* Agenda. --Ed.
delegates should turn over his mandate to the other and himself act as the delegate of the Iskra organisation with its two mandates, with the provision that if an elected delegate should arrive from Russia, one of these two mandates would be turned over to him. Naturally, both Martov and I wanted to be the delegate from Iskra, in view of the minor role played by the League. We settled the point by drawing lots.
The first preliminary question -- the election of the Congress Bureau -- gave rise to something of a difference, true, a minor one, between Martov and me. He insisted on the election of nine persons, these even to include a Bundist. I, on the other hand, considered that we should elect a Bureau capable of pursuing a firm, consistent policy and, if necessary, even of applying what is called the "iron glove". The Bureau elected consisted of Plekhanov, Lenin, and Pavlovich.
In addition to five Bundists, there were at the Congress two delegates from the Union of Russian Social-Democrats Abroad and a delegate from the St. Petersburg League of Struggle, who nearly always voted with them. From the very outset these persons greatly dragged out the proceedings. The discussion of the Congress Standing Orders alone took up an incredible amount of time. There were endless arguments, lasting several sittings, over the position of the Bund in the Party. Similar delays were caused by the Bundist who got on to the Credentials Committee. He practised obstruction at every turn, would not agree with the other members of the committee, of which I was one, on a single point, and invariably recorded a "dissenting opinion". When it was remarked that this sort of thing was likely to drag out the Congress, he replied? "Well, let it", and said he was ready to have the committee sit for any length of time. It was not till long after midnight that the work of verifying the credentials was finished.
Also in the opening days of the Congress we had an incident over the Organising Committee. Under the Regulations it had drawn up, only "prominent Party personalities" could be invited to the Congress in a deliberative capacity, and the Credentials Committee had rejected the request of the Borba group to be granted representation. Two members
of the Organising Committee had attended the Credentials Committee meeting, and they had categorically opposed admitting a Borba representative to the Congress. When the spokesman for the committee informed the Congress of this decision, a long debate "for" and "against" developed, in which one of the Iskra-ists declared that a representative of Borba should on no account be invited to the Congress, as that group did nothing but intrigue, try to insinuate itself into every chink, sow dissension everywhere, and so on. (Trotsky : "Why don't you give the speaker's name? It was I who said it." P. Axelrod : "The speaker evidently does not think it would be in his interest.") Yes, it was Comrade Trotsky who spoke so harshly of the Borba group. At the very height of this argument about whether a Borba representative should be admitted to the Congress, one of the Yuzhny Rabochy delegates, who had been late in arriving and had only just turned up, asked for a five-minute adjournment to allow him to acquaint himself with all the circumstances of the case. When the adjournment was granted, the members of the Organising Committee held a meeting then and there, by the window. I should mention that even before the Congress opened certain Organising Committee members had shown some dissatisfaction with the editorial board. For example, the Bundist member was highly indignant that the editorial board had sent its contribution of five hundred marks to the election fund of the German Social-Democrats in its own name and that of the Organising Committee without first obtaining the latter's sanction. This innocent action, which was quite natural considering the impossibility of communicating promptly with the comrades in Russia, was interpreted by the Bundist as meaning that the editors, living abroad, made free with the name of the Organising Committee without asking its consent. A motion was even tabled in the Organising Committee to censure the editors for this, and it was passed, because the Bundist was supported by Comrade NN, a member of the Iskra organisation. When I told Martov of this, he was much incensed, and said it was "infamous". (Martov : "I did not use the word 'infamous'.") I do not remember the exact expression he used. Martov added that he "would not let the matter rest there". I, for my part, tried to persuade him
that the incident was of no great significance, and that it would be better to say nothing and attach no importance to it. When the meeting of the Organising Committee by the window was over, Comrade Pavlovich, who was a member of it, informed the other two members of the Bureau that on the motion of the belated Yuzhny Rabochy delegate, who was also a member of the Organising Committee, the latter had decided by a majority of all against Pavlovich himself to invite the Borba representative Ryazanov to the Congress, in a deliberative capacity. Comrade Pavlovich had objected strongly to this decision, and, as binding instructions had been abolished, he considered himself at liberty to protest against it to the Congress. We Bureau members, and also the editors and other Iskra-ists, were outraged at this decision of the Organising Committee. Comrade NN, the Organising Committee member I have mentioned, had