Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party Second Congress
Having learnt, quite by chance, that the second congress of our Party is beginning, and after a number of attempts to which it was not considered necessary even to reply, we at last appeal to the congress itself to enable us to take part in elaborating the programme and organisation of the Party for which we have worked to the best of our ability up to now, and in which we shall continue to work, no matter what obstacles may be placed in our way by our Party comrades. When the Organising Committee sent us, through the editors of Iskra, its ‘draft rules for the second congress’, we replied with the following letter:
To the Organising Committee of the RSDLP
Owing to certain circumstances, we received only yesterday your ‘draft rules for the second congress’, and so it is only today that we are able to send you our reply.
We are extremely surprised that, out of all the ‘non-local’ organisations, you thought it necessary to refrain from inviting only our group. The entire draft, we must do you the justice of saying, has been put together with such an obvious desire to ensure that at the second congress of our Party there may be represented all the trends that exist in the Party, and that this congress may actually restore a Party into which all the forces which are active in its ranks may enter, that the exclusion applied to us alone inevitably attracts attention and can arouse only bewilderment.
However strange it may be that a Social-Democratic organisation should have to prove its right to take part in the congress of its own Party we nevertheless are obliged to state that the following considerations can be advanced in favour of inviting our group to the congress of our Party.
1. From our draft programme, which was published in two different publications in Russia, it is clear that in some sections it differs markedly from the only draft previously published (that of Iskra and Zarya). We think that, in the interests of comprehensive discussion of our future programme, we should be enabled both to express our views at the congress and to take part in the voting on the adoption of a Party programme.
2. From our two publications, to be issued in the very near future: (a) The Draft Programme of Iskra’ and ‘Zarya’ and the Tasks of Russian Social-Democrats, and (b) On Problems of Programme and Organisation, it will be seen that, where other questions also, which are to be discussed at the congress ol our Party, are concerned, we ought to be enabled to take part in the discussion and in the adoption of Party decisions.
3. While groups in Russia which do not come up to the requirements of Paragraph Two are allowed to take part in the congress by attaching themselves to more important organisations, we are deprived of this possibility, because our group cannot instruct other organisations to defend its views on matters of programme and organisation, since these organisations do not share them
4. We cannot be compared, of course, with Iskra in the scope of our publishing activity, and we have never claimed this, but we must mention that in less than a year and a half of such work we have brought out 38 printer’s sheets, and with the two publications mentioned above, the amount published by us come to more than 60 printer’s sheets. More than two-thirds of what we have published has been sent into Russia, and some articles from our Calendar have been reprinted in several towns in Russia.
5. The Organising Committee mentioned that we ‘issued our Leaflet’ and ‘then did not resume this publication’. Let us remind the OC that, as is clear from the editorial statement, our Leaflet set itself one task only, namely, to agitate for the unification of our Party. Soon after No. 1 had appeared, we learnt of the negotiations being carried on by the Petersburg Committee (whose delegate also talked with a representative of our organisation). During the year the striving for unity grew stronger, and it became clear that the question of the actual restoration of the unity of our Party had already become a matter for practical decision, a matter of months. Under these conditions our Leaflet lost its raison d’étre, because we had no wish at all to compete with already existing papers, and we decided to stop publishing it, and to resume publication only in the event that unity was not achieved.
6. Our group was organised only so as to contribute so far as we could, to uniting our Party on the basis of a revolutionary Social-Democratic programme. In its activity—both its literary work and its relations with organisations operating in Russia and with individual comrades—our group has been guided by this aim alone. Let us recall, incidentally, that it was on our group’s initiative that the Geneva conference was held, which first consecrated the triumph of revolutionary Marxism over the programmatic and tactical vacillations which had prevailed previously in our Party—and also the subsequent congress of organisations abroad, which, despite its disappointing outcome, nevertheless gave a powerful impetus to the unification of our Party. It would be strange if the unification congress of our Party were to exclude precisely this group—and this group alone.
7. The second congress of our Party must realise complete unification of all the forces which have been acting hitherto under the banner of the RSDLP. All the friction which has occurred between our different organisations should be forgotten at the congress. After the congress there should be neither victors nor vanquished, but only one united Social-Democratic Party. Why, then does the OC want to make us, and us alone, an exception?
8. Some Russian organisations friendly to us have told us that a representative of the OC, in the course of negotiations with them, gave as grounds for not inviting the Borba group to the Party congress that our group had left the Iskra organisation and formed a separate group.
To this we can reply:
(a) This reason was not quoted against us in the explanatory note to the draft rules for the second congress.
(b) We declare that we never left the Iskra organisation, for the simple reason that we never belonged to it. Although some of us collaborated in Iskra and Zarya, helped the group publishing these organs, at the beginning of their existence, and fought alongside them against economism, between us and Iskra there were only negotiations about a merger, and these negotiations ended without success—through no fault of ours, of which fact we have documentary proof.
(c) There is no doubt in our minds that we represent, within the limits of revolutionary Marxism, a somewhat different shade from the Iskra trend, as may be seen by comparing our draft for the Party programme with that of Iskra.
In view of the foregoing, we should like to hope that the OC will itself put us on the list of organisations invited to the congress, and will not oblige us to appeal to the congress for this question to be reconsidered which might give rise to a quite undesirable dispute at the very start of the proceedings. In conclusion, we cannot refrain from adding that it is not for the OC, which has assumed the task of fully uniting our Party, to exclude from the congress, without any reason, an organisation which had honourably and to the best of its ability fought under the banner of this Party, an organisation made up of persons some of whom have worked in the Party for more than ten years—especially as our group alone is being subjected to this exclusion. Such behaviour towards us is quite inexplicable: unless it is to be explained by those frictions which we mentioned earlier and which, we repeat, should all be forgotten at the congress.
We request the OC to preserve this reply of ours, which, if need be, will be presented to the second congress of our Party.
The Borba Group
PS. In No. 11 of Yuzhny Rabochy the following lines appeared, and were reprinted in No. 35 ofIskra : ‘We are profoundly indignant at all the talk about domineering and dictatorship which is always on the lips of the gentlemen from the Borba group, and sometimes on those of the Nadezhdins and of the author, akin to them, of the articles in the pamphlet: The Workers and the Intelligentsia.’
Yuzhny Rabochy and Iskra are represented in the OC, the main task of which is to prepare the conditions for convening the second congress of our Party. Do these conditions include the spreading of unjust accusations against a Social-Democratic organisation? We protest most vigorously against these fabrications. Let them show us where and when we have said anything of the sort.
And to compare us to ‘the Nadezhdins’ and an ‘author akin to us’—this in an article arguing against the well-known statement by the Petersburg ‘Workers’ Organisation’—is an extremely unscrupulous literary procedure, which could put us in an absolutely false light in the eyes of the organisations operating in Russia. We, least of all, can be accused of such things.
