V. I.   Lenin

Second Congress of the League of Russian Revolutionary Social-Democracy Abroad[3]

October 13-18 (26-31), 1903

Published: Published in January 1904 in the Minutes of the Second Regular Congress of the League of Russian Revolutionary Social-Democracy Abroad. Geneva. Published according to the text of the Minutes.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, publisher??, 1964, Moscow, Volume 7, pages 69-85.
Translated: Fineberg Abraham
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
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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Prefatory Remarks to the Report On the Second Congress of the R.S.D.L.P., October 13 (20)


Lenin made a few prefatory remarks to his report. I propose, in the first place, he said, to keep to the pseudonyms used at the Congress, because I am accustomed to them and it will be easier for me to use them than to stop and think each time what organisation the delegate represented. Secondly, I propose to touch also on the meetings of the Iskra organisation which took place, privately, so to speak, in the intervals between sittings of the Congress. I think this is in order, firstly, because the League was the foreign branch of the Is/era organisation, secondly, because the Is/era organisation has now been dissolved, and, thirdly, because without these facts it will be more difficult for me to bring out the true meaning of the events at the Party Congress.


Comrade Martov is against any reference being made 10 the private meetings of the Iskra organisation on the grounds that no minutes were kept. But neither are the minutes of the Party Congress available yet, and I cannot cite them either. After all, Comrade Martov is present here and will be able to correct any inaccuracies that may creep in. If the private meetings of Iskra have a bearing on the matter, I shall bring them to the knowledge of an even wider audience—Comrade Martov will not be able to hush them up any way. ("Oho!") I remember perfectly whom I kept out of these meetings, and who withdrew from them, and I shall have a lot to say on this score. Of course, mistakes may occur, and I shall not be able to reconstruct everything from memory. The  important thing is the political grouping.   What it was as shown by each particular vote taken, I can, of course, recall only approximately, but in general it is perfectly clear to me. It is not in the interest of the work to conceal from the League what pertains to the Iskra organisation, which has now been dissolved, and what has already become the common concern of the Party. As to the pseudonyms used in the minutes, they would be better, of course, but I have not read the minutes and am therefore unacquainted with them.


Comrade Martov is afraid that discussing the private meetings of Iskra may land us in the domain of tittle-tattle. I had no intention of entering the domain of tittle-tattle, and we shall see who will be able to keep the argument on the plane of principle, and who will have to descend into that murky domain. ("Oho!") We shall see, we shall see! I consider myself fully at liberty to touch on the meetings of the editorial board, and will not object if Comrade Martov does likewise; nevertheless, I must point out that during the Congress there was not a single meeting of the editorial board as such.


The chief purpose of my report is to show that Comrade Martov made a mistake; but in his hint regarding Comrade Plekhanov I detect something quite different. Let me remind you of what I said on one occasion at the Party Congress: "What a storm of indignation is usually aroused when people say one thing at committees and another on the floor of the Congress.”[1] To hint at such behaviour is no longer discussing political conduct but indulging in personalities. As regards P. B. Axelrod’s statement that X. went away completely uninformed, let me say that that was not so at all. He himself wrote me a letter saying that in his opinion there was a lot that was personal about this whole divergence and not much that related to principle. From that I conclude that he was already informed. And in answer to his request for my opinion regarding the Congress, I wrote to him on several occasions too.



Report On the Second Congress of the R.S.D.L.P., October 14 (27)

Before beginning his report, Lenin referred to the discussion at the previous sitting as to how far mention might be made of the private meetings held by the Iskra-ists during the Party Congress. He interpreted yesterday’s decision of the Congress as meaning that facts not recorded in the minutes must be touched on as little as possible, and therefore intended, in referring to the meetings of the Iskra organisation, to deal only with the voting results.

