Organised Marxists on Intervention by the I.B.

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V. I. Lenin



Put Pravdy No. 61,
April 15, 1914

Published according to
the text in Put Pravdy

From V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, 4th English Edition,
Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1964

Vol. 20, pp. 233-36.

Translated from the Russian
by Bernard Isaacs
and Joe Fineberg
Edited by Julius Katzer

Prepared © for the Internet by David J. Romagnolo, (November 2003)

page 233



    We are informed that the International Bureau has received the reply of the organised Marxists to the Bureau's offer to intervene in the affairs of Russian Social-Democracy.[114] We publish below the more important parts of this reply.

*     *
    Following receipt of the "Supplement" to No. 11 of The Periodical Bulletin of the International Bureau, the representative body of Russia's organised Marxists feels bound to espress profound gratitude to the International Bureau and its Executive Committee for their assistance to the working-class movement and for their efforts to strengthen and consolidate it by ensuring its unity.

    The present situation among Russian Marxists is as follows.

    The general state of affairs in 1907-08 led to an extremely grave ideological crisis among Marxists and the break-up of their organisations. Both in 1908 and in 1910, organised Marxists formally recognised the existence of a special theory advocated by the liquidators, who repudiated and sought to liquidate the old Party, and were out to form a new and legal party. This trend was emphatically and irrevocably condemned by a formal decision. However, the liquidators refused to accept these decisions and continued their splitting and disruptive activities against the "entire body". <"p233a">

    In January 1912,[115] the entire Marxist body was opposed to the liquidators, who were declared to be outside its ranks.

page 234

    Since then, the overwhelming majority of class-conscious workers in Russia have rallied in support of the decisions adopted in January 1912 and of the guiding body that was elected at the time. This fact, of which all workers in Russia are aware, can and must be corroborated by objective facts, in view of the incredible number of unsupported and grossly untrue statements circulated by the liquidators and by the scattered groups abroad.

    1. The electoral law of Russia places the workers in a separate worker curia. Of the members of the Duma elected by this curia, the Bolsheviks constituted 47 per cent in the Second Duma (1907), 50 per cent in the Third Duma (1907-12), and 67 per cent in the Fourth Duma (1912-14). The elections to the Fourth Duma were held in September 1912, and the majority that was gained (two-thirds) proved organised Marxism's complete victory over liquidationism.

    2. In April 1912, the Marxist daily newspaper Pravda began to appear. In opposition to it, the liquidators started, also in St. Petersburg, a rival organ, Luch, which pursued splitting tactics. In the course of two years, from January 1, 1912 to January 1, 1914, the liquidators' newspaper, together with all their supporters in the shape of the numerous groups abroad and the Bund, received the backing -- according to that newspaper's own reports -- of 750 workers' groups, whereas during the same period Pravda, which fights for the Marxist line, rallied around itself 2,801 workers' groups.

    3. Early in 1914, elections were held in St. Petersburg of representatives of the workers' sick insurance societies on the All-Russia Insurance Board and the Metropolitan Insurance Board. To the first body the workers elected five members and ten deputy-members; to the second, they elected two members and four deputy-members. In both cases, the lists of candidates put forward by Pravda supporters were elected in their entirety. In the last elections the ballot figures announced by the chairman were: Pravda supporters -- 37; liquidators -- 7; Narodniks -- 4; abstentions -- 5.

    We shall confine ourselves to these very brief figures. They show that real unity among Marxists in Russia is making

page 235

steady headway and that the unity of the majority of the class-conscious workers on the basis of the decisions of January 1912 has already been achieved.

    The document then goes on to describe the disruptive activities of the various groups abroad and the liquidators, who are persistently trying to thwart the will of the majority of Russian workers.

    Besides partyists and liquidators, there are now no less than five separate Russian Social-Democratic groups operating abroad, besides the national groups. For two whole years, 1912 and 1913, there has not been a shadow of any objective evidence that these groups abroad are in touch with the working-class movement in Russia. In August 1912 the liquidators formed what is called the "August bloc", which included, among others, Trotsky, the "Bund", and the Lettish Social-Democrats. That this "bloc" -- which really served as a screen for the liquidators -- was a fiction, was pointed out long ago. Now this "bloc" has fallen completely apart. The Congress of the Lettish Social-Democrats, which was held in February 1914, decided to withdraw its representatives from the bloc because the latter had not dissociated itself from the liquidators. Trotsky, too, in February 1914, founded his own group's journal, in which he backed his outcries for unity by breaking away from the August bloc!

    The "Organising Committee", which now represents the "August bloc", is a pure fiction, and it is obviously impossible to enter into any relations with that fiction. Since the liquidators talk about "unity" and "equality", it should be said that it is the prime duty of advocates of unity to refrain from throwing into disarray the ranks of the united overwhelming majority of the workers, and emphatically to repudiate the liquidators, who are out to destroy the entire Marxist body. Talk about "unity" coming from the liquidators is no less a mockery of the actual unity of the majority of the workers in Russia than similar talk about unity by the "Allemane-Cambier party" in France, or by the "P.P.S." in Germany.

