V. I.   Lenin



Written: Written between February 15 and 25, 1913
Published: First published in 1924 in Lenin Miscellany I. Sent from Cracow to Capri. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1976], Moscow, Volume 35, pages 83-85.
Translated: Andrew Rothstein
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive.   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 A. M.,

Now, sir, what’s the meaning of this bad behaviour of yours? You’re overworked, tired, your nerves are out of order. This is all wrong. In Capri of all places, and in the winter when there are probably less “visitors”, you ought to have a regular way of life. You have no one to look after you, is that why you have let yourself slide like this? Honestly, it’s no good. Pull yourself together and give yourself a stricter regime, really! Falling ill in limes like these just isn’t allowed. Have you begun working at night? Why, when I was in Capri, I was told that it was only with my coming that things had got out of hand, while before me everyone went to bed at the right time. You must rest and establish a régime, without fail.

I will write to Troyanovsky and his wife about your wish to meet them. This would be a really good thing. They are good people. We haven’t seen much of them at work yet, but everything we have heard up to now speaks in their favour. They also have money. They might get into their stride and do a great deal for the journal. Troyanovskaya is going to Russia soon.

It is a great joy to me, and to all of us, that you are taking up Prosveshcheniye. I confess that I did have the thought! now as soon as I write about our little journal, A. M. will lose his enthusiasm. I repent, I repent of such thoughts.

Now it really will be splendid if little by little we draw in fiction writers and set Prosveshcheniye going! Excellent! The reader is new, proletarian; we shall make the journal cheap; you will let in only democratic fiction, without   moaning, without renegade stuff. We shall consolidate the workers. And the workers now are fine. Our six deputies in the Duma from the worker curia have now begun to work outside the Duma so energetically that it is a joy to see. This is where people will build up a real workers party! We were never able to bring this off in the Third Duma. Have you seen the letter in Luch (No. 24) from the four deputies about their resignation?[1] A good letter, wasn’t it?

And have you seen in Pravda how mildly Alexinsky is writing, and so far not making a row? Wonderful! He sent one “Manifesto” (why he entered Pravda). They didn’t print it. And still, so far, he is not making a row. Wonder–ful! But Bogdanov is making a row: a piece of exceptional stupidity in Pravda No. 24. No, we shall never gel anywhere with him! I have read his Engineer Mannie. It’s the same old Machism = idealism, so concealed that neither the workers nor the stupid editors of Pravda understood it. No, this Machist is as hopeless as Lunacharsky (thanks for his article). If only Lunacharsky could be separated from Bogdanov in aesthetics, as Alexinsky has begun to draw apart from him in politics ... if only...

As regards the theory of matter and its structure, I am fully in agreement with you that one should write about it, and that it is a good remedy against “the poison which the shapeless Russian soul is sucking”. Only you are wrong to call this poison “metaphysics”. It ought to be called idealism and agnosticism.

For the Machists call materialism metaphysics! And it so happens that a host of the most prominent present-day physicists, on the occasion of the “wonders” of radium, electrons, etc., are smuggling in the God business—both the crudest and the most subtle—in the shape of philosophical idealism.

As regards nationalism I am fully in agreement with you that we ought to take this up more seriously. We have a marvellous Georgian who has sat down to write a big article for Prosveshcheniye, for which he has collected all the Austrian and other materials.[2] We shall go at this hard. But that our resolutions (I am sending them in printed form) “are formalities, bureaucracy”, there your abuse is off target. No. It’s not a formality. In Russia and in the   Caucasus the Georgian + Armenian + Tartar + Russian Social-Democrats have worked together, in a single Social-Democratic organisation for more than ten years. This is not a phrase, but the proletarian solution of the problem of nationalities. The only solution. So it was in Riga too: Russians + Letts + Lithuanians. Only the separatists—the Bund—used to stand aloof. The same at Vilna.

There are two good Social-Democratic pamphlets on the nationalities problem: Strasser and Pannekoek. Would you like me to send them to you? Will you find anyone to translate them from the German for you?

No, the disgusting situation that exists in Austria won’t happen here. We won’t allow it! And there are more of our Great Russians here. With the workers on our side we won’t let in any of the “Austrian spirit”.

As regards Pyatnitsky,[3] I am for prosecution. There is no need to stand on ceremony. Sentimentalism would be unforgivable. Socialists are not at all against use of the slate court. We are for making use of legality. Marx and Bebel made use of the stale court even against their socialist opponents. One must know how to do it, but it must be done.

Pyatnitsky must be prosecuted, and no nonsense. If you hear reproaches against you for this—spit in the mugs of those who make them. It is the hypocrites who will reproach you. To give way to Pyatnitsky, to let him off for fear of going to court, would be unforgivable.

Well, I have chattered more than enough. Write and tell me about your health.


P.S. We know Foma-Piterets. He is now at Narym. Foma from the Urals? We don’t seem to remember him. At the Congress of 1907 there was a Foma-Piterets.


[1] Lenin refers to the following letter from the Bolshevik deputies in the Fourth Duma—A. Y. Badayev, G. I. Petrovsky, F. N. Samoilov and N. R. Shagov—on their resignation from the liquidators’ newspaper Luch: “On December 18, 1912, we, in accordance with __PRINTERS_P_563_COMMENT__ 37—01148   the wishes of the Social-Democratic group of December 15, accepted the proposal of the newspaper Luch that we should be included among its contributors.

Since then more than a month has passed. In all this time Luch has acted in constant and rabid opposition to anti– liquidationism. We consider its advocacy of an ‘open’ workers’ party and its attacks on the underground, in the present conditions of Russian life, impermissible and harmful.

Since we find it impossible to allow our names to be used as a cover for the liquidationist views advocated by Luch we request the editors to remove us from the list of its contributors” (Luch No. 24, January 30, 1913).

[2] Lenin refers to J. V. Stalin’s writing of the article “The Nationalities Problem and Social-Democracy”.

[3] Gorky suspected dishonesty on the part of K. P. Pyatnitsky, the managing director of the St. Petersburg publishing firm Znaniye (Knowledge). The matter was never actually taken to court.

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