Second Congress

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Second Congress of the RSDLP. July-August 1903

Protocols. Moscow: Gospolitizdat, 1959

The minutes of the Second Congress of the RSDLP are one of the main sources for studying the history of the formation of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Giving an accurate and vivid picture of the birth of the revolutionary Marxist party of the working class, a party of a new type that has become the vanguard of the world revolutionary movement, the minutes of the Second Congress of the RSDLP occupy an important place among documentary materials on the history of the international communist and labor movement.

V. I. Lenin wrote about the significance of the minutes of the Second Congress of the RSDLP in the preface to his work “One Step Forward, Two Steps Back”: “The minutes of the party congress give a unique picture of the state of affairs in our party, a picture of views, moods and plans drawn by the participants in the movement themselves, a picture of existing political shades within the party, showing their comparative strength, their relationship and their struggle. It is the minutes of the party congress and only these minutes that show us how much we have actually succeeded in sweeping away all the remnants of the old, purely circle-affiliated ties and replacing them with a single great party tie. Each member of the party, if he wants to consciously participate in the affairs of his party, is obliged to carefully study our party congress — namely, to study, because one reading of the pile of raw material constituting the minutes does not yet give a picture of the congress”.  V.I. Lenin. Works, 4th ed., Volume 7, p. 1 8 9.

With the entry of capitalism into the era of imperialism, the class struggle sharply intensified, the strength of the proletariat has grown immeasurably, and favorable conditions have developed for a victorious revolution. But to overthrow the exploiting classes and lead the working class to the victory of the socialist revolution only a revolutionary proletarian party, closely connected with the working masses, armed with Marxism, welded together by conscious iron discipline and irreconcilable to opportunism is capable of. By the beginning of the 20th century, there was no such party in any country in the world.

The compromising parties of the Second International were completely unsuitable for leading the revolutionary battles of the proletariat for power. The question of creating a party of a new type that could lead the struggle for the victory of the socialist revolution has become the most urgent and acute problem of the entire world labor movement. Such a party could only be formed in a country that was close to revolution and became the center of the world revolutionary movement.

Russia became such a country at the beginning of the 20th century, where all types of oppression - capitalist, feudal, military - in their most barbaric form, were woven into one knot. Russia was marching towards a revolution, the hegemon of which was to become the most revolutionary Russian proletariat in the world, having a mighty ally in the laboring peasantry of its country. V. I. Lenin in 1902 in his famous work "What is to be done?" pointed out that history has set before the working class of Russia the most revolutionary task of all the immediate tasks of the proletariat of any country. The overthrow of tsarism, the mighty bulwark of international reaction, he wrote, "would make the Russian proletariat the vanguard of the international revolutionary proletariat." The abolition of the autocracy would shake the foundations of the world imperialist system and help develop the revolutionary struggle of the West European working class.

The proletariat of Russia, in order to be fully armed to meet the imminent people's revolution, needed to have a militant, centralized, Marxist party. "... Give us an organization of revolutionaries," wrote V. I. Lenin, "and we will turn Russia over!"  Meanwhile, the local social-democratic organizations that existed in most of the large cities of Russia were at that time so organizationally disunited, and ideological discord among the social democrats is so great that the task of creating a single centralized party in Russia presented incredible difficulties. It was necessary to overcome the backwardness, sluggishness, narrow practicality of local circles and groups, eliminate handicraft, achieve a common understanding of the tasks of the labor movement, ways and means of solving these problems. The main obstacle to the creation of a unified Marxist party was the "Economists", who were the conduits of bourgeois influence in the working class, a Russian variety of international revisionism. They in every possible way justified and extolled organizational dispersion and ideological confusion, denied the need to introduce socialist consciousness into the labor movement and bowed to its spontaneity. The creation of a Marxist party in Russia was impossible without the defeat of the "Economists".

