V. I. Lenin
To: INESSA ARMAND
Written on November 30, 1916
First published in 1949 in Bolshevik
No. 1. Sent from Zurich to Clarens (Switzerland). Printed from the original.
Lenin Collected Works,
As regards “defence of the fatherland”
I don’t know whether we differ or not. You find a contradiction between my
article in the collection of articles
To the Memory of Marx
and my present statements, without quoting either precisely. I cannot
reply to this. I haven’t got the collection To the Memory of Marx. Of
course, I cannot remember word for word what I wrote in it. Without precise
quotations, then and now, I am not able to reply to such an argument on
But generally speaking, it
seems to me that you argue somehow in a somewhat one-sided and formalist
manner. You have taken one quotation from the Communist
Manifesto (the working men have no country) and you seem to want
to apply it without any reservations, up to and including the repudiation of
manifesto dan bir alıntı yapmışsın (işçi sınıfının vatanı olmaz) ve öyle
görünüyorki bu alıntıyı hiç çekinmeden ulusal savaşlara ve onların reddine kadar
The whole spirit of Marxism, its whole
system, demands that each proposition should be considered (α) only
historically, (β) only in connection with others, (γ) only in
connection with the concrete experience of history.
"Marksizm'in bütün ruhu, onun bütün sistemi, şu önerilerin ; a) sadece
tarihsel olarak; b) sadece diğerleriyle ilişkili olarak ve c) sadece tarihin
somut tecrübeleriyle bağlantı lı olarak, hesaba katılmasını talep eder"
The fatherland is an historical
concept. The fatherland in an epoch or, more precisely, at the moment
of struggle for the overthrow of national oppression, is one thing. At the
moment when national movements have been left far behind, it is another
thing. For the “three types of countries” (§ 6 of our theses on
) there cannot
proposition about the fatherland, and its defence, identically applicable in all
"AnaVatan, tarihsel bir kavramdır. Anavatan ulusal baskıyı ortadan kaldırma (ulusal
kurtuluş) mücadelesi çağında , daha doğrusu anında , başka şeydir; ulusal
hareketlerin çok geride kaldığı bir zamanda başka şeydir. Üç tip ülke için (ulusların
kendi kaderlerini tayin konusundaki tezlerimizin 6. maddesi) anavatan ve
onun savunması hakkında her durumlara aynı biçimde uygulanabilecek
bir öneri /tez olamaz..""
In the Communist Manifesto it
is said that the working men have no country.
"Komünist Manifesto'da deniliyor ki, işçilerin vatanı yoktur.
Correct. But not only this
is stated there. It is stated there also that when national states are
being formed the role of the proletariat is somewhat special. To take the
first proposition (the working men have no country) and forget its
connection with the second (the workers are constituted as a class
nationally, though not in the same sense as the bourgeoisie) will be
"Doğru. Ama orada yalnız bu söylenmiyor. Orada ayrıca, ulusal devletlerin
kuruluşunda proletaryanın özel bir rol oynadığı da söyleniyor. Birinci tezi (işçilerin
vatanı yoktur) alınır ve ikinci tezle (işçiler,
halinde kendilerini ulusal olarak kurumlaştırırlar ama burjuva anlamında değil)
bağlantısı unutulursa, bu temelden yanlış olur
Where, then, does the connection lie?
In my opinion, precisely in the fact that in the democratic movement
(at such a moment, in such concrete circumstances) the proletariat cannot
refuse to support it (and, consequently, support defence of the fatherland in a
"Bu bağlantı nerededir? Bana göre ,tamamıyle Demokratik hareket
gerçeğinde (böyle bir zamanda, böyle somut bir durumda), proletarya, demokratik
hareketi (ve bunun sonucu olarak ulusal bir savaşta vatan savunmasını)
Marx and Engels said in the
Communist Manifesto that the working men have no country. But the same
Marx called for a national
war more than once: Marx in 1848, Engels in 1859 (the end of his
pamphlet Po and Rhine, where the national feeling of the
Germans is directly in flamed, where they are directly called upon to wage a
national war). Engels in 1891, in view of the then threatening
and advancing war of France (Boulanger) +Alexander III against Germany,
directly recognised “defence of the fatherland”.
"Marks ve Engels, Komünist Manifesto'da, işçilerin vatanlarının olmadığını
söylediler. Ama aynı Marks, birçok kez ulusal savaş çağrısında bulundu: Marks
1848, Engels 1859 (Po
ve Rhein kitapçığının sonunda, doğrudan Almanların ulusal duygusu tutuşturulur;
Almanlar doğrudan ulusal savaşa çağrıldı). Engels 1891 yılında, Fransa'nın
(Boulanger) ve III. Aleksander'in Almanya'ya karşı yaklaşan savaş tehdidi
açısından, 'vatan savunmasını' direk(sorgulamadan)
Were Marx and Engels muddlers who said
one thing today and another thing tomorrow? No. In my view, admission of
“defence of the fatherland” in a national war fully answers the
requirements of Marxism. In 1891 the German
Social-Democrats really should have defended their fatherland in a
war against Boulanger + Alexander III. This would have been a peculiar variety
of national war.