himself spoken in the Credentials Committee against admitting a Borba representative to the Congress, yet now, at this meeting of the Organising Committee, he had agreed to invite one. He was himself trying now to smuggle Ryazanov into the Congress. We had thus been caught in a trap. And we decided to fight with might and main against this disgraceful Organising Committee decision. Many delegates rose and opposed it. In my own speech on the subject I spoke of "the storm of indignation that is aroused at European congresses when people say one thing at committees and another on the floor of the congress". In saying this I had in mind NN, who was a member of the Iskra organisation. When Comrade Pavlovich made his protest to the Congress against this decision of the Organising Committee, the Yuzhny Rabochy member found this to be a breach of discipline, a disruptive move, and so on, and demanded that the Congress inflict suitable punishment on Comrade Pavlovich for his action. But we were able to smash all these arguments. The Organising Committee majority was defeated. A resolution was passed to the effect that after the Congress had appointed a Credentials Committee the Organising Committee as a body no longer had any right to influence the composition of the Congress. The motion to invite Ryazanov was rejected. But even since the Congress I have heard some Iskra-ists question: why not have admitted a Borba
member to the Congress? (Deutsch : "I said that at the Congress itself too.") Quite so, and on other questions also, as I shall have occasion to point out, Comrade Deutsch did not always vote with the rest of the Iskra-ists, as, for instance, on equality of languages. Some Iskra-ists have even been expressing the very singular view that the activities of the Central Committee should reflect all vacillations and primitive conceptions existing in the Party. And at the Congress certain irresolute, wavering Iskra-ists spoke in this same spirit. Thus, the idea that all who claim to be Iskra-ists really are Iskra-ists turns out to be quite mistaken. There are Iskra-ists who are even ashamed of the name -- that is a fact. There are Iskra-ists who fight Iskra, who obstruct it in all kinds of ways and hinder its activities. Iskra has become popular, it has become the fashion to call oneself an Iskra-ist, but that does not prevent many people from remaining what they were before Iskra was recognised by many of the committees. These unreliable Iskra-ists have done it a great deal of harm. If at least they would fight it openly and squarely. . . . But no, they do it in a sneaking, underhand, surreptitious, secret manner.
The second item on the Tagesordnung of the Party Congress was the Party programme. The supporters of Rabocheye Dyelo, the Bundists, and diverse delegates who during the Congress were nicknamed the "Marsh" practised incredible obstruction. The debate on the programme dragged out beyond all belief. Akimov alone moved several dozen amendments. There were arguments literally over single words, over what conjunction to use. So many amendments had to be discussed that one Bundist, a member of the Programme Committee, asked, and with reason, whose draft we were considering, the one submitted by the editors of Iskra, or one submitted by Akimov. The amendments were trifling, and the programme was adopted without any changes of importance whatever; nevertheless, the debates took up about twenty sittings, so unproductive was the work of the Congress owing to the opposition of various anti-Iskra-ist and quasi-Iskra-ist elements.
The next major incident to arise at the Congress after the Organising Committee incident was in connection with equality of languages, or, as it was ironically called at the
Congress, "freedom of tongues". (Martov : "Or the 'asses'." Laughter.) Yes, and the "asses". The point was this. The draft Party programme spoke of equal rights for all citizens irrespective of sex, nationality, religion, etc. This was not enough for the Bundists, and they wanted to write into the programme the right of every nationality to receive tuition in its own language and to use it in addressing public and state institutions. When a garrulous Bundist referred, by way of example, to state stud farms, Comrade Plekhanov remarked that stud farms had nothing to do with it, as horses do not talk -- "only asses do". The Bundists took offence at this, evidently thinking the jest was meant for them.
It was over the equality of languages question that the first signs of a split appeared. In addition to the Bundists, the Rabocheye Dyelo-ists, and the "Marsh", certain Iskra-ists too pronounced in favour of "freedom of tongues". Comrade Deutsch's votes on this issue evoked our astonishment, indignation, and disgust; in some cases he abstained, in others voted against us. In the end the question was decided amicably and unanimously.
On the whole, during the first half of the Congress all the Iskra-ists stood together. The Bundists claimed there was a conspiracy against them. One Bundist described the Congress as a "compact majority". In reply, I expressed the wish that our whole Party might become one compact majority.
But the second half of the Congress presented an entirely different picture. From that time began Martov's historic change of front. The disagreements that developed between us were by no means insignificant. They were due to Martov's erroneous appraisal of the present situation. Comrade Martov deviated from the line he had previously adhered to.
