V. I. Lenin

The Fifth Congress of the R.S.D.L.P.{1}

April 30–May 19 (May 13–June 1), 1907

Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 41, pages 197-199.1.
Translated: Yuri Sdobnikov
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
Copyleft: V. I. Lenin Internet Archive (www.marxists.org) © 2004 Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.
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MAY 1 (14)

I object most strongly against the closure of the debate. You cannot decide questions of principle mechanically by a simple vote.

First published in 1909 in the book Londonsky syezd R.S.D.R.P. (sostoyavshiisya v 1907 godu). Polny tekst protokolov (London Congress of the R.S.D.L.P., 1907. Full Text of the Proceedings), Central Committee publication, Paris
Printed from the text of the book



MAY 2 (15)

Together with the representative of the Latvian delegation, we insist on the preservation of the name-ticket voting procedure used until today. It is the most democratic, saves time and ensures clarity. There can be no question at all of rigging. Those who propose a roll-call vote merely wish to drag things out, thereby making name-ticket voting impossible.

First published in 1909 in the book Londonsky syezd R.S.D.R.P. (sostoyavshiisya v 1907 godu). Polny tekst protokolov, Central Committee publication, Paris
Printed from the text of the book



MAY 3 (16)


I propose a vote of thanks to the representatives of the British Social-Democratic Federation for their help in arranging the Congress. (Applause.)


I propose that we discuss the order of the items: C.C. report, report by the Duma group, and attitude to bourgeois parties and the Duma.

A unanimous decision has been taken by the representatives of all groups to arrange the other items in the following order:

5) labour congress, 6) trade unions and the Party, 7) unorganised action, 8) unemployment, the crisis and the lock-outs, 9) organisational questions, 10) Stuttgart Congress, 11) work in the army, 12) miscellanea.

First published in 1909 in the book Londonsky syezd R.S.D.R.P. (sostoyavshiisya a 1907 godu). Polny tekst protokolov, Central Committee publication, Paris
Printed from the text of the book



MAY 15 (28)

Lieber is wrong. This shows up the worth of Lieber’s amendments. His is a schoolboy statement, and it is characteristic of his lack of principle.

First published in 1909 in the book Londonsky syezd R.S.D.R P. (sostoyavshiisya v 1907 godu). Polny tekst protokolov, Central Committee publication, Paris
Printed, from the text of the book



MAY 19 (JUNE 1)

I am surprised that the Mensheviks are afraid to call this the Fifth Congress. Do they think that our history is any sort of secret?

First published in 1909 in the book Londonsky syezd R.S.D.R.P. (sostoyavshiisya v 1907 godu). Polny tekst protokolov, Central Committee publication, Paris
Printed from the text of the book


{1} The Fifth Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. was held in London from April 30 to May 19 (May 13 to June 1), 1907. It was attended by 336 delegates representing more than 147,000 members: 105 Bolsheviks, 97 Mensheviks, 57 Bundists, 44 Polish Social-Democrats, 29 members of the Social-Democracy of the Latvian Territory, and 4 “non-faction” delegates. The large industrial centres were represented by Bolsheviks. The St. Petersburg Party organisation sent 12 Bolsheviks of its 17 delegates; the Moscow City and Moscow District, 16 out of 19; the Urals, 19; Ivanovo-Voznesensk, Vladimir, Kostroma District, Bryansk, Kazan and Krasnoyarsk, Bolsheviks only. Lenin was a delegate to the Congress from the Upper   Kama organisation. At the Congress there was a well-knit group of Bolsheviks led by Lenin, among them A. S. Bubnov, I. F. Dubrovinsky, M. N. Lyadov, V. P. Nogin, M. N. Pokrovsky, K. N. Samoilova, S. G. Shahumyan, J. V. Stalin, A. M. Stopani, I. A. Teodorovich, M. G. Tskhakaya, K. Y. Voroshilov, and Y. M. Yaroslavsky. Maxim Gorky attended the Congress with voice only. Following a long and sharp debate the Congress adopt ed this agenda: 1) Report of the Central Committee. 2) Report of the Duma group and its set-up. 3) Attitude to the bourgeois parties. 4) The Duma. 5) “Labour congress” and non-Party labour organisations. 6) Trade unions and the Party. 7) Partisan action. 8) Unemployment, economic crisis and lockouts. 9) Organisational questions. 10) International Congress at Stuttgart (May Day, militarism). 11) Work in the army. 12) Miscellaneous. In view of the work of the Congress being protracted, the questions of unemployment, of the economic crisis and the lockouts, and the International Congress at Stuttgart were taken off the agenda.

