V. I.   Lenin



Written: Written earlier than October 11, 1914
Published: First published in 1929 in Lenin Miscellany XI. Sent from Berne to Geneva. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1976], Moscow, Volume 35, pages 156-157.
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 Karpinsky,

I am taking advantage of this messenger to speak openly.

There is every ground for expecting that the Swiss police and military authorities (at the first signal from the Russian or French Ambassador, etc.) will bring us before a military tribunal or expel us for breach of neutrality, etc. Therefore don’t write anything openly in your letters. If you have to communicate anything, write in chemicals (the sign of chemicals is the date on the letter underlined).

We have decided to publish the attached manifesto, instead of the not very readable theses.[1] Let us know when you get it, calling the manifesto “The Development of Capitalism”.

It ought to be published. But we advise you to do this only on condition that you take (are able to take) the maximum precautions!!

No one should know where and by whom it was publisher!. All rough copies should be burned!! The copies printed should be kept only by some influential Swiss citizen, deputy and so forth.

If this is impossible, don’t print it.

If it cannot be printed, do it on a mimeograph (also with the greatest precautions). Reply: I have received the development of capitalism (in so many) copies==I shall reprint it in so many copies.

If it cannot be published, either in print or mimeographed, write immediately. We shall think of something else. Reply in as much detail as possible.

(If you succeed in publishing it, send us here by hand 3/4 of the copies; we shall find somewhere to keep them.)

I await a reply!


N.B. [[
P.S. We shall find the money for the publication. Only write beforehand, how much will be needed, because there is very little money. Could not the 170  francs from the Committee of Organisations Abroad[2] be used for this purpose?


[1] Reference is to the theses “The Tasks of Revolutionary Social-Democracy in the European War”, known as “The Theses on War”, and to the Manifesto of the C.C. of the R.S.D.L.P., “The War and Russian Social-Democracy” (see present edition, Vol. 21, pp. 15–19, 25–34).

[2] The Committee of Organisations Abroad was elected at a conference of the groups of the R.S.D.L.P. abroad in Paris in December 1911. Its composition changed several times. At the conference of R.S.D.L.P. groups abroad held in Berne from February 27 to March 4, 1915, N. K. Krupskaya, I. F. Armand, G. L. Shklovsky and V. M. Kasparov were elected to the Committee. During the war the Committee was based in Switzerland and worked under Lenin’s immediate guidance. It did much to co-ordinate the activities of the R.S.D.L.P. sections abroad, campaigned against the social-chauvinists, and worked for unity of the Left-wing internationalists among the Social-Democrats of various countries.

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