The Third Congress of the R.S.D.L.P.

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V. I. Lenin


APRIL 12 (25) - APRIL 27 (MAY 10), 1905

Speeches, reports, resolutions,
and draft resolutions first
published in 1905 in the book
The Third Regular Congress
of the R.S.D.L.P.
Full Text of the Proceedings

Published by
the Central Committee, Geneva

Published according to
the text of the book
The Third Regular Congress
of the R.S.D.L.P.,

1905 edition, and
the manuscript text

From V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, 4th English Edition,
Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1965

Second Revised Edition

Vol. 8, pp. 359-424.

Translated from the Russian by
Bernard Isaacs and Isidor Lasker
Editor: V. J. Jerome

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


THE THIRD CONGRESS OF THE R.S.D.L.P.April 12 (25) - April 27 (May 10), 1905 [110] .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .






COMMITTEES. APRIL 14 (27)   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .



TOWARDS THE ARMED UPRISING   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .






APRIL 15 (28) .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .



APRIL 16 (29) .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .



RESOLUTION ON THE ARMED UPRISING   .   .   .   .   .   .   .






OF THE REVOLUTION  .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .



ACTION BY THE R.S.D.L.P.   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .



GOVERNMENT   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .



ARY GOVERNMENT .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .



GOVERNMENT. APRIL 13 (MAY 1)  .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .



GOVERNMENT .  .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .



(MAY 2)
  .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .






MOVEMENT .  .   .  .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .






ORGANISATIONS   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .



APRIL 22 (MAY 5) .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .



ORGANISATIONS APRIL 22 (MAY 5)  .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .



APRIL 21 (MAY 1) .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .



RULES. APRIL 21 (MAY 4)   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .



REVOLUTIONARIES. APRIL 23 (MAY 6) .  .   .   .   .   .   .   .



COMMITTEE. APRIL 25 (MAY 8) .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .



PROCEEDINGS .  .   .  .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .






page 363



APRIL 13 (26)

    I wish to reply to the remarks made here concerning the validity of the convocation of this Congress. The Central Committee considered the Congress to be unauthorised. The C.C. has characterised its own message to the Party Council as "repentant". But was there anything for the C.C. to repent? The Congress is perfectly valid. It could, admittedly, be held invalid according to the letter of the Rules, but it would be grotesque formalism on our part to give the Rules such an interpretation. According to the spirit of the Rules, the validity of the Congress is beyond question. The Party Council exists for the Party, and not the Party for the Council. At the Second Congress, in connection with the Organising Committee incident, it was pointed out, by none other than Comrade Plekhanov, that discipline with regard to a lower body yields precedence to discipline with regard to a higher body. The C.C. declared its readiness to submit to the Party Council, if the latter would submit to the Party, viz., to the Congress. This was a perfectly legitimate demand, yet the Party Council rejected it. But the C.C., we are told, began to doubt the loyalty of the Party Council and expressed its lack of confidence in it. However, as we know, in all constitutionally governed countries the citizens have a right to express their lack of confidence in any public servant or institution. This is their inalienable right. Finally, even if the C.C. acted unwarrantedly, did that give the Party Council the right also to act unwarrantedly? What guarantee is there that the clause in the Rules which puts the Party Council under obligation to call a congress upon its endorse-

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ment by half the qualified votes will actually be enforced? The Rules of the German Social-Democratic Party contain a clause authorising the Control Commission to convene a congress, if the Vorstand [*] refuses to do so. We have no such provision, and it rests entirely with the Party to ensure that the Congress is convened. From the spirit of the Rules, and even from their letter, if taken as a whole, it is clear that the Party Council is the agent of the Party committees. The agent of the committees refuses to do the bidding of its principals. If the agent does not carry out the will of the Party, the only thing left for the Party is to execute its will itself. The Party committees not only had the right to call the Congress themselves, but were in duty bound to do so. I maintain that the Congress was convened in a perfectly legitimate way. Who is the judge in this dispute between the Party Council and the committees? Why, these very committees, the Party. The will of the Party was expressed long ago. All the delay and procrastination on the part of the centres abroad could not alter it. The committees were obligated to convene the Congress themselves, and the Congress has been convened lawfully.

    Now, to meet Comrade Tigrov's point. Comrade Tigrov says we ought not to judge the Party Council. But the whole report of the Organising Committee is a judgement of the Party Council. I think Comrade Tigrov errs in holding that we must not judge the accused in absentia. In politics one is constantly compelled to judge in absentia. Do we not constantly judge the Socialists-Revolutionaries, the Bundists, and others in our writings, at our meetings, and everywhere? What else can we do but judge in absentia, if the Party Council refuses to appear at the Congress? In that case we could never judge anyone. Even the official court judges in absentia if the accused refuses to appear before it.

    * The executive body. --Ed.

page 365



APRIL 14 (27)

    The findings of the Credentials Committee show that the Party is represented by a total number of 75 votes, so that our Congress, as now constituted, must beyond a doubt be recognised as valid. Considering the present attitude of suspicion towards the Congress, we must recognise as commendable the "liberal" tendency of the Credentials Committee to confirm the largest possible number of committees in order to increase the lawful majority necessary for the Congress. From this angle I am even ready to express my sympathy with such "liberality". But, on the other hand, one must be equally careful and impartial towards all, and for that reason I feel constrained to oppose the Credentials Committee's confirmation of the Kazan and Kuban committees. They are included in the list of qualified committees published in issue No. 89 of Iskra, but not in the list recorded in the minutes of the Party Council. At the Council session Comrade Martov read the list of qualified committees valid until September 1, 1904.

    (An excerpt from the minutes of the Party Council follows ):

    "Martov reads his resolution: According to Clause 2 of the Rules the Party Council is obligated to convene a congress when this is demanded by Party organisations commanding aggregately at least half the total voting strength of the congress. According to Note 1 to Clause 3, only organisations duly confirmed after the adoption of the Party Rules shall be entitled to representation at a congress.
    "Organisations not represented at the Second Congress are to be considered confirmed, if their confirmation by the C.C. was accorded not

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later than one year prior to the Congress. (I) The Party Council resolves that any organisation which shall have been confirmed within the specified period of time shall be entitled to have its vote counted at the computation of the number of organisations that have gone on record in favour of convening the Congress. The organisations represented at the Second Congress and elected by it shall be considered qualified organisations. (II) In view of this, only the following organisations shall hereafter and until September 1904 be entitled to vote on the question of convening a congress: (1) the C.C.; (2) the Central Organ; (3) the League Abroad; (4-20) the committees of St. Petersburg, Moscow, Kharkov, Kiev, Odessa, Nikolayev, of the Don region, of Ekaterinoslav Saratov, Ufa (now the Ural region), of the North, of Tula, Tver, Nizhni-Novgorod, Baku, Batum, and Tiflis (until the expiration of one year from the time of the confirmation of the Caucasian League); (21-23) the League of the Mining and Metal District (Donets), and the Siberian and the Crimean leagues.
    "The qualifiedness of these organisations assumed, the number of votes they are entitled to cast at the Congress is 46. With the 5 votes of the Party Council members, the total voting strength of the Congress is 51; therefore, to convene a congress 26 votes are required, viz., the votes of 13 of the above-named qualified organisations. The C.C. is requested to furnish the Party Council with the dates of its confirmation of the new committees since the Congress."

    The first part of the resolution was adopted unanimously.

    Later in his speech at that meeting, Comrade Glebov read out a list of the newly-formed committees.

    Comrade Glebov's speech (from the minutes of the Party Council ):

    "I agree with Comrade Martov and would like to state that the following new committees have been organised: Smolensk and Astrakhan, confirmed in September 1903; Voronezh (the Fund for the Struggle), in January 1904; Riga, in January, Polesye, in April, North-Western, in April; Kursk, in January; Orel-Bryansk, in September 1903; Samara, in September 1903; Ural (Ufa), in April."

    These facts were made public in Comrade Orlovsky's pamphlet The Council Against the Party, and so far the Council has neither refuted them nor published the dates of the confirmation of the committees under dispute, which would seem to indicate that there is no evidence of such confirmation. At the stated meeting of the Party Council, Comrade Martov declared in one of his speeches that in his opinion two more committees were to be confirmed in August, namely, the Kremenchug and Poltava committees -- but again not a word about the Kazan and Kuban committees.

page 367

    After the July declaration, Comrade Glebov sent me the full minutes of the C.C. meetings, in which no reference is made to the confirmation of either the Kazan or the Kuban Committee;<"p367"> at subsequent C.C. meetings, as Comrade Letnev,[111] a member of the C.C., has testified, there was likewise no mention of their confirmation. True, Comrade Zimin,[112] a member of the C.C., has a hazy recollection of the Kazan and Kuban committees having been confirmed, but he can state nothing definite.

    The Credentials Committee's decision to recognise these committees as qualified on the evidence of their having functioned for over a year, is not correct, and I move, therefore, that these committees be declared non-qualified.


page 368




    1. Whereas the proletariat, being, by virtue of its position, the foremost and most consistent revolutionary class, is therefore called upon to play the role of leader and guide of the general democratic revolutionary movement in Russia;

    2. Whereas only the performance of this role during the revolution will ensure the proletariat the most advantageous position in the ensuing struggle for socialism against the propertied classes of the bourgeois-democratic Russia about to be born; and

    3. Whereas the proletariat can perform this role only if it is organised under the banner of Social-Democracy into an independent political force and if it acts in strikes and demonstrations with the fullest possible unity; --

    Therefore, the Third Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. resolves that the task of organising the forces of the proletariat for direct struggle against the autocracy by means of mass po litical strikes and the armed uprising, and of setting up for this purpose an apparatus for information and leadership, is one of the chief tasks of the Party at the present revolutionary moment; for which reason the Congress instructs both the C.C. and the local committees and leagues to start preparing the political mass strike as well as the organisation of special groups for the obtainment and distribution of arms, for the elaboration of a plan of the armed uprising and the direct leadership of the rising. The fulfilment of this task can and should proceed in such a way as will not only not in the least prejudice the general work of awakening the class-consciousness of the proletariat, but, on the contrary, will render that work more effective and successful.

Written on April 14 (27), 1905


page 369




    The Congress holds, on the basis of the practical experiences of the functionaries and on the basis of the mood of the working-class masses, that preparations for the uprising imply, not only the preparation of weapons, the formation of groups, etc., but also the accumulation of experience by means of practical attempts at separate armed actions, such as attacks by armed squads on the police and on troops during public meetings, or on prisons, government offices, etc. While fully relying on the local Party centres and on the C.C. to determine the limits of such actions and the most convenient occasions for them, while fully relying on the comrades' discretion in avoiding a useless expenditure of effort on petty acts of terror, the Congress draws the attention of all Party organisations to the need for taking into consideration the above-mentioned facts of experience.

