V. I.   Lenin

An Unissued Statement[1]

Written: Written on November 14 (27), 1903
Published: First published in 1928 in Lenin Miscellany VII. Published according to the manuscript.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, publisher??, pubdate??, Moscow, Volume 7, page 114.
Translated: Fineberg Abraham
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala and D. Walters
Copyleft: V. I. Lenin Internet Archive (www.marxists.org) © 2002 Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.
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The Central Committee of the R.S.D.L.P., meeting in Geneva on November 27, 1903, unanimously adopted the following decision.

Comrade Plekhanov’s co-optation of the Martovites to the editorial board constitutes outright defection on his part to the side of the Party Congress minority, a minority that Plekhanov himself more than once publicly character ised as inclining towards opportunism and anarchism. From the minutes of the Party Congress and the Congress of the League this will be seen quite clearly. This defection is a direct violation of the will of the Party Congress under the influence of the League Abeoad and in defiance of the emphatically stated decision of the majority of the Party committees in Russia. The Central Committee cannot allow such a violation of the will of the Congress, particularly since in taking advantage of Comrade Lenin’s resignation to commit this act, Comrade Plekhanov was guilty of a direct breach of trust; for Comrade Lenin resigned on cer tain conditions, in the interests of peace and good will in the Party, whereas the Martovites, by turning down the Central Committee’s ultimatum of November 25,[2] rejected peace and thereby declared war.

The Central Committee therefore, by revolutionary ac tion, takes the Party Central Organ into its own hands and declares that it will do everything in its power to secure that the will of the Party as a whole, not the will of the League Abroad or the treachery of an individual, shall determine the Party’s future.

Central Committee


[1] This Unissued Statement was proposed by Lenin as a decision of the Central Committee at a meeting of the latter on November 14 (27), 1903. It was not adopted because of the conciliationist attitude of some of the Central Committee members towards the Mensheviks.

[2] The Central Committee’s ultimatum to the Mensheviks was present ed on November 12 (25), 1903. On October 22 (November 4) Lenin had sent the Central Committee a letter (present edition, Vol. 34) in which he proposed offering the Mensheviks the following conditions:

1) co-optation of three of the ex-editors to the editorial board of the Central Organ;

2) re-establishment of the status quo in the League Abroad;

3) allowing the Mensheviks one seat on the Party Council.

These initial conditions did not meet with the support of the con ciliationist members of the Central Committee. In the same letter Lenin outlined and proposed simultaneously approving but not yet presenting to the Mensheviks the main points of an ultimatum, that is, a statement of the practical concessions the Central Com mittee could permissibly make to them: 1) co-optation of the four ox-editors to the editorial board; 2) co-optation to the Cantral Committee of two members of the opposition, to be chosen by the Central Committee itself; 3) re-establishment of the status quo in the League; 4) allowing the Mensheviks one seat on the Party Council. “If the ultimatum is rejected," Lenin wrote, “then—war to a finish. An extra condition: 5) cessation of all talk, gossip, and arguments about the dissensions at the Second Party Congress and after." These proposals of Lenin’s (except the extra condition) were includ ed in the ultimatum of November 12 (25), but were toned down somewhat by the conciliationist members of the Central Committee.

The Mensheviks, whom Plekhanov helped greatly by co-opting all the ox-editors to the editorial hoard the day after the Central Committee’s ultimatum, rejected the ultimatum and took the way of open war against the majority of the Party.

An evaluation of the Central Committee’s ultimatum is given by Lenin in One Step Forward, Two Steps Back (pp. 375-77 of this volume).

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