in St. Petersburg are working on them by the sweat of the brow, and I, too, have been working on them after London, while sitting in Kwakalla. If possible, all efforts should be made to support them and continue these symposia.
But my experience from London up to November 1907 (half a year!) has convinced me that no systematic legal literature can now be produced. I am convinced that what the Party now needs is a regular political organ, consistently and vigorously pursuing a policy of struggle against disintegration and despondency -- a Party organ, a political newspaper. Many people in Russia do not believe in a foreign-based organ. But this is an error, and our collegium knew what it was doing when it decided to transfer Proletary here. That it is difficult to organise, set it up and run it -- goes without saying. But it has to be done and it will be done.
Why shouldn't literary criticism be included in it? Too little space? I don't know, of course, your system of working. Unfortunately, when we have met, we spent more time chattering than talking business. If you don't like writing small, short, periodical (weekly or fortnightly) articles, if you prefer to work on big things -- then, of course, I would not advise you to interrupt it. It will be of greater benefit!
If, however, you are inclined towards joint work in a political newspaper -- why not continue and make a regular feature of the genre which you began with "Notes on Philistinism " in Novaya Zhizn, and began very well, in my opinion? I wrote to you about this "with an ulterior motive" in one of the first letters, thinking: if it appeals to him, he will seize on the idea. And it seems to me that in your last letter you are seizing on it after a fashion. Or am I mistaken? How great would be the gain, both for Party work through the newspaper, which would not be so one-sided as it previously was, and for literary work, which would be more closely linked with Party work,
with systematic, continuous influence on the Party! There should be not "forays", but a solid onslaught all along the line, without stops or gaps; Bolshevik Social-Democrats should not only attack all kinds of duffers piecemeal, but should conquer all and everything as the Japanese conquered Manchuria from the Russians.
Of the three subjects that you mention for the symposia (philosophy, literary criticism, and current tactics) one-and-a-half would go into the political newspaper, into Proletary, viz.: current tactics and a good half of the literary criticism. Ah, there is nothing good about all those special, long articles of literary criticism scattered through various semi-Party and non-Party periodicals! We should try to take a step away from this old, intellectualist, stuffed-shirt manner, that is, we should link literary criticism, too, more closely with Party work, with Party leadership. That is what the adult Social-Democratic Parties in Europe are doing. That is what we should do, too, without being afraid of the difficulties of the first steps of collective newspaper activity in this field.
Large works of literary criticism -- in books, partially in periodicals.
Systematic, periodic articles, in the concert of a political newspaper, linked with Party work, in the spirit of what was begun by Novaya Zhizn -- tell me, have you any inclination towards this, or not?
The third subject is philosophy. I am fully aware of my unpreparedness in this sphere, which prevents me from speaking about it in public. But, as a rank-and-file Marxist, I read attentively our Party philosophers, I read attentively the empirio-monist Bogdanov and the empirio-critics Bazarov, Lunacharsky, etc. -- and they drive me to give all my sympathy to Plekhanov ! It takes physical strength to keep oneself from being carried away by the mood, as Plekhanov does! His tactics are the height of ineptitude and baseness. In philosophy, however, he upholds the right cause. I am for materialism against "empirio-" etc.
Can, and should, philosophy be linked with the trend of Party work? With Bolshevism? I think this should not be done at the present time. Let our Party philosophers put in some more work on theory for a while, let them dis-
pute and . . . seek a meeting of minds. For the time being, I would stand for such philosophical disputes as those between materialists and "empirios" being separated from integral Party work.
I look forward to your reply, meanwhile I must conclude.