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First Congress of the RSDLP. March 1898.
The first congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party, which proclaimed the formation of the RSDLP, was held in March 1898.
The congress took place on the verge of two centuries, in one of the most difficult periods in the history of the struggle for the creation of a truly Marxist Social Democratic Labor Party in Russia. He completed the period of "childhood and adolescence" in the development of the party, which began, according to Lenin, with the formation of the Petersburg Union of the Struggle for the Liberation of the Working Class. “With the rapidity of the epidemic,” wrote Lenin, characterizing this period, “the craze of the intelligentsia for the struggle against populism and the appeal to the workers, the craze of workers for strikes, spreads. The movement is making tremendous strides. Most managers are very young people ... Due to their youth, they are unprepared for practical work and leave the stage with amazing speed. But the scope of their work was for the most part very wide ... The struggle forced them to learn ... The Social Democrats brought up on this struggle went into the labor movement, "not for a minute" forgetting either the theory of Marxism, which illuminated them with a bright light, or the task of overthrowing the autocracy.
The formation of the party in the spring of 1898 was the most striking and, at the same time, the last deed of the Social Democrats of this strip”.
The 90s of the last century were the years of rapid industrial development in Russia and the growth of the mass labor movement. By the end of the 19th century, capitalist Russia was entering a new era - the era of imperialism - and was becoming the focal point of imperialist contradictions. The center of the world revolutionary movement moved to Russia.
The industrial upsurge of the 1990s, driven by the influx of foreign capital, the rapid ruin of small producers and the availability of cheap labor, in the social sphere led to sharp class differentiation, bringing to the stage a powerful new revolutionary force - the industrial proletariat. The 90s were years of incessant strikes in workshops and factories, accompanied by student unrest. Strikes are still of an economic nature, but, growing in breadth and depth, they clearly acquire the features of an organized movement.
In 1892, a strip of strikes took place in the Donetsk Basin and a number of cities in the Western Region: in Lodz, Warsaw, Riga, and others. The strike movement began to take on an especially large size in the mid-1990s. In 1895-1896 the famous St. Petersburg strikes take place, mainly in the textile industry. Unprecedented in their organization, steadfastness and self-control, the St. Petersburg strikes involved up to 35,000 people. From St. Petersburg they spread to other industrial centers of Russia and spill over into a powerful wave of the mass organized labor movement.
In the spring and summer of 1895 workers of the railway depot at the Moscow-Kursk station, workers, and workers of Prokhorov's weaving factory in Moscow, workers of the Mazurin and Gerasimov factory in Kuskovo near Moscow, workers of the K. and S. Popov’s' warehouse workers went on strike.
In the spring of 1895, great strikes broke out at the Yaroslavl Manufactory, in Teikovo and Ivanovo-Voznesensk; strikes are suppressed with the help of troops; the workers of Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinoslav and other cities are worried.
On the basis of the growth of the labor movement, as well as under the influence of the Western European labor movement, Marxist circles and groups began to appear and rapidly grow in Russia. Back in 1883, the first Marxist group, Emancipation of Labor, organized by G.V. Plekhanov, began to operate abroad. Despite a number of major errors in its theoretical activity, which were the embryo of the future Menshevik views of its leaders, the Emancipation of Labor group did an enormous amount of work to spread the ideas of scientific socialism in Russia.
The wide spread of Marxism in Russia was accompanied by its theoretical battles against populism. Narodism, whose utopian theory is shattered by reality, is still trying to maintain its former positions, to repel the successful offensive of Marxism. In the decisive battles with Narodism, G.V. Plekhanov delivered the first main blow to the Narodnik system of views in the 1890s. The ideological defeat of populism was completed by V.I. Lenin.
Simultaneously with the struggle against populism, Lenin opposed the bourgeois trend, covered by Marxism, against the so-called "legal Marxism" (Struve, Tugan-Baranovsky). Lenin sharply rebuffs the attempts of "legal Marxists" to distort revolutionary Marxism, he exposes the bourgeois essence of these accomplices of capitalism.
The struggle of G.V. Plekhanov and V.I. Lenin against populism, then the struggle of V.I. revolutionary social democracy.
Developing rapidly, Social Democratic circles and Marxist groups are doing a great job of spreading the ideas of revolutionary Marxism and the programmatic provisions of Social Democracy. However, neither the Emancipation of Labor group abroad, nor the Marxist circles and groups that existed then in Russia, were not associated with the mass workers' movement. The Emancipation of Labor group only theoretically founded Social Democracy and took the first step towards the labor movement.
