How widely this kind of literature has been circulated abroad is evident from the fact that even the good Parvus has taken the war-path against the attempt to grasp all the threads in one hand and to "boss" (sic!) the workers from some such place as Geneva (Aus der Weltpolitik, V. Jahr-
gang, No. 48, November 30, 1903). In a month or two, when he reads the minutes of the Party Congress and the League Congress, our new enemy of autocracy will discover how easy it is to make a fool of oneself by accepting all manner of Parteiklatsch[*] at its face value.
The climax of the opposition's campaign against the central bodies was the Congress of the League. From its minutes the reader will be able to see whether those who called it an arena for settling Party Congress scores were right or not, and whether or not there was anything in the onslaught of the opposition to provoke the Central Committee to altogether exceptional measures (as the Central Committee itself put it when alteration of the composition of the editorial board held out the hope of peace in the Party). The resolutions of this Congress reveal the true nature of the differences of "principle" over the question of autocratic bureaucracy.
After the League Congress a split loomed so threateningly that Plekhanov decided to co-opt the ex-editors. I foresaw that the opposition would not rest satisfied with this, and I did not think it permissible to revise a decision of the Party Congress to please a circle. But still less did I think it permissible to stand in the way of possible peace in the Party, and I therefore resigned from the editorial board, after the 51st issue of Iskra, stating at the same time that I did not refuse to continue as a contributor, and that I did not even insist, if peace and good will were established in the Party, on having my resignation made public. The opposition demanded (not transformation of the non-existent system of bureaucracy, formalism, autocracy, automatism, etc., but) reinstatement of the old editorial board, the co-optation of opposition representatives to the Central Committee, two seats on the Council, and recognition of the League Congress as lawful. The Central Committee made an offer of peace by consenting to co-opt two of them, to turn over one seat on the Council, to have the reorganisation of the League carried out gradually. These terms too the opposition rejected. The editors were co-opted, but peace remained an open question. That was the state of affairs when No. 53 of Iskra appeared.
* Party tittle-tattle. --Ed.
That the Party wants peace and positive work is hardly open to question. But articles like "Our Congress" are an obstacle to peace, an obstacle because they bring up hints and fragments of issues which are not and cannot be comprehensible unless the story of the divergence is told in full; an obstacle because they shift the blame from a foreign circle to the centre in charge of our practical work, which is engaged in the difficult and arduous task of actually uniting the Party, and which in any case has been having to wrestle with too many hindrances to the application of centralism. The committees in Russia are fighting against the disruptive activities and boycott tactics of the minority, which are obstructing the work all along the line. Resolutions to this effect have already come in from the St. Petersburg, Moscow, Nizhni-Novgorod, Tver, Odessa, and Tula committees and from the Northern League.
Enough of this émigré Literatengezänk!* Let it now become an example to the practical workers in Russia of "what should not be done"! Let the editors of the Party's Central Organ call for a stop to all boycotts, no matter on whose part, and for concerted effort under the leadership of the Central Committee of the Party!
But what about the difference in shades of opinion among the Iskra-ists? the reader may ask. Our answer will be: in the first place, the difference is that in the opinion of the majority one can and should advocate one's views in the Party apart from any alteration in the personal composition of the central bodies. Every circle, even of Rabocheye Dyelo-ists, is entitled, on joining the Party, to demand the opportunity to express and advocate its views; but no circle, not even of generals, is entitled to demand representation on the Party's central bodies. In the second place, the difference is that in the opinion of the majority the blame for any formalism and bureaucracy falls on those who, by refusing to work under the leadership of the central bodies, made it difficult to conduct matters in a non-formalistic way. In the third place, I know of one and only
* Writers' squabbling. --Ed.
one difference of principle on matters of organisation, namely, that which found expression in the debate on Paragraph 1 of the Party Rules. We shall endeavour to return to this question when the minutes of the Congress appear. We shall then show that the fact that Martov's formulation was carried with the help of non-Iskra-ist and quasi-Iskra-ist elements was no accident, but was due to its being a step towards opportunism, and that this step is even more apparent in -- n's letter and in Once More in the Minority.[*] The minutes will show that the author of "Our Congress" goes against the facts when he claims that "the controversy during the discussion of the Party Rules centred almost exclusively round the organisation of the central bodies of the Party". Quite the contrary. The only controversy that really involved principles and divided the two "sides" (i.e., the majority and minority of the Iskra-ists) at all definitely was over Paragraph 1 of the Party Rules. As for the controversies over the composition of the Council, co-optation to the central bodies, and so on, they were just controversies between individual delegates, between Martov and myself, etc.; they concerned what were relatively very minor details and did not give rise to any definite grouping of the Iskra-ists, who by their votes corrected now one, now another of us when he went too far. To make out that these controversies were the source of our disagreement on how centralism should be applied, what should be its limits, character, etc., is simply to whitewash the stand taken by the minority and the methods of the fight which they carried on to change the personal composition of the central bodies, and which alone caused us to diverge in the full sense of the term.
* We shall then also ask to have explained what the author of "Our Congress" means by talking about an undeserved disregard for the non-Iskra-ists, and about the strict points of the Rules not corresponding to the actual relation of forces in the Party. What do these assertions refer to?