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Sixth (Prague) All-Russian Conference of the RSDLP, January 1912
The sixth (Prague) All-Russian Conference of the RSDLP took place on January 18-30 (5-17), 1912 in Prague. The conference was attended by 14 delegates with a decisive vote from organizations of St. Petersburg, Moscow, the Central Industrial Region, Baku, Tiflis, Kiev, Yekaterinoslav, Nikolaev, Kazan, Saratov, Vilna and Dvinsk, including 10 workers. 12 of them were Bolsheviks, two were Menshevik Party members (Plekhanovites).
Some delegates did not participate in the conference from the very beginning. Thus, the Moscow delegate R.V. Malinovsky arrived when it was drawing to a close. Before that, Malinovsky was a non-factional Social Democrat and only in Prague announced that he had become a Bolshevik. There were no more trade union officials as well-known as Malinowski. Two Bolshevik deputies from the Social Democratic faction of the III State Duma N.G. Poletaev and V.E. Shurkanov
All national organizations and other party groups, as well as personally invited G.V. Plekhanov and M. Gorky declined invitations to the conference on the grounds that only Lenin's supporters were calling it. Nevertheless, the conference was constituted as a general party conference of the RSDLP, which is the supreme body of the party and has the significance of the congress. Plekhanovite Ya.D. objected to the constitution of the conference as an all-Russian and general party conference. Zevin, who proposed to call it "Conference of representatives of Russian organizations." The conference rejected this proposal. Zevin's proposal was also rejected to urgently convene a conference of representatives of all social democratic trends, which would take measures to replenish the number of delegates so that the conference would become an all-party conference.
In total, 23 meetings were held, the delegates gathered twice a day. The conference was held under the leadership and chairmanship of V.I. Lenin. He also made a report "On the present moment and the tasks of the party", on the constitution of the conference, on the International Socialist Bureau and on other issues. The draft resolutions and resolutions adopted by the conference were drawn up by Lenin.
In the resolution on the question "On the present moment and the tasks of the party" the conference indicated that "the task of conquering power by the proletariat, leading the peasantry, remains as before the task of a democratic revolution in Russia."
The Prague conference outlined the party's tactics for the elections to the fourth State Duma. The party put forward the main electoral slogans: democratic republic, 8-hour working day, confiscation of the landlord's land. The general tactical line of the party in the elections was as follows: a merciless war against the tsarist monarchy and the parties of landlords and capitalists, the steady exposure of counter-revolutionary views and false democracy of bourgeois liberals - with the party of the Cadets at their head, the disengagement of the party from all non-proletarian, petty-bourgeois parties.
In the resolution On the Tasks of Social Democracy in the Fight against Hunger, the conference noted that the Social Democracy must exert all its strength to expand propaganda and agitation among the broad masses of the population, and especially the peasantry; to explain the connection between hunger and tsarism and its entire policy, to spread the political demands of social democracy: the overthrow of the tsarist monarchy, the establishment of a democratic republic, the confiscation of the landlords' land; to support the striving of the workers to help the hungry, to direct the democratic excitement about the famine towards demonstrations, rallies, mass meetings and other forms of mass struggle against tsarism.
In a resolution on the attitude to the Duma bill on state insurance of workers, the conference outlined a program of demands that workers should put forward in the struggle for state insurance under capitalism, proposed to launch widespread agitation against the Duma bill, which violates the interests of the working class, and if the law is passed, to deploy it in hospital vigorous propaganda of social democratic ideas and "thus turn this law, conceived for the purpose of enslaving and oppressing the proletariat, into an instrument for developing its class consciousness, strengthening its organization, strengthening its struggle for complete political freedom and socialism."
The conference discussed the question "On liquidationism and the group of liquidators." In a resolution on this issue, the conference noted that for about 4 years the RSDLP had been waging a decisive struggle against the liquidationist trend, which at the December 1908 conference was defined as “attempts by a certain part of the party intelligentsia to liquidate the existing organization of the RSDLP and replace it with a formless association within the framework of legality. be that as it may, at least the latter was bought at the cost of a clear rejection of the party's program, tactics, and traditions. " "The conference," the resolution says, "calls on all party members, without distinction of trends and shades, to fight liquidationism, to explain all its harm to the cause of the emancipation of the working class and to exert all efforts to restore and strengthen the illegal RSDLP."
In the resolution "On the Attack of the Russian Government on Persia," the conference protests against the predatory policy of the tsarist gang, which decided to strangle the freedom of the Persian people, and expresses its full sympathy for the struggle of the Persian Social Democracy, which suffered so many victims in the struggle against the tsarist rapists.
