The Dilemma of Freedom of Conscience: Lenin on Religion, the National Question and the Bund

by Roland Boer

1. Unlike many other political thinkers, Lenin evokes strong reactions. Out of the mass of literature, one may identify six major positions: he was not a Marxist (drawing his ideas from Chernyshevsky); he was a man of practice, not theory; he was entirely impractical, lost in theory; he was thoroughly consistent throughout his life, theoretically and practically; he was an unprincipled opportunist, a politician of compromise, throwing aside his convictions whenever needed and moving far from Marxism; he was a deeply principled and theoretically motivated opportunist. While the penultimate position is popular among many commentators, the last position is the one that describes him best. For references and a fuller discussion, see Lenin’s political and intellectual biography.

2. V.I. Lenin, "Speech at Second All-Russia Conference of Organisers Responsible for Rural Work, June 12, 1920," in Collected Works, vol. 31 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1920 [1966]), 171.

3. A couple of other contextual matters brought Lenin to respond explicitly in a number of articles from 1909. V.I. Lenin, "The Attitude of the Workers' Party to Religion," in Collected Works, vol. 15 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1909 [1963]); Lenin, "Classes and Parties in their Attitude to Religion and the Church."; see also V.I. Lenin, "Socialism and Religion," in Collected Works, vol. 10 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1905 [1966]). The first was the rise among the Bolsheviks of the "God-builders," who advocated drawing on the "warm" stream of religious, utopian hopes in order to enhance communism. The extraordinary Anatoly Lunacharsky, later Commissar for Enlightenment after the October Revolution, was their clear leader. See Anatoly Vasilyevich Lunacharsky, Religiia i Socializm: Tom 1 (Moscow: Shilovnik, 1908); Anatoly Vasilyevich Lunacharsky, "Atheism," in Ocherki po Filosofii Marxisma, ed. Vladimir A. Bazarov, et al. (St. Petersburg: 1908); Anatoly Vasilyevich Lunacharsky, Religiia i Socializm: Tom 2 (Moscow: Shilovnik, 1911). The other was a statement in the Duma by the Social-Democratic representatives concerning religion. Lenin found the Duma statement excellent in outlining a materialist position (without overemphasising atheism) and the class allegiances of the clergy, but he felt it fell short precisely on the issue of freedom of conscience.

4. SPD, "Erfurt Program," in German History in Documents and Images: Wilhelmine Germany and the First World War, 1890-1918 (1891), 3; SPD, Protokoll des Parteitages der Sozialdemokratischen Partei Deutschlands: Abgehalten zu Erfurt vom 14. bis 20. Oktober 1891, (Berlin: marxists.org, 1891). 3. Lenin, a good "Erfurtian," cites precisely this text: Lenin, "The Attitude of the Workers' Party to Religion," 404.

5. Rosa Luxemburg, "Socialism and the Churches," in Rosa Luxemburg Speaks, ed. Mary-Alice Waters (New York: Pathfinder Press, 1970 [1905]); Rosa Luxemburg, Kirche und Sozialismus (Frankfurt am Main: Stimme-Verlag, 1982 [1905]), 19; see also Rosa Luxemburg, "An Anti-Clerical Policy of Socialism," The Social Democrat August(2004 [1903]): 2; Rosa Luxemburg, "Enquête sur l’anticléricalisme et le socialisme," Le Mouvement Socialiste 9, no. 111 (1903): 28.

6. For example, in the Party’s 1899 platform, we find "uncurtailed freedom of conscience." V.I. Lenin, "A Draft Programme of Our Party," in Collected Works, vol. 4 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1899 [1960]), 239. Similarly, the 1902 platform includes "unrestricted freedom of conscience, speech, the press and of assembly." V.I. Lenin, "Material for the Preparation of the Programme of the R.S.D.L.P.," in Collected Works, vol. 6 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1902 [1961]), 28; see further V.I. Lenin, "The St. Petersburg Strike," in Collected Works, vol. 8 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1905 [1962]), 92; Lenin, "The St. Petersburg Strike," 92; V.I. Lenin, "Draft for a Speech on the Agrarian Question in the Second State Duma," in Collected Works, vol. 12 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1907 [1962]), 296; V.I. Lenin, "To the Rural Poor: An Explanation for the Peasants of What the Social-Democrats Want," in Collected Works, vol. 6 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1903 [1961]), 402; V.I. Lenin, "Second Congress of the League of Russian Revolutionary Social-Deomcracy Abroad," in Collected Works, vol. 7 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1903 [1961]), 79.

