V. I.   Lenin



From Lenin to the C.C.

Written: Written July 12, 1905
Published: First published in 1926. Sent from Geneva to Russia. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1974, Moscow, Volume 34, pages 317-319.
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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Dear friends,

In regard to your recent letters I should say that I agree with all the decisions except two. 1) I emphatically protest against the appointment of Matryona as an agent and earnestly request you to revise it. He is a muddle-headed fellow, who can cause us great harm, desert us a dozen times, put us to shame by his stupidity, etc. Let him work in the Committee—as an agent he is no good at all, unless you put him on a “technique” job. As regards Stanislav, please let me know who he is, tell me more about him. For my part I would strongly recommend Lalayants as an agent. In Odessa and the Southern Bureau he displayed outstanding ability as an organiser; according to the general opinion he has got real live work going there. He was the guiding spirit of all the local work—so a number of Odessites reported, some of whom were anything but favourably disposed towards the “rockfirm”. Last but not least he is a man of exceptionally high principle. 2) Regarding Plekhanov, I am extremely surprised at your silence on a question that had been raised here in Winter’s time. Have we the right to appoint as the representative of the Party someone who does not want to come into the Party and refuses to recognise the Third Congress? He has now declared in print that he does not consider the Third Congress lawful and will act as representative only of both sections. A number of comrades here had pointed out, when Winter was still here, that, in appointing Plekhanov, we would only pamper him and spoil him altogether. I was in favour of Plekhanov at first, but I now see that he can only be appointed on certain   conditions. Just imagine concretely what it will mean to have as our representative on the Bureau someone to whom no one speaks, and who cannot be made to “represent” the C.C. and not himself! We have now at last secured direct contact between the Bureau (the I.S.B.) and us, and we see that there are quite a number of small business matters, financial and others (requests on behalf of Russia and concerning Russia about which I wrote to them recently; the method of representation,, about which they asked me a few days ago, etc.). The Bureau wrote about another “proposal of Bebel’s”[1] (which has not yet reached us); evidently, the old fellow is out to “make peace” again (Kautsky has published a mean article in connection with the German edition of the “Report”[2]). Think what our position will be if Plekhanov is the representative and Plekhanov has to deal with Bebel on the question of “peace”! I under stand very well what strong reasons there are to make us all, and especially you, desire “peace”, desire the appointment of Plekhanov, but I have become convinced that such a step, without a real guarantee of peace, will be only a false step, will confuse the issue still more, will cause new splits, violations of agreements, altercations and fresh resentment, and will only make unity more remote. In my opinion, all the talk about unity will be so much empty phrase-making so long as a realisable plan for it has not been worked out from experience; things are going in this direction, we must wait a few months, let everyone assess the absurdity of the decisions of the conference, let experience destroy their idiotic “organisational statute”, let experience cut down their claims (for, in general, things are going better with us, and we are obviously going forward to victory)—and then direct negotiations will be started between the central bodies without intermediaries, then we shall work out (whether at once or after two or three attempts, I do not undertake to say, of course) a modus vivendi. But now it is necessary to fight,

My proposal is to make a “proposal” to Plekhanov on your lines, but on condition that he is willing to recognise the Third Congress, come into the Party and submit to its decisions. By such a Step we 8hall observe the conventions and eliminate any possible confusion.

Pending your reply I shall not propose anything to Plekhanov. I earnestly beg you to postpone a decision until we meet in September.

I am extremely surprised that you write, nothing about the “Open Letter”[3] written by Reinert that was sent to me. I don’t understand the why and wherefor. Why is there not a word about this in the decisions? Write quickly whether it is to be published in the Central Organ. If it is, then I should like very much to ask for a slight alteration concerning tactical differences so that it may not come into contradiction With my pamphlet, which Lyubich will tell you about.[4] I hope we shall see eye to eye on this and, if possible, I would ask to be allowed to make this alteration myself.

I am extremely surprised that the “Report” is not being issued in Russia in full. It’s scandalous! Make all the technical staff hurry up with this, for heaven’s sake!

We are extremely grateful for the detailed decisions, letters from committees and leaflets you have sent us. At long last something like regular contacts between us are being established! Please, don’t drop this custom and find a good St. Petersburg secretary. We are badly in need of information from St. Petersburg about Party affairs, the liberals, questions of Party life that are being discussed in the circles, etc., etc. Do not forget that the Bund and the Mensheviks are better informed than we are here!

All the very best.
N. Lenin


[1] Bebel’s offer to mediate in uniting the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks was addressed to the International Socialist Bureau after he had received a negative reply to a similar proposal addressed directly to Lenin on January 21 (February 3), 1905. ^^(See Lenin’s reply, p. 295 of this volume).^^

[2] The Report on the Third Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. and the resolutions of the Congress were published in the pamphlet Bericht über den III Parteitag der S.D.A.P.R., München. K. Kautsky wrote an article “Die Spaltung der russischen Sozialdemokratie” (“The Split in Russian Social-Democracy”) in Leipziger Volkszeitung, the mouthpiece of the German Left Social-Democrats (No. 135 for June 15, 1905), against the circulation of this pamphlet. In reply to Kautsky’s article Lenin wrote his “Open Letter to the Editorial Board of the Leipziger Volkszeitung” ^^(see Vol. 8 of this edition)^^, which the editors did not publish.

[3] The Open Letter of the C.C. to the Organisation Committee of the Mensheviks, written by A. A. Bogdanov, was published in Proletary on August 9 (July 27), 1905 issue No. 11.

The C.C. of the R.S.D.L.P. proposed to the Menshevik centre—the Organsation Committee—to enter into negotiations for unity on the following terms, with the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks preserving ideological independence:

(1) the local committees unite on the basis outlined by the Third Congress of the R.S.D.L.P.;

(2) the central bodies come to an arrangement for joint activities aimed at re-establishing unity;

(3) the parallel existence of the Party organs to be preserved. This plan was criticised by Lenin in his letter to the C.C. of the R.S.D.L.P. dated August 14, 1905. ^^(see pp. 326–27 of this volume).^^

[4] In the “Open Letter” the tactical differences between the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks were recognised as “insignificant”. The pamphlet here referred to by Lenin is Two Tactics of Social-Democracy in the Democratic Revolution, on which he worked in the course of June–July 1905. ^^(see Vol. 9 of this edition)^^.

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