V. I. Lenin

Notes of a Publicist



The “Unity Crisis” in our Party

On reading this title, some readers perhaps will hardly believe their eyes. “Well, that’s the limit! What a lot of crises we have had in our own Party, and now all of a sudden a new crisis, a unity crisis!”

The expression which sounds so queer I have borrowed from Liebknecht. He used it in 1875 in a letter (dated April 21) to Engels, giving an account of the union of the Lassalleans and the Eisenachers. Marx and Engels thought at that time that no good would come of this union.{1} Liebknecht brushed aside their fears and asserted that the German Social-Democratic Party, which had successfully survived all sorts of crises,, would also survive the “unity crisis” (see Gustav Mayer, Johann Baptist von Schweitzer und die Sozialdemokratie, Jena, 1909, S. 424).

There can be no doubt whatever that our Party too, the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party, will successfully survive its unity crisis. That it is now passing through such a crisis is obvious to everyone who is acquainted with the decisions of the plenary meeting of the Central Committee and with the events that followed. If one were to judge by the resolutions of the plenum, the union might seem to be most complete and fully accomplished. But if one were to judge by what is taking place now in the beginning of May 1910, if one were to judge by the determined struggle of the Central Organ against Golos Sotsial-Demokrata, which is published by the liquidators, by the controversy that has flared up between Plekhanov and the other pro-Party Mensheviks, on the one hand, and the Golosists on the other, or by the extremely abusive attacks of the “Vperyod” group on the Central Organ (see the recent leaflet of the group, entitled “To the Bolshevik Comrades”), then all unity might easily appear to an outsider to be a mere phantom.

The avowed enemies of the Party are rejoicing. The Vperyodists, the adherents and screeners of otzovism, are indulging in unbridled abuse. Still more bitter is the abuse levelled by the leaders of the liquidators, Axelrod, Martynov, Martov, Potresov and others, in their “Necessary Supplement to Plekhanov’s Dnevnik”. The “conciliators” are   at a loss, complaining and uttering helpless phrases (see the resolution passed on April 17, 1910, by the Vienna Social-Democratic Party Club, which shares Trotsky’s viewpoint).

But the most important and fundamental question as to the reasons why our Party union is developing in this and in no other way, why the (seemingly) complete unity at the plenum is now replaced by (seemingly) complete disunity, ,and also the question of what the trend of the further development of the Party should be in view of the “relationship of forces” inside and outside our Party—these fundamental questions are not answered either by the liquidators (Golos group) or by the otzovists (Vperyod group) or the conciliators (Trotsky and the “Viennese”).

Abuse and phrase-mongering are no answer.


{1} See Marx and Engels, Selected Correspondence, Moscow, 1955, pp. 352–61.

  The “Platform” of the Adherents and Defenders of Otzovism | 1. Two Views on Unity  

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