It took almost three years of the truly gigantic work of VI Lenin and the all-Russian illegal newspaper Iskra, which he created, to ensure the ideological unity and organizational cohesion of Russian Social-Democracy. Lenin's Iskra raised the banner of the struggle for a revolutionary Marxist theory against opportunism, for creative Marxism, for the creation of a militant Marxist party of the Russian proletariat. More than fifty articles by VI Lenin were published on the pages of Iskra, in which a profound elaboration of all the most important questions of the revolutionary movement, the ideological and organizational principles of a new type of proletarian party, its program, strategy and tactics is given. Iskra ideologically defeated Economism and dealt crushing blows to Bund nationalism. Iskra's greatest merit was the elaboration of a revolutionary draft of the Party program. A solid organization of professional revolutionaries has developed in Russia around Iskra. Its agents and correspondents united local party committees around the newspaper and created the nucleus of the party. Iskra, led by VI Lenin, prepared all the necessary conditions for the formation of a revolutionary proletarian party.

A huge role in the ideological defeat of "Economism" and in the creation of a revolutionary Marxist party in Russia was played by Lenin's book What Is to Be Done? In it, VI Lenin, developing the ideas of Marx and Engels about the proletarian party, developed the foundations of the doctrine of a revolutionary Marxist party — a party of a new type. "What is to be done?" Wrote VI Lenin, "is a summary of Iskra's tactics, Iskra's organizational policies of 1901 and 1902." That is why Lenin's book came under attack from the opportunists at the Second Congress of the RSDLP.

By the spring of 1903, all Social Democratic committees (except for the "economist" Voronezh committee) had joined Iskra. The victory of the Leninist-Iskra trend had to be consolidated at the party congress, the main task of which was "to create a real party on those principles and organizational principles that were put forward and developed by Iskra." This problem was solved in a bitter struggle with the opportunists.

All the threads of the organizational preparation of the Second Congress of the RSDLP were concentrated in the hands of V.I. Lenin: the creation of the Organizing Committee for the convocation of the congress, the definition of the norms of representation, the definition of organizations and groups entitled to participate in the congress, the time and place of its convocation, and many others. The successful activity of the Organizing Committee, culminating in the convocation of the congress, was only possible as a result of the tremendous work done by the editorial board and organization of Iskra, headed by V. I. Lenin, to unite the Russian revolutionary Social Democrats. In his book One Step Forward, Two Steps Back, VI Lenin wrote: “... The OC was mainly a commission for convening a congress, a commission deliberately made up of representatives of various shades up to the Bund; the actual work of creating the organizational unity of the Party was entirely borne by the Iskra organization ... "

To the extent that the basic questions of the ideological and organizational preparation of the congress were resolved, V. I. Lenin concentrated his attention directly on the questions of holding the congress itself. Initially, the order of the questions to be discussed at the congress was outlined by V.I. Lenin back in December 1902 in a letter to OK.

A few weeks before the congress, V. I. Lenin carefully thinks over all the details of the congress and, after a series of preliminary sketches, creates an integral program of its work ("Program of the Second Regular Congress of the RSDLP”), including both the congress regulations and the methods of its constitution. and the order of the day, and the outline of decisions on a number of issues facing the congress. This document is of great historical importance - it formed the basis for the work of the Second Congress of the RSDLP. At the same time, V. I. Lenin wrote draft resolutions on many issues that were subject to discussion at the congress - on the place of the Bund in the party, on the economic struggle, on May 1, on the international congress, on demonstrations, on terror, on propaganda, on the distribution of forces, about party literature, about the attitude towards teaching young people. Preparing for the congress and knowing that an acute struggle against opportunist and centrist elements lay ahead, Lenin on the eve of the congress drew up a table "Composition of the Second Congress of the RSDLP", in which, apparently, for his own orientation, he made a preliminary account of the composition of the congress and the balance of forces in German The Second Congress of the RSDLP opened on July 17 (30), 1903. The congress first worked in Brussels until July 24 (August 6), and then, at the request of the Belgian police, left the capital of Belgium and moved to London, where the meetings of the congress resumed on July 29 (August 11) and continued until August 10 (23). A total of 37 sessions of the congress took place - 13 in Brussels and 24 in London.

