Resolution Adopted by the Second Paris Group of the R.S.D.L.P.
on the State of Affairs in the Party
The resolution of the Second Paris Group of the R.S.D.L.P. printed below (this group consists mainly of Bolsheviks with a small number of Vperyod supporters and "conciliators") outlines the fundamental propositions of the platform of all the Bolsheviks. At a time when the inner-Party struggle is becoming more acute, it is particularly important to make a fundamental statement on the cardinal problems of programme, tactics and organisation. People like Trotsky, with his inflated phrases about the R.S.D.L.P. and his toadying to the liquidators, who have nothing in common with the R.S.D.L.P., today represent "the prevalent disease". They are trying to build up a career for them selves by cheap sermons about "agreement"—agreement with all and sundry, right down to Mr. Potresov and the otzovists—while of necessity maintaining complete silence as to the political conditions of this wonderful supposed "agreement". Actually they preach surrender to the liquidators who are building a Stolypin labour party.
The Bolsheviks must now close their ranks more firmly, strengthen their group, define more clearly and precisely its Party line (as distinct from the line of the groups which, in one way or another, conceal their "identity"), rally the scattered forces, and go into battle for an R.S.D.L. Party purged of those who spread bourgeois influence among the proletariat.
The meeting of the Second Paris Group of the R.S.D.L.P. after discussing the state of affairs in the R.S.D.L.P. in general, and the latest manifestations of the struggle that has flared up abroad between the Social-Democrats and those who want to be counted as Social-Democrats, considers it necessary, first of all, to draw attention to the fundamental statement of principles unanimously endorsed by the last (January 1910) Plenary Meeting of the Central Committee, which defines the nature of real Social-Democratic activity. That statement of principles declares that "renunciation of the illegal Social-Democratic Party, the belittling of its role and importance, attempts to cur tail the programmatic and tactical tasks and slogans of revolutionary Social-Democracy" are a manifestation of bourgeois influence over the proletariat. The only true Social-Democratic activity is that which recognises the danger of this deviation and of any ideological and political trend that is otzovist or justifies otzovism, and which really overcomes such deviations.
This meeting further places on record that, despite the above-mentioned unanimous resolution of the Plenary Meeting, and despite the solemn promise made by the Golos representatives at the last Plenary Meeting to renounce liquidationism and to combat it, the editorial board abroad of Golos Sotsial-Demokrata and its group of adherents have for more than eighteen months since that Meeting, pursued that very bourgeois policy of liquidationism and supported, justified, and defended journals of the Russian legalists that are independent of Social-Democracy and of socialism, such as Nasha Zarya, Vozrozhdeniye, Dyelo Zhizni, etc. Those responsible for these journals, as has been stated repeatedly on behalf of the Party by its Central Organ, and as has also been stated by the pro-Party Mensheviks headed by Comrade Plekhanov, have nothing in common with the R.S.D.L.P. Those responsible for these journals not only belittle the role and importance of the illegal Social-Democratic Party, but frankly renounce it, slander the "underground" as renegades would, deny the revolutionary nature of the activity and the revolutionary tasks of the working-class movement in Russia today, deceive the workers by spreading liberal-bourgeois ideas about the "constitutional" nature of the maturing crisis, throw overboard (and not only curtail) such time-honoured slogans of revolutionary Marxism as the recognition of the hegemony of the working class in the struggle for socialism and for the democratic revolution. By preaching and building what they call a legal or "open" workers' party these people have actually become the builders of a Stolypin "labour" party and spread bourgeois influence among the proletariat; in reality, the ideas preached by these people are bourgeois in content, and an "open" workers' party under Stolypin amounts to open renegacy on the part of people who have renounced the tasks of the revolutionary struggle of the masses against the tsarist autocracy, the Third Duma, and the entire Stolypin regime.
The meeting places on record that the Central Committee Bureau Abroad, which is supposed to be a technical organ of the C.C., has come completely under the influence of the liquidators.
By its failure to fulfil, in the course of eighteen months, any one of the commissions given to it by the Central Committee (for instance—to unite the groups abroad on the basis of the acceptance and implementation of the Plenary Meeting's decisions, to help the organisations in the localities, or to see to it that Golos is discontinued and an end put to the factional aloofness of the Vperyod group), the Bureau Abroad has been of direct assistance to the enemies of the Social-Democratic Party, the liquidators.
