V. I.   Lenin

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

January 15-17 (28-30), 1904


I cannot agree with Martov; he gives a wrong picture of the role of a congress. He says the differences are not yet clear to all the comrades and that the convening of a congress would arrest the process of demarcation and the airing of the organisational conflict in the press. I think that precisely with a view to the free clarification of differences of principle it is necessary to eliminate the crisis, to clear the atmosphere of squabbles, and for that we need a congress. Not in order to cut short the struggle, but to bring it within normal bounds,   a Third Congress is required. The very suggestion that it would cut short the struggle over principles is a strange one. Let me remind you of the chairman’s statement at the Second Congress, to the effect that even our programme is subject to further development and elucidation. But for the struggle over principles, the conflict of opinion, to be effective and fruitful, conditions are needed which at the moment we do not have. I protest against the historical parallels that have been drawn here and the reference to Rabocheye Dyelo. The difference between the position now and three years ago is that then we did not yet have a united party, and now we do. Those who talk here about a breakaway half should be the last to protest against a congress to eliminate the abnormality which by our own efforts we find ourselves unable to remove. Positive work and clarification of differences of principle will only be possible when the Third Congress removes that abnormality and brings the conflict of opinion within definite bounds.


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