After vainly waiting three months for a reply, we sent, on—___, the following letter to Martov, through whom we had received the OC’s ‘draft rules’:
Nearly three months ago we replied, through you, to the Organising Committee, with a letter about the ‘draft rules for the second congress of the RSDLP’ which had been sent to us by the OC. We have still not had any reply.
Since, according to information which has reached us, the time for the congress to meet is near at hand, we ask you to remind the OC that we expect to receive a reply from them very soon. In the event that we do not receive a reply, we shall have to appeal to the Congress with a reasoned protest.
For the Borba group: Danyevich
A member of the Foreign Bureau of the Organising Committee,___. replied to us that our first letter had reached the OC in good time, and that they were now looking into the matter again, and suggested that henceforth we corres-pond about congress affairs with him,___.
Another three weeks having elapsed and no reply still having been received, we addressed ourselves to the Foreign Bureau of the OC with the following letter:
To the Foreign Bureau of the Organising Committee
As the OC has still, despite our two appeals to it, given us no reply regarding our participation in the second congress of our Party, and very little time is left, we request, in accordance with article 21 of the ‘Draft Rules for the Second Congress of the RSDLP’, that this matter be referred to arbitration. For our part, we propose as members of the arbitration board the representatives of the Union of Russian Social-Democrats Abroad and the Foreign Committee of the Bund.
For the Borba group: Danyevich
To this letter we received no reply, either, although the OC had no right to refuse our request, on the basis of the rules for the Second Congress themselves.
Finally, the following fact is not without interest. In the letter in which L. Martov sent us the ‘Draft Rules for the Second Congress’ it was said: ‘In addition the OC asks you to convey to the Borba group that the OC has not considered it possible to allow this group to participate in the second congress of the Party, and proposes that it appeal to the congress itself for a final decision on this question. On its side, the OC will take measures to ensure that the Borba group can, in the event of a favourable reply, take part in the congress.’
‘On its side’, the OC took no such measures. It did not communicate with us in any way about this matter. The writer of these lines, having learnt, quite by chance, that the congress was beginning, had to go around looking for somebody from whom he could get some sort of explanation of the matter, and, again quite by chance, he managed to catch L. Martov a few minutes before he was leaving for the congress, and to arrange with him how the reply of the congress would be conveyed to us. It is only as a result of the courtesy of L. Martov that we are able to appeal to the congress by means of this letter. It must be added that, because the OC did not take the steps it had promised to take, our group will, in the event of a favourable reply from the congress, have lost four, perhaps five, days.
The only conclusion one can draw from this is that the OC decided in the negative the question of our participation in the congress. But did it have the right to decide this on behalf of the congress?
Appealing now to the congress itself, with the request to allow us to take part in the elaboration of the programme and organisation of our Party, we can add very little to what was said in our letter to the OC.
And, first and foremost, we cannot hide from ourselves the fact that an atmosphere has been created around our organisation which is very unfavourable, and as a result of which, incidentally, we have been unable to expand our activity. We did not wish in any circumstances to bring our principled struggle down to the level of personal polemic, and did not reply to personal attacks. This is why the atmosphere mentioned has grown thicker and thicker. Matters reached the point that, when we produced our separate draft programme, Plekhanov stated in print that we had been motivated in doing this by ‘exclusively personal considerations’, and Martov added that we were ‘Judases’. A controversy between comrades cannot sink lower than that!
We are not going to say much about this now, but we cannot refrain from mentioning that we should be very glad if, even independently of the settlement of the question of our taking part in the congress, a comrades’ court would look into the matter of our negotiations with Iskra. We are deeply convinced that not a single comrade would declare against us if he were acquainted with the documents of this affair. With that we conclude on this point.
Turning again to the question of our participation in the congress, we ask what, in substance, is there to be said against it?
We have presented our Party with a draft programme which we want to speak in favour of. Why are we not allowed the right to take part in discussing and voting on the programme of our Party? We stated in the foreword to the pamphlet containing our draft and the commentary on it that we submit in advance to the collective will of the Party: but give us the chance to try and influence this Party, in the person of its congress.
We do not agree at all with the views on organisation expressed by Lenin and by Yuzhny Rabochy (in No. 11): permit us to present our theoretical and practical arguments.
In its commentaries on articles 9, 10 and 11 of the ‘draft rules’, the OC shows great desire to extend the right of participation in the congress to the largest number of organisations, and suggests a solution for those insignificant organisations to which it has been obliged to refuse an invitation. But do not the OC and all of you, dear comrades, see that this solution is not applicable at all in our case, and that, of all the Party organisations, we alone remain, in the fullest sense of the word, overboard?
For what reason has this been done? Is there any consideration at all to support such a decision—if we ignore the brilliant explanation given by Plekhanov, that we are guided by ‘exclusively personal motives’, and we are quite sure that no comrade will do otherwise than ignore that explanation?
The fact is that, at a congress like our present one, representation should be given to all ‘non-local’, that is, literary, organisations working under the banner of the Party, unless, of course, there are some special reasons for not allowing them to be present. But are there, perhaps, such reasons in our case?
If that is so, you must tell us what they are. If not, we have the right to demand that the doors of the congress be opened to us.
Perhaps a compromise can be effected between our draft and the Iskra one. If this is possible, though, it can be realised only at the congress, through a comradely exchange of views. There has been no such exchange in the press. ‘Personal considerations’, ‘rubbish’, ‘Judases’—all these Iskra -type literary gems have offended the eye, but nothing has been clarified. And a full, comprehensive discussion and clarification is what is needed.
We declare, ‘once again, that, whatever the Party’s decision may be, we submit to its will, and we shall continue to work in its ranks. But appreciate that, in order that we may submit to the Party’s will, we must first be given to chance to influence that will.
In any case, we express the wish that the congress will succeed in creating lasting unity, without which successful struggle is impossible. Long live the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party!
Long live international Social-Democracy!
For the Borba group: K. Danvevich
 The Geneva conference, June 1901, brought together the foreign department of the Iskra—Zarya organisation, the Sotsial-Demokrat organisation (which included the ‘Emancipation of Labour’ group), the Union of Russian Social-Democrats Abroad, the Bund, and the Borba group. It was a preliminary meeting for the ‘unity’ conference held in Zurich in October 1901, which, however, came to nothing.
 The ‘member of the Foreign Bureau of the Organising Committee’ whose name is left blank was Altman.
Letter from A. Warzawski
I hasten to inform you that, as I had hoped, our congress has passed a resolution on the question of relations with Russian Social-Democracy, which recognises that the cause of uniting the Party of Social-Democracy throughout Russia is the cause of paramount importance to which all other questions must be subordinated, and that therefore the question of the form of organisation, as a secondary matter, must be settled not only from the point of view of Polish interests but from that of the entire Social-Democratic movement in Russia.