The majority of the Central Committee Bureau Abroad showed contempt for the Party by systematically obstructing, ever since December 1910, the calling of a plenary meeting (as demanded by the Rules). The first time the Bolsheviks filed their application that the meeting be convened, the Central Committee Bureau Abroad wasted seven weeks just "taking a vote" on this question. After those seven weeks the Central Committee Bureau Abroad acknowledged that the Bolsheviks' demand for a plenary meeting was "legitimate", but at the same time it in practice obstructed the calling of a plenary meeting and did the same again at the end of May 1911. Actually, the role of this Central Committee Bureau Abroad has been to render assistance from abroad and from within the central Party bodies to leaders of the legalists and active promoters of a Stolypin labour party, such as Mikhail, Yuri, and Roman, who have declared the very existence of the Central Committee to be harmful (see Nos. 12 and 21-22 of Sotsial-Demokrat, Central Organ of the Party). The meeting declares that the holding of Party posts by liquidators is outright deception of the Party, for the decisions of the Plenary Meeting clearly and unambiguously state that only those Mensheviks should be permitted to hold such posts who conscientiously abide by their promise to renounce liquidationism and to combat it.
The meeting is, therefore, of the opinion that it was absolutely incumbent upon the Bolsheviks to break completely with the Central Committee Bureau Abroad as a body which has placed itself outside Party law and outside the Party, and that the Meeting of members of the Central Committee (see its "Notification"), which represented the vast majority of Social-Democratic Party organisations, groups, and circles actually working in Russia, was absolutely right in declaring that "the Central Committee Bureau Abroad has been pursuing a factional anti-Party policy, thereby violating the clear and precise decisions of the 1910 Plenary Meeting".
The meeting resolves to discontinue all relations with the Central Committee Bureau Abroad, and to support the decisions of the Meeting of members of the Central Commit tee, which has outlined a number of absolutely necessary measures to be taken in order to paralyse the activity of the liquidators, hampering as it does the entire work of the Party; to call a Party conference, and to help Party functionaries in all localities to revive the illegal organisations and nuclei of the Party. The meeting calls upon all Party comrades in all localities to set to work at once (in line with the decisions of the May-June Meeting) to prepare for a Party conference and hold elections to it, and, for this purpose, to establish regular connections with the Organising Commission, the Central Organ and Rabochaya Gazeta.
The meeting draws the attention of worker Social-Democrats, irrespective of factions, to the fact that the émigré leaders of the Vperyod group, and Trotsky, editor of Pravda, are pursuing a policy of supporting the liquidators and of an alliance with them against the Party and against its decisions. This policy must be combated all the more vigorously since it is profoundly detrimental to the interests of the proletariat and, as such, is completely at variance with the activity of the Russian illegal Social-Democratic groups which, though connected with Pravda or Vperyod, are absolutely loyal in carrying out the decisions of the Party, and are everywhere struggling persistently against the liquidators to uphold the illegal R.S.D.L.P. and its revolutionary programme.
The meeting particularly warns worker Social-Democrats against the deception systematically practised by the Golos writers, who describe all the comrades active in the legal movement as opponents of the old Party and adherents of Potresov's new "open" party. Thus, in the latest bulletin, published by Golos on June 25 (reporting a "conference" of people active in the legal movement), the Golos editors suppressed the fact that the conference had voted down a motion of the liquidators to boycott a certain legally published newspaper for its anti-liquidationist policy. Thus, the editors of Golos also suppressed the fact that that same conference had voted down the openly legalist and obviously renegade resolutions which had been proposed by Golos supporters. Even a Bundist who participated in the conference had there admitted that the proposals of the "Potresovites" were of an anti-Party nature, A number of those active in the open movement have already embarked upon a resolute struggle against the Stolypin "labour" party. And if all Party members work solidly together, the number of such people will undoubtedly increase.
Whenever the struggle between Social-Democrats and those who spread bourgeois influence among the proletariat is intensified, all the unprincipled elements invariably bend their efforts to obscure great questions of principle by cheap sensationalism and scandal-mongering, such as those to which the Golos people abroad are assiduously treating audiences avid for contaminated spiritual food at meetings organised by the liquidators.
At a time like this it is more than ever incumbent upon revolutionary Marxists to remind all and sundry of the old truths forgotten by the liquidators, truths which constitute the foundation of our Social-Democratic activity.
The meeting, therefore, reminds all the members of the R.S.D.L.P. of our Party programme, of the programme which at a time when international opportunism is intensifying and when a decisive struggle is maturing between opportunism and revolutionary Social-Democracy, has given a precise, clear, definite, and unyielding formulation of the revolutionary ultimate goal of socialism which can be achieved only by means of the dictatorship of the proletariat, and of the immediate revolutionary aims of the Russian Social-Democratic movement, the overthrow of tsarism and the establishment of a democratic republic. The entire propaganda conducted by our legalists and by Golos shows that, in actual fact, far from adhering to and carrying out our programme, they are frankly defending reformism [as the pro-Party Mensheviks have also admitted (see Plekhanov's The Diary of a Social-Democrat and the Discussion Bulletin, No. 3)] and are plainly renouncing the immediate revolutionary aims of the R.S.D.L.P.