The isolation of socialism from the labor movement led to the weakness of both socialism and the labor movement. It was necessary to create a proletarian party that would be able to direct the spontaneous movement of workers against individual exploiters into the channel of an organized struggle against autocracy and capitalism, to combine the ideas of scientific socialism with the workers' movement.
The task of uniting scattered circles and groups into a single socialist workers' party was first put forward by Lenin in 1894 in his work "Who are" the friends of the people "and how do they fight against the Social Democrats?" In this remarkable work, which was the manifesto of the emerging party, along with a brilliant criticism of the populist ideology, Lenin outlined the foundations of revolutionary Marxism, defined the final and immediate tasks of the Russian proletariat and the role of the working class as the dominant of the revolution.
For the first time in this work, Lenin put forward the idea of a revolutionary alliance of workers and peasants as the main means of overthrowing tsarism, the landowners, and the bourgeoisie. “It is to the class of workers,” wrote Lenin, “that the Social Democrats pay all their attention and all their activity. When its progressive representatives assimilate the ideas of scientific socialism, the idea of the historical role of the Russian worker, when these ideas become widespread and strong organizations are created among the workers that transform the present scattered economic war of the workers into a conscious class struggle, then the Russian WORKER, having risen at the head of all democratic elements, will overthrow absolutism and lead the RUSSIAN PROLETARIAT (alongside the proletariat of ALL COUNTRIES), a direct path of open political struggle to a VICTORY COMMUNIST REVOLUTION: ".
In defining the tasks of Russian Social-Democracy, Lenin emphasized in this work the need to organize a militant proletarian party, the party of the communist revolution, from scattered Marxist circles and groups.
Lenin began to implement the idea of creating a unified Social Democratic Party in practice. In 1895 he united all the Marxist circles in St. Petersburg in the "Union for the Struggle for the Liberation of the Working Class", which within a short time became the de facto leading center of the emerging Russian Social Democracy. The appearance of the Petersburg Union of Struggle opens a new period in the history of Russian Social Democracy. From now on, Russian Social Democracy appears on the historical arena not only as a theoretical trend, but also "as a social movement, as an upsurge of the masses, as a political party."
Lenin's St. Petersburg Union of Struggle was built on the principle of the strictest centralism. The members of the Union are divided into regional groups (4-5 people each), the general leadership of which is concentrated in the hands of the central core. The periphery of the organization consists of a network of workers' circles connected with the central group through the organizers of the district. The Union was the first of the social democratic organizations in Russia to carry out the transition from propaganda of the ideas of socialism in closed circles to broad agitation among the masses of the proletariat, for the first time linking this agitation and the call for the struggle against capitalism with the political struggle against the autocracy.
During the strike upsurge of 1895-1896. The union issued a number of political proclamations and took a direct part in the leadership of the strike struggle. In the transition to new forms of work, the main nucleus of the Union withstood the struggle against the opportunist tendencies that were already revealed then within Social Democracy, which boiled down to attempts to reduce social democratic activity to a narrow economic struggle. “... the first social democrats ...,” Lenin wrote later in “What is to be done?”, Describing the work of the revolutionary Social Democrats of this period, “zealously engaged in economic agitation ... not only did they not consider it their only task, but, on the contrary, from the very beginning they put forward the broadest historical tasks of Russian Social-Democracy in general and the task of overthrowing the autocracy in particular”.
By knocking together and carefully selecting the best revolutionary forces around the "Union of Struggle", Lenin did not confine himself only to work in St. Petersburg: he sets the specific task of creating an all-Russian organization. To this end, the Petersburg "Union of Struggle" is establishing broad ties with social democratic organizations in other cities. The Union's ties with Moscow, Vilno, Kiev, Nizhny Novgorod, Samara, Saratov, Orekhovo-Zuev, Yaroslavl, Orel, Tver, Vladimir, Ivanovo-Voznesensk, Minsk, Yekaterinoslav are known.
In the spring of 1895, Lenin traveled abroad to get acquainted with the social democratic movement of the West and to establish permanent contact with the foreign group "Emancipation of Labor".
At the end of 1895, under the leadership of Lenin, the Union undertook the publication of the Social-Democratic newspaper Rabocheye Delo, which, in Lenin's mind, was to be the organ of the future united party. The attempt to publish the newspaper by the Union failed. The first issue of the newspaper, ready to print, is captured by the police.