Lenin was elected to the presidium of the Congress and chaired the 6th, 7th, 14th, 15th, 27th, 34th and 35th sittings; he gave the report and delivered the summing-up speech on the key item of the agenda—the attitude to the bourgeois parties; he also spoke on the C.C. report on its work, the report on the Duma group activity, for inclusion in the agenda of the general theoretical questions of the principles underlying the Party’s tactics in the bourgeois revolution, against the Mensheviks, the Bundists and Trotsky (see present edition, Vol. 12, pp. 437–88).

At the Congress the Bolsheviks were supported by the delegates of the Social-Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania and the Social-Democrats of the Latvian Territory. Having rallied them on a revolutionary platform, the Bolsheviks secured a majority and a victory for the revolutionary Marxist line. The Congress adopted Bolshevik resolutions on all major questions. It amended the Party Rules, eliminating the two-centre arrangement (election of the C.C. and the C.O. by the congress). Under the amended Rules, only the C.C. was elected, while the C.O. was to be appointed by the C.C. and was to work under its control. The Rules provided for periodical Party conferences to discuss the most important aspects of Party life.

To the Central Committee were elected five Bolsheviks, four Mensheviks, two Polish Social-Democrats and one Latvian Social-Democrat; ten Bolsheviks, seven Mensheviks, three Polish and two Latvian Social-Democrats were elected alternate members. Among the Bolsheviks elected to the C.C. as full and alternate members were V. I. Lenin, I. F. Dubrovinsky, F. E. Dzerzhinsky, L. B. Krasin, J. Marchlewski, V. P. Nogin and L. Tyszka. Three more persons were subsequently nominated for the C.C.: two from the Bund and one from the Latvian Social-Democrats.

As the C.C. leadership could not be reliable, for it consisted of representatives of different trends (those of the non-Russian Social-Democratic organisations frequently vacillated between the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks), a Bolshevik Centre headed   by Lenin was elected at a sitting of the Bolshevik group towards the end of the Congress. It included the Editorial Board of the newspaper Proletary.

The Fifth Congress marked a triumph for Bolshevism in the working-class movement of Russia. Its decisions summed up the victory of Bolshevism over the opportunist, Menshevik wing of the Party during the bourgeois-democratic revolution. The Bolshevik tactics was approved as the common one for the whole Party. p. 197

{2} Lenin spoke at the third sitting. Following the adoption of the first two items of the agenda, 1. Report of the Central Committee, and 2. Report of the Duma group and its set-up, the Bundist Zeltser (B. N. Grosser) joined Lieber in motioning that there should be no debate on the general theoretical questions of principle, motioned for inclusion in the agenda (items 3, 4 and 5 of the Bolshevik draft agenda—the aggravation of the economic struggle and the current situation, the class tasks of the proletariat at the present stage, and the attitude to the bourgeois parties). The Bundist Vinitsky (V. D. Medem) who was in the chair motioned a closure of the debate.

After Lenin’s speech at the following, fourth, sitting, the debate on the inclusion of the general theoretical questions in the agenda was continued. At the fifth sitting on May 2 (15), the item “On the Attitude to the Bourgeois Parties” was included in the agenda. p. 197

{3} Point 4 of the regulations adopted by the Congress provided for a name-ticket vote only when at least 20 delegates demanded one. Lenin spoke in connection with the fact that a proposal had been made to the presidium of the Congress to have the roll-call vote without tickets. By 3 votes to 2 the presidium came out against the tickets, but in view of the differences that arose, the question was referred to the Congress. A majority (144) were in favour of the name-ticket vote. p. 197

{4} Lieber’s amendment opened the attack by the Menshevik Bundist opportunist section of the Congress against the Bolshevik resolution on the attitude to the bourgeois parties, which had been adopted as a basis. Lieber motioned the deletion of the first part of the theoretical resolution: “At present, Social-Democracy is most insistently faced with the task of determining the class content of the various non-proletarian parties, of taking account of the present interrelation of classes and accordingly of defining its attitude to the other parties”. Lieber’s amendment was reject ed by the Congress. For the amendments to the resolution on “The Attitude Towards Bourgeois Patties”, see present edition, Vol. 12, pp. 500–05. p. 198

{5} Lenin is replying to F. I. Dan, who objected to designating the Congress as the Fifth, as the Bolsheviks had proposed, on the plea that it was an effort to fix the factional dissentions. Actually, however, the Mensheviks and the Bundists had ignored the Third,   Bolshevik, Congress. The Congress adopted the proposal of the Bundist Shanin (L. G. Shapiro) to designate it as the “London Congress of the R.S.D.L.P.” p. 199

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