Tony Cliff

Trotsky: Towards October 1879-1917

5. An explanation of the break
between Lenin and Trotsky

HOW CAN ONE EXPLAIN why Trotsky persevered for so many years with his disagreement with Lenin? Why was he a conciliator trying to unite the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks? This is particularly surprising in view of his consistent application of Lenin’s concept of leadership during 1917, the Civil War and for the rest of his life. We have already referred to his youth at the time of the Second Congress, and the deep impression the veterans – particularly Vera Zasulich and Axelrod – made on him. We have also referred to the impact of personal hostility from Plekhanov – Lenin’s ally at the congress. But this cannot explain the years of continuous disagreement with Lenin on the question of the party.

A number of factors were involved.

First, the Bolshevik split from the Mensheviks was not a clear cut and once-for-all affair. The following is a summary of the history of the relationship:

July-August 1903: official split

Spring 1905: actual split

1906-7: semi-unity

1908-9: split

1910: semi-unity

January 1912: final split

Elsewhere I have described Lenin’s own hesitations after the Second Congress:

That Lenin himself was not at all clear about the depth of the split and its future significance was clear from his writings at the time. His uncertainty is revealed partly by the fact that the section of his Collected Works covering this period contains an unprecedented number of unmailed letters, undelivered statements and articles drafted but not published. Those that did see the light of day indicate that he did not expect a split with the Mensheviks to continue for long, and did not think it was justified to break up the party over ‘trilling’ issues ...

Six months after the congress he could write:

‘the disagreements that divide the two wings at the present time for the most part concern not questions of programme or tactics, but only organisational questions’; ‘questions of organisation ... are, of course, less fundamental than questions of tactics, let alone of programme.’ [1]

Lenin wavered for months.

It was more than six months [after the Second Congress] before Lenin finally come to the conclusion that the split was justified and necessary. He stopped hesitating and come out firmly with the argument that the split was a reflection of the differences between the proletarian wing and the petty bourgeois intellectualist wing of the party. [2]

Again and again one finds conciliators in the leadership of the Bolshevik faction quite often overwhelming Lenin. The central committee elected at the Second Congress, although all Bolsheviks, opposed Lenin’s intransigence towards the Mensheviks. Months of acrimonious correspondence with members of the central committee led Lenin by the summer of 1904 to be to all intents and purposes ousted from the central committee, although formally still a member. In July 1904 the central committee moved towards a compromise with the Mensheviks. In an announcement published in Iskra, it recognised the full authority of the editorial board of the paper made up of five Mensheviks, called on Lenin to rejoin the board, and denounced his agitation for a new, third congress to settle accounts with the Mensheviks. [3]

On the ground also the split was very slow to take place:

In Moscow the formal split did not take place until May 1905. In Siberia and other places the two factions operated within the same organisational structure throughout 1904 and 1905 and continued to do so until the fusion conference held in April- May 1906.

The famous illegal Caucasian printshop, in which Bolshevik sympathies predominated, continued in 1904 to reprint the Menshevik Iskra as well as many Menshevik pamphlets. ‘Our differences of opinion’, writes Yenukidze, ‘were absolutely not reflected in our work’. Only after the third Congress of the party, that is, not earlier than the middle of 1905, did the printshop pass into the hands of the Bolshevik Central Committee. [4]

Again in 1910 Lenin began to lose support within the faction, as many leading Bolsheviks supported the call for a united party. The conciliators included several who had been elected as members or candidates of the central committee at the Fifth Congress (1907), notably A.I. Rykov, V.P. Nogin, I.F. Dubrovinsky, S.A. Lozovsky and G.Y. Sokolnikov. Only in January 1912 did Lenin at last triumph over the conciliators. [5]

In many of the Social Democratic organisations in the provinces and workers’ centres, including Ekaterinburg, Perm, Tula, Orel, Baku, Kolomna, Yaroslav, Kiev and Voronezh, the Bolsheviks did not break away from the Mensheviks until the end of May 1917. In others, including Minsk, Tiflis, Nizhni-Novgorod, Omsk, Tomsk, Odessa, Nikolaev, Zlatoust, Kostroma, Sevastopol and Vitebsk, it was June before the split took place. In yet others it was August or September. Altogether 351 party organisations remained joint Bolshevik-Menshevik until, in many cases, September. In fact in some centres the Bolsheviks separated from the Mensheviks only after the October revolution. [6]

Thus Trotsky did not face a clear choice between Bolsheviks and Mensheviks.

