V. I.   Lenin



Written: Written later than July 11, 1915
Published: First published in 1924 in Lenin Miscellany II. Sent from Sörenberg (Switzerland) to Christiania (Oslo). Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1976], Moscow, Volume 35, pages 193-194.
Translated: Andrew Rothstein
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive.   You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work, as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.
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Dear Comrade,

The question of a conference of the “Left” is going ahead. There has already been a first Vorkonferenz,[3] and a second, decisive one, will be held shortly. It is extremely important to draw in the Left Swedes (Höglund) and the Norwegians.

Be kind enough to write (1) whether we are in agreement with you (or you with the C.C.), if not, wherein we differ, and (2) whether you will undertake to draw in the “Left” Scandinavians.

Ad 1. You know our position from Sotsial-Demokrat. In Russian affairs we shall not be for unity with the Chkheidze group[4] (which Trotsky, and the O.C., and Plekhanov, and Co. want: see The War), because this is a cover-up and defence of Nashe Dyelo. In international affairs we shall not be for rapprochement with Haase-Bernstein-Kautsky (for in practice they want unity with the Südekums and to shield them, they want to get away with Left phrases and to change nothing in the old rotten party). We cannot stand for the watchword of peace, because we consider it supremely muddled, pacifist, petty-bourgeois, helping the governments (they now want to be with one hand “for peace”, in order to climb out of their difficulties) and obstructing the revolutionary struggle.

In our opinion, the Left should make a common declaration of principle (1) unquestionably condemning the social-chauvinists and opportunists, (2) giving a programme of revolutionary action (whether to say civil war or revolutionary mass action, is not so important), (3) against the   watchword of “defence of the fatherland”, etc. A declaration of principle by the “Left”, in the name of several countries, would have a gigantic significance (of course, not in the spirit of the Zetkin philistinism which she got adopted at the Women’s Conference[5] at Berne; Zetkin evaded the question of condemning social-chauvinism!! out of a desire for “peace” with the Südekums+Kautsky??).

If you are not in agreement with these ladies, drop us a line straightaway.

If you are in agreement, do take on the translation of (1) the manifesto of the Central Committee (No. 33 of Sotsial-Demokrat)[1] and (2) the Berne resolutions (No. 40 of Sotsial-Demokrat)[2] into Swedish and Norwegian, and get in touch with Höglund—do they agree to prepare a common declaration (or resolution) on such a basis (naturally we shall not quarrel over details)? Particular speed with this is necessary.

And so I await your reply.

Every good wish,


[1] See present edition, Vol. 21, pp. 25–34.—Ed.

[2] Ibid., pp. 158–64.—Ed.

[3] Vorkonferenz—preparatory conference for the first International Socialist Conference (Zimmerwald) held in Berne on July 11, 1915.

[4] The Menshevik group in the Fourth Duma.

[5] The International Women’s Socialist Conference concerning the attitude to be adopted towards the war was held on March 26–28, 1915 in Berne. See Lenin’s article “On the Struggle Against Social-Chauvinism” (present edition, Vol. 21, pp. 199–203).

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