In the resolution "On the Chinese Revolution," the Prague Conference of the RSDLP notes "... the world significance of the revolutionary struggle of the Chinese people, bringing the liberation of Asia and undermining the rule of the European bourgeoisie, welcomes the revolutionary republicans of China, testifies to the deep inspiration and full sympathy with which the proletariat of Russia is following the successes the revolutionary people in China and condemns the behavior of Russian liberalism, which supports the policy of conquest of tsarism. "
In the resolution "On the policy of tsarism towards Finland," the conference expressed its complete solidarity with the fraternal Finnish Social-Democrats. party, emphasized the unity of the tasks of the workers of Finland and Russia in the struggle against the Russian counterrevolutionary government and the counterrevolutionary bourgeoisie, trampling on the rights of the people, and expressed her firm belief that only “... by the joint efforts of the workers of Russia and Finland can the overthrow of tsarism and freedom of the Russian and Finnish peoples be achieved ".
The Prague Conference of the RSDLP sent greetings to the fraternal German Social Democracy, which in January 1912 won a "brilliant victory over the entire bourgeois world" in the elections to the Reichstag.
The Prague Conference canceled the decision of the January Plenum of the Central Committee (1910) to support the newspaper L.D. Trotsky's Pravda, published in Vienna.
The Central Committee of the RSDLP, elected at the Fifth Congress, virtually ceased to exist by 1912 (its last plenum was held in January 1910) and the party found itself without an official governing center. The conference elected the Bolshevik Central Committee of the Party, which included F.I. Goloshchekin, G.E. Zinoviev and V.I. Lenin, R.V. Malinovsky (since 1910 - a secret officer of the Moscow Security Department, since 1912 - the Police Department; deputy of the IV State Duma), G.K. Ordzhonikidze, S.S. Spandaryan, D.M. Schwartzman. The Central Committee was granted the right to co-opt new members by a simple majority vote. During the days of the conference, I.S. Belostotsky and I.V. Stalin, and later G.I. Petrovsky and Ya.M. Sverdlov.
In the event that any of the members of the Central Committee were arrested, A.S. Bubnov, M.I. Kalinin, A.P. Smirnov, E. D. Stasova, S.G. Shaumyan. For the practical guidance of party work in Russia, the Russian Bureau of the Central Committee of the RSDLP (which ceased to exist in March 1911, after the arrest of Nogin and Leiteisen) was recreated. It included those elected at the conference and later co-opted by I.S. Belostotsky, F.I. Goloshchekin, R.V. Malinovsky, G.K. Ordzhonikidze, G.I. Petrovsky, Ya.M. Sverdlov, S.S. Spandaryan, I. V. Stalin, D.M. Shvartsman, A.E. Badaev, M.I. Kalinin, A.S. Kiselev, E. D. Stasova, A.V. Shotman. The representative of the RSDLP in the International Socialist Bureau was elected V.I. Lenin. It included those elected at the conference and later co-opted by I.S. Belostotsky, F.I. Goloshchekin, R.V. Malinovsky, G.K. Ordzhonikidze, G.I. Petrovsky, Ya.M. Sverdlov, S.S. Spandaryan, I. V. Stalin, D.M. Shvartsman, A.E. Badaev, M.I. Kalinin, A.S. Kiselev, E. D. Stasova, A.V. Shotman. The representative of the RSDLP in the International Socialist Bureau was elected V.I. Lenin. It included those elected at the conference and later co-opted by I.S. Belostotsky, F.I. Goloshchekin, R.V. Malinovsky, G.K. Ordzhonikidze, G.I. Petrovsky, Ya.M. Sverdlov, S.S. Spandaryan, I. V. Stalin, D.M. Shvartsman, A.E. Badaev, M.I. Kalinin, A.S. Kiselev, E. D. Stasova, A.V. Shotman. The representative of the RSDLP in the International Socialist Bureau was elected V.I. Lenin.
The conference, at which representatives of all the national organizations and other party groups that were part of the party were absent, except for the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks-party members, declared itself, at Lenin's insistence, the general party, and the supreme organ of the party. In fact, in Prague, as G.E. Zinoviev, "a real Bolshevik congress", whereas "without Lenin this would have been an ordinary meeting of relatively young Bolshevik practitioners."