26 Social Democratic organizations were represented at the congress. The composition of the congress vividly testified to how much the Social Democratic movement had grown and strengthened in Russia, which by that time numbered several tens of thousands of workers and ideologically influenced hundreds of thousands of workers who were not part of the organization. Representatives from social democratic organizations of all large cities and regions of Russia - St. Petersburg and Transcaucasia, Moscow and Ukraine, Crimea and Siberia, the Volga region and the Urals, cities of the industrial center took part in the works of the II Congress. Most of the delegates were Iskra supporters. However, the congress was also attended by opponents of Iskra, as well as wavering, centrist elements. The 43 delegates present at the congress had 51 votes, of which the Iskraists held 33 votes. But not all Iskraists were firm Iskra-Leninists, consistent proletarian revolutionaries. The solid Iskraists had 24 votes, and 9 votes belonged to the unstable, "soft" Iskraists who followed Martov. Open opponents of Iskra had 8 votes (3 Economists and 5 Bundists). The remaining 10 votes belonged to the centrist elements, the so-called "swamp", who oscillated between Iskra and its opponents. It was enough for the Iskraists to split up, and Iskra's enemies could gain the upper hand. Such a composition of delegates predetermined the fierce nature of the struggle when discussing the main issues on the agenda of the congress.

The congress was supposed to adopt the party's program and charter, create leading party centers, and resolve a number of tactical and organizational issues aimed at strengthening the party being created.

As can be seen from the minutes, the real leader of the congress, who exerted a lot of effort and energy to ensure the victory of the Iskra trend, was V.I. Lenin. He was elected to the bureau of the congress and repeatedly chaired the meetings, was a member of the program, organizational and mandate commissions of the congress. Lenin spoke out on almost all issues of the order of the day, smashing the opportunists and rallying around himself the revolutionary section of the congress.

From the very first day of the work of the congress, a fierce struggle began between the revolutionary and opportunist wings of the congress. The first three sessions were filled with heated debates on the question of the rules of procedure, the order of the day and the report of the credentials committee: The attacks of the opportunists were repulsed. The congress approved the rules and order of the day proposed by the Organizing Committee, in accordance with the "Program of the Second Regular Congress of the RSDLP" developed by VI Lenin.

Then the congress considered the question of the Bund's place in the party and unanimously rejected the nationalist proposals of the Bundists to build a party on a federal principle, legitimizing alienation in the internal life of the party and contradicting the principle of centralism. Lenin's idea of ​​creating a party on the principles of centralism and proletarian internationalism won out.

A sharp struggle ensued during the discussion of the party program. The draft program worked out by the editorial staff of Iskra and Zarya was taken as a basis. The discussion of the program took 9 sessions of the congress. The struggle flared up on the most important points of the program that determined its combat, revolutionary orientation. The opportunists, represented by the "economists" Akimov and Martynov, the Bundist Lieber, strove to change the very spirit of the program, to emasculate its revolutionary essence.

The opportunists launched an attack against the inclusion in the program of the most important thesis of Marxism - the dictatorship of the proletariat. At the same time, they referred to the fact that in the programs of the West European Social Democratic parties there is no clause on the dictatorship of the proletariat.

At the congress, Trotsky's double-dealing position on the question of the dictatorship of the proletariat, which essentially stood on the point of view of social reformism, was manifested. Not daring to openly oppose the inclusion in the program of the clause on the dictatorship of the proletariat, he declared that the implementation of this clause is possible only when the proletariat becomes "the majority of the nation" and when the party and the working class are "closest to identification", that is, merge ... This attitude was one of the dogmas of the West European opportunists and later served as the basis for the Trotskyist-Menshevik "theory" about the impossibility of the victory of socialism in our country.

Lenin defended the thesis of the dictatorship of the proletariat against all attacks of the opportunists with all decisiveness and inflexibility. The inclusion by the congress in the party program of the clause on the dictatorship of the proletariat marked the historic victory of V.I. Lenin and his supporters, the victory of revolutionary Marxism, and dealt a serious blow to international opportunism.

Martynov and Akimov opposed the Marxist position on introducing socialist consciousness into the labor movement from the outside, thereby denying the position enshrined in the program on the leading role of the Marxist party in the labor movement, and tried to push through a number of amendments in the spirit of V. I. Lenin sharply opposed this opportunist foray of the "economists". The congress rejected all of their amendments.

The agrarian part of the program, written by V. I. Lenin, was subjected to the greatest attacks from the "economists", Bundists and a number of wavering elements ("swamps"). This program proceeded from the tasks of eliminating the remnants of serfdom and creating conditions for the free development of the class struggle in the countryside. It was aimed at strengthening and developing the revolutionary alliance of workers and peasants in their struggle against tsarism, landlords and capitalists.