"Marks ve Engels, bugün böyle yarın başka türlü konuşan karışık kafalı adamlar
mıydı? Hayır. Bana göre, ulusal savaşta 'vatan savunması',nın kabulü
Marksizmin kurallarına tamamıyle uygundur. 1891 yılında Boulanger'ye ve III.
Aleksander'e karşı savaş olsaydı, Alman sosyal demokratları vatanı fiilen
savunmalıydılar. Bu, ulusal savaşın özel bir varyantı olurdu."
Incidentally, in saying this, I am
repeating what I said in my article against Yuri.
For some reason you don’t mention it. It seems to me that on the question raised
here there are precisely in that article a number of propositions which
make clear completely (or nearly so) my understanding of Marxism.
As to Radek—my “quarrel” (???!!!) with
Radek. I had an argument last spring with Grigory, who had no under standing at
all of the political situation at that time, and reproached me for breaking with
the Zimmerwald Left. That is nonsense.
The connection with the Zimmerwald Left
is also a conditional thing. First of all, Radek is not the Zimmerwald Left.
Secondly, there was no “break” with Radek in general, but only in a particular
sphere. Thirdly, it is stupid to conceive of the connection with Radek in
such a way that our
hands should be tied in the necessary theoretical and practical
(to point 1). I never, anywhere, took a single step, not a suspicion of it, not
merely towards a break, but even towards weakening the ties with the “Zimmerwald
Left”. Nobody has ever pointed one out to me, or will be able to point it out.
Neither with Borchardt, nor with the Swedes, nor with Knief, etc., etc.
very meanly threw us out of the editorial board of Vorbote. Radek
behaves in politics like a Tyszka huckster, impudent, insolent, stupid.
Grigory wrote to me in the spring of 1916, when I was already in Zurich,
that he had no “team work” with Radek. Radek has moved
away— that is the fact. He moved away on account of Vorbote,
both from me and from Grigory. On account of the impudence and
huckster-like meanness of one person, the Zimmerwald Left does not cease to be
Left, and there is no purpose in dragging it into the affair: it’s not
sensible, not correct.
in the number for February 1916, is a pattern of such a Tyszka-like rotten
servile “game” (Radek follows in his footsteps). Anyone who forgives
such things in politics I consider a donkey or a scoundrel. I shall never
forgive them. For such things you punch men’s faces or turn away.
Of course I did the second. And I don’t
repent. We did not lose a single hair of our ties with the Left
Germans. When the problem arose of marching together with Radek in practice
(the Zurich Congress of November 4–5, 1916),
we went ahead together. All Grigory’s silly phrases about my break with
the Zimmerwald Left proved to be a stupidity, which they always were.)
Ad 2—the “sphere” of the break with
Radek, therefore, were (α) Russian and Polish affairs. The resolution
of the Committee of Organisations Abroad confirmed this. (β) The affair
with Yuri and Co. Radek even now is writing (I can send you them if you wish)
the most impudent letters to me (and Grigory) on the theme that, “we” (he +
Bukharin + Yuri and Co.) “see things” in such-and-such a way!! Only a donkey and
a scoundrel, who wants to invent an “intrigue”, squeezing through
the crack of differences between us and Yuri and Co., can write in this
way. If Radek did
not understand what he was doing, then he is a donkey. If he did
understand, then he is a scoundrel.
The political task of our Party was
clear: we could not tie our hands by equality in the editorial board
with N. I. + Yuri + E. B. (Grigory did not understand this, and drove me to a
direct ultimatum: I declared that I would
resign from Kommunist if we did not break with it.
Kommunist was a good thing, so long as there was no
separate programme of the trio who composed 1/2 the editorial board). To grant
equality to a group consisting of Bukharin + Yuri + E. B. would be
idiocy and the ruin of all the work. Neither Yuri, quite a little pig, nor E. B.
has a drop of brains, and if they had allowed themselves to descend to group
stupidity with Bukharin, then we had to break with them, more precisely with
Kommunist. And that was done.
The polemics over self-determination
are only beginning as yet. Here they are in complete confusion—as in the
whole question about the attitude to democracy. To grant “equality” to
little pigs and fools—never! They didn’t want to learn peaceably and in
comradely fashion, so let them blame themselves. (I pestered them,
provoking conversations about it in Berne: they turned up their noses! I wrote
them letters, tens of pages long, to Stockholm—they turned up their noses! Well,
if that’s how it is, let them go to the devil. I did everything possible for a
peaceable out come. If you don’t want it, I will punch your faces and
expose you as idiots before the whole world. That, and only that, is the way to
treat them.) But where does Radek come in, you may ask.
