V. I.   Lenin

Draft Appeal of the Russian Organising Committee to the League of Russian Revolutionary Social-Democracy, the Union of Russian Social-Democrats Abroad, and the Foreign Committee of the Bund

Written: Written in December 1902–January 1903
Published: Published for the first time. Published according to the manuscript.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1964, Moscow, Volume 6, page 289.
Translated: ??? ???
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala and D. Walters
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In fulfilment of the decision passed by a conference of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party in the spring of 1902, the Organising Committee proposes to the League of Russian Revolutionary Social-Democracy, the Union of Russian Social-Democrats Abroad,[1] and the Foreign Committee of the Bund the formation of a foreign division of the Organising Committee of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party.

The functions of this foreign division of the Russian Organising Committee should he as follows:

1) elaboration of the question as to how Social-Democratic organisations abroad should be represented at the congress. The final decision of this question depends upon the Russian Organising Committee and then upon the congress itself; 2) assistance from abroad in the arrangement of the congress (for example, finances, passports, etc.), and 3) preparation for the unification of the Social-Democratic organisations abroad, which is so vitally necessary in the interests of the Party and of the Social-Democratic labour movement in Russia in general.



[1] The League of Russian Revolutionary Social-Democracy Abroad was founded in October 1901 on Lenin’s initiative. Affiliated to the League were the Iskra foreign organisation and the Sotsial Demokrat organisation, which included the Emancipation of Labour group.

Formation of the League was preceded by an attempt to get these organisations join the Union of Russian Social-Democrats Abroad, made in June 1901 at the Geneva Conference. A resolution was worked out at this conference (”the agreement on principles”) recognising the need to rally all Social-Democratic forces of Russia, and especially to unite all Social-Democratic organisations abroad, and condemning opportunism in all its shades and manifestations. The unification was to have been given official form at the “Unity” Congress, which was held on September 21-22 (Octo ber 4-5), 1901. When it became clear at the Congress that the Union still adhered to its opportunist stand, the revolutionary section of the Congress (members of the Iskra organisation and the Sotsial-Demokrat group) announced that they did not consider union possible and walked out. Soon afterwards they formed the League Abroad, whose Rules stated that it was the foreign section of the Iskra organisation. The League recruited Iskra adherents from among Russian Social-Democrats living abroad, gave financial   support to Iskra, organised delivery of the paper to Russia and published Marxist popular literature. It also brought out several bulletins and pamphlets, including Lenin’s To the Rural Poor.

The R.S.D.L.P.’s Second Congress endorsed the League as the only Party organisation abroad with the status of a committee, and indicated that it could give support to the Russian Social-Democratic movement only through persons and groups appointed by the Party’s Central Committee.

Following the Second Congress, the Mensheviks entrenched them selves in the League and launched a struggle against Lenin and the Bolsheviks. At the League’s second conference in October 1903, the Mensheviks got new Rules adopted, directed against the Party Rules approved by the Second Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. After this the League, which existed until 1905, became a stronghold of Menshevism.

The Union of Russian Social-Democrats Abroad was founded in 1894 in Geneva, on the initiative of the Emancipation of Labour group, and had its own press where it printed revolutionary literature. At first the Emancipation of Labour group guided the Union and edited its publications. The Union issued the Rabotnik miscellanies and Listok “Rabolnika” (see Note 107), and published Lenin’s Explanation of the Law on Fines (1897), Plekhanov’s New Drive Against Russian Social-Democracy (1897), etc. The First Congress of the R.S.D.L.P., held in March 1898, recognised the Union as the Party’s representative abroad. As time proceeded, the opportunist elements—the “economists,” or so-called “young” group—gained the upper hand in the Union. At the first conference of the Union, held in Zurich in November 1898, the Emancipation of Labour group announced their refusal to edit Union publications, with the exception of No. 5-6 of Rabotnik and Lenin’s pamphlets, The Tasks of the Russian Social-Democrats and The New Factory Law,which the group undertook to publish. From then on, the Union published Rabocheye Dyelo, a magazine of the “economists.” The Emancipation of Labour group finally broke with the Union and left its ranks in April 1900, at the Union’s second conference held in Geneva, when the Emancipation of Labour group and its supporters left the conference and established an independent Sotsial-Demokrat organisation. In 1903 the Second Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. passed a decision to disband the Union (see The C.P.S.U. in Resolutions and Decisions of Its Congresses, Conferences, and Plenary Meetings of the Central Committee, Part I, 1954, p. 56).

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