After the conference in Prague became known and its resolutions were promulgated in February 1912, the idea of convening another party conference was supported by the "Vperyodists", Menshevik Party members and Bolshevik conciliators, who did not want to recognize the conference of some of Lenin's supporters as an all-party conference. Together with other participants convened on March 12 (February 28) 1912 in Paris on the initiative of the Trotsky conference, they condemned the Prague conference as a factional one. The conference convened by them was held in Vienna from August 26 (13) to September 2 (August 20) 1912. A total of 16 sessions took place, not counting two not recorded, which took place the day before the official opening. According to the minutes, 18 delegates with a casting vote and 11 with an advisory vote, as well as 5 guests with an advisory vote, attended the meetings. According to police reports, there were also guests without the right to participate in debates - up to 7 people. Of the 29 delegates, 12 represented three national organizations, 9 - other organizations in Russia, and three mandates from Russia were transferred to social democrats who lived in exile, all in all 11 delegates were "foreigners". 2 delegates represented the organizing committee.
Just as in Prague, none of the members of the Duma faction of the party came to Vienna. Thus, there were more "foreigners" than delegates from the Russian provinces. Some delegates were unable to travel to Vienna due to arrests. The refusal to send delegates was also motivated by the fact that "an accidentally pulled conference with delegates of non-existent organizations never gave the desired results." As a result of all this, the conference considered it possible to be constituted only as a "conference of organizations of the RSDLP" - something between the original idea of the All-Russian conference and the requirement of G.A. Aleksinsky (who represented the Vperyod group at the conference in Vienna), so that the audience would declare themselves a meeting.
According to estimates published after the Vienna Conference, its delegates included 10 Mensheviks (5 with a casting vote and 5 with an advisory vote), 4 Party Bolsheviks (3 and 1), 2 Party Mensheviks (1 and 1) and 17 non-factional Social Democrats. (9 and 8), they included, in particular, all Bundists and Latvians. In addition, 4 representatives of the PPP and 1 representative of the Lithuanian Social Democratic Party had the status of guests with an advisory vote. Compared with the Prague Conference, the composition of those gathered in Vienna was clearly more diverse in the party-factional relation. At the same time, there were fewer workers here than intellectuals, and there was also less representation of Russian illegal organizations.
The Vienna Conference declared that there was no ground for a split in the RSDLP, that it was only necessary to realize the harm inflicted on the cause of the proletariat by the long-term party crisis; the constant advancement of the unifying tasks of the class struggle of the proletariat will lead to the complete unification of party forces, while the resolution of the Prague Conference emphasized that the condition for party unity is a break with liquidationism and its "final overcoming", that is, victory over it.
Comparing the resolutions of both conferences, it is easy to see that they were based on fundamentally different assessments of the situation in the country. The Bolshevik assessment was more definite, the Menshevik one more vague. In the resolution of the Prague conference "On the present moment and the tasks of the party", adopted on the basis of Lenin's report, the analysis of the political and economic situation ended with the conclusion about "the growing revolutionary mood of the masses against the regime of June 3". Later, Lenin regarded the mass movement of protest against the shooting of workers in the Lena mines as the beginning of a new revolutionary upsurge.
The Vienna Conference did not adopt a special resolution on the situation in the country. Both conferences, with all the differences between them, focused the Social Democrats primarily on active participation in the election campaign for the elections to the IV State Duma. The Prague Conference devoted two resolutions to this topic. Vienna - three. The documents of both conferences featured the demands of a democratic republic, an 8-hour working day, the elimination of landlord ownership and the demands arising from them: universal suffrage, freedom of coalitions, state insurance of workers, etc.
A comparative analysis of the resolutions confirms that the conflict in the RSDLP was a conflict between two revolutionary currents, between more radical revolutionaries - Bolsheviks - and more moderate - Mensheviks, moreover, Mensheviks moderate by Russian standards were more radical than the leaders of most parties of the Second International.
As a result of the Prague Conference, the main goal pursued by Lenin - the creation of an independent party - was achieved.
The Vienna Conference failed to restore the organizational unity of the RSDLP, especially since many of its participants did not hope for this. The main result of the conference was the strengthening of the consolidation of Menshevism. This result was the merit of Martov, who at that time already saw in Bolshevism, even conciliatory, a great danger to the workers' movement in Russia.
On the eve of the First World War, judging by the known data on the material support of legal Social Democratic newspapers by collective gatherings, the Bolsheviks had a clear and growing advantage over the Mensheviks. In the end, the Bolsheviks were better prepared for the extraordinary situation of 1917, created by the war and the fall of the monarchy, primarily by the fact that they built a rigidly centralized party focused on seizing power and establishing their dictatorship on behalf of the proletariat. In March 1917, Lenin first called it a new type of party.
In total, 23 meetings were held, the delegates gathered twice a day. The conference was held under the leadership and chairmanship of V.I. Lenin. He also made a report "On the present day and the tasks of the party", on the constitution of the conference, on the International Socialist Bureau and on other issues. The draft resolutions and resolutions adopted by the conference were drawn up by Lenin.