The Organising Committee informs the Borba group that arbitration cannot be effected on the question of the right of the Borba group to elect its representatives to the second ordinary congress of the RSDLP, because when a vote (by committees) was taken on the draft rules for convening the congress only a minority (three committees) declared in favour of the Borba group being present. There remains in force, therefore, the paragraph of the rules according to which the question of the Borba group’s presence at the congress can be decided by the congress alone.
The Organising Committee brings it to the notice of the Borba group that the group’s statements, despatched in good time by them, were not received by the OC.
To the query by the Foreign Bureau of the OC as to whether the OC in Russia had received a letter from the Borba group, the OC replied at once that it had received no such letter, and asked that this be sent immediately.
This reply from the OC was not received abroad.
The congress recognises that, according to the sense of the Social-Democratic programme, it is impossible to accept any oppression not only by one class of another, and not only by a government of the citizens, but also by one nationality of another, the domination of one language over others.
The congress recognises that a state like Russia, composed of a multitude of heterogeneous nationalities, must in the future become transformed into a federation of nationalities, with full autonomy for each of them, regardless of the territory they inhabit.
The congress recognises that the concept ‘nationality’ is applicable to the Jewish people as well.
Considering, however, that it is premature in present circumstances to put forward the demand for national autonomy for the Jews, the congress finds that it is sufficient for the time being to fight for the abolition of all discriminatory laws against the Jews, and to record and protest against manifestations of oppression of the Jewish nationality, while avoiding any fanning of the flames of national feeling, which could only befog the class consciousness of the proletariat and lead to chauvinism.
You will be discussing the question of national autonomy and of the transformation of the RSDLP on federal principler, and we therefore think you will be interested to learn about the practical experiences we have had of ‘federalism’ here. At the beginning of 1902 the question arose in our town of uniting the organisations and groups which were active among the local proletariat. Our group, which had always maintained that, until we had a united and indivisible Party committee, embracing in its influence the whole of the local proletariat, without distinction of religion or nationality, we should not have a revolutionary workers’ movement here, welcomed this initiative with joy. A commission was formed, with two representatives each from the Jewish and Lettish organisations and the Russian Social-Democratic Group, in order to discuss the question of unity. From the first meetings of this commission it became clear that there could be no question of creating a Party committee for the whole town. First of all, the principle was proclaimed that the local proletariat must be organised by nationalities. Each national organisation was to be completely free and independent in all ‘its own’ affairs, working according to ‘its own’ plan, adhering to ‘its own’ methods of agitation and organisation. The spheres of influence of the three organisations, it was proposed, should be defined in a quite heterogenous way, since each nationality had its distinctive psychology, culture, demands and customs, so that between the representatives of their organisations there could be only ‘certain points of contact’. It was left to our group, as the weakest in all respects, merely to take note of this and be guided by it.
Having thus established the principles of organisation by nationalities, and of ‘national autonomy’, the commission turned to defining the ‘points of contact’. These points of contact turned out to be five in number.
(1) Joint dissemination of proclamations of a general character, in the name of the ‘federation’ (local leaflets to be published and distributed by each organisation independently).
(2) Arrangement of joint demonstrations and strikes.
(3) Organisation of a joint printing press.
(4) Organisation of joint transport arrangements.
(5) Organisation of joint work among the intelligentsia, mainly among the local students.
Having thus established what the points of contact were to be, the commission, with the approval of the constituent organisations, adopted the title of ‘United Committee of the Social-Democratic Organisations’, and went to work. First there arose the question of issuing joint proclamations. At that time an industrial crisis had broken out in our town: production was seriously reduced in all factories and thousands of workers were thrown out onto the streets. The United Committee decided to react to this calamity by issuing a proclamation explaining the causes of crises and showing the ways to fight against the oppression of the proletariat. It was therefore proposed to publish a leaflet of a general character, but as the season was approaching for the Jewish craftsmen, the Jewish organisation decided to issue a proclamation with a call for a strike. The proclamations of the Lettish organisation had already been produced, and it only remained for the ‘Russian Group’ to compose their leaflet. In February the proclamations were published approximately at the same time, but each organisation brought out an independent leaflet. Next, the question was raised of issuing a proclamation to the public. The Jewish comrades, who were absorbed at this time in their own organisational affairs, shirked doing this. The Russian group brought out 500 hectographed leaflets, of which some were distributed in the Russian Theatre and some on a house-to-house basis. In March 1902 the gendarmerie, alarmed by student disturbances and the appearance of leaflets, carried out a raid, mainly among the students. During the night of 12-13 March mass searches were made, with several dozen arrests. The Russian group proposed reacting to this event with a proclamation to the public aimed at telling them about the struggle of the RSDLP against the autocracy and calling on them to support this struggle, but the Jewish comrades found it necessary to issue a special proclamation addressed to the Jewish intelligentsia, explaining the role and significance of the Bund in the fight against the Jews’ lack of rights. The Lettish organisation issued an independent proclamation, which was distributed among the workers. No joint proclamation was published on that occasion, either. At the time, the United Committee was discussing the establishment of a printing-press and the organisation of transport, but these things got no further than discussion. Each organisation had its own more urgent preoccupations, to which it devoted all its energies.
Meanwhile, May was approaching. The United Committee, having in view the ‘point of contact’ concerning the arrangement of demonstrations, recognised that in the existing state of affairs no demonstration was possible, and decided to confine itself to distributing leaflets. On this occasion proclamations of a general character were issued by each organisation quite independently and even at different times. The peasant disorders which broke out in the spring of 1902 confronted the United Committee with the problem of publishing a general proclamation, but each organisation had ‘its own pressing business’, and the problem of leaflets about the peasant disorders thus remained a problem right down until August, when it was at last removed from the agenda. The question of organising a printing-press, organising transport, and organising work among the intelligentsia meanwhile never left the stage of discussion until they too disappeared from the scene. So ended the first period of the United Committee’s existence. The severe setback experienced by the Jewish organisation and the cessation of activity by the Russian group put an end to it, and until January 1903 it no longer functioned.
In January, on the initiative of the Jewish comrades, who had by then recovered from the pogrom, the question was raised of arranging a demonstration in the Russian Theatre, and the United Committee was re-established. Discussion of the question of the demonstration went on for two-and-a-half months. The Russian group declined from the outset, owing to its weakness, to take any active part, so that the whole enterprise had to be undertaken by the two other organisations. In the second halt of March the preparations were complete. Leaflets had been produced, to be signed by the United Committee, roles had been allotted, the day fixed. But on the very eve of the demonstration the Lettish organisation quite unexpectedly announced that it refused to take any part in it whatsoever. This refusal was explained by the Lettish comrades on the following grounds. In agreeing to take part in the demonstration, they had had in mind not agitation among the ‘bourgeois’, as their representative put it, but the demonstration’s importance for the Lettish workers as a means of practical preparation for open struggle. At this time, however, they found it more productive to utilise for that purpose the forthcoming visit to our town of some ‘very highly-placed personages’, during which visit they had decided to hold a counter-demonstration to the ‘expression of the loyal sentiments of the Lettish bourgeoisie’. However, when the very highly-placed personages arrived, no demonstration took place. Despite the refusal by the Lettish organisation, the demonstration in the theatre did take place, the entire burden of it being shouldered by the Jewish comrades. With this unsuccessful attempt at ‘united action’ the existence of our ‘federation’ came to an end. The United Committee had thus not managed, during the whole period that it was in being (about a year), to carry out any of the tasks it had set itself, and the ending of its activity went as unnoticed by the general movement in our town as its beginning had been. This unsuccessful effort has convinced us even more than before that until a single Party committee, working on the entire local proletariat, has been formed in our town, we shall not see a real labour movement here.
