* See p. 273 of this volume. --Ed.
Party, Rabochaya Gazeta was made the Central Organ, and the Union of Russian Social-Democrats Abroad became the Party's foreign representative. Very soon after the congress, the Central Committee of the Party was arrested. Rabochaya Gazeta had to cease publication after its second issue. The whole Party became a shapeless conglomeration of local Party organisations (known as committees). The only bond between these local committees was an ideological, purely spiritual one. A period of disunity, vacillation, and splits was bound to set in again. The intellectuals, who in our Party made up a much larger percentage than in the West-European parties, had taken up Marxism as a new vogue. This vogue very soon gave place to slavish acceptance of the bourgeois criticism of Marx, on the one hand, and an infatuation for a purely trade-unionist labour movement (strike-ism -- Economism), on the other. The divergence between the intellectual-opportunist and proletarian revolutionary trends led to a split in the Union Abroad. The newspaper Rabochaya Mysl, and the Rabocheye Dyelo magazine published abroad, expressed (the latter in somewhat lesser degree) the standpoint of Economism, they belittled the importance of political struggle and denied the existence of a bourgeois-democratic element in Russia. The "legal" critics of Marx -- Messrs. Struve, Tugan-Baranovsky, Bulgakov, Berdyaev, and the rest -- swung all the way to the Right. Nowhere in Europe do we find Bernsteinism arriving so speedily at its logical consummation -- the formation of a liberal group -- as was the case in Russia. There, Mr. Struve began with "criticism" in the name of Bernsteinism and ended by setting up the liberal magazine Osuobozhdeniye, liberal in the European sense of the term. Plekhanov and his friends, who broke away from the Union Abroad, met with support from the founders of Iskra and Zarya. These two publications waged (even Comrade Luxemburg has heard something about that) a "brilliant three-year campaign" against the opportunist wing of the Party, a campaign of the Social-Democratic "Mountain" against the Social-Democratic "Gironde" (the expression belongs to the old Iskra ), a campaign against Rabocheye Dyelo (Comrades Krichevsky, Akimov, Martynov, and others), against the Jewish Bund, against the organisations in Russia that eagerly espoused this trend
(notably the St. Petersburg so-called Workers' Organisation and the Voronezh Committee).
It became more and more obvious that the purely ideological bond between the committees was not enough. The need to create a really united party, that is, to effect what was only foreshadowed in 1898, asserted itself more and more insistently. Finally, at the end of 1902 an Organising Committee was formed to convene the Second Party Congress. This Organising Committee, which was largely set up by the Iskra organisation in Russia, also included a representative of the Jewish Bund. In the autumn of 1903 the Second Congress was at last held; it ended, on the one hand, in the Party's formal unification, and on the other, in a split into "majority" and "minority". That division did not exist before the Congress. Only a detailed analysis of the struggle at the Congress can explain this division. Unfortunately, the supporters of the minority (including Comrade Luxemburg) shy away fearfully from any such analysis.
