J. V. Stalin
Source : Works, Vol.
2, 1907 - 1913
Publisher : Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow, 1954
Transcription/Markup : Salil Sen for MIA, 2008
Public Domain : Marxists Internet Archive (2008). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit "Marxists Internet Archive" as your source.
We publish below the resolution adopted by the Baku Committee on the disagreements on the Editorial Board of Proletary. These disagreements are not new. A controversy has long been going on around them in our press abroad. There is even talk about a split in the Bolshevik group. The Baku workers, however, know little or nothing about the nature of these disagreements. We consider it necessary, therefore, to preface the resolution with a few points of explanation.
First of all, about the alleged split in the Bolshevik group. We declare that there is no split in the group, and that there never has been one; there are only disagreements on the question of legal possibilities. Disagreements of that sort have always existed and always will exist in such an active and live group as the Bolshevik group. Everybody knows that at one time there were rather serious disagreements in the group on the question of the agrarian programme, on guerilla actions, and on the unions and the Party, and in spite of that the group did not split, for complete solidarity reigned within the group on other important questions of tactics. The same must be said in the present case. Consequently, the talk about a split in the group is pure fiction.
As regards the disagreements, on the enlarged Editorial Board of Proletary,2 consisting of twelve members, two trends were revealed: the majority on the Board (ten against two) is of the opinion that the legal possibilities in the shape of the unions, clubs, and particularly the floor of the Duma, should be utilised for the purpose of strengthening the Party, that the Party should not recall our group from the Duma but, on the contrary, should help the group to rectify its mistakes and conduct correct, openly Social-Democratic agitation from the floor of the Duma. The minority on the Board (two), around whom the so-called Otzovists and Ultima-tumists are grouped, are, on the contrary, of the opinion that the legal possibilities are of no particular value; they look with distrust upon our group in the Duma, do not think it necessary to support the group, and under certain circumstances would not be averse even from recalling it from the Duma.
The Baku Committee is of the opinion that the point of view of the minority on the Editorial Board is not in accord with the interests of the Party and of the proletariat and, therefore, emphatically supports the stand taken by the majority on the Board represented by Comrade Lenin.
The Baku Committee discussed the situation on the enlarged Editorial Board of Proletary on the basis of the printed documents sent by both sections of the Board and arrived at the following conclusion.
1) As far as the substance of the matter is concerned, the stand taken by the majority on the Editorial Board regarding activities inside and outside the Duma is the only correct one. The Baku Committee believes that only such a stand can be described as truly Bolshevik, Bolshevik in spirit and not only in letter.
2) "Otzovism" as a trend in the group is a result of the underrating of legal possibilities, and of the Duma in particular, which is harmful to the Party. The Baku Committee asserts that under the present conditions of a lull, when other, more important means of conducting open Social-Democratic agitation are absent, using the Duma as a platform can and should be one of the most important branches of Party activity.
3) "Ultimatumism," as a constant reminder to the group in the Duma about Party discipline does not constitute a trend in the Bolshevik group. In so far, however, as it tries to pose as a separate trend, which confines itself to demonstrating the rights of the Central Committee in relation to the group in the Duma, "Ultimatum-ism" is the worst species of "Otzovism." The Baku Committee asserts that constant work by the Central Committee within and with the group can alone make the latter a truly Party and disciplined group. The Baku Committee believes that the facts concerning the Duma group’s activities during the past few months clearly prove all this.
4) So-called "god-building" as a literary trend and, in general, the introduction of religious elements into socialism is the result of an interpretation of the principles of Marxism that is unscientific and therefore harmful for the proletariat. The Baku Committee emphasises that Marxism took shape and developed into a definite world outlook not as the result of an alliance with religious elements, but as the result of an implacable struggle against them.
5) Proceeding from the foregoing, the Baku Committee is of the opinion that an implacable ideological struggle against the above-mentioned trends which group themselves around the minority on the Editorial Board is one of the most urgent and immediate tasks of Party activity.
6) On the other hand, in view of the fact that, notwithstanding the above-mentioned disagreements, both sections of the Editorial Board agree on questions of major importance for the group (appraisal of the current situation, the role of the proletariat and of other classes in the revolution, etc.), the Baku Committee believes that the unity of the group, and hence co-operation between both sections of the Editorial Board, are possible and necessary.
7) In view of this, the Baku Committee disagrees with the organisational policy of the majority on the Editorial Board and protests against any "ejection from our ranks" of supporters of the minority on the Editorial Board. The Baku Committee also protests against the conduct of Comrade Maximov who declared that he would not submit to the decisions of the Editorial Board, thus creating fresh grounds for new and greater friction.
8) As a practical measure for putting an end to the present abnormal situation, the Baku Committee pro-poses that a conference of Bolsheviks be held parallel with the general Party conference. 3
On the questions of "the school in X" and the attitude towards the "Left Mensheviks," the Baku Committee refrains from adopting any definite resolutions for the time being owing to the absence of sufficient material.
August 2, 1909
1.79 This was the heading of a section of the Bakinsky Proletary.
2. The enlarged editorial board of Proletary was in fact the Bolshevik centre, elected at a meeting of the Bolshevik section of the Fifth (London) Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. held in 1907. The meeting of the enlarged editorial board was held in Paris on June 8-17 (21-30), 1909, under the direction of V. I. Lenin. The meeting condemned Otzovism and Ultimatumism as "Liquidationism inside out." It described the "party" school set up by the Otzovists in Capri as "the centre of a group that is breaking away from the Bolsheviks." A. Bogdanov (supported by V. Shantser) refused to submit to the decisions of the enlarged editorial board of Proletary and was expelled from the Bolshevik organisation.
3. The resolution of the Baku Committee was published in Proletary, No. 49, on October 3 (16), 1909, with the following editorial note: "We have not said anything different from what the Baku comrades have said about the Otzovists, Ultimatumists and God-builders. The Baku comrades themselves ‘protest against the conduct of Comrade Maximov who declared that he would not submit to the decisions of the editorial board.’ But if Comrade Maximov had submitted to the decisions of the organ of the Bolsheviks and had not launched a whole campaign of disruption against the Bolshevik group, there would have been no ‘break-away. ’ ‘The refusal to submit’ is in itself , of course, a ‘break-away. ’ We have discussed the question of our alleged ‘splitting’ policy at great length in the present issue in the article ‘A Talk With St. Petersburg Bolsheviks’ concerning a resolution of a similar nature which they had sent us, and which we received before the Baku resolution." The article "A Talk With St. Petersburg Bolsheviks" was written by V. I . Lenin (see V. I. Lenin, Works, 4th Russ. ed., Vol. 16, pp. 49-59).