7. Here he cites Engels as his authority. Lenin, "The Attitude of the Workers' Party to Religion," 404. So also in the later work, The State and Revolution, when discussing the same clause. V.I. Lenin, "The State and Revolution," in Collected Works, vol. 25 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1917 [1964]), 455-6. Note also a comment to Plekhanov in 1902, in which he expresses the desire to attack the "freedom of conscience" position. V.I. Lenin, "To G.V. Plekhanov, February 7, 1902," in Collected Works, vol. 34 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1902 [1966]), 94.

8. Lenin, "Socialism and Religion," 84-5; Lenin, "Material for the Preparation of the Programme of the R.S.D.L.P.," 28, 30; Lenin, "To the Rural Poor: An Explanation for the Peasants of What the Social-Democrats Want," 402; Lenin, "The Autocracy is Wavering ..." 347-8; V.I. Lenin, "Revision of the Agrarian Programme of the Workers' Party," in Collected Works, vol. 10 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1906 [1962]), 194-5; V.I. Lenin, "The Declaration of Our Group in the Duma," in Collected Works, vol. 11 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1906 [1963]), 35.

9. Lenin, "To the Rural Poor: An Explanation for the Peasants of What the Social-Democrats Want," 402. See also the proposed "National Equality Bill," put forward in 1914 by The Social Democrat members of the Duma (but not made law at the time): "No citizen of Russia, regardless of sex and religion, may be restricted in political or in any other rights on the grounds of origin or nationality." V.I. Lenin, "The National Equality Bill," in Collected Works, vol. 20 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1914 [1964]), 173; see also Lenin, "Second Congress of the League of Russian Revolutionary Social-Deomcracy Abroad," 79. The specific aim of this bill was to counter the anti-Semitism and pogroms fostered by the Right.

10. Lenin, "Socialism and Religion," 85.

11. Lenin, "Does the Jewish Proletariat Need an 'Independent Political Party'?," 331, fn. Note also: "a political organisation cannot put its members through an examination to see if there is no contradiction between their views and the Party programme." Lenin, "The Attitude of the Workers' Party to Religion," 408. Here Lenin has listened carefully to the position of Marx and Engels in relation to the First International, which resolutely refused to make atheism part of the platform. They did so in resistance to pressures from conservatives, anarchists and even former comrades. Thus, the anarchists with Bakunin at their head pushed to make the International officially atheistic, to abolish religious ritual and replace religious faith with science. Marx retorts, "As if one could declare by royal decree abolition of faith!" Karl Marx, "Remarks on the Programme and Rules of the International Alliance of Socialist Democracy," in Marx and Engels Collected Works, vol. 21 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1868 [1985]), 208; see also Karl Marx, "Declaration of the General Council of the International Working Men's Association Concerning Cochrane's Speech in the House of Commons," in Marx and Engels Collected Works, vol. 23 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1872 [1988]), 142; Friedrich Engels, "The Congress at The Hague (Letter to Enrico Bignami)," in Marx and Engels Collected Works, vol. 23 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1872 [1988]), 275-6; Friedrich Engels, "Der Haager Kongreß [Brief an Bignami]," in Marx Engels Werke, vol. 18 (Berlin: Dietz, 1872 [1973]), 169-70; Friedrich Engels, "Engels to Marx in London, Manchester, 21 April 1870," in Marx and Engels Collected Works, vol. 43 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1870 [1988]); Friedrich Engels, "Engels an Marx 21.April 1870," in Marx Engels Werke, vol. 32 (Berlin: Dietz, 1870 [1973]); Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, "The Alliance of Socialist Democracy and the International Working Men's Association. Report and Documents Published by Decision of The Hague Congress of the International," in Marx and Engels Collected Works, vol. 23 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1873 [1988]), 460; Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, "Ein Komplot gegen die Internationale Arbeiterassoziation. Im Auftrage des Haager Kongresses verfaßter Bericht über das Trieben Bakunins und der Allianz der sozialistichen Demokratie," in Marx Engels Werke, vol. 18 (Berlin: Dietz, 1873 [1973]), 335. The many opponents of the international, ranging from conservatives and repressive state apparatuses to former comrades like Jules Favre and Mazzini, assumed that the International was just as the anarchists wished, formally atheist. In reply, Engels asserts again and again that atheism is not part of the communist platform. Friedrich Engels, "Account of Engels' Speech on Mazzini's Attitude Towards the International," in Marx and Engels Collected Works, vol. 22 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1871 [1986]), 608; Friedrich Engels, "On the Progress of the International Working Men's Association in Italy and Spain," in Marx and Engels Collected Works, vol. 23 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1871 [1988]), 28; Friedrich Engels, "Engels to Carlo Cafiero in Barletta, London, 1-3 July 1871," in Marx and Engels Collected Works, vol. 44 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1871 [1989]), 164.