In my book, presented to the German reader by Comrade Luxemburg in such a singular manner, I devote over a hundred pages to a close study of the Congress minutes (which make up a volume of some 400 pages). This analysis caused me to divide the delegates, or rather votes (we had delegates with one vote and with two), into four main groups: 1) majority Iskra-ists (adherents of the trend of the old Iskra) -- twenty-four votes; 2) minority Iskra-ists -- nine votes; 3) "Centre" (also referred to ironically as the "Marsh") -- ten votes; and, lastly, 4) anti-Iskra-ists -- eight votes, making fifty-one votes in all. I analyse the part played by these groups in all the voting at the Congress, and prove that on all issues (of programme, of tactics, and of organisation) the Congress was an arena of struggle between the Iskra-ists and the anti-Iskra-ists, with the "Marsh" making various zigzags. Anyone even slightly familiar with our Party's history is bound to see that it could not have been otherwise. But all supporters of the minority (including Rosa Luxemburg) modestly close their eyes to this struggle. Why? Because this struggle makes manifest the utter falsity of the minority's present political position. Throughout the strugg]e at the Party Congress, on dozens of questions, in dozens of votes, the Iskra-ists fought the anti-Iskra-ists
and the "Marsh", which sided the more definitely with the anti-Iskra-ists, the more concrete the matter at issue, the more positively it affected the fundamentals of Social-Democratic activity, the more tangibly it involved putting into practice the old Iskra's long-standing plans. The anti-Iskra-ists (particularly Comrade Akimov and the St. Petersburg Workers' Organisation delegate, Comrade Brouckère, who always agreed with him, and nearly always Comrade Martynov and the five delegates of the Jewish Bund) were against recognising the trend of the old Iskra. They defended the old separate organisations and voted against their subordination to the Party, their fusion into the Party (the Organising Committee incident, the dissolution of the Yuzhny Rabochy group -- the leading group of the "Marsh", and so on). They fought against centralistic Rules of Organisation (14th sitting of the Congress) and accused all the Iskra-ists at that time of wanting to introduce "organised distrust", "emergency laws", and other such horrors. All the Iskra-ists, without exception, laughed at it then; it is remarkable that Comrade Rosa Luxemburg should now take these bogeys seriously. On the great majority of questions the Iskra-ists carried the day; they predominated at the Congress, as is clear from the figures given above. But during the second half of the Congress, when less fundamental issues were being decided, the anti-Iskra-ists had the better of it -- some of the Iskra-ists voted with them. That was the case, for example, with regard to proclaiming equality of all languages in our programme; on this point the anti-Iskra-ists nearly succeeded in defeating the Programme Committee and getting their formulation carried. It was also the case over Paragraph 1 of the Rules, when the anti-Iskra-ists and the "Marsh" put through Martov's formulation. According to this formulation, Party members are not only those who belong to Party organisations (the formulation defended by Plekhanov and myself), but also all persons working under the control of Party organisations.*
* Comrade Kautsky has sided with Martov's formulation, and the argument he pleads is expediency. In the first place, at our Party Congress this point was not discussed from the standpoint of expediency, but of principle. That was the way the question was put by Axelrod. Secondly, Comrade Kautsky is mistaken if he thinks that under [cont. onto p. 482. -- DJR] the Russian police regime there is such a big difference between belonging to a Party organisation and simply working under its control. Thirdly, it is particularly misleading to compare the position in Russia today to that in Germany under the Anti-Socialist Law.
The same thing happened in the elections to the Central Committee and the editorial board of the Central Organ. The compact majority consisted of 24 Iskra-ists, and they put through the long since planned reconstitution of the editorial board; of the six former editors, three were elected. The minority consisted of nine Iskra-ists, ten members of the "Centre", and one anti-Iskra-ist (the other seven anti-Iskra-ists, representing the Jewish Bund and Rabocheye Dyelo, had withdrawn from the Congress by then). This minority was so displeased with the elections that it decided to take no part in the rest of the elections. Comrade Kautsky was quite right when he said that the reconstitution of the editorial board was the main cause of the struggle that followed. But his view that I (sic!) "expelled" three comrades from the editorial board can only be attributed to his being totally uninformed about our Congress. In the first place, non-election is far from the same thing as expulsion, and I certainly had no power at the Congress to expel anyone; and secondly, Comrade Kautsky seems to have no inkling that the fact of a coalition between the anti-Iskra-ists, the "Centre", and a small section of the Iskra adherents had political implications too and could not fail to influence the outcome of the elections. Anyone who does not wilfully close his eyes to what happened at our Congress is bound to see that our new division into minority and majority is only a variant of the old division into a proletarian-revolutionary and an intellectual-opportunist wing of our Party. That is a fact, and there is no explaining or laughing it away.