Written at the end of April 1905
    First published in 1931
    in Lenin Miscellany XVI

Published according to
the manuscript


page 370



APRIL 15 (28)

    It has been said here that the question is clear enough in principle. Nevertheless, statements have been made in Social-Democratic literature (see Iskra, No. 62, and Comrade Axelrod's foreword to the pamphlet by "A Worker") which go to show that the question is not so clear after all. Iskra and Axelrod talked about conspiracy and expressed the fear that too much thought would be given to the uprising. The facts show, however, that there has been too little thought on the subject. . . . In his foreword to the pamphlet by "A Worker", Comrade Axelrod maintains that it can only be a question of an uprising of the "uncivilised masses". Events have shown that we are dealing, not with an uprising of the "uncivilised masses", but with an uprising of politically conscious masses capable of carrying on an organised struggle. The entire history of the past year proved that we underestimated the significance and the inevitability of the uprising. Attention must be paid to the practical aspect of the matter. In this respect the experience of those engaged in practical work and of the workers of St. Petersburg, Riga, and the Caucasus is of exceptional importance. I would suggest, therefore, that the comrades tell us of their experience; that will make our discussion practical instead of academic. We must ascertain the mood of the proletariat -- whether the workers consider themselves fit to struggle and to lead the struggle. We must sum up this collective experience, from which no generalised conclusions have as yet been drawn.

page 371



APRIL 16 (29) <"p371">

    During the debate the question was put on a practical plane: what is the mood of the masses? Comrade Leskov[113] was right in saying that it was chequered. But Comrade Zharkov is right, too, in saying that we must reckon with the fact that the uprising, whatever we may think of it, is bound to take place. The question arises whether there are any differences in principle between the resolutions submitted. I fail totally to see any. Although I am viewed as an arch-intransigent, I will, nevertheless, try to reconcile and bring these two resolutions into line -- I will undertake their reconciliation. I have nothing against the amendment to Comrade Voinov's resolution. Nor do I see any difference in principle in the addendum. Very energetic participation does not necessarily imply hegemony. I think Comrade Mikhailov expressed himself in a more positive manner; he emphasises hegemony, and in a concrete form, too. The English proletariat is destined to bring about a socialist revolution -- that is beyond doubt; but its inability to bring it about at the present moment, owing to its lack of socialist organisation and its corruption by the bourgeoisie, is equally beyond dispute. Comrade Voinov expresses the same thought: the most energetic participation is undoubtedly the most decisive participation. Whether the proletariat will decide the outcome of the revolution -- no one can assert absolutely. This is likewise true of the role of leader. Comrade Voinov's resolution is worded more carefully. Social-Democracy may organise the uprising, it may even be the deciding factor in it. But whether Social-Democracy will

page 372

have the leading role in it cannot be predetermined; that will depend on the strength and organisation of the proletariat. The petty bourgeoisie may be better organised and its diplomats may prove to be superior and better trained. Comrade Voinov is the more cautious; he says, "You may be able to do it." "You will do it," says Comrade Mikhailov. The proletariat may possibly decide the outcome of the revolution, but this cannot be asserted positively. Comrades Mikhailov and Sosnovsky are guilty of the very error they charge Comrade Voinov with: "Count not your trophies before the battle."

    "For guarantee, it is necessary," says Voinov; "necessary and sufficient," say Mikhailov and Sosnovsky. As to organising special fighting groups, I might say that I consider them necessary. We need not fear to form them.


page 373




    1. Whereas the proletariat being, by virtue of its position, the foremost and only consistently revolutionary class, is therefore called upon to play the leading role in the general democratic revolutionary movement in Russia;

    2. Whereas this movement at the present time has already led to the necessity of an armed uprising;

    3. Whereas the proletariat will inevitably take the most energetic part in this uprising, which participation will decide the destiny of the revolution in Russia;

    4. Whereas the proletariat can play the leading role in this revolution only if it is united in a single and independent political force under the banner of the Social-Democratic Labour Party, which directs its struggle both ideologically and practically; and

    5. Whereas only the performance of this role will ensure to the proletariat the most advantageous conditions for the struggle for socialism against the propertied classes of bourgeois-democratic Russia; --

    Therefore, the Third Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. holds that the task of organising the proletariat for direct struggle against the autocracy by means of the armed uprising is one of the major and most urgent tasks of the Party at the present revolutionary moment.

    Accordingly, the Congress instructs all Party organisations:

    a) to explain to the proletariat by means of propaganda and agitation, not only the political significance, but the practical organisational aspect of the impending armed up rising,

page 374

    b) to explain in that propaganda and agitation the role of mass political strikes, which may be of great importance at the beginning and during the progress of the uprising, and

    c) to take the most energetic steps towards arming the proletariat, as well as drawing up a plan of the armed up rising and of direct leadership thereof, for which purpose special groups of Party workers should be formed as and when necessary.

Written on April 16 (29), 1905

Published according to
the manuscript


page 375



APRIL 18 (MAY 1)

    We are in a quandary. We have three resolutions and three amendments. The resolutions are growing in number and scope, and this process is not being regulated in any way. The subject has proved to be broader than the speaker who made the report anticipated.<"p375"> We shall have to refer the resolution back to the committee, although Comrade Sergeyev[115] evidently ridicules this proposal. The question of open action was touched upon by all the speakers. The report was appropriate to the subject, but needs amplifying. On the question of participation in the societies opinion is divided. The Congress cannot lay down a hard and fast rule on this point. All methods should be used for agitation. The experience of the Shidlovsky Commission gives no grounds whatever for a downright negative attitude. Some say that there is nothing new in the resolution. A good thing bears repeating again and again. Comrade Zimin's view is too rigid. It is impossible to reply categorically whether it is advisable to participate in the Zemsky Sobor. Everything will depend on the political situation, on the electoral system, and on other specific factors which cannot be estimated in advance. Some say that the Zemsky Sobor is a fraud. That is true. But there are times when we must take part in elections to expose a fraud. We can give nothing more than a general directive. I repeat, in my opinion all the resolutions should he referred back to the committee, the membership of which should be enlarged.

page 376




    Could we not satisfy Comrade Alexandrov[116] with the following amendments to Schmidt's[117] resolution (roughly):

    1) instead of (the Congress) "resolves": the Congress confirms the old tactics of the Social-Democrats as laid down at the Second Congress, with a detailed explanation applicable to the present moment (or something of the kind);

    2) to add another clause to the resolution approximately as follows:

    As regards the actual and sham concessions which the weakened autocracy is now making to the democrats in general and to the working class in particular, the Social-Democratic party of the working class should take aduantage of them in order, on the one hand, to consolidate for the people every improvement in the economic conditions and every extension of liberties with a view to intensifying the struggle, and on the other, steadily to expose before the proletariat the reactionary aims of the government, which is trying to disunite and corrupt the working class and draw its attention away from its urgent class needs at the moment of the revolution.

Written at the end of April 1905
    First published in 1931
    in Lenin Miscellany XVI

Published according
to the manuscript


page 377




    1. Whereas the revolutionary movement in Russia has already to a certain degree shaken and disorganised the autocratic government, which has been compelled to tolerate the comparatively extensive exercise of freedom of political action by the classes inimical to it;

    2. Whereas this freedom of political action is mostly, almost exclusively, enjoyed by the bourgeois classes, which thereby strengthen their existing economic and political domination over the working class and increase the danger that the proletariat may be transformed into a mere appendage of bourgeois democracy; and

    3. Whereas there is developing (breaking through, coming to light) among increasingly wider masses of the workers the urge towards independent open action in the political arena, even though (on occasions of lesser importance) with out the participation of the Social-Democrats; --

    Therefore, the Third Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. calls the attention of all Party organisations to the fact that it is necessary

    a) to make use of each and every case of open political action on the part of the educated spheres and the people, whether in the press, in associations, or at meetings, for the purpose of contraposing the independent class demands of the proletariat to the general democratic demands, so as to develop its class-consciousness and to organise it in the course of such actions into an independent socialist force;

    b)  -- to make use of all legal and semi-legal channels for creating workers' societies, associations, and organisations,

page 378

and to put forward every effort towards securing (in what ever way) the predominance of Social-Democratic influence in such associations and to convert them into bases for the future openly functioning Social-Democratic working-class party in Russia;

    c) to take the necessary steps to ensure that our Party organisations, while maintaining and developing their underground machinery, will proceed at once to the preparation of expedient forms of transition, wherever and whenever possible, to open Social-Democratic activity, even to the point of clashes with the armed forces of the government.

Written on April 19 (May 2), 1905
    First published in 1926
     in Lenin Miscellany V

Published according to
the manuscript


page 379




    1. Whereas a really free and open mass struggle of the proletariat against the bourgeoisie requires the widest possible political liberty and, consequently, the fullest possible realisation of republican forms of government;

    2. Whereas various bourgeois and petty-bourgeois sections of the population, the peasantry, etc., are now coming out in increasing numbers with revolutionary-democratic slogans, which are the natural and inevitable expression of the basic needs of the masses, the satisfaction of which -- impossible under the autocracy -- has been made imperative by the objective development of the entire socio-economic life of Russia;

    3. Whereas international revolutionary Social-Democracy has always recognised that the proletariat must render most energetic support to the revolutionary bourgeoisie in its struggle against all reactionary classes and institutions, provided that the party of the proletariat maintain absolute independence and a strictly critical attitude towards its temporary allies;

    4. Whereas the overthrow of the autocratic government in Russia is inconceivable without its replacement by a provisional revolutionary government, and whereas only such a change can ensure real freedom and a true expression of the will of the whole people during the inauguration of the new political system in Russia and guarantee the realisation of our programme of immediate and direct political and economic changes;

page 380

    5. Whereas without the replacement of the autocratic government by a provisional revolutionary government supported by all revolutionary-democratic classes and class elements in Russia, it will be impossible to achieve a republican form of government and win over to the revolution the backward and undeveloped sections of the proletariat and particularly of the peasantry -- those sections whose interests are completely opposed to the absolutist, serf-holding order and which cling to the autocracy or stand apart from the struggle against it largely on account of the oppressive stupefying atmosphere; and

    6. Whereas with the existence in Russia of a Social-Democratic party of the working class, which, though only in the initial stage of its development, is nevertheless already organised and capable, particularly under conditions of political freedom, of controlling and directing the actions of its delegates in a provisional revolutionary government, the danger that these delegates may deviate from the correct class line is not insurmountable; --

    Therefore, the Third Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. holds that representatives of the Party may participate in the provisional revolutionary government for the purpose of relentlessly combating, together with. the revolutionary bourgeois democrats, all attempts at counter-revolution, and of defending the independent class interests of the proletariat, provided that the Party maintain strict control over its representatives and firmly safeguard the independence of the Social-Democratic Labour Party, which aims at the complete socialist revolution and is in this respect hostile to all bourgeois-democratic parties and classes.

