Coteries Abroad and Russian Liquidators

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Author(s) Lenin
Written 28 November 1913


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Za Pravdu No. 46, November 28, 1913. Published according to the Za Pravdu text.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 19, pages 508-510
Collection(s): Za Pravdu

Issue No. 86 of Novaya Rabochaya Gazeta contains a scurrilous article against Social-Democrats that deserves attention in spite of its abusive character and in spite of the insinuations of which everybody is sick and tired.

This article is entitled “The German Social-Democratic Press on the Split”. It deserves attention because it very clearly explains to Russian workers something they have not known up to now, and which they ought to know.

They ought to know what intrigues the coteries of Russian Social-Democrats abroad are hatching against the Social-Democratic organisation in Russia, for ignorance of these intrigues constantly and inevitably condemns many Russian Social-Democrats to making comic and tragi-comic mistakes.

The liquidators’ article, commences with italics: “Not a single voice has so far been heard in the ranks of the German Social-Democrats” in favour of a split (by “split”, the liquidators mean the building of a Marxist organisation in opposition to the liquidators).

Note the italics in the first sentence of the article: “Not a single voice”!

The worn-out trick of the bourgeois hack-writer—not everybody reads a newspaper through to the end, but everybody sees the first striking words of an article....

Read the liquidators’ article further. It quotes the opinion of a Frankfurt newspaper, which is, of course, in favour of the liquidators, but it says nothing about the fact that this newspaper is an opportunist one!

My dear liquidators! Do you think the Russian workers are fools who do not know that there are opportunists among the German Social-Democrats, and that the Socialist (alleged) Monthly, the chief organ of the German opportunists, constantly supports Nasha Zarya?

We read further. The opinion of a Dresden newspaper. It condemns the split in general. Neither the newspaper’s sympathies in Russian affairs, nor its position on German affairs is indicated. The liquidators do not want to enlighten the Russian workers, but to fool them by leaving a number of things unsaid.

We read further. The Leipzig organ of the Social-Democrats

“a fortnight ago published a report from Russia describing the situation in tones rather favourable to the schismatics”.

This is literally what is published in the liquidator newspaper; and, of course, not a word in italics.

And, of course, not a word, not a syllable, not a sound on the substance of that “unpleasant” report! Oh, we are past masters in the art of petty trickery and miserable intrigue!

On the one hand, we have italics: “Not a single voice”; and on the other hand, the only report from Russia turns out to be written “in tones rather favourable” to the opponents of the liquidators.

We read further:

“The issue [of the Leipzig Social-Democratic newspaper] of November 15 contains a long editorial [liquidators’ italics!] article”....

from which only the passages that favour the liquidators are quoted.

Russian workers! It is high time you learned to expose the liquidators’ lies.

The liquidators print the word “editorial” in italics. This is a lie. The article is signed with the initials J. K.,[1] i.e., it is not an editorial article, but an article by an individual contributor!

The liquidators are deceiving the Russian workers in the most brazen and insolent manner.

This is not all. The liquidators concealed the fact that in this very same report the seven are called “shameless splitters” for admitting Jagiello to the Duma group, in opposition to the will of the Polish Social-Democrats!

And this is still not all. The liquidators concealed a fact which is obvious to every politically-informed person. The article signed J. K. was written by one of Tyszka’s supporters. All the evidence goes to prove this. Tyszka’s supporters are the group of Rosa Luxemburg, Tyszka & Co. in Berlin, those who circulated a most abominable rumour about the presence of provocateurs in the Warsaw Social-Democratic organisation. Even Luch (true, this was after Jagiello had been smuggled into the Duma group!) admitted that this was abominable. Even Novaya Rabochaya Gazeta has admitted more than once that “Tyszka & Co.” do not represent the polish Social-Democratic workers of Warsaw in fighting against the workers’ insurance centre, to which the Bund, the Lefts and the Polish Social-Democrats (of Warsaw, and not Tyszka & Co., of course) are affiliated.

And now, in order to fool the Russian workers, the liquidators clutch at the coat-tails of the Tyszka crowd. A drowning man clutches at a straw (even at a filthy and rotten one).

The article of the Tyszka supporter, J. K., like all the pronouncements of that group, throbs with but one desire: to hatch an intrigue around the split, to make “a little political capital” out of it. Pretending that coteries “divorced” from the working-class movement in Russia are viable political organisations, hatching intrigues around this, uttering sentimental phrases instead of studying events in Russia—such is the nature of “Tyszka-ism”, and it is ,what nine-tenths of the separate and “independent” coteries abroad are engaged in.

They seem now to be reviving in the hope of being able to “play on” the split between the six and the seven....

Vain hope! Russian worker Social-Democrats have matured sufficiently to be able themselves to decide the fate of their organisation by a majority vote, and contemptuously to brush aside the intrigues of the coteries abroad. Members of these coteries very often write in the German Social-Democratic press expressing the point of view of these coteries; but it is not at all difficult to recognise this crowd “by their ears”.

  1. J. K. (J. Karski)—pseudonym of J. J. Marchlewski.