And we urgently request you, comrades, to take note of the abnormal state of affairs in our town and to do all in your power to put an end to the revolutionary amateurism and organisational separatism that prevails here.
1. Organisations which regard themselves as belonging to the RSDLP can participate in the congress.
Note. Organisations acting in alliance with non-Social-Democratic organisations are thereby not regarded as belonging to the Party.
2. Of local organisations, only those can participate in the congress with full rights which (i) have been in existence for not less than one year before April 19, 1903; (ii) have during this period carried on agitational propagandist or organisational work among the working-class masses, and (iii) are situated in localities with a more or less significant working-class population.
3. Organisations which are grouped in associations do not have the right to independent representation.
4. Of non-local organisations the following can participate with full rights:
(i) The ‘Emancipation of Labour’ Group;
(ii) the Iskra organisation;
(iii) the League of Revolutionary Social-Democrats;
(iv) the Union of Russian Social-Democrats Abroad;
(y) the Yuzhny Rabochy Group;
(vi) the Foreign Committee of the Bund.
5. Organisations will participate in the congress through their deputies, and each can send not more than two of these.
6. Organisations are not subject to any restrictions in choosing their deputies. Their choices, once reported to the OC, cannot be cancelled or protested.
7. The powers of deputies must not be restricted by imperative mandates. They are to be completely free and independent in the exercise of their authority.
8. No deputy may represent more than one organisation.
9. Each organisation with full rights is to be allowed two votes at the congress, regardless of whether it sends one deputy or two.
Note. The Bund is granted three deciding votes at the congress.
10. If, however, there are in one town two organisations each of which fulfils the conditions listed in rule 2, they are to divide the votes between them. In this case each organisation can send one deputy only.
11. Local organisations which do not satisfy the conditions listed in rule 2 have no deciding votes at the congress and cannot send deputies. In order, however, not to deprive them completely of participation in the congress, they are allowed (i) to entrust their representation to some organisation which possesses full rights and (ii) through the deputies of this organisation to present their reports or ideas to the congress.
12. The affiliation of these organisations does not increase the number of votes granted to the organisation to which they affiliate.
13. Besides the deputies of organisations there may also participate in the congress individual persons from among the outstanding Party workers, whose participation would be desirable and who for sonve reason cannot be deputies of organisations. They are to be given consultative voice. The right to invite them belongs to the OC.
14. It is for the OC to decide the time and place of the congress.
15. The OC has the right to declare the congress open, and the congress is to be considered assembled if the representatives of more than half of all the organisations with full rights are present.
16. The congress is the supreme organ of the Party, competent to decide all questions in the Party’s name and to take whatever decisions it finds necessary.
17. The congress itself will decide the order of its proceedings, the forms in which questions are to be decided, the carrying out of elections and the publication of its decisions.
18. All decisions of the congress and all the elections it carries out are decisions of the Party and binding on all Party organisations. They cannot be challenged by anyone on any pretext whatever, and can be rescinded or amended only by the next Party congress.
19. This draft is being sent to all the organisations known to the OC for preliminary examination. Comments received from these organisations will be taken into account and, in conformity with the desire of the majority of the organisations which satisfy rule 2, the OC will make the appropriate corrections, after which the draft will be recognised as the actual rules for the Second Party Congress.
20. At the same time as this is being done, the OC will compile a list of the organisations possessing the right of full participation in the congress, and will propose to each organisation that it choose its deputies, with whom the OC will communicate regarding the security aspects of the congress.
21. Protests against this list may be lodged, and in this event the OC will submit each protest to an arbitration board composed of one representative of the OC and the representatives of those two organisations, included in the list, which are nearest in their sphere of activity to the place where doubt has been raised.
22. In examining a protest the arbitration board does not have to be guided by formal application of rule 2, but will study the entire activity of the organisation and take into account all the special conditions in which it has to work. The decisions of the arbitration board are to be considered final and no protests against its decisions are to be allowed.
23. After this, the appropriate corrections will be made to the list, and the congress will be convened by the OC in accordance with rules 14 and 15.
Explanatory Note to the Draft Rules for the Second Congress of the RSDLP
Re Article 1. In preparing the draft rules, the OC had, first of all, to define in one way or the other its view on the existence of the RSDLP. If it took the view that the Party does not exist and that the coming conference must be the constituent congress, then, in convening the congress, the OC would not need to be guided by anything except its own discretion. If the Party does not exist and has yet to be created, this conclusion inevitably follows: the creation of the Party is a matter for private initiative, and the initiators have a completely free hand—they can invite to the congress whomsoever they wish, and under whatever conditions they consider necessary, or even absolutely without conditions. A Party could be created at the congress, but in that case nobody would be obliged to recognise it, apart from the participants in the congress. A Party created on that basis would have no right to assume the title of RSDLP, since that would be an act of constraint upon those organisations which regard themselves as belonging to that Party and which were not at the congress. If however we take the view that the RSDLP exists, and the coming congress must be an ordinary one, then the following conclusions have to be drawn: (1) we must work out a constitution which would make the congress the real expression of the Party’s will, and (2) we must ensure the legitimacy of the congress, that is, recognition of it by all, or by the majority, of the Party organisations. The present draft is based on the consideration that the RSDLP does exist. Formally speaking, the existence of the Party is expressed in recognition of it by all the organisations. But this formal existence of the Party is no mere fiction: corresponding to it is a certain real unity among the organisations which regard themselves as belonging to the Party. True, this unity is far from complete, and the OC shuts its eyes less than anyone else to the disorganised state of the Party. However, to admit disorganisation still does not mean denying the very existence of the Party. The Party is not merely a formal unity, and therefore, just as the existence of a Central Committee does not in itself prove that the Party exists, neither does the absence of a Central Committee prove that the Party does not exist. An extensive group of organisations fight under the banner of the RSDLP, being bound together by ideological solidarity in their fundamental pronouncements, a solidarity which was expressed in the Manifesto of the First Congress. But between these organisations there are also organisational ties, expressed in constant communications between different organisations, in their dissemination of the same publications, in their continual exchange of forces, and, finally, in common undertakings (the First of May). The formal link created by the 1898 congress was destroyed, but during the four years which have passed since then an ever-greater real unity has been created, and in this respect it can be said that we are now closer to the organisation of the Party than we were at the time of the First Congress.
