|Written||19 July 1917|
Published: First Published in Lenin Miscellany IV, 1925. Published according to the manuscript.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 25, pages 168-169.
A combination of the old and the new—this has always been the case with methods of exploitation and repression used by tsarism. It has not changed in republican Russia. The counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie flavour their political baiting of the Bolsheviks, the party of the international revolutionary proletariat, with the foulest slander and “campaigning” in the press that is quite like the campaign of the French clerical and monarchist papers in the Dreyfus case.
The watchword at that time was that Dreyfus must be indicted for espionage at all costs! Today the watchword is that some Bolshevik or other must be indicted for espionage at all costs! The foulest slander, garbling, crude lies and artful tricks to confuse the reader—all these devices are being used by the yellow press and the bourgeois press generally with great zeal. The net result is a wild,, furious uproar in which it is sometimes impossible to make out articulate words, let alone arguments.
Here are some of the methods used in our modern, republican Dreyfusiad. First they trotted out three main “arguments”: Yermolenko, Kozlovsky’s twenty million, and the implication of Parvus.
Next day Zhivoye Slovo, the chief riot-instigating paper, published two “corrections” admitting that the “leader” of the Bolsheviks had not been bribed but was a fanatic, and changing the twenty million to twenty thousand. Mean while another paper declared Yermolenko’s testimony to be of secondary importance.
In the same issue of Listok there is a letter from Kozlovsky denying the slander. Following the denial 20,000,000 is reduced to 20,000—a “round” figure again instead of an exact one.
They implicate Parvus, trying hard to establish some sort of connection between him and the Bolsheviks. In reality it was the Bolsheviks who in the Geneva Sotsial-Demokrat” called Parvus a renegade, denounced him ruthlessly as a German Plekhanov, and once and for all eliminated all possibility of close relations with social-chauvinists like him. It was the Bolsheviks who at a meeting held in Stockholm jointly with the Swedish Left Socialists categorically refused to admit Parvus in any capacity, even as a guest, let alone speak to him.
Hanecki was engaged in business as an employee of the firm in which Parvus was a partner. Commercial and financial correspondence was censored, of course, and is quite open to examination. An effort is being made to mix these commercial affairs with politics, although no proof whatsoever is being furnished!!
They have gone to the ridiculous extreme of blaming Pravda for the fact that its dispatches to the socialist papers of Sweden and all other countries (dispatches which, of course, had to pass the censor and are fully known to him) were reprinted by German papers, often with distortions! As if reprinting, or malicious distortions, can be blamed on the original source!
It is a veritable Dreyfusiad, a campaign of lies and slander stemming from fierce political hatred. How foul the sources must be to substitute slander for the clash of ideas!
- See Note 23.
- See pp. 157–61 of this volume.—Ed.
- Sotsial-Demokrat—illegal Central Organ of the RSDLP published from February 1908 to January 1917. Beginning with issue No. 2, it was brought out abroad, the issues 2 to 32 (February 1909 to December 1913) being published in Paris and 33 to 58 ( November 1914 to January 1917) in Geneva. Altogether 58 issues appeared, five of them with supplements. From December 1911 the paper was edited by Lenin, who contributed over eighty articles and other items.
During the First World War Sotsial-Demokrat played a prominent role in the struggle against international opportunism, nationalism and chauvinism, in the propaganda of Bolshevik watchwords, and in the matter of arousing the working class and working people generally to fight against the imperialist war and its inspirers. It published Lenin’s article “On the Slogan for a United States of Europe”, which for the first time formulated the conclusion of the possibility of socialism triumphing first in one country. The dissemination of the paper in Russia and the reprinting of its more important items by local Bolshevik papers contributed to the political enlightenment and internationalist education of Russia’s proletariat and to the training of the working people for the coming revolution.
Sotsial-Demokrat did much to unify the internationalist elements of the world Social-Democratic movement. It made its way into many countries in the face of war-time obstacles.
Lenin, who had a high opinion of Sotsial-Demokrat’s role during the First World War, wrote afterwards that “no class-conscious worker who wishes to understand the development of the ideas of the international socialist revolution and of its first victory on October 25, 1917, can manage without” = studying articles published in Sotsial-Demokrat (see present edition, Vol. 27, p. 221).
- See present edition, Vol. 21, pp. 421–22.—Ed.
- The Swedish Left Socialists (or the Party of the Young) constituted the Left trend among the Swedish Social-Democrats. During the First World War they adhered to an internationalist position and formed part of the Zimmerwald Left. In May 1917 they founded the Left Social-Democratic Party of Sweden. The congress which this party held in 1919 resolved to join the Communist International. In 1921 the party’s revolutionary wing became the Communist Party of Sweden.