JOURNAL OF THE COMMUNIST LEAGUE (UK);
APRIL 1975; Number 2.
Re-Published by Alliance on
the WWW January 2000.
Foreword by Alliance:
It is with great pleasure that
Alliance begins 2000, by re-publishing many of the key works that began
the re-development of the Marxist-Leninist movement in the UK and many
other countries, following the revisionism of Khruschev. At a time when
it was "un-fashionable" to up-hold Stalin, the Communist League was doing
so. Under the leadership of W.B.Bland, the CL published and exposed the
key revisionist "theories". Of these - perhaps none have been so historically
potent for the enthusiastic youth as "Trotskyism". We therefore start
this year, this century, and this current series of web re-publications
- with the seminal works on Trotsky, originally written by Bland in 1975
and widely distributed amongst the British Marxist-Leninist left.
Here follows Part One. Part
Two covers the years up to 1922; and is also being readied for web re-publication.
REVISIONISM IN RUSSIA:
TROTSKY AGAINST THE BOLSHEVIKS:
PART ONE: TO 1914
"Among the Russian comrades, there was not one from
whom I could learn anything--The errors which I have committed . . always
referred to questions that were not fundamental or strategic. . . In all
conscientiousness I cannot, in the appreciation of the political situation
and of its revolutionary perspectives, accuse myself of any serious errors
Looking back, two years after the revolution, Lenin
At the moment when it seized the power and created
the Soviet republic, Bolshevism drew to itself all the best elements in
the currents of Socialist thought that were nearest to it.
Can there be even a shadow of doubt that when he spoke
so deliberately of the best representatives of the currents closest
to Bolshevism, Lenin had foremost in mind what is now called 'historical
Trotskyism'? . . Whom else could he have had in mind?"
(L. Trotsky: "My Life"; New York; 1970; p. 184, 185,
"Trotsky is very fond of explaining historical events
. . in pompous and sonorous phrases, in a manner flattering to Trotsky".
(V.I. Lenin: "Violation Of Unity under Cover Of Cries
for Unity", in: "Selected Works", Volume 4; London; 1943; p. 194).
"What a swine this Trotsky is -- Left phrases and a
bloc with the Right . . ! He ought to be exposed".
This was: Originally Printed and published by: B.C., (Secretary)
26, Cambridge Road, Ilford Esssex.
(V.I. Lenin: Letter to Alexandra Kollontai, February
17th., 1917, in: "Collected Works", Volume 35; Moscow; 1966; p. 285).
for the C0MMUNIST LEAGUE (CL).
The aim of the
COMMUNIST LEAGUE was then to establish a Marxist-Leninist Party in Britain
free of all revisionist trends. Since then the NCMLP
was created - see links on Alliance Home page. The CL works with and within
the NCMLP to further their collective aims.
Enquiries about the COMMUNIST LEAGUE, or its other
publications --COMbat and InterCOM -- should be addressed hereafter to
ALLIANCE AT THE WEB ADDRESS AS GIVEN
I N T R 0 D U C T I 0 N
Revisionism is the perversion of Marxism-Leninism to suit
the needs of the exploiting classes, to the elimination of which Marxism-Leninism
A study of revisionism in Russia is of particular importance
to Marxist-Leninists, since it was through revisionism that the socialist
society constructed there came to be replaced by an essentially capitalist
One of the myths of Trotskyism is that in the years
before 1917 Trotsky fought side by side with Lenin from revolutionary positions,
and that only after Stalin became General Secretary of the Russian Communist
Party in 1922 did a political rift develop between Trotsky and his supporters
on the one hand and the leadership of the Party on the other.
The facts documented in this report demonstrate that
this theory could hardly be further from the truth. From 1903 to 1917,
year after year, Trotsky fought Lenin on almost every political issue that
arose, along with other figures whom we shall meet again in connection
with the revisionist struggle to prevent the construction of socialism
after the revolution and to destroy it when it had been built -- such figures
-as Lev Kamenev (Trotsky's brother-in-law),
Grigori Zinoviev, Yuri Piatakov, Grigori
Sokolnikov, Nikolai Bukharin, Aleksei Rykov, Khristian Rakovsky, Adolf
Warski, David Ryazanov, Evgenii Preobrazhensky, Solomon
Lozovsky and Dmitri Manuilsky.
The first part of this report covers the period up
to the outbreak of the first imperialist war in 1914; the second covers
the period from 1914 to the "October Revolution" of 1917. Later reports
will cover the period from 1917 onwards.
1879 - l895: Childhood
Lev Davidovich Bronstein,
who later became Leon Trotsky was born on November 7th.,1879.
His father, David Leontievich Bronstein, was a well-to-do
farmer, of Jewish origin but. Indifferent to religion, who worked with
the help of wage-labour a large farm called Yanovka, near the small town
of Bobrinetz in the province of Kherson in the southern Ukraine.
His mother, Anna Bronstein, was an educated,
petty bourgeois, city-bred woman, of Jewish descent and orthodox in religion.
Lev was the Bronsteins' fifth child, and by the time
of his birth they were affluent enough to afford a nursemaid for him.
At the age of. seven his parents sent him to a "kheder"
a private Jewish religious school, at Gromokla, a German-Jewish
colony about two miles away. There he stayed with relatives. But the tuition
was in Yiddish, and the boy learned little there except to read and write
a little Russian. After a few months his parents withdrew him from the
school and he returned home.
In the autumn of 1888, when Lev was nearly nine, he
was sent to stay with other relatives in Odessa in order to attend school
there. These relatives --Moissei Filipovich Spentzer, a liberal publisher,
and his wife, the headmistress of a secular school for Jewish girls - gave
the boy his first introduction to the great literature of the world. They
arranged for him to attend St. Paul's "Realschule" a progressive, cosmopolitan
school which taught in Russian.
In the course of his seven years at the "Realschule"
he excelled in his studies, became fastidious about his appearance and
dress, and acquired, as he says, a feeling of superiority towards his fellow
In l896, at the age of seventeen, he completed his
course in Odossa and moved to Nicolayev to attend a similar school for
the purpose of matriculating.
Here he lodged with a family whose sons had already
been touched by socialist ideas and who argued against Trotsky's conservative
outlook. Six months later he had embraced socialism and had been introduced
into radical discussion circle held in a gardener's hut on the outskirts
of the town. Most of the members of this group were Narodniks, adherents
of an intellectual, individualistic, vaguely socialist trend, which based
itself, not on the working class, but on the peasantry, and which at first
appealed strongly to Trotsky... One member of the group, however --Aleksandra
Sokolovskaya, a girl some few years older than Trotsky who later became
his first wife was a Marxist and strongly influenced the development of
When his father objected to his association with this
radical circle, Trotsky gave up the allowance he had been receiving from
home, took up private tutoring and moved from his lodgings to live in the
gardener's hut, as a member of the Narodnik "commune".
In the spring of 1897 he took a leading part in the
formation of an underground trade union, the South Russian Workers' Union,
which had grown to about 200 members before the end of the year and published
its own duplicated paper "Nashe Delo" (Our Cause).
In the summer of 1897 Trotsky graduated with first-class
honours, and at the end of that year was arrested, together with some other
leading members of the union. He was kept in a small cell in the prison
at Kerson for several months, being transferred to the prison at Odessa
in the middle of 1898. He occupied himself here in writing a treatise on
freemasonry, and in reading Marxist books smuggled in from outside.
Towards the end of 1899, Trotsky received his sentence
(without trial) of deportation to Siberia for four years. He was first
moved to a transfer prison in Moscow, where he met older and more experienced
revolutionaries from all over Russia and made his first acquaintance with
the writings of Lenin. In the spring or summer of 1900 he married in the
Moscow prison Aleksandra Sokolovskaya, and shortly afterwards he and his
wife began their journey into exile.
1900 - 1902: Exile
They reached their place of exile -- the settlement
of Verkholensk in the mountains overlooking Lake Baikal -- in the late
autumn of 1900. Having come to accept Marxism in the preceding years, Trotsky
now identified himself with the labour movement, becoming a leading member
of the Siberian Social Democratic Workers' Union.
In December 1900 he began to write for the "Vostochnoye
Obozrenie" (Eastern Review), a progressive newspaper published in Irkutsk,
under the pseudonym of "Antid Oto". His contributions consisted, mainly
of reportage on the conditions of the Siberian peasants, together with
In the summer of 1902 Trotsky made his escape from
Siberia, abandoning his wife, and two children. In Samara he received a
message from Lenin asking him to report to the headquarters of 'Iskra'
(The Spark) in London as soon as possible.
1902 - 1903: Trotsky Becomes
Trotsky arrived in London in October 1902 and Lenin
found him lodgings. He began to contribute to "Iskra" in November 1902
and soon became known as a brilliant writer and orator.
From time to time he visited Prance, Switzerland and
Belgium, and it was on a visit to Paris that he met his second "wife" (he
was never formally divorced from Aleksandra Sokolovskaya), a Russian revolutionary
of noble birth, Natalya Sedova, who was studying the history
of art at the Sorbonne.
1903: The Struggle at the
The Second congress Of the
Russian Social-Democratic Party attended by 43 delegates, was held
in July/August 1903, first in Brussels, and then in London. The
main business on its' agenda was to adopt a programme
and rules. Trotsky attended as a delegate from the Siberian
Social-Democratic Workers' Union.
The sharpest controversy at the congress arose around
the first clause of the rules,
defining what was meant by the term "member
of the party". In accordance with the principles he had been putting forward
for some time in "Iskra", Lenin proposed the following wording for Clause
"A member of the R.S.D.L.P. is one who recognises
its programme and supports the Party materially as well as by
personal participation in one of the organisations of the Party".
Yuli Martov moved
to substitute for the words underlined:
"Working under the control and guidance of one of
the organisations of the Party".
Lenin's case against Martov's formulation was that:
1) It would in practice be impossible to maintain effective
"control and guidance" over Party members who did not personally participate
in one of the organisations of the Party;
2) It reflected the outlook, not of the working class,
which is not shy of organisation and discipline, but of the petty bourgeois
intelligentsia, who tend to be individualistic and shy of organisation
3) It would widen Party membership to include supporters
of the Party, and so would abolish the essential dividing line between
the working class and its organised, disciplined vanguard; it would, therefore,
have the effect of dissolving the vanguard in the working class as a whole
and so would serve the interests of the class enemies of the working class.
Trotsky sided with Martov, whose formulation was adopted
by 28 votes to 22 with 1 abstention.
Later, the withdrawal of seven opponents of Lenin from
the congress altered the balance of forces in favour of Lenin and his supporters,
Lenin then proposed that the editorial board of "Iskra" (which consisted
of six members) should be replaced by one of three members. Trotsky countered
this manoeuvre with a motion confirming the old editorial board in office,
but this was defeated by a majority of 2 votes; thereupon the anti-Leninists
abstained from further voting. In the elections which followed three anti-Leninists
(Axelrod, Potresov and Vera Zasulich) were
dropped from the board, leaving Lenin, Plekhanov and Martov. Furthermore,
three supporters of Lenin were elected to form the Central Committee.
Thus, at its Second Congress the Party showed itself
to be divided into two factions. From that time those Party members who
supported Lenin's political line were known as Bolsheviks
(from "bolshinstvo", majority) while those who opposed Lenin's political
line were known as Mensheviks (from
"menshinstvo" minority) .
The Bolshevik trend was a
Marxist trend, representing the interests of the working class within the
TheMenshevik trend was a revisionist
trend representing the interests of the capitalist class within the labour
The "Report of the Siberian
Later Trotsky admitted his error in having opposed
Lenin at the 2nd. Congress on the question of Party organisation. Speaking
of Lenin's attitude at the Congress, Trotsky says in his autobiography:
"His behaviour seemed unpardonable to me, both horrible
and outrageous. And yet, politically, it was right and necessary, from
the point of view of organisation.
My break with Lenin occurred on what might be considered
"moral" or even personal grounds. But this was merely on the surface. At
bottom, the separation was of a political nature and merely expressed itself
in the realm of organisational methods.
I thought of myself as a centralist. But there is
no doubt that at that at that time I did not fully realise what an intense
and imperious centralism the revolutionary party would need to lead millions
of people in a war against the old order . . At the time of the London
Congress in 1903, revolution was still largely a theoretical abstraction
to me. Independently I still could not see Lenin's centralism as the logical
conclusion of a clear revolutionary concept".
(L.Trotsky: "My Life"; New York; 1971; p. 162)
His immediate reaction to
the congress, however, was to write "Second Congress
of the R.S.D.L.P. (Report of the Siberian Delegation"
which was published in Geneva in 1903.
In this he defended his, and his delegation's opposition
to Lenin and his supporters at the congress:
"Behind Lenin stood the new compact majority of the
'hard' 'Iskra' men, opposed to the 'soft' 'Iskra' men. We, the delegates
of the Siberian Union, joined the 'soft' ones, and . . we do not think that
we have thereby blotted our revolutionary record".
(L.Trotsky: "Vtoroi Syezd R.S.D.R.P. (Otchet Sibirskoi
Delegatskii)" (Second Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. (Report of the Siberian
Delegation); Geneva: 1903; p.21.)
At the Congress, declared Trotsky, Lenin had:
"..With the energy and talent peculiar to him, assumed
the role of the party's disorganiser".
(L.Trotsky: ibid.;. p.11),
and, like a new Robespierre, was trying to:
"..transform the modest Council of the Party into
an omnipotent Committee of Public Safety",
(L. Trotsky: ibid.; p.21),
so preparing the ground for the:
"Thermidorians of Socialist opportunism".
(L. Trotsky: ibid; p.30).
He added in a postscript that Lenin resembled Robespierre,
however, only as
"a vulgar farce resembles historic tragedy"...
(L.Trotsky: ibid.; p.33).
The 1903 Menshevik Conference
After the Congress, the Mensheviks
-- including Trotsky boycotted "Iskra" and refused to contribute
In September 1903 they held a factional conference
in Geneva to decide on future action. A shadow
"central committee" was set up, consisting of Pavel
Axelrod, Pedor Dan, Yuli Martov, Aleksandr Potresov and Trotsky,
to direct the struggle against the Bolsheviks.
In Trotsky's view the immediate aim of the campaign
should be to force the Bolsheviks to restore the ousted Mensheviks to their
former positions of influence, both in the Central Committee and the editorial
board. A resolution, drafted by Martov and Trotsky, was adopted by the
"We consider it our moral and political duty
to conduct . . the struggle by all means, without placing ourselves outside
the Party and without bringing discredit upon the party and the idea of
its central institutions, to bring about a change in the composition of
the leading bodies, which will secure to the Party the possibility of working
freely towards its own enlightenment".
(P.B. Axelrod &. Y. 0. Martov: "Pisma P.B. Axelroda
i.Yu Martova" (Letters of P.B. Axelrod and Y.0.Martv); Berlin; l924; p.94).
The "New" Iskra
Soon after the Second Congress of the Party, Plekhanov
gave way to the attacks of the Mensheviks. In violation of the decisions
taken at the Party congress, he claimed and exercised the right as joint
editor to co-opt to the editorial board of "Iskra"
the Menshevik former editors. Lenin strongly objected to this
step, and resigned from the board.
The new editorial board transformed "Iskra" into a
Menshevik organ, which waged unremitting struggle against Lenin and his
supporters and against the Bolshevik Central Committee of the Party. Thus,
from its 52nd. issue "Iskra" became known in the Party as the
"new" "Iskra", in contrast to the "old" Leninist "Iskra". It
continued publication until October l905.
a prominent contributor to the "new Iskra" and issued a pamphlet setting
forth the Menshevik political line. Lenin
"A new pamphlet by Trotsky came out recently, under
the editorship of 'Iskra', as was announced. This makes it the 'Credo',
as it were, of the new 'Iskra'. The pamphlet is a pack of brazen lies,
a distortion of the facts. . . The Second Congress was, in his words, a
reactionary attempt to consolidate sectarian methods of organisation, etc."
(V.1. Lenin: Letter to Yelena Stasova, F.V. Lengnik,
and others, 0ctober 1904, in: "Collected Works", Volume 43; Moscow; 1969;
l904: The Russo - Japanese War
In February 1904 the Russo-Japanese War began with a
Japanese attack on the Russian fortress of Port Arthur. The Russian Army
suffered defeat and almost the entire Russian Navy was destroyed in the
Straits of Tsushima, forcing the Tsarist government to conclude an ignominious
peace treaty in September 1905.
l904: "0ur Political Tasks".
Between February and May l904, Lenin was engaged on
writing the book "One Step Forward, Two Steps
Back". In this he expounded at length the principles of party
organisation he had put forward at the Second Congress and analysed the
character of the Menshevik opposition.
In August l904 Trotsky's reply to Lenin's book was
published in Geneva under the title "Our Political
Tasks" . It was dedicated to "My dear
teacher Pavel B.Axelrod".
In "Our Political Tasks" - Trotsky developed his attack
upon "Maximillien Lenin"; whom he described as:
".an adroit statistician and a slovenly attorney"
(L. Trotsky: 'ashi Politicheskie Zadachi' (Our Political Tasks) Geneva;
l904; p. 95), with a " . . hideous, dissolute and demagogical . "
(L.Trotsky : ibid. ; p. 75),
"Evil-minded and morally repulsive suspiciousness,
a shallow caricature of tragic Jacobinist intolerance, must be liquidated
now at all costs, otherwise the Party is threatened with moral and theoretical
(L. Trotsky: ibid. ; p. 95).
He developed his attack upon Lenin's principles of Party
organisation, claiming that they would lead to the establishment, not of
the dictatorship of the working class but of a dictatorship
over the working class (a dictatorship that would eventually be one of
a single individual), which the working class would find intolerable:
"Lenin's methods lead to this: the Party organisation
at first substitutes itself for the Party as a whole; then the Central
Committee substitutes itself for the organisation; and finally a single
'dictator' substitutes himself for the Central Committee. A proletariat
capable of exercising its dictatorship over society will not tolerate any
dictatorship over itself".
(L. Trotsky. Ibid.; p. 54, l05)
and declaring that Lenin's organisational principles would,
in any case, be unworkable since any serious faction would defy Party discipline:
"Is it so difficult to see that any group of serious
size and importance, if faced with the alternative of silently destroying
itself or of fighting for its survival regardless of all discipline, would
undoubtedly choose the latter course?"
(L. Trotsky: ibid; p. 72).
Meanwhile, readers of the "new" "Iskra" in Russia had
been complaining strongly about Trotsky's virulent attacks on Lenin in
the columns of the paper, and in April l904, on the demand of Plekhanov,
he was forced to resign from it.
The Campaign for The Holding
Of a Party Congress
In July l9O4, two members of the Central Committee
of the Party, Krassin and Noskov, broke with the Bolsheviks, giving the
Mensheviks a majority on the committee. The Bolsheviks then began a
campaign within the Party for the holding of a new congress.
In August l904 Lenin guided the conference of twenty-two
prominent Bolsheviks which took place in Switzerland and which issued an
appeal to the Party calling for the convocation of the Third Congress.
At the same time a number of conference of Bolsheviks took place in Russia,
out of which in December l904 came the Bureau
of the Majority Committees which became the organising centre
for the campaign for a new congress.
During the autumn of l9O4, the Bolsheviks organised
their own publishing house and at the end of the year established their
own newspaper "Vperyod" (Forward), the first issue of which appeared on
l9O4-1905: Parvus Lays the
Basis for Trotsky's "Theory of Permanent. Revolution"
In November and December l904 Trotsky wrote a brochure
on the necessity for the working class to play the leading role in the
capitalist revolution in Russia which, the following year, he entitled
"Before the 9th January"
(this being the date, under the old Russian calendar, in 1905 when
the first Russian revolution began with the shooting down by the tsar's
troops of an unarmed workers' demonstration).
When in Munich, Trotsky was accustomed to stay at the
home of Aleksandr Helfand a Russian
Jew who then claimed to be a Marxist. Helfand published his own political
review "Aus der Weltpolitik" ('World Politics') and wrote articles for
other magazines especially Kautsky's "Neue Zeit" (New Life) and the new
"Iskra" -- under the pen-name "Parvus".
When Trotsky visited Munich in January 1905, he had
the proofs of the brochure with him. Parvus was impressed with its contents
and decided to put the weight of his authority behind Trotsky by writing
a preface to it. In this preface he stated a conclusion which Trotsky still
hesitated to draw:
"In Russia only the workers can accomplish a revolutionary
insurrection. . . The revolutionary provisional government will be a government
of workers' democracy." (Parvus:Preface to: L.Trotsky: "Do 9 Yanvara";
In April 1905 Lenin
commented on Parvus's theory that the capitalist revolution in Russia could
result in a government of the working class, as it had been put forward
in the brochure written by
"the windbag Trotsky".
(V. I. Lenin: "Social-Democracy and the Provisional
Revolutionary Government"; in: "Selected Works", Volume 3; London; 1946;
"This cannot be . . This cannot be, because
only a revolutionary dictatorship relying on the overwhelming majority
of the people can be at all durable.. . The Russian proletariat, however,
at present constitutes a minority of the population in Russia. It can become
the great overwhelming majority only if it combines with the mass of semi-proletarians,
semi-small proprietors, i.e. with the mass of the petty-bourgeois urban
and rural poor. And such a composition of the social basis of the possible
and desirable revolutionary-democratic dictatorship will of course, find
its reflection in the composition of the revolutionary government. With
such a composition the participation or even the predominance of the most
diversified representatives of revolutionary democracy in such a government
will be inevitable".
(V. I. Lenin; ibid.; p. 35).
1905: The Beginning of the 1905
On January 22nd., 1905 a peaceful demonstration of
unarmed workers, led by a police agent, a priest by the name of Georgi
Gapon, was fired on by troops while on its way to present a
petition to the tsar at his Winter Palace in St. Petersburg. Over a thousand
workers were killed, more than two thousand injured.