12. Lenin, "Socialism and Religion," 86.

13. Lenin, "The Attitude of the Workers' Party to Religion," 403.

14. Lenin would therefore find the attack on religion by the "new atheists" a typical idealist and bourgeois program, for it makes religion the primary cause of all the world’s ills. Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2006); Christopher Hitchens, God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything (New York: Twelve Books, 2007); Sam Harris, The End of Faith: Religion, Terror and the Future of Reason (New York: W. W. Norton, 2005); Sam Harris, Letter to a Christian Nation (New York: Knopf, 2006); Daniel C. Dennett, Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 2007). See the detailed assessment in Roland Boer, "The New Old Atheists," Australian Marxist Review 50(2009).

15. Lenin, "The Attitude of the Workers' Party to Religion," 407-8.

16. Or in the different situation of Western Europe, where the bourgeois revolution had already achieved its anti-clerical program, the bourgeoisie may deploy anti-clericalism as a way to split the united front of the working class. In this respect religion is still made into a basic issue at the forefront of the struggle. Lenin, "The Attitude of the Workers' Party to Religion," 411.

17. Lenin, "Socialism and Religion," 87.

18. Lenin, "Socialism and Religion," 87.

19. V.I. Lenin, "The First of May," in Collected Works, vol. 8 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1905 [1963]), 348; Lenin, "A New Revolutionary Workers' Association," 509-10; Lenin, "Our Tasks and the Soviet of Workers' Deputies. A Letter to the Editor," 23; Lenin, "Party Organisation and Party Literature," 47-8. In "The Attitude of the Workers Party to Religion," Lenin gives the example of a strike in a region where the proletariat is divided into "class-conscious Social-Democrats" and those who are religious. The latter are part of a Christian labour union that calls a strike in relation to economic struggle. In this context, it is "the duty of a Marxist to place the success of the strike movement above everything else, vigorously to counteract the division of the workers in this struggle into atheists and Christians, vigorously to oppose any such division. Atheist propaganda in such circumstances may be both unnecessary and harmful." Lenin, "The Attitude of the Workers' Party to Religion," 407.

