Letter to Alexander Bogdanov, Rosalia Zemlyachka and Maxim Litvinov, December 3, 1904

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Zemlyachka, Rozalia Samoilovna (1876–1947)—a leading member of the Communist Party and the Soviet Government. Joined the revolutionary movement in 1893; upon her return from abroad in 1896 became a member of the Kiev Committee of the RSDLP From 1901 an agent of Iskra, carried on work in Odessa and Ekaterinoslav. At the Second Congress of the RSDLP (1903) an Iskrist of the Majority. After the Congress she was co-opted on to the Central Committee from the Bolsheviks, took an active part in the fight against the Mensheviks. In August 1904 participated in the meeting of the 22 Bolsheviks in Geneva, was elected to the Bureau of the Majority Committees. Worked as secretary of the St. Petersburg Party organisation and was its delegate to the Third Congress of the Party.

Litvinov, Maxim Maximovich (1876–1951)—prominent Party Member and statesman, distinguished Soviet diplomat. Started revolutionary work in 1898 as a propagandist in workers’ circles. In 1900 worked in the Kiev Committee; in 1901 was arrested, in prison joined the Iskrists. In August 1902 escaped from prison with ten other Iskrists and emigrated. Took an active part in disseminating Iskra, was a delegate at the Second Congress of the League.

From Lenin to Rakhmetov, Zemlyachka and Papasha, private.[edit source]

December 3, 1904

Dear friend,

I received news of Martyn Nikoayevich’s arrival (I have not seen him myself) from which I infer that things are in a bad way with us. The Bolsheviks in Russia and those abroad are at sixes and, sevens again. From three years’ experience I know that such disunity can do enor mous damage to our cause. I see evidence of this disunity in the fact: 1) that Rakhmetov’s arrival is being held up; 2) that the weight of emphasis is being shifted from the press organ here 40 something else, to a congress, a Russian OC, etc.; 3) that deals of some kind between the G.G. and the writers’ group of the Majority, and almost idiotic enterprises of the Russian organ, are being connived at or even supported. If my information about this disunity is correct, I must say that the bitterest enemy of the Major ity could not have invented anything worse. Holding up Rakhmetov’s departure is sheer unpardonable stupidity, verging on treachery, for gossip is increasing terribly and we risk losing impact here because of the childishly fool ish plans for devising something immediately in Russia. To delay the Majority’s organ abroad (for which only the money is lacking) is still more unpardonable. The whole crux now lies in this organ, without it we shall be heading for certain, inglorious death. We must get some money at all costs, come what may, if only a couple of thousand, and start immediately, otherwise we are cutting our own throats. Only hopeless fools can put all hopes on a congress, for it is clear that the Council will torpedo any congress, wreck it eyen before it is convened. Understand me prop erly, for heaven’s sake; I am not suggesting that we aban don all agitation for a congress and renounce this slogan, but only children could now confine themselves to this, and fail to see that the essence lies in strength. Let there be a spate of resolutions about the congress as before (for some reason Martyn Nikolayevich’s tour did not yield a single repeat resolution, which is a pity, a great pity), but this is not the crux of the matter—how can anyone fail to see this? An Organising Committee or a Bureau of the Major ity is necessary, but without a press organ this will be a pitiful cipher, a sheer farce, a soap bubble which will burst at the first setback caused by police raids. At all costs an organ and money, money to us here, get it by any means short of murder. An Organising Committee or a Bureau of the Majority should auL˜orise us to start an organ (as quickly as possible) and make a round of the committees, but should the OC take it into its head to first get “pos itive work” going, and put off the organ for the time being, then such an idiotic Organising Committee would ruin the whole thing for us. Finally, to publish anything in Russia, to make any sort of deal with the dirty scum of the CC means committing an outright betrayal. That the CC wants to divide and split up the Bolsheviks in Russia and those abroad is obvious; this has long been its plan and none but joolish greenhorns could be taken in by

it. To start an organ in Russia with the help of the CC is madness, sheer madness or treachery; this is what fob lows and will inevitably follow from the objective logic of events, because the organisers of an organ or a popular newspaper are bound to be fooled by every mangy tyke of a Central Comi˜ ittee. I plainly prophesy this and I give such people up in advance as a hopeless case.

I repeat: first and foremost comes an organ, and again an organ, and money for an organ; to spend money on any thing else now is the height of foil . Rakhmetov must be dragged out here at once, without delay. Making a round of the committees should have the primary aim of securing local correspondence (it is inexcusable and disgraceful that we have no correspondent items all this time! It’s a down right shame and a spoke in our wheel!); all agitation for a congress should be merely an incidental matter. All the Majority committees should immediately an.d in actual practice break with the CC and transfer all relations to the OC or the Bureau of the Majority; this OC mr.&st immediately issue a printed announcement of its formation, and make it public at once without fail.

Unless we nip this disunity among the Majority in the bud, unless we come to an agreement on this both by letter and (most important) by a meeting with Rakhmetov, we here will all give the whole thing up as a hopeless job. If you want to work together, you must all pull together and act in concert, by agreement (and not in defiance of and without agreement). Damn it all, it’s a downright dis grace and scandal that people go out to get money for an organ and engage instead in all kinds of piddling lousy affairs.

In a few days I shall come out in print against the CC still more vigorously. If we don’t break with the CC and the Council we shall deserve only to be spat on by everyone.

I await a reply and Rakhmetov’s arrival.[1]

N. Lenin

  1. Lenin intended to enlist the services of A. Bogdanov (Rakhmetov) for work on the newspaper Vperyod, the mouthpiece of the Bolsheviks, which was being organised ^^(see Note 265)^^.