The massacre taught tens of thousands of workers that
they could win their rights only by struggle. During the weeks and months
that followed, economic strikes began to pass into political strikes, into
demonstrations and in places into clashes with tsarist troops.
In a letter written in Geneva three days after ""Bloody
Sunday"", Lenin wrote:
"The Russian proletariat will not forget this lesson.
Even the most uneducated, the most backward strata of the working class,
who naively trusted the tsar and sincerely wished to put peacefully before
'the tsar himself' the requests of a tormented nation, were all taught
a lesson by the troops led by the tsar and the tsar's uncle, the Grand
Duke Vladimir. . The arming of the people is becoming one of the
immediate tasks of the revolutionary movement The immediate arming
of the workers and of all citizens in general, the preparation and organising
of the revolutionary forces for overthrowing the government authorities
and institutions -- this is the practical basis on which all revoluionaries
can and must unite to strike a common blow.......
Long live the Revolution!
Long live the proletariat in revolt."
(V. I. Lenin: "The Beginning of the Revolution in
Russia"", In: "Selected Works",Volume 3; -London; l946;p. 289, 291, 292).
"No Tsar, but a Workers'
In February 1905 Trotsky returned
to Russia, settling first in Kiev. Here he
made contact with a member of the Party's Central Committee who had the
previous July played a treacherous role in assisting the Mensheviks to
capture the Central Committee -- Leonid Krassin.
Krassin was in charge of a clandestine printing plant, which he now placed
at Trotsky's disposal.
A few weeks later Trotsky moved to St.
Petersburg, where he became leader of the city's Menshevik
He now adopted the view put forward in Parvus's preface
to his brochure "Before the 9th. January", namely that the capitalist revolution
in Russia should result in a workers' government:
"The composition of the Provisional Government will
in the main depend on the proletariat. If the insurrection ends in a decisive
victory, those who have led the working class in the rising
will gain power."
(L. Trotsky: "Article in Iskra" (The Spark), No. 93;
March 17th., 1905).
"Trotskyism: 'No Tsar, but a workers' government'.
This surely, is wrong. There is a petty bourgeoisie, it cannot be ignored".
Trotsky however, declared that this formulation of his
political line was sloganised by Parvus and not by himself:
"At no time and in no place did I ever write or utter
or propose such a slogan as "No Tsar -- but a workers' government." The
fact of the matter is that a proclamation entitled: 'No Tsar -- but a workers'
government' was written and published abroad in the summer of 1905 by Parvus".
(V. I.Lenin: Report on the Political Situation, Petrograd
City Conference RSDLP, in: "Collected Works", Volume 20, Book 1; London;
1929; p. 207).
(L. Trotsky. "The Permanent Revolution"; New York;
The Third Party Congress
Early in 1905, the Central Committee acceded to the
pressure within the Party and agreed to collaborate with the Bureau of
Majority Committees in convening the Third Congress
of the Party.
The congress took place in London in April/May 1905,
that is, during the rising tide of the 1905 Revolution. It was boycotted
by the Mensheviks, and attended by 24 delegates.
The congress adopted a resolution calling on the Party
urgently to make all political and technical preparations
for an armed uprising, and to organise armed resistance to the violence
of the government-sponsored reactionary organisations. It also amended
the formulation of point 1 of the Party rules adopted at the 2nd. Congress
in order to bring this into line with Lenin's principles of Party organisation
and, abolishing the dual leading bodies (Central Committee and editorial
board) established.at the 2nd. Congress, to make the Central Committee
the leading body of the Party.
The congress set up a new central organ of the Party
"Proletary" (The Proletarian). Lenin, who chaired the congress, was
elected to the Central Committee, which at its first meeting, appointed
him editor of the paper. This appeared in May l9O5 and was published regularly
in Geneva until Lenin returned to Russia in November 1905.
The 1905-Menshevik Conference
The Mensheviks, who boycotted the Third Congress of
the Party, held their own conference simultaneously in Geneva. The conference
endorsed the Menshevik line on the capitalist revolution (see next section)
and refrained from discussing resolutions that had been submitted on the
arming of the masses and work among the troops.
Lenin's "The Two Tactics of
In July 1905 Lenin
published a long work, "The Two Tactics of Social-Democracy
in the Democratic Revolution" in which he analysed the resolution
of the Third Party Congress on the question of the capitalist revolution
alongside that adopted at the Menshevik conference.
Lenin's conception of the capitalist
revolution was as follows:
1. The capitalist revolution
is advantageous to the working class:
"The bourgeois revolution is in the highest degree
advantageous to the proletariat. The
bourgeois revolution is absolutely necessary in the interests of the proletariat.
The more complete, determined and consistent the bourgeois revolution,
the more secure will the proletarian struggle against the bourgeoisie and
for socialism become".
(V. I. Lenin: "The Two Tactics of Social-Democracy
in the Democratic Revolution", in: "Selected Works " Volume 3; London;
2. The working class is in fact,-
objectively more interested in a full capitalist revolution than is the
"In a certain sense
the bourgeois revolution is more advantageous
to the proletariat than it is to the bourgeoisie. This postulate is undoubtedly
correct in the following sense: it is to the advantage of the bourgeoisie
to rely on certain remnants of the past as against the proletariat, for
instance, on a monarchy, a standing army, etc. It is to the advantage of
the bourgeoisie if the bourgeois revolution does not too resolutely sweep
away the remnants of the past, but leaves some. . . It is to the advantage
of the bourgeoisie if the necessary bourgeois-democratic changes take place
more slowly, more gradually, more cautiously, with less determination,
by means of reforms and not by means of revolution; if these changes spare
the 'venerable' institutions of feudalism (such as the monarchy); if these
reforms develop as little as possible the revolutionary initiative of the
common people, i.e., the peasantry, and especially the workers, for otherwise
it will be easier for the workers, as the French say, 'to pass the rifle
from one shoulder to the other', i.e., to turn the guns which the bourgeois
revolution will place in their hands; the democratic institutions which
will spring up on the ground that will be cleared of feudalism, against
On the other hand, it is more advantageous for the
working class if the necessary bourgeois democratic changes take place
in the form of revolution and not reform.
The very position the proletariat as a class occupies,
compels it to be consistently democratic.
The bourgeoisie looks behind, is afraid of democratic
progress which threatens to strengthen the proletariat. The proletariat
has nothing to lose but its chains, but by means of democracy it has the
whole world to win".
(V.1. Lenin: ibid.; p. 75-77).
3. Therefore, 'the working class
must strive to make itself the leading force in the capitalist revolution,
with the peasantry as its allies:
"Only the proletariat can be a consistent fighter
for democracy. It may become a victorious fighter for democracy only if
the peasant masses join it in its revolutionary struggle. If the proletariat
is not strong enough for this, the bourgeoisie will put itself at the head
of the democratic revolution and will impart to it the character of inconsistency
and selfishness. The proletariat must carry out
to the end the democratic revolution, and in this unite to itself the mass
of the peasantry in order to crush by force resistance of the autocracy
and to paralyse the instability of the bourgeoisie. At the head
of the whole of the people, and particularly of the peasantry -- for complete
freedom for a consistent democratic revolution, for a republic!" (V.I.
Lenin: ibid; p. 86, 110-11, 14).
4. The provisional government
which will be set up as a result of a democratic revolution carried out
under the leadership of the working class will be the "democratic dictatorship_of
the proletariat and peasantry":
"'A decisive victory of the revolution over tsarism'
is the revolutionary-democratic dictatorship
of the proletariat and peasantry
. It will be a democratic,
not a socialist dictatorship".
(V. I. Lenin: ibid.; p,. 82).,
5. The working class must endeavour
to continue the capitalist revolution so as to transform it uninterruptedly
into a working class revolution, a socialist revolution,
which wll make the working
class the ruling class:
"From the democratic revolution we shall at
once, according to the degree of our strength, the strength of the class
conscious and organised proletariat, begin to pass over to the socialist
revolution. We stand for continuous revolution. We shall not stop half
(V. I. Lenin; "The Attitude of Social-Democracy toward
the Peasant Movement", in: ibid; p145) .
6. The working class will be
the leading force in the socialist revolution, with the poorer strata of
the peasantry and urban petty-bourgeoisie as its allies:
"The proletariat must accomplish the socialist revolution
and in this unite to itself the mass of the semi-proletarian elements of
the population in order to crush by force the resistance of the bourgeoisie
and to paralyse the instability of the peasantry and petty bourgeoisie.
. At the head of all the toilers and the exploited
(V. I. Lenin: "The Two Tactics Of Social-Democracy
in the Democratic Revolution", in: ibid.; p. 111, l24).
The Menshevik conception Of the
on the other hand, was, on the
other hand as follows:
1. As in previous capitalist
revolutions in history, the capitalist revolution in Russia will make the
capitalists the ruling class:
"It is evident that the forthcoming revolution cannot
assume any political forms against the will of
the whole -of the bourgeoisie, for the latter will be the master
of tomorrow". (M..Martynov: "Two Dictatorships",
Cited by: V. I. Lenin: "Social-Democracy, and
the Provisional Revolutionary Government", in: ibid.; p. 26).
2. Therefore the role of the
working class in the capitalist revolution must be to exert pressure upon
the capitalist class to bring the revolution to a successful conclusion:
"The hegemony of the proletariat is a harmful utopia.
The proletariat must follow the extreme bourgeois opposition".
(M. Martynov: "Two Dictatorships", cited in: J. V.
Stalin: Preface to The Georgian Edition of K. Kautsky: "The Driving Forces
and Prospects, of the Russian Revolution", in: "Works", Volume 2; Moscow;
1953; p. 2-3).
"The struggle to influence the course and outcome of
the bourgeois revolution can express itself only in the fact that the proletariat
will exert revolutionary pressure on the will of the liberal and radical
bourgeoisie, and that the more democratic 'lower stratum' of society will
force its' 'upper stratum' to agree to lead the bourgeois revolution to
its logical conclusion". (M. Martynov: ibid.,
cited in: V. I. Lenin: ibid.; p. 28).
3. There will be a relatively
long interval of time between the capitalist revolution and the subsequent
"The triumph of socialism cannot coincide with the
fall of absolutism. These two movements necessarily will be separated from
one another by a significant interval of time".
(G. Plekhanov: "Chto zhe dal "she?"in: "Zarya"; No.
2-3; December 1901).
4. The capitalist revolution
may be decisively victorious over the tsarist autocracy without the revolutionary
overthrow of this autocracy:
"A decisive victory of the revolution over tsarism
may be marked either by the setting up of a provisional government, which
emerges from a victorious people's uprising, 'or by the revolutionary initiative
of this or that representative institution' which, under the immediate
pressure of the revolutionary people, decides to set up a "national constituent
assembly". (Resolution of 1905 Menshevik
Conference, cited by: V. I. Lenin: "The Two Tactics of social-Democracy
in the Democratic Revolution", in: ibid.; p. 57).
5. Social-Democrats must not
participate in the provisional government, if one is set up in place of
the autocracy since:
a) this will be a capitalist
government, and participation by Social-Democrats in a capitalist government
is contrary to socialist principles;
b) an attempt to do so would
frighten the capitalist class and lead to the restoration of autocracy:
"Social-Democrats must, during the whole course of
the revolution, strive to maintain a position which would best of all preserve
it from being merged with bourgeois democracy. Therefore,
Social-Democracy must not strive to seize or share power in the provisional
government, but must remain the party of the extreme revolutionary opposition."
(Ibid., p. 69).
"The Conference believes that the formation of a Social
Democratic provisional government, or entry into the government would lead,
on the one hand, to the masses of the proletariat becoming disappointed
in the Social-Democratic Party and abandoning it
. because the Social-Democrats,
in spite of the fact that they had seized power, would not-be able to satisfy
the pressing needs of the working class, including the
establishment of socialism, and, on the other hand, would induce the bourgeois
classes to desert the cause of the revolution and in that way diminish
(Ibid.; p. l04).
"By simply frightening the majority of the bourgeois
elements, the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat can lead to but
one result -- the restoration of absolutism in its original form".
6. Only in the event of working
class revolution in Western Europe should the Social-Democratic Party depart
from this principle and participate in the provisional government, for
only then would it be possible to go forward in Russia to the working class,
"Only in one event should social-Democracy,
on its own initiative, direct its efforts towards seizing power and retaining
it as long as possible, namely, in the event of the revolution spreading
to the advanced countries of Western Europe where conditions for the achievement
of socialism have already reached a certain state of maturity. In that
event, the restricted historical scope of the Russian revolution can be
considerably extended and the possibility of striking the path of socialist
reforms will arise".
(M. Martynov: "Two Dictatorships", cited in: V. I.
Lenin: "Social-Democracy and the Provisional Revolutionary Government'";
in: ibid.; p. 27).
(Resolution of 1905 Menshevik Conference, cited in:
-V.I. Lenin:"The Two Tactics of Social-Democracy in the Democratic Revolution,
in: ibid.; p. 96).
The St. Petersburg Soviet in
the 1905 Revolution
In May 1905 Trotsky
went to Finland. When he returned to St. Petersburg in October, a
general strike had broken out in the city.
The striking workers elected delegates to a strike
committee3 which quickly developed into the first important
"Soviet of Workers' Deputies" and began
to publish its own organ: "Izvestia" (News).
The Mensheviks supported the Soviet from its inception, regarding it as
an organ of democratic local government-. The St. Petersburg Bolsheviks,
led by Bogdan Knunyantz, were, however,
at first hesitant in their approach to it, regarding it as a rival to the
Party and demanding that it affiliate to the Party before they could support
Meanwhile Lenin, after making arrangements for the
publication in St. Petersburg of a legal Bolshevik newspaper "Novaya
Zizn" (New Life), had left-Geneva in October for Russia.
Held up in Stockholm, he wrote from there:
"Comrade Radin (i.e., Knunyantz -- -Ed.) is wrong
in raising the question in No. 5 of the 'Novaya Zhizn', the Soviet of
Workers? Deputies or the Party? I think that it is wrong to put the question
in this way, and that the decision must certainly be: both
the Soviet of Deputies and
the Party . . .
The Soviet of Deputies, as an organ representing all
occupations, should strive to include
deputies from all industrial, professional and office workers, domestic
servants, farm labourers, etc., from all
who want and are able to fight in common for a better life for the whole
I think it inadvisable to demand that the Soviet of
Workers' Deputies should accept the Social-Democratic Programme and join
the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party.
I believe (On the strength of the incomplete and only
'paper' information at my disposal) that politically the Soviet of Workers'
Deputies should be regarded as the embryo of a provisional
(V.I. Lenin "Our Tasks and the Soviet of Workers'
Deputies"; in "Collected Works"; Volume 10; Moscow; 1962; p. 19, 20, 21).
Later, after his arrival in St. Petersburg, Lenin made
a clear analysis of the Soviet. It could not be an organ of government
until the power of the central tsarist state had been smashed, at least
locally; in the existing circumstances its role
must be to conduct this revolutionary struggle to smash the central state
"The Soviet of Workers' Deputies is not a parliament
of labour and not an organ of proletarian self-government. It is not an
organ of government at all, but a fighting organisation for the achievement
of definite aims. . .
The Soviet of Workers Deputies represents an undefined,
broad fighting alliance of socialists and revolutionary democrats".
(V. I.Lenin: "Socialism and Anarchism", in: "Selected
Works", Volume 3; London; l943; p. 343) .
"The Soviets of Workers' Deputies, etc., were in
fact the embryo of a provisional government; power would inevitably
have passed to them had the uprising been victorious". (V.
I.Lenin; "The Dissolution of the Duma and the Tasks of the Proletariat",
in: Ibid.; p. 383).
Although the St. Petersburg Bolsheviks corrected their
attitude to the Soviet within a few days, their hesitancy in supporting
it contributed in considerable measure to the fact that the
majority of the deputies were from the outset Mensheviks or supporters
of the Mensheviks. On October 30th, the Soviet elected
its Executive; this consisted of three
Mensheviks, three Bolsheviks, and three Socialist-Revolutionaries.
After a few days under the chairmanship of the Menshevik
S. Zborovski, the Soviet elected as
its chairman the lawyer Georgi Nosar
(better known under his pseudonym "Khrustalev");
who was then independent of any party but later joined the Mensheviks.
Trotsky, who had
allied himself with the St. Petersburg Mensheviks on his arrival in the
city, was elected to the Soviet and soon came
to play a leading role in its activities - which following the Menshevik
political line of damping down the revolutionary enthusiasm
and activity of the workers.
"Trotsky urged the Soviet to call off the general
On November 2nd.
(I. Deutscher: "The Prophet Armed: Trotsky: 1879-1921";
London; 1970; p. 132).
and it duly came to an end
on November 3rd.
On November 13th. The workers themselves began to
introduce an eight-hour working day in the factories, and on the 15th,
widespread public indignation at the state of siege which the tsarist government
had just imposed on Poland, forced the Soviet to call a
second general strike in St. Petersburg.
On November 18th, three days later,
"Trotsky.. . proposed to call an end to the second
(I. Deutscher; ibid ; p. 134),
on the pretext that :
"The government had just announced that the sailors
of Kronstadt (who had participated in the first general strike -- Ed.)
would be tried by ordinary military courts, not courts martial. The Soviet
could withdraw not with victory indeed, but with honour".
(I. Deutscher; Ibid.; p. 134).
In his speech to the Soviet urging
the calling-off of the second general strike, Trotsky's biographer
"While he tried to dam up the raging element of revolt,
he stood before the Soviet like defiance itself, passionate and sombre".
(I. Deutscher: ibid; p. 134),
"Events work for us and we have no need to force
the pace. We must drag out the period of preparation for decisive action
as much as we can, perhaps for a month or two, until we can come out as
an army as cohesive and organised as possible. . .
When the liberal bourgeoisie, as if boasting of its
treachery, tells us: 'You are alone. Do you think you can go on fighting
without us? Have you signed a pact with victory?', we throw our answer
in their face: 'No, we have signed a pact with death'".
(L.Trotsky; Speech to St. Petersburg Soviet, November
16th., l905, in: No. 7, November 20th., l905).
Having succeeded in inducing the Soviet to call
off the second general strike,
"A few days later he had again to impress upon the
Soviet its own weakness and urge it to stop enforcing the eight-hour day.
. . The Soviet was divided, a minority demanding a general strike; but
(I. Deutscher: ibid; p. 135).
In addition to his activities in the Soviet, Trotsky had
contrived to gain control, jointly with Parvus (who had followed him to
St. Petersburg and had become a deputy in the Soviet) of a daily newspaper,
"Russkaya Gazeta" (The Russian
Newspaper), and later in the year, alongside it, he founded with Parvus
and Yuli Martov a second daily "Nachalo"
(The Beginning),which became the organ of Menshevisim from October
to December 1905.
"We have not won the eight-hour day for the working
class, but we have succeeded in winning the working class for the eight-hour
(L.Trotsky: Speech to St. Petersburg Soviet, cited
in: I. Deutscher: ibid.; p. 140).
By the beginning of December, the government felt strong
enough to take the offensive again. Press censorship was re-imposed, and
on December 5th. Khrustalev, the Chairman
of the Soviet, was arrested together
with a few other leading members. Trotsky replied to this by proposing
"The Soviet of Workers' Deputies temporarily elect
a new chairman and continue to prepare for an armed uprising."
(L. Trotsky: Resolution to St. Petersburg Soviet,
cited in: I. Deutscher:Ibid.; p. 140)
The Soviet accepted the proposal and elected a three-man
Presidium, headed by Trotsky.
But the preparations for the "armed
uprising" of Trotsky's were virtually non-existent.
"The preparations for the rising which Trotsky had
mentioned had so far been less than rudimentary: two delegates had been
sent to establish contact with the provincial Soviets. The sinews of insurrection
(I. Deutscher: ibid.; p. 140).
Trotsky's last gesture in the 1905 Revolution was then
to put forward a "Financial Manifesto"
written by Parvus. This called upon the people to withhold
payment of taxes, declaring:
"There is only one way to overthrow the government
--to deny it . . its revenue".
(Financial Manifesto of St. Petersburg Soviet, cited
in: I.Deutscher: ibid.; p.141).
On December 16th., Trotsky presided over a meeting of
the Executive of the St. Petersburg Soviet, when a detachment of soldiers
and police burst in to the meeting room and the
members of the executive were arrested. A number of charge were
brought against them, the principle charge being that of plotting
The role of the Mensheviks in the St. Petersburg Soviet
was summed up later by J.V. Stalin:
"The St. Petersburg Soviet of Workers' Deputies,
being the Soviet of the most important industrial and revolutionary centre
of Russia, the capital of the tsarist empire, ought to have played a decisive
role in the Revolution of 1905. However, it did not perform this task,
owing to its bad, Menshevik leadership. As we know Lenin had not yet arrived
in St. Petersburg; he was still abroad. The Mensheviks took advantage of
Lenin's absence to make their way into the St.Petersburg Soviet and to
seize hold of its leadership. It was not surprising under such circumstances
that the Mensheviks Khrustalev, Trotsky, Parvus and others managed to turn
the St. Petersburg Soviet against the policy of an uprising. Instead of
bringing the soldiers into close contact with the Soviet and linking them
up with the common struggle, they demanded that the soldiers be withdrawn
from St. Petersburg. The Soviet, instead of arming the workers and preparing
them for an uprising, just marked time and was against preparations for
(J.V. Stalin: "History of the Communist Party of the
Soviet Union"(Bolsheviks; Moscow; 1941; p.79-80).
The Moscow Uprising
On December 19th., 1905 the
Moscow Soviet of Workers' Deputies, which was led by the Bolsheviks,
"Strive to transform the strike into an armed uprising."
(V.I.Lenin: "The Lessons of the Moscow Uprising; in:
"Selected Works, Volume 3; London; l946; p. 346)
and by December 22nd. the first barricades were being
set up in the streets.
"The 23rd: artillery fire is opened on the barricades
and on the crowds in the streets. Barricades are set up more deliberately,
and no longer singly but on a really mass scale. The whole population is
in the streets; all the principal centres of the city are covered by a
network of. barricades. For several days stubborn guerilla fighting proceeds
between the insurgent detachments and the troops.