Re Article 2. Having recognised the coming congress as an ordinary congress of the Party, the OC had to take care, in composing the rules for it, that representation at the congress should not be fortuitous and that it should express the will of the majority. The fairest procedure would, of course, be to invite all the organisations to the congress, and allocate votes among them in accordance with the number of electors whom the organisations represented. But since, in the Russia of the autocracy, there can be no question of electors, the number of electors has to be replaced by a far less definite concept, namely, an organisation’s sphere of influence. From this standpoint there is no difference in principle between local and non-local (literary) organisations, since it can be said of the local organisations, too, that they represent the mass movement only in the sense that they control and lead it. No illegal organisation can be the elected representative of a broad Social-Democratic labour movement. Having adopted as the basis for allocation of votes the concept of ‘sphere of influence’, we had then to find the yardstick by which it would be possible to measure this more or less exactly, so as then to draw up a scale for the distribution of votes. But such an expression of a sphere of influence in terms of votes was obviously just as impossible as counting the votes of all the Social-Democrats, and we had to be content with merely noting that a particular organisation possessed a degree of influence that entitled us to say that it was undoubtedly the representative of the Social-Democratic movement in a given locality, or expressed a certain more or less extensive trend in that movement.
Consequently, we had to select a series of limiting factors which would ensure that only those organisations participated in the congress with regard to which there could be no doubt in that respect. For local organisations we have taken three factors. (1) A certain period of existence, as the necessary condition for obtaining influence. We have taken the shortest time which can be allowed in our view, namely, one year, and reckoned this from April 19 (May 1, NS), because that is a critical moment in the life of an organisation, and the revolutionary year is most properly reckoned from the First of May.
(2) An organisation must carry on activity of a kind that would enable it to gain influence over the masses: agitational, propagandist or organisational activity. This point serves to exclude organisation of a purely technical character.
(3) The place where the organisation exercises influence must be one where there is a fairly considerable concentration of workers, since it seems to us that in the present uncoordinated condition of the Party a Social-Democratic organisation can be the representative of a broad movement of any size only where there is a mass of workers. In those towns where such a mass does not exist, a local organisation may fulfil extremely important functions, but its sphere of influence cannot be great. We say ‘a fairly considerable workingclass population’, which is very indefinite, but the word ‘considerable’ is also indefinite, and it is quite impossible, for obvious reasons, to lay down any definite figure.
Re Article 3. The right to vote belongs to organisations which represent a movement. This cannot be said of organisations which have entered into association, since they have ceased to be independent entities. The spheres of influence of organisations which have become associated cannot be defined for each such organisation taken separately, since none of them can have any influence which is not due to the activity of the association as a whole. We have in mind here mainly the Northern Association, since the representation of the Bund is dealt with below.
Re Article 4. In the case of non-local organisations there is no need to select special criteria, since they can simply be enumerated. First on the list comes the ‘Emancipation of Labour’ Group. Although this group has joined another organisation, we nevertheless consider it necessary to accord it independent representation at the congress, in view of its role in the history of the Social-Democratic movement. The list does not include the Borba group, which produced a leaflet in the spring, has not resumed publication since then, and as the nature and scope of its activity give us no grounds for supposing that it represents any special trend in Social-Democracy or possesses any considerable influence in the movement.
Re Article 7. The requirement of complete freedom and competence for the deputies follows entirely from the very concept of the congress as the supreme organ of the Party. The congress has the right to decide all questions and take any decisions (see Article 17), and for this it is necessary that deputies to the congress shall have the right to discuss all questions, and not only those which are laid down in the agenda and have been previously discussed in the organisations that have sent the deputies to the congress.
The particular harmfulness of imperative mandates (if there were to be any) would be shown in the settlement of questions of tactics and organisation. While, where questions of the Party programme are concerned, every deputy will certainly arrive with quite well-defined decisions already come to, the questions mentioned above, which have been little discussed in the press and little clarified, will require the congress to display a good deal of initiative, and imperative mandates would therefore undoubtedly render the congress unable to take decisions. Even with regard to deciding questions which have been foreseen and discussed beforehand in particular organisations, the deputies should not be bound in any way by such definite previous decisions. The congress is not a mere office for counting votes. Before coming to decisions the congress will discuss questions: as a result of discussion a new formulation may emerge, and views may even change. And every deputy must be empowered to vote as his beliefs and conscience prompt him, including in those cases when he finds it necessary to go back on decisions which he brought to the congress. In this matter each deputy at the congress is not merely the attorney of a particular organisation, passing on its decisions and defending its interests, but a deputy of the Party, who must be guided in his behaviour by the interests of the Party as he understands them. Every organisation which sends a deputy to the congress must take care to ensure that the deputy arrives at the congress prepared to do his duty. This preparation should tonsist in preliminary discussion in the separate organisations of all the questions laid down for discussion by the congress. And if a particular organisation, in sending its deputy to the congress, has in mind the interests of the Party and takes trouble to ensure that its deputy is able to represent those interests, then, of course, no occasion will arise for dissatisfaction with the way the deputy has voted. This article does not deprive a deputy of the right to abstain from voting and to refer to the opinion of a particular organisation. It merely leaves this to the free choice of the deputy himself. It is of no concern to the congress what instructions a deputy has received or how he has fulfilled them, and neither the congress nor anyone else has the right to protest against the way a deputy voted or did not vote, on the grounds that he carried out wrongly the decision of the organisation that sent him. We regard it as unnecessary to talk about abuse of trust.
Re Articles 9, 10 and 11. The OC considered that each organisation should be given two votes at the congress—two, rather than one—because: (1) this makes it possible to represent the views of the majority and the minority in an organisation, and (2) if there are two organisations in one town, this enables each of them to be allotted one vote at the congress, whereas if every organisation were to be given one vote it would be unfair to give two votes to a town where there were two organisations. In a case like this, the two organisations are treated as the majority and the minority in a single organisation, which is confirmed by the actual history of how the two organisations came to be formed. The giving of equal rights in deciding votes to all organisations may seem unfair. The OC is, of course, aware that far from all these organisations are equivalent in their importance, but since it is quite impossible to find a factor which could serve to determine a scale for the distribution of votes, any attempt to assign votes unequally, in relation to the influence and importance of the given organisation, would be simply arbitrary. The OC preferred not to take that path, considering that, to a certain extent, this unfair equalising of the rights of all organisations will be corrected by the moral influence exercised by the most important organisations. Nevertheless, the OC found it necessary to make one departure from this rule—where the Bund was concerned. Taking into account the quite exceptional size and influence of this organisation, the OC thinks it right to give the Bund three votes at the congress (in addition to the two votes for the Foreign Committee of the Bund). On the other hand, this small number of extra votes given to the Bund will be more than balanced by the fact that very many organisations in Russia which do not satisfy Article 2 are wholly deprived of the right to a decisive vote. This elimination of a substantial number of organisations may also seem unfair and undesirable. But if we were to give every little organisation a vote, then big ones would have to be given several votes, and this would bring us back to the need to find some way of measuring an organisation or its influence. Furthermore, it cannot be said with any certainty about a considerable number of small-town organisations that they are representatives of a movement, since often they deal only with isolated individuals. Taken together, such organisations are, of course, very important for the Party, especially through the special services they perform. But if we were to give such organisations the right to vote at the congress, the latter would cease to be representative of the Social-Democratic movement. All the same, of course, exclusion of any organisation from participation in the congress is undesirable, and the OC has found the way out of these difficulties which is indicated in Article 11. This article enables all organisations to take part in the work of the congress and even to influence it, as the deputy representing an organisation possessing full rights.
