V. I.   Lenin

On the Question of Party Unity[1]

Published: Proletary, No. 20, October 10 (September 27), 1905. Published according to the text in Proletary.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1972, Moscow, Volume 9, pages 327-328.
Translated: The Late Abraham Fineberg and Julius Katzer
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive (2004). 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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On our part, we can only welcome the perfectly clear and definite presentation of the question by the Central Committee—either fusion with the Party on the basis of the decisions of the Third Congress, or a unity congress. The Organising Committee will have to make the final choice. If it rejects entry into the Party on the basis of the decisions of the Third Congress, then the preparation and elaboration of the terms for a unity congress should be begun at once. To this end, both sides should first of all declare formally and quite explicitly that in principle the convening of two congresses at the same time and in the same place has been deemed necessary; secondly, it should likewise be formally established that all organisations in each section of the Party must unreservedly submit to decisions of the congress of their own section. In other words, both congresses should be of binding and not merely advisory significance to their respective Party sections; thirdly, the basis on which the congresses are to be convened should be definitely established in advance, i.e., what organisations are to send delegates and how many delegates with the right to vote each may send (for the section of the Party that has recognised the Third Congress, points 2 and 3 have already been defined in the Rules of the R.S.D.L.P. as adopted by that congress); fourthly, negotiations should at once be started on the time and place of the congress (the congresses themselves will decide as to the terms on which they will fuse, and the time of fusion); fifthly, it is extremely important that work should at once begin on drawing up a most explicit and detailed draft proposal on fusion, which should be submitted for decision to both congresses. This is a matter of imperative   necessity. The experience of other parties and of our own shows clearly that unless a draft proposal or draft proposals for fusion are prepared, published, and thoroughly discussed beforehand, it will be quite impossible for the congresses to come to a decision on so difficult a question.

So, it is now up to the Organising Committee, and its decision will be eagerly awaited by all who favour unity.


[1] On the Question of Party Unity—it was under this headline that Proletary, No. 20 of October 10 (September 27), 1905 published the following documents: minutes of the third conference of representatives of the R.S.D.L.P.’s Central Committee and the Mensheviks’ Organising Committee as elected at the Geneva Conference, and the Central Committee’s comments on these minutes. In its appraisal of the Mensheviks’ behaviour at the joint conference and the demands presented by them, the Central Committee pointed out that their policy was the same as it had been prior to the Third Congress, and that it was leading to “the greatest chaos and anarchy, to the disintegration of the Party”.

The documents were published with a note “From the Editorial Board” written by Lenin.

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