US president John Adams once said: "Facts are stubborn things and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence."
No doubt many comrades are attracted to communism from a sense of idealism but for them to become genuine Marxist-Leninists at some point this idealism must become tempered by an understanding of the scientific methodology of dialectical materialism.
The importance of Lenin's writings on patriotism and nationalism to our current debates on independence for Scotland and Britain's relationship with the European Union cannot be ignored.
Unlike Andrew Robinson (M Star December 20), however, it is necessary to read what Lenin wrote rather than claim to understand what he thought.
Yet to quote various extracts from Lenin's writings without a full appreciation of the circumstances in which he wrote these is idealistic and misleading.
Lenin's most relevant text is his Critical Remarks on the National Question, written in the autumn of 1913.
At the time the danger was that in both the Russian and Austro-Hungarian Empires the working-class movements (trade unions and political parties) would become divided into nationally exclusive organisations.
Lenin argued that to do so would be following the bourgeois nationalists and weakening the forces for socialism.
Even in this article Lenin argued that "there are two nations in every modern nation … there are two national cultures in every national culture … there are the same two cultures in the Ukraine as there are in Germany, in France, in England, among the Jews and so forth."
A year later, when the whole working-class movement had been rent asunder by the outbreak of war, Lenin wrote a short article titled On the National Pride of the Great Russians.
This is essential reading for those letter writers who claim that Lenin was opposed to all forms of "nationalism."
The historical context in which everything is written is the key to understanding its relevance rather than resorting to idealistic wishful thinking.