After this introduction, he went on to speak of the period immediately preceding the Party Congress. In the Organising Committee, whose business it was to arrange the Congress, the Iskra-ists predominated, and its work was carried on along Iskra-ist lines. But even while the Congress arrangements were still in progress it became apparent that the Organising Committee was far from being completely at one. To begin with, it included a Bundist, who did everything he could to prevent the convocation of an Iskra-ist Congress; this member of the Organising Commit tee always pursued a separate line of his own. There were also two Yuzhny Rabochy members on it, and although they considered themselves Iskra-ists, and even announced their adherence to Iskra, on which subject there were lengthy negotiations, they could not be wholly regarded as such. Lastly, even the Iskra-ist members of the Organising Committee were not completely at one; they had differences among themselves. It is also important to mention the Organising Committee’s decision on the subject of binding instructions. This question came up long before the Congress,   and the decision arrived at was that binding instructions be abolished. The editorial board too pronounced emphatically in favour of this. The decision applied to itself also. It was decided that at the Congress, since it was the supreme Party authority, no member of the Party, or of the editorial board, should consider himself bound by any commitments to the organisation that had delegated him. It was in view of this decision that I drafted a Tagesordnung* [* Agenda.—Ed.] for the Congress, together with a commentary, which I decided to submit to the Congress in my own name. Item 23 of this draft had the comment in the margin that three persons should be elected to the editorial board and as many to the Central Committee. There is one other point in this connection. As the editorial board consisted of six persons, it was decided by common consent that, if it were found necessary to hold a meeting of the board during the Congress and the votes divided equally, Comrade Pavlovich would be invited to the meeting with full voting rights.

The delegates began to arrive long before the opening of the Congress. The Organising Committee gave them an opportunity to get acquainted with the editors beforehand. Very naturally, the Iskra-ists wanted to present themselves at the Congress united and in harmony on all points, and with this in view private conversations were held with the delegates as they arrived, and meetings were arranged to work out a common viewpoint. At these meetings the political complexion of some of the delegates became pretty clear. At one such meeting, for instance, where I read a paper on the national question,[4] the delegate from the Mining Area expressed views akin to those of the Polish Socialist Party,[5] and in general betrayed extreme confusion of ideas.

Such were the circumstances that preceded the Congress.

I shall now explain how I came to be the only delegate from the League, although it had elected two. It turned out that no delegate had arrived from the Iskra organisation in Russia,[6] which was also to have sent two delegates. Thereupon a meeting of the Iskra-ists, held just before the Congress opened, decided that one of the two League   delegates should turn over his mandate to the other and himself act as the delegate of the Iskra organisation with its two mandates, with the provision that if an elected delegate should arrive from Russia, one of these two man dates would be turned over to him. Naturally, both Martov and I wanted to be the delegate from Iskra, in view of the minor role played by the League. We settled the point by drawing lots.

The first preliminary question—the election of the Congress Bureau—gave rise to something of a difference, true, a minor one, between Martov and me. He insisted on the election of nine persons, these even to include a Bund ist. I, on the other hand, considered that we should elect a Bureau capable of pu1 uing a firm, consistent policy and, if necessary, even of applying what is called the “iron glove”. The Bureau elected consisted of Plekhanov, Lenin, and Pavlovich.

In addition to five Bundists, there were at the Congress two delegates from the Union of Russian Social-Democrats Abroad and a delegate from the St. Petersburg League of Struggle, who nearly always voted with them. From the very outset these persons greatly dragged out the proceedings. The discussion of the Congress Standing Orders alone took up an incredible amount of time. There were endless arguments, lasting several sittings, over the position of the Bund in the Party. Similar delays were caused by the Bundist who got on to the Credentials Committee. He practised obstruction at every turn, would not agree with the other members of the committee, of which I was one, on a single point, and invariably recorded a “dissenting opinion”. When it was remarked that this sort of thing was likely to drag out the Congress, he replied, “Well, let it”, and said he was ready to have the committee sit for any length of time. It was not till long after midnight that the work of verifying the credentials was finished.

