Comment on Kautsky's Letter

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V. I. Lenin


    K. Kautsky has realised (at last!) that the Tyszka group of "Tyszka" and Rosa Luxemburg does not represent the Polish Social-Democratic workers and that the Warsaw and Lodz organisations have to be reckoned with.

    It is a good thing that he has at last understood facts which have been known to Russian Marxist workers for years. But the very fact that for years Rosa L. and Tyszka could pass off a fiction for reality shows how deplorably misinformed are the German Social-Democrats, including Kautsky! <"p63a">

    Kautsky reveals still greater ignorance of the subject when he writes that "as far as he knows" the Polish Socialist Party "Left wing" split away from the P.S.P. "Right wing"[47] in order to take a fully Social-Democratic stand.

    It is well known -- one may say here -- that this time Kautsky does not at all know what he is writing about. Our readers should make themselves familiar with at least the article by Henryk Kamienski "From Nationalism to Liquidationism" (Prosveshcheniye No. 10). The author of this article is a Pole and knows what he is writing about. From this article our readers will see that the P.S.P. Left wing is not Social-Democratic at all. Besides, it would be ridiculous to think that people who desire to take a fully Social-Democratic stand, and are capable of doing so, would retain "their own" programme and the title of a non-Social Democratic party.

    The forthcoming "exchange of opinions" among all Social-Democratic groups in Russia and Poland through the medium of the Executive Committee of the International Socialist Bureau will reveal Kautsky's error and show that none

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of the Polish Social-Democrats regard, nor can regard, the P.S.P. Left wing as a<"p64"> Social-Democratic Party.

    We would add that Kautsky says nothing to repudiate (although he wrote in Vorwärts [48]) the report of his statement made in this very Vorwärts that "the old Party has disappeared" in Russia. The forthcoming "exchange of opinions" will also expose this monstrous blunder of Kautsky's.


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  <"en46">[46] This paragraph is a comment on Kautsky's letter published in Vorwärts, the central organ of the German Social-Democrats No. 339, December 24, 1913 (new style), dealing with the report of the meeting of the International Socialist Bureau and reprinted in Russian in the newspaper Proletarskaya Pravda, issue No. 12 December 20, 1913 (old style). Kautsky's letter was a reply to Rosa Luxemburg's letter to Vorwärts.    [p. 63]

  <"en47">[47] See Note 15.

[Note 15: The Polish Socialist Party (Polska Partia Socjalistyczna ) -- a reformist nationalist organisation founded in 1892. Adopting the slogan of struggle for an independent Poland, the P.S.P. under Pilsudski and his adherents, carried on separatist nationalist propaganda among the Polish workers, whom they tried to divert from the joint struggle with the Russian workers against the autocracy and capitalism. Throughout the history of the P.S.P. Left-wing groups kept springing up within the party, as a result of the activities of the rank-and-file workers. Some of these groups eventually joined the revolutionary wing of the Polish working-class movement.
    In 1906 the party split up into the P.S.P. Left-wing and the Right, chauvinist wing (the so-called "revolutionary faction") Under the influence of the Bolsheviks and the Social-Democratic Party of Poland and Lithuania, the Left wing gradually adopted a consistent revolutionary stand.
    During the First World War some of the P.S.P. Left-wing adopted an internationalist stand. In December 1918 it united with the Social-Democrats of Poland and Lithuania to form the Communist Workers' Party of Poland (as the Communist Party of Poland was known up to 1925).
    During the First World War, the P.S.P. Right wing continued its policy of national chauvinism, organising Polish legions on the territory of Galicia to fight on the side of Austro-German imperialism. With the formation of the Polish bourgeois state, the Right P.S.P. in 1919 united with the P.S.P. organisations existing on Polish territories formerly seized by Germany and Austria and resumed the name of the P.S.P. At the head of the government it arranged for the transfer of power to the Polish bourgeoisie' systematically carried on anti-communist propaganda, and supported a policy of aggression against the Soviet Union a policy of conquest and oppression against Western Ukraine and Western Byelorussia. Various groups in the P.S.P. who disagreed with this policy joined the Communist Party of Poland.
    After Pilsudski's fascist coup d'etat (May 1926), the P.S.P. was nominally a parliamentary opposition but actually it did not carry on any active fight against the fascist regime, and continued its anti-communist and anti-Soviet propaganda. During that period the Left-wing elements of the P.S.P. collaborated with the Polish Communists and supported united-front tactics in a number of campaigns.
    During the Second World War the P.S.P. again split up. Its reactionary and chauvinist faction, which assumed the name "Wolnosc, Równosc, Niepodleglosc" (Liberty, Equality, Independence), took part in the reactionary Polish émigré "government" in London. The Left faction, which called itself the Workers' Party of Polish Socialists, under the influence of the Polish Workers' Party, which was founded in 1942, joined the popular front against the Nazi invaders, fought for Poland's liberation, and pursued a policy of friendly relations with the U.S.S.R.
    In 1944, after the liberation of Poland's eastern territories and the formation of a Polish Committee of National Liberation, the Workers' Party of Polish Socialists resumed the name of P.S.P. and together with the P.W.P. participated in the building up of a people's democratic Poland. In December 1948 the P.W.P. and the P.S.P. amalgamated and formed the Polish United Workers' Party.]    [p. 63]

  <"en48">[48] Vorwärts -- a daily newspaper, central organ of the German Social-Democratic Party. In accordance with a decision of the Halle Congress of the Party, it was published in Berlin from 1891 as a continuation of the newspaper Berliner Volksblatt issued since 1884 under the name of Vorwärts. Berliner Volksblatt. F. Engels used the columns of this paper to combat all manifestations of opportunism. In the late nineties, after the death of Engels, Vorwärts was controlled by the Right wing of the Party and regularly published articles by opportunists. The paper was tendentious in reporting the struggle against opportunism and revisionism within the R.S.D.L.P., and supported the Economists, and subsequently, after the split in the Party the Mensheviks. During the years of reaction Vorwärts published Trotsky's slanderous articles, but did not give Lenin and the Bolsheviks any opportunity to refute them and give an objective appraisal of the true state of affairs within the Party.


    During World War I Vorwärts took a social-chauvinist stand. After the Great October Socialist Revolution it carried on anti-Soviet propaganda. Ceased publication in 1933.    [p. 64]