Lenin's first attempt was made to build a militant party of the proletariat, a party of a new type, which, in contrast to Western European parties, would set its main task as the revolutionary overthrow of the bourgeois-landlord system.
Petersburg "Union of Struggle" gave impetus to the unification of individual social democratic circles in other cities of Russia. Soon, following his example, the Ivanovo-Voznesensk Workers' Union was formed. By 1896, with the direct help of Lenin, who maintained contact with Moscow through meetings with A.I. Elizarova and S.I. Mitskevich, one of the founders of the Social Democratic group in Moscow, the social democratic movement was developing widely in Moscow.
In January 1896, individual Social-Democratic groups united in the Moscow "Workers' Union", which from the very first days develops a lot of work, embracing the leadership of the masses of the Moscow proletariat. Despite a number of major failures, it soon numbers up to 1,000 workers. To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Paris Commune, the Union sends an address to the French Socialists, signed by 600 workers from 28 factories and plants. In July 1896, the Union, on behalf of 1000 members, sent a mandate to V. I. Zasulich for representation at the London International Socialist Congress.
The Moscow "Workers' Union" initially conducts mainly propaganda work, but under the influence of the strike movement in St. Petersburg, it sharply changes its tactics: it goes over to extensive propaganda work. The Central Committee of the Union issues several appeals with an appeal to support the St. Petersburg comrades with a general strike. At the call of the Union, factories and factories are on strike in Moscow, rising one after another, demanding an increase in prices and payment for coronation days.
Major arrests in July 1896 temporarily hinder the work of the Union, but despite this, it continues to exist. By the beginning of 1898, the Moscow "Workers' Union", following the example of St. Petersburg, adopted the name "Union of Struggle for the Liberation of the Working Class."
In 1897, social democratic organizations emerged in the large industrial centers of the south. In March 1897, the Union of Struggle for the Liberation of the Working Class was created in Kiev. As early as 1896, as a result of disputes about the expediency of switching from propaganda to agitation, a new Social Democratic group, Rabocheye Delo, emerged in Kiev from social democratic groups. The group decides, along with propaganda, to start new forms of work - to widespread agitation. During 1897, she issued a number of proclamations and published two issues of the Kiev working sheet "Vperyod". The newspaper, however, is not of a sustained political character. It also puts forward the main task of the economic struggle.
In March 1897, on the initiative of the Rabocheye Delo group, a conference of representatives of St. Petersburg, the group of Polish Social Democrats in Kiev and the Rabocheye Delo group was convened. The conference passed a resolution to rename all Russian Social Democratic organizations, following the example of St. Petersburg, into the "Unions of the Struggle for the Liberation of the Working Class."
In December 1897, the Yekaterinoslav "Union of Struggle" was organized. The leading role in its creation belongs to one of the members of the Petersburg "Union of Struggle", exiled to Yekaterinoslav, a student of Lenin - the worker Babushkin. Following the example of St. Petersburg, the Yekaterinoslav "Union of Struggle" laid the foundation for the widespread use of agitation among workers there. The union establishes contacts with factory workers, collects information about working conditions in factories. During February 1898 he published a number of leaflets for workers of 7 factories in the amount of 2-3 thousand copies.
In 1897, the "General Jewish Workers' Union in Lithuania, Poland, and Russia" (Bund) was created, which united mainly semi-proletarian elements of Jewish artisans in the western regions of Russia. By the end of the 1990s, the Bund was a fairly large organization in Russia.
In 1897-1898, social democratic organizations emerged in Kharkov, Odessa, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Samara, Voronezh, Transcaucasia, and other places.
The Tiflis Social Democratic Organization plays an important role in Transcaucasia. In 1898, JV Stalin began his work in the Tiflis Marxist group "Mesamedasi".
In close contact with the workers, the emerging Social-Democratic organizations carry on extensive agitation everywhere and, through the advanced workers, take part in the leadership of the strike struggle.
The arrest of Lenin in December 1895 dealt a serious blow to the Petersburg Union of Struggle. He divorced Lenin for some time from the direct leadership of the struggle to create the party. However, even from prison, Lenin continues to direct the activities of the Union for the unification of social democracy. He sent letters in which he gave guidelines, and, in the words of NK Krupskaya, "rushes" with the organization of the party *.