The opportunists denied the revolutionary role of the peasantry. Naturally, those who opposed the socialist revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat removed from the agenda the question of allies, of the reserves of the proletariat. With statements about the non-revolutionary nature of the peasantry, the opportunists covered up their unwillingness and even fear of revolution; in essence, they denied the leading role of the proletariat in the revolution, rejected the alliance of the working class and the peasantry. They first proposed to completely reject the agrarian part of the program, and then they tried to push through a proposal so that the congress would define only general principles of principle on the agrarian question, refusing to formulate specific proposals.

V. I. Lenin strongly opposed this. In his speeches and speeches, he defended the agrarian part of the program and showed the importance of the peasantry as an ally of the proletariat, substantiated the revolutionary significance of the demand for the return of the "cut-offs" and the need to differentiate the requirements of the agrarian program of Social Democracy at the two stages of the revolution. Lenin stressed that this agrarian program is not the limit for the Marxist party. He suggested in the motivation part of the program instead of the words “we will strive” to say: “we demand first of all”. Such an amendment meant that the party would not stop at the immediate demands of the program, such as the return of the “cut-off areas,” etc., that it would put forward in the future a demand for the confiscation of the landlords' land and the nationalization of all the land, which Lenin wrote about even before the Congress ...

The agrarian part of the program was also approved by the congress.

Serious controversy flared up over the national question. The theoretical foundations and practical requirements of the Marxist national program were developed and substantiated by VI Lenin in his work The National Question in Our Program and in other articles in Iskra. The program demanded full equality of rights for all citizens regardless of gender, religion, race, or nationality; it demanded the recognition of the right to self-determination for all the nations that make up the state. The programmatic demands on the national question and, above all, the demand for the right of nations to self-determination were aimed at attracting the oppressed nationalities of Russia in the coming revolution as an ally to the side of the proletariat as the only consistent fighter against national oppression, and to promote the education of the working class in the spirit of proletarian internationalism.

The Polish Social Democrats and Bundists spoke out against the point of the program on the right of nations to self-determination at the congress. The Polish Social Democrats, mistakenly believing that this paragraph would play into the hands of the Polish nationalists, proposed to remove it. Unsupported in the program commission, at whose meetings the main discussion on this issue took place and where almost all the delegates were present, the Polish Social Democrats did not dare to defend their proposals at the congress itself and left it (there is only one document - notes by V.I. Lenin). The Bundists tried to replace the Marxist formula on the character of nations with self-determination, by which the congress understood the right of nations to political secession, with a bourgeois-nationalist formula on cultural-national autonomy. The nationalism of the Bund was exposed. The Leninist principles of proletarian internationalism, formulated in the program of the RSDLP, triumphed at the congress.

In a bitter debate over all program questions, the opportunists were defeated. All their attacks were repulsed by V.I. Lenin and the Iskraists. The congress adopted Iskra's program, consisting of two parts, where both the ultimate goals of Social-Democracy (maximum program) and its immediate tasks (minimum program) were clearly defined.

The maximum program spoke of revolutionary transformations of a socialist character. Here such fundamental tasks of the revolutionary proletarian movement were formulated as the overthrow of the bourgeoisie, the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat in the process of the victorious socialist revolution and the building of a socialist society. The program provided a short but deeply scientific exposition of these fundamental questions of Marxist theory.

The minimum program dealt with the immediate tasks of the party - the overthrow of tsarism and the reforms of a bourgeois-democratic character. The program viewed the struggle for democratic transformation as a necessary stage on Russia's path to the socialist revolution.

The program of the RSDLP adopted by the Second Congress of the Party was an example of a truly Marxist revolutionary program. It fundamentally differed from the programs of the West European Social Democratic parties in its loyalty to the principles of revolutionary Marxist theory, irreconcilability to opportunism, a militant, revolutionary, and creative character. For the first time in the history of the international workers' movement after the death of Marx and Engels, a revolutionary program was adopted, in which the struggle for the dictatorship of the proletariat was put forward as the main task. Guided by this program, the party successfully fought for the victory of the bourgeois democratic and socialist revolutions in Russia.

The party program, adopted at the Second Congress of the RSDLP, laid the scientific foundation for the strategy and tactics of the revolutionary party of the proletariat. In development of the general tactical provisions formulated in the program, the congress at its last, thirty-seventh, meeting adopted a number of resolutions that were supposed to determine the tactics of the party in a number of issues of its work for the near future (on the attitude towards liberals, on socialist revolutionaries, on demonstrations, about professional struggle, about anti-Jewish pogroms, about factory leaders, about the attitude towards students, about work among sectarians).