The fifth item on the Tagesordnung was the Rules. An argument between Martov and myself over Paragraph 1 of them had already arisen in the committee. We each upheld a different formulation. Whereas I proposed defining a Party member as one who accepted the Party programme, supported the Party financially and belonged to one of its organisations, Martov thought it sufficient if, in addition to the first two conditions, a person worked under the control of one of the Party organisations. I insisted on my formulation
and pointed out that we could not adopt a different definition of a Party member without departing from the principle of centralism. To recognise as a Party member one who did not belong to any Party organisation would mean being against all control by the Party. Martov was introducing here a new principle that was entirely contrary to the principles of Iskra. His formulation widened the boundaries of the Party. He tried to justify this by saying that our Party must be a party of the masses. What he was doing was to open the door to every kind of opportunist, to widen the boundaries of the Party until they became entirely blurred. In the conditions under which we have to work this is very dangerous, because it is very difficult to draw the line between a revolutionary and a windbag; that made it necessary to narrow the concept "Party". Martov's mistake was that he was throwing the door of the Party wide open to every adventurer, when it had become apparent that even at the Congress fully one-third of those present were given to intriguing. Martov on this occasion acted as an opportunist. His formulation introduced a false, discordant note into the Rules: every Party member should be under the control of an organisation, so that the Central Committee should be able to communicate with every single member. My formulation provided an incentive to organise. Comrade Martov was cheapening the concept "Party member", while it should, I consider, stand high, very high. Martov got the support of Rabocheye Dyelo, the Bund and the "Marsh", and with their aid he secured the adoption of his Paragraph 1 of the Rules.
Then Martov began to say that "defamatory rumours" were being circulated about him. But there was nothing offensive in pointing out with whom Martov found himself in alliance. I was the object of a similar reproof when I found myself in alliance with Comrade Brouckère. And I took no offence when Martov sent me a note saying: "Look who is voting with you." True, my alliance with Brouckère was a temporary and accidental one, while Martov's alliance with the Bund turned out to be lasting. I was against Martov's formulation because it meant Versumpfung.* I warned Martov of that, and our opponents, by following him to
* Sinking into the marsh. --Ed.
a man, provided eloquent illustration of his error. The most dangerous thing, however, was not that Martov had landed in the marsh, but that, having accidentally done so, he made no attempt to get out of it, but sank in deeper and deeper. The Bundists felt they were now the masters of the situation, and put their mark on the Party Rules.
During the second half of the Congress, too, a compact majority was formed, only it now consisted of a coalition of the Martovites plus the "Marsh" plus the Rabocheye Dyelo and Bund compact minority. And this compact majority stood against the Iskra-ists. One Bundist, seeing the Iskra-ists quarrelling among themselves, said: "It's nice to spar when the leaders are at loggerheads." I cannot understand why the Bund should have withdrawn, things being as they were. They were actually the masters of the situation, and could have had a lot their own way. Most probably, they had binding instructions.
After Paragraph 1 of the Rules had been spoilt in this way, we had to bind the broken pot as tightly as possible, with a double knot. Naturally, we began to fear that we would be intrigued against, let down. Hence it was necessary to introduce mutual co-optation to the central bodies, so that the Party might be assured of their unity of action. Over this a struggle developed too. Things had to be so arranged that in the period leading to the Third Party Congress we should not get a repetition of what had happened with the Organising Committee. A consistent, honest Iskra-ist cabinet had to be formed. On this point we were again defeated. The clause on mutual co-optation to the central bodies was voted down. The mistake of Martov, who was supported by the "Marsh", stood out more saliently than ever. From that moment the coalition was definitely formed and, on pain of defeat, we had to load our guns with double charges. There sat the Bund and Rabocheye Dyelo, their votes deciding the fate of the Congress. That caused the stubborn, bitter struggle that ensued.
I shall now pass to the private meetings of the Iskra organisation. At these we chiefly discussed the composition of the Central Committee. At all four meetings of the Iskra organisation, there were debates on the subject of Comrade NN, on whom a section of the Iskra-ists wanted
to pass a vote of political non-confidence, though not in the literal sense of the term, for no one imputed to NN anything that disgraced him, but in the specific sense that he was unfit to be a member of the Iskra-ist cabinet. This led to a desperate scrap. At the last meeting, the meeting of the sixteen, nine voted against NN, four in favour, while the rest abstained. At this meeting, too, we discussed who was now to be included in our cabinet.