    The authors then go on urgently to request the Executive Committee of the International Socialist Bureau to bend every effort to hasten the "interchange of opinion among all

page 236

the Social-Democratic groups on controversial issues" (resolution of the December 1913 session of the International Bureau), in order to expose to an impartial boay, to the International, the utterly fictitious nature of the "August bloc" and of the liquidators' "Organising Committee", and also to expose all their disruptive activities against the united majority of the Social-Democratic workers of Russia.


page 590



  <"en114">[114] This article is an abridged version of the reply of the Party's Central Committee, which agreed to attend the Conference called by the International Socialist Bureau. This reply is the "official report" of the C.C. to the Executive of the I.S.B., of the dispatch of which Lenin informed C. Huysmans, the Secretary of the I.S.B., in his letter dated January 18-19 (January 31-February 1), 1914. (See pp. 74-81 of this volume.  [Transcriber's Note: See Lenin's "To Camille Huysmans". -- DJR])    [p. 233]

  <"en115">[115] The reference is to the Sixth (Prague) All-Russia Conference of the R.S.D.L.P. held in January 1912. (See Note 90.)

[ Note 90 --

(page 583)

    Lenin is referring to the Sixth (Prague ) All-Russia Conference of the R.S.D.L.P. held in Prague on January 5-17 (18-30), 1912, which virtually played the role of a Party congress.
    Over twenty Party organisations were represented at the Conference, which was also attended by representatives of the Editorial Board of the Central Organ Sotsial-Demokrat, the Editorial Board of Rabochaya Gazeta, the Committee of the Organisation Abroad, and the Transport Group of the Central Committee of the R.S.D.L.P. With the exception of two pro-Party Mensheviks, the delegates were Bolsheviks. Among the delegates were G. K. Orjonikidze of the Tiflis organization, S. S. Spandaryan of Baku, Y. P. Onufriev of St. Petersburg, and F. I. Goloshchokin of Moscow. The Committee of the Organisation Abroad was represented by N. A. Semashko, and the Transport Group of the C.C. by I. A. Pyatnitsky.
    Lenin represented the Editorial Board of the Central Organ.
    The Conference was conducted by Lenin, who, at the opening, spoke on the constitution of the Conference, made reports on the current sttuation and the tasks of the Party, and the work of the International Socialist Bureau, and took part in the debates on the work of the Central Organ, the tasks of the Social-Democrats

(page 584)

in combating famine, on the organisational question, the work of the Party organisation abroad, and other questions. Lenin drafted resolutions on all the important questions standing on the agenda.
    Lenin's report on "The Tasks of the Party in the Present Situation" and the corresponding resolution of the Conference gave a profound analysis of the political situation within the country and showed that revolutionary sentiment among the masses was running high. The Conference emphasised that the task of the conquest of power by the proletariat, who led the peasantry remained that of a democratic revolution in Russia.
    The most important task of the Conference was to rid the Party of the opportunists. Its resolutions on "Liquidationism and the Group of Liquidators" and on "The Party Organisation Abroad" were of tremendous significance in point of principle and practice. The liquidators were grouped around two legal journals -- Nasha Zarya and Dyelo Zhizni. The Conference declared that, "by their behaviour, the Nasha Zarya and Dyelo Zhizni group had placed themselves irretrievably beyond the pale of the Party". The liquidators were expelled from the R.S.D.L.P. The Conference condemned the activities of the anti-Party groups abroad -- the Menshevik Golos group, the Vperyod group and the Trotskyists. The existence abroad of a united Party organisation working for the Party under the control and guidance of the Central Committee was recognised as an absolute necessity by the Conference, which pointed out that the groups abroad "which do not submit to the Social-Democratic centre in Russia, that is, the Central Committee and which introduce disorganisation by establishing special contacts with Russia over the head of the C.C. cannot speak on behalf of the R.S.D.L.P." These resolutions played a tremendous role in strengthening the unity of the Marxist party in Russia.
    One of the highlights of the Conference was the question of participation in the Fourth Duma election campaign. The Conference stressed that the chief task of the Party at the elections and of the Social-Democratic group in the Duma itself was socialist class propaganda and the organisation of the working class. Basic minimum-programme demands for a democratic republic, an eight-hour day, and confiscation of all landed estates were advanced by the Conference as the Party's principal election slogans.
    The Conference adopted a resolution on "The Character and Organisational Forms of Party Work", endorsed the changes in the Party Rules proposed by Lenin, confirmed Sotsial-Demokrat in its status of the Party's Central Organ, elected a Central Committee of the Party, and set up a Russian Bureau of the Central Committee.
    The Prague Conference of the R.S.D.L.P. played an outstanding part in building up the Bolshevik Party, a party of a new type. It summed up the entire historical phase of the Bolsheviks' struggle against the Mensheviks, and consolidated the Bolsheviks' victory. The Menshevik liquidators were expelled from the Party. The

(page 585)

local Party organisations rallied around the decisions of the Conference, which strengthened the Party as an all-Russia organisation. The political line and tactics of the Party under the conditions of a new revolutionary upswing were laid down. Purged of the opportunists, the Bolshevik Party took the lead in the new powerful upsurge of the revolutionary struggle of the masses. Of great international significance, the Prague Conference gave the revolutionary elements in the parties of the Second International an example of determined struggle against opportunism, which it conducted to the extent of a complete organisational break with the opportunists.]    [p. 233]