Also in the opening days of the Congress we had an incident over the Organising Committee. Under the Regulations it had drawn up, only “prominent Party personalities” could be invited to the Congress in a deliberative capacity, and the Credentials Committee had rejected the request of the Borba group to be granted representation. Two members   of the Organising Committee had attended the Credentials Committee meeting, and they had categorically opposed admitting a Borba representative to the Congress. When the spokesman for the committee informed the Congress of this decision, a long debate “for” and “against” developed, in which one of the Iskra-ists declared that a representative of Borba should on no account be invited to the Congress, as that group did nothing but intrigue, try to insinuate itself into every chink, sow dissension everywhere, and so on. (Trotsky: "Why don’t you give the speaker’s name? It was I who said it." P. Axelrod: “The speaker evidently does not think it would be in his interest.") Yes, it was Comrade Trotsky who spoke so harshly of the Borba group. At the very height of this argument about whether a Borba representative should be admitted to the Congress, one of the Yu zhny Rabochy delegates, who had been late in arriving and had only just turned up, asked for a five-minute adjournment to allow him to acquaint himself with all the circumstances of the case. When the adjournment was granted, the members of the Organising Committee held a meeting then and there, by the window. I should mention that even before the Congress opened certain Organising Committee members had shown some dissatisfaction with the editorial board. For example, the Bundist member was highly indignant that the editorial board had sent its contribution of five hundred marks to the election fund of the German Social- Democrats in its own name and that of the Organising Committee without first obtaining the latter’s sanction. This innocent action, which was quite natural considering the impossibility of communicating promptly with the comrades in Russia, was interpreted by the Bundist as meaning that the editors, living abroad, made free with the name of the Organising Committee without asking its consent. A motion was even tabled in the Organising Committee to censure the editors for this, and it was passed, because the Bundist was supported by Comrade NN, a member of the Iskra organisation. When I told Martov of this, he was much incensed, and said it was “infamous”. (Martov: “I did not use the word ’infamous’.") I do not remember the exact expression he used. Martov added that he “would not let the matter rest there”. I, for my part, tried to persuade him   that the incident was of no great significance, and that it would be better to say nothing and attach no importance to it. When the meeting of the Organising Committee by the window was over, Comrade Paviovich, who was a member of it, informed the other two members of the Bureau that on the motion of the belated Yuzhny Rabochy delegate, who was also a member of the Organising Committee, the latter had decided by a majority of all against Paviovich himself to invite the Borba representative Ryazanov to the Congress, in a deliberative capacity. Comrade Pavlovich had objected strongly to this decision, and, as binding instructions had been abolished, he considered himself at liberty to protest against it to the Congress. We Bureau members, and also the editors and other Iskra-ists, were outraged at this decision of the Organising Committee. Comrade NN, the Organising Committee member I have mentioned, had him self spoken in the Credentials Committee against admitting a Borba representative to the Congress, yet now, at this meeting of the Organising Committee, he had agreed to invite one. He was himself trying now to smuggle Ryazanov into the Congress. We had thus been caught in a trap. And we decided to fight with might and main against this disgraceful Organising Committee decision. Many delegates rose and opposed it. In my own speech on the subject I spoke of “the storm of indignation that is aroused at European congresses when people say one thing at committees and another on the floor of the congress”. In saying this I had in mind NN, who was a member of the Iskra organisation. When Comrade Paviovich made his protest to the Congress against this decision of the Organising Committee, the Yuzhny Rabochy member found this to be a breach of discipline, a disruptive move, and so on, and demanded that the Congress inflict suitable punishment on Comrade Paviovich for his action. But we were able to smash all these arguments. The Organising Committee majority was defeated. A resolution was passed to the effect that after the Congress had appointed a Credentials Committee the Organising Committee as a body no longer had any right to influence the composition of the Congress. The motion to invite Ryazanov was rejected. But even since the Congress I have heard some Iskra-ists question: why not have admitted a Borba   member to the Congress? (Deutsch: “I said that at the Congress itself too.") Quite so, and on other questions also, as I shall have occasion to point out, Comrade Deutsch did not always vote with the rest of the Iskra-ists, as, for instance, on equality of languages. Some Iskra-ists have even been expressing the very singular view that the activities of the Central Committee should reflect all vacillations and primitive conceptions existing in the Party. And at the Congress certain irresolute, wavering Iskra-ists spoke in this same spirit. Thus, the idea that all who claim to be Iskra-ists really are Iskra-ists turns out to be quite mistaken. There are Iskra-ists who are even ashamed of the name—that is a fact. There are Iskra-ists who fight Iskra, who obstruct it in all kinds of ways and hinder its activities. Iskra has become popular, it has become the fashion to call oneself an Iskra-ist, but that does not prevent many people from remaining what they were before Iskra was recognised by many of the committees. These unreliable Iskra-ists have done it a great deal of harm. If at least they would fight it openly and squarely.... But no, they do it in a sneaking, underhand, surreptitious, secret manner.