Written on April 19 (May 2), 1905
    First published in 1926
     in Lenin Miscellany V

Published according to
the manuscript


page 381




    Another argument in favour of participating in a provisional revolutionary government:

    Whereas the categorical refusal to participate in a provisional revolutionary government, which is at this moment recommended by the Right Wing of our Party, inevitably dooms the activity of the revolutionary proletariat aimed at preparing, organising, and carrying out the armed uprising, to irresolution, half-way policies, and disunity; --

Written at the end of April 1905
    First published in 1931
    in Lenin Miscellany XVI

Published according to
the manuscript


page 382



APRIL 18 (MAY 1)

    My task is to present the question of the participation of the Social-Democrats in a provisional revolutionary government. It may seem strange, at first glance, that such a question should have arisen. One might think the cause of Social-Democracy to be thriving and the probability of its participation in a provisional revolutionary government to be very great. Actually it is not so. To debate this question as an immediately realisable prospect would be quixotic. But the question has been forced upon us not so much by the actual state of affairs as by literary polemics. It must always be borne in mind that the question was first raised by Martynov, and that he raised it before January 9. He wrote in his pamphlet Two Dictatorships (pp. 10-11):

    "Imagine, dear reader, for a moment, that Lenin's utopia has been realised; imagine that the Party, whose membership has been narrowed down to only professional revolutionaries, has succeeded in 'preparing, timing, and carrying out the general armed uprising of the people'. Is it not obvious that it would be this Party which would be designated as the provisional government by the will of the whole people immediately after the revolution? Is it not obvious that the people would place the immediate fate of the revolution in the hands of this Party, and no other? Is it not obvious that this Party, not wishing to betray the confidence previously placed in it by the people, would be forced, be in duty bound, to asume power and maintain it until it had consolidated the victory of the revolution by revolutionary measuress?"

    Incredible as it may seem, this is actually how the question is presented: Martynov believes that if we were thor-

page 383

oughly to prepare and launch the uprising, we should find ourselves in a desperate predicament. If we were to submit our dispute to a foreigner, he would never believe it possible for the question to be formulated in that manner and he would not understand us. Our dispute cannot be understood without a knowledge of the history of Russian Social-Democratic views and the nature of the tail-endist views of Rabocheye Dyelo. This question has become an urgent question of theory and must be clarified. It is a question of clarity in our aims. I urge the comrades when reporting on our discussion to the members engaged in practical Party work in Russia to emphasise strongly Martynov's formulation of the question.

    Iskra, No. 96, contains an article by Plekhanov. We have always held Plekhanov in great esteem for the "offence" he has repeatedly given to the opportunists, which, to his honour, has earned him a mass of enemies. But we cannot esteem him for defending Martynov. This is not the Plekhanov we knew. He entitles his article "On the Question of the Seizure of Power". This artificially narrows the issue. We have never thus presented the question. Plekhanov presents things as though Vperyod called Marx and Engels "virtuosi of philistinism". But that is not so; it is a slight substitution. Vperyod expressly stressed the correctness of Marx's general conception of this question. The charge of philistinism referred to Martynov or to L. Martov. Well disposed though we are to hold in high esteem all who collaborate with Plekhanov, it must be said, however, that Martynov is not Marx. Plekhanov errs in seeking to hush up Martynovism.

    Martynov asserts that if we take a decisive part in the uprising, we shall be in great danger of being forced by the proletariat to take power. This argument has a certain original logic of its own, although a logic of retreat. It is in reference to this peculiar warning against the danger of victory in the struggle against the autocracy that Vperyod asks Martynov and L. Martov what they are talking about: a socialist or a democratic dictatorship? We are referred to Engels' famous words about the danger involved in the position of a leader who has been given power in behalf of a class that is not yet mature for the exercise of complete domination. We explained in Vperyod that Engels points out the danger to the position of a leader when he establishes

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post factum a divergence between principle and reality, between words and facts. Such a divergence leads to disaster in the sense of political failure, not in the sense of physical defeat[*]; you must affirm (this is Engels' thought) that the revolution is socialistic, when it is really only democratic. If we promised the Russian proletariat now that we could secure its complete domination immediately, we would fall into the error of the Socialists-Revolutionaries. It is this mistake of the Socialists-Revolutionaries that we Social-Democrats have always ridiculed -- their claim that the revolution will be "democratic and not bourgeois". We have constantly said that the revolution would strengthen the bourgeoisie, not weaken it, but that it would create for the proletariat the necessary conditions for waging a successful struggle for socialism.

    But since it is a question of a democratic revolution, we are faced with two forces: the autocracy and the revolutionary people, viz., the proletariat as the chief combatant, and the peasantry and all the different petty-bourgeois elements. The interests of the proletariat do not coincide with those of the peasantry and the petty bourgeoisie. Social-Democracy has always stressed the fact that these class differences in the midst of a revolutionary people are unavoidable. In a hard-fought struggle, the object of the struggle may change from hand to hand. A revolutionary people strives for the sovereignty of the people; all the reactionary elements defend the sovereignty of the tsar. A successful revolution, therefore, cannot be anything but the democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry, whose interests, equally opposed to the sovereignty of the tsar, coincide. Both Iskra and Vperyod are agreed on the slogan "To march separately but strike together", but Vperyod adds that striking jointly means jointly striking the final blow and jointly beating off the enemy's attempts to recover the ground he has lost. After the overthrow of the autocracy, the struggle will not cease, but become more intense. That is precisely the time when the reactionary forces will organise for the struggle in real earnest. If we are going to employ the slogan of the uprising, we must not frighten the <"fnp384">

    * See pp. 279-80 of this volume. --Ed.  [Transcriber's Note: See Lenin's "Social- Democracy and the Provisional Revolutionary Government". -- DJR]

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Social-Democrats with the possibility of victory in the uprising. When we have won the sovereignty of the people, we shall have to consolidate it -- this is what is meant by the revolutionary-democratic dictatorship. We have no reason whatever to fear it. The establishment of the republic would be a tremendous victory for the proletariat, although, unlike the bourgeois revolutionary, the Social-Democrat does not regard the republic as the "absolute ideal" but merely as something that will guarantee him freedom to wage the struggle for socialism on a broad basis. Parvus says that in no other country has the struggle for freedom entailed such tremendous sacrifices. This is true. It is confirmed by the European bourgeois press, which is following events in Russia very closely from the outside. The autocracy's resistance to the most elementary reforms is incredibly strong, and the greater the action the greater the counter-action. Hence the autocracy's utter collapse is highly probable. The entire question of the revolutionary-democratic dictatorship hinges on the complete overthrow of the autocracy. Possibly the history of 1848-50 will repeat itself with us, that is, the autocracy will not be overthrown but only limited in power and converted into a constitutional monarchy. In that case a democratic dictatorship will be out of the question. If, however, the autocratic government is really overthrown, it will have to be replaced by another. This other can be only a provisional revolutionary government. It can base itself for support only on the revolutionary people -- on the proletariat and the peasantry. It can be only a dictatorship, that is, not an organisation of "order", but an organisation of war. If you are storming a fortress, you cannot discontinue the war even after you have taken the fortress. Either the one or the other: either we take the fortress to hold it, or we do not storm the fortress and explain that all we want is a little place next to it. Let me pass on to Plekhanov. His method is totally incorrect. He evades important questions of principle to indulge in quibbling, with an element of misstatement. (Exclamation by Comrade Barsov : "Hear, hear!") Vperyod maintains that Marx's general scheme is correct (that of replacing the autocracy first by a bourgeois monarchy and then by a petty-bourgeois democratic republic); but if we set out

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beforehand to restrict the limits to which we shall go in accordance with this scheme, we shall prove ourselves philistines. Thus, Plekhanov's defence of Marx is verlorene Liebesmühe<"p386"> (love's labour's lost). In defending Martynov, Plekhanov refers to the Address[118] of the Central Committee of the Communist League [119] to the League membership. Plekhanov misstates this Address too. He draws a veil over the fact that it was written at a time when the people had failed to score a complete victory, notwithstanding the victorious uprising of the Berlin proletariat in 1848. Absolutism had been superseded by a bourgeois constitutional monarchy, and, consequently, a provisional government backed by the entire revolutionary people was out of the question. The whole point of the Address is that after the failure of the popular uprising Marx advises the working class to organise and prepare. Can these counsels serve to clarify the situation in Russia before the uprising has begun? Can they resolve the moot question which presupposes the victorious uprising of the proletariat? The Address begins thus: "In the two revolutionary years 1848-49 the League proved itself in double fashion: first, in that its members energetically took part in the movement in all places. . . . The League further proved itself in that its conception of the movement [as set forth, by the way, in the Communist Manifesto ] turned out to be the only correct one. . . . At the same time, the former firm organisation of the League was considerably slackened. A large part of the members who directly participated in the revolutionary movement believed the time for secret societies to have gone by and public activities alone sufficient. The individual circles and communities allowed their connections with the Central Committee (Zentralbehörde ) to become loose and gradually dormant. Consequently, while the democratic party, the party of the petty bourgeoisie, organised itself more and more in Germany, the workers' party lost its only firm hold, remained organised at the most in separate localities for local purposes and in the general movement (in der allgemeinen Bewegung ) thus came completely under the domination and leadership of the petty-bourgeois democrats " (Ansprache, p. 75).

    Thus, Marx found in 1850 that the petty-bourgeois democrats had gained in organisation during the Revolution of

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1848, which had run its course, while the workers' party had lost. Naturally, Marx's chief concern was that the workers' party should not lag behind the bourgeoisie a second time. It is "extremely important that . . . precisely at this moment, when a new revolution is impending, the workers' party must act in the most organised, most unanimous and most independent fashion possible, if it is not to be exploited and taken in tow again by the bourgeoisie as in 1848" (Ansprache, p. 76).

