V. I.   Lenin

A New Menshevik Conference

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 330-331.
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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We are in receipt of hectographed copies of the resolutions passed by the “Southern Constituent [!?] Conference” of the Mensheviks.[1] The most important of these resolutions (on the State Duma) will be dealt with by us on some other occasion. For the present we shall only note that of the two main points of Iskra’s “Duma” tactics the Conference rejected “pressure for the election of resolute people to the State Duma” (like Martov, Cherevanin, and Parvus), but accepted “organisation of nation-wide popular elections to a constituent assembly”. Three resolutions were adopted on the composition of Iskra’s Editorial Board, yet the question was not settled. One resolution asks Axelrod not to leave the Editorial Board; another requests Plekhanov to return to the Board (the Conference—probably without humorous intention—expressing “surprise” at Plekhanov’s resignation); the third thanks Iskra, expresses complete confidence in it, etc., but refers the question of the composition of the Editorial Board to an “all-Russia constituent conference for final decision”. The “First All-Russia Conference”, as is known, “referred” this question for decision to the local organisations. The latter “refer” it to the decision of a constituent conference.... This is probably what is called doing away with red tape and formalities.... In the meantime Iskra continues calling itself the Central Organ, although even its own supporters have not conferred such a title on it. A convenient position this, indeed!

The organisational Rules of the Southern Conference are a copy of the Rules we are already familiar with, but contain some minor changes. A new clause has been added: “Party congresses, which must be convened as far as possible once   a year, are the supreme organ of the Party.” We heartily welcome this amendment. In connection with the new and excellent point that the “Central Committee shall be elected at the Congress”, and also with the excellent desire to have the question of the Editorial Board decided at the Congress (be it even in the future), this amendment shows progress towards the decisions of the Third Congress. Let us hope that in another four months the next “constituent” conference will also set up the procedure for convening congresses, these supreme organs of the Party.... On the question of unity the Conference unfortunately beats about the bush, without giving a clear reply to the question: “Do you want to unite on the basis of the Third Congress? If not, do you want to prepare two congresses to assemble at the same time and in the same place?” Let us hope that the next “constituent” conference (preferably in something under four months!) will decide the matter.


[1] The Southern Russian Constituent Conference of the Mensheviks was held in Kiev in August 1905. Its decisions were criticised by Lenin also in the article “The Latest in Iskra Tactics, or Mock Elections as a New Incentive to an Uprising” (see pp. 356-73 of this volume).

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