A Discreditable Role!

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Author(s) Lenin
Written 19 May 1913


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Pravda No. 114, May 19, 1913. Signed: Reader. Published according to the Pravda text.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 19, pages 101-102.
Collection(s): Pravda
Keywords : Liquidationism, Luch, Russia

In Pravda No. 102[1] I called the attention of reader comrades to an article in Luch Nos. 93 and 94.

I compared that article with those published simultaneously in Pravda under the heading “Controversial Issues”.[2] I said that Pravda in its articles gives the reader facts and documents with which to decide disputed questions of organisation and tactics while Luch in its article gives him gossip and personal insults that do not help the workers to under stand the dispute and only serve to clutter up their heads.

I said that the Luch article speaks of the active people of 1905 in the same terms as the organs of terrified landowners and of liberals embittered against the workers.

Luck has sent the worker Herman against me. The worker Herman is a man of determination and possesses a ready tongue. He has berated me in no uncertain terms. I, he says, “want to mislead our reader comrades” and am telling “obvious untruths” and nothing of what I said has ever actually happened. Having thus accused me of a number of crimes, the worker Herman then rounds off his article with a list of titles of articles printed in Luch.

Very good! But what about the article in Luch that I actually spoke about, and which I quoted? The worker Herman does not say a single word about that article, makes no attempt to dispute the correctness of the words I quoted from it, and offers nothing to contest my characterisation of the article as impermissible in the working-class press. What reason is there for that? You cursed me uphill and down dale, my dear man, but not only could you not dis prove a single word of what I said about the Luch article, you did not even try to.

Did the article I wrote about appear in issues 93 and 94? It did. And so what right have you to state that “nothing of the sort has actually happened”?

Is that article full of gossip and bickering instead of a calm analysis of the disagreements? You did not dare say a word against that! What right have you to suspect me of a desire to “mislead the comrades”?

Did you understand what you were writing? Did you realise that you, in accusing a contributor to a working-class newspaper of “obvious untruths” and a desire to “mislead readers”, have to be ready to answer for it, not to me, but to all those who stand behind Pravda, that is, to its working-class readers?

You undertook to defend Luch against my accusation that the article in issues 93 and 94 does not explain disputed questions but clutters up the heads of its readers with gossip and “personalities”. For that purpose you published in the columns of the same Luch a number of unfounded accusations and obvious libels (“Reader” [referring to me] wants to mislead our reader comrades), i.e., you did exactly what I accused Luch of doing in its article in issue 94. Your article was a confirmation of my accusation against Luch and not a refutation of it.

Perhaps you will now say—it was all due to your inexperience. Very good. But your article was read by the editors. Why did they not warn you? Why did they not tell you that when accusing me you would first of all have to refute what I had said about the facts I mentioned, and not evade them by further silence? Why? Apparently because the editors knew that everything I had said about the article in issues 93 and 94 was true, they knew that what I said could not be refuted. That is why they allowed you to indulge in plain vituperation, that is, they repeated the very method I had accused them of in my first article.

Was this a creditable role that you, who signed yourself “worker”, played in the hands of the Luch editors?

  1. See pp. 76–78 of this volume.—Ed.
  2. See pp. 147–56 of this volume.—Ed.