V. I. Lenin


A Letter to the St. Petersburg Workers

     Written early in May 1906
Published in pamphlet form in June 1906
   by Vperyod Publishers, Moscow

Published according
to the pamphlet text

From V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, 4th English Edition,
Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1972

First printing 1962
Second printing 1965
Third printing 1972

Vol. 10, pp. 317-82.

Translated from the Russian
Edited by Andrew Rothstein

Prepared © for the Internet by David J. Romagnolo, (February 1998)

to the St. Petersburg Workers
[153] .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .



The Composition of the Congress .   .   .   .   .   .
Election of the Bureau. The Congress Agenda .   .
The Agrarian Question  .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .
Appraisal of the Revolutionary Situation and of
the Class Tasks of the Proletariat  .   .   .   .   .
Attitude Towards the State Duma   .   .   .   .   .
Armed Uprising   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .
The End of the Congress   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .
The Congress Summed Up  .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .
Material for Appraising the Work of the Unity
Congress of the R.S.D.L.P.  .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .



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      [153] The pamphlet Report on the Unity Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. (A Letter to the St. Petersburg Workers) became an object of persecution. The police searched the Dyelo printing-works in St. Petersburg, where the pamphlet was being set, and delivered the latter to the St. Petersburg Press Committee. The Committee banned the pamphlet. But the Party succeeded in sending the text to Moscow, where its printing was completed.
        In the Vperyod edition, the pamphlet had an Appendix including the draft resolutions submitted to the Congress by the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks, resolutions adopted by the Congress, and other matter. Lenin refers to them more than once in his pamphlet. At the end of the pamphlet there is a brief introduction to the Appendix (see p. 382 of this volume).    [p.317]

      [154] Revolutionary Ukrainian Party (R.U.P.) -- a petty-bourgeois, nationalist organisation founded early in 1900. In December 1905, it renamed itself the Ukrainian Social-Democratic Labour Party (U.S.D.L.P.), and decided to join the R.S.D.L.P., provided it was recognised as "the sole representative of the Ukrainian proletariat" within the R.S.D.L.P. The Fourth (Unity) Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. rejected the proposal which the U.S.D.L.P. spokesman had made for the immediate discussion of the terms of a merger, and referred the matter to the Central Committee for decision. No agreement was reached on a merger. Subsequently the U.S.D.L.P. found itself in the camp of the bourgeois-nationalist counter-revolution.    [p.322]

      [155] The Credentials Committee elected at the first session of the Congress was composed of two Bolsheviks, two Mensheviks and one so-called "neutral", who was in fact a conciliator (he headed the Committee). The Congress approved the terms of reference of the Committee and passed Lenin's draft resolution, which made it a duty of the Committee to submit written reports to the Congress. The work of the Committee and the discussion of its reports at the plenary sessions of the Conaress took place in an atmosphere of intense struggle between the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks. Relations became particularly strained at the sixth session of the Congress over the Committee proposal to cancel the credentials of Artamonov (F. A. Sergeyev, or Artyom), a Bolshevik delegate from the Kharkov organisation. The Bolsheviks on the Committee declared that they were leaving the Committee, and then the Congress elected a new Committee made up of Mensheviks and conciliators.    [p.324]

      [156] The protest of the Tiflis workers against the powers of the Menshevik delegation, signed by 200 persons, was read at the twentiet session of the Congress. It said that in drawing up the lists of Party members the Tiflis Mensheviks had ignored the Rules of the R.S.D.L.P., and had included chance people in the list. The Men-

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    sheviks had "discovered" over 3,000 Party members in Tiflis. The worker Social-Democrats of Tiflis maintained in their protest that the city could not be represented at the Congress by as many as 11 delegates.    [p.325]

      [157] The minutes of the Fourth (Unity) Congress of the R.S.D.L.P., published in 1907, had serious shortcomings -- they did not contain records of a number of reports and speeches made at the Congress, specifically by Lenin.    [p.326]

      [158] Schmidt -- P. P. Rumyantsev, who at the Fourth (Unity) Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. adhered to the Bolsheviks.    [p.328]

      [159] The reference is to the abolition of serfdom in Russia in 1861.    [p.330]

      [160] Klyuchevsky, V. O. (1841-1911) and Yefimenko, A. Y. (1848-1919) -- prominent Russian historians.    [p.331]

      [161] Demyan -- I. A. Teodorovich.    [p.332]

      [162] "Demyan Hash" -- title of a fable by I. A. Krylov.    [p.333]

      [163] Kostrov -- N. N. Jordania, Caucasian Menshevik leader.    [p.336]

      [164] Voyinov -- the Bolshevik A. V. Lunacharsky.    [p.340]

      [165] Lenin is quoting Karl Marx, "Theses on Feuerbach" (see Marx and Engels, Selected Works, Vol. II, Moscow, 1958, p. 405).    [p.345]

      [166] Boris Nikolayevlch -- the Menshevik B. I. Soloveichik.    [p.351]

      [167] Nevskaya Gazeta (The Neva Newspaper ) -- a legal Menshevik paper published in St. Petersburg in May 1906.    [p.359]

      [168] Shipov's slogan "Rights and an Authoritative Zemstvo", which Struve suvported in his introduction to Finance Minister Witte's memorandum "The Autocracy and the Zemstvo" was criticised by Lenin in the article "The Persecutors of the Zemstvo and the Hannibals of Liberalism" (see present edition, Vol. 5, pp. 31-80).    [p.361]

