Letter to Inessa Armand, January 17, 1915

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Dear Friend,

I very much advise you to write the plan of the pamphlet in as much detail as possible.[1] Otherwise too much is unclear.

One opinion I must express here and now:

I advise you to throw out altogether § 3—the “demand (women’s) for freedom of love”.

That is not really a proletarian but a bourgeois demand.

After all, what do you understand by that phrase? What can be understood by it?

1. Freedom from material (financial) calculations in affairs of love?

2. The same, from material worries?

3. From religious prejudices?

4. From prohibitions by Papa, etc.?

5. From the prejudices of “society”?

6. From the narrow circumstances of one’s environment (peasant or petty-bourgeois or bourgeois intellectual)?

7. From the fetters of the law, the courts and the police?

8. From the serious element in love?

9. From child-birth?

10. Freedom of adultery? Etc.

I have enumerated many shades (not all, of course). You have in mind, of course, not nos. 8–10, but either nos. 1–7 or something similar to nos. 1–7.

But then for nos. 1–7 you must choose a different wording, because freedom of love does not express this idea exactly.

And the public, the readers of the pamphlet, will inevitably understand by “freedom of love”, in general, some thing like nos. 8–10, even without your wishing it.

Just because in modern society the most talkative, noisy and “top-prominent” classes understand by “freedom of love” nos. 8–10, just for that very reason this is not a proletarian but a bourgeois demand.

For the proletariat nos. 1–2 are the most important, and then nos. 1–7, and those, in fact, are not “freedom of love”.

The thing is not what you subjectively “mean” by this. The thing is the objective logic of class relations in affairs of love.

Friendly shake hands![2]

W. I.

  1. Reference is to the plan of a pamphlet for working-class women that Inessa Armand intended to write. The pamphlet did not appear in print.
  2. These words, like “Dear Friend” at the beginning, were written by Lenin in English.—Ed.