V. I.   Lenin

Party Affairs Abroad

Published: Iskra, No. 9, October 1901. Published according to the Iskra text.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1961, Moscow, Volume 5, pages 241-242.
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala and D. Walters
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive (2003). 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.
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The foreign branch of the Iskra organisation has united with the Sotsial-Demokrat revolutionary organisation abroad, and has formed with it a single organisation under the name of the League of Russian Revolutionary Social-Democracy Abroad.[1] As will be seen from its published declaration, the new organisation proposes to issue a number of propaganda and agitational pamphlets. The League is the representative of Iskra abroad. Thus, the organisation of revolutionary Social-Democrats abroad, led by the Emancipation of Labour group, has finally merged with the organisation grouped round our paper. As before, the Emancipation of Labour group will participate directly in editing and managing our publications.

The unification of the Russian revolutionary Social- Democratic organisations abroad was accomplished after their attempt to combine with the Union of Russian Social-Democrats Abroad (which issues Rabocheye Dyelo) had failed. Early in summer, a conference of representatives of the three organisations drafted an agreement. The basis of the agreement was provided by a number of resolutions on matters of principle, according to which the Union Abroad would put an end to all flirting with Economism and Bernsteinism, and recognise the principles of revolutionary Social-Democracy. There was reason to hope that unity would be accomplished; for until then the only obstacle to a rapprochement was the vacillation of the Union Abroad and of its organ, Rabocheye Dyelo, with regard to questions of principle. These hopes were not justified, since the recently published No. 10 of Rabocheye Dyelo contained editorial articles openly directed against the   resolutions that had been drawn up at the conference with the participation of the delegation of the Union Abroad. Apparently, the Union Abroad again swerved towards the Bight Wing of our movement. In fact, at the conference of the three organisations, the Union Abroad proposed “amendments” to the above-mentioned resolutions, which clearly showed that it was reverting to its previous deviations. The other organisations felt obliged to leave the conference, and in fact did so. Apparently, our comrades of the Union Abroad are not yet sufficiently aware of the danger of the intermediary position their organisation occupies between revolutionary socialism and the opportunism that plays into the hands of the liberals. We hope that time and bitter experience will convince them of the error of their tactics. The effort observed throughout the Party, not only to work for the expansion of our movement, but also to raise its qualitative level, is the best guarantee that the much- desired unification of all our forces will be accomplished under the banner of revolutionary Social-Democracy, which our paper serves.


[1] The League of Russian Revolutionary Social-Democracy Abroad was founded on Lenin’s initiative in October 1901. The Iskra Zarya organisation abroad and the Sotsial-Demokrat organisation (which included the Emancipation of Labour group) entered the League. The task of the League was to disseminate the ideas of rev olutionary Social-Democracy and promote the foundation of a mil itant Social-Democratic organisation. Actually, the League was the representative of Iskra abroad. It recruited supporters for Iskra from among Social-Democrats living abroad, gave it materi al support, organised its delivery to Russia, and published popular Marxist literature. The League issued several Bulletins and pamph lets. The Second Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. approved the League as the sole Party organisation abroad, accorded it the full rights of a committee working under the leadership and control of the Central Committee of the R.S.D.L.P.

After the Second Congress the Mensheviks entrenched them selves in the League and launched their struggle against Lenin and the Bolsheviks. At the Second Congress of the League in October 1903, the Mensheviks libelled the Bolsheviks, following which Lenin and his supporters walked out. The Mensheviks adopted new Rules for the League that contradicted the Rules of the Party adopt ed at the Second Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. From that time onwards the League became a bulwark of Menshevism; it continued its existence until 1905.

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