In addition, the politics of the Mensheviks was not distinctive until after the 1905 revolution. For a long time it was not clear in which direction a majority of the Mensheviks were going to move, as they were largely centrists, vacillating between the revolutionary and reformist trends in the labour movement. So during the 1905 revolution, as we shall see, the Menshevik leadership in Russia, above all Dan and Martynov, came under the influence of Trotsky and the Theory of Permanent Revolution. It needed the period of reaction of 1907-10 for Menshevism to be fully fashioned.

Trotsky’s experience of 1905 and conciliationism

The experience of the 1905 revolution did not encourage Trotsky to move towards the Bolsheviks. First of all, he himself, without a party organisation, succeeded in having a large influence on events, being the leader of the Petersburg Soviet. As Lunacharsky wrote in his book Revolutionary Silhouettes:

I must say that of all the social-democratic leaders of 1905-6 Trotsky undoubtedly showed himself, despite his youth, to be the best prepared. Less than any of them did be bear the stamp of a certain kind of émigré narrowness of outlook which, as I have said, even affected Lenin at that time. Trotsky understood better than all the others what it meant to conduct the political struggle on a broad, national scale. He emerged from the revolution having acquired an enormous degree of popularity, whereas neither Lenin nor Martov had effectively gained any at all. Plekhanov had lost a great deal, thanks to his display of quasi-Kadet tendencies. Trotsky stood then in the very front rank. [7]

The sectarian and dogmatic attitude of the Petersburg Bolsheviks towards the Soviets also did not endear them to Trotsky. To start with, the Petersburg Committee of the Bolsheviks took fight at the emergence of the Soviet, seeing in it an anti-socialist body. Some members wanted it to be boycotted as unnecessary, given the existence of the party, while others advocated that as many Bolsheviks as possible should join and ‘explode the Soviet from within’ – also on the ground that it was ‘unnecessary’. Many years later Trotsky, in a letter of 25 August 1921 to the Bureau of Party History, remembered:

The Petersburg contingent, led by Bogdanov, of the Bolshevik Central Committee, resolutely opposed the creation of an elective non-party workers’ organisation. The negative attitude of the Bolshevik summit in Petersburg to the Soviet continued until Comrade Lenin’s arrival in Russia. I was present at the meeting of the Bolshevik CC (or Bureau of the CC or Petersburg Bureau of the CC) at which the tactics toward the Soviet were worked out. Bogdanov proposed the following plan: Put before the Soviet, in the name of the Bolshevik faction, the proposal to accept immediately the Social-Democratic programme and the general leadership of the party; [and] if the Soviet decided against it, leave the Soviet ... Bogdanov’s ‘ultimatum’ (‘recall’) tactics were expressed with perfect clarity even then. All the objections to facing the Soviet with the ultimatum about the programme were judged invalid. The meeting endorsed Bogdanov’s plan. A few days later Comrade Anton (Krasikov), in the name of the Bolsheviks, did propose to the Soviet that it accept the party programme and recognise the party’s leadership. As far as I remember, the debate was very brief. Khrustalev objected. Krasikov’s proposal received hardly any support. But, contrary to Bogdanov’s plan, the Bolsheviks did not leave the Soviet. [8]

The fact that the Petersburg Soviet survived for only 50 days, and that it was not put to the test of taking power, failed to highlight the importance of having a party whose members had been hardened in the struggle to lead the Soviet. The proletariat in the 1905 revolution was immature. Its conflict with the bourgeoisie did not have time and space enough to develop far, as in 1917. From February 1917 to June, in the July Days, the Kornilov coup in August, and finally to the October revolution, the differentiation between Bolshevism and Menshevism consistently deepened. In 1905 neither Bolshevism nor Menshevism were sharply demarcated.