The consistently Marxist decision of the Second Congress of the RSDLP on program issues was the clearest evidence of the ideological victory of the Leninist-Iskra trend in the Russian labor movement. The recognition of the Iskra trend as the ideological trend of the entire Party was also expressed in the decision of the congress to declare Iskra the Central Organ of the Party. In this decision, the congress noted the merits of Iskra in building the party, in the struggle against opportunism, in the defense and development of Marxism.

By adopting the program, the Second Congress of the RSDLP created a solid foundation for the ideological unity of the Marxist party. This ideological unity had to be crowned with the unity of the organization, to create firm norms and rules of internal party life. During the discussion of the draft Party Rules, written by V. I. Lenin, especially the first paragraph - on Party membership - the struggle at the congress became even more acute. The most important organizational idea put forward and developed by Iskra was the idea of ​​centralism, the idea of ​​creating a single centralized party with iron discipline. This idea was taken as the basis of the party charter.

The disagreements on the first paragraph of the charter - about party membership - formally boiled down to the question of whether a party member should personally participate in one of the party organizations, or he may not be a member of the party organization, while Lenin considered it compulsory for every party member to in one of its organizations, his work in it, Martov argued that a party member may not be a member of a party organization, not work in it and, therefore, not obey party discipline. In fact, these were disagreements on one of the fundamental issues of Marxism - the doctrine of the party. Two different formulations of the paragraph of the charter on party membership reflected completely opposite views on the party, its composition, its structure, and its tasks.

Lenin and his associates defended the Marxist thesis about the party as an advanced, conscious, organized detachment of the working class, armed with a revolutionary theory, knowledge of the laws of social development and class struggle, and the experience of the revolutionary movement. The revolutionary part of the congress, considering the party as an advanced, monolithic detachment of the working class, defended firm proletarian discipline, obligatory for all party members, both rank and file and leading leaders.

V. I. Lenin demanded that the party members should be instilled with a high sense of party spirit, pointed out that every party member is responsible for the party and the party is responsible for each of its members. He called for vigilantly guarding the firmness of the line and the purity of the principles of the Party, and raising high the rank and importance of a Party member. “Our task,” he said at the congress, “is to preserve the firmness, self-control and purity of our party. We must try to raise the rank and importance of the Party member higher, higher and higher - and therefore I am against Martov's formulation”. Only a highly conscientious, united, and centralized, strictly disciplined, genuinely revolutionary, militant party, irreconcilable to the opportunists, is capable of leading the working class to victory and successfully leading its struggle for the conquest of power.

The merit of V.I. Lenin is invaluable, who for the first time in the history of Marxism developed the doctrine of the party as the leading organization of the proletariat, the main weapon in its hands, without which it is impossible to conquer the dictatorship of the proletariat, to build socialism and communism.

The high demands that V. I. Lenin made of the party and its members were met with hostility by the opportunist section of the congress. This is understandable: the opportunists did not want the working class of Russia to have a revolutionary party capable of rousing it to fight against tsarism. An organizationally vague, motley party suited them. Martov's formulation provided room for all sorts of random elements to penetrate the ranks of the party, doomed the party to confusion and vacillation, gave scope to opportunism, and contributed to the subordination of the labor movement to bourgeois influence. This was the meaning of the struggle at the Second Party Congress on the first paragraph of the Rules.

During the voting on the first paragraph of the charter, an open split occurred among the Iskraists. A minority broke away from the Iskraists — the unstable Iskraists headed by Martov. By uniting with the "swamp" and the anti-Iskraists, Martov's supporters gained an advantage over the firm Iskraists. By a majority of 28 votes against 22, with one abstention, the congress adopted the first paragraph of the charter as formulated by Martov.

The temporary victory of the opportunists on this question did not shake the firm Iskraists. A sharp struggle unfolded over the role of party centers. In their desire to belittle the leading role of the Central Committee, the opportunists proposed to limit the Central Committee's right to dissolve local committees, to consider as binding for party organizations only those resolutions of the Central Committee that have a general party character. The congress rejected these proposals. Lenin and the firm Iskraists upheld the principle of centralism in building the party as opposed to the opportunist principle of autonomy and federalism. With the exception of the first paragraph, the charter, developed by V.I. Lenin, was basically adopted. Already at the next, III congress of the RSDLP, the party corrected the mistake made at the II congress by approving the first paragraph of the party rules as edited by V.I. Lenin.