The second item on the Tagesordnung of the Party Congress was the Party programme. The supporters of Rabocheye Dyelo, the Bundists, and diverse delegates who during the Congress were nicknamed the “Marsh” practised incredible obstruction. The debate on the programme dragged out beyond all belief. Akimov alone moved several dozen amendments. There were arguments literally over single words, over what conjunction to use. So many amendments had to he discussed that one Bundist, a member of the Programme Committee, asked, and with reason, whose draft we were considering, the one submitted by the editors of Iskra, or one submitted by Akimov. The amendments were trifling, and the programme was adopted without any changes of importance whatever; nevertheless, the debates took up about .twenty sittings, so unproductive was the work of the Congress owing to the opposition of various anti-Iskra-ist and quasi Iskra-ist elements.

The next major incident to arise at the Congress after the Organising Committee incident was in connection with equality of languages, or, as it was ironically called at the   Congress, “freedom of tongues”. (Martov: “Or the ’asses’." Laughter.) Yes, and the “asses". The point was this. The draft Party programme spoke of equal rights for all citizens irrespective of sex, nationality, religion, etc. This was not enough for the Bundists, and they wanted to write into the programme the right of every nationality to receive tuition in its own language and to use it in addressing public and state institutions. When a garrulous Bundist referred, by way of example, to state stud farms, Comrade Plekhanov remarked that stud farms had nothing to do with it, as horses do not talk—"only asses do”. The Bundists took offence at this, evidently thinking the jest was meant for them.

It was over the equality of languages question that the first signs of a split appeared. In addition to the Bundists, the Rabocheye Dyelo-ists, and the “Marsh”, certain Iskra-ists too pronounced in favour of “freedom of tongues”. Comrade Deutsch’s votes on this issue evoked our astonishment, indignation, and disgust; in some cases he abstained, in others voted against us. In the end the question was decided amicably and unanimously.

On the whole, during the first half of the Congress all the Iskra-ists stood together. The Bundists claimed there was a conspiracy against them. One Bundist described the Congress as a “compact majority”. In reply, I expressed the wish that our whole Party might become one compact majority.

But the second half of the Congress presented an entirely different picture. From that time began Martov’s historic change of front. The disagreements that developed between us were by no means insignificant. They were due to Martov’s erroneous appraisal of the present situation. Comrade Martov deviated from the line he had previously adhered to.

The fifth item on the Tagesordnung was the Rules. An argument between Martov and myself over Paragraph I of them had already arisen in the committee. We each upheld a different formulation. Whereas I proposed defining a Party member as one who accepted the Party programme, support ed the Party financially and belonged to one of its organisations, Martov thought it sufficient if, in addition to the first two conditions, a person worked under the control of one of the Party organisations. I insisted on my formulation   and pointed out that we could not adopt a different definition of a Party member without departing from the principle of centralism. To recognise as a Party member one who did not belong to any Party organisation would mean being against all control by the Party. Martov was introducing here a new principle that was entirely contr iry to the principles of Iskra. His formulation widened the boundaries of the Party. He tried to justify this by saying that our Party must be a party of the masses. What he was doing was to open the door to every kind of opportunist, to widen the boundaries of the Party until they became entirely blurred. In the conditions under which we have to work this is very dangerous, because it is very difficult to draw the line between a revolutionary and a windbag; that made it necessary to narrow the concept “Party”. Martov’s mistake was that he was throwing the door of the Party wide open to every adventurer, when it had become apparent that even at the Congress fully one-third of those present were given to intriguing. Martov on this occasion acted as an opportunist. His formulation introduced a false, discordant note into the Rules: every Party member should be under the control of an organisation, so that the Central Committee should be able to communicate with every single member. My formulation provided an incentive to organise. Comrade Martov was cheapening the concept “Party member”, while it should, I consider, stand high, very high. Martov got the support of Rabocheye Dyelo, the Bund and the “Marsh”, and with their aid he secured the adoption of his Paragraph I of the Rules.