The troops become exhausted and Dubasov is obliged to beg for reinforcements.
Only on December 28 did the government forces acquire complete superiority
and on December 30 the Semenov regiment stormed the Prosnya district, the
last stronghold of the uprising".
(V. I. Lenin: "The Lessons of the Moscow Uprising",
in: ibid; p. 347).
In fact, the attitude of the
Menshevik leadership of the St. Petersburg Soviet, led by Trotsky enabled
the tsar to transfer troops from the capital to Moscow and this was a significant
factor in the crushing of the uprising in the latter city.
"The climax of the Revolution of 1905 was reached
in the December uprising in Moscow. A small crowd of rebels, namely, of
organised and armed workers -- they numbered not more than eight thousand
--resisted the tsar's government for nine days. The government dared not
trust the Moscow garrison; on the contrary, it had to keep it behind locked
doors, and only on the arrival of the Semenovsky Regiment from St. Petersburg
was it able to quell the rebellion".
(V.1. Lenin: Lecture on the 1905 Revolution, in: ibid.;
Soviets of Workers' Deputies were organised in other towns
as well as in St. Petersburg and Moscow. In addition, Soviets of Workers'
and Peasants' Deputies and Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers'
Deputies were established in some places.
Isolated strikes, riots and mutinies continued 4nto
1906, leading to a lack of clarity for some months as to whether the revolutionary
tide was ebbing or merely temporarily at rest before a subsequent rise.
In fact December 1905 proved to be the peak of the revolutionary tide.
1906 -1907: The Trial of the
Leaders of the-St. Petersburg Soviet
The trial of the leaders of the St. Petersburg Soviet,
the main charge against whom was that of plotting insurrection, began almost
a year after the Revolution had been crushed, on October 2nd., 1906.
The defendants denied having engaged in technical preparation
for a rising. On October 4th, Trotsky told the court:
"A rising of the masses is not made, gentlemen
the judges. It makes itself of its own accord. It is the result of social
relations and conditions, and not of a schema drawn up on paper. A popular
insurrection cannot be staged. It can only be foreseen. For reasons that
were as little dependent on us as on Tsardom, an open conflict had become
inevitable. It came nearer with every day. To prepare for it meant for
us to do everything possible to reduce to a minimum the number of victims
of this unavoidable conflict".
(L. Trotsky: Speech at Trial of Leaders of St. Petersburg
Soviet, cited in: I. Deutscher: "The Prophet Armed- Trotsky: 1879-1921"-;
London; 1970; p. 166).
On November 15th, the verdict was delivered.
The defendants were found guilty on the main charge of plotting insurrection,
but Trotsky and fourteen others were found guilty on minor charges and
sentenced to deportation to Siberia for life and loss of all civil rights.
In February 1907 Trotsky escaped
Trotsky's "Results and Prospects":
The Theory of "Permanent Revolution"
While in prison, Trotsky wrote "Results
and Prospects", which was published in St. Petersburg in 1906
as the final chapter of his book "Our Revolution", a collection of essays
on the Russian Revolution of December l905.
In this essay Trotsky gave a
fundamental statement of his views on capitalist revolution, the "theory
of permanent revolution"
The term "permanent revolution" was derived from an
address by Marx and Engels written in l850:
"While the democratic petty bourgeois wish to bring
the revolution to a conclusion as quickly as possible and with the achievement
at most of the above demand, it is our interest and our task to make the
revolution permanent, until all more or less possessing classes have been
displaced from domination, until the proletariat has conquered state power"
Their (i.e. the German workers' --Ed.) battle-cry
must be: the permanent revolution".
(K. Marx and F. Engels: Address of the "Central Council
to the Communist League", in: K. Marx: 'Selected Works', Volume 2; London
1943; p. 161, 168)
Lenin accepted this conception of the permanent revolution,
although after the publication of Trotsky's work Marxists preferred to
use the term "uninterrupted revolution" or
"continuous revolution" in order to avoid confusion with
Trotsky's perversion of the term in connection with his anti-Leninist theory
of the capitalist revolution. In September l905, Lenin wrote:
"From the democratic revolution we shall at once,
according to the degree of our strength, the strength of the
class conscious and organised proletariat, begin to pass over to the socialist
revolution. We stand for continuous revolution".
(V.I. Lenin: "The Attitude of Social-Democracy towards
the Peasant Movement", in: "Selected Works", Volume 3; London; 1946; p.
Trotsky's theory of the capitalist
revolution, as put forward in "Results and Prospects" was as follows:
1. The working class will be the active force in the
capitalist revolution, with the peasantry as supporters:
"The struggle for the emancipation of Russia from
the incubus of absolutism which is stifling it has become converted into
a single combat between absolutism and
the industrial proletariat, a single combat in which the peasants
may render considerable support but cannot play a leading role.
Many sections of the working masses, particularly
in the countryside, will be drawn into the revolution and become politically
organised only after the advance guard of the revolution, the urban proletariat,
stands at the helm of the state.
The proletariat in power will stand before the peasants
as the class which has emancipated it.
The Russian peasantry in the first and most difficult
period of the revolution will be interested in the maintenance of a proletarian
regime (workers' democracy)".
(L. Trotsky: "Results and Prospects", in: "The Permanent
Revolution"; New York; 1970; p. 66, 70, 71-72).
2. Because the peasantry
in the capitalist revolution is destined to play only an auxiliary role
of supporters rather than allies of the working class, the
democratic-revolution will place in power -- not- an alliance of the working
class and peasantry, democratic dictatorship of the working class and peasantry"
-- but the working class, establishing the dictatorship of the working
class, a revolutionary workers' government:
"The idea of a 'proletarian and peasant dictatorship'
is unrealisable . . There can be no talk of
any special form of proletarian dictatorship in the bourgeois revolution,
of democratic proletarian dictatorship (or dictatorship of the proletariat
and peasantry). Victory in this struggle
must transfer power to the class that has led the strife, i.e., the Social-democratic
proletariat. The question, therefore,
is not one of a "revolutionary provisional government" -- an empty phrase
. . . but of a revolutionary worker government,
the conquest of power by the Russian proletariat."
(Trotsky: ibid.; p. 73, 80, 121-22).
3. 0nce in power the working
class will be compelled to proceed with the construction of a socialist
"The proletariat, once having taken power, will fight
for it to the very end. . . Collectivism will become not only the inevitable
way forward from the position in which the party in power will find itself,
but will also be a means of preserving this position with the support of
the proletariat. . . The political domination of the proletariat is incompatible
with its economic enslavement. No matter under what political flag the
proletariat has come to power, it. is obliged to take the path of socialist
(L. Trotsky: ibid.; p. 80, 101).
4. But the construction of socialism
will inevitably bring the working class into hostile collision with the
peasantry and urban petit bourgeoisie:
"Every passing day will deepen the policy of the
proletariat in power, and more and more define its class
Side by side with that, the revolutionary ties between the
proletariat and the nation will be broken. . .
The primitiveness of the peasantry turns its hostile
face towards the proletariat.
The cooling-off of the peasantry, its political passivity,
and all the more the active opposition of its upper sections, cannot but
have an influence on a section of the intellectual and the petty-bourgeoisie
of the towns.
Thus, the more definite and determined the policy
the proletariat in power becomes, the narrower and more shaky does the
ground beneath its feet become.
The two main features of proletarian policy which
will meet opposition from the allies of the proletariat are collectivism
(L. Trotsky: ibid.; p.76-77).
5. Thus the working class in
power -- now isolated from and opposed by the masses of the peasantry and
urban petty bourgeoisie will inevitably be overthrown by the forces of
reaction -- unless the working classes in Western Europe establish proletarian
dictatorships which render direct state aid to the working class of Russia:
"Left to it's own resources, the working class of
Russia will inevitably be crushed by the counterrevolution the moment the
peasantry turns its back on it. It will have no alternative but to link
the fate of its political rule and, hence, the fate of the whole Russian
revolution, with the fate of the socialist revolution in Europe".
(L. Trotsky: ibid.; p. 115).
"Without the direct State
support of the European proletariat the working class of Russia cannot
remain in power and convert its temporary domination into a lasting socialistic
dictatorship. Of this there cannot for one moment be any doubt."
6. The Russian working class
government will, therefore, be forced to use its state power to actively
to initiate socialist revolutions in Western Europe and beyond :
"This immediately gives the events now unfolding
an international character. . . The political emancipation of Russia led
by the working class. .will transfer to it colossal power and resources,
and will make it the initiator of the liquidation of world capitalism.
(L. Trotsky: ibid.; p. l05.
If the Russian proletariat, having temporarily obtained
power, does not on its own initiative carry the revolution on to European
soil, it will be compelled to do so by the forces of European feudal-bourgeois
The colossal state-political power given it by a temporary
conjuncture of circumstances in the Russian bourgeois revolution it will
cast into the scales of the class struggles of the entire capitalist world".
(L. Trotsky; ibid.; p. 108, 115).
Trotsky continued to put forward his theory of "permanent
revolution" throughout his life.
In his book "The Permanent
Revolution", published in Berlin in Russian in l930. he says:
"I came out against the formula 'democratic dictatorship
of the proletariat and the peasantry." The
theory of the permanent revolution, which originated in l905. . . .pointed
out that the democratic tasks of the backward bourgeois nations lead directly,
in our epoch, to the dictatorship of the proletariat. . . The
socialist revolution begins on national foundations but it cannot be
completed within these foundations. . . . The
difference between the permanent and the Leninist standpoint expressed
itself politically in the counterposing of the slogan of the dictatorship
of the proletariat relying on the peasantry to the slogan of the democratic
dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry. . . . The
world division of labour, the dependence of Soviet industry upon foreign
technology, the dependence of the productive forces of the advanced countries
of Europe upon Asiatic raw materials, etc... make the construction
of an independent socialist society in any single country impossible".
(L. Trotsky: "The Permanent Revolution"; New York;
1970; p. 128,132, 133, l89, 280).
As we have seen, Lenin
analysed the revolutionary process in tsarist Russia as essentially one
of two successive stages -- firstly,
the stage of democratic revolution, secondly, the stage of socialist revolution,
but with the possibility of uninterrupted transition
from the first stage to the second if the working class were able
to win the leading role in the first stage.
The Trotskyite theory of "permanent
revolution" rejected Lenin's concept of two stages in the revolutionary
process in tsarist Russia, and postulated a single
stage, that of the proletarian-socialist revolution
leading directly to the dictatorship of the proletariat.
Lenin saw the revolutionary process in
colonial-type countries also as essentially one of two
successive stages--firstly, the stage of national-democratic
revolution, secondly, the stage of socialist revolution, but with the possibility
of uninterrupted transition from the
first stage to the second if the working class were able to win the leading
role in the first stage.
Trotsky logically extended his theory of "permanent
revolution" to colonial-type countries,
here also postulating a single stage in the revolutionary process, that
of proletarian-socialist revolution leading directly to the dictatorship
of the proletariat.
"In order that the proletariat of the Eastern countries
may open the road to victory, the pedantic reactionary
theory of Stalin . . on ''stages'' and 'steps'' must be eliminated at the
very outset, must be cast aside, broken up and swept away with a broom.
. . . With regard to . . . the colonial and
semi-colonial countries, the theory of the permanent revolution signifies
that the complete and genuine solution of their tasks of achieving democracy
and national emancipation is conceivable only through the dictatorship
of the proletariat. The Comintern's endeavour
to foist upon the Eastern countries the slogan of the democratic dictatorship
of the proletariat and peasantry, finally and long ago exhausted by history,
can have only a reactionary effect."
(L. Trotsky: ibid.; p. 48, 276, 278).
of course, strongly opposed to what he called Trotsky's:
"absurdly 'Left' theory of 'permanent
(V. I. Lenin: "Violation of Unity under Cover of Cries
for Unity", in: "Selected Works", Volume 4; London; l943; p. 207).
Analysing Trotsky's "Results and Prospects" in 1907, Lenin
"Trotsky's major mistake is that he ignores the bourgeois
character of the revolution and has no clear conception of the transition
from this revolution to the socialist revolution".
(V. I. Lenin: "The Aim of the Proletarian Struggle
in Our Revolution", in: "Collected Works", Volume 15; Moscow; 1962; p.
At the end of 1910, we find Lenin saying:
"Trotsky distorts Bolshevism, because he has
never been able to form any definite views on the role of the proletariat
in the Russian bourgeois revolution".
(V.1. Lenin: "The Historical Meaning of the Internal
Party Struggle in Russia"; in: 'Selected Works", Volume 3; London; l946;
And in November 1915:
"Trotsky . . repeats his 'original' theory of 1905
and refuses to stop and think why, for ten whole years, life passed by
this beautiful theory.
Trotsky's original theory takes from the Bolsheviks
their call for a decisive revolutionary struggle and for the conquest of
political power by the proletariat, and from the Mensheviks it takes the
'repudiation' of the role of the peasantry. . . .
Trotsky is in fact helping the liberal labour politicians
in Russia who by the 'repudiation' of the role of the peasantry mean refusal
to arouse the peasants to revolution."
(V. I. Lenin: "Two Lines of the Revolution", in: "Selected
Works", Volume 5; London; 1935; p. l62, 163).
In November and December l924 Stalin made a more comprehensive
theoretical analysis of Trotsky's theory of "permanent revolution":
"Trotskyism is the theory of 'permanent' (uninterrupted)
revolution. But what is permanent revolution
in its Trotskyist interpretation? It is revolution that fails to take the
poor peasantry into account as a revolutionary force. Trotsky's 'permanent'
revolution is, as Lenin said, 'skipping' the peasant movement, playing
at the seizure of power;. Why is it dangerous? Because such a revolution,
if an attempt had been made to bring it about, would inevitably have ended
in failure, for it would have divorced from the Russian proletariat its
ally, the poor peasantry. This explains the struggle that Leninism has
been waging against Trotskyism ever since 1905".
(J. V. Stalin: "Trotskyism or Leninism?", in: "Works",
Volume 6; Moscow; 1953; p. 364-65).
"What is the dictatorship of the proletariat according
to Trotsky? The dictatorship of the proletariat
is a power, which comes 'into hostile collision' with 'the broad masses
of the peasantry' and seeks 'the solution of its 'contradictions' only
''in the arena of the world proletarian revolution'.
The Campaign for Party Unity
What difference is there between this 'theory of permanent
revolution' and the well-known theory of Menshevism which repudiates the
concept of dictatorship of the proletariat?
Essentially, there is no difference.
'Permanent revolution' is not a mere underestimation
of the revolutionary potentialities of the peasant movement. 'Permanent
revolution' is an underestimation of the peasant movement, which leads
to the repudiation of Lenin's theory
of the dictatorship of the proletariat.
Trotsky's 'permanent revolution' is a variety of Menshevism.
. . .
Trotsky's 'permanent revolution' means that the victory
of socialism in one country, in this case Russia, is impossible without
direct state support from the European proletariat', i.e., before the European
proletariat has conquered power.
What is there in common between this 'theory' and
Lenin's thesis on the possibility of the victory of socialism 'in one capitalist-country
Clearly, there is nothing in common.
What does Trotsky's assertion that a revolutionary
Russia could not hold out in the face of a conservative Europe signify?
It can signify only this:
firstly, that Trotsky
does not appreciate the inherent strength of our revolution;
secondly, that Trotsky
does not understand the inestimable importance of the moral support which
is given to our revolution by the workers of the West and the peasants
of the East; thirdly, that Trotsky does not
perceive the internal infirmity which is consuming imperialism today.
Trotsky's 'permanent revolution' is the repudiation
of Lenin's theory of proletarian revolution; and conversely, Lenin's theory
of the proletarian revolution is the repudiation of the theory of 'permanent
revolution'. . . .
Hitherto only one aspect of the theory of 'permanent
revolution' has usually been noted -- lack of faith in the revolutionary
potentialities of the peasant movement. Now, in fairness, this must be
supplemented by another aspect -- lack
of faith in the strength and capacity of the proletariat in Russia.
What difference is there between Trotsky's theory
and the ordinary Menshevik theory that the victory of socialism in one
country, and in a backward country at that, is impossible without the preliminary
victory of the proletarian revolution in the principal countries of Western
Essentially, there is no difference.
There can be no doubt at all. Trotsky's theory of
'permanent revolution' is a variety of Menshevism . . . .
Honeyed speeches and rotten diplomacy cannot hide
the yawning chasm which lies between the theory of 'permanent revolution'
(J. V. Stalin: "The October Revolution and the Tactics
of the Russian Communists", in: 'Works', ibid.; p. 385-6,389, 392, 395-96,
In the revolutionary conditions, which prevailed in
the autumn of 1905, Bolsheviks and Mensheviks of the rank and file worked
closely together and by the end of the year most of the local organisations
of the two "parties" had united. Accordingly the demand grew among the
workers and the rank-and-file of the Party that the leaderships of the
two sections should unite.
While fully supporting these moves for unity, Lenin
and most of the Bolsheviks felt strongly that the political differences
between the leaderships of the two factions should not be glossed over,
since this would only confuse the workers. In this they were opposed by
conciliationists among the Bolsheviks, such as Leonid
Krassin and Aleksandr Bogdanov, who minimised these differences.
Lenin arrived back in Russia in November 1905, and
in December attended the First Party (Bolshevik) Conference in Tammerfors
(Finland), where he met J.V.Stalin
for the first time.
The conference adopted a resolution to apply the elective
principle within the Party in view of the freer political conditions brought
about by the 1905 revolution, and another favouring the earliest possible
restoration of unity with the Mensheviks and the immediate creation of
a joint Central Commiittee.
Simultaneously with the Bolshevik conference, the Mensheviks
held a conference in St. Petersburg where, under pressure from their- rank-and-file,
they endorsed the Leninist formula of Party organisation in point 1 of
the Party rules and adopted a resolution in favour of unity with the Bolsheviks
The joint Central Committee,
consisting of three Bolsheviks and three Mensheviks, began to operate at
the height of the December insurrection. When at the end of December, both
the Bolshevik "Novaya Zhizn" (New Life) and the Menshevik "Nachalo"(Beginning)
were suppressed, both leaderships combined to issue a joint newspaper --
"Severny Golos" -(Voice of the North) -- under
a joint editorial Board.
1907. The Fourth (Unity) Congress
of the Party
The Fourth Unity Congress
of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour was held in Stockholm
(Sweden) in-April/May 1906 was attended by 111 delegates from Party organisations,
together with 3 each from the national parties which affiliated to the
Party at the Congress (the "Bund", the Polish Social-Democratic Party and
the Social-Democratic Party 0f the Latvian Region).
As a result of the fact that many Bolshevik-led Party
organisations had been broken up after the 1905 uprising, a number of these
were not represented at the congress, so that the
Mensheviks had a majority (62-49). This manifested
itself in a number of the resolutions. As Lenin pointed out:
"The three most important resolutions of the Congress
clearly reveal the erroneous views of the former 'Menshevik' faction,
which numerically was predominant at the Congress.
"The Congress rejected the proposal to make it one
of the tasks of the Party to combat. . Constitutional-illusions.
Nor in its resolutions on the armed uprising did the
Congress give what was necessary, viz., direct criticism of the mistakes
of the proletariat, a clear estimate of the experience of October-December
1905, or even an attempt to study the inter-relation between strikes and
uprising. The Congress did not openly and clearly tell the working class
that the December uprising was a mistake, but in a covert way it condemned
We think that this is more likely to confuse the political
class consciousness of the proletariat than to enlighten it..
We must and shall fight ideologically against those
decisions of the Congress which we regard as erroneous".
(V. I. Lenin: An Appeal to the Party by Delegates
at the Unity Congress who belonged to the Late 'Bolshevik' Faction, in:
"Selected Works", Volume 3; London; l946; p. 469, 470-7l.
Nevertheless, the congress endorsed the
basic principles of Party organisation put forward by Lenin.
The congress also endorsed the formal
unity of the two factions and the principle of democratic centralism.
The Central Committee
elected at the Fourth Congress consisted of 7 Mensheviks and 3 Bolsheviks.
Against Bolshevik opposition, a Menshevik resolution
was carried which elected an editorial board
for the central organ of the Party which was outside the control of the
Central Committee and contained not a single Bolshevik; it consisted of
Martov, Dan, Martynov, Potresov and Maslow. During its life this editorial
board did not publish a single issue of the central organ.
Thus, the "unity" created at the Fourth Congress between
Bolsheviks and Mensheviks was purely formal, and
the two factions continued to exist within the framework of a single party
The Stolypin Repression
The First State Duma met in May 1906, but did not prove
docile enough for the ruling class. In July the
tsarist government dissolved it, and Petr
Stolypin (who had been Minister for Internal Affairs since May)
was made Prime Minister. Under Stolypin a period
of active repression of the revolutionary movement began. The
new government suppressed the Bolshevik newspaper, which had been coming
out since April under the successive names of "Volna" (The Wave), "Vperyod"
(Forward) and "Ekho" (The Echo). In August 1906, regulations were issued
providing for trial by courts martial and the death sentence for "revolutionary
activity", and mass arrests and executions followed. In the same month
the Bolsheviks began to issue an illegal newspaper, "Proletary" (Proletarian),
edited by Lenin, which continued to appear until December 1909.
In September 1906 Lenin proposed that, since the tide
of revolution was now clearly on the ebb, the Party should participate
in the elections for the Second State Duma (due to be convoked in March
1907). As a result, left-wing representation in this Duma was considerably
stronger than it had been in the first, namely:
157 Trudoviks (Group of Toil) and Socialist-Revolutionaries
(expressing the outlook of the peasantry) (from 94 in the First State Duma);
165 Social-Democrats (from 18 in the First State Duma),
while the representation of the Cadets (the Constitutional-Democratic Party,
representing the interests of the bourgeoisie)
fell from 179 to 98. Most of the Social Democratic
deputies were, however Mensheviks.