In discussing the seventh item on the agenda — on regional and national organizations — the congress had to again deal with the Bund, which claimed a special position in the party. The Bund demanded to be recognized as the only representative of the Jewish workers in Russia. To accept this demand from the Bund meant to divide the workers in party organizations along ethnic lines, to abandon the united class territorial organizations of the working class. It was nationalism in organizational matters. The Bund's proposal was rejected by the Congress. Then the Bundists left the congress. Two "economists", delegates from the "Union of Russian Social Democrats Abroad," also left the congress in protest when the congress refused to recognize their "Union" as the party's representative abroad.

The consistent and irreconcilable struggle of VI Lenin and his associates for the programmatic and organizational principles of Iskra deprived the opportunists of any hope of the possibility of turning the congress off the right path, and they had no choice but to leave it. The departure from the Congress of the seven anti-Iskraists changed the balance of forces in favor of the firm Iskraists.

The congress moved on to the election of the party's central institutions. Lenin attached great importance to this question. To consolidate the victory of the Iskra principles in programmatic, tactical, and organizational questions, Lenin considered it necessary to bring firm and consistent revolutionaries to the central institutions of the party. The Martovites strove for the predominance of unstable, opportunist elements.

In the elections to the central party bodies, VI Lenin's supporters won a decisive victory, having received the majority of votes, and the opportunists were defeated and found themselves in the minority. The Iskra editorial staff was elected consisting of Lenin, Martov and Plekhanov. But Martov refused to work in the editorial office. Krzhizhanovsky, Lengnik, Noskov were elected to the Party Central Committee. This is where the names came from: "Bolsheviks" - Lenin's supporters, who received the majority of votes, and "Mensheviks" - Lenin's opponents, who received a minority of votes.

Lenin's struggle against opportunist elements at the congress on programmatic and organizational questions laid a dividing line between the revolutionary part of the RSDLP — the Bolsheviks and the opportunist — the Mensheviks.

At the congress, the truly titanic struggle of V.I. Lenin for the creation of a revolutionary proletarian party in Russia was crowned with success. Around V. I. Lenin, professional revolutionaries brought up by Iskra and hardened in the struggle united, who unwaveringly defended the cause of creating a Marxist party - N. E. Bauman, B. M. Knunyants, P. A. Krasikov, S. I. Gusev, R.S. Zemlyachka, D.I. Ulyanov, A.M. Knipovich, A.M. Stopani and others. GV Plekhanov held Iskra's positions throughout the Congress, supported VI Lenin on a whole range of issues.

The main result of the Second Congress of the RSDLP is the creation in Russia of a revolutionary Marxist party, the Bolshevik party, on the basis of those programmatic and organizational principles that were put forward and developed by Lenin's Iskra. "Bolshevism," Lenin pointed out, "has existed as a current of political thought and as a political party since 1903." It marked a turning point in the world labor movement. A new type of Marxist party has appeared on the historical arena, which has taken consistent revolutionary positions in the ranks of the international proletariat.

Outstanding importance in the history of the world workers' movement is the correct formulation and correct decision at the Second Congress of the RSDLP of a whole series of most important questions of revolutionary theory. In the program, statutes and decisions adopted by the congress, as well as in speeches at the congress of V.I. Lenin, the main and most urgent questions of the struggle of the proletariat received Marxist coverage: the socialist revolution, the dictatorship of the proletariat, the hegemony of the proletariat, the doctrine of a revolutionary proletarian party of a new type, about the attitude towards the peasantry, the national question, and others. All these questions were the most pressing questions of not only the Russian, but also the world revolutionary proletarian movement.

The struggle of V.I. Lenin and his supporters at the Second Congress of the RSDLP for ideological and organizational unity, for the purity and discipline of the party ranks showed a remarkable example of irreconcilability to opportunism, unprecedented in the history of the world workers' movement of that time. The Bolsheviks showed the progressive proletarians of all countries the only correct way to revive the revolutionary traditions of the world labor movement, laid down by the founders of Marxism and consigned to oblivion by the leaders of the Second International.

