V. I.   Lenin

The Third Congress of the R.S.D.L.P.

April 12 (25)-April 27 (May 10), 1905



Speech During the Discussion of the Party Rules

April 21 (May 4)

I must confess that the arguments employed by Comrade Ivanov in defence of his idea of a single centre seem to me untenable. (The speaker reads the argumentation of Comrade Ivanov):

“On Clauses 4 and 5. The system of two centres with a balancer, the Council, has been condemned by past experience. The history of the Party crisis plainly shows that this system provides too favourable a soil for the growth of differences, squabbles, and Court intrigues. It means the subordination of the people in Russia to those abroad: owing to arrests, the Central Committee personnel is unstable, whereas the Editorial Board of the Central Organ is constant; and the Council resides abroad. On the one hand, all the most important objections against a single centre, based on the actual severance of Russia from the people abroad, only confirm the idea that a split between the two centres is possible and even probable. On the other hand, these objections largely fall away if the Congress makes periodic conferences obligatory between the Russian members of the C.C. and the members abroad.”

It has been found, however, that the fine qualities here alluded to are possessed in equal measure both by the Central Organ abroad and by the “genuinely Russian” Central Committee. In Comrade Ivanov’s entire reasoning I discern the fallacy envisaged by logic as post hoc, ergo propter hoc.[1] Because the three centres have, pardon the expression, played us dirty, let us have a single centre. I fail to see the propter here. Our troubles were not due to the mechanism but to persons; what happened was that certain persons, using a formal interpretation of the Rules as a subterfuge,   ignored the will of the Congress. Has not the “genuinely Russian” C.C. “dialectically” turned into its exact opposite? Comrade Ivanov’s reasoning is—the group abroad has acted shabbily; we must therefore put it under a “state of siege” and keep a “tight hold” on it. As you know, I have always been an advocate of a “state of siege” and of a “tight hold”, so that I shall raise no objection to such measures. But does not the C.C. deserve the same treatment? Besides, who will deny that the Central Organ can be constant, while the C.C. cannot? This, after all, is a fact. But in practice I shall abstain from all polemic. Formerly we had the Council, and now we shall have a conference (of the C.C. section working abroad and of the section working in Russia). A difference of only a couple of letters. Our cart has been lurching all the time to the right, towards the Central Organ—Comrade Ivanov has been laying the straw on the right side, to cushion the fall. But I think it ought to be laid on the left side as well, on the side of the C.C. I would subscribe to Comrade Mikhailov’s proposal to cashier the committees, but I really don’t know what the periphery exactly is. “Chair-warmers and keepers of the seal” should all be smoked out; but how is one to define precisely the concept “periphery”? “Two-thirds of the votes of the periphery!"—but who can keep a strict record of the periphery? I must, besides, warn the Congress against cramming the Rules with too many clauses. It is easy enough to pen nice clauses, but in practice they usually prove superfluous. The Rules should not be made a collection of pious wishes....



[1] After this, therefore on account of this.—Ed.

  Speech on the Procedure of the Discussion of the Resolutions on the Relations Between Workers and Intellectuals within the Social-Democratic Organisations | Speech on the Wording of Clause 9 of the Party Rules  

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