In prison, Lenin wrote and handed over to the wild the brochure "On Strikes", where he also compiled and transmitted to the members of the Petersburg "Union of Struggle" for the future united revolutionary organization "Draft and Explanation of the Program of the Social Democratic Party," the proletariat.
At the end of 1897, already in exile, Lenin wrote his programmatic work "Tasks of the Russian Social-Democrats." In it, Lenin, with ingenious perspicacity, outlines the tasks facing Russian Social Democracy and emphatically calls for the unification of scattered and scattered circles, Social Democratic groups and the "Struggle Unions" into a single Social Democratic Labor Party.
As an example, the model on which a revolutionary party in Russia should be built, Lenin takes the Petersburg Union of Struggle, created by him, “... an organization uniting at least the largest centers of the labor movement in Russia (the St. Petersburg, Moscow Vladimirsky, southern and most important cities like Odessa, Kiev, Saratov, etc.), which has a revolutionary organ and enjoys the same prestige among the Russian workers as the "Union of Struggle" enjoys among the St. Petersburg workers ... organization, - writes Lenin, - would be the largest political factor in modern Russia ”.
The members of the St. Petersburg Union of Struggle who remained at liberty are trying to put into practice Lenin's directive to organize a Social Democratic Party and to convene a party congress. "Vladimir Ilyich insisted on the preparation of the party congress in every possible way,” NK Krupskaya recalled.
In July 1896, NK Krupskaya went to the south to convene a congress on behalf of the Petersburg Union of Struggle. In Poltava, at a meeting with representatives of the Kiev Social Democratic organization, she agrees to convene a party congress and publish an illegal party organ.
The arrests and exile to Siberia of the major leaders of the Petersburg "Union of Struggle" headed by Lenin, and the strengthening of the opportunist wing within the Union after that, did not, however, give St. Petersburg an opportunity to practically implement Lenin's idea of convening an All-Russian Congress. But the slogan was given, and the experience made by St. Petersburg became a shining example for other social democratic organizations in Russia.
Under the influence of St. Petersburg, a number of other Social Democratic organizations came to the idea of convening a congress. The question of ties with other Social Democratic organizations and the convocation of a congress is raised by the Moscow "Workers' Union". In April 1896, according to the stories of M. Vladimirsky, the first steps were taken by the Moscow organization to convene the congress, and a detailed congress program was worked out. However, the defeat of the Moscow Social-Democrats organization in 1896 prevented Muscovites from implementing the idea of convening a congress.
The question of uniting social democratic groups into one party was raised in 1897 at the Zurich (Switzerland) meeting of representatives of St. Petersburg, Vilna, Kiev social democratic organizations and the foreign "Union of Russian Social Democrats".
The practical solution of the issue of preparation and convocation of the congress was carried out by the Kiev Social-Democratic organization, which survived the police routines, with a good conspiratorial apparatus. She had close ties with the Petersburg Union of Struggle. Representatives of the Kiev organization often visited St. Petersburg, attended meetings of the St. Petersburg Union of Struggle.
The people of Kiev were well acquainted with Lenin's programmatic works. Lenin's manuscript "The Tasks of the Russian Social-Democrats," sent to Kiev by the St. Petersburg Union of Struggle, was read by all the leaders of the Kiev Social-Democratic organization.
An attempt to convene a congress of the Kiev Social-Democrats the organization Rabocheye Delo made it back in March 1897. The attempt ended in failure. Representatives of St. Petersburg, a group of Polish Social Democrats in Kiev and the Kiev Social Democratic group Rabocheye Delo, who attended the congress, arrange a conference instead of the congress, which decides to organize an all-Russian newspaper in Kiev and entrusts the practical work to prepare the congress to a specially selected group of the “Rabochaya Gazeta”.
Through the efforts of this group, after preparatory work, the first congress of the RSDLP was convened.
Before the convocation of the congress, the people of Kiev managed to organize the publication of the newspaper. In August 1897, the first issue was published and in December (marked November) 1897 the second issue of Rabochaya Gazeta was published. Both issues promoted the idea of creating a party. The newspaper had not yet had a clearly expressed political character. Designed, according to the participants in the congress, for the "gray" reader, it was too adapted to the level of the backward working masses and did not correspond to the general upsurge and character of the labor movement. The second issue of the newspaper, in comparison with the first, had a clearer political character. The leading article "The Immediate Tasks of the Russian Labor Movement" emphasized the need to create a Russian workers' party and put forward the main goal of the struggle for socialism, and the immediate task - the overthrow of the autocracy and the conquest of political freedom.