The minutes of the Second Congress were first illegally published by the Central Committee of the RSDLP in 1904 in Geneva. The commission for the publication of the minutes, elected at the penultimate meeting of the congress, made the necessary abbreviations of the text for conspiratorial reasons, dropped a number of passages relating mainly to procedural issues, to re-ballot, and some others.

In 1924, the protocols were reissued by the Istpart of the Central Committee of the RCP (b), and in 1932 by the Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute under the Central Committee of the CPSU (b).

This edition of the minutes of the Second Congress of the RSDLP is based on the text of the first, Geneva, edition, verified with the handwritten materials from the archive of the protocol commission elected at the Second Congress stored at the Institute of Marxism-Leninism. These materials represent a handwritten text of the minutes in three versions: 1) the secretary's note containing numerous handwritten notes of speeches approved by the congress (with the exception of the recording of the last two meetings - 36 and 37, which remained unapproved due to lack of time), 2) the text of the protocol commission, compiled on the basis of the secretary's note, and 3) handwritten text of the protocol commission, intended for the set.

Those passages of the secretarial record that were not included in the first edition of the minutes for conspiratorial reasons or for the sake of shortening, in this edition are given in footnotes. An exception was made only for the initial secretarial notes on the 12th, 13th, and the final part of the 36th session of the congress, which is placed in the section “Materials of the congress”. The recording of these meetings is an unprocessed initial recording of the secretaries, basically in two versions, and was not approved by the congress. The section "Materials of the Congress" also contains the answers of the Bund speaker to the questions asked. This material is being published following the report on the activities of the Bund, with which it is organically linked. Discrepancies in the first edition of the protocols with three versions of handwritten texts of the protocols, which have semantic meaning, are everywhere specified in the footnotes.

The archive of the protocol commission contains a large number of various kinds of materials related directly to the progress of the congress. These are numerous notes submitted to the bureau of the congress with recommended candidates and proposed resolutions, statements, written reports, and others. Part of this material is published in this edition of the minutes in the section "Materials of the Congress" (reports of the committees to the Congress) and in the form of an appendix at the end of the book (applications submitted to the Bureau of the Congress). Another part, representing the resolutions proposed by the delegates of the congress, which were not published for any reason by the protocol commission, is placed in the form of footnotes under the text of the minutes.

For the sake of conspiracy, the protocol commission, when preparing the Geneva edition of the protocols, replaced the party nicknames under which they spoke at the congress for the majority of delegates with other pseudonyms. The decoding of the pseudonyms in this publication is given at the first speech of the delegate at each meeting of the congress; the decrypted surnames are enclosed in square brackets. In footnotes, where the text of the secretary's note is given, delegates are designated by party names that do not appear in the text of the minutes. Their decoding is given at the first mention in each footnote; The brackets enclose the delegate alias as published in the text of the Geneva edition.

In the Geneva edition of the minutes, it is extremely rare to find indications of who was the chairman of a particular session of the congress. There is no complete information about this in the secretary's record. Although G.V. Plekhanov was elected chairman of the congress, and V.I. Lenin was elected vice-chairman, nevertheless Lenin often chaired the sessions of the congress. Due to the fact that chairpersons are sometimes changed several times during the same meeting, this publication, and square brackets, where there is an indication in the secretary record, indicates who was the chair at that time. For conspiratorial reasons, the dates of the meetings are not in the Geneva edition. In the present edition, they are given by the editors (in double style). Obvious typos in the text of the protocols were corrected without reservations.

To unify the order of the arrangement of materials in the published minutes of party congresses and conferences, the editorial board, as in the previous edition, made some regrouping of materials in comparison with their arrangement in the Geneva edition of the minutes: the preface ("From the Commission"), published at the end of the Geneva edition of the minutes, was placed at the beginning; documents of the congress: "Program of the RSDLP", "Organizational Charter of the RSDLP", "Order of the day of the congress", "Regulations of the congress", "Bureau and commissions of the congress", "Major resolutions adopted at the II congress of the RSDLP" - combined in one section "Resolutions and regulations" and placed not before the text of the minutes, as is the case in the Geneva edition, but after the text. The section also includes the decisions adopted by the Congress that were not included in the Geneva edition of the minutes in the list of "Major Resolutions". The list of members of the Congress, which appears in the Geneva edition at the end of the minutes, is included in this edition in the section “Materials of the Congress”.

