V. I.   Lenin



Written: Written January 14, 1917
Published: First published in 1964 in Collected Works, Fifth (Russian) Ed., Vol. 49. Sent from Zurich to Clarens. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1977], Moscow, Volume 43, pages 599b-601a.
Translated: Martin Parker and Bernard Isaacs
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive (2005). 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,

I have received your letter and the cutting from Russkiye Vedomosti. Thanks very much.

Dear friend! I know how terribly bad you feel and I am eagerly anxious to help you in any way I can. What about your trying to live at some place where there are friends and where you could chronically have talks on Party affairs and chronically take part in them?

I received a letter today from Guilbeaux, a short one. He writes that they are preparing a meeting on the question of peace. I have written 4 articles (or chapters) on this for Novy Mir (they are said to pay 5 dollars for an article, which would be most welcome, by the way).[2] I am sending them to you. Will you consider the following plan: I could let you have further material and you would prepare a French lecture on this subject, a highly topical one, and make the round of French Switzerland with it? It would be extremely useful to the cause, as there is no end of pacifist muddle in everybody’s head, and this muddle can be dissipated only by steady, systematic influence. No really, tackle this, draw up the most detailed theses for your lecture (we could discuss them together) or else write out the whole lecture. The French workers in Switzerland have no one to lecture them on the Marxist attitude to pacifism, and you could do that and give the workers plenty of food for thought. Start   preparing little by little right now; the work will absorb you. Believe me, absorbing work is most important and soothing for health and mind! I’ll send you cuttings from Bataille,[3] the texts of resolutions, texts from Avanti! (I can obtain back numbers of Avanti!—you can easily learn to read Italian; that, too, would be extremely important, as there are very many Italian workers in Switzerland, and they, too, have no one to teach them Marxism).

Grimm is calling (this is between ourselves) a conference of socialists of the Entente for 23.I (to discuss their conduct at the conference of chauvinist socialists of the Entente). We are preparing a sharp protest against Grimm (even to the extent of demanding his resignation from the I.S.C.) for his despicable behaviour in the matter of congress postponement.[1] I strongly advise you to look for Volksrecht (I shall send you the issue containing the resolution), Berner Tagwacht (you can have that sent from Berne, can’t you? Especially the issue of 8 or 9.I) and Grütlianer (4.I and 9.I). I shall be writing you more about this. The meeting of the Swiss party’s Executive (Parteivorstand) of 7.I. 1917 was an historic one: they have postponed for an indefinite time a congress devoted precisely to the Militärfrage!! And Grimm took the lead coming out in favour of postponement together with the social-patriots!! No, this is a thing we shall make him pay for. We are having a meeting of the Lefts here today. Grigory and I have written to Radek, inviting him and Roland-Holst and others to protest against Grimm. We shall invite Guilbeaux too, but he is right out of his depth on this question, and your lecture (whether a public lecture or a talk in the Geneva group of Lefts to begin with) would be useful in the extreme.

Olga has written me that some Left Frenchman is arriving to see Guilbeaux (and she has put Guilbeaux up to the idea of inviting me to meet him. I feel awkward about it, it’s inconvenient; I am not going). But is it a Frenchman arriving for 23.I?? If you could spend some time around that date (23.I) in Geneva and read (or prepare) your lecture there, you could probably run into the Frenchman from Paris by accident (the accidental part of it is important) and teach   him quite a lot. Prepare your lecture or talk for 25.I, will you?? (And if “they” are not to return by 25, then, after your talk with Guilbeaux, put it off until their return: in this way you could “catch” both Guilbeaux and the Frenchman, eh??)

You had better wait going to see Abramovich, as he wrote me yesterday that he was sending information from the printing shop. We had better wait till it arrives.

All the very very best, and wishing you to come to speedy grips with your lecture (it will come in useful to you later in any case).


P.S. Pacifism now is the question of the day. It is here, i. e., on this question, that we must now teach (Guilbeaux and the French in particular) to present it in a Marxist manner. Answer me on this point without delay.


[1] See next letter.—Ed.

[2] Lenin is referring to his article “Bourgeois Pacifism and Socialist Pacifism” intended for Novy Mir, which was published in New York by Russian socialist emigrants. The article did not appear in this paper, however. The first two chapters, rewritten by Lenin, were published in the last issue (No. 58) of Sotsial Demokrat, January 31, 1917, under the heading “A Turn in World Politics” (see present edition, Vol. 23, pp. 262–70).

[3] La Bataille—a newspaper, organ of the French anarcho-syndicalists; appeared in Paris from 1915 to 1920. Adopted a social-chauvinist stand in the First World War.

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