Trotsky and the committee-men

Trotsky’s Our Political Tasks, though fundamentally wrong in evaluating Lenin’s concept of the party, had an important element of truth. It gave a fairly accurate characterisation of the cast of thought of the ‘committee-men’ of those days, who had foregone the need to rely on the workers after they found support in the centralist party. I have written elsewhere:

Whereas in the years before the 1905 revolution and during the years of reaction following it, the committee-men had a much higher level of activity and consciousness than even the advanced section of the proletariat, at the time of the revolution itself they lagged behind considerably. [9]

The committee-men did not see the crucial role of the initiative of the masses during the revolution. Instead they exhibited conservative and élitist characteristics, as can be seen from an appeal written by Stalin on the eve of the 1905 revolution, whose climax was: ‘Let us stretch out our hands to one another and rally around the party committees. We must not forget for a moment that only the party committees can worthily lead us, only they will light up our road to the "promised land" called the socialist world!’ [10] Compare this with the words of Lenin, written on practically the same day in far-off Geneva: ‘Make way for the anger and hatred that have accumulated in your hearts throughout the centuries of exploitation, suffering and grief!’

In 1905 Lenin had to overcome the conservative tendencies of the committee-men. Thus at the Third Congress of the Bolshevik Party in the spring of 1905, Lenin proposed a resolution urging the party to open its gates to workers, who should take a leading role in it. Most of the delegates to the congress were committee- men who were opposed to any move which would tend to weaken their authority over the rank and file. Buttressing themselves with quotations from Lenin’s own What is to be Done?, they called for ‘extreme caution’ in admitting workers into the committees and condemned ‘playing at democracy’. Lenin’s resolution was defeated by twelve votes to nine). [11]

Witnessing the role of the committee-men in 1905, Trotsky was strengthened in his one-sided view of Leninist centralism. As a matter of fact, in subsequent years, the committee-men played a positive, crucial role in the survival of the Bolshevik party. As I wrote elsewhere:

The committee-men were, in a number of ways, people of sterling character. They devoted their lives to the revolutionary movement and put themselves completely at the disposal of the party. They had no life outside the movement. Because they made great sacrifices, they had strong moral authority. They were always in a position to demand sacrifices from rank-and-file workers, because they set such an example themselves. They acquired great self-assurance, through repeatedly having to take on-the-spot decisions under fire. They were on the whole competent, shrewd, energetic and strong-willed; as complete outlaws, they could not otherwise have survived.

The committee-men kept up their unfaltering activity over months and years. One only has to look down the list of delegates at say, the London Fifth Congress (1907) to see a gallery of people who were the backbone of Bolshevism, who carried on the tradition, the continuity of the party.

During the period of reaction, 1906-10, it was not the committee-men who deserted the party in large numbers; they mostly remained loyal. In the struggle a process of selection of cadres took place, and those who were selected were on the whole the committee-men. Unfortunately, however, self-sacrifice and special abilities do not provide a guarantee against the conservatism of the party machine. Herbert Spencer, the well-known naturalist, wisely observed that every organism is conservative in direct proportion to its perfection. Lenin, who knew how to recruit, train and keep the loyalty of the committee-men, had to oppose their conservatism during the revolution of 1905. [12]

Rosa Luxemburg’s opposition to Lenin’s concept of the party

Another factor probably weighed heavily with Trotsky in distancing himself from Lenin. All the leaders of the socialist movement outside Russia sided with the Mensheviks. Among these were Karl Kautsky, August Bebel and Rosa Luxemburg. Of especial significance was the stand of Rosa Luxemburg, who was the leader of a party at the time working in Tsarist Poland. To elaborate somewhat on Rosa Luxemburg’s position will require a substancial diversion in our story, but because of the great influence of Luxemburg’s position on Trotsky, it is unavoidable.