The Fifth Party Congress
The Fifth Congress of the
Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party was held in London in
May/June 1907. It was attended by 336 delegates, representing a membership
of some 150,000.
The congress consolidated the Russian, Polish and Latvian
Parties (together with, for a time, the Bund) into a single Party based
on (mainly) Leninist principles.
Trotsky participated in the congress, expounding at
length his "theory of permanent revolution", to which Rosa
Luxemburg gave her support:
"At the London congress I renewed acquaintance with
Rosa Luxemburg whom I had known since l904. . .On the question of the so-called
permanent revolution, Rosa took the same stand as I did"
(L. Trotsky: "My Life"; New York; 1971; p. 203).
In the resolutions the congress
largely adopted the Bolshevik line. A Bolshevik resolution condemning
the Menshevik proposal to transform the Party into a broad "Labour Party"
of the British type was carried by l65 votes to 94; another Bolshevik resolution
declaring that the Cadets were now a counter-revolutionary party which
must be mercilessly exposed, and that it was essential to coordinate
the Party's own activity with that of the parties expressing the outlook
of the peasantry (i.e., the Trudoviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries) was
carried by l59 votes to 104.
However, a Bolshevik motion of censure on the Menshevik
Central Committee elected at the Fourth Congress in 1906 was lost. This
resolution was opposed not only by the Mensheviks, but by
a centrist group headed by Trotsky:
"If, after all, the Bolshevik resolution, which noted
the mistakes of the Central Committee was not carried, it was because the
consideration "not to cause a split" strongly influenced the comrades".
(J.V. Stalin: "The London Congress of the Russian
Social-Democratic Labour Party (Notes of a Delegate)"; in: 'Works', Volume
2; Moscow; l953; p. 59)
"Trotsky spoke on behalf of the 'Centre', and expressed
the views of the Bund. He fulminated against us for introducing our 'unacceptable'
resolution. He threatened an outright split. . . That is a position based
not on principle, but on the Centre's lack of principle".
Trotsky endeavored to justify his concilationist position
by suggesting that there were no fundamental differences between Bolsheviks
and Mensheviks, saying:
"Here comes Martov . . and threatens to raise between
the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks a Marxist wall . . .'Comrade Martov,
you are going to build your wall with paper only with -your polemical
literature you have nothing else to build it with".
(V. I. Lenin: Fifth Congress of RSDLP, Speech on the
Report of the Activities of the Duma Group, in: "Collected Works", Volume
12; Moscow; 1962; p. 45l-2)
(Pyatyi Syezd RSDRP (Fifth Congress RSDLP); Moscow;
n.d.; p. 54-55).
In view of the decline of the revolutionary tide, the
question of 'armed insurrection' was dropped from the agenda of the congress.
However, a sharp controversy arose at the congress on the question of "expropriations",
i.e., the illegal acquisition of funds for the Party.
Lenin's views on this question had been expressed in
an article published in "Proletary", in October 1906:
"Armed struggle pursues two different
aims; which must be strictly distinguished;
in the first place this struggle aims at assassinating individuals, chiefs
and subordinates, in the army and police: in the second place, it aims
at the confiscation of monetary funds both from the government and from
private persons. The confiscated funds go partly into the treasury of the
Party, partly for the special purpose of arming and preparing for an uprising,
and partly for the maintenance of persons engaged in the struggle we are
describing. . .
It is not guerilla actions which disorganise the movement,
but the weakness of a party which is incapable of taking such actions under
(V. I. Lenin: 'Guerilla Warfare, in: "Collected Works"",
Volume 11; Moscow; 1962; p. 216, 219).
The Fourth Congress of the Party in 1906 had adopted a
Menshevik resolution banning Party members, from taking part in "expropriations",
and at the- Fifth Congress an attack was launched upon the Bolsheviks for
allegedly continuing to take part in (or at least advise others on the
organisation of "expropriations". A Menshevik motion was adopted at the
Fifth Congress banning the participation of Party members in all armed
actions and acts of "expropriation" and- ordering the disbandment of the
fighting squads connected with the, Party.
to his biographer, sharply supported the Menshevik attacks on this issue:
"The records of the Congress say nothing about the
course of this controversy, (i.e. on "expropriations" --Ed.); only fragmentary
reminiscences, written many years after, are available. But there is no
doubt that Trotsky was, with Martov, among those who sharply arraigned
(I. Deutscher; 'The Prophet Armed: Trotsky: 1879-1921";
London; 1970; p. 179).
Shortly after the Congress, Lenin wrote to Maxim Gorky
"At the London Congress, too, he (i.e., Trotsky --Ed.)
acted the 'poseur'".
(V. I. Lenin: Letter to Maxim Gorky, February 13th.,
1908; in: ,"Collected Works", Volume 34; Moscow; 1966; p. 386).
While Stalin, writing of Trotsky's activities at the congress,
"Trotsky proved to be 'pretty but useless'".
(J.V. Stalin: "The London Congress of the Russian
Social-Democratic Labour Party (Notes of a Delegate)", in: "Works"; Volume
2; Moscow; 1953; p. 52) .
After the congress Trotsky carried his attacks on the
Bolsheviks on the question of "expropriations' into the columns of "Vorwaerts"
(Forward), the organ of the German Social-Democratic Party. He describes
how Lenin reacted to this news:
"I told Lenin of my latest article in "Vorwaerts"
about the Russian Social-Democracy. . . The most prickly question in the
article was that of so-called 'expropriations'. .. The London congress,
by a majority of votes composed of Mensheviks, Poles and some Bolsheviks
banned 'expropriations'. When the delegates shouted from their seats: "What
does Lenin say? We want to hear Lenin", the latter only chuckled, with
a somewhat cryptic expression. After the London congress, 'expropriations'
continued. . . That was the point on which I had centred my attack in the
'Did you really write like this?', Lenin asked me
Lenin tried to induce the Russian delegation at the
congress to condemn my article. This was the sharpest conflict with Lenin
in my whole life".
(L.Trotsky: "My Life"; Now York; 1971; p. 218).
The Stolypin Coup d'Etat
In June 1907 the tsarist government accused the Social-Democratic
deputies in the Second-State Duma of conspiracy, and demanded that the
Duma lift their parliamentary immunity. When the Duma hesitated, the government
peremptorily dissolved it on June 16th, 1907 - the "Coup d'Etat of June
3rd 1907 as it was known under the old calendar. Most of the
Social-Democratic deputies were then arrested.
In the same manifesto the government announced new
electoral laws for the Third State
Duma, the purpose of which was to increase the
representation of the landlords and capitalists, and to reduce still further
the representation of the workers and peasants.
"The government promulgated a 'new law' which reduces
the number of peasant electors by half, doubles the number of landlord
electors, . reduces the number of deputies also by nearly half. . . reserves
for the government the right to distribute voters according to locality,
various qualifications and nationality; destroys all possibility of conducting
free election propaganda, etc., etc. And all this has been done in order
to prevent revolutionary representatives of the workers and peasants from
getting into the Third Duma, in order to fill the Duma with the liberal
and reactionary representatives of the landlords and factory owners.
This is the idea behind the dispersion of the Second State".
(J.V. Stalin: "The Dispersion of the Duma and the
Tasks of the Proletariat", in: "Works", Volume 2; Moscow; l9~3; p. 14).
The Third Party Conference
The Third Conference of the
RSDLP was held in August 1907 in Vyborg (Finland), attended
by 26 delegates of whom 15 were Bolsheviks and 11 Mensheviks.
The dissolution of the Second State Duma and the issue
of the new reactionary electoral law had caused the Socialist-Revolutionary
Party to revert to a policy of boycotting the elections to the Third State
Duma, and had revived boycotting among the Bolsheviks.
The leader of the boycottists at the conference was Aleksandr
Lenin moved a resolution at the conference which declared
that reaction prevailed in the country and would prevail for some years,
although it would inevitably be followed by a new upsurge; in the meantime
it was essential to take advantage of every legal
opportunity and, in particular, of the tribune afforded by the
Duma. The resolution was adopted by the conference.
The Third State Duma
Despite the decision of the Third Party Conference
to participate in the elections to the Third State Duma, many Bolsheviks
continued to oppose this. In the autumn of 1907 Lenin wrote a number of
articles on this question, the most famous of which "Against
the Boycott" - -- Was published as part of a pamphlet entitled
"Boycott of the Third Duma" , the other
part being written by Lev Kamenev and
entitled "For the Boycott!"
"The state of affairs now, in the autumn of 1907,
does not call for such a slogan and does not justify it. . . .
Without renouncing the application of the slogan of
boycott in times of an upsurge, when the need for such a slogan may seriously
arise, we must direct all our efforts towards the aim of transforming by
direct influence every upsurge in the labour movement into a general, wide,
revolutionary attack against reaction as a whole, against its very foundations".
(V. I. Lenin: "The Boycott: From the Notes of a Social-Democratic
Publicist", in: "Selected Works", Volume 3; London; l946; p.427).
The Third State Duma was convened in November 1907. By
reason of the new reactionary electoral system, left-wing
representation in the Duma was considerably reduced
from what it had been in the second, namely:
13 Trudoviks (Group of Toil), from l57 Trudoviks and
Social-Revolutionaries in the Second State Duma);
18 Social-Democrats (from 65 in the Second State Duma)
The Fourth Party Conference
The Fourth Conference of the
RSDLP was held in November 1907 in Helsingfors (Finland), attended
by 10 Bolsheviks, 4 Mensheviks, 5 representatives of the Social-Democratic
Party of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania, 3 representatives
of the Social-Democratic Party of the Latvian Region, and representatives
of the "Bund".
The main business of the conference was to discuss
the work of the Social-Democratic fraction in the newly elected Third
State Duma. The Mensheviks to whose faction a majority of the
Social-Democratic deputies belonged -- were in favour of the independence
of the deputies from Party control, while the Bolsheviks regarded it as
essential that the fraction should be guided by
the Party like any other section of Party members. The Bolshevik
resolution to this effect was adopted. This resolution also demanded that
the fraction should wage relentless war in the Duma on the pro-tsarist
majority, that it should under no circumstances curtail its' demands in
concession to reaction, and that its efforts should be primarily devoted
to using the Duma as a tribune for agitational purposes, in order to expose
to the masses the reactionary policy of the pro-tsarist parties.
1907 - 1908: The Move Abroad
Owing to the increased repression of the Stolypin regime,
which was extended to Finland despite the Finnish constitution, the Central
Committee was compelled to move from Russia to Geneva
towards the end of 1907. The publication of the illegal Bolshevik paper
"Proletary" was also transferred
In December 1907 Lenin moved from Geneva to Paris.
In February 1908 the first issue of the central organ
of the Party "Sotsial-Demokrat" (The
Social-Democrat) appeared in Russia. Following the arrest of its editors,
publication of the paper was transferred abroad, first to Paris, then to
Geneva. It continued to appear until January 1917.
The Menshevik leaders also moved abroad, and in February
1908 began to issue their organ "Golos Sotsial-Demokrata"
(The Voice of the Social-Democrat) . The first editorial board consisted
of Pavel Axelrod, Fedor Dan, Yuli Martov and Aleksandr
Martynov. It continued to appear until December 1911.
The movement among the Mensheviks to transform the
Party into a broad, legal Labour Party along British lines developed by
the summer of 1908 into a trend which the Leninists called "liquidationism",
since it aimed at the liquidation of the Party
as the revolutionary vanguard of the
"0ur Party organisations have all become reduced
in membership. Some of them -- namely, those whose membership was least
proletarian -- fell to pieces. The semi-legal institutions of the Party,
created by the revolution, were raided time after time. Things reached
such a state that some elements within the Party, which had succumbed to
the influence of that disintegration, began to ask whether it was necessary
to preserve the old Social-Democratic Party, whether it was necessary
to continue its work, whether it was
necessary to go 'underground' once more, and how this was to be done; and
the extreme Right (the so-called liquidationist trend) answered this question
in the sense that it was necessary to legalise ourselves at all costs,
even at the price of an open renunciation of the Party programme, tactics
and organisation. This was undoubtedly not only an organisational but also
an ideological and political crisis."
(V. I. Lenin: "On to the High Road"; in 'Works'; Volume
4; London; 1943; p. 3).
is ideologically connected with renegacy, . with opportunism.
. . But liquidationism is not only
opportunism. . . Liquidationism is opportunism that goes to the length
of renouncing the Party . . . The renunciation of the 'underground' under
the existing conditions is the renunciation of the old Party.
The August l908 Central Committee
Liquidationism is not only the 'liquidation' of the
old party of the working class; it also means the destruction of the class
independence of the proletariat, the corruption of its class-consciousness
by bourgeois ideas.
The liquidators are petty-bourgeois intellectuals,
sent by the bourgeoisie to sow the seeds of liberal corruption among the
workers. The liquidators are traitors to Marxism."
(V. I. Lenin: 'Controversial Questions"; in: ibid.;
p. 126-7, 131, 138).
In August 1908 a meeting of
the Central Committee of the RSDLP was held and the liquidator Mensheviks
opened their attack on the Party organisation by moving a resolution that
the Central Committee should be abolished as the leading organ of the Party
and converted into a mere information bureau. The motion was defeated,
and a Bolshevik motion
to convene a Party Conference was adopted.
At this meeting the Central Committee set up a Russian
Bureau of the Central Committee, composed of one representative
each of the Bolsheviks, the Mensheviks, the Polish Party, the Latvian Party
and the 'Bund', responsible, under the Central Committee, for the direction
of Party work within Russia. It also set up a Central
Committee abroad, composed of members of the Central Committee
residing outside Russia, responsible to the Russian Collegium.
"0tzovism" and "Ultimatumism"
From August l908 the Leninist tactics of combining
legal and illegal forms of struggle began to be attacked, riot only by
the liquidationists on the right, but also by a group of 'leftist'
Bolsheviks who demanded the renunciation
of all legal forms of struggle.
Since the main demand of this group of Bolsheviks was
the immediate recall of the Social-Democratic
Deputies from the Duma, they were called "Otzovists"
(from "otozvat", to recall)
Another group of ostensibly "leftist" Bolsheviks did
not demand the immediate recall of the Party's deputies, but demanded that
they should be presented with an ultimatum to correct their political
errors or be recalled. Lenin described these "ultimatumists"
(V. I. Lenin: "The Historical Meaning of the Internal
Party Struggle in Russia", in: ibid.; p. 514) .
The leading figures among the otzovists and ultimatumists
were Aleksandr Bogdanov,
Anatoly Lunacharsky, Leonid Krassin and Grigori Alexinsky.
In arguing in favour of recall, as did both otzovism
and ultimatumism, the adherents of these trends made great play with the
errors committed by the Social-Democratic deputies in the Duma who were
mainly Mensheviks. The Leninists replied that this was an argument for
correcting the errors,
not for recalling the deputies.
"The illegal Party must know how to use the legal
Duma fraction . . The most regrettable deviation from consistent proletarian
work would be to raise the question of recalling the fraction from the
We must at once establish team work in this field,
so that every Social-Democratic deputy may really feel that the Party is
backing him, that the Party is distressed over his mistakes and takes care
to straighten his path --so that every Party worker may take part in the
general Duma work of the Party. . . striving to subordinate the special
work of the fraction to Party propaganda and agitational activity as a
(V. I. Lenin: "On to the High Road", in: "Selected
Works", Volume 3; London; l943; p. 8, 9).
The Leninists strongly condemned
both otzovism and ultimatumism as "liquidationism in reverse",
since, like liquidationism; its aim was to liquidate one side of the Party's
"In the course of the bourgeois-democratic revolution
our Party was joined by a number of elements that were not attracted by
its purely proletarian programme, but mainly by its glorious and energetic
fight for democracy.
In these troubled times such elements more and more
display their lack of Social-Democratic consistency and, coming into ever
sharper contradiction with the fundamentals of revolutionary Social-Democratic
tactics, have been, during the past year, creating a tendency which is
trying to give shape to the theory of otzovism and ultimatumism.
Politically, ultimatumism at the present time is indistinguishable
from otzovism; it only introduces greater confusion and disintegration
by the disguised - character of its otzovism. By
their attempt to deduce from the specific application of the boycott of
representative institutions at this or that moment of the revolution that
the policy of boycotting is a distinguishing
feature of Bolshevik tactics in the period of counter-revolution also --
ultimatumism and otzovism demonstrate that these trends are in essence
the reverse side of Menshevism, which preaches indiscriminate participation
in all representative institutions- irrespective of the given stage of
development of' the revolution. . . .
0tzovist-ultimatumist agitation has already begun
to cause definite harm to the labour movement and to Social-Democratic
Bolshevism as a definite tendency . . has nothing
in common with otzovism and ultimatumism and . . the Bolshevik faction
must more resolutely combat these deviations from the path of revolutionary
(V.I. Lenin: Resolution of the Meeting of' the Enlarged
Editorial Board of 'Proletary': "On Otzovism and Ultimatumism", in: ibid.;
p. 19, 20-21).
The Struggle on Two Fronts
From August 1908, therefore, the
Leninists carried on a struggle on the question of Party organisations
on two fronts:
on the one hand, and against "leftist" otzovism and
ultimatumism on the other hand.
"Three and a half years ago all the Marxists. . had
unanimously to recognise two deviations
from the Marxian tactics. Both deviations were recognised as dangerous.
Both deviations were explained as being due, not to accident, not to the
evil intention of individual persons but to
the 'historical situation of the labour movement in the given period.
from Marxism are generated by the "bourgeois influences
over the proletariat".
(V. I.Lenin: "Controversial Questions" in: Ibid; p.129,
"The Bolsheviks have actually carried on, from August
1908 to January l910, a strugg1e on two fronts, i.e., a struggle against
the liquidators and the otzovists".
(V. I. Lenin: "Notes of a Publicist", in: ibid.; p.
The reaction following the defeat of the 1905 Revolution
led to a revival of' idealist philosophy among
the Russian intelligentsia, including some Social-Democrats.
During 1908 a number of books were published which
claimed to bring Marxism "up-to-date". The most important of these was
a symposium entitled "Studies in the Philosophy
of Marxism", published in St. Petersburg, the leading contributors
to which were Aleksandr Bogdanov and
Following the lines of an earlier work by -Bogdanov "Empirio-Criticism"
(l904-06)-- this attempted to combine
Marxist philosophy with the idealist philosophy of Ernst Mach and Richard
Avenarius to produce a "synthesis" which they called "empirio-criticism".
"A number of writers, would-be Marxists, have this
year undertaken a veritable campaign against the philosophy of Marxism.
In the course of less than half a year four books devoted mainly and almost
exclusively to attacks on dialectical materialism have made their appearance.
These include first and foremost 'Studies in (? --- it would have been
more proper to say 'against') the Philosophy of Marxism'".
(V.1. Lenin: Preface to the First Edition of "Materialism
and Empirio-Criticism"; in: 'Selected Works'; Volume 11; London; l943;
In September 1908 Lenin completed a long philosophical
work, "Materialism and Empirio-Criticism",
published in May 1909, in which he attacked and exposed these works of
"Behind the mass of new terminological devices, behind
the litter of erudite scholasticism, we invariably discerned two
principal alignments, two fundamental trends in the solution of philosophical
problems, Whether nature, matter, the physical, the external world be taken
as primary, and mind, spirit, sensation (experience - as the widespread
terminology of our time has it) , the psychical, etc., be regarded as secondary
-- that is the root question which in fact
continues to divide the philosophers into two
The theoretical foundations of this philosophy (i.e.,
empirio-criticism -- Ed.) must be compared -with those of dialectical materialism.
Such a comparison . . reveals, along the whole
line of epistemological problems, the thoroughly
reactionary character of empirio-criticism, which uses new artifices,
terms and subtleties to disguise the old errors of idealism
and agnosticism. Only utter ignorance of the nature of philosophical
materialism generally and of the nature of Marx's and Engels' dialectical
method can lead one to speak of a 'union' of empirio-criticism and Marxism.
Behind the epistemological scholasticism of empirio-criticism
it is impossible not to see the struggle of parties in philosophy, a struggle
which in the last analysis reflects the tendencies and. ideology of the
antagonistic classes in modern society. The contending parties essentially,
although concealed by a pseudo-erudite quackery of new terms or by a feeble-minded
non-partisanship, are materialism and idealism. The latter is merely a
subtle, refined form of fideism, which stands fully armed, commands vast
organisations and steadily continues to exercise influence
on the masses, turning the slightest vacillation in philosophical thought
to its own advantage. The objective, class role played by empirio-criticism
entirely consists in rendering faithful service to the fideists in their
struggle against materialism in general and historical materialism in particular".
(V.I. Lenin: "Materialism and Empirio-Criticism",
in: ibid: p.385-6, 405, 406).
Among some Social-Democrats the revival of idealist
philosophy took the form of trying to reconcile
Marxist philosophy and religion.
In l908, Anatoly Lunacharsky
published "Religion and Socialism"
in which he described Marxism as a "Natural,
earthly, anti-metaphysical, scientific and human-religion".
Shortly afterwards Maxim Gorky
wrote a novel entitled "A Confession",
in which a character prays to the people with the words:
"Thou art my God, O sovereign people, and creator
of all the gods, which thou hast formed from the beauties of the spirit
in the travail and torture of thy quest..
And the world shall have no other gods but thee, for
thou art the only god that works miracles.
This . . .is my confession and belief".
(M. Gorky: "A Confession"; London 1910; p. 320).
Gorky carried this idea forward in his articles and letters.
"One does not seek for Gods -one
(M. Gorky: "The Karamazov Episode Again", cited-by:
V. I. Lenin: Letter to A. M. Gorky, November 14th,1913, in:
ibid.; p. 675).
The Leninists strongly attacked
the concept of "God Building".
"I cannot -and will not have anything to do with
people who have set out to propagate unity between scientific socialism
(V.I.Lenin: Letter to A.M.Gorky, April , 1908; In:
"Socheniya"; Volume 34; Moscow; 1950; p.343.)