The congress was convened in an atmosphere when an opportunistic, "economist" trend began to emerge among Russian social democracy, the essence of which was to reject political struggle, to recognize the need to fight only for everyday economic needs. Difficulties in the transition to new methods of work, the growing influence of revisionism (Bernsteinism) in the international arena, finally, the arrests of prominent leaders of revolutionary Social Democracy led by Lenin, the transfer of leadership in a number of social democratic organizations into the hands of the "young" contributed to the spread of "Economism." Opportunist ideas could gradually not lead the struggle of the working class, lead it to the assault on autocracy, to the assault on capitalism.
The congress elected a Central Committee of three people - representatives of the Petersburg "Union of Struggle", the Kiev "Rabochaya Gazeta" and the Bund. The official organ of the party was recognized by the congress "Rabochaya Gazeta".
The congress approved the decision to issue the "Manifesto" of the party, entrusting its compilation to the Central Committee.
As is known, the "Manifesto" of the Congress was written by the legal Marxist P. B. Struve, on the instructions and under the supervision of S. I. Radchenko. Dictated to a large extent by the representative of the Leninist trend, the last of the "old men" - S.I. Radchenko, political struggle against the general tasks of the labor movement. “Political freedom,” the Manifesto emphasized, “is needed by the Russian proletariat, just as clean air is needed for healthy breathing. She is the main condition for his free development and a successful struggle for partial improvements and final liberation.
But the Russian proletariat can win the political freedom it needs only by itself.
The further to the east of Europe, the politically weaker, cowardly, and meaner the bourgeoisie becomes, the greater the cultural, political tasks fall to the lot of the proletariat. On its strong shoulders, the Russian working class must endure and will bear the task of winning political freedom”.
The Manifesto also correctly noted that the conquest of political freedom is only the first step towards the accomplishment of the great historical task of the proletariat - towards the creation of a new social system in which there will be no place for the exploitation of man by man.
Having proclaimed the founding of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party, the congress did not create, however, the party as a single whole, it failed to unite and tie together the local Social Democratic organizations. Immediately after the congress, the police destroyed the central organizations of the party and carried out mass arrests in 27 cities of European Russia, including the congress participants. The newly organized party has turned, in Lenin's words, "into a shapeless conglomerate of local party organizations “named against the inclusion of this word in the name of the party, motivating its opinion by the fact that in fact, a small number of workers are included in the social democratic organizations and what to call the party" workers " would be “imposture.” Opinions were divided and by a majority of votes the congress rejected the proposal to include the word “worker” in the name of the party. As a result of discussions, the congress approved the name of the organization “Russian Social Democratic Party.” The word “worker” was included in the name of the party after Congress, when drawing up the "Manifesto", with the consent of two members of the Central Committee.
When discussing the next issue on the agenda - about the attitude towards the PPS (Polish Socialist Party) - the congress resolved the general program issue about the attitude of the party to the national question, making an extremely important decision in principle to recognize the right of self-determination for each nation.
The congress heard a number of reports from local delegates and discussed the question of organizing the party. The discussion of the last question resulted in a number of decisions of the congress on the basic principles of the organizational structure of the party. These decisions, however, far from corresponded to the tasks of building the party, which Lenin had insistently put forward in the mid-1990s. The decisions of the congress did not at all take into account the Leninist principles of centralism on which the Petersburg Union of Struggle was built. They did not ensure the building of a revolutionary militant party of the proletariat - a party of a new type, fast and accurate implementation of the instructions of the center on the ground.
Particularly weak points in organizational decisions were those on the autonomy of local committees. They provided local committees with independence up to the right to decide in each individual case the issue of the acceptability of certain decisions of the Central Committee. Great independence was also given to the Bund, which was recognized by the congress as an autonomous organization in matters "concerning the especially Jewish proletariat."
The right of local committees to decide in each individual case the issue of the acceptability of certain decisions of the Central Committee ran counter to Lenin's organizational principles of building the party. The decisions of the congress could not lead to the centralization of the party, to its organizational strengthening, they opened boundless scope for opportunistic actions in the party. The point about granting broad independence to local committees ran counter to the Leninist principles of democratic centralism, which distinguished the Leninist party of the new type from any social democratic party of the Central International. With this structure of local committees, the party could not become an advanced and organized detachment of the working class. It would not have had a unified will and command, refusal to lead the masses, adaptation to backwardness ("tailism") would find expression in the organizational disunity of the Social Democracy, in handicraft, in the fear of centralism.