    It is because the bourgeois democrats were better organised that Marx did not doubt that they would definitely predominate, should a second revolution take place at once. "That, during the further development of the revolution; the petty-bourgeois democracy will for a moment (für einen Augenblick ) obtain predominating influence in Germany is not open to doubt" (Ansprache, p. 78). Taking all this into consideration, we can understand why Marx does not mention a word in Ansprache about the participation of the proletariat in a provisional revolutionary government. Plekhanov, therefore, is entirely incorrect in asserting that Marx "considered inadmissible the thought that the political representatives of the proletariat could work together with the representatives of the petty bourgeoisie for the creation of a new social order" (Iskra, No. 96). This is not correct. Marx does not raise the question of participation in a provisional revolutionary government, whereas Plekhanov makes it appear as though Marx decided this question in the negative. Marx says: We Social-Democrats have all been lagging behind, we are worse organised, we must organise independently for the eventuality that the petty bourgeoisie will come to power after a new revolution. From these premises of Marx, Martynov draws the following conclusion: We Social-Democrats, now better organised than the petty-bourgeois democrats and constituting undoubtedly an independent party, ought to shrink from having to participate in a provisional revolutionary government in the event of a successful uprising. Yes! Comrade Plekhanov, Marxism is one thing and Martynovism another. To bring out more clearly the great difference between the situation in Russia in 1905 and that in Germany in 1850, let us deal with some further interesting passages in the Address. Marx did not

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even mention the democratic dictatorship of the proletariat, for he believed in the direct socialist dictatorship of the proletariat immediately after the petty-bourgeois revolution. On the agrarian question, for instance, he says that the democrats want to create a petty-bourgeois peasant class, but that the workers must oppose this plan in the interests of the rural proletariat and in their own interests; they must demand that the confiscated feudal landed property remain state property, and that it be used for labour colonies in which the associated rural proletariat should employ all the means of large-scale agriculture. Obviously, with such plans in mind, Marx could not speak of a democratic dictatorship. He wrote, not on the eve of the revolution, as the representative of the organised proletariat, but after the revolution, as the representative of the workers in the process of organising. Marx emphasises the first task as follows: "After the overthrow of the existing governments, the Central Committee will, as soon as it is at all possible, betake itself to Germany, immediately convene a congress, and put before the latter the necessary proposals for the centralisation of the workers' clubs. . . ." Thus, the idea of an independent workers' party, which has become with us bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh, was then something new. We must not forget that in 1848,<"p388"> when Marx was editing the free and extremely revolutionary newspaper (Die Neue Rheinische Zeitung [120]), he had no working-class organisation behind him. His paper was supported by bourgeois radicals, who nearly wrecked it when Marx made his scathing attack on the Paris bourgeoisie after the June Days. That is why the Address has so much to say about the independent organisation of the workers. It deals with the formation of revolutionary workers' governments parallel with the new official government, whether in the form of workers' clubs and committees or of local communal councils and municipalities. The point made therein is that the workers should be armed and that they should form an independent workers' guard. The second clause in the programme states that working-class candidates, preferably members of the League, should be nominated for these bodies alongside the bourgeois candidates. How weak the League was is shown by the fact that Marx had to argue the need for nominating

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independent candidates. The inference to be drawn from all this is that Marx did not mention and had no intention of deciding the question of participation in a provisional revolutionary government, since that question could have no practical significance at the time; the entire attention was concentrated exclusively on the organisation of an independent workers' party.

    Plekhanov says further in Iskra that Vperyod produces no relevant evidence, but confines itself to repeating a few favourite catchwords, and he alleges that Vperyod seeks to criticise Marx. With what truth? Do we not see, on the contrary, that Vperyod puts the question on a concrete basis, taking into account the real social forces engaged in Russia in the struggle for the democratic revolution? Plekhanov, on the other hand, does not say a word about the concrete conditions in Russia. His stock-in-trade consists of a couple of inapposite quotations. Monstrous, but true. The situation in Russia differs so greatly from that in Western Europe that even Parvus was prompted to ask: Where is our revolutionary democracy? Unable to prove that Vperyod wants to "criticise" Marx, Plekhanov drags in Mach and Avenarius by the ears. I cannot for the life of me understand what these writers, for whom I have not the slightest sympathy, have to do with the question of social revolution. They wrote on individual and social organisation of experience, or some such theme, but they never really gave any thought to the democratic dictatorship. Does Plekhanov mean to say that Parvus, perhaps, has become a disciple of Mach and Avenarius? (Laughter.) Or perhaps things have come to such a pass with Plekhanov that he has to make a butt of Mach and Avenarius without rhyme or reason. Plekhanov goes on to say that Marx and Engels soon lost faith in an imminent social revolution. The Communist League broke up. Petty squabbles arose among the political emigrants abroad, which Marx and Engels put down to the fact that while there were revolutionaries there was no revolution. Plekhanov writes in Iskra : "They [Marx and Engels, who had lost faith in an imminent social revolution] would have formulated the political tasks of the proletariat on the assumption that the democratic system would be predominant for a fairly long time. But for this very reason they would have been

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more emphatic than ever in condemning the socialists' participation in a petty-bourgeois government" (Iskra, No. 96). Why? No answer. Once more Plekhanov uses democratic dictatorship interchangeably with socialist dictatorship, i.e., he falls into Martynov's error, against which Vperyod has time and again strongly warned. Without the democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry no republic is possible in Russia. This assertion was made by Vperyod on the basis of an analysis of the actual situation. Unfortunately, Marx did not know this situation and he did not write of it. Therefore the analysis of this situation can neither be confirmed nor refuted with simple quotations from Marx. As to the concrete conditions, Plekhanov says not a word.

    Even less felicitous is the adducing of the second quotation from Engels. For one thing,<"p390"> it is rather odd of Plekhanov to refer to a private letter without mention of the time and place of its publication.[121] We could only be grateful for the publication of Engels' letters, but we should like to see their full text. We have, however, some information which permits us to judge of the true meaning of Engels' letter.

    We know definitely, in the second place, that the situation in Italy in the nineties was nothing like the present situation in Russia. Italy had been enjoying freedom for forty years. In Russia the working class cannot even dream of such freedom without a bourgeois revolution. In Italy, consequently, the working class had long been in a position to develop an independent organisation for the socialist revolution. Turati is the Italian Millerand. It is quite possible, therefore, that even at that time Turati advocated Millerandian ideas. This assumption is borne out by the fact that, according to Plekhanov himself, Engels had to explain to Turati the difference between a bourgeois-democratic and a socialist revolution. Thus, Engels feared that Turati would find himself in the false position of a leader who did not understand the social significance of the revolution in which he was taking part. Accordingly, we must say again of Plekhanov that he confounds democratic with socialist revolution.

    But perhaps we might find in Marx and Engels an answer which, though not applying to the concrete situation in

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Russia, would apply to the general principles of the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat? Iskra at any rate raises one such general question.

    It states in issue No. 93: "The best way to organise the proletariat into a party in opposition to the bourgeois-democratic state is to develop the bourgeois revolution from below through the pressure of the proletariat on the democrats in power." Iskra goes on: "Vperyod wants the pressure of the proletariat on the revolution [?] to be exerted not only from below, not only from the street, but also from above, from the marble halls of the provisional government." This for mulation is correct; Vperyod does want this. We have here a really general question of principle: is revolutionary action permissible only from below, or also from above? To this general question we can find an answer in Marx and Engels. <"p391">

    I have in mind Engels' interesting article "The Bakuninists at Work"[122] (1873). Engels describes briefly the Spanish Revolution of 1873, when the country was swept by a revolution of the Intransigentes, i.e., the extreme republicans. Engels stresses the fact that the immediate emancipation of the working class was out of the question at that time. The task was to accelerate for the proletariat the transition through the preliminary stages that prepare the social revolution and to clear the obstacles in its way. The working class of Spain could utilise this opportunity only by taking an active part in the revolution. In this it was hindered by the influence of the Bakuninists and, among other things, by their idea of the general strike, which Engels criticised so effectively. Engels describes, in passing, the events in Alcoy, a city with 30,000 factory workers, where the proletariat found itself master of the situation. How did the proletariat act? Despite the principles of Bakuninism, they were obligated to participate in the provisional revolutionary government. "The Bakuninists," says Engels, "had for years been propagating the idea that all revolutionary action from above downward was pernicious, and that everything must be organised and carried out from below upward."

    This, then, is Engels' answer to the general question of "from above or from below" raised by Iskra. The "Iskra" principle of "only from below and never from above" is an anarchist principle. Drawing his conclusion from the events of the

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Spanish revolution, Engels says: "The Bakuninists repudiated the credo which they had just proclaimed: that the establishment of a revolutionary government was only a new deception and a new betrayal of the working class [as Plekhanov is trying to persuade us now], by figuring quite complacently on the government committees of the various cities, and at that almost everywhere as an impotent minority outvoted and exploited politically by the bourgeoisie." Thus, what displeases Engels is the fact that the Bakuninists were in the minority, and not the fact that they sat there on these committees. At the conclusion of his pamphlet, Engels declares that the example of the Bakuninists is "an example of how not to make a revolution."

    If Martov confined his revolutionary work exclusively to action from below, he would be repeating the mistake of the Bakuninists.

    Iskra, however, after inventing differences on points of principle with Vperyod, comes round to our own point of view. Martynov, for instance, says that the proletariat, in common with the people, must force the bourgeoisie to consummate the revolution. This, however, is nothing but the revolutionary dictatorship of "the people", viz., of the proletariat and the peasantry. The bourgeoisie has no wish whatever to consummate the revolution. But the people cannot help wanting this because of the social conditions of their existence. The revolutionary dictatorship will educate them and draw them into political life.

    Iskra writes in issue No. 95:

    "If, however, we should finally be swept into power against our will by the inner dialectics of the revolution at a time when the national conditions for the establishment of socialism are not yet mature, we would not back out. We would make it our aim to break down the narrow national framework of the revolution and impel the Western world towards revolution, as France impelled the East a century ago."

    Thus, Iskra itself admits that, were it our misfortune to be victorious, we should have to act in keeping with the Vperyod position. Hence, in the practical aspect of the question, "Iskra" follows "Vperyod " and undermines its own position. The only thing I fail to understand is how Martov and Martynov can be dragged to power against their own will. If ever there was idiocy!

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    Iskra cites France as an example. But that was Jacobin France. To make a bogy of Jacobinism in time of revolution is a cheap trick. A democratic dictatorship, as I have pointed out, is not an organisation of "order", but an organisation of war. Even if we did seize St. Petersburg and guillotined<"p393"> Nicholas, we would still have several Vendées[123]to deal with. Marx understood this perfectly when in 1848, in the Neue Rheinische Zeitung, he recalled the Jacobins. He said that "the Reign of Terror of 1793 was nothing but a plebeian manner of settling<"p393a"> accounts with absolutism and counter-revolution."[124] We, too, prefer to settle accounts with the Russian autocracy by "plebeian" methods and leave Girondist methods to Iskra The situation confronting the Russian revolution is singularly auspicious (an anti-popular war, the Asiatic conservatism of the autocracy, etc.), and it justifies the hope that the uprising may prove successful. The revolutionary temper of the proletariat is mounting almost hourly. At such a moment Martynovism is not mere folly, but a downright crime, for it saps the revolutionary energy of the proletariat, clips the wings of its revolutionary enthusiasm. (Lyadov : "Hear, hear!") It is the mistake Bernstein made in the German Party, under different circumstances, on the question, not of the democratic, but of the socialist dictatorship.

    To give you a definite idea of what these celebrated "marble halls" of the provisional revolutionary government are really like, I shall quote still another source. In his article "Die Reichsverfassungskampagne "* Engels recounts how he took part in a revolution in the precincts of these "marble halls". He describes, for instance, the uprising in Rhenish Prussia, which was one of the most industrialised centres in Germany. The chances for the victory of the democratic party, he says, were particularly strong there. The thing to do was to rush all available forces to the right bank of the Rhine, spread the insurrection over a wider area and try to set up the nucleus of a revolutionary army with the aid of the Landwehr (militia). This was precisely what Engels proposed when he went to Elberfeld to do everything possible to put his plan into operation. He attacks the

    * "The Campaign for an Imperial Constitution". --Ed.