Throughout 1904 Martov, Axelrod, Potresov and Dan solicited their German acquaintances for their views on the Bolshevik-Menshevik dispute. Rosa Luxemburg obliged, producing an article – Organisational Questions in Russian Social Democracy – which was published both in Neue Zeit and Iskra.

Like Trotsky in Our Political Tasks, Rosa Luxemburg seized on Lenin’s characterisation of Social Democracy as ‘Jacobins joined to the proletariat which has become conscious of its class interest’:

The fact is that the Social Democracy is not joined to the organisation of the proletariat. It is itself the proletariat. And because of this, Social Democratic centralism ... is the rule of the majority within its own party ...

The tendency is for the directing organs of the socialist party to play a conservative role ... The present tactical policy of the German Social Democracy has won universal esteem because it is supple as well as fair. This is a sign of the fine adaptation of the party ... However, the very perfection of this adaptation is already closing vaster horizons to our party ...

... the only ‘subject’ which merits today the role of director is the collective ‘ego’ of the working class. The working class demands the right to make its mistakes and learn in the dialectic of history.

Let us speak plainly. Historically, the errors committed by a truly revolutionary movement are infinitely more fruitful than the infallibility of the cleverest Central Committee. [13]

Why did Rosa Luxemburg take this position? There are general reasons with which I dealt in my own book on Rosa Luxemburg:

To understand the roots of Rosa Luxemburg’s possible underestimation of the role of organisation and possible overestimation of the role of spontaneity, one must look at the situation in which she worked. First of all she had to fight the opportunist leadership of the German Social Democratic Party. This leadership emphasised the factor of organisation out of all proportion, and made little of the spontaneity of the masses. Even where they accepted the possibility of a mass strike, for instance, the reformist leadership reasoned as follows: the conditions in which the mass political strike will be launched and the appropriate time – as, for instance, when the union treasuries were full – would be determined by the party and trade union leadership alone, and the date fixed by them. It was their task also to determine the aims of the strike, which, according to Bebel, Kautsky, Hilferding, Bernstein and others, were to achieve the franchise or defend parliament. Above all, this precept must remain inviolable: that nothing is done by the workers except by order of the party and its leadership. It was with this idea of the mighty party leadership and the puny masses, that Rosa Luxemburg joined battle. But in doing so she may have bent the stick a little too far.

Another wing of the labour movement with which Rosa Luxemburg had to contend was the Polish Socialist Party (PPS). The PPS was a chauvinistic organisation, its avowed aim the national independence of Poland ... the PPS adopted adventuristic activities such as the organisation of terrorist groups and so on. Action was based not on the working class as a whole, but only on the party organisations. Here, too, the social process counted for little, the decision of the leadership for everything. Here, too (in her long struggle against PPS voluntarism) Rosa Luxemburg stressed the factor of spontaneity. [14]

A central argument of Rosa Luxemburg against Lenin was that he transplanted European, German and British (Fabian) models of organisation to Russia.

Besides the general reasons why Rosa Luxemburg adopted a certain position on the organisational question, there was also an immediate, specific reason for her position. J.P. Nettl explains that Rosa Luxemburg ‘had a ... score to settle with Lenin on account of the national question’. [15]

‘During the Polish negotiations at the second congress, the organisational problem had not been an issue,’ writes Nettl. [16] What was crucial was the inclusion of the right of national self-determination in the RSDRP programme. Rosa Luxemburg and her Polish party, the Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania (SDKPiL), became more and more obsessive with its unremitting opposition to self-determination; and this was the real cause of Rosa Luxemburg’s attack on Lenin.

