Letter to Lev Kamenev, December 8, 1912

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Author(s) Lenin
Written 8 December 1912

First published in 1964 in Collected Works, Fifth (Russian) Ed., Vol. 48. Sent from Cracow to Paris. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 43, pages 312-316a.
Keywords : Letter, Lev Kamenev

Dear L. B.,

I shall reply point by point.

1) About Haase’s letter to Ryazanov. This “document” is private. We do not have it. We cannot refer to it. For us to ask Haase (if only through the I.S.B.) for an “explanation” is awkward, very awkward.

Your question whether “he (Haase) was given (by whom?) an opportunity to ‘explain things’” isirrelevant.

He always had and still has an opportunity. He has even been told as much by Ryazanov. Ergo, he does not want to, And to the devil with him! But we will corner him and all the Germans, because now we have a document stating that the Vorstand gave money to the Letts+the Bund+the Caucasian region.

2) Your question if we “have someone better in view is forgive me, very strange. And stranger still: “he (Haase) at least knows something” (??) (le préjugé est plus éloigné de la vérité que l’ignorance![1] ) and “he is capable (?) of under standing (??) the price (???) of ideological (????) differences”.... Really, this is strange. He cannot understand who does not want to. And the German Vorstand (with Haase, its head) has demonstrated that it does not want to.

We are not looking for anyone “better”, we cannot and are not obliged to look. That is not the point. It is only necessary to reject what is deliberately “partial”. The rest does not matter.

3) What is this about the “endorsement of the mandates of the opposition” in Basle? Aren’t you ashamed of yourself for not having written a word about this to this day??

Who “endorsed”? The Russians? The Social-Democrats +the Socialist-Revolutionaries?? Who permitted them to interfere? How could the Russians interfere without getting the whole Polish delegation to cast its vote as laid down in the rules of the International? Did the whole Polish delegation vote or not? If it did, we need at any rate (besides your account) a document signed by all the delegates who did the “endorsing”. How could you, who have been here and know how acute the problem of the opposition is, have failed to realise the importance of such a document in a matter of this kind in general, and that for us in Cracow it is doubly important??

4) If Muranov’s signature was there, drop a line [please ][2] to Huysmans saying that there was a misprint or an omission in the reports and that you kindly ask him to make a correction in the official report, to insert Muranov, that you are referring to such-and-such a document, reminding him, etc.

5) You are going to write for the CO on the elections and on Basle, aren’t you? As regards the elections, read Steklov’s vile article in Neue Zeit and bear it in mind, without, of course, replying to him.

Hand in the article about Basle to the printers as quickly as you can and send us the proofs as soon as possible; for we have to discuss the matter: there are a number of important questions (how to write about Plekhanov? and about the Polish opposition?). In my opinion, you should make it sharply-worded. But there is no collective decision on this as yet, nor can there be without our article.

6) Honestly, L. B., I simply cannot understand you—although we have been working together so long—when you now begin making “domestic scenes” about (a) the trip to Basle, (b) delegating you (as was proposed) to the meeting.

Why such a tone!? How can you take such an attitude?? Aren’t you ashamed to raise questions?

What was so bad for the cause about your trip to Basle? Explain, for God’s sake!

How you can repeat the pointless whining of Yuri and the Kiev people is in-com-pre-hensible!

What was so bad for you? Explain!

Now, about the meeting. I must (a) drop my daily work for Pravda; (b) spend twice or three times as much time as you would; (c) spend twice or three times as much money—and there is no money; (d) walk into the trap prepared by our enemies who want to make the most of my maximum (how else could it be the way the war is going) irritation??

Tell me, for God’s sake, what’s come over you?? Why, if you wrote the pamphlet, should I have to go??

...“It will at once make the whole thing look ridiculous”!? What does this mean?? Why did Martynov’s being with you in Basle not make things “look ridiculous”?? Why do you allow yourself to be taken in by the old wives’ tales of the Paris scandalmongers??

...“It will at once tip the scales in favour of the OC” ...Now, really, that is being a little too naïve. Since the Germans are against us (and that is a fact) the “scales” have already tipped in favour of the OC How can you fail to see this?? My presence would only make things ten times worse, for I am incapable of talking peaceably (like you) either with Haase or about Haase. You know this perfectly well!

The point however is that it is not these “scales”, i.e., in the Bureau, at the meeting, that are seriously decisive, it is the real alignment of forces that counts. We have 6 curia workers in the Social-Democratic Duma group on the Jagiello question—6 and 6; Malinovsky writes me today: “we have 6 curia deputies+4 liquidators+2 wavering. The Siberians have not yet arrived.”

We shall mobilise the six representing the proletariat of Petersburg, Moscow and the South and fight the gossip and intrigues of Tyszka+Rosa+Ryazanov and others.... There you have the serious “scales”! And you know it! Why stage these “domestic scenes” when the fight is hard enough as it is??

“The Germans will take offence ... get angry”.... This has already happened. And we shall send a protest about the Germans giving the money to the OC Let them get angry. They are already involved. We must inevitably fight with the Germans and began to do so with (a) the “Anonymus”+= (b) Chemnitz. Haase “replied” in Chemnitz. The war is on, and you wax naive: they’ll get angry, they’ll take offence. I don’t understand you!

I am thinking of replying to the Bureau’s proposals thus: (a) we shall turn down all the Germans for handing the money to the Bund and the Caucasus; (b) we shall go to the meeting only with the expelled group of liquidators without the nationals; (c) preliminary condition—formal disavowal by them of the vile slander in Luch about the provocation in Warsaw. The motives are clear. Your opinion?

Reply more precisely, more directly, more resolutely. I shall go nowhere; if you carry the “scenes” to the point of refusal, I shall get Semashko delegated or....[3] Is that what you want? Once again: were you right with your “apprehensions” about Basle? or was I right that no harm was done to the cause, but that both the cause and the pocket benefited?

7) The money crisis is serious. We had a meeting of the CC with Koba.[4] It was decided to warn you urgently: look for earnings! You can count on 100 frs. monthly for about three months+from Pravda for what you write, but after that nothing.

Think this over and let us have your answer as soon as possible.



P.S. From Pravda they write us: Alexinsky and Co. (sic!) have offered articles on condition that their articles the editors do not agree with be published.

They replied: we would be glad to have your contributions, but cannot accept such a condition, for our task now is to concentrate the forces of the anti-liquidators to combat the liquidators.

A splendid answer and perfectly correct, in my opinion.

Bear this in mind! What do Alexinsky and Co. want? (What Co.? Lunacharsky alone, or someone else? And who?) Is it just an intrigue, as I think (Luch, you see, is kinder, while Pravda turned me down, etc.), or an overture, as Grigory believes? You meet... or see..., check up, find out what you can, and write.

About the Duma group: there is a letter (not to us, but a reliable letter) saying that the voting on cultural-national autonomy went against the liquidators+Chkheidze. This is the only fact we know of pointing to the emergence of our majority among the 12. That is all we know so far. As soon as we know more we shall write.

  1. Prejudice is farther from the truth than ignorance!—Ed.
  2. Manuscript partly damaged. The word in square brackets has been inserted as context suggests.—Ed.
  3. One word illegible.—Ed.
  4. The CC, RSDLP met in Cracow on November 12 or 13 (25 or 26), 1912, under Lenin’s leadership.