* See pp. 433-39 of this volume. --Ed. [Transcriber's Note: See Lenin's "Report on the Third Congress of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party". -- DJR]
or to be formally and completely broken. The Minority chose the latter course. It preferred a split. The Council's refusal to take part in the Congress in face of the clearly expressed will of the majority of qualified Party organisations and the refusal of the entire Minority to attend the Congress represented, as the "Report" states, the final step towards the split. We shall not dwell here on the formal validity of the Congress, which has been conclusively evidenced in the "Report". The argument that the Congress was invalid, that is, not in accordance with the Party Rules, because it had not been convened by the Council, can hardly be treated seriously after all that happened as a result of the Party conflict. It is clear to anyone who has any idea of the general principles of Party organisation that discipline in regard to a lower body is conditional upon discipline in regard to the higher body; the discipline which the Council may command is conditional upon the Council's subordination to its principals, that is, the committees and their totality, the Party Congress. To disagree with this elementary principle is to come to the absurd conclusion that it is not the agents who are responsible and accountable to their principals, but vice versa. But this question, we repeat, is not worth dwelling upon, not only because those do not see the point who do not wish to see it, but because, from the outset of the split, the dispute on formalities between the breakaway groups becomes barren, pointless, and scholastic.
The Minority has split away from the Party; that is an accomplished fact. Some of them will probably be brought to see by the decisions of the Congress, and still more by its proceedings, how naïve the sundry tales about mechanical suppression, etc., are; they will come to see that the rights of the Minority in general are fully guaranteed by the new Rules, that the split is harmful; and this section of the Minority will re-enter the Party. The other section may persist for a while in refusing to recognise the Party Congress. As to this section, we can but hope that it will lose no time in organising itself internally into a separate organisation with its own tactics and its own Rules. The sooner it does this, the easier it will be for all, for the broad mass of the Party workers, to understand the causes of the split and its implications; the more practicable it will be for our Party to come
to a working agreement with the breakaway organisation, depending on the needs of local work; and the sooner will a way be found for the inevitable future restoration of the Party's unity.
Let us now pass to the second question, to the general organisational standards of the Party. The Third Congress made changes of a substantial character in these standards in the course of revising the Party Rules. The revision affected three main points: (a) the amendment of Clause 1 of the Rules; (b) the precise definition of the rights of the C.C. and the autonomy of the committees, with the extension of the scope of this autonomy; and (c) the creation of a single centre. As to the famous Clause 1 of the Rules, this has been sufficiently clarified in Party literature. The erroneousness of defending in principle Martov's vague formula has been demonstrated conclusively. Kautsky's attempt to defend this formula from considerations, not of principle, but of expediency, namely, the conditions of secrecy prevailing in Russia, was not successful, as indeed it could not be. Anyone who has worked in Russia knows well that such considerations of expediency do not exist. The only thing now is to wait for the first results of the Party's collective work in implementing the new Clause 1 of the Rules. We emphasise the fact that a great deal of work has still to be done for this implementation. No work at all is needed to enrol oneself as a member of the Party "under the control of a Party organisation", since this formula is a mere name and remained such from the Second Congress to the Third. A wide network of varied Party organisations, from narrow and secret organisations to the broadest possible and least secret, can only be built up by dint of long, hard, and efficient organising work; this is the work that has now devolved upon our C.C. and to a still greater extent upon our local committees. It is the committees that will have to confirm the largest number of organisations in the capacity of Party branches and in the course avoid all unnecessary red tape and faultfinding; it is the committees that will have to propagate among the workers constantly and unremittingly the idea of the necessity to create the greatest possible number of diverse workers organisations affiliated to our Party. We cannot deal here with this interesting question at greater length. We
should like to point out, however, that the revolutionary epoch makes it particularly essential to draw a line of demarcation between Social-Democracy and all the other democratic parties. But this demarcation is unthinkable unless sustained efforts are made to increase the number of Party organisations and strengthen the ties among them. The fortnightly reports decided upon by the Congress will, among other things, serve to strengthen these ties. Let us hope that the reports will not remain an unrealised wish; that they will not cause the practical workers to draw for themselves a horrible picture of red tape and bureaucracy; that these comrades will start off in a small way till they develop the habit, by perhaps just reporting the number of members of every Party organisation, even the smallest and the farthest from the centre. "The first step is the hardest", runs the proverb. After that they will realise how tremendously important it is to acquire the habit of maintaining regular organisational connections.
We shall not dwell at length on the question of the single centre. The Third Congress rejected "bicentrism" by as huge a majority as the Second Congress had adopted it. The reasons will easily be understood by anyone who has carefully followed the history of the Party. Congresses do not so much create something new as consolidate results already achieved. At the time of the Second Congress the Iskra Editorial Board was the recognised pillar of stability, and it enjoyed dominant influence. The preponderant position of the comrades in Russia in relation to those resident abroad still seemed problematical at that stage of the Party's development. After the Second Congress it was the Editorial Board abroad that proved to be unstable. The Party, on the other hand, had developed considerably and unquestionably in Russia. Under these circumstances the appointment of an Editorial Board of the Central Organ by the Party C.C. could not but meet with the approval of the mass of the Party workers.
Finally, the attempts to delimit more precisely the rights of the C.C. and of the local committees, to draw a line between ideological struggle and disruptive squabbles, followed inevitably also from the whole course of events after the Second Congress. We have here a consistent and system-
atic "accumulation of Party experience". Plekhanov's and Lenin's letter of October 6, 1903,[*] to the disgruntled editors was an attempt to distinguish between irritation and disagreement. The C.C.'s ultimatum of November 25, 1903, was a similar attempt in the form of a proposal formulated by a group of publicists. The statement issued by the C.C. representatives on the Council at the end of January 1903[**] was an attempt to call upon the whole Party to differentiate the ideological forms of struggle from boycott, etc. Lenin's letter of May 26, 1904,[***] to the members of the C.C. in Russia was an admission of the necessity of formally guaranteeing the rights of the Minority. The well-known Declaration of the Twenty-Two (autumn 1904) was a similar admission in a more distinct, detailed, and categorical form. Quite naturally, the Third Congress took the same path when it "finally dispelled, dispelled by formal decisions, the mirage of a state of siege". What these formal decisions were, viz., the changes in the Party Rules, can be seen from the Rules and the "Report"; therefore we shall not repeat them here. We shall mention only two things. First, it is to be hoped that the guarantee of the right to publish literature and the safeguarding of the committees against "cashiering" will help the seceded non-Russian Social-Democratic organisations to return to the Party. Secondly, in view of the inviolability of committee membership, some provision had to be made against the possible abuse of this guarantee, viz., against being saddled with a perfectly useless committee that was "undeposable". That accounts for Clause 9 of the new Party Rules, which sets forth the conditions under which a committee may be dissolved upon the demand of two-thirds of the local workers belonging to the Party organisations. Let us wait for the guidance of experience before deciding to what extent this rule is practical.
Finally, in passing to the last and most important item of the Congress proceedings, the determination of the Party's tactics, we must state that this is not the place to list and analyse the various resolutions. Possibly we shall have to do
* See present, edition, Vol. 7, p. 354. --Ed. [Transcriber's Note: See Lenin's One Step Forward, Two Steps Back. -- DJR]
** Ibid., pp. 147-49. --Ed. [Transcriber's Note: See Lenin's "Session of the Council of the R.S.D.L.P." (January 15-17). -- DJR]
*** Ibid., pp. 426-29. --Ed. [Transcriber's Note: See Lenin's "Letter to the Members of the Central Committee". -- DJR]