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On a Letter from "Southern Workers"

V. I. Lenin

We have received a letter from "Southern Workers" welcoming the strengthening of the revolutionary current in Russian Social-Democracy and asking us to convey their greetings to the League of Russian Revolutionary Social- Democracy Abroad. Unfortunately we cannot print the letter in full, due to lack of space. We are in complete accord with the authors of the letter that "the methods adopted in Russia for bringing revolutionary ideas to the masses through proclamations are not adequate for educating the masses to political consciousness", that "it is essential to establish a special literature for the political education of the Russian proletariat". But their proposal to issue, for that purpose, popular pamphlets of three or four pages to be distributed "simultaneously throughout Russia" is hardly feasible. We hold that the Russian proletariat is now mature enough for the type of publication that is serviceable to all other classes—viz., newspapers. Only a political newspaper can really educate the masses to become politically conscious and, in the words of the letter, throw light on "the whole of our social life, from the fourth estate to the big bourgeoisie". Only an All-Russian news paper, if actively supported by all committees and local study circles, can achieve distribution more or less "simultaneously throughout Russia" and be published frequently enough to deserve the name of newspaper. Only the firm establishment of a revolutionary organ of this type can mark the transition of our movement from "strikes and the economic struggle to the broad revolutionary struggle against the Russian autocratic government".

Published: Iskra, No. 13, December 20, 1901. Published according to the Iskra text.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1961, Moscow, Volume 5, page 326.

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