V. I.   Lenin

A Note to E. Varga and Theses on the Organisation of an Information Institute on Questions of the International Labour Movement

Written: August 31, 1921
Published: First published in 1965 in the Fifth Russian Edition of the Collected Works, Vol. 54. Printed from the manuscript. Translated from the German.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, 1st English Edition, Progress Publishers, 1965, Moscow, Volume 42, pages 337-339a.
Translated: Yuri Sdobnikov
Transcription\Markup: D. Walters
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive (2003). 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 Comrade Varga,

I enclose my remarks. If you think it necessary, we can talk things over on the telephone.

Best regards,

Tentative Amendments or Theses

To Comrade B. Varga’s Project for the Organisation of an Information Institute

1. Absolute and strict legality of the Institute for Berlin or Vienna conditions and for the whole of Western Europe, Britain and America.

2. Headquarters of the Institute-Berlin or Vienna or Copenhagen or Christiania.

3. No more than 20% of the Institute’s working time and publications should be devoted to economic and social questions (both together 20%). 80% to political questions.

4. As far as political questions are concerned, the task of the Institute is only to collect objective data on questions that are legal and open to discussion.

5. The Institute must be completely independent of the respective Communist Parties.

6. The official name of the Institute should be, tentatively: Institute for the Study of Forms of Social Movement.

7. Instructions of a principle nature are to be given to the head (or to three heads, not more) of the Institute.

8. On the basis of verbal instructions of a principle nature the head is to work out detailed and absolutely legal instructions and submit them here in Moscow for endorsement by the Comintern Executive.

9. Reports to be submitted weekly or twice a week. Socio-economic appendixes monthly or twice-monthly.

10. The Institute must have no contacts whatever with the Russian embassies.

11. The Institute must begin in a small way. For the German-speaking countries, Scandinavia and the Slav countries—only the German language.

Activities may be extended to Anglo-Saxon and Romance countries only on the basis of a special agreement with a representative of each group of these countries. Agreement only here in Moscow.

12. The reports, or rather, publications, or correspondence of the Institute should be paid for by subscribers (newspapers libraries, etc.).

The basic principle should be such an organisation of the Institute and such operation as would compel all labour newspapers of all trends to subscribe to the Institute’s publications and pay for them. If this does not happen, it will be proof that the Institute is worthless.

13. Comrade Varga’s project[1] should serve as initial draft instructions. In particular, two basic amendments to this project are needed: 1) § 3-up; 2) the political part should be considerably elaborated.

Some remarks to this Point 2:

(Appendix B.) § 3 and 4: Correspondence from factories?

+ money collected by the workers themselves?

+ questions of the trade union movement should be specially dealt with in detail from the political angle. Winning the trade unions is one of the most important political issues.

+ workers’ co-operatives: ditto (to Section II, b)

+ all transitional political formations (like the workers’ and farmers’ party in the United States) are especially important.

+ Leaflets? Distribution? Circulation?

+ attitude to the 1914-18 war? Extremely important.

Section II, § a “revolutionary” (??) workers’ parties like the Communist Workers’ Party of Germany.

Name is wrong. They are not revolutionary. They should be called: semi-anarchist, anarchist or near-anarchist.

It is necessary to add: a split of anarchism all over

the world in patriotic and internationalist questions; for the Soviet system; against the Soviet system.

(b). Parties of the II and II 1/2 Internationals—much more detailed.

+ attitude to own colonies—and to imperialism in practical politics—much, much more detailed.

+ all pacifist and petty-bourgeois-democratic groups and trends—much more detailed.

And so on.

31/8.1921 Lenin


[1] E. Varga’s project for the “Organisation of Information in the Comintern Executive” contained two appendixes: “A pendix A- Instructions on Compiling Socio-Economic Reports” and “Appendix B.—Instructions on Compiling Reports on the Political Situation Within the Country”. The instructions under Appendix A covered:

1. The purpose of the reports, which was to give a dynamic picture of the development of the revolutionary movement in the country and its analysis.

2. Four factors conditioning revolutionary development:

a) the Communist Party—the motive force of the revolutionary movement;

b) the proletariat—the revolutionary masses;

c) the ruling classes—the enemy;

d) The petty-bourgeois middle strata.

The report must show the alignment of forces.

3. The starting-point should be an account of the economic situation, the social position of the proletariat and the middle strata.

4. The report should consist of a brief review (5-10 pages) with a detailed appendix to it.

The instructions under Appendix B contained the following, sections: 1) Communist Parties; II) non-communist proletarian parties; III) bourgeois parties; IV) organisation of the armed forces.

Lenin refers to § 3 and 4 of Section I (“Communist Parties”) of Varga’s instructions (Appendix B) which deal with legal and illegal Party cells, the promulgation of Party literature, appeals, pamphlets and books and the issue of illegal Party literature.

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