Against the background of growing opportunistic sentiments, the first congress of Russian social democratic organizations was convened.
The initiators of the congress, far from reaching the level of the Petersburg Union of Struggle, led by Lenin, in terms of programmatic, theoretical, and organizational issues, are trying, however, to preserve the principled position of the Social Democracy of 1894-1896 when convening the congress. The St. Petersburg "young" and a number of other organizations (Nikolaev, Odessa), which are not quite stable and not sufficiently conspiratorial, from the point of view of the Kiev Social Democrats, are not invited to the congress.
The congress took place in Minsk, cl (13) on March 3 (15), 1898. Representatives of four "Unions of Struggle" attended the congress: Petersburg, Moscow, Kiev, Yekaterino-Slav, a group of "Rabochaya Gazeta" and Bund. A total of 9 delegates: S. I. Radchenko - from St. Petersburg, A. A. Vannovsky - from Moscow, K. A. Petrusevich - from Yekaterinoslav, B. L. Eidelman and N. A. Vigdorchik - from Rabochaya Gazeta, P L. Tuchapsky - from the Kiev "Union of Struggle" and the Kiev Workers' Committee, A. Kremer, A. Mutnik (Gleb) and Sh. Katz - from the Bund.
Lenin was not at the congress: at that time, he was in exile in Siberia. Lenin's absence affected the work of the congress and its decisions. The congress was not up to the task set before it. The draft and explanation of the program of the Social Democratic Party, written by Lenin, was not presented at the congress.
The main issue of the congress was the question of the constitution of the party. The congress decided without debate to merge the local "Unions of Struggle" and the Bund into a single Social Democratic organization. The question of the name of the party caused great controversy at the congress. The participants were offered for discussion several variants of the name of the party: "Russian Social Democratic Party", "Russian Workers 'Party", "Russian Workers' Union". The name "social democratic" did not cause disagreement. Instead of “Russkaya”, a proposal was made to name the party “Russian”. This proposal did not meet any objections either. This decision was of great fundamental importance. The Social Democrats set themselves the task of uniting in their ranks the workers of all nationalities of Russia to fight the common enemy - tsarism and capitalism.
The debate dragged on for some time on whether to include the word "worker" in the name of the party. Some of the delegates acted as committees) "*. Even after the congress, the local committees of the party remained the same isolated organizations that were not connected with each other.
The congress did not work out a program, did not actually rally the organizations, its political line was not sufficiently Marxist and clear in defining the historical tasks of the proletariat.
Nevertheless, the First Congress, which issued the "Manifesto" and proclaimed the founding of an all-Russian unified organization, played a certain role in the history of our party. It was the first, albeit unsuccessful, attempt to unite and link together the scattered and scattered revolutionary Marxist circles, groups, and organizations in Russia into a single Social Democratic Party and this marked a step forward in rallying around revolutionary Social Democracy that awakened to political life of the proletariat. The very idea of an organized proletarian political party has since become, in Lenin's words, "a guiding star and a desired goal of all class-conscious Social Democrats." “Since the founding of Russian Social-Democracy (1883),” wrote Lenin at the end of 1899, “the Russian workers' movement, with every broad manifestation of it, has come directly close to the Russian Social-Democrats, has sought to merge with them. The founding of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party (in the spring of 1898) marks the largest step towards this merger. At the present time, the main task of all Russian socialists and all class-conscious Russian workers is to consolidate this merger, to strengthen and organize the "Labor Social Democratic Party" "**.
The First Congress was a major event in the life of Russian revolutionary Social-Democracy. The news of the congress held and the proclamation of the party made a tremendous impression on all revolutionary-minded Social Democrats. The old Bolshevik P. Lepeshinsky gives interesting information about the joy with which Lenin, who was then in exile in the village of Shushenskoye, was greeted by the news of the first congress. “He was as happy as a child,” Lepeshinsky writes. - With the greatest pride he told us, his closest comrades in exile and like-minded people, that from now on he is a member of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party. We, too, all with great pleasure picked up this new MOTJW (manifesto?) for us and as if immediately grew up in our own eyes "
Around the congress and the Manifesto, around the recognition of the all-Russian organization proclaimed by the congress and the Manifesto, a struggle immediately flared up.