Then Martov began to say that “defamatory rumours” were being circulated about him. But there was nothing offensive in pointing out with whom Martov found himself in alliance. I was the object of a similar reproof when I found myself in alliance with Comrade Brouck re. And I took no offence when Martov sent me a note saying: “Look who is voting with you." True, my alliance with Brouck re was a temporary and accidental one, while Martov’s alliance with the Bund turned out to be lasting. I was against Mai  toy’s formulation because it meant Versumplung.[2] I warned Martov of that, and our opponents, by following him to   a man, provided eloquent illustration of his error. The most dangerous thing, however, was not that Martov had landed in the marsh, but that, having accidentally done so, he made no attempt to get out of it, but sank in deeper and deeper. The Bundists felt they were now the masters of the situation, and put their mark on the Party Rules.

During the second half of the Congress, too, a compact majority was formed, only it now consisted of a coalition of the Martovites plus the “Marsh” plus the Rabocheye Dyelo and Bund compact minority. And this compact majority stood against the Iskra-ists. One Bundist, seeing the Iskraists quarrelling among themselves, said: “It’s nice to spar when the leaders are at loggerheads." I cannot understand why the Bund should have withdrawn, things being as they were. They were actually the masters of the situation, and could have had a lot their own way. Most probably, they had binding instructions.

After Paragraph 1 of the Rules had been spoilt in this way, we had to bind the broken pot as tightly as possible, with a double knot. Naturally, we began to fear that we would be intrigued against, let down. Hence it was necessary to introduce mutual co-optation to the central bodies, so that the Party might be assured of their unity of action. Over this a struggle developed too. Things had to be so arranged that in the period leading to the Third Party Congress we should not get a repetition of what had happened with the Organising Committee. A consistent, honest Iskra ist cabinet had to be formed. On this point we were again defeated. The clause on mutual co-optation to the central bodies was voted down. The mistake of Martov, who was supported by the “Marsh”, stood out more saliently than ever. From that moment the coalition was definitely formed and, on pain of defeat, we had to load our guns with double charges. There sat the Bund and Rabocheye Dyelo, their votes deciding the fate of the Congress. That caused the stub born, bitter struggle that ensued.

I shall now pass to the private meetings of the Iskra organisation. At these we chiefly discussed the composition of the Central Committee. At all four meetings of the Iskra organisation, there were debates on the subject of Comrade NN, on whom a section of the Iskra-ists wanted   to pass a vote of political non-confidence, though not in the literal sense of the term, for no one imputed to NN any thing that disgraced him, but in the specific sense that he was unfit to be a member of the Iskra-ist cabinet. This led to a desperate scrap. At the last meeting, the meeting of the sixteen, nine voted against NN, four in favour, while the rest abstained. At this meeting, too, we discussed who was now to be included in our cabinet.

Martov and I proposed different “trios”; we could not agree on them. Not wanting to split the vote at the Congress, we decided to propose a compromise list. We were prepared to make every concession: I agreed to a list that included two Martovites. The minority rejected this. Incidentally, a Yuzhny Rabochy delegate refused to be included in our list while consenting to be included in the Martovite list. It was Yuzhny Rabochy—an outside element— that was deciding the question of the Central Committee. After the Iskra-ists had split, we had to muster our sup porters, and we started a vigorous agitation. The unexpected withdrawal of the Bund reversed the whole situation. With its withdrawal, there was again a compact majority and minority. We were now in the majority, and we secured the election to the Central Committee of the people we wanted.

Such were the circumstances that led to the split. It was exceedingly tactless of Martov to raise at the Congress the question of endorsing all the six editors of Iskra, when he knew that I would insist on the editors having to be elected. It meant turning the election of the editorial board into an expression of non-confidence in individual editors.

The elections ended at five o’clock on Saturday. We then proceeded to discuss the resolutions. We had only a few hours left for this. Owing to the obstruction and delays caused by the “Marsh”, many important items had to be dropped from the Tagesordnang; not enough time was left, for instance, to discuss all the tactical questions.