Because lie was the “heavy artillery”
of this “group”, artillery hidden in the bushes on one side. Yuri and Co.
were quite skilful in
their calculations (E. B. is capable as an intriguer, it turned out that she was
not leading Yuri to us, but setting up a group against us). Their
calculation was: we shall start the war, but it’s Radek who will fight for us!!
Radek will fight for us, while Lenin will have his hands tied.
But it didn’t come off, my dear little
pigs! I will not let my hands be tied in politics. If you want to fight, come
out openly. But the role of Radek—secretly inciting young pigs, but himself
hiding behind the “Zimmerwald Left”—is the height of scoundrelism. The most
lousy ... of the Tyszka swamp could not have been playing the huckster, the
lackey and the intriguer behind one’s back in dirtier fashion.
Ad 3—I have already stated clearly.
The question of the relationship of imperialism to democracy and the minimum
programme is arising on an ever wider scale (see the Dutch
programme in No. 3 of the Bulletin
the American S.L.P. have thrown out the whole minimum programme.
). On this Radek has absolute confusion in his head (this is clear from
his theses; it was also shown by the question of indirect and direct taxes
raised in my theses). I will never let my hands be tied in explaining this most
important and fundamental question. I cannot. The question has to be cleared up.
There will be dozens of “falls” over it yet (they will stumble for
Anyone who understands the “connection”
with the Zimmerwald Left in such a way that we should let our hands be
tied in the theoretical struggle against “imperialist Economism” (that
international disease; Dutch-American-Russian, etc.), understands nothing.
To learn by heart the words “Zimmerwald Left” and to kowtow before the utter
theoretical confusion in Radek’s head, that I don’t accept.
The results: after Zimmerwald
manoeuvres were more difficult. It was necessary to take the
essential from Radek, E. B. and Co.,
without allowing one’s hands to be tied. I consider that I was
successful in this. After Bukharin’s departure to America and, above all,
after Yuri had sent us his article and after he had accepted (he
accepted! he had
to accept) my
reply, their affairs, as a “group”, were finished. (Yet Grigory wanted
to perpetuate that group, granting it equality: we
would give it equality!!)
With Radek we parted company
on the Russo-Polish arena, and did not invite him into our Sbornik.
It had to be that way.
And now he can do nothing which could
spoil the work. He was obliged at the Zurich Congress (November 5, 1916) to
go together with me, as now, against Grimm.
What does this mean? It means that I
succeeded in dividing
the questions: not in one iota is the internationalist pressure on the
Kautskians (Grimm y compris
) weakened, and at the same time I am not subjected to “equality” with Radek’s
Strategically I now consider the cause
to have been won. It is possible that Yuri + Co. + Radek + Co. will
abuse me. Allez-y, mes amis!
Now the odium will fall on you, not on us. But you
will now not injure the cause, and for us the road has been cleared. We
have disentangled our selves from the dirty (in all senses) muddle with
Yuri and Radek, without in one iota weakening the “Zimmerwald Left”,
and possessing the requisites for the struggle against stupidity on the
question of the attitude to democracy.
Voilà. I apologise for this long
letter and for the abundance of sharp words: I can’t write otherwise when I am
speaking frankly. Well, after all, this is all entre nous, and perhaps
the unnecessary bad language will pass.
In general, both Radek and Pannekoek
are incorrect in the way they approach the question of the struggle
against Kautskianism. This N.B.!!
See “Marxism and Revisionism” (present edition, Vol. 15, pp. 29–39).—Ed.
See “The Socialist Revolution and the Right of Nations to
Self-Determination” (present edition, Vol. 22, pp. 150–52).—Ed.
See “A Caricature of Marxism and Imperialist Economism” (present edition,
Vol. 23, pp. 25–76)—Ed.
The question of disarmament.—Ed.
This was very difficult!! —Lenin
Go ahead, my friends!—Ed.
See Marx/Engels, Werke, Bd. 13, S. 267–68, Dietz Verlag, Berlin,
1964, and Werke, Bd. 22, S. 252–56.
The Congress of the Social-Democratic Party of Switzerland was held in
Zurich, November 4 and 5, 1916.
The Bulletin of the International Socialist Commission No. 3, for
February 29, 1916, published the draft programme of the Dutch Social-Democrats,
which contained, among other points, the following specific demands:
democratisation of all representative institutions, the setting up of a
republic, an eight-hour working day, abolition of militarism.
Reference is to Sbornik Sotsial-Demokrata (see Note 234).