Published in the pamphlet: N. Lenin,
From V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, 4th English Edition,
Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1965,
Vol. 7, pp. 132-33.
Translated by Abraham Fineberg and by Naomi Jochel
Edited by Clemens Dutt
A Letter to a Comrade,* here reprinted, was written over a year ago -- in September 1902, if my memory does not deceive me. At first it passed from hand to hand in manuscript copies and circulated in Russia as a statement of Iskra 's views on organisation. Then, last June, the Siberian League printed and distributed it in quite a large number of copies. It is thus already fully a matter of public knowledge and there are no longer any grounds for withholding its publication. The reason I had for not publishing it before -- its very unfinished literary form, it being only a "rough draft" in the fullest sense of the term -- now lapses, for it is in this rough state that many practical workers in Russia have read it. Furthermore, an even weightier reason for reprinting it in its rough form (I have made only the most essential stylistic corrections) is that it has now acquired the significance of a "document".** As we know, the new editorial board of Iskra already announced in No. 53 the existence of differences over questions of organisation. Unfortunately, the editors are in no hurry to specify just what these differences are, confining themselves for the most part to hinting at things unknown.
Something must be done to help the new editorial board in its difficult task. Let the old organisational views of Iskra be made known in all their details, down even to
rough drafts; perhaps the new editorial board will then finally reveal its new organisational views to the Party under its "ideological direction". Perhaps it will then finally confide to us the precise formulation of the fundamental changes it would like to have made in our Party's Rules of Organisation. For, indeed, who does not understand that it is these Rules of Organisation that embody the organisational plans we have always had?
If the reader compares What Is To Be Done?* and the Iskra articles on organisational matters with the Letter to a Comrade, and the latter with the Rules adopted at the Second Congress, he will be able to form a clear idea of how consistently we, the majority of the Iskra-ists and the majority at the Party Congress, have pursued our organisational "line". As to the new editorial board of Iskra, we shall be waiting, and with the greatest impatience, for a statement of its new organisational views; we shall be waiting for it to indicate just what it has been disillusioned in, and since when, and why it has begun to "burn the idols it worshipped".