"God seeking no more differs from god-building, or
god-making, or god-creating or the like than a yellow devil differs from
a blue devil . .
Every religious idea, every idea of god, even every
flirtation with the idea of god, is unutterable vileness, vileness that
is greeted very tolerantly (and often even favourably) by the democratic
bourgeoisie -- and for that very reason it is vileness of the most dangerous
kind, 'contagion' of the most abominable kind. Millions of sins, filthy
deeds, acts of violence and physical
contagions are far more easily exposed by the crowd, and are therefore
far less dangerous, than the subtle,
spiritual ideas of a god decked out in the smartest 'ideological' costumes.
The Catholic priest who seduces young-girls (of whom I happened to read
in a German newspaper) is far less
dangerous to democracy than a priest without a frock, a priest without
a coarse religion, a democratic priest with ideas who preaches the making
and creating of a god. For the first priest is easily
exposed, condemned and ejected, whereas the second cannot be -ejected so
(V. I. Lenin: Letter to A. N. Gorky, November 14th.
1913; in: "Selected Works", Volume 11; London; l943; p. 675-6).
"You advocate the idea of god and god-building. .
This theory is obviously connected with the theory, or
theories, of Bogdanov and Lunacharsky. . . . And
it is obviously false and obviously reactionary.
The "Party Mensheviks"
You have gilded and sugar-coated the idea of the clericals,
the Purishkeviches, Nicholas II and Messieurs the Struves, for, in
practice, the idea of god helps THEM to keep the people in slavery.
By gilding the idea of-god, you gilded the chains with which they fetter
-the ignorant workers and muzhiks. . .
The idea, of god has always
deadened and dulled 'social- sentiments', for it substitutes a dead thing
for a living thing, and has always been an idea of slavery (the worst,
hopeless kind of slavery). The idea of god has never 'bound the individual
to society' but has always bound the
oppressed classes by belief in the
divinity of the oppressors."
(V. I. Lenin: Letter to A. N. Gorky, December 1913;
in: ibid; p. 678-9).
The Leninists considered that a truly united Party
could be brought about-only by a rapprochement between the Bolsheviks
on the one hand and a section of the Mensheviks on the other hand, those
representing the principal factions within the Party and the only ones
with significant mass influence. They estimated that a section of the Mensheviks
would move farther from reflecting the interests of the capitalist class
and nearer to reflecting the interests of the working class, so coming
to oppose liquidationism, to split off from the liquidator Mensheviks and
to support genuine, practical unity with the Bolsheviks.
In fact, towards the end of 1908 various groups of
Mensheviks in Moscow, and later in the Vyborg district of St. Petersburg,
passed resolutions sharply condemning the liquidator Mensheviks and their
A leading role in the splitting of the Mensheviks was
taken by Georgi Plekhanov,
who publicly dissociated himself from liquidationism, retired from the
editorial board of the organ of the liquidator Mensheviks, "Golos
Sotsial-Demokrata" (The Voice of the Social-Democrat), and began
to issue his own illegal journal "Dnevnik
Sotsial-Demokrata" (The Diary of a Social-Democrat) . In
this paper, Plekhanov vigorously attacked the liquidators and called upon
all Mensheviks who recognised the necessity of illegal work to rally together.
The Leninists called these anti-liquidationist Mensheviks "Party
"Factions are generated by the relations between
the classes in the Russian revolution. The Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks
only formulated answers to the questions put to the proletariat by the
objective realities of l905-97. Therefore, only the inner evolution of
these factions, the 'strong' factions
-- strong because of their deep roots, strong because their ideas correspond
to certain aspects of objective reality -- only the inner evolution of
precisely these factions is capable of securing a real fusion of the factions,
i.e- the creation of a genuinely and completely united party of proletarian
Marxian socialism in Russia. Hence the practical conclusion:
the rapprochement in practical work between these
two strong factions alone - and only in so far as they are purged of the
non-Social-Democratic tendencies of liquidationism and otzovism - really
represents a Party policy, a policy that really brings about unity, not
in an easy way, not smoothly, and by no means immediately, but in a real
way as distinguished from the endless quack promises of easy, smooth, immediate
fusion of "all" factions. . ..
In my discussions I suggested the slogan: 'rapprochement
between the two strong factions, and no whining over the dissolution of
(V. I. Lenin: "The New Faction of Conciliators or
the Virtuous", in: "Selected Works", Volume 4; London; l943; p. 93-4).
"The present split among the Mensheviks is not
accidental but inevitable.
The stand taken by certain Mensheviks justifies their
appellation 'Party Mensheviks'. They took their stand upon the struggle
for the Party against the independent legalists. .
Plekhanov was never a Bolshevik. We do not and never
will consider him a Bolshevik. But we do consider him a Party Menshevik,
as we do any Menshevik capable of rebelling against the group of independent
legalists and carrying on the struggle against them to the end. We regard
it as the absolute duty of all Bolsheviks in these difficult times, when
the task of the day is the struggle for Marxism in theory and for the Party
in the practical work of the labour movement, to do everything possible
to arrive at a rapprochement with such Social-Democrats"
(V. I. Lenin: "Notes of a Publicist", in: "Selected
Works", Volume 4; London; l943; p. 66, 67, 69).
"In my opinion, the line of the bloc (Lenin-Plekhanov)
is the only correct one: 1) this line, and it alone, answers to the real
interests of the work in Russia, which demand that all real Party elements
should rally together; 2) this line, and it alone, will expedite the process
of emancipation of the legal organisations from the yoke of the Liquidators,
by digging a gulf between the Menshevik workers and the Liquidators, and
dispersing and disposing of the latter. A fight for influence in the legal
organisations is the burning question of the day, a necessary stage on
the road towards the regeneration of the Party.; and a bloc is the only
means by which these organisations can be cleansed of the garbage of Liquidationists.
The plan for a bloc reveals the hand of Lenin -- he
is a shrewd fellow and knows a thing or two. But this does not mean that
any kind of bloc is good. A Trotsky bloc (he would have said 'synthesis')
would be rank unprincipledness.
A Lenin-Plekhanov bloc is practical because it is
thoroughly based on principle, on unity of views on the question of how
to regenerate the Party".
(J. V. Stalin:"Letter to the Central Committee of
the Party from Exile in Solvychegodsk, December 1910, in "Works", Volume
2; Moscow; l952; p. 2l5, 216).
The Leninists maintained that unity was possible only
with groups, which accepted the fundamental principles of Leninist strategy
and tactics, and of Leninist organisation.
There were some, however,
who stood for unity of the groups at any price, who minimised the differences
of principle between Bolsheviks and others and who demanded, that for the
sake of unity, the Leninists should make compromises in their principles.
Those people the Leninists called "conciliationists".
"Differences of opinion must be hushed up, their
causes, their significance, their objective conditions should not be elucidated.
The principal thing is to 'reconcile' persons and groups. If they do not
agree upon the carrying out of common policy, that policy must be interpreted
in such a way as to be acceptable to all. Live and let live. This is philistine
'concilationism', which inevitably loads to narrow-circle diplomacy. To
'stop up' the source of disagreement, to hush it up, to 'adjust' at all
costs, to neutralise the conflicting trends --it is to this that the main
attention of such 'concilationism' is directed".
(V. I. Lenin: "Notes of a Publicist", in: 'Selected
Works', Volume 4; London; l943; p. 4l).
The Leninists regarded concilationism as the product of
the same objective conditions which had produced the factions between which
it strove for agreement.
"Concilationism is the sum total of moods, strivings
and views which are indissolubly bound
up with the very essence of the historical
task set before the RDSLP during the period of the counter-revolution of
(V. I. Lenin: "The New Faction of Conciliators
or the Virtuous", in: ibid.; p. 93).
They recognised conciliationism as a partial
and concealed deviation from_Marxist prinicples, since_its aim was to secure
modifications by the Leninists of their Principles for the sake of unity.
"Conciliatioism . . really renders a most faithful
-service to the liquidators and the otzovists, and therefore constitutes
an evil all the more dangerous to the Party, the more cunningly, artfully
and floridly it cloaks itself with professedly Party, professedly anti-factional
(V. I. Lenin: "Notes of a Publicist", in: ibid.; p.
"The role of the conciliators during the period of
counter-revolution may be characterised by the following picture. With
immense efforts the Bolsheviks are pulling our Party wagon up a steep slope.
The liquidators -- Golos'-ites are trying with all their might to drag it
downhill again. In the wagon sits a
conciliator; he is a picture of tenderness. He has such a sweet face, like
that of Jesus. He looks the very incarnation of virtue. And modestly dropping
his eyes and raising his hands he exclaims: 'I thank: thee, Lord, that
I am not like one of these' -- a nod in the direction of the Bolsheviks
and Mensheviks -- 'vicious factionalists' who hinder all progress'. But
the wagon moves slowly forward and in the wagon sits the conciliator".
The Viennese "Pravda"
(V. I. Lenin: "The New Faction of Conciliators or
the Virtuous", in: ibid.; p. 110-11).
In the summer of 1907, following the Fifth Congress
of the RSDLP, Trotsky had moved to Berlin. Here he became intimate
with the right wing-leaders of the Social-Democratic Party of Germany.
As his biographer, Isaac Deutscher, expresses it:
"Curiously enough, Trotsky's closest ties were not
with the radical wing of German socialism, led by Rosa Luxemburg, Karl
Liebnicht and Franz Mehring, the future founders of the Communist Party,
but with the men . . who maintained the appearances of Marxist orthodoxy,
but were in fact leading the party to its surrender to the imperialist
ambitions of the Hohenzollern empire".
(I. Deutscher "The Prophet Armed Trotsky: 1879-1921";
London: 1970; p.162).
Trotsky contributed frequently to the SPG's daily "Vorwarts"
(Forward) and to its monthly 'Neue Zeit'
(New Life), on which his influence was strong.
In those articles Trotsky
reiterated his attacks on the "sectarianism" of the Bolsheviks, alleging
"Boycottist tendency runs through the whole history
of Bolshevism -- the boycott of the trade unions, of the State Duma, of
the local government bodies, etc."
(L.. Trotsky: Article in "Neue Zeit", No.50, cited
in: V. I. Lenin: "The Historical Meaning of the Internal Party Struggle
in Russia", in: Selected Works', Volume 3; London; l946; p.505),
". . result of the sectarian fear of being swamped
by the masses"
(L. Trotsky: ibid.; p. 505).
To which Lenin replied: -
"As regards the boycott of the trade unions and the
local government bodies, what Trotsky says is positively
untrue.. It is equally untrue to say that
boycottism runs through the whole history of Bolshevism; Bolshevism as
a tendency took definite shape in the spring and summer of l905, before
the question of the boycott first came up.
In August 1906 in the
official organ of the faction, Bolshevism declared that the historical
causes which called forth the necessity of the boycott had passed. Trotsky
Trotsky further declared that both the Bolshevik and the
actions, and the Party itself were "falling to
pieces". To this Lenin replied:
"Failing to understand the historical-economic significance
of this split in the epoch of the counter-revolution, of this falling
away of non-Social-Democratic elements
from the Social-Democratic Labour Party, Trotsky tells the German readers
that both factions are 'falling to pieces,'
that the Party is 'falling to pieces', that the Party is becoming
(V. I. Lenin: ibid.; p. 505.)
This is not true. And this untruth expresss.. first
of all, Trotsky's utter lack of theoretical understanding. Trotsky absolutely
fails to understand 'why the Plenum described both liquidationism and otzovism
as the manifestation of bourgeois influence over the proletariat'. Just
think: is the severance from the Party of trends which have been condemned
by the Party and which express the bourgeois
influence over the proletariat, the collapse of the Party, the disintegration
of the Party, or is it the strengthening and purging of the Party?"
(V. I. Lenin: ibid.; p. 5l5)
The German government refused to allow Trotsky to stay
in Berlin, and he moved shortly to Vienna.
However he maintained his influence in the press of the Social-Democratic
Party of Germany, the leaders of which continued to regard him as "the
authority", on the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party.
"It is time to stop being naive about the Germans,
Trotsky is now in full command there.. . It's Trotsky and Co. who are writing,
and the Germans believe them. Altogether, Trotsky is boss in 'Vorwarts'".
(V. I. Lenin: "Letter to the Bureau of the CC of the
RSDLP", April 16th. 1912, in: "Collected Works"Volume 35; Moscow;
1966; p. 34, 35).
Trotsky remained in Vienna for seven years, and there
he became intimate with the right-wing leaders of the Austrian Social-Democratic
Party - Victor Adler, Rudolf Hilferding, Otto Bauer an& Karl Renner.
He became Vienna correspondent of the daily newspaper "Kievskaya
Mysl" (Kievan Thought), and contributed to a number of other
In October 1908, Trotsky began to edit a small run-down
paper called "Pravda"
(Truth), started in l905, by the pro-Menshevik Ukrainian
Social-Democratic League ("Spilika") At the end of 1908, the
group abandoned the paper, and it became Trotsky's own journal. Published
in Vienna from November 1909, it continued to appear until December 1913.
The principal regular contributors to the Viennese
"Pravda", under Trotsky, were Aleksandr Skobolev
(a student-who later became Minister of Labour in the Kerensky government)
Adolf Yoffe (who committed suicide
in 1927-in protest at Trotsky's expulsion from the Party), David
Ryazanov (later director of the Marx-Engels Institute) and Victor
Kopp (later a Soviet diplomat).
As Lenin commented in October 1911:
"'Pravda" represents a tiny group, which has not
given an independent and consistent answer to any-important
fundamental question of the revolution and counter-revolution".
(V. I. Lenin: "The New Faction of Concilators or the Virtuous"
in: "Selected Works", Volume 4; London; l943; p. 106).
Under Trotsky the Viennese -"Pravda"
became the principal organ of conciliationism, as Lenin repeatedly
pointed out, describing Trotsky as a
(V. I. Lenin: "Notes of a Publicist", in: "Selected
Works", Volume 4; London; l943; p. 60).
"During the period of the counter-revolution of 1908-11
. . Trotsky provides us with an abundance of instances of unprincipled
Trotsky himself admits:
"My inner party stand was a concilationist
one. . The great historical significance of Lenin's policy was still unclear
to me at that time, his policy of irreconcilable ideological demarcation
and, when necessary split, for the purpose of welding and tempering the
core of the truly revolutionary party.
(V. I. Lenin: "The New Faction of Conciliators or
the Virtuous", in: ibid.; p. 93, l05.)
By striving for unity at all-costs, I involuntarily
and unavoidably idealised centrist tendencies in Menshsvism".
(L. Trotsky: "The Permanent Revolution"; New York;
1970; p. 173).
In fact, Trotsky elaborated in this period a
"theory" of conciliationism, based on the erroneous concept
that factions expressed, not the interests of different classes, but "the
influence of the intelligentsia" upon the working class:
"Trotsky expressed conciliationism more consistently
than anyone else. He was probably the only one who attempted to give this
tendency a theoretical foundation. This is the foundation: factions and
factionalism-expressed the struggle of the intelligentsia 'for influence
over the irmiature proletariat'. . . .
The opposite view (i.e. the Leninist view - Ed.) is
that the factions are generated by the relations between the classes in
the Russian revolution".
(V. I. Lenin: "The New Faction of Conciliators or
the Virtuous", in: "Selected Works", Volume 4; London; l943; p. 93).
Trotsky attempted to give substance to his "non-factional"
pose by articles in which he attacked as "anti-revolutionary"
both the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks. In 1909, for example,
he wrote in Rosa Luxemburg's Polish paper "Przeglad
Socjal-Demokratyczny" (Social-Democratic Review):
"While the Mensheviks, proceeding from the abstraction
that 'our revolution is bourgeois', arrive at the idea of adapting the
whole tactic of the proletariat to the conduct of the liberal bourgeoisie,
right up to the capture of state power, the Bolsheviks, proceeding from
the same bare abstraction: 'democratic, not socialist dictatorship', arrive
at the idea of the bourgeois-democratic self-limitation of the proletariat
with power in its hands. The difference between them on this question is
certainly quite important: while the anti-revolutionary sides of Menshevism
are already expressed in full force today, the anti-revolutionary features
of Bolshevism threaten to become a great danger only in the event of the
victory of the revolution."
(L. Trotsky: Article in "'Przeglad Socjal-Demokratyczny",
cited in: L. Trotsky: "The Permanent Revolution"; New York; 1970; p. 235-36).
However, Lenin pointed out that,
under the guise of "non-factionalism", Trotsky was, in fact, forming his
"That Trotsky's venture is an attempt to create a
faction is obvious to all now".
(V. I. Lenin: "The Historical Meaning of the Internal
Party Struggle in Russia", in: "Selected Works"; Volume 3; London; l943;
"We were right in referring to Trotsky as the representative
of the 'worst remnants of factionalism'. .
Trotsky's faction, declared Lenin,
vacillated in theory from one of the major factions to the other:
"Trotsky completely lacks a definite ideology and
policy, for having the patent, for 'non-factionalism', only means . . having
a patent granting complete freedom to flit from one faction to another".
Although Trotsky professes to be non-factional, he
is known to all who are in the slightest degree acquainted with the labour
movement in Russia as the representative of "Trotsky's faction" -- there
is factionalism here, for both the essential characteristics of it are
present: 1) the nominal recognition of unity, and 2) group segregation
in reality. This is a remnant of factionalism, for it is impossible to
discover in it anything serious in the way of contacts with the mass labour
movement in Russia.
Finally it is the worst kind of factionalism, for
there is nothing ideologically and politically definite about it."
(V.I.,Lenin: "Violation of Unity under Cover of Cries
for Unity", in: "Selected Works"; Volume 4; London; l943; p. 191, 192).
(V. I. Lenin: ibid.; p. 191-92).
"Trotsky, on the other hand; represents only his own
personal vacillations and nothing more. In l903 he was a Menshevik; he
abandoned Menshevism in l904, returned to the Mensheviks in l905 and merely
flaunted ultra-revolutionary phrases; in 1906 he left them again; at the
end of 1906 he advocated elect-oral agreements with the Cadets (i.e., was
virtually once more with the Mensheviks) ; and in the spring of 1907, at
the London Congress, he said that he differed from Rosa Luxemburg on 'individual
shades of ideas rather than on political tendencies'. Trotsky one day plagiarises
the ideological stock-in-trade of one faction; next day he plagiarises
that of another, and therefore declares himself to be standing above
His "political line" asserted Lenin, is mere high flown
demagogy, characterised by revolutionary phrases, designed to deceive the
"The Trotskys deceive the workers. Whoever supports
Trotsky's puny group supports a policy of lying and deceiving the workers.
. . by 'revolutionary' phrase-mongering".
(V. I. Lenin: "The Historical Meaning of the Internal
Party Struggle in Russia in: 'Selected Works", Volume 3; London; l946;
(V. I. Lenin: "From the Camp of the Stolypin 'Labour'
Party", in: "Collected Works"; Volume 17; Moscow; 1963; p. 243).
"Empty exclamations, high-flown words. . and impressively
important assurances -- that is Trotsky's total stock-in-trade".
(V. I. Lenin: "The Question of Unity", in: "Collected
Works", Volume 18; Moscow; 1963; p.553) .
"Trotsky is fond of sonorous and empty phrases.
. . . Trotsky's phrases are full of glitter and noise, but they lack content.
. . . Trotsky is very fond of explaining historical events in pompous and
sonorous phrases, in a manner flattering to Trotsky".
This demagogy, asserted Lenin, is used to attempt to conceal
the fact that in practice Trotsky's faction supports, and
has the confidence of the liquidator Mensheviks and the otzovists:
"People like Trotsky, with his inflated phrases about
the RSDLP and his toadying to the liquidators, 'who have nothing in common'
with the RSDLP, today represents 'the prevalent disease'. At this time
of confusion, disintegration and wavering it is easy for Trotsky to become
the 'hero of the hour' and gather all the shabby elements around himself.
Actually they preach surrender to the liquidators who are building a Stolypin
(V. I. Lenin: "Violation of Unity under Cover of Cries
for Unity", in: ""Selected Works"; Volume 4; London; 1943; p. 189,192,
(V. I. Lenin: Resolution Adopted By the Second Paris
Group of the RSDLP on the State of Affairs in the party", in:
"Collected Works", Volume 17: Moscow; 1963; p. 216).
"Trotsky and the 'Trotskyites and conciliators'
like him are more pernicious than any liquidators; the convinced
liquidators state their views bluntly, and it is easy for the workers to
detect where they are wrong, whereas the Trotskys deceive
the workers, cover up the evil. . . Whoever supports Trotsky's puny group
supports a policy. . of shielding the liquidators. Full freedom of action
for Potresov and Co. in Russia, and the sheltering of their deeds by 'revolutionary'
phrase-mongering abroad - -- there you have the essence of the policy
(V. I. Lenin: "From the Camp of the Stolypin 'Labour
Party'", in: ibid.; p. 243).
"Trotsky's particular task is to conceal liquidationism
by throwing dust in the eyes of the workers. It
is impossible to argue with Trotsky on the merits of the issue, because
Trotsky holds no views whatever. We can and should argue with confirmed
liquidators and otzovists; but it is no use arguing with a man whose game
is to hide the errors of both trends; in his case the thing is to expose
him as a diplomat of the smallest calibre".
(V. I. Lenin: "Trotsky's Diplomacy and a Certain Party
Platform", in: ibid.; p. 362).
"Trotsky follows in the wake of the Mensheviks and
camouflages himself with particularly sonorous phrases. . .
The Menshevik leader Yuli Martov
endorsed Lenin's estimate of Trotsky in a letter dated May 1912:
"The logic of things compels Trotsky to follow the
Menshevik road, despite all his reasoned pleas for some 'synthesis' between
Menshevism and Bolshevism. . -. He has not only found himself in the camp
of the 'liquidators', but he is compelled to take up there the most 'pugnacious'
attitude towards Lenin".
