Letter to Alexandra Kollontai, February 17, 1917

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Author(s) Lenin
Written 17 February 1917

First published in 1924 in Lenin Miscellany II. Sent from Zurich to Christiania (Oslo). Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1976, Moscow, Volume 35, pages 285-287.

February 17, 1917

Dear A. M.,

We had your letter today, and were very glad to get it. For a long time we did not know that you were in America, and had no letters from you except one, telling us that you were leaving America.

I wrote to you on January 7–8 (the day the letter was forwarded from Stockholm—all the letters direct from here to America are intercepted by the French!), but evidently this letter (with an article for Novy Mir) did not reach you while you were still in New York.

Pleasant as it was to learn from you of the victory of N. Iv. and Pavlov in Novy Mir (I get this newspaper devilishly irregularly; it must be the fault of the post and not the dispatch department of the paper itself), it was just as sad to read about the bloc between Trotsky and the Right for the struggle against N. Iv. What a swine this Trotsky is—Left phrases, and a bloc with the Right against the Zimmerwald Left!! He ought to be exposed (by you) if only in a brief letter to Sotsial-Demokrat!

I have already received No. 1 of The Internationalist, and am very glad of it. I have inadequate information about the conference of the S.L.P. and the S.P. on January 6–7, 1917. It appears that the S.L.P. is throwing out all its minimum programme (there is a temptation and a danger for Bukharin, who has been stumbling “at that there spot” since 1915!!). It is a great pity that I cannot collect all the documents about the S.L.P. (I asked Bukharin about it, but letters clearly get lost). Have you any material? I could return it after reading.

I am preparing (have almost got the material ready) an article on the question of the attitude of Marxism to the state.[1] I have come to conclusions which are even sharper against Kautsky than against Bukharin (have you seen his “Nota Bene” in No. 6 of Jugend-Internationale? and Sbornik Sotsial-Demokrata No. 2[2] ?). The question is exceptionally important. Bukharin is far better than Kautsky, but Bukharin s mistakes may destroy this “just cause” in the struggle with Kautskianism.

I will send you my article about self-determination against P. Kievsky.[3] What a pity we have no money! We would publish Sbornik Sotsial-Demokrata No. 3 (all the material is ready and waiting) and No. 4 (Bukharin’s article about the state, which we rejected at first, and my article on the state)!

The Zimmerwald Right, in my opinion, has ideologically buried Zimmerwald: Bourderon + Merrheim in Paris voted for pacifism, Kautsky also on January 7, 1917 in Berlin, Turati (December 17, 4916!!) and the whole Italian party also. This is the death of Zimmerwald!! In words they condemned “social-pacifism” (see the Kienthal resolution), while in practice they have turned towards it!!

Grimm has basely turned towards the social-patriots within the Swiss party (our friend in Stockholm will send you material about it), entering into a bloc with them on January 7, 1917 (Parteivorstandssitzung[4] ) against the Left for postponement of the Congress!! And now he has even more basely attacked the Left for the Begründung des Referendums[5] (we shall send it to you) and drawn up a “mid way”, “Centrist” resolution. Have you got the Zurich Volksrecht, or can you get it?? If not, we shall send you something, or try to.

Tomorrow (February 18) is the Congress of the Swedish party. Probably a split? It seems as though there are devilish dissension and confusion among the Young.[6] Do you know Swedish? Could you arrange contributions (by me and other Lefts) to the newspaper of the Swedish Young?

Please reply, if only briefly, but quickly and regularly, because it’s terribly important for us to organise good correspondence with you.

Best greetings.

Yours, Lenin

  1. Lenin intended publishing an article on the attitude of Marxism to the state in No. 3 of Sbornik Sotsial-Demokrata, but did not write it. The material he collected formed the basis of his book The State and Revolution.
  2. See “The Youth International” (present edition, Vol. 23, pp. 163–66).—Ed.
  3. See present edition, Vol. 23, pp. 28–76.—Ed.
  4. The session of the Party Executive.—Ed.
  5. The preamble to the referendum.—Ed.
  6. Lenin means the Lefts in the Swedish Social-Democratic movement, who looked for support in their struggle against the Right opportunists to the Social-Democratic Youth League. During the world war the Young joined the Zimmerwald Left.