Letter to Alexandra Kollontai, July 25, 1916

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Author(s) Lenin
Written 25 July 1916

First published in 1924 in Lenin Miscellany II. Sent from Flums (Switzerland) to Christiania. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1971, Moscow, Volume 36, pages 409-410.

July 25, 1916

Dear A. M.,

I was long in answering your letter because, owing to Nadya’s illness, we’d had to move into the mountains. I quite agree with you that the role of Left-winger at the conference with Huysmans will, in the main, be one of collecting information.[1] This is more important than anything else. The most important thing is to make notes on the spot, and about everything. Collect each and every kind of document; and do not forget for a single minute the need for full information. The only way is to write down everything (even if briefly) at once, on the spot, in a special notebook. Grimm is not going: they didn’t give him a passport. That means there is to be only one Left-winger. This makes his responsibility all the greater. It will take great resolution and full political clarity to carry on the line alone: you are the best judge of whether these qualities are there. If they are, it would be a good thing to “put” a couple of questions to the vote: approve Zimmerwald; ditto Kienthal; condemn the social-patriots, Hyndman and Co., Sembat and Co., Legien and Co., Plekhanov and Co. The same thing can also be done in the form of questions. It’ll be up to you to decide whether this can be done.

Please drop me a couple of words about the receipt of this postcard.

Alexander must have taken all the addresses with him, and will try and find out whether anything has been printed in America about the Zimmerwald Left and get it, and contact the Socialist Propaganda League, the Socialist Labour Party, International Socialist Review and Appeal to Reason. If you get this postcard and reply, we may perhaps have time to write each other about what precisely it is convenient to ask him to do there.

One personal request: have you any publishing connections? I have none. By way of earnings, I should like to have either a translation, or an article on education for Nadya (her illness requires a prolonged stay in the mountains, and that is expensive).

Best greetings and good wishes. Nadya sends her regards.


V. Ulyanov

  1. A reference to the participation of a Left-winger from the Norwegian Social-Democratic Party in the Conference of Socialists of Neutral Countries.