In theory Trotsky is in no respect
in agreement with either the liquidators or the otzovists, but in actual
practice he is in entire agreement
with both the 'Golos'-ites and the 'Vperyod'-ists. . .
Trotsky . . enjoys a certain amount of confidence
exclusively among the otzovists and
(V. I.Lenin : "The Historical Meaning of the Internal
Party Struggle" in Russia, in: "Selected Works", Volume 3; London; 1946;
p. 499, 517).
(Y. Martov: Letter, May 1912, cited in: "Pisnia P.
B. Axelroda i Y. 0. Martova". (Letters of P. B.Axelrod and Y. 0. Martov);
Berlin, 1924; p. 233). \
1909: The Fifth Party Conference
The Fifth Conference of the RSDLP
was held in Paris in January 1909, attended by 18 delegates (6 Bolsheviks,
I Mensheviks, 5 representatives of the Social-Democratic Party
of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania, and 3 representatives of the "Bund").
The conference adopted a Bolshevik resolution which
defined liquidationism as:
" . the attempts of a certain section of the Party
intelligentsia to liquidate the existing organisation of the Russian Social-Democratic
Labour Party and substitute for it an amorphous association within the
limits of legality at all costs, even if this legality is to be attained
at the price of an open renunciation of the programme, tactics and traditions
of our Party (Resolution on Organisation, 5th. Conference of RSDLP, cited
by V. I. Lenin. "Excerpts from the Resolutions of the Prague Conference
of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party"; in: "Selected Works";
Volume 4; London; 1943; p. 151),
and instructed the Party to wage
a determined struggle against this deviation:
"The All-Russian Conference of the Russian Social-Democratic
Labour Party recognises that the following constitute the fundamental tasks
of the Party at the -present time: . . .
3) to strengthen the Russian Social-Democratic Labour
Party in the shape it assumed during the revolutionary period; . . to fight
against deviations from revolutionary Marxism, against the curtailment
of the slogans of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party, and against
the attempts to dissolve the illegal organisations -of the RSDLP that are
observed among certain Party elements, which have yielded to the influence
(V. I. Lenin: Draft Resolution on the Present Situation
and the Tasks of the Party, in: ibid.; p. 15).
The "Proletary" Conference
In June 1909 the editorial
board of the Bolshevik newspaper "Proletary" (The Proletarian)
called a conference in Paris to which leading Bolsheviks were invited.
Although called officially an "enlarged editorial conference" it was, in
fact, a Bolshevik Conference.
The conference adopted a-resolution to the effect that
otzovism, ultimatumism,_Machism_and god-building
were all incompatible with membership of the Bolshevik faction,
and the adherents of these trends were declared to have placed themselves
outside the faction:
"At an official meeting of its representatives held
as far back as the spring of 1909, the Bolshevik faction repudiated and
expelled the otzovists. "
(V. I. Lenin: "The Historical Meaning of the Internal
Party Struggle in Russia", in: "Selected Works", Volume 3; London; 1946;
The conference drew attention to the emergence of the
"Party Mensheviks", and declared:
"Under such circumstances, the task of the Bolsheviks,
who will remain the solid vanguard of the Party, is not only to continue
the struggle against liquidationism and all the varieties of revisionism,
but also to establish closer contact with the Marxian and Party elements
of the other factions."
(V. I. Lenin: Resolution of the Meeting of the Enlarged
Editorial Board of "Proletary" - on "The Tasks of the Bolsheviks in the
Party", in: 'Selected Works," Volume 4; London 1943; p. 23-24).
The "Vperyod" Group
From August to December 1909 a number of otzovists
and god-builders who had been expelled from the Bolshevik faction at the
enlarged meeting of the editorial board of in June, held a "school"
on the island of Capri (Italy).
The leading figures in the school were Grigori
Alexinsky, Aleksandr Bogdanov and Anatoly Lunacharsky,
with the participation of Maxim Gorky.
In December 1909 a number of lecturers at the Capri
school, together with a number of prominent Bolsheviks including Vyacheslav
Menzhinsky, Dmitri Manuilsky and Mikhail Pokrovsky
formed themselves into a new faction which they named
"Vperyod"(Forward.) The name was selected because it was that of the paper
published by the Bolshevik "Bureau of the Committees of the Majority" in
l904, in order to lend support to the group's claim that its members were
"true Bolsheviks" and that the Leninists were now "betraying Bolshevism".
As Lenin characterised the faction:
"'Vperyod' represents a non-Socialist-Democratic
tendency (otzovism and Machism)" ..
(V. I. Lenin: "The New Faction of Conciliators or
the Virtuous."",Lenin "Selected Works"., Volume 4; London; l943; p. 106).
Analysing the programme put forward by the "Vperyod" group,
Lenin criticised it for its deviations towards
otzovism in the sphere of political tactics and towards reactionary
idealism in the sphere of philosophy:
"The platform of the "Vperyod" is permeated through
and through by views which are incompatible with Party decisions. . .
In actual fact
otzovist tactical conclusions follow from the view adopted by the 'vperyod'
By putting forward in its platform the task of elaborating
a so-called 'proletarian philosophy', 'proletarian culture', etc., the
'Vperyod' group in fact comes to the defence of the group of literati who
are putting forward anti-Marxist views in this field. . . .
By declaring otzovism a 'legitimate shade of opinion',
the platform of the 'Vperyod' group shields and defends otzovism, which
is doing great harm to the Party".
(V. I. Lenin: 'The 'Vperyod' Group", in: "Collected
Works"; Volume 16; Moscow; 1963; p.145-6).
"Everyone knows that it is precisely Machism that is
really implied by the term ''proletarian philosophy'. In fact, the most
influential literary nucleus of the group is Machian, and it regards non-Machian
philosophy as non-'proletarian'. . . . In reality,
all the phrases about 'proletarian culture' are intended precisely to cloak
the struggle against Marxism."
In the winter of 1910-11 the 'Vperyod' group organised
a second 'school' at Bologna
(Italy), Here Trotsky acted
as one of the lecturers, together with Yuli Martov
and Aleksandra Kollontai.
V.I. Lenin: "Notes of a Publicist", in: 'Selected
Works', Volume 4; London; l943; p. 35-6).
1910: The January 1910 Central
In January 1910, against the opposition of Lenin
who considered the circumstances inopportune, a
meeting of the Central Commiittee of the RSDLP
was held in Paris, attended by representatives of the Bolsheviks,
the Mensheviks, the "Party Mensheviks", the Social-Democratic Party of
the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania, the Social-Democratic Party
of the Latvian Region, the "Vperyod" group, the Viennese group, and the
"Bund'. Lenin's opposition to the holding of the Central Committee at this
time was due to his awareness that a number of
Bolsheviks -- including Alexel Rykov,
Solomon Lozovsky, Lev Kamenev, and Grigori Sokolnikov,
had adopted a concilationist position.
Despite this, the Leninists were able to secure the
unanimous adoption of a resolution
which condemned both otzovism and liquidationism, although without
specifically naming them.
"The historical situation of the Social-Democratic
movement in the period of the bourgeois counter-revolution inevitably gives
rise, as a manifestation of the bourgeois influence over the proletariat,
on the one hand to the renunciation of the illegal Social-Democratic Party,
this debasement of its role and importance, the attempts to curtail the
programme and tactical tasks and slogans of consistent Social-Democracy,
etc.; on the other hand, it gives rise to the renunciation of the Duma
work of Social-Democracy and of the utilisation of the legal possibilities,
the failure to understand the importance of either, the inability to adapt
the consistent Social-Democratic tactics to the peculiar historical conditions
of the present moment, etc.
An integral part of the Social-Democratic tactics under
such conditions is the overcoming of both deviations by broadening and
deepening the Social-Democratic work in all spheres of the class struggle
of the proletariat and by explaining the danger of such deviations".
(Resolution of Plenum of Central Committee of the RSDLP,
January 1910, cited by V. I. Lenin: "Controversial Questions", in: "Selected
Works", Volume 4; London; 1943; p. 129).
Lenin's draft resolution used the phrase "fight
on two fronts", but this was altered by the meeting, on
Trotsky's motion, to the phrase "overcoming . . by broadening
"The draft of this resolution was submitted to the
Central Committee by myself, and the clause in question was altered by
the plenum itself . . on the motion of Trotsky, against whom I fought without
success. . . . The words 'overcoming by means of broadening and deepening'
were inserted on Trostsky's motion. . . "
Nothing at the plenum aroused more furious and often
comical -- indignation than the idea of a 'struggle on two fronts'. . .
Trotsky's motion to substituite 'overcoming by means
of broadening and deepening' for the struggle on two fronts' meet with
the hearty support of the Mensheviks and the 'Vperyod'-ists. . . .
In reality this phrase expresses a vague desire, a
pious innocent wish that there should be less internal strife among the
Social-Democrats! . . it is a sigh
of the so-called conciliators."
(V. I. Lenin: "Notes of a Publicist', in: ibid.; p.
Despite it's dilution by the concilationists, Lenin considered
this resolution as "especially important":
"This decision is especially important because it
was carried unanimously: all the Bolsheviks, without exception,
all the so-called 'Vperyod'-ists, and finally (this is most important of
all) all the Mensheviks and the present
liquidators without exception, and also all the 'national' (i.e., Jewish,
Polish and Lettish) Marxists endorsed this decision".
(V. I. Lenin: "Controversial Questions ", in: ibid.;
However, the conciliationists managed to secure the adoption
of a number of other resolutions at
the Central Committee meeting:
1) to dissolve all factional groups;
So far as the last point was concerned, the Bolsheviks
transferred their funds to three trustees - the leaders of the
Social-Democratic Party of Germany, Karl Kautsky, Franz Mehring and Clara
Zetkin -- until it could be shown that the other factions had
carried out the decisions adopted at the Central Committee meeting.
2) to discontinue the Bolshevik paper "Proletary"
and the Menshevik paper "Golos Sotsial-Demokrata";
3) to grant Trotsky's Viennese "Pravda"' a subsidy
from Party funds and to delegate a representative of the Central Committee
to sit as co-editor along with Trotsky;
4) to set up an editorial board for the Party's central
organ, "Sotsial-Demokrat" (The Social-Democrat) consisting of two Bolsheviks
(Lenin and Zinoviev), two Mensheviks (Martov and Dan, and one representative
of the Polish Party (Waraki);
5) to initiate a "Discussion Sheet" in conjunction
with the central organ, open to representatives of trends which differed
from the line of the Party;
6) to establish the seat of the Central Commitee in
7) to transfer all funds in the possession of factional
centres to the general Party treasury.
The Leninists characterised this series of decisions
as a conciliationist error,
since it secured the dissolution of the Bolshevik faction in return for
a worthless verbal promise from the other factions.
The Violation of the CC Decisions
"Both the ideological merit of the plenum and its
conciliationist error become clear.
Its merit lies in its rejection of the ideas of liquidationism and otzovism;
its mistake lies in indiscriminately concluding an agreement with persons
and groups whose deeds do not correspond to their promises ( 'they signed
(V. I. Lenin: "The New Faction of Conciliators or
the Virtuous", in: ibid.; p. 101).
"The conciliators recognised all and sundry tendencies
on 'their mere promise to purge themselves, instead of recognising only
those tendencies which are purging themselves (and only in so far as they
do purge themselves) of their "ulcers". The 'Vperyod'-ists, the 'Golos'
ites and Trotsky all 'signed' the resolution against otzovism and liquidationism
-- that is, they promised to 'purge themselves' -- and that was the end
of it! The conciliators 'believed' the promise and entangled the Party
with non-Party grouplets, 'ulcerous' as they themselves admitted."
(V. I.. Lenin: 'The Climax of the Party Crisis' in.
ibid; p. 115).
The Bolsheviks dissolved
their factional organisation and wound up their factional Paper 'Proletary'
(The Proletarian), in accordance with the decisions of the January
1910 meeting of the Central Committee.
however, declined to dissolve their factional organisation, their factional
paper "Golos Sotsial-Demokrata' (The Voice of the Social-Democrat)
or to break with liquidationism.
In fact, they began to publish in St. Petersburg a new
legal monthly magazine called "Nasha Zarya" (Our
Dawn) (which continued to appear until 1914) and continued to
publish in Moscow their legal journal "Vozrozhdeniye"
(Regeneration). And in August 1910 the Mensheviks began to issue in Moscow
the magazine "Zhizn"(Life) (which, appeared until September 1910), while
in January 1911 they began to issue in St. Petersburg the legal magazine
"Dyelo Zhizni" (Life's Cause)
(which appeared until October 1941).
In all these publications, as well as in "Golos
Sotsial-Deniokrata"; which continued to appear regularly, the
Mensheviks continued to put forward openly liquidationist views:
In various articles from June 1910 onwards, Lenin drew
attention to the fact that the liquidator Menshviks had failed to carry
out the decisions of the January 1910 Central Committee meeting:
"A party in the form of a complete and organised hierarchy
of institutions does not exist"
(P. Potresov: Article in "Nasha Zarys", No. 2, February
1910, p. 61, cited in: V. I. Lenin: "Notes Of a Publicist", in: "Selected
Works", Volume 4; London; l943; p. 53).
"There is nothing to wind up and -- we on our part
would add -- the dream of re-establishing this hierarchy in its old underground
form is simply a harmful reactionary utopia".
(Editorial in "Vozrozhdeniye", No. 5, April 12th.,
1910, p. 51, cited in V.I.Lenin: ibid.; p. 53).
"The tactics which are to be observed in
the activities of the so-called 'liquidators' are the 'tactics' which put
the open labour movement in the centre, strive to extend it in every possible
direction, and seek within this open
labour movement and there only the elements for the revival of the party".
(Y.Martov: "Article in "Zhizn", No. 1, September 12th.,
1910, p. 9-l0; cited in: V. I. Lenin: 'The Social Structure of State Power,
the Prospects and Liquidationism"; in:ibid.; p. 84).
"In the new historical period of Russian life that
has set in, the working class must organise itself not 'for revolution',
not 'in expectation of a revolution', but simply for the determined and
systematic defence of its special interests
in all spheres of life; for the gathering
and training of its forces for this many-sided and comlex activity; for
the training and accumulation in this
way of socialist consciousness in general; for acquiring the ability
to find one's bearings -- to stand up for oneself".
(Y. Larin: "Right Turn and About Turn!", in: "Dyelo
Zhizni", No. 2, p..18, cited in: V. I. Lenin: ibid.; p. 90).
"Great political tasks make inevitable a relentless
war against anti- liquidationism. ., . Anti-liquidationism is a constant
brake, constant disruption."
(F. Dan: "Article in "Nasha Zarya", No. 6, 1911, cited
by: J. V. Stalin: "The Situation in the Social-Democratic Group in the
Duma ", in: "Works", Volume 2; Moscow; 1953; p. 385).
The 'Vperyod'-ists, on the other hand, continued to support
toleration of otzovism within the Party:
"During that year (1910), the 'Golos'-ites, the 'Vperyod'-ists,
and Trotsky, all in fact, estranged themselves from the Party and moved
precisely in the direction of liquidationism and otzovism-ultimatumism".
(V. I. Lenin: "The Climax of the Party Crisis", in:
ibid; p. 116).
"Since that very plenum of 1910, the above-mentioned
principal publications of the liquidators. . have turned decidedly and
along the whole line towards liquidationism, not only by 'belittling' (in
spite of the decisions of the plenum) 'the importance of the illegal Party';
but directly renouncing the Party, calling it a 'corpse', declaring the
Party to be already dissolved, describing the restoration of an illegal
Party as a 'reactionary Utopia', heaping calumny and abuse on the illegal
Party in the pages of the legal magazines".
(V. I. Lenin: Resolution on Liquidationism and the
Group of Liquidators, Sixth Conference of the RSDLP, in: Ibid.; p. 152)
"All the liquidationist
newspapers and magazines... after the most definite and even-unanimous
decisions have been adopted by the Party, reiterate thoughts and arguments
that contain obvious liquidationism. . . .
The truth proved by the documents I have quoted, which
cover a period of more than five years (.1908-13), is that the liquidators,
mocking all the Party decisions, continue to abuse and bait the Party,
i.e., 'illegal work'".
(V.- I. Lenin: "Controversial Questions", in:. ibid.;
In September 1910, Trotsky expelled
Lev Kamenev, the officical representative of the Central Committee of the
Party, from the editorial board of 'Pravda' denouncing:
"'Vperyod', No. 3 (May 1911) . . openly
states that otzovism is a 'completely legitimate
tendency within our Party' (p. 78)".
(V.I. Lenin: 'The New Faction of Conciliators Or the
Virtuous', in; ibid.; p. 107).
Lenin declared that Trotsky's expulsion of the CC representative
from the editorial board of "Pravda" confirmed the already expressed view
of the Bolsheviks that, under the guise of "non-factionalism", Trotsky
was, in fact, endeavouring to form a faction:
"The conspiracy of the émigré clique (i.e., the Bolsheviks
-- Ed.) against the Russian Social-Democratic Labour party";
(L. Trotsky: "Pravda', No. 21, 1910),
and adding threateningly:
"Lenin's circle, which wants to place itself above
the Party, will find itself outside it'.
(L. Trotsky: ibid).
The fact that Trotsky's professed desire for unity of
the factions concealed his support in practice for the Menshevik liquidators
and otzovists is shown by his failure to condemn
these factions for their repudiation of the conciliationist decisions to
which all actions had agreed at the January 1910 meeting
"That Trotsky's venture is an attempt to create a
faction is obvious to all now, after obvious to all now, after Trotsky
has removed the representative of the Central Committee from 'Pravda'".
(V. I. Lenin: "The Historical Meaning of the Internal
Party Struggle in Russia": In 'Selected Works'; Volume 3; London; 19~6;
As Trotsky's sympathetic biographer Isaac
Deutscher expresses it:
Lenin expressed, himself more forthrightly on Trotsky's
attitude in an article entitled "Judas Trotsky's Blush of Shame":
"This was the occasion on which Trotsky, the champion
of unity, should have spared the offenders against unity no censure. Yet
in 'Pravda' he 'suspended judgement' and only mildly hinted
at his disapproval of the Mensheviks' conduct.. . . Trotsky took his stand
against the disciplinarians. Having done so, he involved himself in glaring
inconsistencies. He, the fighter for unity, connived in the name of freedom
of dissent at the new breach in the Party brought about by the Mensheviks.
He, who glorified the underground with zeal worthy of a Bolshevik; joined
hands with those who longed to rid themselves of the underground as a dangerous
embarrassment. Finally, the sworn enemy of bourgeois liberalism allied
himself with those who stood for an alliance with liberalism against those
who were fanatically opposed to such an alliance. . . .
So self-contradictory an attitude brought him nothing
but frustration. Once again to the Bolsheviks he appeared not just an opponent,
but a treacherous enemy. . . Martov made him turn a blind eye more than
once on Menshevik moves which were repugnant to him. His long and bitter
quarrel with Lenin made him seize captiously on every vulnerable detail
of Bolshevik policy. His disapproval of Leninism he expressed publicly
with the usual wounding sarcasm. His annoyance with the Mensheviks he vented
mostly in private arguments or in 'querulous' letters".
(I. Deutscher: "The Prophet Armed: Trotsky: 1879-1921";
London; 1970; p.. 195, 196).
The liquidator Menshevik members
of the Central Committee, now based in Russia by the decision
of the January 1910 meeting of the Central Committee and so compelled to
function illegally, refused to attend the CC on
the grounds that all illegal organisations were "objectionable" and "harmful".
The conciliationist members of the Central Committee
refused to agree to meetings of the Central Committee without the liquidator
Mensheviks, on the grounds that such meetings
would be "unrepresentative".
"At the Plenary Meeting Judas Trotsky made a big show
of fighting liquidationism and otzovism. He vowed and swore that he was
true to the Party. He was given a subsidy. . .
Judas expelled the representative of the Central Committee
from 'Pravda' and began to write liquidationist articles in 'Vorwarts'.
In defiance of the direct decision of the School Commission appointed by
the Plenary Meeting to the effect that no Party lecturer may go to the
'Vperyod' factional school, Judas Trotsky did go and discussed a plan for
a conference with the 'Vperyod' group. . . Such is Judas Trotsky's blush
(V. I. Lenin: "Judas Trotsky's Blush of Shame"; in:
"Collected Works"; Volume 17; Moscow; l963; p.45) .
The result was that for a considerable period after the
January 1910 meeting of the Central Committee, all
practical Party work was carried out by the
Bolsheviks and the Party Mensheviks", the latter led by Georgi
"And what about the work in Russia? Not a single
meeting of the Central Committee was held during the whole year! Why? Because
the members of the Central Committee in Russia (conciliators who well deserved
the kisses of 'Golos Likvidatorov') kept on 'inviting' the liquidators
for a year and a quarter but never got them to 'accept the invitation'".
(V. I. Lenin: "The Climax of the Party Crisis", in:
1910-1911: The Bolsheviks Re-form
"All Party work .. during the whole of that year (i.e.,
1910 -- Ed.) was done by the Bolsheviks and the Plekhanovists. . .
This Party work (in literature, which was accessible
to all) was conducted by the Bolsheviks and the Plekhanovists in
spite.. of the 'conciliatory' resolutions
and the collegiums formed by the plenum, and not in conjunction with the
'Golos'-ites and the 'Vperyod'-ists, but against
them (because it was impossible to work in conjunction with the liquidators
(V. I. Lenin: ibid.; p. 115, 116).
Considering in September l910 that the repudiation
of the January 1910 Central Committee decisions had been sufficiently demonstrated;
in this month the Bolsheviks funded their own
factional nowspaper "Rabochaya Gazeta"'
(Worker's Newspaper), published in Paris under the editorship of
Lenin. The Sixth Party Confercnce in January 1912, transformed this paper
into the official organ of the Party's Central Committee, and it continued
to appear until August 1912.
In December 1910 the Bolsheviks announced formally that
they considered themselves
released from all the obligations imposed by the January 1910 Central Committee
meeting since its decisions had been consistently flouted by
the liquidator Mensheviks.