Over the resolutions the Congress was so unanimous that we formed the impression that a conciliatory mood had developed; it seemed to us that Martov was not going to make the disagreements that had arisen an issue of state. He even said, when one of the Yuzhny Rabochy-ists questioned the validity of the elections, that the minority accepted all the   Congress decisions. All the resolutions were passed in a peaceful and amicable spirit; differences arose only over Starover’s resolution on the liberals. It was vague, and it, too, was marked by opportunism; we fought it and secured the adoption of an additional resolution on the same subject.

The general impression one got of the Congress was that we had to fight against intrigue. It was made impossible for us to work. The natural conclusion was: “Heaven preserve us from friends like these!"—i.e., the quasi-Iskra ists. Martov completely failed to understand this situation. He elevated his mistaken position to a principle. His assertion that the majority had instituted a “state of siege” ran glaringly counter to the Party’s real needs. For the work to be more effective, it was necessary to eliminate the obstructing elements and make it impossible for them to damage the Party; only if that were done could our work at the next Congress be fruitful. That is why it was necessary to establish complete unity between the central bodies of the Party.

The first half of the Congress was the complete opposite of the second. The cardinal, major points of the Congress as a whole were the following four: 1) the Organising Commit tee incident; 2) the debate on equality of languages; 3) the debate on Paragraph I of the Rules, and 4) the struggle over the elections to the Party central bodies.

During the first half of the Congress, Martov stood with us against the Organising Committee, the Bund, Rabocheye Dyelo and the “Marsh”; during the second half he landed accidentally in the marsh. Now, after the Congress, this accidental Versump/ung is turning into a real Versumpfung. (Applause.)



Statement Concerning Martov’s Report, October 15 (28)[7]

I protest most emphatically, as against a contemptible method of struggle, against Martov’s asking who was lying or intriguing in reporting the private conversation between him, Starover and myself. I wish to point out that this conflicts glaringly with Martov’s own statements of yesterday to the effect that he would disdain to raise the unanswerable question of how truthfully private conversations had been reproduced! I declare that Martov ’5 account of the private conversation en question is altogether incorrect. I declare that I agree to any arbitration and that I challenge Martov to it if he chooses to accuse me of conduct incompatible with holding a responsible post in the Party. I declare that it is the moral duty of Martov, who is not levelling any explicit accusations but only throwing out dark hints—that it is his duty to have the courage to make his accusations openly and over his signature before the entire Party, and that I, as a member of the editorial board of the Party’s Central Organ, propose to him on behalf of the whole editorial board that he immediately publish a pamphlet containing all his accusations. By failing to do this, Martov will only prove that all he wanted was a row at the League Congress, not the moral cleansing of the Party.



Speech On the Rules of the League, October 17 (30)

I shall dwell chiefly on one point, namely, the main speaker’s idea that the League is autonomous in drawing up its Rules. That, in my opinion, is absolutely wrong, for the Central Committee, in which, under Paragraph 6 of the Party Rules, is vested the right to organise committees, is the only body that can draw up Rules for the League; for organising means first and foremost drawing up Rules. And until the Central Committee endorses the Rules of the League, the League has no Rules. The idea of autonomy is absolutely inapplicable here, for it runs counter to the Party Rules. I once again stress emphatically that, pending their endorsement by the Central Committee, the League has no Rules. As to the League having been endorsed by the Party Congress, that was not in recognition of its activities, but rather, I should say, in spite of all its defects—exclusively because of its consistency of principles.


[1] See present edition, Vol. 6, p. 484.—Ed.

[2] Sinking into the marsh.—Ed.

[3] The Second Congress of the League of Russian Revolutionary Social-Democracy Abroad was held in Geneva on October 13-18 (26-31), 1903; it was called at the insistence of the Mensheviks. Fifteen of the delegates (with 18 votes) were majority adherents, headed by Lenin; 18 delegates (22 votes) were minority adherents; and one delegate (with two votes) belonged to neither majority nor minority.

The main item on the agenda was the report by Lenin, who had been the League’s delegate at the Second Party Congress. A co- report was then made by Martov, who defended the opportunism of the Mensheviks and indulged in calumnious attacks upon the Bolsheviks. Lenin and his supporters thereupon withdrew from the Congress. For refusal to submit to the decisions of the Second Party Congress, the Central Committee and the Party Council pronounced the League Congress unlawful.

