Letter to Lev Kamenev, April 6, 1910
|Written||6 April 1910|
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 43, pages 243-244a.
6. IV. 10
I received your letter (at last! I was about to kick up a row). It is too late to send an express message or a wire.
We are in too “great haste”, you write. I don’t know.... How could Dan and Co. have been allowed to get away with it? And what else ... wait for. But it is a great pity you were not in “greater haste” to write us at once about the “formal doubts” entertained by the Pravda liquidators. The proofs were sent to you ten days ago: if you had made haste to reply at once that you are not clear 011 this or that point, you would have had complete copies of the letters from Russia already a week ago. Now the CO, which came out late last night, gives more quotations from the letters.
Is your withdrawal from Pravda essential for us? You seem almost ready to say yes—again being “in haste” to write after the very first conflict with Trotsky.
I personally do not think that your withdrawal from Pravda is essential [to us], so long as Pravda [is] run so colourlessly. After reading ... [your] item in No. 11, I thought ([and] Grigory also said): this is toothless, colourless, [inconsequential], verbose....
What is the purpose of our policy now, at this precise moment? To build the Party core not on the cheap phrases of Trotsky and Co. but on genuine ideological rapprochement between the Plekhanovites and the Bolsheviks. Whether this will work out I do not know. If it doesn’t, then back to the Bolshevik Centre. If it does, it will be a substantial step forward.
We shall write to the Russian CC (insisting that Makar call it together without waiting for the Menshevik scoundrels) that Dan (and Martov) should be expelled from the CO and Igor from the CC Bureau Abroad and replaced with Plekhanovites. The Plekhanovites printed ... [in an issue ] of Golos Sotsial-Demokrata (you [ought to receive it ] within a few days).
...  for the Golos people ... against ... 10 .... For the Plekhanovites 11 ... but it isn’t do much a matter of numbers as of the beginning of a break. The first step is always the hardest.
In a few days the Mensheviks Will publish Martynov’s reply to Plekhanov and, evidently, a reply to the CO Although Plekhanov does wish to keep open the possibility of “returning” to the Golos people, nothing so far seems to be coming of it.
Your withdrawal from Pravda—if it is inevitable—should in my view be arranged with the utmost care (write an article against the liquidators and against Golos, let Trotsky turn it down!) with a view to reporting to the CO and drafting a decision on the publication of a popular newspaper by the Central Organ. Either that, or back to....
The Vienna group will say nothing.
About the report, I am not satisfied. To remind a per son does not mean to harass him. Send the beginning. The whole thing by May 1 will be too late.
With best regards,
- Manuscript partly damaged. Here and further on several words are illegible. Words in square brackets have been inserted as suggest ed by the context and the remaining legible letters.—Ed.
- A reference to Lenin’s article “Golos (Voice) of the Liquidators Against the Party (Reply to Golos Sotsial-Demokrata)” giving documentary proof of the refusal of the Menshevik liquidator members of the CC, RSDLP, to take part in the work of the CC and even in the session held to co-opt new members (see present edition, Vol. 16, pp. 156–64).
- L. B. Kamenev was delegated to the Editorial Board of Trotsky’s Pravda after the January 1910 plenary meeting of the Central Committee, which put off the question of making the paper an organ of the CC until the next Party conference, but decided to subsidise it and to send its representative to the Editorial Board “as a third editor”. After the publication in the paper’s issue No. 14 of “Letter from Pravda to Thinking Workers” in which Trotsky sided with the liquidators and the otzovists, Kamenev withdrew from the Editorial Board.
- A reference to G. V. Plekhanov’s article “The Latest Plenary Meeting of Our Central Committee” published in Dnevnik Sotsial-Demokrata (Diary of a Social-Democrat) No. 11 (March 1910) in which he wrote: “... what is Golos Sotsial-Demokrata for Mensheviks of a certain orientation? It is in effect their factional—and, moreover, irresponsible—centre. By voting for the resolution pledging the closure of Golos... our ‘Mensheviks’—members of the CC—laid down on the altar of the Party the heart, so to say, of their faction. The skeptic will say that not all promises are carried out. But, I repeat, we have no right to think that the comrades who gave this promise were insincere.”