V. I.   Lenin

Draft Resolutions for the Fifth Congress of the R.S.D.L.P.

6. Non-Party Workers’ Organisations and the Anarcho-Syndicalist Trend Among the Proletariat


1. in connection with Comrade Axelrod’s agitation for a non-Party labour congress, a trend (represented by Larin, Shcheglo, El, Ivanovsky, Mirov, and the Odessa publication   Osvobozhdeniye Truda) has appeared in the ranks of the R.S.D.L.P., the aim of which is to destroy the Social-Democratic Labour Party and to set up in its place a non-party political organisation of the proletariat;

2. besides this, outside of and actually against the Party, anarcho-syndicalist agitation is being carried on among the proletariat, using this same slogan of a non-party labour congress and non-party organisations (Soyuznoye Dyelo and its group in Moscow, the anarchist press in Odessa, etc.);

3. notwithstanding the resolution passed by the November All-Russian Conference of the R.S.D.L.P., a series of disruptive actions has been observed in our Party, with the object of setting up non-party organisations;

4. on the other hand, the R.S.D.L.P. has never renounced its intention of utilising certain non-party organisations, such as the Soviets of Workers’ Deputies, in periods of wore or less intense revolutionary upheaval, to extend Social-Democratic influence among the working class and to strengthen the Social-Democratic labour movement (see the September resolutions of the St. Petersburg Committee and the Moscow Committee on the labour congress, in Proletary, Nos. 3 and 4[1]);

5. the incipient revival creates the opportunity to organise or utilise non-party representative working-class institutions, such as Soviets of Workers’ Deputies, Soviets of Workers’ Delegates, etc., for the purpose of developing the Social-Democratic movement; at the same time the Social-Democratic Party organisations must bear in mind that if Social-Democratic activities among the proletarian masses are properly, effectively and widely organised, such institutions may actually become superfluous;

This conference declares:

1. that a most determined ideological struggle must be waged against the anarcho-syndicalist movement among the proletariat and against Axelrod’s and Larin’s ideas in the Social-Democratic Party;

2. that a most determined struggle must be waged against all disruptive and demagogic attempts to weaken the R.S.D.L.p. from within or to utilise it for the purpose of   substituting non-party political, proletarian organisations for the Social-Democratic Party;

3. that Social-Democratic Party organisations may, in case of necessity, participate in inter-party Soviets of Workers’ Delegates, Soviets of Workers’ Deputies, and in congresses of representatives of these organisations, and may organise such institutions, provided this is done on strict Party lines for the purpose of developing and strengthening the Social-Democratic Labour Party;

4. that for the purpose of extending and strengthening the influence of the Social-Democratic party among the broad masses of the proletariat, it is essential, on the one hand, to increase efforts to organise trade unions and con duct Social-Democratic propaganda and agitation within them, and, on the other hand, to draw still larger sections of the working class into the activities of all types of Party organisations.


[1] A meeting of workers from the various St. Petersburg districts was held in September 1906 to discuss the question of a labour congress. By a majority of 74 votes to 11, a resolution was adopted condemning the Menshevik idea of a labour congress. The resolution pointed out that agitation for a non-party labour congress “would lead to the concealment of the difference between party and class, would mean lowering Social-Democratic consciousness to the level of the less developed strata of the proletariat” and “could only do harm to the proletarian cause”. The resolution was published in Proletary, No. 3, on September 8, 1906.

In September of the same year, a second regular conference was held of Social-Democratic organisations in Central Russia. The conference was attended by representatives of the Moscow, Moscow Regional, Kostroma, Ivanovo-Voznesensk, Bryansk, Nizhni-Novgorod, Tver, Sormovo, Smolensk, Yaroslavl, Orel, Yelets, Tver Regional organisation, Vologda, Tambov, and also of the Central Committee and the Proletary Editorial Board. Among other things the conference discussed the question of a labour congress, a report on the matter being delivered by a representative of the Proletary Board. The conference adopted a resolution recognising agitation for a non-party labour congress as “harmful demagogy, distracting class-conscious workers from the task of consolidating and strengthening their Social-Democratic Party”.

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