The July 1903 number of Iskra carried an article by Lenin on the national question. He asserted once again the need for the RSDRP to support self-determination for oppressed nations, including the Poles. Rosa Luxemburg and Leo Jogisches reacted violently. The delegates of the SDKPiL to the 1903 Congress were summarily instructed to tell the Russians forthwith that in view of the Iskra article the negotiations

... now hung by a thread ... It is very advisable that you tell the Russians that following this article the moral value of joining the Russians [as a weapon against the PPS] practically disappears and it was only the moral aspect that interested us in the first place. If they are not willing to alter paragraph 7 [of the statutes, which embodied the right to self-determination emphasised in the Iskra article] we will have to break off the [intended] affiliation. Tell Zasulich that after the Iskra article I [Rosa] am not in the least bit interested in affiliation and that I have advised that no further concessions be made. [17]

In a telegram – probably of 6 August – Rosa Luxemburg and Leo Jogisches put an ultimatum to the RSDRP: if paragraph 7 were not removed, the Polish party would not participate in the congress. Lenin and the other Russian leaders did not retreat, so on 7 August the Polish delegates left the congress. [18]

This is not to say that the organisational problem was not of significance to Rosa Luxemburg. Her Polish party was a loose group of people, far removed from Lenin’s concept of the revolutionary party:

To a large extent each member of the élite acted on his own initiative and in accordance with his own predilections and habits. Orders were rare indeed; apart from exceptional cases ... communication was a matter of dispensing rabbinical shades of opinion. Dzierzynski was horrified at this laxity and saw it as evidence of deterioration. ‘No policy, no direction, no mutual assistance ... everybody has to cope on his own’ ... Far from being an accidental lacuna in the party’s administration, this haphazard informality was deliberate and jealously guarded. Some of the leaders very much disliked having to deal with money and organisational routine at all; it kept them from their writing. ‘I have no wish to concern myself with money matters ... You must approach Wladek [Olszewski], the cashier, in such matters’, Marchlewski wrote indignantly to Cezaryna Wojnarowska in 1902. The same applied even more strongly to Rosa Luxemburg. At some stage a formal party decision was reached that she could not concern herself with organisational matters at all, that she should not participate in any of the official conferences or congresses. [19]

Rosa Luxemburg was never a member of the central committee of her party.

This looseness of the Polish party’s organisation did not signify inner-party democracy. Whereas in the RSDRP formal means of disagreement as well as a formal procedure for solving those disagreements existed, the Polish ‘leaders preferred to express their views informally to each other. Party cohesion was not a matter of discipline or any self-conscious act of will. It was rather the product of a consensus.’ [20]

The leaders of the Polish party saw themselves as a ‘peer group’. They saw themselves as equal and no one else as equal to quite the same extent – a matter of belief more than knowledge; co-operation, moreover, for certain purposes only; a group that makes no demands on its membership greater than are willingly accepted.’ [21]

The informal way of running the Polish party did not mean that the members were even always informed correctly about why certain decisions were taken. Thus Nettl writes about the 1903 negotiations with the RSDRP:

No one bothered to inform the Polish membership officially about the negotiations or why they had failed; even some of the leaders, particularly Julian Marchlewski and Cezaryna Wojnarowska, had to rely on information from the Russians or gossip from Polish visitors to find out what had happened. There was the blatant discrepancy between formal SDKPiL thinking on organisational problems, allegedly the main purpose of the negotiations in the first place, and Rosa Luxemburg’s private assessment that the main purposes of joining had been for moral aid and comfort against the PPS. All the business about organisation now appeared as so much stuff and nonsense. Rosa and Leo Jogisches had apparently decided the issue off their own bat and had laid down fundamental priorities which might indeed be theirs but were not necessarily anyone else’s. Some members were unaware of her reasoning and continued to see in the organisational questions the insurmountable obstacle. Others considered even these as an insufficient ground for failing to achieve that unity with the Russians which Rosa herself had preached for so long. [22]

Rosa Luxemburg transferred the traditions of the Polish party into the German Spartakusbund. ‘In many ways the personal relationships, attitudes, and ideas about life and work, which evolved in the Spartakusbund, were all directly, if unconsciously, modelled on the SDKPiL ... In the Spartakusbund as in the SDKPiL there was great reluctance to squander effort on organisation.’ [23]

Rosa Luxemburg’s argument that Lenin’s concept of the party violated inner-party democracy did not fit well with the practice of the Polish party. As Nettl explains, Rosa Luxemburg’s ‘own attitudes in the Polish party hardly bore out such demands for more "democracy"; instead of controlling local organisations, she simply ignored them altogether. [24]

Not until 1917-18 did Rosa Luxemburg change her mind about the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks being united in one party. In the summer of 1911 she wrote:

Despite everything, the unity of the party could still be saved if both sides could be forced to call a conference together.

