Letter to Georgi Plekhanov, March 2, 1903

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Author(s) Lenin
Written 2 March 1903

First published in 1926 in Lenin Miscellany IV. Sent from Paris to Geneva. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 43, pages 110b-112a.

2.III. 03

I am submitting to all members of the Editorial Board a proposal to co-opt “Pero” as a full member of the Board. (I believe that for co-optation not a majority but a unanimous decision is needed.)

We are very much in need of a seventh member both be cause it would simplify voting (six being an even number) and reinforce the Board.

“Pero” has been writing in every issue for several months now. In general he is working for Iskra most energetically, delivering lectures (and with tremendous success), etc.

For our department of topical articles and items he will be not only very useful but quite indispensable.

He is unquestionably a man of more than average ability, convinced, energetic, and promising. And he could do a good deal in the sphere of translation and popular literature.

We must draw in young forces: this will encourage them and prompt them to regard themselves as professional writers. And that we have too few of such is clear—witness 1) the difficulty of finding editors of translations; 2) the shortage of articles reviewing the internal situation, and 3) the shortage of popular literature. It is in the sphere of popular literature that “Pero” would like to try his hand.

Possible arguments against: 1) his youth; 2) his early (perhaps) return to Russia; 3) a pen (without quotation marks)[1] with traces of feuilleton style, too pretentious, etc.

Ad 1) “Pero” is suggested not for an independent post, but for the Board. In it he will gain experience. He undoubtedly has the “intuition” of a Party man, a man of our trend; as for knowledge and experience these can be acquired. That he is hardworking is likewise unquestionable. It is necessary to co-opt him so as finally to draw him in and encourage him.

Ad 2) If “Pero” is initiated in all aspects of our work he may not leave so soon. And if he goes, organisational links with the Board and subordination to it are not a minus but a tremendous plus.

Ad 3) Stylistic shortcomings are not a serious defect. They will be ironed out. At present he accepts “corrections” in silence (and not too readily). In the Board there will be debates, things will be put to the vote, and the “instructions” will acquire a more definitive and imperative form.

Therefore, I propose

I) that all six members of the Editorial Board vote on co-opting “Pero” as a full member;

2) if he is accepted, to tackle the final settlement of relationships and voting procedures in the Editorial Board, and to draft precise rules. This is necessary for us and important for the congress.

P.S. I consider it extremely inconvenient and awkward to put off the co-opting, for I can see that “Pero” is already quite annoyed (he has not of course openly said so) with being left hanging “in the air” and treated, so it seems to him, as a “youngster”.

If we do not accept “Pero” at once and he leaves in, say, a month for Russia, I am certain he will take it as a sign that we simply do not want him on the editorial staff. We might lose him, and that would be very bad.

  1. Pero” (meaning Pen) was the pseudonym used by Trotsky.—Ed.