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petty-bourgeois leaders for their inability to organise the insurrection, for their failure to furnish funds, for instance, for the maintenance of the workers fighting on the barricades, etc. They should have acted more energetically, he says. Their first step should have been to disarm the Elberfeld Citizens' Army and distribute its arms among the workers, and then to levy a compulsory tax for the maintenance of the workers thus armed. But this suggestion, says Engels, came only and exclusively from me. The highly respectable Committee of Public Safety was not in the least inclined to take such "terrorist measures".

    Thus, while our Marx and Engels -- that is, Martynov and Martov (Homeric laughter ) -- try to frighten us with the bogy of Jacobinism, Engels castigated the revolutionary petty bourgeoisie for its disdain of the "Jacobin" mode of operation. He understood that going to war and -- in the course of the war -- renouncing the State Treasury and government power meant engaging in an unworthy game of words. Where, then, will you get money for the uprising, if it becomes an all-people's uprising, gentlemen of the new Iskra ? Not from the State Treasury, surely? That is bourgeois! That is Jacobinism!

    Concerning the uprising in Baden Engels writes that "the insurgent government had every chance of success, in that it found . . . a ready army, well-stocked arsenals . . . a full State Treasury, and what was practically solid support of the population". After the event everyone understood what had to be done under the circumstances. What had to be done was to organise an army for the protection of the National Assembly, to drive the Austrians and Prussians back, to spread the revolt to the neighbouring states, and "bring the trembling German so-called National Assembly under the terroristic influence of an insurgent population and insurgent army. . . . It was necessary, furthermore, to centralise the power of the insurrection, put the necessary funds at its disposal and win for the insurrection the sympathy of the vast farming majority of the population by immediately abolishing all feudal burdens. . . . All this should have been done at once, however, if it was to be carried out promptly. A week after the appointment of the Committee of Safety it was too late".

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    We are convinced that when the uprising starts in Russia the revolutionary Social-Democrats, following the example of Engels, will enlist as soldiers of the revolution and will give the same kind of "Jacobin" advice. But our Iskra prefers to discuss the colour of the ballot envelopes, relegating to the background the question of the provisional revolutionary government and of a revolutionary guard for the Constituent Assembly. Our Iskra will not act "from above" under any circumstances.

    From Karlsruhe Engels went to Pfalz, where his friend D'Ester (who had once freed Engels from arrest) was on the provisional government. "Official participation in a movement that was utterly alien to our party was plainly out of the question in this case as well," Engels says. He had "to take the only position in this movement that anyone working on the Neue Rheinische Zeitung could take: that of a soldier". We have spoken of the break-up of the Communist League, which deprived Engels of practically all ties with the workers' organisations. This clarifies the passage we quoted: "I was offered many civilian and military posts," writes Engels, "posts that I would not have hesitated for a moment to accept in a proletarian movement. Under the circumstances I declined them all."

    As we see, Engels did not fear to act from above; he did not fear that the proletariat might become too organised and too strong, which could lead to its participation in the provisional government. On the contrary, he regretted that the movement was not successful enough, not proletarian enough, because the workers were completely unorganised. But even under these circumstances, Engels accepted a post; he served in the army as Willich's adjutant, took over the delivery of ammunition, transporting under the greatest difficulties powder, lead, cartridges, etc. "To die for the republic was (thenceforward) my aim," writes Engels.

    I leave it to you, comrades, to judge whether this picture of a provisional government drawn according to the words of Engels resembles the "marble halls" which the new Iskra is holding up as a bogy to frighten the workers away from us. (Applause.) (The speaker reads his draft of the resolution and explains it.)

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    1. Whereas both the direct interests of the Russian proletariat and those of its struggle for the ultimate aims of socialism require the fullest possible measure of political freedom, and, consequently, the replacement of the autocratic form of government by the democratic republic;

    2. Whereas the armed uprising of the people, if completely successful, i.e., if the autocracy is overthrown, will necessarily bring about the establishment of a provisional revolutionary government, which alone is capable of securing complete freedom of agitation and of convening a Constituent Assembly that will really express the will of the people, an Assembly elected on the basis of universal, direct, and equal suffrage by secret ballot; and

    3. Whereas this democratic revolution in Russia will not weaken, but, on the contrary, will strengthen the domination of the bourgeoisie, which, at a certain juncture, will inevitably go to all lengths to take away from the Russian proletariat as many of the gains of the revolutionary period as possible; --

    Therefore, the Third Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. resolves:

    a) that we should spread among the working class the conviction that a provisional revolutionary government is absolutely necessary, and discuss at workers' meetings the conditions required for the full and prompt realisation of all the immediate political and economic demands of our programme;

    b) that in the event of the victorious uprising of the people and the complete overthrow of the autocracy, representa-

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tives of our Party may participate in the provisional revolutionary government for the purpose of waging a relentless struggle against all counter-revolutionary attempts and of defending the independent interests of the working class;

    c) that essential conditions for such participation are strict control of its representatives by the Party, and the constant safeguarding of the independence of the Social-Democratic Party, which strives for the complete socialist revolution, and, consequently, is irreconcilably opposed to all the bourgeois parties;

    d) that, irrespective of whether participation of Social-Democrats in the provisional revolutionary government is possible or not, we must propagate among the broadest sections of the proletariat the idea that the armed proletariat, led by the Social-Democratic Party, must bring to bear constant pressure on the provisional government for the purpose of defending, consolidating, and extending the gains of the revolution.

Written prior to April 18 (May 1), 1905


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APRIL 19 (MAY 2)

    On the whole I share the opinion of Comrade Zimin. It is only natural that, as publicist, I should have given my attention to the literary formulation of the question. Comrade Zimin has very properly stressed the importance of the aim which our struggle pursues, and I subscribe to all he has said. You cannot fight if you do not expect to capture the point you are fighting for. . . .

    Comrade Zimin's amendment to Point 2: "that the establishment, etc. . . . a provisional government, which alone", etc., is quite to the purpose, and I readily accept it.

    This is likewise true of the amendment to Point 3; it is very appropriate to show here that under the present social and economic conditions the bourgeoisie will of necessity grow stronger.

    In point (a) of the resolution, the wording "the proletariat will demand" is better than my formulation, since it shifts the emphasis to the proletariat. In point (b) the reference to the dependence on the relation of forces is also quite appropriate. This formulation,<"p398"> in my opinion, renders Comrade Andreyev's amendment unnecessary.[125] Incidentally, I should like to know the opinion of the comrades from Russia as to whether the expression "immediate demands" is clear enough or whether we should not add "the minimum programme" in parenthesis. In point (c) I use the word "are", while Comrade Zimin proposes "should be"; evidently a stylistic correction is needed here. Where Party control is dealt with, I think my old formulation "the safeguarding of the

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independence of the Social-Democratic Party" is better than "preserving", which Comrade Zimin proposes. Our task is not only to "preserve" the independence of the Social-Democratic Party, but constantly to "safeguard" it. Comrade Sosnovsky's amendment to this point only mars the formulation by making it vaguer. Comrade Andreyev's proposals for changes are covered in part in the points of my resolution and of Comrade Zimin's. Incidentally, it is hardly appropriate to put "provisional government" in the plural in the formulation, as Comrade Andreyev proposes. Of course, we may have many provisional governments; but we should not make a point of it, for we do not in any sense strive for such partitioning. We shall always stand for a single provisional government of all-Russia and strive to create "a single centre, and a Russian one at that". (Laughter.)


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APRIL 19 (MAY 2)

    In view of the statement of seventeen comrades calling attention to the urgent need for speeding up the work of the Congress, I shall try to be as brief as possible. Strictly speaking, there are no moot points of principle in the question under discussion; none arose even during the Party crisis, which was rich in differences on points of "principle".

    Moreover, the draft resolution was published in Vperyod quite some time ago; I shall therefore confine myself merely to supporting the resolution.

    The question of supporting the peasant movement divides itself into two aspects: (1) fundamentals,<"p400"> and (2) the practical experience of the Party. The latter will be dealt with by our second reporter, Comrade Barsov,[126] who is thoroughly familiar with our most advanced peasant movement -- that in Guria. As regards the fundamentals involved, it is now a matter of reaffirming the slogans elaborated by Social-Democracy and adapting them to the peasant movement of today. This movement is growing and spreading before our eyes. The government is up to its old game of trying to fool the peasantry with sham concessions. This policy of corruption must be countered with the slogans of our Party.

    These slogans, in my opinion, are set forth in the following Draft Resolution:

    "The Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party, as the party of the class-conscious proletariat, strives to bring about the complete emancipation of all working people

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from every kind of exploitation, and supports every revolutionary movement against the present social and political system. Therefore, the R.S.D.L.P. strongly supports the present-day peasant movement, among others, and stands for all revolutionary measures capable of improving the condition of the peasantry, not halting at the expropriation of the landed estates to this end. At the same time, as the class party of the proletariat, the R.S.D.L.P. works undeviatingly towards an independent class organisation of the rural proletarians, ever mindful of its obligation to make clear to them the antagonism of their interests to those of the peasant bourgeoisie, to bring them to understand that only the common struggle of the rural and the urban proletariat against the whole of bourgeois society can lead to the socialist revolution, which alone is capable of really freeing the mass of the rural poor from poverty and exploitation.

    "As a practical slogan for agitation among the peasantry, and as a means of instilling the utmost political consciousness into this movement, the R.S.D.L.P. proposes the immediate formation of revolutionary peasant committees for all-round support of all democratic reforms and for their implementation in detail. In these committees as well the R.S.D.L.P. will strive for an independent organisation of the rural proletarians for the purpose of supporting the entire peasantry in all its revolutionary-democratic actions, on the one hand, and, on the other, of safeguarding the true interests of the rural proletariat in its struggle against the peasant bourgeoisie" (Vperyod, No. 11*).

    This Draft was discussed by the Agrarian Committee, which the delegates had appointed in advance of the Congress for its preparation. Although opinion was considerably divided, certain major trends were clearly in evidence, and it is with these that I intend to deal. The nature of the possible and necessary revolutionary measures in the sphere of the agrarian question is according to the Draft Resolution "the improvement in the condition of the peasantry". Thus, the Resolution clearly expresses thereby the general conviction of all Social-Democrats that no fundamental change in the present social and economic system can be achieved by

    * See pp. 235-36 of this volume. --Ed.  [Transcriber's Note: See Lenin's early 1905 piece, "The Proletariat and the Peasantry". This should not be confused with another text published toward the end of 1905 having the same title. -- DJR]

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these measures. In this we differ from the Socialists-Revolutionaries. The revolutionary movement of the peasants may lead to a considerable improvement in their condition, but not to the supplanting of capitalism by another mode of production.