      [169] Trudoviks (from trud, "labour") -- a group of petty-bourgeois democrats in the Russian Duma, consisting of peasants and also of Narodnik-minded inteliectuals. The Trudovik Group was constituted in April 1906 from the peasant deputies to the First Duma.
        The demands of the Trudoviks included the abolition of all restrictions based on the social-estates and on nationaiity, the democratisation of the Zemstvos and town self-government bodies and universal suffrage in the elections to the Duma. The Trudovik agrarian programme proceeded from the Narodnik principle of

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    equalised land tenure: the formation of a national fund made up of state, crown and monastery lands, and also of private estates where they exceeded the established labour norm, with provision for compensation in the case of confiscated private estates. Lenin pointed out that the typical Trudovik is a peasant who "is not averse to a compromise with the monarchy, to settling down quietly on his own plot of land under the bourgeois system; but at the present time his main efforts are concentrated on the fight against the landlords for land, on the fight against the feudal state for democracy". (See present edition, Vol. 11, p. 229.)
        In the Duma the Trudoviks vacillated between the Cadets and the Social-Democrats, their vacillations being due to the very class nature of the peasants, who are petty proprietors. Since the Trudoviks represented the peasant masses, the tactics of the Bolsheviks in the Duma were to arrive at agreements with them on individual issues with a view to waging a joint struggle against the Cadets and the tsarist autocracy.
        In 1917, the Trudovik Group merged with the "Popular Socialist" Party, and gave active support to the bourgeois Provisional Government. After the October Revolution of 1917, the Trudoviks sided with the bourgeois counter-revolution.    [p.361]

      [170] Nasar -- the Bolshevlk N. N. Nakoryakov.    [p.361]

      [171] For the Central Committee instructions on the parliamentary group, which were approved by the Unity Congress, see The C.P.S.U. in Resolutions and Decisions of Its Congresses, Conferences, and Plenary Meetings of the Central Committee, Moscow, 1953 Part I, pp. 137-332, Russ. ed.    [p.362]

      [172] Duma -- a daily evening newspaper published by the Right wing of the Cadet Party in St. Petersburg from April 27 (May 10) to June 13 (26), 1909. Its editor was P. B. Struve, and among its contributors were S. A. Kotlyarevsky, P. I. Novgorodtsev, I. I. Petrunkevich, F. I. Rodichev, L. N. Yasnopolsky and other members of the First Duma.    [p.362]

      [173] "Economism" -- an opportunist trend in Russian Social-Democracy at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries, a variety of international opportunism. The newspaper Rabochaya Mysl (Workers' Thought ) (1897-1902) and the magazine Rabocheye Dyelo (The Workers' Cause ) (1899-1902) were organs of the "Economists", whom Lenin called Russian Bernsteinians and whose programme was set forth in the so-called Credo, written in 1899 by Y. D. Kuskova.
        The "Economists" limited the tasks of the working class to an economic struggle for higher wages, better working condilions, etc., asserting that the political struggle was the concern of the liberal bourgeoisie. They denied the leading role of the party of the working class, consideriug that the party should merely observe the spontaneous process of the movement and register events in deference to spontaneity in the working-class movement, the

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    Economists belittled the significance of revolutionary theory and class-consciousness, asserted that socialist ideology could arise out of the spontaneous movement of the workers, denied the necessity of socialist consciousness to be brought into the working-class movement by a Marxist party, and thereby paved the way for bourgeois ideology. The "Economists", who denied the need for a centralised working-class party, favoured a sporadic and amateurish Social-Democratic movement. "Economism" threatened to divert the working class from the class revolutionary path and to turn it into a political appendage of the bourgeoisie.
        The views of the "Economists" were thoroughly criticised in Lenin's writings "A Protest by Russian Social-Democrats" (directed against Credo; written in Siberian exile in 1899, it was signed by 17 exiled Marxists), "A Retrograde Trend in Russian Social-Democracy", "Apropos of the 'Profession de Foi'", and "A Talk with Defenders of Economism" (see present edition, Vol. 4, pp. 167-82, 255-85, 286-96 and Vol. 5, pp. 313-20). Lenin completed the ideologicai defeat of "Economism" in his book What Is To Be Done? (see present edition, Vol. 5, pp. 347-529). Lenin's Iskra played a major part in the struggle against "Economism".    [p.363]

      [174] On October 24, 1905, Vorwärts carried in its issue No. 249 a communication of the Central Esecutive of the German Social-Democratic Party of October 23, 1905, on the changes made in the editorial board of Vorwärts. Six editors who belonged to the revisionist trend in the Party had been removed and persons belonging to the Left wing of the Party included in the renewed editorial board. Rosa Luxemburg had been assigned a key role in the paper.

        The opportunists launched a campaign in defence of the removed editors, but the Party rank and file approved of and backed the policy of the Executive.    [p.373]

      [175] The Amsterdam Congress of the Second International was held from August 14-20 (N. S.), 1904. Its attitude to bourgeois parties was expressed in the resolution "International RuIes for Socialist Tactics". The resolution forbade socialists to enter bourgeois governments, and rejected co-operation between socialist and bourgeois parties.    [p.373]