Letter to Alexandra Kollontai, After May 28, 1916

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Dear A. M.,

I was very glad to have your news and information.[1] We shall have to be patient about America: it’s worth while publishing only over there.

I hope you will do everything possible to consolidate matters as regards the Left Swedes and Norwegians. So far nothing has yet been fixed. Not a thing! There is only talk. There is neither formal affiliation with the Left, nor proper relations with us, not a single thing. And this after the Höglund affair! I can’t understand these people!

As regards the meeting of the neutrals at The Hague on June 26, I have this plan: it is clear that the phlegmatic Norwegians will be unable to do a thing without a knowledge of foreign languages. Why don’t you go as well?[2]

Why could not the CC of the Norwegian Party appoint X plus you? X is essential, as a local man, while you are a plus. Even if as an interpreter. You would be exceptionally useful, because then you would get to know everything. I am certain that, otherwise, we won’t even get a full, precise, clear and accurate report of what has taken place (and the workers of the whole world will not get one either). Think about this. And do everything possible for it.

All the best,



P.S. I haven’t read the Rybalka pamphlet[3]: too busy. Tell me: did the stupid S.R. pamphlets weaken the significance of the revolutionary struggle of the S.R. peasants? Did the provocateur Gapon weaken the significance of the revolutionary struggle of the Gapon workers? They call the Irish insurrection a “putsch” (have you seen K. Radek in Berner Tagwacht?)—and you put up with this!? I don’t understand you. I absolutely do not understand. If anything, this in particular has proved the indecent pedantry and stupid doctrinaire approach of K. Radek in Berner Tagwacht and those “of like mind with him”.

If your journey is impossible, could you, at any rate, get the CC of the Norwegian Party to pass a decision to the effect that the delegate should carefully and on the spot make a note of everything that takes place?

  1. A reference to Alexandra Kollontai’s letter to Lenin on May 28, 1916, reporting the withdrawal from the Central Committee of the Swedish Social-Democratic Party of its secretary F. Ström and three of its members, which deepened the “actual although not yet formal split of the party”. She went on to say: “The Swedes are working well to build up the Left wing. They are drawing up a clever plan of battle, which they intend to fight against the Right wing at the party congress to be held in winter, as a result of which the party’s formal break-up will follow logically. They should be supported in their desire to stand apart.” = Concerning the talks on the publication in America of Zimmerwald Left literature, Kollontai wrote: “There is no reply from America yet, but a few days ago the mail arrived and I received a reply on the letters sent simultaneously with letters to the Socialist Labour Party and to Charles Kerr.”
  2. The Conference of Socialists of Neutral Countries set for June 26, 1916 was held at The Hague on July 31, 1916. Lenin is referring to the participation in it of a Left-winger from the Norwegian Social-Democratic Party.
  3. A reference to L. Rybalka’s pamphlet, L’Ukraine et la Guerre (The Ukraine and the War), Lausanne, 1916. In a letter to Lenin on May 28, 1916, Alexandra Kollontai called it a “disgracefully chauvinist” piece of writing.