1. History of attempts to restore the Central Committee in Russia.
(a) I. 1910-August (or September) 1910.
Two Bolshevik members of the Central Committee arrested following attempts to convene the Committee. Arranged C.C. meetings many times. Not once did Mikhail + Yuri + Roman, not a single Menshevik, put in an appearance.
(b) End of 1910-spring 1911.
New Bureau formed by two Bolshevik members of the Central Committee. Not a single Menshevik participated in their work (contact with agents, with the Duma group, with the Moscow Social-Democrats in connection with the elections, etc.).
One Menshevik (Kostrov) turned up at the Bureau once or twice in order to “vote”!
Both Bolsheviks arrested.
Conclusion: all Bolshevik members of the Committee arrested on account of the Central Committee work and while engaged in this work.
Of the Mensheviks, a section (Mikhail+Yuri+Roman) refused to take any part whatsoever, one (Pyotr) took not The slightest part for a whole year and a half, one (Kostrov) turned up twice at the Bureau in one and a half years (in 1911!), having played absolutely no part whatsoever in the Central Committee work. For two and a half months after the arrests of the Bolsheviks, this Menshevik took not a single step, nor did he write a single letter stating that he was re-forming the Committee.
Therefore, we consider it insolent for Igorev to state that this Menshevik+Bundist now comprise the Bureau (no formal notification of this having been given the Central Committee Bureau Abroad, and it being recognised by no one!).
2. Is it now possible to restore the plenary meeting abroad?
Juridically—9 out of 15 members are available. Formally they can (a) proclaim themselves the meeting. Beyond question from the formal point of view, such a step is probably admissible with a majority of one, that is, by a vote of five out of these nine, against four. In reality, the value of such a formally irreproachable step is insignificant; there can be no doubt that it will be impossible for the Central Committee to carry out its role under such circumstances.
(b) Formally, it is also possible for these nine available members of the C.C. to bring over from Russia people with the rights of alternate members. What is the actual meaning of such a step? The Mensheviks can “bring” either their liquidators (Mikhail + Yuri + Roman, and others), who (after the famous statement of Mikhail + Yuri + Roman) will not be recognised as Central Committee members by a single honest Party member, or two Central Committee members who attended the Plenary Meeting in January 1910 and since then, for one and a half years, have not carried out any Central Committee work. The period required to bring them together is unpredictable.
The Bolsheviks may bring in another two of their alternate members in addition to the three Bolsheviks already available. In order to do this, months and months of work are required to establish contact with exiles, organise escapes, arrange for aid to their families, etc., etc. It is impossible to say how many months would be required for this “work”.
For the Party, the real meaning of this protracted work of bringing together “formal” candidates, who at the moment are incapable of providing genuine central leadership in Russia, will not only be nil, the real meaning will be even worse, for the game of allocating places in central bodies hides from the local Party groups the sad reality in respect of which vigorous action must be taken.
After eighteen months of unsuccessful attempts to restore the Central Committee, to feed the Party with further promises—tomorrow “you” will have a Committee—that would be an affront to the Party. We do not intend to be a party to any such affront.
3. It goes without saying that an attempt to bring together candidates in Russia in order to restore the Central Commit tee there, can only come from supporters of Stolypin. The police know all the candidates and keep them under surveillance as has been shown by the arrests of Innokenty and Makar, twice and three times. That is the first and most important thing to note. And secondly, the real aim of such a gathering—the co-option of people living in Russia—is impossible of achievement now, since there are none avail able (they were seized with Makar when he was last arrest ed). It is impossible to achieve the unanimity required by the rules in the co-option of Mensheviks, since not one Bolshevik (as has already been stated by Inok to Sverchkov) will allow in a single liquidator (or Golos supporter).
4. At present the real position of the Party is such that almost everywhere in the localities there are informal, extremely small and tiny Party workers’ groups and nuclei that meet irregularly. Everywhere they are combating liquidator-legalists in the unions, clubs, etc. They are not connected with each other. Very rarely do they see any literature. They enjoy prestige among workers. In these groups Bolsheviks and Plekhanov’s supporters unite, and to some extent those Vperyod “supporters” who have read Vperyod literature or have heard Vperyod speakers, but have not yet been dragged into the isolated Vperyod faction set up abroad.
This anti-Party faction undoubtedly has some influence, although it is not great, among a section of St. Petersburg workers. There is sufficient proof that it does not hold itself responsible to any Central Committee, and interferes as much as possible with the work of the Social-Democrats (so far it has not given a direct call to the elections to the Fourth Duma, and continues to flirt with the otzovists).
A far more serious anti-Party and anti-Social-Democratic force is the faction of the independent legalists (Nasha Zarya + Dyelo Zhizni + Golos Sotsial-Demokrata). It has been proved beyond doubt that they recognise no Central Commit tee and publicly ridicule Central Committee decisions. They cannot carry out the Plenary Meeting’s decisions (not to “minimise” the role of an illegal party, etc.) because they do not wish to. They cannot help taking the opposite line of action.
No honest Social-Democrat can doubt that the “independent legalists” are preparing for the elections to the Fourth Duma, and will conduct their election work separately from and contrary to the Party.
The task of Party members is clear: they must no longer permit the slightest delay, nor postpone for even a day a forthright declaration against the independent legalists; they must openly and decisively call on Party workers’ circles in Russia to prepare for the elections, to work for the election of only those Party members who are fully loyal and aware of the danger of this tendency, and during the election campaign to warn the workers against the “legalist independents” and to struggle against them.
Such is the task of the day for our Party. There must be no deviation from this presentation of an issue with which the existing situation (and the independent legalists) con front us. All evasions, delays, attempts by the legalists to repeat the game of “promises” and “assurances” are fraught with great danger to the Party.
5. Our practical conclusion: the meeting of the nine must absolutely and immediately issue a manifesto to the Party in which the failure to convene the Central Committee in Russia is truthfully and fully described, and which calls upon local Party circles to display initiative and establish regional organising commissions and, following that, a Central Organising Commission and to conduct a determined, direct and implacable struggle against the “independent legalists”.
A formal vote of the Plenary Meeting of the Central Committee supporting this call should only take place if the overwhelming majority of the nine members of the Central Committee, not merely five, agree to regard themselves as the Plenary Meeting and to take the path of decisive struggle against the group (faction) of legalist independents. It is, of course, understood that such a struggle is incompatible with participation by these legalists in central Party bodies, which they have sabotaged, obstructed, weakened and “kept in a sick condition” for eighteen months.
|Written between May 19 and 23 (June 1 and 5), 1911|