[4] This paper on the national question Lenin later worked up into an article for Iskra, under the title. “The National Question in Our Programme” (present edition, Vol. 6, pp. 454-63).

[5] The Polish Socialist Party (P.S.P.), founded in 1892, was a petty-bourgeois nationalist party.

[6] The “Iskra” organisation in Russia served to unite the Iskra sup porters working within the country. Even before the paper began publication and during the first year of its existence (December 1900-December 1901), a network of Iskra “agents” (P. N. and 0. B. Lepeshinsky, P. A. Krasikov, A. M. Stopani, G. M. and Z. P. Krzhizhanovsky, S. I. and L. N. Radchenko, A. D. Tsurupa, N. E. Bauman, I. V. Babushkin, and others) was set up in various parts of the country, and in a number of towns (St. Petersburg, Pskov, Samara, Poltava, and others), groups for assistance to Iskra were formed. These groups and agents collected funds for the paper, acted as its correspondents, arranged for its transport and distri bution, and set up facilities for reprinting it in Russia. During this period, however, they had little contact with each other and for the most p art communicated directly with the editorial board.

But as the revolutionary movement mounted and the volume of practical work increased, it became essential to concert their efforts,to work on planned and organised lines to counter the parochial amateurishness which the  Economists were fostering and win the Social-Democratic committees to Iskra’s side. Lenin accordingly put forward a plan for an all-Russia Iskra organisation, which was to pave the way for uniting Russia’s scattered Social-Demo cratic organisations into a single centralised Marxist party. This plan he originally outlined in his article “Where To Begin” (May 1901), and subsequently elaborated in detail in What Is To Be Done? (autumn 1901-February 1902).

In carrying out this plan Lenin and his associates had to combat parochial tendencies among some of the Iskra practical workers. “We must say," Lenin wrote in a letter to S. 0. Zederbaum in July 1901 (present edition, Vol. 34), “that we in general regard any plan for the publication of any district or local organ by the Iskra organisation in Russia as absolutely incorrect and harmful. The Iskra organisation exists in order to support and build up Iskra and to unite the Party thereby, not to cause a dispersion of forces, of which there is quite enough without it."

In January 1902 a conference of Iskra-ists was held in Samara, with G. M. and Z. P. Krzhizhanovsky, F. V. Lengnik, M. A. Silvin, V. P. Artsybushev, and D. 1. and M. I. Ulyanov taking part. This conference set up a Bureau of the Iskra organisation in Rus sia, established regular arrangements for contacts among members of the organisation and with the editorial board and for the collection and allocation of funds, and mapped out the line in relation to the committees and local publications. It was further ducided, with a view to the cardinal objective of securing the committees’ adherence to Iskra and recognition of it as the general Party organ, to send members out to various parts of the country. “Your ini tiative," Lenin wrote to the organisers of the conference, “has heart ened us tremendously. Hurrah! That’s the right way! Reach out wider! And operate more independently, with greater initiative— you are the first to have begun in such a broad way, and that means the continuation, too, will be successful” (Lenin Miscellany VIII, p. 221).

Although the arrest of a number of Iskra-ists in February 1902 put added difficulties in the way of carrying out the conference decisions, the Iskra organisation, with What Is To Be Done? to guide it, launched a vigorous drive to propagate and practically execute Lenin’s plan for building a real p arty. It achieved far-reaching results in effecting actual unity of the Social-Democratic organisations on the principles of revolutionary Marxism. By the end of 1902 nearly all the leading committees had proclaimed their solidarity with Iskra.

The Iskra-ists were the leading spirits in setting up, at the Pskov conference of November 2-3 (15-16), 1902, the Organising Committee for convening the Second Party Congress, and to this com mittee they handed over all their contacts. The Iskra organisation, which remained in existence until the Second Party Congress, played a vital part in preparing and arranging that Congress, which brought into being a revolutionary Marxist party in Russia.

[7] The Statement Concerning Martov’s Report was read by Lenin at the third sitting of the League Congress and handed in to the Congress Bureau. No court of arbitration to examine Martov’s slanderous accusations was ever held, as Martov was obliged to admit, in a letter of November 16 (29), 1903, that he had no doubts of Lenin’s sincerity and good faith.

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