IN QUESTO SCRITTO, STALIN TRATTEGGIA IN POCHE RIGHE E IN MODO MOLTO SEMPLICE  ALCUNI CONCETTI CONTENUTI NEL “CHE  FARE ?  DI LENIN

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A LETTER FROM KUTAIS9

What we need here now is Iskra10 (although it has no sparks, we need it: at all events it contains news, the devil take it, and we must thoroughly know the enemy), beginning with No. 63. We very much need Bonch Bruyevich’s11 publications: The Fight for the Congress, To the Party (isn’t this the Declaration of the 22?12), Our Misunderstandings, on the quintessence of socialism and on strikes by Ryadovoi (if issued), Lenin’s pamphlet against Rosa and Kautsky,13 Minutes of the Congress of the League,14 One Step Forward15 (this can be put aside if you can’t send it now). We need everything new that’s published, from simple declarations to large pamphlets, which in any way deals with the struggle now going on within the Party.

I have read Galyorka’s pamphlet Down With Bonapartism. It’s not bad. It would have been better had he struck harder and deeper with his hammer. His jocular tone and pleas for mercy` rob his blows of strength and

weight, and spoil the reader’s impression. These defects are all the more glaring for the reason that the author evidently

understands our position well, and explains and elaborates certain questions excellently. A man who takes up our position must speak with a firm and determined voice. In this respect Lenin is a real mountain eagle.

I have also read Plekhanov’s articles in which he analyses What Is To Be Done?16 This man has either gone quite off his head, or else is moved by hatred and enmity.  I think both causes operate. I think that Plekhanov has fallen behind the new problems. He imagines he has the old opponents before him, and he goes on repeating in the old way: “social consciousness is determined by social being,” “ideas do not drop from the skies.”

 As if Lenin said that Marx’s socialism would have been possible under slavery and serfdom. Even schoolboys know now that “ideas do not drop from the skies.” The point is, however, that we are now faced with quite a different issue.

We assimilated this general formula long ago and the time has now come to analyse this general problem. What interests us now is how separate ideas are worked up into a system of ideas (the theory of socialism), how separate ideas, and hints of ideas, link up into one harmonious system—the theory of socialism, and who works and links them up. Do the masses give their leaders a programme and the principles underlying the programme, or do the leaders give these to the masses?

If the masses themselves and their spontaneous movement give us the theory of socialism, then there is no need to take the trouble to safeguard the masses from the pernicious influence of revisionism, terrorism, Zubatovism and anarchism: “the spontaneous movement engenders socialism from itself.

 If the spontaneous movement does not engender the theory of socialism from itself (don’t forget that Lenin is discussing the theory of socialism), then the latter is engendered outside of the spontaneous movement, from the observations and study of the spontaneous movement by men who are equipe with up-to-date knowledge. Hence, the theory of socialism is worked out “quite independently of the growth of the spontaneous movement,” in spite of that movement in fact, and is then introduced into that movement from outside, correcting it in conformity with its content,

i.e., in conformity with the objective requirements of the proletarian class struggle.

The conclusion (practical deduction) to be drawn from this is as follows: we must raise the proletariat to a consciousness of its true class interests, to a consciousness of the socialist ideal, and not break this ideal up into small change, or adjust it to the spontaneous movement. Lenin has laid down the theoretical basis on which this practical deduction is built. It is enough to accept this theoretical premise and no opportunism will get anywhere near you. Herein lies the significance of Lenin’s idea. I call it Lenin’s, because nobody in Russian literature has expressed it with such clarity as Lenin.

Plekhanov believes that he is still living in the nineties, and he goes on chewing what has already been chewed eighteen times over—twice two make four.

And he is not ashamed of having talked himself into repeating Martynov’s ideas. . . . You are no doubt familiar with the Declaration of the 22. . . . There was a comrade here from your parts who took with him the resolutions of the Caucasian Committees in favour of calling a special congress of the Party.

You are wrong in thinking that the situation is homeless only the Kutais Committee wavered, but I succeeded in convincing them, and after that they began to swear by Bolshevism. It was not difficult to convince them: the two-faced policy of the Central Committee became obvious thanks to the Declaration, and after fresh news was received, there could be no further doubt about it. It (the C.C.) will break its neck, the local and Russian comrades will see to that. It has got everybody’s back up.

Written in September-October 1904

Published for the first time

Translated from the Georgian

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