"The first factional
step the Bolsheviks took was to found "Rabochaya Gazeta" in September
(V. I. Lenin. "The New Faction of Conciliators or
the Virtuous", in "Selected Works" Volume 4; London; l943; p.
In the same month, December 1910, the Bolsheviks began
publication in Russia of' the legal newspaper "Zvezda"
(The Star) - published at first weekly and then two or three times a week,
in St. Petersburg until its suppression by the tsarist government in April
1912. "Zvedzda", was succeeded by "Nevskaya Zvezda"
(The Neva Star) , until this too was suppressed in October 1912. They also
began to issue the legal magazine "Mysl" (Thought),
published monthly in Moscow until April 1911.
"By their 'declaration' of December 18, 1910, the
Bolsheviks openly and formally declared that they cancelled the agreement
with all the other factions. The violation of the 'peace' made at the plenum,
its violation by 'Golos', 'Vperyod' and Trotsky, had become a fully recognised
(V.I. Lenin: "The Climax of the Party Crisis", in
In May 1911 the Bolsheviks
broke off relations with the Central Corrinittee
Bureau Abroad, which was dominated
by liquidator Mensheviks.
1911: The June 1911 Meeting of
CC Members Living Abroad
"For a year and a half, from January 1910
to June 1911, when they had a majority in the Foreign Bureau of the Central
Committee and faithful 'friends' in the persons of the conciliators in
the Russian Bureau of the Central Committee, they did nothing, absolutely
nothing to further the work in Russia!"
(V. I. Lenin: 'The Climax of the Party Crisis", in:
ibid.; p. 121).
"The rupture between the Bolsheviks . . . and the Foreign
Bureau of the Central Committee is a correction
of the conciliationist mistake of the plenum. The rapprochement of the
factions which are actually fighting
against liquidationism end otzovism will now proceed despite
the forms decided on by the plenum, for these forms did not correspond
to the content".
(V. I. Lenin: "The New Faction of Conciliators or
the Virtuous", in: ibid.; p. 101).
In June 1911, on the initiative of Lenin,
a meeting of Central Committee members living- abroad
was held in Paris, attended by representatives of the Bolsheviks, the "Party
Mensheviks" the Social-Democratic Party of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania,
and the Social-Democratic Party of the Latvian Region.
The meeting set up an Organising
Commission Abroad, charged with the calling of an All-Russian Conference.
This, in turn, set up a Technical Comminion
Abroad, to deal with technical questions such as publishing, transport,
From its inception the Organising Commission Abroad
had a majority of conciliationist members and, to avoid bringing about
a break with the liquidator Mensheviks, it
did not proceed with the work of calling a
conference. In November 1911 therefore, the Bolshevik
members withdrew from it.
The Russian Organising Commission
In July 1911 the Bolshevik member of the Central Committee
in Paris sent Grigori Ordzhonikidze
to Russia to work there for the calling of a Party Conference. As a result
of Ordzhonikidze's activity, a meeting of representatives of local Party
organisations set up in November 1911 a 'Russian
Organising Commission" charged with making all arrangements for convening
of a Party Conference.
This commission, composed of Bolsheviks and "Party
Mensheviks", made arrangements for the convening of the Sixth Party Conference
in Prague in January 1912.
In December 1911 the Bolsheviks began publication in St.
Petersburg of a legal monthly magazine "Prosveshceniye"
(Enlightenment) to succeed "Mysl", suppressed by the Tsarist government.
This in turn was suppressed by the tsarist government in June l914, but
a double number appeared in the autumn of 1917.
"By November l4, the Russian
Organisation Committee was formed. In reality, it was created
by the Bolsheviks and by the Party Mensheviks in Russia. 'The alliance
of the two strong factions' (strong in their ideological solidarity and
in their work of purging 'ulcers') became a fact".
(V.I. Lenin: "The Climax of the Party Crisis", in:
"Selected Works", Volume 4; London; 1943, p. 118)
In the same month, December 1911, a
meeting of Bolshevik groups abroad took place in Paris, with
the aim of unifying the Bolshevik groups abroad for the forthcoming Party
conference. It was attended by 11 voting delegates, under the leadership
1912: The Sixth Conference
of the RSDLP
To remedy the intolerable situation created by Menshevik
domination of the Central Committee, which refused either to be active
or to convoke a congress, a conference of the Party was convened in January
1912 on the initiative of the Bolsheviks - the
Sixth Conference of the- RSDLP.
More than twenty organisations of the Party were represented
at the conference, including those of St. Petersburg, Moscow, Kiev, Ekaterinoslav,
Nicolayev, Saratov, Kazan, Vilna, Dvinsk, Tiflis and Baku. The Mensheviks
refused to attend except for a small group of "Party Mensheviks".
The conference elected a Bolshevik Central
Committee, headed by Lenin, and this in turn set up a new Russian
Bureau of the Central Committee, headed by Stalin,
to direct the practical work of the Party within Russia.
A resolution drafted by Lenin and adopted by the conference
reviewed the anti-Party activities of the liquidator Mensheviks, who were
grouped around the magazines "Nasha Zarya" (Cur Dawn) and "Dyelo Zhizni"
(Life's Cause), and declared them to be now "outside
The Bolsheviks regarded the Sixth Party Conference as
of great significance since, by the expulsion of the liquidator Mensheviks,
it created for the first time a truly united Party
based on Leninist principles:
"The Conference declares that the group represented
by 'Nasha Zarya' and 'Dyelo Zhizni' has by its behaviour, definitely placed
itself outside the Party'.
(V. I. Lenin: Resolution on Liquidationism and the
Group of Liquidators, Sixth Conference RSDLP, in: "Selected Works", Volume
4; London; l943; p. 152).
The Bolshevik "Pravda" (Truth)
"The conference was of the utmost importance in the
history of our Party, for it drew a boundary line between the Bolsheviks
and the Mensheviks and amalgamated the Bolshevik organisations all over
the country into a united Bolshevik Party".
(J. V. Stalin: Report to the 15th. Congress of the
CPSU (B.), cited in: "History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
(Bolsheviks)". Moscow; 194l; p. l42).
The liquidator Mensheviks and the group around Trotsky's
"Pravda" (Truth) refused to recognise the Sixth Party Conference as "legitimate":
Trotsky, in particular, denounced the Conference
virulently in the pages of "Pravda" (e.g., "Pravda" No. 24,
1912) and anonymously in the pages of "Vorwarts". His anger was intensified
when, on May 5th., 1912, the Bolsheviks began publication in St. Petersburg
of a daily newspaper under the name of "Pravda", edited by Stalin;
Trotsky thundered against the "theft" of "his" paper's name by the:
"Neither the liquidators nor the numerous groups living
abroad (those of . . Trotsky and others). . recognised our January 1912
(V. I. Lenin: "Socialism and War", in: "Collected
Works", Volume 18; London; n.d.; p. 255).
and demanded that the Bolshevik paper change its
name, concluding threateningly:
"The circle whose interests are in conflict with vital
needs of the Party, the circle which lives and thrives only through chaos
("Pravda", No. 25; 1912),
Lenin wrote to the editorial board of the Bolshevik "Pravda":
"We wait quietly for an answer before we undertake
and Stalin commented drily that Trotsky was merely:
"I advise you to reply to Trotsky through the post:
"To Trotsky (Vienna) .
We shall not reply to disruptive and slanderous letters"; Trotsky's dirty
campaign against 'Pravda' is one mass of lies and slander.."
(V. I. Lenin: "Letter to the Editor of Pravda", July
19th., 1912, in: "Collected Works", Volume 35; Moscow; 1966; p. 41),
"The Organisation Committee"
". . .a vociferous champion with fake muscles".
(J. V. Stalin: "The Elections in St. Petersburg",
in: "works"; Volume 2; Moscow; l953; p. 288).
From the autumn of 1910 Trotsky began preparations
to try to unite all the anti-Bolshevik elements associated with the Russian
Social-Democratic Labour Party into a single bloc
which, by calling a conference in the name of the Party, might usurp the
name and machinery of the Party.
As Lenin put it:
In November 1910 Trotsky secured the passage through the
Vienna Club of the Russian Social-Democratic Party of a resolution setting
up a fund for the purpose of convening such a
conference. Lenin commented:
"Trotsky groups all the enemies of Marxism. Trotsky
unites all to whom ideological decay is dear; . . . all philistines who
do not understand the reasons for the struggle and who do not wish to learn,
think and discover the ideological roots of the divergence of views".
(V. I Lenin: Letter to the Russian Collegium of the
Central Committee of the RSDLP, in: "Collected Works", Volume 17; 1963;
"On the 26th November, 1910, Trotsky carried
through a resolution in the so called Vienna Party Club (a circle of Trotskyites,
exiles who are pawns in the hands of Trotsky) . . . . Trotsky's attacks
on the bloc of Bolsheviks and Plekhanov's group are not new; what is new
is the outcome of his resolution; the Vienna Club (read 'Trotsky') has
organised a 'general Party fund for the purpose of preparing and convening
a conference of the RSDLP'.
This . . is a clear violation of Party legality and
the start of an adventure in which Trotsky will come to grief".
(V. I. Lenin: ibid; p. 19, 20)
In March 1912 Trotsky attempted to take advantage of the
expulsion of the liquidator Mensheviks from the Party by calling a
preliminary conference in Paris, attended by delegates of the
various organisations (some purely fictitious) the leaderships of which
were opposed to the Bolsheviks: the Social-Democratic Party of the Latvian
Region, the "Caucasian Regional Committee" of the RSDLP, the Bund, the
Menshevik group around the newspaper "Golos Sotsial-Demokrata" (The Voice
of the Social-Democrat), the "Vperyod" (Forward) Group, and the group around
Trotsky's Viennese "Pravda".
"Trotsky's resolution.. . expresses the very aim of
the 'Golos' group -- to destroy the central bodies
so detested by the liquidators, and with them, the Party as an organisation.
It is not enough to lay bare the anti-Party activities of 'Golos' and Trotsky;
they must be fought".
(V. I. Lenin: "The State of Affairs in the Party",
in: ibid.; p. 23).
The meeting denounced the Sixth Party Conference,
and the Central Committee elected by it, as "illegitimate":
The conference set up an "Organisation
Committee" with the official aim of convening a "legitimate
"The conference declared that the conference (i.e.,
the Sixth Party Conference of the RSDLP -- Ed) is an open
attempt of a group of pcrsons, who
have quite deliberately led the Party to a split, to
usurp the Party's flag, and it expresses its profound regret
that several Party organisations and comrades have fallen victims to this
deception and have thereby facilitated
the splitting and usurpatory policy of Lenin's
sect. The conference expresses its
conviction that all the Party organisations in Russia and abroad will protest
against the coup d'etat that has been brought
about, will refuse to recognise the central bodies elected at
that conference, and will by every means help to restore the unity of the
Party by the convocation of a genuine all-Party conference".
(Resolution of March 1912 Paris conference in: "Vorwarts";
(Forward), March 26th., 1912).
Lenin pointed out that Trotsky's role' in the projected
anti-Bolshevik bloc was to screen the liquidator
Mensheviks with "left"demagogic phrases:
The Revolutionary Revival
"The basis of this bloc is bloc is obvious:
the liquidators enjoy full freedom to pursue their line . . 'as before',
while Trotsky, operating abroad, screens them with
r-r-revolutionary phrases, which cost him nothing
and do not bind them in any way".
(V. I. Lenin: "'The Liquidators against the Party",
in: "Collected Works", Volume 18; Moscow; 1963; p. 24).
During the first half of 1912 the
revolutionary movement in Russia began to revive.
In April 1912; during a strike in the Lena goldfields
in Siberia, more than 500 workers were killed or wounded by tsarist police.
The workers replied with mass strikes and demonstrations, which reached
their highest point on May Day.
The "August Bloc"
In August 1912 the anti-Bolshevik conference, to prepare
which the "Organisation Committee" had been set up in March, took place
in Vienna under the leadership of Trotsky, Martov and Dan.
The organisations represented at the conferences --organisations
which together formed what the Party called the "August
1) liquidator Mensheviks grouped around the paper
The "Vperyod" group withdrew from the conference on its
first day, and a "Bolshevik" who attended from Moscow was subsequently
exposed as a police agent.
2) The liquidator Menshevik group around "Nevsky Golos"(The
Voice of the Neva), a legal newspaper published in St. Petersburg from
May to August 1912;
3) The "Caucasian Regional Committee of the Social-Democratic
Labour Party". (described by Lenin as a fictitious body), a group of Mensheviks
from the Caucusus headed by Noah Jordania);
4) The Ukrainian social-democratic organisation 'Spillka";
5)The seven Menshevik Duma deputies;
6) The "Vperyod" group;
7) The Social-Democratic Party of the Latvian Region;
8) The group around Trotsky's Viennese "Pravda".
Representatives of the Polish Socialist Party (not
the Polish Social-Democratic Party) and of the Lithuanian Social-Democratic
Party attended as observers.
The conference adopted a resolution calling for the
adaptation of the Party organisation to the "new forms and methods of the
open Labour Movement'.
It adopted a new programme virtually in line with that
of the liberal capitalists in order to make it acceptable to the tsarist
government and enable the new party which was planned to emerge from the
conference to function legally.
It also adopted a resolution on "national-cultural
autonomy" in violation of the national programme of the RSDLP
(to be discussed in the next section).
The "Organisation Committee"
continued in existence.
Seventeen years later Trotsky commented critically
on his role in initiating the formation of the "August Bloc";
"In 1912, when the political curve in Russia took
an unmistakable upward turn, I made an attempt to call a union
conference of representatives of all the Social-Democratic factions. .
. Lenin, however, came out with all his force against union. The entire
course of events that followed proved conclusively that Lenin was right.
The conference met in Vienna in August 1912, without the Bolsheviks, and
I found myself formally in a 'bloc' with the Mensheviks and
a few disparate groups of Bolshevik dissenters. This 'bloc' had no common
(L. Trotsky: "My Life"; New York; 1970; p. 224-5).
The policy of "cultural-national
autonomy" is based on the erroneous theory that nations are
composed of individuals of a particular nationality, irrespective of the
territory they inhabit. On the basis of this theory, the proponents of
"cultural-national autonomy" propose that within a particular state there
should be "separate bodies" with jurisdiction over the cultural affairs
of each "nation"", bodies elected by individual persons of each nationality
represented within the frontiers of the state concerned.
In l899, under the influence of Otto
Bauer and Karl Renner, "cultural-national autonomy" had been
included in the programme of the Austrian Social-Democratic Party:
"What then is the national programme of the Austrian
Social-Democrats? It is expressed in two words: cultural-national autonomy.
This means, firstly, that -autonomy would be granted, let us say, not to
Bohemia or Poland, which are inhabited mainly by Czechs and Poles, but
to Czechs and Poles generally, . . no matter what part of Austria they
inhabit. That is why this autonomy is called national
and not territorial.
It means, secondly, that the Czechs, Poles, Germans,
and so on, scattered over the various parts of Austria, taken personally,
as individuals, are to be organised into integral nations, and are as such
to form part of the Austrian state. In this way Austria would represent
not a union of autonomous regions, but a union of autonomous nationalities,
constituted irrespective of territory.
It means, thirdly, that the national institutions which
are to be created for this purpose for the Poles, Czechs, and so forth,
are to have jurisdiction only over 'cultural' not 'political' questions.
Specifically political questions would be reserved for the Austrian parliament
That is why this autonomy is also called cultural,
Lenin and Stalin strongly opposed the definition of a
"nation" put forward by the "cultural-national autonomists" as well as
their political proposals:
"'Cultural-national autonomy implies precisely the
most refined and, therefore, the most harmful nationalism, it implies the
corruption of the workers by means of the slogan of national culture and
the propaganda of the profoundly harmful and even 'anti-democratic' segregating
of the schools according to nationality. In short, this programme undoubtedly
contradicts the internationalism of the proletariat and is in accordance
only with the ideals of the nationalist petty bourgeoisie".
(J. V. Stalin: "Marxism and the National Question",
in: "Works"; Volume 2; Moscow; 1953 p. 331-2).
(V. I. Lenin: "The National Programme of the RSDLP",
in: "Collected Works", Volume 19; Moscow; 1963; p. 54l).
"'cultural-national autonomy' . . aims at introducing
the most refined, most absolute and most extreme nationalism. . Consolidating
nationalism within a certain 'justly' delimited sphere, 'constitutionalising'
nationalism, and securing the separation of all nations from one another
by means of a special state institution -- such is the ideological foundation
and content of cultural-national autonomy. This idea is thoroughly bourgeois
and thoroughly false. The proletariat cannot support any consecration of
nationalism; on the contrary, it supports everything that helps to obliterate
national distinctions and remove national barriers; it supports everything
that makes the ties between nationalities closer and closer. . To act differently
means siding with reactionary nationalism'.
(V. I. Lenin: "Critical Notes on the National Question"
in: "Questions of National Policy and Proletarian Internationalism"; Moscow;
l967; P. 26,. 28)
"The idea of national autonomy creates the psychological
conditions for the division of the united workers' party into separate
parties built on national lines. The break-up of the party is followed
by the breakup of the trade unions, and complete segregation is the result.
In this way the united class movement is broken up into separate national
At its Fourth Congress in 1901, the General
Jewish Labour League of Lithuania, Poland and Russia (known as the "Bund")
had adopted a resolution declaring the Jewish people to be a "nation" and
demanding "national autonomy" for the Jewish people within the Russian
state. As Stalin pointed out, the autonomy demanded by the Bund could only
be cultural-national autonomy:
"The Bund could seize upon any autonomy at all, it
could only be . . cultural-national
autonomy; there could be no question of territorial--political autonomy
for the Jews, since the Jews have no definite integral territory."
(J.V. Stalin: "Marxism and the National Question";
In: "Works", Volume 2; Moscow; l953; p. 342-3).
(J. V. Stalin: "Marxism and the National Question",
in: "Works", Volume 2; Moscow; l953; p. 347).
At the Second Congress of the Russian Social-Democratic
Labour Party (to which the Bund was affiliated) in July/August 1903, the
Bund had proposed that the Party's Programme should include the demand
for "cultural-national autonomy". The proposal
was rejected, only three votes being cast in its favour, and
the Bund withdrew from the congress and (until 1906) from the Party.
The conference of the anti-Bolshevik "August Bloc"
in August 1912 adopted a resolution on this question which declared:
"The Caucasian comrades expressed the opinion that
it is necessary to demand national-cultural autonomy. This conference,
while expressing no opinion on the merits of this demand, declares that
such an interpretation . . . does not contradict the precise meaning of
(Resolution on National-Cultural Autonomy, "August
Conference", cited in: J. V. Stalin: "Works," Volume 2; Moscow; l953; p.
Stalin commented on this resolution:
"It was not only the laws of logic that were violated
by the conference of the Liquidators. By sanctioning cultural national
autonomy it also violated its duty to Russian Social-Democracy. It most
definitely did violate 'the precise meaning' of the programme, for it is
well known that the Second Congress; which adopted the programme, emphatically
repudiated cultural-national autonomy".
(V. I. Lenin: "Marxism and the National Question",
in: "Works", Volume 2; Moscow; l953;- p. 370).
It was this controversy on cultural-national autonomy
which stimulated Stalin to write, in
Vienna in 1913, the classic Marxist work on the national question, "Marxism
and the National Question", published in March-May l913.
Lenin approved heartily of Stalin's work:
"As regards nationalism, . . we have a marvellous
Georgian who has sat down to write a big article for 'Prosveshcheniye',
for which he has collected all the Austrian and other material".
(V.I. Lenin: Letter to Maxim Gorky, February 1913,
in: "Collected Works"; Volume 35; Moscow; 1966; p. 84).
"This situation and the fundamentals of a national
programme for Social-Democracy have recently been dealt with in Marxist
theoretical literature (the most prominent place being taken by Stalin's
(V. I. Lenin: "The National Programme of the RSDLP",
"Collected Works", Volume 19; Moscow; 1963; p. 539)
The campaign of the liquidator Mensheviks for a legally
tolerated "open labour party" was associated with the concept that the
"backward" Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party should "Europeanised"
i.e. transformed into a social-democratic party of the tyep existing in
Western Europe, where capitalist "democracy" had long been established
and, furthermore, where the domination of opportunist trends was already
clearly discernible. Trotsky played an important role in this campaign
for the "Europeanisation" of the Russian Party:
"The vaunted 'Europeanisation' . . .is being talked
about in every possible tone by Dan and Martov and Trotsky and all the
liquidators. It is one of the main points of their opportunism. . . The
liquidators play at 'European Social-Democracy',
although -- in the country where they amuse themselves with their game
-- there is as yet no constitution,
as yet no basis
for 'Europeanism'', and a revolutionary struggle has
yet to be waged for them . . The liquidators describe as 'Europeanism'
the conditions in which the Social-Democrats have been active in the principal
countries of Europe since 1871, i.e.,
precisely at the time when the whole historical period of bourgeois revo1utions
was over and when the foundations of
political liberty had taken firm shape for a long time to come.
Opportunist intellectuals transplant the slogans of
such 'European' campaigns to a soil
lacking the most elementary foundations
of European Constitutionalism, in an attempt to bypass
the specific historical evolution which usually precedes the laying of
(V. I. Lenin: "How P. B. Axelrod Exposes the Liquidators",
in: "Collected Works", Volume 18; Moscow; 1963; p. l83-4; 185; 186).
1912-1913: Trotsky in the Balkans
Within a few weeks of the founding conference, it was
clear to Trotsky that the "August Bloc" had already
been proved abortive. He says in
his autobiography, referring to September 1912:
"The August conference had already proved to be abortive"
(L. Trotsky: "My Life"; New York; 1970; p. 226.)