In August 1911 she reiterated:

The only way to save the unity is to bring about a general conference of people sent from Russia, for the people in Russia all want peace and unity, and they represent the only force that can bring the fighting-cocks abroad to their senses. [25]

In December 1913 Rosa Luxemburg condemned the ‘Lenin group’ for splitting the RSDLP Duma fraction. She called the Bolsheviks ‘a splinter group’ created by Lenin. [26] [1*]

Trotsky did not know the motives behind Rosa Luxemburg’s opposition to Lenin’s concept of party organisation, but he knew, of course, the fact that Rosa Luxemburg was fighting Lenin’s concept of the party, and this played a paramount role in strengthening his own opposition to Lenin on the issue.

As history is made by human beings, Trotsky’s personal characteristics must have played some role in his stubborn rejection of Lenin’s concept of the party. One very common explanation for Trotsky’s stubbornness on this issue is his pride. But this is nonsense. Trotsky was dedicated to the revolution to the extreme. The explanation for Trotsky’s ‘obstinacy’ probably lies, to some extent, in a personal trait that Lenin pointed to in his Testament just before his death: ‘He is personally perhaps the most capable man in the present CC. But he has displayed extreme self-assurance ...’ [28] Trotsky’s self-confidence was double-edged. It was his strength. But it could turn into a weakness.

In Conclusion

Marx stated that the emancipation of the working class is the act of the working class. At the same time he allo stated that the prevailing ideas in every society are the ideas of the ruling class. There is a contradiction between these two statements, not in Marx’s head but in social reality. If not for this contradiction, the transition to socialism would be either effortless or impossible. If the first statement were exclusively correct then the transition to socialism would be effortless. The millions of workers would be united against their tiny ruling class. In the second case socialism would never come because workers would be prisoners of bourgeois ideas.

Because of these contradictions the class struggle – the struggle between workers and capitalists – expresses itself in the struggle between workers and workers. Some workers are more class-conscious and courageous, others are more backward and submissive to the capitalists. The picket line is not aimed to stop capitalists from working; they never work when there is no strike; they won’t start working during the strike. Workers on the picket line are fighting workers who are, or ‘night become, scabs. If not for this contradiction there would be no need for revolution, civil war, or the dictatorship of the proletariat. If all workers were united in support of socialism there would be no need for revolutionary violence: if all workers spat at the capitalists at the same time they would drown them.

It is precisely in the uneven consciousness of the workers, in the sectionalism that bedevils the unity of the class, that the need for a vanguard party lies, according to Lenin. But the same unevenness in consciousness in the working class breeds also élitism and substitutionism. Trotsky saw this danger one-sidedly, and for some fourteen years refused to accept Lenin’s concept of the party, which he wholeheartedly embraced only in 1917.

Prior to 1917 Trotsky’s approach to the question of the party made it impossible for him to build any sizeable organisation. Throughout the years 1903-1917 he had around him a group of writers but never an organisation. As chief of an ‘anti-faction’ faction he was always isolated. Trotsky’s stand ‘above the factions’ meant that active socialists had in practice to choose, and did choose, either the Bolsheviks or the Mensheviks. One can win applause for the preaching of unity, but when the two basic factions are not ready to unite, a bridge cannot be built, and one falls between them.