The meeting reminds all members of the R.S.D.L.P. that to be a real Party member, it is not enough to call oneself such, nor is it enough to carry on propaganda "in the spirit" of the programme of the R.S.D.L.P.; one must also carry out the entire practical work in conformity with the tactical decisions of the Party. In the present period of counter revolution, at a time of universal renegacy, resignation, and despondency, particularly among the bourgeois intellectuals, only the Party decisions on tactics provide an appraisal of the situation, an appraisal of the practical line of conduct from the viewpoint of the principles of revolutionary Marxism. The real R.S.D.L.P., and not tile one which Golos writers use as a screen for liquidationism, has no Party definition of the tasks of Social-Democracy at the present moment except the resolutions on tactics adopted in December 1908.
The liquidators, and to a certain extent the Vperyod group, hush up these resolutions or confine themselves to cursory references and outcries against them precisely for the reason that they feel that these resolutions call for a line of activity which radically repudiates both opportunist and semi-anarchist vacillations; which holds aloft the banner of revolution in spite of all and sundry counter-revolutionary trends; and which explains the economic and political characteristics of the present period as a new phase in Russia's bourgeois development, a phase which leads to a revolution destined to achieve the old objectives. A Party member is one who pursues the tactical line of the Party in practice. And there is only one tactical line of the R.S.D.L.P., the one stated in the resolutions of December 1908, which combine loyalty to the banner of the revolution with due regard for the new conditions of the present period. The resolutions of the Plenary Meeting held in January 1910, which are directed against those who spread bourgeois influence among the proletariat, represent a logical and direct corollary to, and are the natural continuation and fulfilment of, the resolutions of December 1908, which condemn liquidationism and categorically demand that Social-Democratic work in the Duma should be recognised and advantage taken of the possibilities offered for legal activity. In our days of confusion and disorganisation, we often come across people who invoke the great principle of the unity of tile proletarian army in order to justify their unprincipled or cheap diplomatic attempts to effect "unity" or to "draw closer to" those who spread bourgeois influence among the proletariat. The meeting most categorically condemns and repudiates all such attempts, regardless of who is responsible for them, and declares that the great work of uniting and consolidating the fighting army of the revolutionary proletariat cannot be carried out unless a line of demarcation is drawn and a ruthless struggle is waged against those who serve to spread bourgeois influence among the proletariat.
A Party member is one who actually helps build up the organisation in conformity with the principles of Social-Democracy. The Party, the R.S.D.L.P., has no other Party definition of the nature and tasks of organisational work but the one given in the resolution on the organisational question adopted in December 1908, in the resolution on the same question adopted by the Plenary Meeting of January 1910, and in the letter of the Central Committee published immediately after that Meeting. Only all-round help in re establishing and reinforcing the illegal organisation can be regarded as Party work; and only the illegal R.S.D.L.P. can and should surround itself with a network of legally existing organisations, make use of all kinds of legally existing organisations, and direct the entire work of such organisations in the spirit of our revolutionary principles. Anyone who does not actually carry on such work, who takes part in the counter-revolutionary crusade in general, and in the liberal crusade in particular, against the "underground", against illegal activity, deceives the workers when he speaks of his membership of the R.S.D.L.P.
The elections to the Fourth Duma are drawing near. The more acute the crisis becomes in the top leadership of the Party abroad, the more urgent the need for Social-Democratic functionaries in the localities to show initiative; the more strictly must they insist, and ensure, that election activity is really carried on in a Party spirit by every group, every nucleus, every workers' circle. Anyone who to this day regards "otzovism" as a "legitimate trend in our Party" takes the name of the R.S.D.L.P. in vain. You cannot conduct Party work in the elections to the Fourth Duma unless you most resolutely refuse to have anything to do with such people. He who to this day talks of conducting the Fourth Duma election campaign with the forces and resources of "legally functioning organisations", with the forces and resources of an "open workers' party", and who at the same time refuses to abide by and carry out the decisions of the R.S.D.L.P. on the illegal organisation and the tactics as set forth in the Party's resolutions, takes the name of the R.S.D.L.P. in vain. He who carries on election activity and does not abide by the decisions of the R.S.D.L.P., but follows the line proposed in articles appearing in Nasha Zarya, Golos Sotsial-Demokrata and Dyelo Zhizni, is a builder of a Stolypin "labour" party, and not of the revolutionary Social-Democratic party of the proletariat.