The foreign "Union of Russian Social-Democrats", which by this time had passed into the hands of "economists", and "economists" working in Russia opposed the recognition of the congress and its decisions. The Economists tried to distract the working class from the political struggle and turn it into a political appendage of the bourgeoisie, so they reacted sharply to the first congress and its decisions, considering it premature, and the political line of the Manifesto harmful.
The opportunist attacks of the "economists" were repulsed by Lenin, who took the main provisions of the Manifesto under his protection. Despite the fact that the decisions of the congress were largely unsatisfactory, Lenin considered them to be an important weapon in the struggle against the opportunists. Lenin called for rallying and directing all efforts to the formation of a strong party, fighting under the banner of revolutionary Social Democracy, put forward by the First Congress.
"We recognize ourselves as members of this party," wrote Lenin, "we fully share the main ideas of the Manifesto and attach great importance to it as an open statement of its goals."
The fragmentation of the Social Democratic movement, the handicraft that continued to reign even after the first congress and the defeat of the central institutions of the party, ideological confusion and vacillation within the Social Democracy raised the question of creating a truly revolutionary militant organization bound by a single program and tactics and capable of giving a decisive rebuff "Economism", revisionism and other types of distortions of Marxism.
Lenin, who returned from exile, took upon himself this task of the struggle for real unification, for the creation of a revolutionary party of the working class on a new, higher basis.
When at the beginning of 1899 an attempt was made to resume the publication of the smashed Rabochaya Gazeta, recognized by the congress as the Party's Central Organ, and Lenin, who was still in exile, was offered first editing and then cooperation in it, he immediately agreed. The attempt to publish a newspaper did not materialize, but Lenin wrote a number of leading articles for the newspaper No. 3 on the main programmatic issues and the organizational formation of the workers' party. In these articles ("Letter to the editorial group", "Our program", "Our immediate task", "The pressing question"), Lenin insisted on the importance of revolutionary organization and, in opposition to the prevailing handicraft, put forward as the immediate and urgent task of social democracy , the organization of a properly issued party organ closely connected with all local groups, which would have to overcome ideological confusion and handicraft and unite Social Democracy into a truly revolutionary party of a new type.
Lenin succeeded in carrying out this famous "plan for an all-Russian newspaper" in the newspaper Iskra, which he created.
In a stubborn and principled struggle against "Economism" Lenin's "Iskra" overcame ideological confusion and handicraft, tied together scattered social democratic circles and groups and prepared the Second Congress, at which the RSDLP was created and Bolshevism arose as a course of Bolshevik thought, as a political party ...
This collection contains works by V. I. Lenin, written on the eve of the 1st Congress of the RSDLP - "Draft and Explanation of the Program of the Social Democratic Party" (1895-1896), "The Tasks of the Russian Social Democrats" (1897), which reflect the ideological and organizational role of Lenin in preparing the creation of the party, as well as articles written by Lenin after the congress (1899) for No. 3 of Rabochaya Gazeta: "Letter to the editorial group", "Our program", "Our immediate task", " An urgent question ”, devoted to the main issues of the formation of the Social Democratic Party in Russia.
The collection includes all available documents and materials of the congress: "Manifesto of the RSDLP", "Decisions", draft agenda, draft "Manifesto", materials, and notices of the held congress of the RSDLP.
In addition to the official documents and materials of the congress, the collection contains memoirs about the work of the "Unions of the Struggle for the Liberation of the Working Class" that took part in the congress - Petersburg, Moscow, Yekateroslavsky, Kiev, with a description of the state of the labor movement and social democratic organizations of the pre-congress and congress periods, and also - memories of the preparation and work of the 1st Congress of the RSDLP of its participants and organizers.
The "Appendices" to the collection include: the first and second s.-d. programs of the Prulpa "Emancipation of Labor", written by G. V-Plekhanov in 1884 and 1887, G. V. Plekhanov's letter to the "Rabochaya Gazeta", Kiev "Rabochaya Gazeta" Nos. work of the 1st Congress of the RSDLP.
The collection is equipped with a scientific auxiliary apparatus: notes at the end of the text.
The collection was prepared for publication by R. I. Markova; assistant S. Nikolaevskaya; editors - G. D. Obichkin and M. D. Stucheb-pikova.