Article 12 is explained by the fact that if an organisation has no vote on its own account, its affiliation cannot increase the number of votes possessed by another organisation.
Re Article 13. Proceeding from the desire to draw all the Party’s fortes into participation in the congress, the OC has included this article in the rules so as to empower the OC to invite ‘persons of experience’, with the right of consultative voice only. Since these participants on the congress are not given deciding votes and since the OC can invite, in this category, only outstanding Party workers, we see no reason why the OC should not be allowed this power.
Re Articles 19-22. In determining the procedure for confirming the rules, the OC was guided by the consideration that, as a private organisation, it can do nothing, where the congress itself is concerned, without the authority of the Party. It will produce its summary of the opinions of the organisations only if the majority accept Article 20.
Subsequently, when the list has been drawn up, this can still be protested, and the protest can be gone into by arbitration. This article about arbitration was included, on the one hand, because of the possible existence of organisations whose exclusion from the number of participants in the congress with full rights, under Article 2, would be unjust, owing to their specific peculiarities, and, on the other, so as to bring the OC under control by the Party even in the matter of formal application of the adopted rules, seeking in this way to eliminate any possibility of the OC’s being accused of arbitrary conduct. When counting votes the OC will treat as decisive only those which satisfy the conditions of Article 2. The votes of small organisations will not be counted, for the reasons given above, although their statements will be taken into consideration by the OC.
1. The OC asks the organisations to whom this draft and explanatory note have been sent to pass on copies to neighbouring organisations which may not, for some reason, have received them, and to obtain their views.
2. The OC asks that opinions about the draft be sent to it as quickly as possible.
I. Resolution of the Arbitration Board on the Question of Inviting the Association of Mining and Metallurgical Workers to the Congress
The arbitration board, composed of representatives of the Don and Yekaterinoslav Committees, having heard the explanations given by the representatives of the mining and metallurgical workers, has arrived at the following decision. Considering (1) that the area where the Association of Mining and Metallurgical Workers is active is an extremely important strategic point for our Party; (2) that the Association of Mining and Metallurgical Workers, despite exceptionally difficult circumstances, made the first breakthrough for the penetration of Social-Democracy into this area, has formed ferm lies with all the largest centres in the area, and since the beginning of 1903 has even carried on vigorous agitation, issuing a number of proclamations; (3) that the Association could give the congress ideas which it is important for it to have about the organising of Social-Democratic activity in small industrial centres remote from cities—the arbitration board regards it as necessary to grant the Association of Mining and Metallurgical Workers the right to participate fully in the congress.
II. Resolution of the Arbitration Board on the Question of Inviting the Committee of the Kishinev Organisation to the Congress
The arbitration board, composed of representatives of the OC, and of the Odessa and Nikolayev Committees, having heard the detailed explanations of the representatives of the Kishinev organisation, has adopted the following resolution:
Considering: (1) that the Committee of the Kishinev Organisation has not precisely determined its attitude to the RSDLP in general, and in particular to one of its organisations, namely, the Bund; (2) that the Committee of the Kishinev Organisation does not satisfy the conditions set out in Article 2 of the rules; (3) that, given the size of the organisation and its activity, as communicated to the arbitration board by the representatives of this organisation, the arbitration board does not find it necessary to make an exception of the Kishinev organisation; (4) that it is the view of the arbitration board that the Committee of the Kishinev organisation cannot give the congress any new ideas regarding the Party’s attitude to the pogroms against the Jews, which was the particular reason adduced by the representatives of this organisation for its desire to take part in the congress—the arbitration board decides to decline to invite the Kishinev organisation to the congress.
Considering that the Socialist and Labour Parties of all countries take a negative attitude to racial antagonism and struggle between nationalities, recognising only the class struggle of the proletarians of all races against the capitalists of all races;
Considering, further, that the Yiddish-speaking workers have no means of liberating themselves other than unity with the Labour or Socialist Parties of the relevant countries;
Condemning, finally, anti-semitic and philo-semitic agitation, which are, in the hands of the capitalists and the ruling classes, one of the means for diverting the socialist movement from the right path and introducing discord among the workers;
The congress does not find it necessary to spend time on the question put forward by the delegates of the Yiddish-speaking American Socialist groups, and proceeds to next business.
Since our congress, not having received an invitation to the all-Russia congress, had no basis for discussing the Iskra Zarya draft programme, and in our press we naturally kept our criticism within the bounds proper to our relations with another Party, we decided to abstain at the present congress from taking part in the discussion about the formulation of the programme.
In view of the fact that the draft programme, though in our opinion needing some important amendments, nevertheless seems to us to be satisfactory in its main and fundamental features, we consider it possible to accept this programme, while reserving, of course, the right to raise certain questions relating to it in the press and at our next congress.
One point in the draft, Article 7, is, however, of particular importance for us as Poles. Since, for us, the struggle against nationalism is a question of primary importance, our congress expressed the desire that the article in question in the Russian programme be altered in such a way as to rule out any interpretation favourable to the nationalist tendency which sees it as the task of the Polish proletariat to restore Poland.
The 44th issue of Iskra has changed the situation considerably. The leading article in that issue gives Article 7 of the Russian draft programme quite unambiguously and openly the significance of carte blanche for raising the Polish nationalist programme of restoring Poland, trying to link this programme with the united all-Russia struggle against the autocracy. In this article it is said: ‘Russian Social-Democracy does not in the least intend to tie its own hands … It takes into account all possible , and even all conceivable, combinations. That programme (the Iskra programme) in no way precludes the adoption by the Polish proletariat of the slogan of a free and independent Polish republic, even though the probability of its becoming a reality before socialism is introduced is infinitesimal.’
