Letter to Karl Kautsky, January 31, 1911

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Author(s) Lenin
Written 31 January 1911

First published in part December 31, 1928, in the newspaper Der Abend. Published in full in 1964 in German in the journal International Review of Social History, Vol. IX, Part 2. First published in Russian in 1965 in Collected Works, Fifth (Russian) Ed., Vol. 54. Sent to Berlin. Printed from the original. Translated from the German.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 43, pages 263-265.
Keywords : Karl Kautsky, Letter

31.I. 11

Dear Comrade,

You have probably not forgotten that you promised an article for our journal Mysl. The first issue of Mysl has already come out (in Moscow) and it has not been confiscated. It contains, among other things, articles by Plekhanov on Tolstoy and on Italian opportunism (compared with our liquidators), my article on statistics on strikes during the Russian revolution,[1] Rozhkov’s article on the new agrarian policy of the Russian counter-revolutionaries, etc. Issue No. 2 will be out shortly. We would be extremely grateful to you if you could write something for us—about neutrality, for instance, and against trade union neutrality. This question has again been coming up for discussion here now and perhaps you will like to dwell in somewhat greater detail on what you wrote about Legien in Neue Zeit. Needless to say, we shall be happy to receive any article from you on any subject.[2]

I am sending you by book-post my article against Martov and Trotsky, not for publication, but to ask your advice. Karski has already replied to Martov You wanted to leave it to me to write the article against Trotsky. But you will see from my article that it is very difficult for me to criticise Trotsky without touching Martov. Perhaps you could advise me how to make the article suitable for Neue Zeit.[3]

I should like to offer the editors of Neue Zeit two more articles: I) on Russian strike statistics for 1905–07. This is probably the first time we have statistics on mass strikes (economic and political separately) for the entire period of the revolution. The opportunists (=Menshevik liquidators) are constantly accusing us Russian Bolsheviks of “romanticism” and “Blanquism”. The best answer to this perhaps is dry statistics which might be not without interest for the German comrades as well. If you agree in principle, I shall send you either a detailed excerpt from my article or else the complete translation. I am only afraid that my article will be too long for Neue Zeit.

2) I have prepared for a Russian journal a summary of German agricultural production statistics for 1907 (the three volumes already out).[4] I don’t know yet whether it will be printed in Russia or not. As can be seen from the German Social-Democratic press, this subject has already been discussed, but regrettably (for instance in Vorwärts) solely on the basis of a bourgeois treatment of the material. I have come to the conclusion that the 1907 census bears out the Marxist theory and refutes the bourgeois (including David’s theory). The data on female and child labour (employed more by peasants owning 5–10 hectares of land than by the capitalists or by proletarian farms), for instance, seem particularly interesting to me. Here the number of working members of the family and of hired workers is given for the first time. It turns out that in the group of owners with 10–20 hectares of land the number of hired workers amounts on the average to 1.7 per farm, and the number of working members of the family, to 3.4. These are already big peasants who cannot do without wage labour.

Extremely instructive, too, is the classification of farms according to total number of workers (I break them up into three main groups: 1–3, 4–5, 6 and more workers, including hired labour).

Do you think such a treatment would be of interest to German readers? If so, I would gladly write on this subject for Neue Zeit—only the work I have prepared is far too voluminous!

If the “peasant farms” (5–10, 10–20 hectares) specially prospered in the period 1895–1907, this, in my opinion, is no evidence of the success of “small-scale production”. It merely testifies to the success of intensive capitalist farming and livestock raising in particular. The reduction in the area of the farms signifies expansion of capitalist and big-peasant livestock farming.

I trust that you are now quite well and that you will answer Quessel and Maslov yourself.

With best wishes,


N. Lenin

P.S. I am very grateful to your wife for writing to me during your illness. I wanted to write her myself but thought that instead of giving my opinion about Trotsky’s article in a letter, it would be better to send my article. I am sending it not only for you, but also for your wife, as an answer to her letter.

My address: Mr. Vl. Oulianoff

4. Rue Marie Rose. 4

Paris. XIV.

  1. See “Strike Statistics in Russia” (present edition, Vol. 16, pp. 393–421).—Ed.
  2. The beginning of Kautsky’s “Tactical Trends Among German Social-Democrats” was published in the journal Mysl No. 5, April 1911.
  3. See “The Historical Meaning of the Inner-Party Struggle in Russia” (present edition, Vol. 16 , pp. 374–92).—Ed.
  4. See the article “The Capitalist System of Modern Agriculture” and preparatory notes for it, “German Agrarian Statistics (1907)” and “Plan for Processing the Data of the German Agricultural Census of June 12, 1907” (present edition, Vol. 16, pp. 423–46, and Vol. 40, pp. 297–371, 372–75).—Ed.