In this month he was offered the post of Balkan
correspondent to the newspaper "Kievskaya Mysl" (Kievan Thought),
and he left Vienna in October, just as there began the First Balkan War
(October-December 1912) between Turkey on the one hand and Serbia, Greece,
Montenegro and Bulgaria on the other. This was continued as the Second
Balkan War (January-May 1913). The Viennese "Pravda" ceased publication
in December l912.
Trotsky returned briefly to Vienna at the beginning
of 1913, and then returned to the Balkans to cover the Third Balkan War
(June-August 1913) between Serbia and Greece on the one hand and Bulgaria
on the other.
The 1912 Duma Elections
In July 1912 the Third State Duma was formally dissolved,
and the elections for the Fourth State Duma
took place in the autumn.
The Bolsheviks and the Menshevik dominated "August
Bloc" put forward rival candidates for the Duma. The Bolshevik candidates
went to the working people on a revolutionary
"The Social-Democratic Party needs a platform for
the elections to the Fourth Duma in order once more to explain to the masses
. . the need for, the urgency, the inevitability
of the revolution. . . .
The Social-Democratic Party wishes to utilise the elections
in order, over and over again, to stimulate
the masses to see the need for revolution; to see precisely the revolutionary
revival which has begun. Therefore the Social-Democratic Party, in its
platform, says briefly and plainly to the electors to the
Fourth Duma : not constitutional
reforms, but a republic, not reformism, but revolution."
The "August Bloc", on the other hand, put forward a platform
based on the demand for democratic reforms,
falsely implying that these could be obtained without revolution through
mass pressure of the working people upon the tsarist regime:
"Look at the platform of the liquidators. Its liquidationist
essence is artfully concealed by Trotsky's revolutionary phrases.
(V. I. Lenin: "The Platform of the Reformists and
the Platform of the Revolutionary Social-Democrats", in: "Selected Works",
Volume 4; London; 1943; p. l84-5).
Our answer is - criticism of the utopia of constitutional
reforms, explanation of the falsity of hopes placed in them, all possible
assistance to the revolutionary upsurge,
utilisation of the election campaign for that purpose. . .
They, the liquidators, need a platform 'for'
the elections, i.e., in order politely to push back the consideration
of' a revolution as an indefinite contingency and to declare as 'real'
the election campaign for a list of constitutional reforms. . .
The liquidators are using the elections to the Fourth
Duma in order to preach constitutional reforms and to weaken
the idea of revolution".
(V.I. Lenin: ibid.; p. 180, l84, 185).
Of the nine deputies elected from the workers' curiae,
six were Bolsheviks; they were elected from the larger industrial centres,
where four-fifths of the working class was concentrated. Seven liquidator
Mensheviks were elected, the majority from non-working class curiae.
These deputies -- the Bolshevik "Six" and
the Menshevik "Seven" -- at first formed a single "Social-Democratic" fraction
in the Duma, which opened in November 1912. The fraction elected Nikolai
Chkheidze, -the Georgian Menshevik
leader, as its Chairman.
The "Vperyod" Group Cooperate
with the Bolsheviks
In November 1912 the "Vperyod"
group severed their connection with the "August Bloc" and offered
their cooperation to the Bolsheviks.
Lenin accepted the offer of cooperation gladly but
"I am ready to share with all my heart in your joy
at the return of the 'Vperyod' group, if
. . if your supposition is justified
that 'Machism, god-building and all that nonsense has been dumped for ever',
as you write. . . I underline -'if' because this, so far, is still a hope
rather than a fact. . . .
I don't know whether Bogdanov, Bazanov, Volsky (a
semi-anarchist), Lunacharsky, Alexinsky, are capable
of learning from the painful experience of 1908-11. Have they
learned that Marxism is a more serious
and more profound thing than it seemed to them, that one cannot
scoff at it. . If they have understood this -- a thousand greetings to
them. . . But if they haven't understood it, then . against attempts to
abuse Marxism or to confuse the policy of the workers' party we shall fight
without sparing our lives".
(V. I. Lenin: Letter to Maxim Gorky, January 1913,
in: "Collected Works", Volume 35; Moscow; 1966; p. 70, 71).
1913: The January 1913 Conference
In January 1913 a conference
of the Central Committee of the RSDLP with leading Party workers was
held in Cracow (Poland).
One resolution adopted by the conference noted the
revolutionary revival that had marked the year 1912 and declared that one
of the immediate tasks of the Party was:
"The organisation of revolutionary street demonstrations,
both in conjunction with political strikes and as independent manifestations".
(Resolution of January 1913 Conference, cited in:
N. Popov: "Outline History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union";
London; n.d: p. 282).
The conference once again condemned
liquidationism, placing on record that, following the "August
Bloc" conference, the liquidator Mensheviks were advocating with still
"a) an open party;
b) their opposition to the illegal organisations;
c) their opposition to the Party programme (as expressed
in their defence of national-cultural autonomy, the demand for the revision
of the agrarian laws of the Third Duma, the slurring over of the demand
for a republic, etc.;
d) their opposition to revolutionary mass strikes;
e) their approval of reformist and exclusively legal
Accordingly, one of the tasks of the Party is, as
formerly, to wage determined warfare against the liquidationist groups
'Nasha Zarya' and 'Luch', and to explain to the working class masses the
sinister character of their teachings".
(Resolution of January 1913 Conference, cited in N.
P.Popov: ibid.; p. 282-3).
The conference advocated the
unification from below of the existing illegal working class organisations,
in contrast to the unity from above proposed by the conciliators.
Lenin, who attended the Conference, considered that
"Very successful and will play its part".
(V. I. Lenin: Letter to Maxim Gorky, January 1913,
in: "Collected Works", Volume 35; Moscow; 1966; p. 77).
Trotsky's Letter to Chkheidze
In "April 1913 Trotsky wrote a
letter to Nikolai Chkheidze, Chairman
of the Duma Menshevik fraction, in which he said:
"And what a senseless obsession is the wretched squabbling
systematically provoked by the master squabbler, Lenin . . , that professional
exploiter of the backwardness of the Russian, working class movement. .
. The whole edifice of Leninism at the present time is built up on lies
and falsifications and bears within it the poisoned seed of its own disintegration".
(L. Trotsky: Letter to Nikolai Chkheidze, April 1913,
cited in: N.Popov,:, "Outline History of the Communist Party of the Soviet
Union"; Volume 1; London; n.d.; p. 289).
Sixteen years later Trotsky did not challenge the
authenticity of the letter:
"My letter to Chkheidze against Lenin was published
during this period (i.e., l924- Ed.). This episode, dating back to April
1913, grew out of the fact that the 'official Bolshevik newspaper then
published in St. Petersburg had appropriated the title of my Viennese publication,
'The Pravda -- a Labour Paper'. This led to one of those sharp conflicts
so frequent in the lives of the foreign exiles. In a letter written to
Chkheidze, I gave vent to my indignation at the Bolshevik centre and at
Lenin. Two or three weeks later, I would undoubtedly have subjected my
letter to a strict censor's revision; a year or two later still, it would
have seemed a curiosity in my own eyes. But that letter was to have a peculiar
destiny. It was intercepted on its way by the Police Department. It rested
in the police archives until the October revolution, when it went to the
Institute of History of the Communist Party".
(L. Trotsky: "My Life"; New York; 1970: p. 5l4-5),.
but described its use
by the leadership of the, CPSU in the campaign to expose the role of Trotsky
as "One of the 'greatest frauds in the world's history":
"In 1924, the epigones disinterred the letter from
archives and flung it at the party. . The people read Trotsky's hostile
remarks about Lenin and were stunned. . . The use "that the epigones made
of my letter to Chkheidze is one of the greatest frauds in the world's
history. The forged documents of the French reactionaries in Dreyfus case
are as nothing compared to the political forgery perpetrated by Stalin
and his associates".
(L. Trotsky: ibid.; p. 5l6)
In October 1913 another conference of the Central Committee
of the Party with leading Party workers, attended by 22 persons, was held
at Poropino (Polarid) -- a conference referred to in Party literature as
the"Summer" Conference of 1913.
One of the principal resolutions adopted by the Conference
dealt with the position of the Party's Duma fraction.
Since the seven Menshevik deputies had a majority in the fraction over
the six Bolshevik deputies, the latter were constantly being pressed, in
the name of "democracy", to adopt the rightist viewpoints of the majority.
The conference protested at the conduct of the seven Menshevik deputies
and decided that the bloc of six Bolshevik deputies, who were following
the political line of the Party's Central Committee, should have equal
rights with the bloc of Mensheviks.
The seven Menshevik deputies refused to accept this
resolution, and the Bolshevik "six" formed an independent "Russian
Social-Democratic Workers' Fraction".
Another important resolution dealt with the
national question, and clarified the meaning
self-determination of nations", as the right of an oppressed nation
to secede and form an independent state:
"As regards the right of the nations oppressed
by the tsarist monarchy to self-determination, i.e., the right to secede
and form independent states, the Social-Democratic Party must unquestionably
champion this right".
(Resolution on the National Question, "Summer Conference",
1913, cited in: V. I. Lenin: "Collected Works", Volume 19; Moscow; 1963;
The delegation of the Social
Democratic Party of Poland and Lithuania at the "Summer Conference"
refrained from voting on the question of the right
of nations to self-determination,
"Declaring themselves opposed to any such right in
(V. I. Lenin: "On the Right of Nations to Self-Determination",
in: "Selected Works", Volume 4; London; l943; p.286).
The Polish delegation to the Second Congress of the Russian
Social-Democratic Labour Party in 1903 had similarly opposed recognition
of this right in the Programme Commission of the congress, but, receiving
no support, did not raise their objections in the full congress but withdrew
The Polish Party based their attitude on the ideas
put forward by Rosa Luxemburg in her
article "The National Question and Autonomy";
published in "Przeglad Socjal-Demokratyczny" (Social-Democratic Review)
Although the Polish Party rejoined the RSDLP in 1906,
its leaders continued to opposethe principle of
the right of nations to self-determination, and in March 1914,
Trotsky used this opposition to attack the Bolsheviks:
"The Polish Marxists consider that 'the right to
national self-determination' is entirely devoid of political
content and should be deleted from the programme".
(L. Trotsky: "Borba", No. 2, l914, p. 25).
Lenin replied to these
attacks in his article "On the Right of Nations
"Unless we in our agitation advance and carry
out the slogan of the right to secession
we shall play into the hands, not only of the bourgeoisie, but also of
the feudal landlords and of the absolutism of the oppressing
nation. . . In her anxiety not to 'assist' nationalistic bourgeoisie of
Poland, Rosa Luxemburg by her denial of the right
to secession in the programme of the Russian Marxists, is in
fact assisting the Great Russian Black Hundreds".
(V. I. Lenin: ibid.; p. 266).
And Lenin commented again on Trotsky's
role in such controversies:
"Trotsky has never yet held a firm opinion on any
serious question relating to Marxism; he always manages to creep into the
chinks of this or that difference of opinion, and desert one sided for
(V. I. Lenin: ibid.; p. 286).
1914: The Collapse of the "August
In February 1914 the Fourth Congress of the Social-Democratic
Party of the Latvian Region held in Brussels and attended by Lenin,
resolved to withdraw from the "August Bloc".
With the withdrawal of the Latvian Party, described
by Lenin as
"The only genuine organisation in the 'August
(V. I. Lenin: "Vio1ation of Unity under Cover of Cries
for Unity", in: "Selected Works", Volume 4; London; 1943; p.; l99),
The "August Bloc" collapsed.
"The August bloc turned out to be a fiction
(V. I. Lenin: ibid.; p. 199).
Shortly afterwards the "Caucasian
Regional Committee of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party"
-- in the shape of Noah Jordania --
considered it expedient to dissociate itself from the liquidator Mensheviks
on a number of questions.
With the collapse of the "August Bloc", in February
1914, Trotsky withdrew from the editorial board of the Menshevik paper
"Luch" (The Torch) and, together with
some of his Viennese supporters, began to publish a legal journal called
"Borba" (The Struggle), which continued
to come out until July 1914. In this paper, as Lenin noted, he
put forward liquidationist ideas in a disguised form.
"In his magazine Trotsky has tried to say as little
as possible about the essence of his views, but "Pravda" (No . 37) has
already pointed out that Trotsky has not uttered a word either on the question
of illegal work, or on the slogan of the struggle for an open party, etc.
But although Trotsky has avoided expounding his views
directly, a whole series of passages in his magazine -indicate the 'kind
of ideas he is stealthily introducing and concealing.
Trotsky repeats the liquidationist libels upon the
Party . . repeating . . what in essence
are their pet ideas".
(V. I. Lenin: 'Violation of Unity under Cover of Cries
for Unity", in: "Selected Works", Volume 4; London; l943; p. 203, 204,
The appearance of "Borba" stimulated Lenin
to write one of his fullest analyses of the disruptive role of Trotsky
and his supporters, the article "Violation of
Unity under Cover of' Cries for Unity", written in May
"Trotsky calls his new magazine 'non-factional'.
He puts this word in the forefront in his advertisements, he stresses it
in every way in the editorials of 'Borba'. . . Trotsky's 'workers' magazine'
is Trotsky's magazine for the workers,
for it bears no trace either of workers' initiative or of contact with
the workers' organisations.. . . . By this label of 'non-factionalism'
the worst representatives of the worst remnants of factionalism mislead
the young generation of workers. . . .
Since 1912, for more than two years, there has been
no factionalism in Russia among the organised Marxists. There is a complete
break between the Party and the liquidators . . . The word 'factionalism'
is a misnomer.
Trotsky talks to us about the 'chaos of factional
struggle' . . . . .
Trotsky is fond of sonorous and empty phrases --this
is known, but the catchword 'chaos' is not only a phrase; in
addition to that it is . . .a vain attempt to transplant to
Russian soil in the present epoch the émigré relationships
of the epoch of yesterday.
It is impossible to describe as chaos a struggle against
a tendency which has been recognised
by the entire Party as a tendency, and has been condemned since 1908. .
. . To treat the history of one's own party as 'chaos' means that one is
suffering from unpardonable empty-headedness. . . . .
Apart from the
'Pravda'-ists and the liquidators, there are no
fewer than five Russian factions, i.e., separate groups, which claim to
belong to the same Social-Democratic Party: Trotsky's group, the two 'Vperyod'
groups, the 'Party Bolsheviks', the 'Party Mensheviks'.
And here Trotsky is to a certain extent correct! This
is real factionalism, this is real chaos. . . .
During the whole of those two years (i.e., 1912 and
1913-- Ed.) not one, not a single one of those five factions abroad made
the slightest impression on any of the manifestations of the mass labour
movement in Russia. . . .
This fact proves that we were right in referring to
Trotsky as the representative of the 'worst remnants of factionalism'.
. . .
Although Trotsky professes to be non-factional, he
is known to all who are in the slightest degree acquainted with the labour
movement in Russia as the representative of 'Trotsky's faction'. . . This
is a remnant of factionalism for it is impossible to discover in it anything
serious in the way of contacts with the mass labour movement of' Russia.
Finally, it is the worst kind of factionalism, for
there is nothing ideologically and politically definite about it. . . .
It cannot be denied that sections of the factions
which, like Trotsky's faction, really exist only from the Vienna-Paris,
and not at all from the Russian, point of view are definite.
But Trotsky completely lacks a definite ideology;
and policy, for having the patent for 'non-factionalism' only means . .
having a patent granting complete freedom to flit to and fro from one faction
to another . . . . .
Under the flag of 'non-factionalism' Trotsky is upholding
one of the factions abroad which is particularly devoid of ideas and has
no basis in the labour movement in Russia. . . .
Not all is gold that glitters. Trotsky's phrases are
full of glitter and noise, but they lack content.....
Recently (between August 1912 and February 1914) he
followed in the footsteps of F. Dan, who, as is known, threatened and called
for the 'killing' of anti-liquidationism.
Now Trotsky does not threaten to 'kill'
our tendency (and our Party --); he only prophesies that it will kill itself
. . ..
'Suicide' is merely a phrase, an empty phrase, it
is just 'Trotskyism' . . .
If our attitude towards liquidationism is wrong in
theory and principle then Trotsky should have said plainly
. . . . wherein he found it to be wrong. Trotsky, however, has for
years avoided that essential point.
If our attitude towards liquidationism is refuted in
practice by the experience of the movement, this experience should be analysed,
and this again Trotsky fails to do. He admits: 'advanced workers become
the active agents of 'schism' (read
-- active agents of the 'Pravda'-ist line, tactics, system, organisation).
Why is this regrettable development taking place that.
. . .the advanced workers, and numerous
workers at that, are supporting; 'Pravda'?
Trotsky answers --- owing to the state of 'utter political
perplexity' of these advanced workers.
This explanation is no doubt extremely flattering to
Trotsky, to all the five factions abroad, and to the liquidators. Trotsky
is very fond of explaining historical events 'with the learned mien of
an expert' in pompous and sonorous phrases, in a manner flattering to Trotsky.
If 'numerous advanced workers' become 'active agents' of the political
and Party line, which does not harmonise with the line of Trotsky, then
Trotsky settles the question unceremoniously, directly and immediately:
these advanced workers are 'in a state of utter political perplexity, and
he, Trotsky, is obviously in a 'state' of political firmness,
clarity and correctness regarding the line! And this very same Trotsky,
beating his chest, thunders against factionalism, against narrow circles,
and against the intelligentsia foisting their will on the workers! . .
Trotsky is trying
to disrupt the movement and cause a split. . . .
Trotsky's 'non-factionalism' is schism, in the sense
that it is a most impudent violation of the will of the majority of the
workers. . . . .
You believe it is precisely the 'Leninists' who are
the splitters? . .
But if you are right, why did not all the factions
and groups prove that unity with the liquidators was possible without
the 'Leninists' and against the 'splitters'?
In August 1912 the conference of the 'uniters' met.
Discord set in at once.
The August Bloc turned out to be a fiction and collapsed.
In concealing this collapse, from his readers, Trotsky
is deceiving them.
The experience of our opponents has proved we were
right; it has proved that it is impossible to work with the liquidators.
In his magazine Trotsky has tried to say as little
as possible about the essence of his views. Trotsky has not uttered a word
either on the question of illegal work, or on the slogan of the struggle
for an open party, etc. Incidentally, that is why we say in this case,
in which a segregated organisation wants to set itself up without
having an ideological-political complexion, that it is the worst
sort of factionalism . . .
Trotsky has avoided expounding his views directly.
Trotsky avoids facts and concrete indications just
because they mercilessly refute all his angry exclamations and pompous
phrases. It is of course very easy to assume a proud pose and say: 'coarse
sectarian caricature'. It is equally easy to add more slashing and pompous
catchwords about 'emancipation from conservative factionalism'.
But is this not too cheap? Is this not a weapon taken
from the arsenal of the period when Trotsky was dazzling the schoolboys?
The old participants in the Marxian movement in Russia
know Trotsky's personality very well, and it is not worth while talking
to them about it. But the young generation of workers do not know him and
we must speak of him, for he is typical of all the five grouplets abroad
which in fact are also vacillating between the liquidators and the Party.
Trotsky was an ardent 'Iskra'-ist in 1901-03. .
At the end of 1903 Trotsky was an ardent Menshevik,
i.e., one who deserted the 'Iskra'-ists for the 'Economists'; he proclaimed
that 'there is a deep gulf between the old and the new "Iskra". In l904-5,
he left the Mensheviks and began to vacillate, at one moment collaborating
with Martynov (the 'Economist'), and at another proclaiming the absurdly
'Left' theory of 'permanent revolution'. In 1906-07 he drew nearer to the
Bolsheviks, and in the spring of 1907 he declared his solidarity with Rosa
During the period of disintegration, after long 'non-factional'
vacillations, he again shifted to the Right, and in August 1912 entered
into a 'bloc' with the liquidators. How he is again abandoning them, repeating,
however, what in essence are their
Such types are characteristic as fragments of the historical
factions of yesterday, when the mass labour movement of Russia was still
dormant and every grouplet was 'free' to represent itself as . . a 'great
power' talking of uniting with others. The young generation of workers
must know very well with whom it has to deal".
The Brussels Conference,
(V. I. Lenin: "Violation of Unity Under Cover of Cries
for Unity", in: "Selected Works", Volume 4; London; l943; p. 187-88, 189,
190; 191, l94, l95, 197, 198, 203, 206-08).
In July 1914 the Executive
Committee of the International Socialist Bureau (ISB) took up
Trotsky's concilationist mantle by convening a conference in Brussels
of all the groups connected with the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party.
Apart from representatives of the ISB (who included Karl
Kautsky, and Emile Vandervelde), the
conference was attended by delegates from:
1. the (Bolshevik) Central Committee of the RSDLP;
2. the (now Bolshevik) Social-Democratic Party of the
3. the "Vperyod" Group;
4. the (now purely Menshevik) "Organisation Committee";
5. the "Bund";
6. Plekhanov's "Yedinstvo"(Unity) Menshevik group;
7. the Social-Democratic Party of Poland and Lithuania;
8. the Polish Social-Democratic Opposition;
9. the Polish Socialist Party; and
10. Trotsky's "Borba" group.
The leader of the Central Committee delegation,
delivered a statement, (drafted by Lenin) setting out fourteen
conditions under which the Central Conmittee considered unification possible.
These conditions included: the renunciation of views condemned by the Party,
the recognition of the necessity of illegal as well as legal work, submission
to the Central Committee and dissolution of factions.
Although, under the terms of reference under which
it had been convened, the conference was for the purpose of an
exchange of opinions only, Kautsky
moved a resolution declaring that there
were "no substantial disagreements"
between the various groups to justify a continuation of "the split" in
the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party. The resolution was
adopted by a majority of the delegates present, with the delegates of the
Central Committee of the RSDLP and the Latvian Party abstaining.
The question of actual unification was to have been
taken up at the next congress of the Second International, due to be held
in Vienna in August l9l4, but the outbreak of the First World War prevented
this congress from taking place.
After the conference, the anti-Bolshevik groups continued
to collaborate for a time in what came to be called the "Brussels
END OF PART ONE.
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