    The Resolution speaks of measures that will not halt at the expropriation of the landed estates. It has been said that this formulation modifies our agrarian programme. I consider this opinion wrong. The wording could be improved, of course, to read that it is the peasantry and not our Party that will not halt at expropriation; our Party supports the peasantry and will support it also when it does not halt at such measures. The narrower concept "confiscation" should be used instead of expropriation, since we are emphatically opposed to compensation in any shape or form. We will never hesitate to employ such measures as confiscation of the land. But apart from these partial emendations, we see nothing in our Resolution that modifies our agrarian programme. All Social-Democratic publicists have constantly expressed the view that the point concerning the cut-off lands does not by any means set limits to the peasant movement, either to curtail or to restrict it. Both Plekhanov and I have stated in the press that the Social-Democratic<"p402"> Party will never hold the peasantry back from revolutionary measures of agrarian reform, including the "general redistribution"[127] of the land. Thus, we are not modifying our agrarian programme. We must now take a definite stand on the practical question of consistent support to the peasants, to avoid any possible misunderstandings or misinterpretations. The peasant movement is now on the order of the day, and the party of the proletariat should declare officially that it gives this movement full support and does not in any way limit its scope.

    The Resolution goes on to speak of the need to bring the interests of the rural proletariat into focus and to organise this proletariat separately. There is hardly any need to defend this simple axiom before a gathering of Social-Democrats. It was stated in the Agrarian Committee that it would be a good thing to add a point on the support of strikes of the farm labourers and peasants, especially during the harvesting, haymaking, etc. In principle, of course, there can

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be nothing against this. Let our practical workers say what they think of the possible significance of such a point for the immediate future.

    The Resolution further speaks of the formation of revolutionary peasant committees.

    The idea that the demand for the immediate formation of revolutionary peasant committees should be made the pivot of our agitation was developed in Vperyod, No. 15.[*] Even the reactionaries now talk of "improving the living conditions", but they stand for an official, bureaucratic way of pseudo-improvement, whereas the Social-Democrats, of course, must stand for the revolutionary way of effecting the improvement. The main task is to instil political consciousness into the peasant movement. The peasants know what they want in a vague sort of way, but they are unable to see their wishes and demands in relation to the entire political system. That is why they are such easy game for political tricksters, who reduce the question of political changes to economic "improvements", which cannot really be effected without political changes. Therefore, the slogan calling for revolutionary peasant committees is the only correct one. Unless these committees are able to enforce the revolutionary law, the peasants will never be able to hold what they may now win. It is objected that here, too, we are modifying the agrarian programme, which says nothing about revolutionary peasant committees or their functions in the field of democratic reforms. This objection does not hold water. We are not modifying our programme but applying it to a concrete case. Since no doubt exists that the peasant committees cannot be anything but revolutionary under the given conditions, by noting this fact we are merely applying the programme to the revolutionary moment, not changing it. Our programme, for instance, declares that we recognise the right of nations to self-determination; if concrete conditions brought us to express ourselves in favour of self-determination of a definite nation, of its complete independence, that would be, not a change of the programme, but its application. The peasant committees are an elastic institution, suitable both under present conditions and <"fnp403">

    * See pp. 321-22 of this volume. --Ed.  [Transcriber's Note: See Lenin's "Marx on the American 'General Redistribution'". -- DJR]

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under, let us say, a provisional revolutionary government, when they would become organs of the government. Some hold that these committees may become reactionary instead of revolutionary. But we Social-Democrats have never forgotten the dual nature of the peasant or the possibility of a reactionary peasant movement against the proletariat. Not this is the point at issue, but rather that at the present time peasant committees formed to sanction land reforms cannot be anything but revolutionary. At the present time the peasant movement is unquestionably revolutionary. Some say that the peasants will quieten down after they have seized the land. Possibly. But the autocratic government will not quieten down if the peasants seize the land, and this is the crux of the matter. Only a revolutionary government or revolutionary peasant committees can sanction this seizure.

    Lastly, the concluding part of the Resolution defines once more the position of the Social-Democrats in the peasant committees, namely, the necessity of marching together with the rural proletariat and organising it separately and independently. In the countryside, too, there can be only one consistently revolutionary class -- the proletariat.


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    1. Whereas the growing peasant movement, though spontaneous and politically unconscious, is nonetheless inevitably directed against the existing political order and against the privileged classes ;

    2. Whereas it is one of the tasks of Social-Democracy to support every revolutionary movement against the existing social and political order;

    3. Whereas, in view of the aforesaid, the Social-Democrats must strive to bring out the revolutionary-democratic features (characteristics) of the peasant movement, to uphold them and develop them to their logical conclusion; and

    4. Whereas the Social-Democratic Party, as the party of the proletariat, must in all cases and under all circumstances work steadfastly for the independent organisation of the rural proletariat and to clarify for this class the irreconcilable antagonism between its interests and those of the peasant bourgeoisie; --

    Therefore, the Third Party Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. instructs all Party organisations:

    a) to carry on propaganda among the proletariat at large, explaining that the R.S.D.L.P. makes it its aim to support with the utmost vigour the present-day peasant movement, without opposing its revolutionary manifestations, including the confiscation of the landed estates;

    b) as a practical slogan for agitation among the peasantry and as a means of instilling the utmost political consciousness into the peasant movement, a plan should be launched

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for the immediate organisation of revolutionary peasant committees that shall have as their aim the carrying out of all revolutionary-democratic reforms in the interests of the peasantry and the liberation of the peasantry from the tyranny of the police, the officials, and the landlords; c) to recommend to the peasantry non-performance of military service, flat refusal to pay taxes, and refusal to recognise the authorities, in order to disorganise the autocratic regime and support the revolutionary onset directed against it; d) to work within the peasant committees for the independent organisation of the rural proletariat and for its closest possible association with the urban proletariat in a single Social-Democratic party of the working class.

Written on April 20 (May 3), 1905


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APRIL 20 (MAY 3)

    I cannot agree with the comrades who said it was inappropriate to broaden the scope of this question. It is quite appropriate.

    It has been said here that the exponents of Social-Democratic ideas have been mainly intellectuals. That is not so. During the period of Economism the exponents of revolutionary ideas were workers, not intellectuals. This is confirmed by "A Worker", the author of the pamphlet published with a foreword by Comrade Axelrod.

    Comrade Sergeyev asserted here that the elective principle will not make for better information. That is not so. If the elective principle were applied in practice, we should unquestionably be much better informed than we now are.

    It has also been pointed out that splits have usually been the work of intellectuals. This is an important point, but it does not settle the question. In my writings for the press I have long urged that as many workers as possible should be placed on the committees.* The period since the Second Congress has been marked by inadequate attention to this duty -- such is the impression I have received from talks with comrades engaged in practical Party work. If in Saratov only one worker was placed on the committee, this means that they did not know how to choose suitable people

    * A Letter to a Comrade on Our Organisational Tasks, September 1902. See present edition, Vol. 6, p. 237. --Ed.

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<"p408"> from among the workers. No doubt, this was due also to the split within the Party; the struggle for the committees has had a damaging effect on practical work. For this very reason we endeavoured in every way possible to speed the convening of the Congress.

    It will be the task of the future centre to reorganise a considerable number of our committees; the inertness of the committee-men has to be overcome. (Applause and booing.)

    I can hear Comrade Sergeyev booing while the non-committee-men applaud. I think we should look at the matter more broadly. To place workers on the committees is a political, not only a pedagogical, task. Workers have the class instinct, and, given some political experience, they pretty soon become staunch Social-Democrats. I should be strongly in favour of having eight workers to every two intellectuals on our committees. Should the advice given in our Party literature -- to place as many workers as possible on the committees -- be insufficient, it would be advisable for this recommendation to be given in the name of the Congress. A clear and definite directive from the Congress will give you a radical means of fighting demagogy; this is the express will of the Congress.


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    1. Whereas the Right Wing of our Party still continues the systematic attempts, begun in the days of Economism, to spread hostility and distrust among the Party members the workers and the intellectuals -- attempts to represent our Party organisations as consisting solely of intellectuals (an allegation of which the enemies of Social-Democracy make clever use); attempts to accuse the Social-Democratic organisations of striving to fetter the initiative of the working class through the instrumentality of Party discipline; attempts to flaunt the elective-principle slogan for the most part without any design to apply it in practice; and

    2. Whereas the full assertion of the elective principle, possible and necessary under conditions of political freedom, is unfeasible under the autocracy, though even under the autocracy this principle could be applied to a much larger extent than it is today, were it not for the obstacle presented by the Party organisation's diffuse form and actual disorganisation, for which the Party is indebted to the selfsame Right Wing of Social-Democracy; --

    Therefore, the Third Congress of the R.S.D.L.P., recognising its duty to prepare for the coming congresses, by a series of organisational reforms, the pre-conditions for a real application of the elective principle in Party life, to the extent possible, calls attention once more to the task confronting the class-conscious adherents of the Social-Democratic workers' party: that they make every effort to

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strengthen the ties between the Party and the masses of the working class by raising still wider sections of proletarians and semi-proletarians to full Social-Democratic consciousness, by developing their revolutionary Social-Democratic activity, by seeing to it that the greatest possible number of workers capable of leading the movement and the Party organisations be advanced from among the mass of the working class to membership on the local centres and on the all-Party centre through the creation of a maximum number of working-class organisations adhering to our Party, by seeing to it that working-class organisations unwilling or unable to enter the Party should at least be associated with it.

Written on April 22 (May 5), 1905


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APRIL 22 (MAY 5)

    I could hardly keep my seat when it was said here that there are no workers fit to sit on the committees. The question is being dragged out; obviously there is something the matter with the Party. Workers must be given places on the committees. Oddly enough, there are only three publicists at the Congress, the others being committee-men; it appears however that the publicists are for placing the workers, whereas the committee-men for some reason are quite wrought up over it. <"p411">

    The statements by Comrades Golubin[128] and Mikhailov are highly valuable.


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APRIL 22 (MAY 5)[129]

    I am not of accord with Comrade Sergeyev in this; it is precisely such congress resolutions that do not exist. The wishes of the publicists are not enough. Besides, the resolutions were not rejected, but merely shifted to another item of the agenda. Some point to the fact that the workers have the right, with the consent of the Central Committee, to cashier the committees. That is not enough; we want a directive, not demagogy. Comrade Sergeyev misinterprets Vperyod when he talks about "fine words buttering no parsnips". It is the brevity of the Rules clause that makes us adopt a resolution containing a certain directive. I am against Comrade Andreyev's proposal. It is not true that it was neither the "Economists" nor the "Mensheviks" who started the demagogy. On the contrary, it was they who were the demagogues. Precisely this is what the resolution is -- a warning against demagogy. For this reason I insist upon the resolution.


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APRIL 21 (MAY 4)

    I must confess that the arguments employed by Comrade Ivanov in defence of his idea of a single centre seem to me untenable. (The speaker reads the argumentation of Comrade Ivanov ):

    "On Clauses 4 and 5. The system of two centres with a balancer, the Council, has been condemned by past experience. The history of the Party crisis plainly shows that this system provides too favourable a soil for the growth of differences, squabbles and Court intrigues. It means the subordination of the people in Russia to those abroad: owing to arrests, the Central Committee personnel is unstable, whereas the Editorial Board of the Central Organ is constant; and the Council resides abroad. On the one hand, all the most important objections against a single centre, based on the actual severance of Russia from the people abroad, only confirm the idea that a split between the two centres is possible and even probable. On the other hand, these objections largely fall away if the Congress makes periodic conferences obligatory between the Russian members of the C.C. and the members abroad."