The first aim of our Party at the forthcoming Fourth Duma elections is to educate the masses in socialism and develop mass agitation in favour of a democratic revolution to be accomplished by the forces of the proletariat and revolutionary bourgeois democrats (in the first place the revolutionary peasantry).
In the interests of such propaganda and agitation our Party must organise the independent participation of Social-Democrats in the elections and Party candidates must be put forward, not only in the worker curia, but everywhere, in all urban and rural constituencies.
The Party's entire agitational work during the elections must be conducted on two fronts, i.e., against the government and the parties openly supporting it, as well as against the Cadet Party, the party of counter-revolutionary liberalism.
Only those people may be Party candidates who really carry out the policy of the R.S.D.L.P. in full, are loyal not only to its programme but also to its resolutions on tactics, and who fight the new Stolypin "labour" party.
As to election agreements, the fundamental principles of the London Party Congress and the Party Conference of July 1907 must remain in force.
The Fourth Duma election campaign must be conducted by Party groups of workers, in the spirit of the Party decisions and in strict conformity with them.
Igorev of Golos (sufficiently exposed and branded by the pro-Party Menshevik Plekhanov) and the Bundist Lieber, who is conducting open propaganda in defence of Mr. Potresov and other figures of a Stolypin labour party, are the leading lights of this Central Committee Bureau Abroad. —Lenin
See present edition, Vol. 16, "Golos (Voice) of the Liquidators Against the Party", and pp. 129–33 of this volume.—Ed.
As regards the methods resorted to by the liquidators abroad in their fight against the R.S.D.L.P., such as political blackmail and the supplying of information to the secret police—which is what Mr. Martov did with the aid of the Golos editors—the meeting expresses its scorn for literary efforts of that nature, which can only arouse the disgust of all decent people. —Lenin
The meeting of the Second Paris Group of the R.S.D.L.P. took place on June 18 (July 1), 1911.
Organising Commission (Organising Commission Abroad, O.C.A.) was set up at the Meeting of members of the Central Committee, R.S.D.L.P. in June 1911 in order to prepare for a conference of the R.S.D.L.P. The O.C.A. consisted of Bolsheviks, conciliators and representatives of the Polish Social-Democrats. Other factions (pro-Party Mensheviks, Vperyod group, etc.) did not appoint any representatives to the O.C.A.
The O.C.A. issued a "Notification" about the June Meeting of the members of the Central Committee, and a leaflet "To All Social-Democratic Party Organisations, Groups and Circles" on the calling of a conference and also sent three representatives with full powers to Russia, including G. K. Orjonikidze, who were to carry out the preparatory work for the calling of the conference, and to set up the Russian Organising Commission.
From its inception, the conciliators, supported by the representatives of the Polish Social-Democrats, were in the majority in the O.C.A. In November 1911 it refused to submit to the decisions of the Russian Organising Commission, after which the Bolshevik members of the O.C.A. declined responsibility for its actions and withdrew from it. Subsequently, the conciliator majority of the O.C.A. openly campaigned against the Russian Organising Commission.
In his "Letter to the Editorial Board", published in December 1911 in No. 25 of Sotsial-Demokrat, G. K. Orjonikidze exposed the anti-Party activities of the O.G.A.
The reference is to the legal Bolshevik newspaper Zvezda
The Diary of a Social-Democrat was published by G. V. Plekhanov, and issued irregularly in Geneva at long intervals from March 1905 to April 1912; 16 numbers appeared. Publication of The Diary was recommenced in 1916 in Petrograd but only one number appeared.
The Fifth (London) Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. (April 30–May 19 [May 13–June 1], 1907) in its resolution on "Attitude to Non-proletarian Parties" recognised that any united activity with the Narodnik parties must exclude any deviation from the programme and tactics of Social-Democracy, and should serve only the aims of a general attack both against reaction and the treacherous tactics of the liberal bourgeoisie.
The Third (Second All-Russia) Conference of the R.S.D.L.P. (July 21–23 [August 3–5], 1907) in a resolution on the question of participation in elections to the State Duma resolved that in the election campaign and in the Duma itself, Social-Democrats must spread and inculcate in the mass of the people the ideas of socialism and revolutionary slogans, anti carry out a determined struggle both against reaction and the leadership of the Cadets in the liberation movement in general, and in the Duma in particular.
Lieber, Ber (M. I. Goldman)—a liquidator, one of the leaders of the Bund.
Written: Written not later than June 18 (July 1), 1911|
Published: Published in July 1911, as a separate leaflet.
Published according to the leaflet text and verified with the text of the Information Bulletin.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, , Moscow, Volume 17, pages 216-224.
Translated: Dora Cox
eSource: Marxists.org - Marxists Internet Archive