V. I.   Lenin



Published: First published in 1938 in the journal Bolshevik No. 2. Sent from Cracow to Irkutsk. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1977], Moscow, Volume 43, pages 367b-370a.
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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20/XII. 1913

Re the article you recommended for

Dear Colleague,

I received the article “For a Common Banner”[1] and in all honesty I must say that it is no good at all. Frankness and candour above all—don’t you agree?

The author has absolutely failed to understand the state of affairs in Russia and has let himself be carried away—to put it more mildly—by a spirit of, let us say, excessive amicability towards the Gothamite Mensheviks.

Russia is going through a process of restoration and consolidation of the Marxist workers’ party. The discussions and resolutions, which raise in the author such a short sighted sneer, are of tremendous educative and organisational significance. The author’s ironical reference to the “Hurray shouting” is sheer liberal irony, the irony of an intellectual who is completely out of touch with the working-class movement. How is it that in no other opposition   party in Russia do the local groups of party members openly discuss the party’s internal differences?? Eh??

The author adheres to a sort of sentimentally hysterical point of view. The resolutions represent an all-important process of consolidation of the workers’ party, for no one in the world can make the workers choose between two hurrahs (that of the partyists and that of the liquidators) other than conscious sympathy and a sorting out of trends. To allow the somewhat rude form of proletarian “brawl” to screen the tremendous ideological and organisational significance of the working class’s struggle over two trends, is phenomenal blindness. I can think of no better explanation of this blindness than the fact that the author is completely out of touch and has “fallen under the spell” of the vile Menshevik gang.

The author has absolutely failed to understand the reference to the worker curia. 47%–50%–67 % in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Dumas.[2] Is that a fact or not?? What has the “reactionary nature of the curias” (about which the crooks and the Burenins shout from the columns of Novaya Rabochaya Gazeta, drawing a red herring across the path) got to do with it?? Did not the same reactionary law, meaning the same curia law, apply in all three cases? Even an infant would understand that the reactionary nature of the curias has nothing to do with it. The fact remains that the intelligentsia have cleared off (and good riddance to the whores) and the workers have found their own feet against the liquidators. A new historical period. A new epoch. Yet the author invents a “middle line”—it would be funny were it not so sad. The author has not understood one-hundredth of the depth of the struggle against the liquidators. The Party cannot be restored unless it is restored against the liquidators. The workers have grasped this now themselves.

For a month, from 20.X to 2.XI—4,800 signatures (N.B.) for the six and 2,500 for the seven (including 1,000 Bundist signatures. N.B.! N.B.!). Is that a fact or not?? This is a fact, sir, and not intellectualist whining! It is not a party, if you please, since they have no “common” organisation,   no “congress”!!! Ha-ha!! Nor will there be anything in common with the liquidators and Bundists—it is time to understand this instead of contemplating the old that is gone and done with. A congress is extremely difficult to call (hence the wreckers of the Party refer things “to a congress”, sort of ad kalendas graecas!). These signatures, as it happens, represent the new form of the old party. Fancy not being able to understand this!

The old national “federation of the worst type” has gone for good. This is another thing the author does not understand.

The author has a wrong idea of equality between the 6 and 7 (he is wrong to talk about the 8, since the Party does not recognise the eighth as a Social-Democrat[3] ). Why shouldn’t the Party grant equality to the near-Party group in the Duma??[4] The author has not understood the serious significance of the conception “near-Party people”.

Our journal is not a literary miscellany, but a militant organ. There can be no question, therefore, of publishing the article. I would be very glad, however, to see the author’s retort to my criticism, as I would generally welcome any exchange of opinions with old friends. If I have come it too strong with this criticism and expressed myself sometimes none too politely, I beg his pardon. I can assure him I had no intention of being offensive, but simply, for old friendship’s sake, unburdened myself and said what I thought with open-hearted candour.

How splendidly the campaign for the six against the seven is going! What a wonderful rallying and education of the workers against the liberal labour politicians! What an excellent example, the first in Russia, of the workers’ party actually deciding the fate of its own representation in the Duma! This is no longer a crowd “who have done a little reading”, but an organised force. The conference decided—the six acted—the organised thousands approved by discussing and signing—that is called a party against that rag of a paper, the new edition of the old Tovarishch,   Novaya Rabochaya Gazeta, which is fouling and poisoning the working-class movement with its intellectualist muck. And how splendidly the workers’ Duma group has developed its activities! Right away a step forward not only in name, but in all its work! What an excellent speech, that of Badayev’s, on the freedom of coalition, compared with the iteration of shoddy liberal ideas by Tulyakov!

Au revoir, dear comrade. Spit on the Mensheviks more often, study the facts of the present-day labour movement, weigh their significance, and your—begging your pardon—moping mood will pass; instead of searching for a “middle line”, you will help to rally the workers against the gang of traitors.



[1] This article was sent in by Voitinsky for publication in the journal Prosveshcheniye.—Ed.

[2] Consecutive growth in the number of Bolsheviks in the worker curias in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Dumas.—Ed.

[3] This refers to Y. I. Jagiello.—Ed.

[4] This does not bind the Party in any way; and it can educate the near-Party people. —Lenin

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