20. Lenin, "The Attitude of the Workers' Party to Religion," 404.

21. Lenin, "The Attitude of the Workers' Party to Religion," 409.

22. Lenin, "The Attitude of the Workers' Party to Religion," 408-9.

23. Much later, during the "civil" war Krupskaya relates a somewhat amusing story that illustrates this question nicely: "The Second Army had a rather peculiar agitator: he had been a priest before the October Revolution, but after he had become an agitator for the Bolsheviks. At a meeting of five thousand Red Army men in Perm he spoke of the Soviet power’s intimate link with the masses. ‘The Bolsheviks,’ he said, ‘are today’s apostles.’ When asked by a Red Army man in the audience, ‘What about baptism?’ he answered: ‘That would take a couple of hours to explain, but briefly it’s pure eyewash." Nadezhda Krupskaya, Reminiscences of Lenin (New York: International Publishers, 1960 [1930]), 526. Of course, it is de rigueur to mention in this context the campaigns against parts of the established Orthodox Church after 1917, the long-overdue redistribution of church property and execution of anti-communist priests. See Paul Gabel, And God Created Lenin: Marxism vs. Religion in Russia, 1917-1929 (Amherst: Prometheus, 2005). As I have argued elsewhere, this situation throws into sharp relief the ambivalence of Lenin’s position: he both attacked religion mercilessly but fostered its marginal, pro-communist forms. Roland Boer, "Spiritual Booze and Freedom: Lenin on Religion," New Proposals: Journal of Marxism and Interdisciplinary Inquiry (In press). It is worth recalling that the progressive, Renovationist wing of the Orthodox Church attracted the larger part of that church to its agenda at the time.

24. V.I. Lenin, "A Letter to S.G. Shahumyan," in Collected Works, vol. 19 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1913 [1964]), 501.

25. A word is necessary here on the curious usage of the terms "nation," "national" and "nationality." Lenin takes here Karl Kautsky’s definition of a nation as comprising two items: language and territory. Lenin, "The Position of the Bund in the Party," 99. This position leads one to the very Euro-centric idea that a state must be comprised on the basis of one ethnicity and one language, so much so that newly independent states, from Norway to the parts of the former Yugoslavia, claim what are really dialects to be unique languages, such as Norwegian in relation to Danish or Croatian in relation to Serbian. It also lies behind the creation of modern Hebrew and the Zionist push for a state of Israel. This position falls down when faced with multi-lingual and multi-ethnic states (Canada, Belgium, Finland, China, Australia etc.) and indeed the simple point that any national entity, let alone an ethnic one, is always a confluence of multiple ethnicities, so much so that one is unable to distinguish any "pure" identity at all. See Igor M. D'iakonoff, The Paths of History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 153. On the complexity of the "national" question in Russia at the time, see Gregor Alexinsky, Modern Russia, trans. Bernard Miall (London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1913), 297-306. For a close analysis of Lenin’s position, see Tony Cliff, All Power to the Soviets: Lenin 1914-1917 (Chicago: Haymarket, 2004 [1976]), 53-63.

26. V.I. Lenin, "Critical Remarks on the National Question," in Collected Works, vol. 20 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1913 [1964]), 28.

27. Lenin, "Bill on the Equality of Nations and the Safeguarding of the Rights of National Minorities," 281; Lenin, "Bill on the Equality of Nations and the Safeguarding of the Rights of National Minorities," 281-3; see also Lenin, "Critical Remarks on the National Question," 22-8; V.I. Lenin, "Liberals and Democrats on the Language Question," in Collected Works, vol. 19 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1913 [1963]), 345-7; Lenin, "How Does Bishop Nikon Defend the Ukrainians," 379-81; Lenin, "Resolutions of the Summer, 1913, Joint Conference of the Central Committee of the R.S.D.L.P. and Party Officials," 427-8; Lenin, "The Cadets and 'The Right of Nations to Self-Determination'."; Lenin, "The Nationality of Pupils in Russian Schools."; Lenin, "Once More on the Segregation of the Schools According to Nationality."; V.I. Lenin, "Corrupting the Workers with Refined Nationalism," in Collected Works, vol. 20 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1914 [1965]), 290-1; Lenin, "Clarity Has Been Achieved: Class Conscious Workers, Please Note," 351-2; Lenin, "The Right of Nations to Self-Determination."; V.I. Lenin, "Socialism and War: The Attitude of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party Towards the War," in Collected Works, vol. 21 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1915 [1964]), 316-17; Lenin, "The Revolutionary Proletariat and the Right of Nations to Self-Determination."; V.I. Lenin, "Theses for a Lecture on the National Question," in Collected Works, vol. 41 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1914 [1969]). These positions were embodied in the famous decree on peace on the day after the October Revolution. V.I. Lenin, "Second All-Russia Congress of Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies: October 25-26 (November 7-8), 1917," in Collected Works, vol. 26 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1917 [1966]), 249-53. For debates over the national question in the Comintern, see John Riddell, ed. Lenin’s Struggle for a Revolutionary International: Documents: 1907-1916, The Preparatory Years (New York: Monad, 1984), 353-64.