This compels us to note the following fact. The latest interpretation by Iskra is in direct contradiction with the interpretation of the same Article 7 of the draft programme which was given in No. 33, in the note on the manifesto of the Armenian Social- Democrats, where it said: ‘It is not the business of the proletariat to advance such demands, which inevitably amount to a demand for the establishment of an autonomous class state.’ And again: ‘The demand for recognition of every nationality’s right to self-determination simply implies that we, the party of the proletariat, must always and unconditionally oppose any attempt to influence national self-determination from without by violence or injustice. While at all times performing this negative duty of ours (to fight and protest against violence) we on our part concern ourselves with the self-determination of the proletariat in each nationality rather than with self-determination of peoples or nations.’
Whereas, previously, we could agree with such a presentation of the question and confine ourselves merely to asking for a different wording which would rule out the possibility of any interpretation in a nationalist spirit, the turn given to the matter by Iskra ’s new article considerably complicates the situation and may hamper our unification.
Regarding the way the question has been presented in Iskra, we must make the following comments.
1. It is not the task of a Social-Democratic programme to foresee all ‘conceivable’ and ‘inconceivable’ combinations of political phenomena. The programme bases itself, so far as immediate tasks are concerned, only upon the positive tendencies of the social process in general, and the partial manifestations of this process in a particular country, on the one hand, and, on the other, upon the real interests of the proletariat.
The general principles of Social-Democracy and its tactics fully enable it to adapt its activity and demands to changed conditions in each particular case, and it has no need at all to resort beforehand to algebraic formulas which do not foresee either the concrete setting of these future changes, or the direction of the proletariat’s interests at the moment when these changes take place. To speak concretely: if at some time the restoration of the Polish class state were, through unforeseen circumstances, to become possible, only then would it be possible for us to discuss whether this restoration conformed to the interests of the Polish proletariat.
2. Article 7 of the draft programme, as interpreted by Iskra, has been transformed into an empty envelope into which absolutely every possible sort of nationalist programme can be inserted, and is therefore not a solution of the national question for Russian Social-Democracy, but an evasion of the task of solving this question, and thus perpetuates the programmatic dissension and vacillation on this question among Social-Democrats.
3. The attempt to combine the Social-Democratic programme of struggle to overthrow the autocracy, common to the whole proletariat of Russia without regard to differences of nationality, with the nationalist programme of restoring Poland, is inconceivable both from the theoretical and from the practical standpoint.
Theoretically, this endeavour is eclecticism, combining two programmes behind which are hidden two utterly different world outlooks, two opposite views of the development of Poland and Russia, and which would be no less incompatible in the programme of Polish Social-Democracy than Marxism and Narodism would be in the programme of Russian Social-Democracy.
Practically, the belief that it is possible to separate the actual programme of Polish nationalism from its natural and inevitable consequences in practice, which are shown in the PPS, from chauvinism and fragmentation of the forces of the struggling proletariat, is unconscious opportunism, exactly comparable to that which lies behind the view that it is quite possible for Socialists to become members of bourgeois governments while ignoring the unpleasant consequences of Millerand’s policy.
Abstract arguments about the possibility of combining the programme of restoring Poland with a Social-Democratic programme and activity are refuted, moreover, by the ten years experience of the Polish movement in Germany. The Party leadership of German Social Democracy expressed this incompatibility in an official, categorical statement dated December 9, 1902, which was reproduced in Iskra.
4. The only possible solution of the national question, which is today binding upon Social-Democrats in all circumstances, is, in our view, defence of freedom of cultural development of each nationality, through Democratisation of the historically-given state institutions.
We propose that Article 7 in the draft programme be re-formulated in that sense:
‘Article 7. Institutions guaranteeing freedom of cultural development to all nations included within the state.’
This formulation, by its general nature, takes account of the variety of historical conditions and ways of life among the different nationalities of Russia, while at the same time excluding any nationalistic interpretation, and enables us to interpret this article, as it affects Poland, in the spirit of our programme, that is, in the sense of a demand for autonomy for Poland and Lithuania. It is inconceivable that our organisation could reconcile the present formulation of Article 7 with the interpretation given to it in No. 44 of Iskra, since the common Party programme would then contradict the decisions of all our Party congresses (see the 1894 congress Spr. Rab. No. 10) and the fundamental idea of our Party activity, and so there would not be, where this question of cardinal importance for us is concerned, that unity of spirit and principle between us without which we regard organisational unity as being pointless.
We consider therefore, independently of the three basic conditions for our unification with the all-Russia Social-Democratic movement which we presented earlier, that this unification will become possible only if the congress finds that it can adopt the formulation of Article 7 of the Programme which we have proposed, or another formulation with the same meaning, or, at least, if the congress agrees to leave the question open and holds over its formulation till the next congress, with appropriate elucidation of the question in the press.
 The Articles in Iskra referred to by the Poles, which appeared in the issues of July 15, 1903 and February 1, 1903, respectively, are given in Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 6. The passages quoted will be found on pp. 460, 328 and 329.
The question of the position of the Bund in the Russian Party was from the very start of the congress transformed into the question whether the Bund should or should not exist, as the organisation of the Jewish proletariat: the majority of the congress directly or indirectly expressed themselves in favour of the need to liquidate the Bund, immediately or gradually, this desire finding expression in a series of facts, the most glaring of which we shall quote.
1. The debate on the proposed organisational rules drawn up by the Fifth Congress of the Bund revealed the presence of a hatred of the Bund which showed us plainly the results that can be achieved by a systematic campaign against an organisation, when the audience is completely ignorant of its character, tasks and activity. A series of speakers passed before us. They said that the First Party Congress had made a regrettable mistake in allowing the Bund autonomy and that the consequences of this mistake were now making themselves felt; that the Bund was an historical anomaly which must be put an end to in one way or another; that the Bund had taken the road of separatism and nationalism, and that in order to leave that road it must, at the very least, return to the period preceding the Fourth Congress; that if the activity of the Bund did not bear the clear stamp of nationalism, yet its tendency was fraught with nationalistic delusions, the best palliative for which would be to set the Bund within strictly defined territorial limits, and gradually to reduce this area, and so on and so forth. The sense of the speeches made was always the same: the Bund must be destroyed, but since it is not possible to do that today, we must put the Bund in such conditions that it will be able only to drag out a wretched, vegetable existence and move steadily towards extinction. This sense of the speeches was frequently emphasised by friendly applause from the majority of the congress, and this sense could not be altered one jot by the bowing and scraping to the Bund which ensued next day, when the majority suddenly realised they had bens the stick too far.