Unfortunately, after the Congress the principles involved in this division were obscured by squabbling over co-optation: the minority would not work under the control of the central institutions unless the three ex-editors were again co-opted. This fight went on for two months. The weapons used were boycott and disruption of the Party. Twelve committees (out of the fourteen that spoke out on the subject) severely condemned these methods of struggle. The minority would not even accept the proposal, made
by Plekhanov and myself, that they should set forth thcir point of view in Iskra. At the Congress of the League Abroad the thing was carried to the length of showering the members of the central bodies with personal insults and abuse (autocrats, bureaucrats, gendarmes, liars, etc., etc.). They were accused of suppressing individual initiative and wanting to introduce slavish submission, blind obedience, and so on. Plekhanov's attempts to characterise these minority methods of struggle as anarchistic did not avail. After this Congress Plekhanov came out with his epoch-making article against me, "What Should Not Be Done" (in No. 52 of Iskra). In this article he said that fighting revisionism did not necessarily, mean fighting the revisionists; and it was clear to all that he was referring to our minority. He further said that one should not always fight the anarchistic individualism so deeply ingrained in the Russian revolutionary, that at times some concessions were a better way to subdue it and avoid a split. I resigned from the editorial board as I could not share this view, and the minority editors were co-opted. Then followed a fight for co-optation to the Central Committee. My offer to conclude peace on the basis of the minority keeping the Central Organ and the majority the Central Committee was rejected. The fight went on, they were fighting "on principle" against bureaucracy, ultra-centralism, formalism, Jacobinism, Schweitzerism (I was dubbed a Russian Schweitzer), and other such bogeys. I ridiculed all these accusations in my book and pointed out that they were either just a matter of squabbling about co-optation, or (if they were to be recognised, conditionally, as involving "principles") nothing but opportunist, Girondist phrases. The present minority are only repeating what Comrade Akimov and other acknowledged opportunists said at our Congress against the centralism of all the adherents of the old Iskra.
The committees in Russia were outraged at the conversion of the Central Organ into the organ of a private circle, an organ of co-optation squabbling and Party scandal. A number of resolutions expressing the severest censure were passed. Only the so-called St. Petersburg Workers' Organisation already mentioned and the Voronezh Committee (both of them supporters of Comrade Akimov's trend)
pronounced their satisfaction in principle at the trend of the new Iskra. Demands to have the Third Party Congress summoned became ever more numerous.
The reader who takes the trouble to make a first-hand study of the struggle in our Party will readily see that, concretely and practically, Comrade Rosa Luxemburg's talk about "ultra-centralism", about the need for centralisation to be gradual, and the like, is a mockery of our Congress, while abstractly and theoretically (if one can speak here of theory at all) it is nothing but a vulgarisation of Marxism, a perversion of true Marxian dialectics, etc.
The latest phase in our Party struggle is marked by the fact that the majority members have in part been ousted from the Central Committee, in part rendered useless, reduced to nonentities. (This happened owing to changes in the Central Committee's composition, etc.) The Party Council (which after the co-optation of the old editors like wise fell into the minority's hands) and the present Central Committee have condemned all agitation for summoning the Third Congress and are taking the path of personal deals and negotiations with some members of the minority. Organisations which dared to commit such a crime as to agitate for a congress -- as for instance a certain agent body of the Central Committee -- have been dissolved. A campaign against the summoning of the Third Congress has been proclaimed by the Party Council and the new Central Committee all along the line. The majority have replied with the slogan "Down with Bonapartism!" (that is the title of a pamphlet by Comrade Galyorka, who speaks for the majority). More and more resolutions are being passed declaring that Party institutions which fight against a congress are anti-Party and Bonapartist. How hypocritical was all the minority's talk against ultra-centralism and in favour of autonomy is obvious from the fact that a new majority publishing house started by myself and another comrade (which issued the above-named pamphlet by Comrade Galyorka and some others) has been declared outside the Party. This new publishing house affords the majority their only opportunity of propagating their views, for the columns of Iskra are as good as closed to them. Yet -- or rather just because of it -- the Party Council has made the above ruling, on the purely
formal grounds that our publishing house has not been authorised by any Party organisation.
It need hardly be said how greatly positive work has been neglected, how greatly the prestige of Social-Democracy has suffered, how greatly the whole Party is demoralised by this nullification of all the decisions, all the elections made by the Second Congress, and this fight which Party institutions accountable to the Party are waging against the convening of the Third Congress.