28. For the following arguments a number of texts are relevant: Lenin, "Theses on the National Question," 243-7; Lenin, "Critical Remarks on the National Question," 36-8; Lenin, "On the Question of National Policy."; Lenin, "Bill on the Equality of Nations and the Safeguarding of the Rights of National Minorities."; Lenin, "The Right of Nations to Self-Determination."; Lenin, "The Working Class and the National Question."; Lenin, "Draft Platform for the Fourth Congress of Social-Democrats of the Latvian Area."; Lenin, ""Cultural-National" Autonomy."; V.I. Lenin, "The Socialist Revolution and the Right of Nations to Self-Determination: Theses," in Collected Works, vol. 22 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1916 [1964]). Note especially: "Our task is not to segregate nations, but to unite the workers of all nations. Our banner does not carry the slogan ‘national culture’ but international culture, which unites all the nations in a higher, socialist unity, and the way to which is already being paved by the international amalgamation of capital." Lenin, "Once More on the Segregation of the Schools According to Nationality," 548-9; Lenin, "Corrupting the Workers with Refined Nationalism."

29. Lenin, "The National Question in Our Programme."

30. Lenin, "A Letter to S.G. Shahumyan," 500-1. Or as he puts it later, using the analogy of divorce, "This example clearly demonstrates that one cannot be a democrat and socialist without demanding full freedom of divorce now, because the lack of such freedom is additional oppression of the oppressed sex – though it should not be difficult to realise that recognition of the freedom to leave one’s husband is not an invitation to all wives to do so!" V.I. Lenin, "A Caricature of Marxism and Imperialist Economism," in Collected Works, vol. 23 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1916 [1964]), 72.

31. Lenin, "A Letter to S.G. Shahumyan," 501.

32. V.I. Lenin, "The Tasks of the Proletariat in Our Revolution: Draft Platform for the Proletarian Party," in Collected Works, vol. 24 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1917 [1964]), 73.

33. V.I. Lenin, "A Note to the Editors of Proletarskaya Pravda " in Collected Works, vol. 43 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1913 [1972]), 370.

34. From time to time, Lenin mentions Muslims, Roman Catholics, Stundists, Old Believers and "sects," but his arguments come to their sharpest expression in debates with the Bund. V.I. Lenin, "Gems of Narodnik Phrase-Mongering," in Collected Works, vol. 2 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1897 [1960]), 476-7; Lenin, "The Elections of the Worker Curia in St. Petersburg," 63-4; V.I. Lenin, "The Agrarian Programme of Social-Democracy and the First Russian Revolution, 1905-1907," in Collected Works, vol. 13 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1907 [1963]), 408; V.I. Lenin, "Review of Home Affairs," in Collected Works, vol. 5 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1901 [1961]), 291-4; Lenin, "Review of Home Affairs," 281; V.I. Lenin, "Telegram to G. K. Orjonikidze," in Collected Works, vol. 30 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1920 [1965]), 494; V.I. Lenin, "Notebooks on Imperialism," in Collected Works, vol. 39 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1915-1916 [1968]), 112, 534-6, 762; V.I. Lenin, "Report to the International Socialist Bureau, 'Elections to the Fourth Duma'," in Collected Works, vol. 41 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1912 [1969]), 269; V.I. Lenin, "To Camille Huysmans, September 5, ,1911," in Collected Works, vol. 43 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1912 [1972]), 280; V.I. Lenin, "What Is To Be Done? Burning Questions of Our Movement," in Collected Works, vol. 5 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1902 [1961]), 402, 14. In response to the tsar’s "fig-leaf" concessions, which really shore up the established church and the autocracy, Lenin writes: "we demand … an amnesty for all "political prisoners" and members of religious sects. Until that is done, all talk about tolerance and freedom of worship will remain a miserable pretence and discreditable lie." Lenin, "The Autocracy is Wavering ..." 348. For a far more negative contemporary view of religious minorities and sects, see the work of the socialist Alexinsky and the liberal Miliukov: Alexinsky, Modern Russia: 307-17; Paul Miliukov, Russia and Its Crisis (London: Collier-Macmillan, 1962 [1905]). By contrast, it is worth noting that the early Iskra was distributed by Lithuanian religious groups, also suppressed by the tsar. Lars T. Lih, Lenin (London: Reaktion Books, 2011), 75.

