V. I. Lenin

The Second Congress of the R.S.D.L.P.

JULY 17 (30)–AUGUST 10 (23), 1908




AUGUST 5 (18)


Let me reply briefly to both objections.{1} Comrade Martov says that I propose the unanimity of the two collegiums in co-opting members; that is not right. The Congress has decided not to give the right of veto to each member of two, possibly rather extensive, collegiums, but that does not   mean that we cannot vest this authority in the institution co-ordinating all the joint work of the two centres. The joint work of the two centres demands complete unanimity and even personal unity, and that is possible only if co-optation is unanimous. After all, if two members find co-optation necessary, they are entitled to convene the Council.


Martov’s amendment contradicts the already adopted point on the unanimous co-optation to the C.C. and the C.O.{2}


Comrade Martov’s interpretation is wrong, because the exemption contradicts unanimity.{3} I appeal to the Congress and request it to decide whether Comrade Martov’s amendment should be put to the vote.


I should not argue with Comrades Glebov and Deutsch in substance, but I considered it necessary to mention the League{4} in the Rules, first, because everyone knew of the League’s existence, second, to make note of the League’s representation in the Party under the old rules, and third, because all other organisations have the status of commit tees, whereas the League is introduced to bring out its special status.{5}

Vtoroi ocherednoi syezd R.S.D.R.P. Polny tekst protokolov, Central Committee publication, Geneva, 1904 Printed from the text of the book


{1} A reference to the speeches of Trotsky and Martov objecting to Lenin’s proposal that § 12 of the Party Rules should state that the C.C. and the C.O. Editorial Board could co-opt members only with the consent of all the members of the Party Council. p. 92

{2} A reference to Martov’s proposal during the debate on § 12 of the draft Rules: “In the event no unanimity is reached in co-opting new members to the C.C. or to the Editorial Board of the Central Organ, the question of the member’s admission may be referred to the Council, and in the event it annuls the decision of the collegium in question, the latter shall take a final decision by a simple majority” (Vtoroi syezd R.S.D.R.P., 1959, p. 311). p. 93

{3} A reference to Martov’s words: “I propose that a majority dissatisfied with a minority decision should be entitled to appeal to the Council for a decision” (Vtoroi spent R.S.D.R.P., 1959, p. 311). Martov’s amendment was adopted by the Congress by 24 votes to 23. p. 93

{4} The League of Russian Revolutionary Social-Democracy Abroad was founded in October 1901 on Lenin’s initiative. Affiliated to the League were the Iskra organisation abroad and the Sotsial-Demokrat. revolutionary organisation which included the Emancipation of Labour group. The task of the League was to spread the ideas of revolutionary Social-Democracy and to help create a militant Social-Democratic organisation. Under its Rules, the League was the Iskra organisation abroad. It recruited Iskra supporters from among Russian Social-Democrats abroad, gave Iskra material assistance, organised the delivery of the newspaper to Russia and published popular Marxist literature. The Second Congress   of the R.S.D.L.P. confirmed the League as the only Party organisation abroad with the status of a committee, authorising it to work under the guidance and control of the R.S.D.L.P. Central Committee.

After the Second Congress, the Mensheviks entrenched themselves in the League and launched a struggle against Lenin and the Bolsheviks. At the League’s Second Congress in October 1903, the Mensheviks secured the adoption of new Rules aimed against the Party Rules, as approved by the Second Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. From then on the League became a Menshevik strong hold. It operated until 1905. p. 93

{5} In his speech Lenin replies to V. A. Noskov (Glebov) and L. G. Deutsch, who proposed that § 13 (on the recognition of the League of Russian Revolutionary Social-Democracy Abroad as the only R.S.D.L.P. organisation abroad, and on its tasks) should not be included in the Rules, but referred for discussion to the Central Committee (Glebov) or to the Party Council (Deutsch). § 13 of the Rules was adopted by 31 votes to 12, with 6 abstentions. p. 93


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