Martov and I proposed different "trios"; we could not agree on them. Not wanting to split the vote at the Congress, we decided to propose a compromise list. We were prepared to make every concession: I agreed to a list that included two Martovites. The minority rejected this. Incidentally, a Yuzhny Rabochy delegate refused to be included in our list while consenting to be included in the Martovite list. It was Yuzhny Rabochy -- an outside element -- that was deciding the question of the Central Committee. After the Iskra-ists had split, we had to muster our supporters, and we started a vigorous agitation. The unexpected withdrawal of the Bund reversed the whole situation. With its withdrawal, there was again a compact majority and minority. We were now in the majority, and we secured the election to the Central Committee of the people we wanted.
Such were the circumstances that led to the split. It was exceedingly tactless of Martov to raise at the Congress the question of endorsing all the six editors of Iskra, when he knew that I would insist on the editors having to be elected. It meant turning the election of the editorial board into an expression of non-confidence in individual editors.
The elections ended at five o'clock on Saturday. We then proceeded to discuss the resolutions. We had only a few hours left for this. Owing to the obstruction and delays caused by the "Marsh", many important items had to be dropped from the Tagesordnung ; not enough time was left, for instance, to discuss all the tactical questions.
Over the resolutions the Congress was so unanimous that we formed the impression that a conciliatory mood had developed; it seemed to us that Martov was not going to make the disagreements that had arisen an issue of state. He even said, when one of the Yuzhny Rabochy-ists questioned the validity of the elections, that the minority accepted all the
Congress decisions. All the resolutions were passed in a peaceful and amicable spirit; differences arose only over Starover's resolution on the liberals. It was vague, and it, too, was marked by opportunism; we fought it and secured the adoption of an additional resolution on the same subject.
The general impression one got of the Congress was that we had to fight against intrigue. It was made impossible for us to work. The natural conclusion was: "Heaven preserve us from friends like these!" -- i.e., the quasi-Iskra-ists. Martov completely failed to understand this situation. He elevated his mistaken position to a principle. His assertion that the majority had instituted a "state of siege" ran glaringly counter to the Party's real needs. For the work to be more effective, it was necessary to eliminate the obstructing elements and make it impossible for them to damage the Party; only if that were done could our work at the next Congress be fruitful. That is why it was necessary to establish complete unity between the central bodies of the Party.
The first half of the Congress was the complete opposite of the second. The cardinal, major points of the Congress as a whole were the following four: 1) the Organising Committee incident; 2) the debate on equality of languages; 3) the debate on Paragraph 1 of the Rules, and 4) the struggle over the elections to the Party central bodies.
During the first half of the Congress, Martov stood with us against the Organising Committee, the Bund, Rabocheye Dyelo and the "Marsh"; during the second half he landed accidentally in the marsh. Now, after the Congress, this accidental Versumpfung is turning into a real Versumpfung. (Applause.)
STATEMENT CONCERNING MARTOV'S REPORT
OCTOBER 15 (28)
I protest most emphatically, as against a contemptible method of struggle, against Martov's asking who was lying or intriguing in reporting the private conversation between him, Starover and myself. I wish to point out that this conflicts glaringly with Martov's own statements of yesterday to the effect that he would disdain to raise the unanswerable question of how truthfully private conversations had been reproduced! I declare that Martov's account of the private conversation en question is altogether incorrect. I declare that I agree to any arbitration and that I challenge Martov to it if he chooses to accuse me of conduct incompatible with holding a responsible post in the Party. I declare that it is the moral duty of Martov, who is not levelling any explicit accusations but only throwing out dark hints -- that it is his duty to have the courage to make his accusations openly and over his signature before the entire Party, and that I, as a member of the editorial board of the Party's Central Organ, propose to him on behalf of the whole editorial board that he immediately publish a pamphlet containing all his accusations. By failing to do this, Martov will only prove that all he wanted was a row at the League Congress, not the moral cleansing of the Party.
SPEECH ON THE RULES OF THE LEAGUE
OCTOBER 17 (30)
I shall dwell chiefly on one point, namely, the main speaker's idea that the League is autonomous in drawing up its Rules. That, in my opinion, is absolutely wrong, for the Central Committee, in which, under Paragraph 6 of the Party Rules, is vested the right to organise committees, is the only body that can draw up Rules for the League; for organising means first and foremost drawing up Rules. And until the Central Committee endorses the Rules of the League, the League has no Rules. The idea of autonomy is absolutely inapplicable here, for it runs counter to the Party Rules. I once again stress emphatically that, pending their endorsement by the Central Committee, the League has no Rules. As to the League having been endorsed by the Party Congress, that was not in recognition of its activities, but rather, I should say, in spite of all its defects -- exclusively because of its consistency of principles.