2. When we, in the interests of achieving unity, had removed from the draft rules we presented all the points which, in the opinion of the majority, bore a treaty-like, federal character, leaving, of all the disputed points, only the two most essential, without which the Bund could not exist—then Comrade Martov’s resolution was passed, in which the words ‘independence of the Bund’ were replaced by the vague expression, capable of any interpretation, ‘independence of the Jewish labour movement’, and this ‘independence’ was restricted to the narrow limits of ‘particular tasks of agitation’. The sense and significance of this ‘independence’ was frankly explained by Comrade Plekhanov when he said that what was meant here was technical autonomy, such as is enjoyed by any and every Party committee, and reduced the Bund to the level of a local committee, with the sole, inessential difference that the Bund was to be allowed technical autonomy over a larger area than any local committee. And if any doubt was left that the majority were opposed to the decision of the First Party Congress on the position of the Bund in the Party, as a decision which gave the Bund genuine autonomy, this doubt was finally dissipated after the rejection of the amendment and we moved to Comrade Martov’s resolution, in which he proposed to confirm the decision of the First Congress on the autonomy of the Bund in relation to questions specially affecting the Jewish proletariat. By rejecting this amendment the majority declared their solidarity with Comrade Plekhanov’s statement putting the Bund on a par with a local committee.
3. The majority of the congress categorically refused to discuss our rules point by point in their original form, on the grounds that they were permeated with the spirit of federation. Later, this same majority passed Comrade Martov’s resolution in which any attempt to modify the Party rules in the spirit of federation was rejected and at the same time it was proposed to switch to the item ‘Party organisation’ the discussion of our rules in their altered form. By so doing the majority acknowledged that it could not perceive any elements of federation in the altered rules. Nevertheless, having decided the question of the general organisation of the Party, it thought it necessary to reject the cardinal point of our rules in their altered form, on the grounds that this point was composed in the spirit of federation. One of two things must be true. Either the majority consciously allowed discussion of a point known to be federalist in character to be switched to item 5 of the agenda, and thus, for the sake of practical considerations, let itself be drawn on to the path of unprincipled conduct, or else, under the pretext of rejecting federation, it rejected a point composed in the spirit of autonomy. We adopt the second supposition, as being more to the advantage of the majority, which has continually emphasised its unconditional loyalty to principle. But in adopting the second supposition we have to recognise that the majority once more emphasised its negative attitude to autonomy.
4. When, after the organisational rules had been adopted, the second point of our rules came up for discussion, the majority did not even consider it necessary to propose amendments to this point. Furthermore, it declared its solidarity with Comrade Martov’s speech expressing doubt whether the Bund could be recognised even as a territorial organisation, and thereby finally and decisively took the line of denying the Bund’s right to exist, the line which, with greater or lesser frankness, it had stood for during all the sessions of the congress.
These facts show beyond any doubt that the majority at the congress revealed from the earliest sessions a tendency to put an end by one means or another to the existence of the Bund.
True to this tendency, the majority rejected the most essential point in the rules in its altered form, which had been adopted unanimously by all 30 participants in the Fifth Congress of the Bund—the point which is not only absolutely necessary for the existence of the Bund, but constitutes the only real safeguard against the general organisational rules of the Party, which have been compiled in a spirit that presupposes and permits complete swallowing and levelling of organisations and suppression of all independence of the sections of the Party.
Taking account of the rejection of this point (by which the Bund is not restricted in its activity by any territorial limits, and is in the Party as the sole representative of the Jewish proletariat), the delegation of the Bund, on the precise basis of the powers received by it from the Fifth Congress of the Bund, declares that the Bund leaves the RSDLP, and quits the congress.
In departing from the congress, the Bund delegation expresses its firm conviction that practical experience will show the unsoundness of that tendency to suppression and levelling which has found such glaring expression in the organisational rules adopted by the Second Congress of the Russian Party, and that, when this happens, a real possibility will be created for lasting realisation of the unity of Russia’s Social-Democratic movement.
The delegation of the Bund: Lieber, Abramson, Goldblatt, Yudin and Hofman
1. A Party member is one who accepts the Party’s programme and supports the Party both financially and by personal participation in one of the Party organisations.
2. The Party Congress is the supreme organ of the Party. Party congresses are convened (if possible, not less often than one in two years) by the Central Committee. The Central Committee is obliged to convene a congress if this is demanded by Party committees, or associations of committees, which together commanded one-third of the votes at the previous congress, or at the demand of the Party Council. A congress is to be considered valid if there is representation of over one-half of all the (properly constituted) committees of the Party existing at the moment of the congress.
3. The following are entitled to be represented at a congress: (a) the Central Committee; (b) the editorial board of the Central Organ; (c) all local committees which do not belong to special associations; (d) all associations of committees which are recognised by the Party; and (e) the League Abroad. Each of the organisations enumerated has two deciding votes at a congress. New committees and associations of committees become entitled to representation at a congress only if they have been endorsed not less than six months before the congress.
4. The Party Congress appoints the Central Committee, the editorial board of the Central Organ, and the Party Council.
5. The Central Committee co-ordinates and directs all the practical activities of the Party and administers the central party treasury, and also all the technical institutions common to the Party as a whole. It investigates conflicts both between and within the various Party organisations and institutions.
6. The editorial board of the Central Organ gives ideological guidance to the Party, editing the Party’s Central Organ, its scientific organ and separate pamphlets.
7. The Party Council is appointed by the congress from among members of the editorial board of the Central Organ and the Central Committee, and consists of five persons. The Council settles disputes and differences arising between the editorial board of the Central Organ and the Central Committee on questions of general organisation and tactics. The Party Council appoints a new Central Committee in the event of all the members of the old one being put out of action.
8. New committees and associations of committees are endorsed by the Central Committee. Each committee, association, organisation or group recognised by the Party has charge of affairs relating specially and exclusively to its particular locality, district or national movement, or to the special function assigned to it; being bound, however, to obey the decisions of the Central Committee and the Central Organ and to make contributions to the central party treasury in amounts determined by the Central Committee.
9. Any Party member and any person who has any dealings with the Party is entitled to demand that any statement made by him be transmitted in the original to the Central Committee, the Central Organ or the Party congress.
10. It is the duty of every Party organisation to afford both the Central Committee and the editorial board of the Central Organ every opportunity of becoming acquainted with all its activities and its entire composition.
11. All Party organisations and corporate institutions of the Party conduct their business by simple majority vote, and have the right of co-option. A two-thirds majority vote is required for co-option of new members and for expulsion of members.
12. It is the purpose of the League of Russian Revolutionary Social-Democrats Abroad to carry on propaganda and agitation abroad and also to assist the movement in Russia. The League enjoys all the rights of committees, with the sole exception that it renders assistance to the movement in Russia only through persons or groups specially appointed for the purpose by the Central Committee.
 As Lenin points out in One Step Forward, Two Steps Back, Item 9, The Party Rules, Martov’s Draft (Collected Works, Vol. 7, p.245n.), the document given here is not the text which he actually proposed. That document has, apparently, not been preserved. The important differences are that, in his final version, at any rate, (1) the Party Council is defined not as a mere arbitration board but as the Party’s highest organ, and (2) the requirement of unanimity and mutual control as regards co-option is laid down for the Central Committee and the editorial board of the Central Organ.