    It has been found, however, that the fine qualities here alluded to are possessed in equal measure both by the Central Organ abroad and by the "genuinely Russian" Central Committee. In Comrade Ivanov's entire reasoning I discern the fallacy envisaged by logic as post hoc, ergo propter hoc.* Because the three centres have, pardon the expression, played us dirty, let us have a single centre. I fail to see the propter here. Our troubles were not due to the mechanism but to persons; what happened was that certain persons, using a formal interpretation of the Rules as a subterfuge,

    * After this, therefore on account of this. --Ed.

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ignored the will of the Congress. Has not the "genuinely Russian" C.C. "dialectically" turned into its exact opposite? Comrade Ivanov's reasoning is -- the group abroad has acted shabbily; we must therefore put it under a "state of siege" and keep a "tight hold" on it. As you know, I have always been an advocate of a "state of siege" and of a "tight hold", so that I shall raise no objection to such measures. But does not the C.C. deserve the same treatment? Besides, who will deny that the Central Organ can be constant, while the C.C. cannot? This, after all, is a fact. But in practice I shall abstain from all polemic. Formerly we had the Council, and now we shall have a conference (of the C.C. section working abroad and of the section working in Russia). A difference of only a couple of letters. Our cart has been lurching all the time to the right, towards the Central Organ -- Comrade Ivanov has been laying the straw on the right side, to cushion the fall. But I think it ought to be laid on the left side as well, on the side of the C.C. I would subscribe to Comrade Mikhailov's proposal to cashier the committees, but I really don't know what the periphery exactly is. "Chair-warmers and keepers of the seal" should all be smoked out; but how is one to define precisely the concept "periphery"? "Two-thirds of the votes of the periphery!" -- but who can keep a strict record of the periphery? I must, besides, warn the Congress against cramming the Rules with too many clauses. It is easy enough to pen nice clauses, but in practice they usually prove superfluous. The Rules should not be made a collection of pious wishes. . . .


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APRIL 21 (MAY 4)

    I was for cashiering the committees, but in the Party Council, at the time when our factional strife was raging, I spoke against it, since there would have been a certain impropriety in the exercise of that right. If this clause constitutes a threat to the committees consisting of intellectuals, then I am all for it. A tight hold must always be kept on the intelligentsia. It is always the instigator of all sorts of squabbles, and therefore I move that we substitute the words "organised workers" for the word "periphery" (the speaker submits his amendment in writing ): "Clause 9. A local committee must be dissolved by the C.C. if two-thirds of the local workers belonging to the Party organisations declare for such dissolution."

    One cannot rely on a small periphery of intellectuals, but one can and should rely on hundreds of organised workers. I would like to connect this clause closely with the question of submitting reports. In this respect we should take an example from the Bund, which always knows the exact number of organised workers it has. And when our C.C. is constantly posted on the number of organised workers in any particular organisation, it will have to reckon with their opinion and will be bound to cashier the local committee on the demand of the organised workers.


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APRIL 23 (MAY 6)

    I have to inform the Congress of an unsuccessful attempt to come to an agreement with the Socialists-Revolutionaries. Comrade Gapon arrived abroad. He met with the Socialists-Revolutionaries, then with the Iskra people, and finally with me. He told me that he shared the point of view of the Social-Democrats, but for various reasons did not deem it possible to say so openly. I told him that diplomacy was a good thing, but not between revolutionaries. I shall not repeat our conversation; it was reported in Vperyod.[*] He impressed me as being an enterprising and clever man, unquestionably devoted to the revolution, though unfortunately without a consistent revolutionary outlook.

    Some time later I received a written invitation from Comrade Gapon to attend a conference of socialist organisations, convened, according to his idea, for the purpose of coordinating their activities. Here is a list of the eighteen organisations which, according to that letter, were invited to Comrade Gapon's conference:

    (1) The Socialist-Revolutionary Party, (2) the Vperyod R.S.D.L.P., (3) the Iskra R.S.D.L.P., (4) the Polish Socialist Party, (5) the Social-Democracy of Poland and Lithuania, (6) the P.S.P., Proletariat, (7)the Lettish Social-Democratic Labour Party, (8) the Bund, (9) the Armenian Social-Democratic Labour Organisation, (10) the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Droshak), (11) The Byelorussian Socialist <"fnp416">

    * See pp. 162-66 of this volume. --Ed.  [Transcriber's Note: See Lenin's "A Militant Agreement for the Uprising". -- DJR]

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Hromada, (12) the Lettish Social-Democratic League, (13) the Active Resistance Party of Finland, (14) the Workers' Party of Finland, (15) the Georgian Party of Socialist-Federalist Revolutionaries, (16) the Ukrainian Revolutionary Party, (17) the Lithuanian Social-Democratic Party, and (18) the Ukrainian Socialist Party.

    I pointed out both to Comrade Gapon and to a prominent Socialist-Revolutionary that the dubious make-up of the conference might create difficulties. The Socialists-Revolutionaries were building up an overwhelming conference majority. The convocation of the conference was greatly delayed. Iskra replied, as documents submitted to me by Comrade Gapon show, that it preferred direct agreements with organised parties. A "gentle" hint at Vperyod's being an alleged disrupter, etc. In the end Iskra did not attend the conference. We, the representatives of both the Vperyod Editorial Board and the Bureau of Committees of the Majority, did attend. Arriving on the scene, we saw that the conference was a Socialist-Revolutionary affair. As it became clear, either the working-class parties had not been invited at all, or there was no record of their having been invited. Thus, the Active Resistance Party of Finland was represented, but not the Workers' Party of Finland.

    When we asked for the reason, we were told that the invitation to the Workers' Party of Finland had been sent via the Active Resistance Party, since, in the words of the Socialist-Revolutionary who offered the explanation, they did not know how to send it directly. Yet anyone who is at all familiar with things abroad knows that connections with the Workers' Party of Finland can be established, if only through Branting, the leader of the Swedish Social-Democratic Labour Party. There were representatives from the Polish Socialist Party in attendance, but no representative from the Social-Democracy of Poland and Lithuania. Nor was it possible to ascertain whether an invitation had been extended. No reply had been received from the Lithuanian Social-Democracy or from the Ukrainian Revolutionary Party, we were told by the same Socialist-Revolutionary.

    From the outset the national question was made an issue. The Polish Socialist Party raised the question of having several constituent assemblies. This gives me reason to say

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that in the future it will be necessary for us either to refuse outright to take any part in such conferences, or to convene a conference of representatives of the working-class parties of one nationality, or to invite to the conference representatives of local party committees from the regions with a non-Russian population. But I certainly do not infer from this that conferences are impossible because of differences on points of principle. All that is necessary is that only practical questions be taken up. We cannot control the composition of conferences, etc., from abroad. The Russian centre must be represented, and representatives of the local committees must take part with out fail. The question that led to our withdrawal concerned the Letts. On leaving the conference we submitted the following declaration:

    "The important historical period through which Russia is passing confronts the Social-Democratic and revolutionary-democratic parties and organisations working within the country with the task of reaching a practical agreement for a more effective attack on the autocratic regime.
    "While, therefore, attaching very great importance to the conference called for that purpose, we must naturally subject the composition of the conference to the closest scrutiny.
    "In the conference called by Comrade Gapon this condition, so essential to its success, has unfortunately not been properly observed, and we were therefore obliged, at its very initiation, to take measures calculated to ensure the genuine success of the gathering.
    "The fact that the conference was to deal solely with practical matters made it necessary, in the first place, that only organisations truly constituting a real force in Russia should be afforded participation.
    "Actually, the composition of the conference, as far as the reality of some of the organisations is concerned, is most unsatisfactory. Even an organisation of whose fictitious nature there is not the slightest doubt, found representation. We refer to the Lettish Social-Democratic League.
    "The representative of the Lettish Social-Democratic Labour Party objected to the seating of this League and couched his objection in the form of an ultimatum.
    "The utter fictitiousness of the 'League', as subsequently established at a special meeting of the representatives of the four Social-Democratic organisations and the delegates of the 'League', naturally compelled us, the remaining Social-Democratic organisations and parties attending the conference, to endorse the ultimatum.
    "At the outset, however, we came up against the strong resistance of all the revolutionary-democratic parties, which, in refusing to meet our peremptory demand, showed that they preferred one fictitious group to a number of well-known Social-Democratic organisations.

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    "Finally, the practical significance of the conference was still further lowered by the absence of a number of other Social-Democratic organisations, whose participation, as far as we could ascertain, no proper measures had been taken to ensure.
    "Though compelled, in view of all this, to leave the conference, we express our conviction that the failure of this one attempt will not stand in the way of earnest efforts to renew the endeavour in the very near future, and that the task that confronts all revolutionary parties of reaching a practical agreement will be accomplished by the coming conference, to be composed of organisations actually working in Russia, and not of fictitious organisations.

"For the Lettish S.D.L.P.  .  .  .  .  .   F. Rozin.
"For the Vperyod R.S.D.L.P. . . . . .   N. Lenin.
"For the Central Committee of the Bund I. Gelfin.
"For the Armenian Social-Democratic          
Labour Organisation . . Lerr."

    A week and a half or two weeks later Comrade Gapon sent me the following statement:

"Dear Comrade,
    "I am forwarding to you two declarations issued by the conference of which you know, and I request that you communicate their contents to the forthcoming Third Congress of tbe R.S.D.L.P. I deem it my duty to state that for my own part I accept these declarations with certain reservations on the questions of the socialist programme and the principle of federalism.

"Georgi Gapon."

    This statement was accompanied by two interesting documents, containing the following striking passages:

    "The application of the federative principle to the relations between nationalities remaining under one state roof. . . .
    "Socialisation, i.e., the transfer under public administration to the use by the labouring agricultural population of all lands whose cultivation is based on the exploitation of the labour of others; the determination of the concrete forms this measure is to take, of the order in which it is to be instituted, and of its scope, is to remain within the jurisdiction of the parties of the different nationalities, in keeping with the specific local conditions of each country; the development of public, municipal, and communal economy. . . .
    ". . . Bread for the starving!
    "The land and its bounties for all the toilers!
    ". . . A Constituent Assembly of representatives of all parts of the Russian Empire, exclusive of Poland and Finland!
    ". . . Convocation of a Constituent Assembly for the Caucasus, as an autonomous part of Russia with which it is to be federated. . . ."

