A Letter to the Polish Communists
V. I. Lenin
Judging by the scrappy information concerning the growth of the communist movement in Poland that reaches our newspapers, and judging (still more) by the reports of some very prominent Polish comrades, the revolution in Poland is coming to a head.
A workers' revolution is brewing: the complete collapse of the P.P.S.[the Polish Socialist Party] (in Russian-S.H.s and Mensheviks; in European-the II and II½. The trade unions, one after another, are joining the Communists. The growth of demonstrations, and so on. Imminent and inevitable financial collapse. The gigantic failure of bourgeois democracy (and of the petty bourgeoisie) in Poland with the agrarian reform, a failure that is foredoomed, inevitable, and bound to push the majority of the rural population-the whole poor section of the peasantry-towards the Communists.
Financial collapse and shameless plunder of Poland by Entente capital (France and other countries) are bringing with them a practical exposure of national and Great Power illusions, an exposure that is strikingly clear and tangible to the masses, to the rank-and-file worker, to the rank-and-file peasant.
If this is so, then the revolution (Soviet revolution) in Poland is bound to win, and win soon. That being the case, the Government and the bourgeoisie must be prevented from strangling the revolution by bloody suppression of a premature uprising. You must not be provoked. You must wait for the tide to rise to its highest: it will sweep everything away and give victory to the Communists.
If the bourgeoisie kills 100-300 people, this will not ruin the cause. But if it is able to provoke a massacre, to kill 10-30 thousand workers, this may delay the revolution even for several years.
If it is important for the Government to hold elections to the Sejm, then an effort should be made for the Sejm to be won by the wave of the workers' revolution and the peasants' discontent.
Do not yield to provocation.
The revolution must be allowed to grow to full ripening of the fruit. The victory of Soviet power from within Poland will be a gigantic international victory. If Soviet power has, in my opinion, now won an international victory to the extent of 20-30 per cent, then with the victory of Soviet power from within Poland, we shall have a 40-50, perhaps even 51 per cent international victory of the communist revolution. For Poland is next door to Germany, Czechoslovakia and Hungary, and a Soviet Poland will under-mine the whole regime built up on the peace of Versailles.
That is why the Polish Communists bear a responsibility before the whole world-that of keeping a firm grip on the helm of their ship and steering clear of provocations.
Is it worth while retaliating for the beating up of D&awhatthe;bal by Daszynski & Co.? Retaliation, if any, should be by beating up Daszynski, just like that, without any shooting or wounding. It may be worth while if it has the effect of teaching an insolent fellow a lesson at the hands of the workers, and stiffening the workers' spirit at the cost of a sacrifice of 5-10 of them (by imprisonment or execution). But maybe it is not worth while: would not the fact that our D&awhatthe;bal had been brutally beaten up be more useful for the purpose of agitation among the peasants? Would it not be more effective in turning the sympathy of the backward peasants towards us than the thrashing of Daszynski? This should be weighed more carefully.
With communist greetings, Lenin
Written: October 19, 1921
Published: First published April 22, 1962 in Pravda No. 112. Printed from the manuscript. |
Source: Lenin Collected Works, 1st English Edition, Progress Publishers, 1965, Moscow, Volume 42, pages 354-355a.
Translated: Yuri Sdobnikov
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