill: she has caught bronchitis and has a temperature. It looks as though she will be in bed for some time. I called in the doctor today.

Wells and what about your visit to La Chaux-de-Fonds? Have you given up this idea altogether, and all your plans about work in French Switzerland? You should not let that drop. Things here, as I wrote, are not very good, yet today we have finished leaflet No.I[3] (“the Swiss group of Zimmerwald Lefts”). We shall see what happens!

If not now, then in general (i.e., a little later) we shall succeed (I am sure)—if not we, then our successors—in building up a Left trend in Switzerland. The ground for this exists!

Have you read the propositions of the Left at the Congress of the Zurich cantonal party at Töss,[4] February 11, 1917? in Volksrecht? Not bad all the same, eh?

All the very best greetings and handshakes. Excuse the scribble on the last page: I am being hurried.

Yours, Lenin


[1] The Moscow Bureau’s leaflet which Lenin mentions was not published in the Party’s central organ, Sotsial-Demokrat, because in January 1917, after the publication of No. 58, the paper closed down.

The Moscow Bureau of the Central Committee was at the time the leading body of the Moscow Regional Bolshevik Party organisation. Among the Bureau’s members were Rozalia Zemlyachka, M. S. Olminsky and I. I. Skvortsov-Stepanov.

[2] The Weekly People—organ of the Socialist Labour Party of America, founded in New York in 1891.

[3] Reference is to Leaflet No. 4, “Gegen die Lüge der Vaterlandsverteidigung” (“Against the Lie about Defence of the Fatherland”), which was later published over the signature of the “Group of Zimmerwald Lefts in Switzerland”. Lenin was closely concerned with the writing and editing of this leaflet. It included the “Proposed Amendments to the Resolution on the War Issue” and a number of other writings by Lenin.

[4] The Congress of the Zurich Social-Democratic organisation in Töss was held on February 11 and 12, 1917. It discussed the Social-Democratic attitude to militarism and war. Two draft resolutions were moved: = (1) a resolution drafted by the Rights in a spirit of social-chauvinism and = (2) a Centrist draft approved by the majority of the leaders of the Swiss Social-Democratic Party. = The majority resolution was passed by 93 votes to 65. To prevent the social-chauvinist resolution being adopted, the Lefts voted for the majority resolution, but moved amendments drafted by Lenin (see present edition, Vol. 23, p. 282). The Lefts’ motion containing these amendments received 32 votes. The materials of the Congress were published in the newspaper Volksrecht.

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