35. Out of the multitude of references, I can give only a representative collection of citations. Lenin, "Gems of Narodnik Phrase-Mongering," 471; Lenin, "The Heritage We Renounce," 529; V.I. Lenin, "The War in China," in Collected Works, vol. 4 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1900 [1960]), 376; Lenin, "The Serf-Owners at Work," 96, 98; Lenin, "Material for the Preparation of the Programme of the R.S.D.L.P.," 49, 57; Lenin, "Concerning the Statement of the Bund."; Lenin, "Does the Jewish Proletariat Need an 'Independent Political Party'?."; Lenin, "Tasks of the Revolutionary Youth," 44; Lenin, "Preface to the Pamphlet: Memorandum of Police Department Superintendent Lopukhin," 204; Lenin, "To the Jewish Workers," 495-6; V.I. Lenin, "While the Proletariat is Doing the Fighting the Bourgeoisie is Stealing Towards Power," in Collected Works, vol. 9 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1905 [1965]), 172; Lenin, "On the Current Moment."; Lenin, "The Black Hundreds and the Organisation of an Uprising," 203; Lenin, "The Cadet Duma Grants Money to the Pogrom-Monger's Government."; Lenin, "Organisation of the Masses and Choice of the Moment for Struggle," 93; Lenin, "Guerilla Warfare," 216; Lenin, "The Elections of the Worker Curia in St. Petersburg," 64; Lenin, "Draft for a Speech on the Agrarian Question in the Second State Duma," 273; Lenin, "The Cuckoo Praises the Rooster," 313; Lenin, "Against Boycott: Notes of a Social-Democratic Publicist," 30; Lenin, "The Agrarian Programme of Social-Democracy and the First Russian Revolution, 1905-1907," 340-1, 63-4; V.I. Lenin, "The Election Platform of the R.S.D.L.P.," in Collected Works, vol. 17 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1912 [1963]), 507; V.I. Lenin, "Old and New: Notes of a Newspaper Reader," in Collected Works, vol. 17 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1911 [1963]), 300; Lenin, "The Slogans and Organisation of Social-Democratic Work Inside and Outside the Duma," 337, 40; V.I. Lenin, "The Revolutionary Upswing," in Collected Works, vol. 18 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1912 [1963]), 108; Lenin, "The Nationalisation of Jewish Schools," 307-8; Lenin, "The Tactics of Social Democracy in the Democratic Revolution," 36, fn; Lenin, "The Government's Policy and the Coming Struggle," 184. For a vivid first-hand description of a tsarist-sanctioned pogrom in Odessa, see the account O. Pianitsky, Memoirs of a Bolshevik (Westport: Hyperion, 1933 [1925]), 86-8.

36. Lenin, "The National Equality Bill," 173.

37. On the ground, Bolsheviks and Bundists often worked closely together. See Pianitsky, Memoirs of a Bolshevik: 34-5.

38. Lenin, "The National Equality Bill," 172. See also the subsequent discussions of the bill: Lenin, "National Equality."; Lenin, "Bill on the Equality of Nations and the Safeguarding of the Rights of National Minorities."

39. Lenin, "Concerning the Statement of the Bund," 322-3.

40. Lenin, "The National Question in Our Programme."; Lenin, "The Position of the Bund in the Party."

41. Lenin, "Does the Jewish Proletariat Need an 'Independent Political Party'?," 331-2.

42. This leakage shows up in a structural feature of Lenin’s draft resolution from the second RSDLP conference concerning the Bund. First, he states that the Bund may agitate as much as it likes and in its preferred language for national self-determination (according to party platform). Then, immediately following, he proposes that the party "emphatically repudiates federation as the organisational principle of a Russian party." Lenin, "Second Congress of the R.S.D.L.P., July 17 (30) - August 10 (23), 1903," 468. The two statements rub so closely together that they begin to seep into one another.

