Written: Written in February 1905
Published: First published in 1926 in Lenin Miscellany, V. Published according to the manuscript.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1962, Moscow, Volume 8, pages 191-196.
Translated: Bernard Isaacs and The Late Isidor Lasker
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive (2003). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.
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The Congress deems it necessary to place definitely on record the conclusively proved facts concerning the behaviour of the Mensheviks, or new-Iskrists, after the Second Party Congress. Without even attempting to question the validity of the decisions adopted by, and the elections held at, this Congress, they have shamelessly flouted its decisions. Immediately after the Congress they boycotted the central bodies it set up, and formed within the Party, and behind its back, a separate organisation. The aim of this organisation was to foist on the Editorial Board of the Central Organ and on the Central Committee of the Party the six candidates who had been turned down by the Congress. To attain this end, in opposition to the will and the interests of the Party, the Mensheviks everywhere disorganised the Party’s constructive work. Everywhere they secretly split the Party and demoralised the comradely relations among the Social-Democrats; they turned the Central Organ of the Party into an organ of gossip and squabbles, heaping vulgar abuse on the Party committees that had elected the central bodies and demanded from them an accounting; they reduced the Party Council to a mere instrument of factional feuds and had no scruples about falsifying the voice of the Party which demanded the Third Congress.
The Congress most emphatically condemns this disruptive conduct and warns all Party-conscious Social-Democrats against the notorious organisation-as-process theory which has been used to justify disorganisation and which has debased the theory of revolutionary Marxism in an unheard-of manner.
The Congress affirms that the adherents of the Party Majority, in drawing up resolutions against the disorganisers and in demanding the Third Congress, have exhausted all the resources of honest, comradely struggle against fellow-members of the Party. Now that the centres set up by the Party have definitely cast off all responsibility to the Party, the Congress is compelled to consider them beyond the pale of the Party. The Congress declares that adherents of the Party principle have no alternative but to work separately from, and independently of, these disorganisers. The Congress therefore resolves that followers of the Minority, or new Iskrists, may not be admitted to membership in any organisation of our Party.
The Congress instructs the Central Committee of the Party to issue a small pamphlet in explanation of this resolution, for the information of Russian and international Social-Democracy.
The Congress admits the correctness of Plekhanov’s position at the Second Party Congress and at the Congress of the League Abroad on the questions of programme, tactics, and organisation. The Congress acknowledges that after the League Congress Plekhanov, in order to restore peace within the Party and heal the split caused by the Mensheviks, proposed a policy of concessions to people whom he had aptly characterised before the whole Party as revisionists and anarcho-individualists (Iskra, No. 52, November 7, 1903). The Congress expresses deep regret that Plekhanov did not maintain this position; that, against the will of the Party, he began to apply the most shameless methods to secure satisfaction of all the demands of the Mensheviks; that, to justify the Mensheviks, he lowered himself to the point of defending their stand, which he himself had declared to be incorrect in principle, and of inventing the most fantastic differences with the Party Majority.
The Congress emphatically condemns such crafty practices in dealing with fellow-members of the Party; for such a policy, no matter by what humane motives in respect to certain individuals it may be prompted, cannot but have a demoralising effect on the Party.
The Congress considers it of imperative necessity to combat the theoretical position of the Mensheviks, or new Iskrists, who have deviated from revolutionary Social-Democracy towards opportunism. This had become evident at the Second Congress of the Party, from certain lines of argument, as well as from the very membership of the Minority, composed as it was of the opponents of the old Iskra and the elements least stable in point of principle. After the Second Congress this shift of the Mensheviks towards Rabocheye Dyelo opportunism became so obvious that they themselves admitted the existence of a gulf between the old Iskra and the new Iskra. Indeed, on several questions the new Iskra has put forward slogans and theories which are definitely false and which obscure the class-consciousness of the proletariat. One such is the organisation-as-process theory, which reduces Marxism to an apologia for disorganisation and intellectualist anarchism. Another is the reversion to the false ideas concerning the relation of Party to class, which lower the tasks of the Party as vanguard, leader, and organiser of the class. Equally erroneous and reactionary were the points advanced by the new Iskra, in disagreement with the old Iskra, on such questions as the attitude towards the liberals and the plans for a Zemstvo campaign, on the preparation of the uprising and the alleged utopianism of the ideas of timing and carrying through the uprising, on the arming of the masses and their technical and organisational leadership in time of revolution, on the impossibility and undesirability of the revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the petty bourgeoisie in the period of the over throw of the autocracy, etc. The views expressed on these questions tend to set the Party back, not only in the field of theory, but in actual practice, and they are particularly harmful and disastrous to the Party of the revolutionary proletariat in the present revolutionary situation prevailing in Russia. The Congress therefore instructs all Party members to explain the falseness of these views in their agitation and propaganda.
The Congress strongly condemns the policy pursued by the new-Iskrists of sowing distrust and animosity between workers and intellectuals within the Social-Democratic organisations. The Congress reminds all class-conscious workers that a few years ago similar methods of struggle were used by the Rabocheye Dyelo wing of the Party and that at that time they repudiated such methods. The empty phrases thrown about by the new—Iskrists concerning the independent activity of the workers and the elective principle are not accompanied by any real improvement in the work of our organisations and they demagogically promise the unattainable. Under conditions of political freedom, our Party can and will be built entirely on the elective principle. Under the autocracy this is impracticable for the collective thousands of workers that make up the Party.
The Congress once more calls attention to the task of the consistent adherents of the Social-Democratic Labour Party, namely, to strengthen with all their might the ties between this Party and the masses of the working class, by raising ever broader masses of proletarians and semi-proletarians to full Social-Democratic consciousness, by stimulating their revolutionary and Social-Democratic initiative, and by taking care that the working-class masses advance from their own midst the maximum number of workers fully capable of leading the movement and all the Party organisations.
The Congress, on behalf of the Party, repeats the advice of the revolutionary Social-Democrats: to form as many workers’ organisations belonging to our Party as possible; to strive to bring those workers’ organisations that do not wish to enter the Party, or have no opportunity for so doing, at least into association with the Party; and to make efforts to get the greatest possible number of class-conscious Social-Democratic workers on the Party committees.