V. I.   Lenin



Written: Written September 30, 1903
Published: First published in 1927. Sent from Geneva to Dresden. Printed from a copy written out by N. K. Krupskaya.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1974, Moscow, Volume 34, pages 168-170.
Translated: Clemens Dutt
Transcription\Markup: D. Moros
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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September 30

You write: “I have lived too long in the world not to know that in such cases truth is not on one side alone, but on both sides.” I fully admit it. The trouble is that the other “side” does not realise the new situation, the new basis, and demands what used to be easily arrived at (if only after months of quarrelling), but is now unachievable. The basis has become different, that is a fait accompli; but they are still guided chiefly by the offensive turn this or that thing took at the Congress, by the frenzied way Lenin behaved, etc. I did act frenziedly, there is no denying it, and I frankly admitted as much in a letter to Old Believer.[1] But the thing is that the results achieved by “frenzied” struggle are not frenzied at all, yet the other side in its fight against frenzy goes on fighting against the results themselves, against the inevitable and necessary results. But you have long been aware of the direction in which things were going. You know how you expressed your firm conviction of an obstacle due to certain “old men”, and you, of course, will not doubt that the ill-fated “trio” is not a dirty trick, not a Jacobin coup, but a straight forward, natural and the best, really and truly the best, way out from three years of “wrangling”. The trio is a triangular construction and there is no room whatever for wrangling in it. You know what the sensitivity and “personal” (instead of political) attitude of Martov+Old Believer+Zasulich led to when, for example, they all but   “condemned” a man politically for an incident of a purely personal character. At that time, without a moment’s hesitation, you sided with the “flayers and monsters”. Yet this is quite a typical case. Now, too, the root is the same, the same mixing of the personal and the political, the same suspicion that we want to cast a slur on people personally, although we only set them aside (or shift them) politically. And when you remind me: blame must also fall on you, I reply: I would not think of denying the personal aspect, but that is no reason for demanding a political correction. The hopelessness, the complete hopelessness, of the situation lies precisely in the fact that a political correction is being demanded on account of the sum total of personal grievances, of personal dissatisfactions with the composition of the central bodies. Tout ce que vous voulez, mais pas de \c ca![2] And if political divergence (as some desire) should be considered the cause, is it not ridiculous to demand for the sake of “peace” the co-optation of a larger number, or at least an equal number, of political opponents? It is ridiculous nec plus ultra!

The little example quoted by me above out of a large number of cases of wrangling is typical not only in sub stance but also in the form of the outcome. Do you know how we won the upper hand at that time? We were in the minority, but we won by sheer persistence, by threatening to bring everything into the open. They think they can do the same now. The trouble is that now is not then. Now the formal basis is unremovable. If it were not for this formal basis—why shouldn’t there be six, once people have been roused to fury? We’ve stood three years of it, we can stand another three; we decided not by votes, but by persistence, so let us decide by persistence now too. But the thing is—it can’t be done now. Yet people doggedly refuse to see or understand this change. And this is what makes the situation so hopeless. Now the dilemma is inexorable: either the divergence is over the, question of persons, in which case it is ridiculous to make a political scandal and throw up work on account of it. Or the divergence is political—and then it is still more ridiculous to   “correct” this by imposing definite persons of a different, shall we say, nuance.

They are taking (seem to be taking) the second course. In that case, join the trio, Martov, and prove before the Party the mistakes of the two in your collegium; unless you participate in the collegium you cannot obtain data for exposing these mistakes and putting the Party on its guard against them. Otherwise your accusations are empty Parteiklatsch[3] over some future contingency.

If you take the first course, then don’t stretch your resentment to the extent of throwing up the work, and the work will speedily cause “frenzy” to be forgotten. There is no more hopeless blind alley than that of throwing up one’s work.


[1] See pp. 164-66 of this volume.—Ed.

[2] Anything but that!—Ed.

[3] Party tittle-tattle.—Ed.

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