43. Indeed, at times Lenin seems to have realised that the slippage between his carefully demarcated zones of the state and party membership was taking place in the struggle with the Bund, indeed that the Bund’s position did deploy the argument for self-determination and autonomy in relation to the party. This realisation leads him, in an earlier article from 1903, to a contradiction with his general position: he does not reassert the distinction between state and party, but attacks the idea that the Jews constitute a nation at all. The reason: since a "nation" means a distinct language and territory, and since the Jews, due to their unfortunate history, no longer have either a distinct tongue or land, they do not constitute a nation at all. Therefore, they are not entitled to the claim to self-determination even within a state. Lenin, "The Position of the Bund in the Party," 99-102. Although this argument is an effort at more radical criticism, attacking the root of the Bund’s argument for autonomy within the party and seeking to show the reactionary nature of Zionism, it contradicts the position Lenin would later take in 1914 (outlined above), namely that the Jews have the right to self-determination along with any other ethnic group. Did Lenin realise the mistake of the earlier position in 1903, amending it to the line taken in 1914? I suspect so and have assumed the latter to be the main position Lenin takes on the matter, for it is consistent with his treatment of the national question.

44. Lenin, "Maximum Brazenness and Minimum Logic," 63. To my mind, this is a far better argument against Zionism than the one discussed in the previous note, in which Lenin seeks to block Zionism through a spurious argument that a "nation" is comprised of territory and a single language and the Jews have neither.

45. Again, the relevant references to this long tussle are too many to cite in full. Lenin, "Concerning the Statement of the Bund."; Lenin, "Maximum Brazenness and Minimum Logic."; Lenin, "The Position of the Bund in the Party."; Lenin, "To the Jewish Workers."; Lenin, "No Falsehood! Our Strength Lies in Stating the Truth! Letter to the Editorial Board."; Lenin, "The Unity Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. April 10 (23)- April 25 (May 8), 1908," 309; Lenin, "An Appeal to the Party by Delegates to the Unity Congress Who Belonged to the Former "Bolshevik" Group," 310; Lenin, "Report on the Unity Congress of the R.S.D.L.P.: A Letter to the St. Petersburg Workers," 323; Lenin, "Report on the Unity Congress of the R.S.D.L.P.: A Letter to the St. Petersburg Workers," 371-2; Lenin, "Union of the Bund With the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party."; V.I. Lenin, "Concerning an Article Published in the Organ of the Bund," in Collected Works, vol. 11 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1906 [1964]); V.I. Lenin, "Plekhanov and Vasilyev," in Collected Works, vol. 11 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1907 [1962]), 419; V.I. Lenin, "Report of the Fifth Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. on the St. Petersburg Split and the Institution of the Party Tribunal Ensuing Therefrom," in Collected Works, vol. 12 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1907 [1963]), 429. The same applies to the second RSDLP congress, when the Bund decided not to be bound by the congress, thereby effectively withdrawing. Lenin, "Second Congress of the R.S.D.L.P., July 17 (30) - August 10 (23), 1903," 468, 77; Lenin, "Account of the Second Congress of the R.S.D.L.P.."; Lenin, "Second Party Congress: Plan of Articles," 58; V.I. Lenin, "One Step Forward, Two Steps Back (The Crisis in Our Party)," in Collected Works, vol. 7 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1904 [1961]), 212-15.

46. Lenin, "Maximum Brazenness and Minimum Logic," 63.

47. Occasionally, Lenin inadvertently provides an insight into precisely this logic. Writing to Bogdanov in 1905: "we talk of organisation, of centralism, while actually there is such disunity, such amateurism among even the closest comrades in the centre, that one feels like chucking it all in disgust. Just look at the Bundists: they do not prate about centralism, but every one of them writes to the centre weekly and contact is thus actually maintained." Lenin, "A Letter to A.A. Bogdanov and S.I. Gusev," 143.