V. I.   Lenin

Session of the Council of the R.S.D.L.P. (January 1904)

January 15-17 (28-30), 1904


I do not agree with either Martov or Plekhanov. They say there can be no question of such a resolution being out of order, and adduce two arguments. 1) Martov’s argument is that the Council is the Party’s supreme institution. But don’t forget that the competence of the Council is limited by special provisions in the Rules—a thing which Comrade Martov himself went to no small pains to secure. 2) The second argument is that by this resolution the Council would only be voicing its opinion and recommendation. The Council can, of course, voice an opinion and recommendation, but without attempting to do more. (Plekhanov: “Of course! Of course!") The Council can only suggest co-optation to the Central Committee; but in that case the Central Commit tee will demand a change in the composition of the Central   Organ. I am willing, under certain conditions, to agree to proportional representation. But I ask, is there proportional representation on the Central Organ? The composition of the Central Organ is one to four, and even that one is a person who belongs to neither majority nor minority. The Central Committee on an earlier occasion made an offer of two to nine[2] it made it at a time of total dissension, with a split impending. In a sense, all disagreement is a split, and when two halves will not work together, then it is an actual split. Only from the standpoint of a split could we acknowledge Comrade Plekhanov’s resolution as making sense. It could be regarded as an ultima ratio;[1] but in that event both sides would be equally entitled to have the composition of the central bodies changed. I am firmly convinced that the Central Committee, for its part, is dissatisfied with the composition of the Central Organ. The moment we touch on the question of the past Congress, there will be a clash and we shall get nowhere. Thus, for example, Plekhanov claims that the Congress did not elect a third person to the editorial board because there was no suitable third person. I maintain-that the Congress did not elect a third because it was convinced that Comrade Martov would join the board. The same can be said of the composition of the Council. Many people at the Congress thought that Comrade Martov would sit on the Council in the capacity of member of the editorial board. The majority can say, and will, that if there is to be proportional representation, then the Central Organ should be augmented with another six members, belonging to what is known as the majority. But that sort of argument will not help us towards the desired end, for which reason I believe Comrade Plekhanov’s resolution is not as good as mine. My resolution about “the permissible and the impermissible” would have this significance, that we, as representatives of the contending sides, would be calling on the rest of the comrades to keep within the bounds of permissible forms of struggle.

We should not take a purely juridical view, for actually our common recognition of the fact that the relations in the Party are abnormal is equivalent to recognising that we   are two contending sides, the Central Organ and the Central Committee. (Plekhanov: “This is a meeting of the Council, not of the editorial board.”) Yes, I am not forgetting that. From the juridical standpoint we cannot speak of proportional representation on the central bodies. But from the political standpoint, too, it is inadvisable to operate with this idea, for we should have to defer to the wishes of one side without hearing the wishes of the other. There is no third party between us who could settle our dispute. Yet only the opinion of such a third party could have weight, both political and moral. An actual split exists, and we are on the eve of a formal split if the minority persists, without caring what means it uses, in trying to make itself the majority.



[1] Last resort.–Ed.Lenin

[2] In Point 3 of its ultimatum of November 12 (25), 1903, the Central Committee had offered to co-opt two members of the minority. The Central Committee consisted at that time of Lenin, Krzhizha novsky, Lengnik, Noskov (Glebov), Gusarov, Zemlyachka, Krasin, Essen, and Galperin.

  5IV | 6VI  

Works Index   |   Volume 7 | Collected Works   |   L.I.A. Index
< backward   forward >