Trotsky’s wrong practice fed his wrong theory of the party. Having no cadres to deal with, he did not have to choose people of advanced views, weld them together into a tightly centralised organisation, build a machine, and if need be, wrestle with this machine. Party centralism appeared to him only as a burden. The bird could say to itself: ‘How much easier it would be to fly if not for the resistance of the air.’ How much easier it would be to lead the working class if one were not encumbered with an organisation that suffered from inertia, conservatism, proneness to élitism and substitutionism.

Only in 1917, when the need for a centralised mass revolutionary party became obvious to Trotsky, did he free himself completely from his sweeping rejection of Lenin’s concept of the vanguard party. He then clearly understood that one cannot run away from the danger of substitutionism by avoiding building such a party.

The assumption underlying Trotsky’s approach to the question of the party in the years before he joined the Bolsheviks was that Lenin’s centralism would undermine workers’ self-activity. Of course, centralism, if applied wrongly, can undermine rank and file activity. Correctly applied centralism, a correct leadership, is a necessary condition to promote the self-confidence and activity of workers. This needs a leadership that is very far-sighted.

It was a tragedy that Trotsky’s ‘supra-factional’ position so completely undermined the impact of his tremendous theoretical contribution – the theory of the permanent revolution. The Mensheviks rejected the theory because it was a revolutionary theory, and the Bolsheviks closed their ears and eyes to it as its author was a spokesman of Menshevism. As the strength of a chain is its weakest link, Trotsky’s position on the party undermined the impact of his magnificent theory of permanent revolution, as we shall presently show.


1*. In 1907 Jogisches decided to transform the Polish party into a centralist organisation. Now it became super-centralist, with very little internal democracy: ‘...from 1907 to 1911 for all intents and purposes the SDKPiL was Jogisches ... He could be an extremely harsh and intolerant leader who brooked little opposition; his methods of dealing with opponents, if less polemical than Lenin’s, were at least as effective ... Those who disagreed with him found it simpler to resign, and between 1908 and 1911 several prominent members of the SDKPiL Central Committee – the Polish Executive – quietly dropped out. Those who remained were subjected to increasingly rigid discipline and cavalier treatment – the choice was to put up and shut up, or go.’ [27]


1. Lenin, Works, volume 7, page 404.

2. Tony Cliff, Lenin, volume 1 (Bookmarks, London 1986), pages 120-2.

3. Cliff, Lenin, volume 1, pages 128-9.

4. Cliff, Lenin, volume 1, pages 130-1.

5. Cliff, Lenin, volume 1, pages 308-17.

6. Cliff, Lenin, volume 2 (Bookmarks, London 1985), pages 149-50.

7. Lunacharsky, pages 60-1.

8. Preface to D. Sverchkov, Na zare revoliutsii (Petrograd 1921), pages 6-7.

9. Cliff, Lenin, volume 1, page 170.

10. J.V. Stalin, Works (Moscow) volume 1, page 80.

11. Cliff, Lenin, volume 1, page 175.

12. Cliff, Lenin, volume 1, page 170.

13. Rosa Luxemburg, Organisational Questions in Russian Social Democracy, in B.D. Wolfe (editor) The Russian Revolution and Leninism or Marxism? (Ann Arbor 1961), pages 89, 93 and 107-8.

14. Tony Cliff, Rosa Luxemburg (Bookmarks, London 1983), pages 44-5.

15. J.P. Nettl, Rosa Luxemburg, volume 1 (London 1966), pages 285-6.

16. Nettl, volume 1, page 288.

17. Nettl, volume 1, pages 277-8.

18. Nettl, volume 1, pages 277-9.

19. Nettl, volume 1, pages 263-6.

20. Nettl, volume 1, page 267.

21. Nettl, volume 1, pages 267-8.

22. Nettl, volume 1, pages 279-80.

23. Nettl, volume 1, page 268.

24. Nettl, volume 1, page 288.

25. Quoted in Trotsky, My Life, page 225.

26. Nettl, volume 2, page 592.

27. Nettl, volume 2, page 570.

28. Lenin, Works, volume 36, page 595.

Last updated on 19 July 2009