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    The result of the conference, as appears from these quotations has fully confirmed the fears which induced us to leave the conference. We have here a copy of the Socialist-Revolutionary programme with all sorts of concessions to the nationalist non-proletarian parties. It was strange taking part in deciding the questions raised at the conference without the participation of the national proletarian parties. For instance, the conference presented the demand for a separate Constituent Assembly for Poland. We can be neither for nor against the demand. Our programme recognises the principle of the self-determination of nationalities. But to decide this question without the Social-Democracy of Poland and Lithuania is impermissible. The conference divided up the Constituent Assembly, and this in the absence of the working-class parties! We cannot allow any practical solution of such questions to be reached without the party of the proletariat.

    At the same time, I find that differences on points of principle do not exclude the possibility of practical conferences, provided, first, that they be held in Russia; secondly, that the reality of the forces be verified; and, thirdly, that questions concerning the various nationalities be dealt with separately, or at least, that representatives of the local committees of the regions where there are Social-Democratic and non-Social-Democratic national parties be invited to the conference.

    I now pass to the proposed resolution on practical agreements with the Socialists-Revolutionaries. (The speaker reads the draft as worded by Comrade Voinov ):

    "Confirming the attitude of the R.S.D.L.P. towards the Socialist-Revolutionary Party as set forth in the resolution of the Second Congress, and
    "1. Whereas temporary militant agreements between the Social-Democratic Party and the organisation of the Socialists-Revolutionaries for the purposes of combating the autocracy are on the whole desirable at the present time, and
    "2. Whereas such agreements should under no circumstance restrict the complete independence of the Social-Democratic Labour Party, or affect the integrity and purity of its proletarian tactics and principles; --
    "Therefore, the Third Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. instructs the C.C. and the local committees, should the necessity arise, to enter into temporary militant agreements with the Socialist-Revolutionary organisa-

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tions, provided that local agreements are concluded only under the direct supervision of the C.C."

    I agree with this draft. We might perhaps tone down the end. For instance, instead of "under the direct supervision of the Central Committee", we might have only "under the supervision of the Central Committee".


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APRIL 25 (MAY 8)

    Actually, the report on the work of the Central Committee dealt more with its technical than its political activities. I have been following the work of the central apparatus of the Party since 1900 and I must say that gigantic progress has been made. If it does not quite satisfy us, well, complete satisfaction can be expected only under the dictatorship of the proletariat, and even then, hardly! Let us not forget that "co-optation" is still working harm! The C.C. had little to say about its policies, for it cannot say anything good about them. Its major mistake was its opposition to the calling of the Congress. Had the Congress been called a year earlier, it would have proved more conciliatory. I am myself in favour of cashiering; but I am definitely against it in one case -- if it is done because of agitation for the Congress. However, I shall not dwell on this. There is more joy over one sinner that repenteth than over ninety and nine just persons. As to the reproaches levelled at me, let me say only that a publicist is not in a position to do anything without the Party.


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    The Congress instructs the Central Committee to proceed immediately to the publication of a brief report on the Third Congress with the full text of the Programme, the Rules, and the Resolutions.

    The Congress instructs the Central Committee to speed the publication of this report in every possible way.

    The Congress instructs the Congress Proceedings Publication Committee: (1) to determine definitely what materials, for reasons of secrecy, are not to be published under any circumstances; (2) to determine in what manner and to what extent the Party membership should be made acquainted with the unpublished proceedings of the Third Congress; (3) to make the necessary cuts for publication, exclusively in regard to the discussion of points of order or of rejected minor amendments to the resolutions.

Written on April 25 (May 8), 1905


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    1. Whereas the specific social and political conditions in the Caucasus have favoured the creation there of the most militant organisations of our Party;

    2. Whereas the revolutionary mood of the majority of the population in the Caucasus, both in the towns and in the villages, has reached the stage of a people's uprising against the autocracy;

    3. Whereas the autocratic government has begun to send troops and artillery to Guria for the ruthless destruction of all the important seats of rebellion; and

    4. Whereas a victory of the autocracy over the popular uprising in the Caucasus, which would be rendered easier by the non-Russian composition of the population, would most grievously affect the success of the uprising throughout Russia; --

    Therefore, the Third Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, on behalf of the class-conscious proletariat of Russia, sends ardent greetings to the heroic proletariat and peasantry of the Caucasus and instructs the Central Committee and the local Party committees to take the most energetic measures towards promulgating information on the state of affairs in the Caucasus as widely as possible by means of pamphlets, meetings, workers' rallies, study circle talks, etc., as well as measures towards rendering timely support to the Caucasus by armed force.

Written on April 26 (May 9), 1905

page 593



  <"en110">[110] The Third Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. was held in London between April 12 and 27 (April 25 and May 10), 1905. The Congress was

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organised and convened by the Bolsheviks under the direction of Lenin. It was the first Bolshevik congress.
    The agenda, drawn up by Lenin and approved by the Congress, consisted of the following items: (I) Report of the Organising Committee. (II) Questions of Tactics : 1) the armed uprising; 2) attitude towards the government's policy on the eve and at the moment of the revolution (this point was devoted to two questions: a. attitude towards the government's policy on the eve of the revolution; b. the provisional revolutionary government); 3) attitude towards the peasant movement. (III) Organisational Questions : 4) relations between workers and intellectuals in the Party organisations; 5) the Party Rules. (IV) Attitude Towards Other Parties and Trend : 6) attitude towards the breakaway group of the R.S.D.L.P.; 7) attitude towards the non-Russian Social-Democratic organisations; 8) attitude towards the liberals; 9) practical agreements with the Socialists-Revolutionaries. (V) Internal Questions of Party Life : 10) propaganda and agitation. (VI) Delegates' Rcports : 11) report of the Central Committee; 12) reports of the delegates of the local committees. (VII) Elections : 13) elections; 14) procedure for publishing the resolutions and the proceedings of the Congress and for the assumption of office by the newly elected functionaries.
    On all the basic issues dealt with by the Third Congress Lenin had written the draft resolutions, which he substantiated in articles published in Vperyod prior to the Congress. Lenin spoke at the Congress on the question of the armed uprising, on the participation of Social-Democrats in the provisional revolutionary government, on the attitude towards the peasant movement, on the Party Rules, and on a number of other questions. The proceedings of the Congress record 138 speeches and motions made by Lenin.
    The Congress amended the Party Rules: a) it adopted Lenin's wording of Clause 1; b) it defined precisely the rights of the Central Committee and its relations with the local committees, c) it modified the organisational structure of the Party's central bodies: in place of the three centres (the Central Committee, the Central Organ, and the Council of the Party) the Congress established a single competent party centrečthe Central Committee.
    On the work and the significance of the Third Party Congress see Lenin's article "The Third Congress" (pp. 442-49 of this volume) and his book Two Tactics of Social-Democracy in the Democratic Revolution.    [p.359]

  <"en111">[111] Letnev -- A. I. Lyubimov.    [p.367]

  <"en112">[112] Zimin -- L. B. Krasin.    [p.367]

  <"en113">[113] Leskov -- N. V. Romanov, delegate from the Northern Committee. Others mentioned in the speech Zharko -- M. S. Leshchinsky, delegate from the Ekaterinoslav Committee, Mikhailov -- D. S. Postolovsky, delegate from the North-Western Committee; Sosnovsky -- V. A. Desnitsky, delegate from the Nizhni-Novgorod Committee.    [p.371]

page 595

  <"en114">[114] The document has no heading. The title has been provided by the Institute of Marxism-Leninism, Central Committee, C.P.S.U.    [p.373]

  <"en115">[115] Sergeyev -- A. I. Rykov.    [p.375]

  <"en116">[116] Alexandrov -- D. S. Postolovsky.    [p.376]

  <"en117">[117] Schmidt -- P. P. Rumyantsev, delegate from the Voronezh Committee.    [p.376]

  <"en118">[118] Address of the Central Committee to the Communist League, March 1850. (See Marx and Engels, Selected Works, Moscow, 1958, Vol. I, pp. 106-17.)    [p.386]

  <"en119">[119] The Communist League -- the first international association of the revolutionary proletariat, founded in the summer of 1847 in London at the congress of delegates from revolutionary proletarian organisations. The organisers and leaders of the Communist League were Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, who were commissioned by that organisation to write the Manifesto of the Communist Party. The Communist League existed up to 1852. Its most prominent members eventually played a leading role in the First International. (See Marx and Engels, Selected Works, Moscow, 1958, Vol. II, pp. 338-57.)    [p.386]

  <"en120">[120] Die Neue Rheinische Zeitung appeared in Cologne between June 1, 1848, and May 19, 1849, under the management of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels. The Editor-in-Chief was Marx. Under the blows of reaction the newspaper ceased its existence after issue No. 301. On the Neue Rheinische Zeitung see Marx and Engels, Selected Works, Moscow, 1958, Vol. II, pp. 328-37.    [p.388]

  <"en121">[121] The reference is to Engels' letter to Filippo Turati dated January 26, 1894, and published in the Italian bi-monthly Critica Sociale, No. 3, for February 1, 1894, under the heading "The Future Italian Revolution and the Socialist Party". (See Marx and Engels, Selected Correspondence, Moscow, 1955, pp. 551-55.)    [p.390]

  <"en122">[122] The Russian translation of Engels' article "Die Bakunisten an der Arbeit. Denkschrift über den Aufstand in Spanien im Sommer 1873" (published in 1873 in "Internationales aus dem Volksstaat "), was edited by Lenin and issued in pamphlet form by the Central Committee of the R.S.D.L.P. in Geneva in 1905 and in St. Petersburg in 1906.    [p.391]

  <"en123">[123] Vendée -- a department of France where, during the French bourgeois revolution of the late eighteenth century, a counter-revolutionary insurrection of the backward, reactionary peasantry took place against the revolutionary Convention The revolt was engineered by the counter-revolutionary clergy and landlords with the help of religious catchwords.    [p.393]

page 596

  <"en124">[124] Lenin quotes from Marx's article "The Bourgeoisie and the Counter-Revolution; Second Article", written on December 11, 1848.(See Marx and Engels, Selected Works, Moscow, 1958, Vol. I, p. 67.)    [p.393]

  <"en125">[125] Andreyev -- N. A. Alexeyev, attended the Third Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. with consultative voice.    [p.398]

  <"en126">[126] Barsov -- the Bolshevik M. G. Tskhakaya.    [p.400]

  <"en127">[127] "General redistribution " -- a slogan popular among the peasants of tsarist Russia and expressing their desire for a general redistribution of the land.    [p.402]

  <"en128">[128] Golubin -- the Bolshevik P. A. Japaridze, a delegate to the Third Congress of tho R.S.D.L.P.    [p.411]

  <"en129">[129] The document has no heading. The title has been provided by the Institute of Marxism-Leninism.    [p.412]

  <"en130">[130] The document has no heading. The title has been provided by the Institute of Marxism-Leninism.    [p.423]

  <"en131">[131] The resolution "On the Events in the Caucasus" was first published in issue No. 1 of the newspaper Proletary, May 27 (14), 1905, and in issue No. 1 of the Georgian underground Bolshevik newspaper, official organ of the Caucasian League of the R.S.D.L.P., Borba Proletariata (The Struggle of the Proletariat ), July 1 (14), 1905.    [p.424]