"Appendices" from I to XI inclusive are reprinted from the Geneva edition of the minutes without any change, in the same sequence. The Appendices to this Edition contain documents closely related to the Congress, but absent from the Geneva edition of the minutes. The numbering of these documents begins with the number XII.

Compared to the previous edition, the present edition of the minutes of the congress has been significantly supplemented with new documents.

The section "Materials of the Congress" includes the following documents of V. I. Lenin: "Program of the Second Regular Congress of the RSDLP"; draft resolutions prepared but not submitted to the Congress - "Bund", "Economic Struggle", "May 1", "International Congress", "Demonstrations", "Terror", "Propaganda", "Distribution of Forces", "Literature" , "According to the statement of Martynov and Akimov", "Addendum to Martov's resolution on the withdrawal of the Bund from the RSDLP", "The withdrawal of the Bund", "Separate groups", "Troops", "Peasantry"; "Composition of the II Congress of the RSDLP"; "Notes on the work of the program commission"; "Notes on the debate on the proposal of the Bund delegates on the procedure for discussing the party charter"; "Notes on the debate on 1 of the charter"; "Diary of the II Congress of the RSDLP"; "On the question of reports of committees and groups of the RSDLP to the general party congress."

The section "Materials of the Congress" includes the reports of the committees of the Second Congress of the RSDLP, which are preceded by the work of VI Lenin "On the question of the reports of committees and groups of the RSDLP to the general party congress." Reports are printed in the order they were presented at the congress. The congress devoted three of its sessions to hearing reports from the field — 11, 12 and 13. The protocol commission elected at the congress intended to publish the reports of the committees separately from the minutes of the congress, as indicated in the text of the minutes and in the preface "From the Commission." However, for unknown reasons, the reports were not published at that time.

The "Appendices" section includes: "Draft program of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party (developed by the editors of Iskra and Zarya)"; "Afterword to the" Notice of the formation of the "Organizing Committee", written by V. I. Lenin; "Resolution of the arbitration court on the invitation to the congress of the" Petersburg workers' organization "and the organization calling itself the Petersburg Committee of the RSDLP."

The following documents have been published for the first time: "Answers of the Bund rapporteur to the questions asked" and "Report of the Baku Committee".

The publication is provided with informational notes, as well as indexes of names, organizations of the RSDLP, periodicals and literary works and sources mentioned in the text of the protocols.

The edition was prepared for publication by G. N. Shanshiev. Assistants to the preparatory - T. G. Breneisen and T. S. Chanysheva Editors - M. D. Stuchebnikova and N. V. Tropkin.

Institute of Marxism-Leninism under the Central Committee of the CPSU


Issuing the minutes of the Second Congress of the RSDLP, the commission elected by the Congress considers it necessary to preface its work with the following explanatory remarks.

No transcripts were taken at the congress, but the speeches and the entire course of the debates were recorded by the successive secretaries, to whom the orators presented the abstracts of their more significant speeches. Thus, the minutes drawn up were read at the congress and approved by the congress. Only the minutes of the last two meetings (36 and 37) remained unapproved due to lack of time.

So, the commission received the material already approved by the congress. It was necessary to bring it into an easy-to-print form and edit it. The initial work on putting the material in order was carried out by Comrade Koltsov, and then the commission, in its entirety, considered and approved the text to be published.

The commission did not use the right granted to it not to publish certain parts of the minutes: more precisely, it used it in a very insignificant amount and only insofar as it was absolutely required by conspiratorial considerations.

The commission was guided by the same considerations when replacing some of the conspiratorial nicknames under which the delegates appeared at the congress with others. In all other respects, she strictly adhered to the text adopted by the congress, and made only stylistic corrections in it.

The publication of the commission did not include the reports of the delegates to the congress. These reports are not directly related to the activities of the congress, there was no debate about them, and therefore they can conveniently come out in a separate edition. Of all the reports, the Bund report alone provoked some debate at the Congress. But, unfortunately, the commission had to refuse to reproduce this debate because the minutes did not preserve the speech of the Bund delegate in response to the questions put to him.

Finally, the commission attached to the minutes several (11) documents: these documents - in one way or another - supplement and explain the work of the congress and the decisions taken by it.

Gorin, Koltsov, Starover.