V. I.   Lenin


Published: Sotsial-Demokrat No. 27, June 17 (4), 1912. Published according to the text in Sotsial-Demokrat.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1975], Moscow, Volume 18, pages 118-121.
Translated: Stepan Apresyan
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.README

The liquidators are doing their utmost to “unite”. The other day they almost “united” with the Polish Socialist Party[1]—with its Left wing (Lewica), which is a faction of Polish social-nationalism.

For more than ten years Polish Social-Democrats have been waging a struggle against the social-nationalism of the P.S.P. As a result, a section of the P.S.P. (the Left wing) had some of its nationalist prejudices knocked out of their heads. But the struggle continues. Polish worker Social-Democrats are opposed to unity with the above-mentioned faction of the P.S.P. as an organisation because they think it would be harmful to their cause. Individual workers and groups of the Left wing, who refuse to stop at a half-way revision of the nationalist principles of the P.S.P., are joining the ranks of the Social-Democratic Party. And this is the time when our liquidators are out to “unite” with the P.S.P. Left wing!

It is just as if the Russian Social-Democrats began, independently of the Bund, to “unite” with, say, so-called “Socialist-Zionists”[2] or, ignoring the Lettish Social-Democracy, with the so-called “Lettish Social-Democratic Union”[3] (actually a Socialist-Revolutionary organisation).

This is apart from the formal aspect of the matter. At the Stockholm Congress, the Polish Social-Democratic Party concluded an agreement with the R.S.D.L.P., by which any groups in Poland wishing to join the R.S.D.L.P. can do so only by joining an organisation of the P.S.D.[4] And at the All-Russia Conference of the R.S.D.L.P. held in December 1908, even a proposal to discuss the question of uniting with the Left wing was voted down by an overwhelming majority.

It is quite clear that, while constantly shouting about “unity”, Trotsky and his liquidationist friends are actually aggravating the split in Poland. Fortunately for the R.S.D.L.P., this whole band of liquidators, together with the “conciliators” trailing behind them, is completely powerless to accomplish anything in practice, and this refers to Poland as well. Otherwise the amalgamation of the liquidators with the P.S.P. would certainly cause a very sharp split in Poland.

Why, then, have the liquidators embarked on this obviously adventurist policy? Certainly not because things are going well with them. The point is that they are in need of uniting with someone, of forming some sort of “party”. Social-Democrats, the Polish Social-Democracy, refuse to go along with them, so, instead of Social-Democrats, they have to take members of the P.S.P., who have nothing in common with our Party. In the Russian towns, our old Party organisations refuse to go along with them, so they have to take, instead of the Social-Democratic nuclei, the so-called “initiating groups” of liquidators, who have nothing in common with the R.S.D.L.P.

One does not fly from a good life.” Is it not time, liquidator gentlemen, you started to unite with the Socialist-Revolutionaries (the Socialist-Revolutionary liquidators) as well? After all, these gentlemen, too, seem very anxious to “unite”. What a “broad” party you would then have! Larin himself would be content.[5]

*     *

While “uniting” with “foreign powers”, the liquidators continue to bargain with the “conciliators” over the terms of “uniting” the liquidator-conciliator camp. Mr. V. Levitsky contributed to Nasha Zarya an article which is a sort of manifesto addressed to “all trends” that are prepared to fight against the recent Conference of the R.S.D.L.P.

Mr. Levitsky entitled his article “For Unity—Against a Split”. Quite like Trotsky, isn’t it? Ever since the pro-Party elements thoroughly rebuffed the liquidators in all the spheres of activity, Levitsky and Co. have been using a very “conciliatory” language. Why, they are wholly in   favour of “unity”. They only advance the following four modest conditions for “unity”:

(1) A fight against the Conference of the R.S.D.L.P., which has united all the Social-Democrats, except a handful of waverers.

(2) The formation, in place of the Party, of “a central initiating group” (Mr. Levitsky’s italics, Nasha Zarya No. 4, p. 31). (What is meant by the liquidators’ “initiating” groups has recently been explained in the press by Plekhanov—see his Dnevnik Sotsial-Demokrata[6] No. 16. Both the Bund and Trotsky, who are doing service for the liquidators, are concealing Plekhanov’s explanation from their readers. But you can’t conceal it, gentlemen!)

(3) No revival of the “politically dead nuclei” (ibid., p. 33).

(4) Acceptance of the slogan “against the cult of the underground” (ibid., p. 33).

The programme has been outlined clearly enough if not as frankly and confidently as in the past. And there and then Levitsky explains at great length to all the Trotskys: After all, gentlemen, you have no choice. You had better accept our terms, and in exchange we (i.e., Levitsky and Co.) will readily agree to the following: “to console yourselves”, you (i.e., Trotsky and his like) can say that it is not you who have moved closer to the liquidators, but the other way round.

Martov, writing in the same issue of Nasha Zarya, threatens in advance the future Social-Democratic group in the Fourth Duma that if it turns out to be anti-liquidationist like its crafty predecessor, then “cases like the Belousov affair[7] will not be exceptions, but the rule”, meaning, in plain language, that the liquidators will split the Duma group. Your bark, liquidator gentlemen, is worse than your bite. Had you had the strength to do so, you would long ago have formed your own liquidationist group in the Duma.

The cause of “unity” is in good hands, sure enough.

The miserable comedy of “unification” enacted by the liquidators and Trotsky is repellent to the least exacting people. Unity is being achieved, only it is not unity with the liquidators, but against them.

*     *

As regards the incredibly Khlestakovian[8] role staged by Trotsky, Lieber (the Bund), and the liquidators, with their vaunted “Organising Commission”, we think it sufficient to call the attention of the readers—those who prefer not to trust words but to verify the points at issue by a serious and careful study of the documents—to the following facts.

In June 1911, following the withdrawal of Lieber and Igorev from the meeting of the Central Committee members, the Organising Commission Abroad[9] was formed in Paris. The first organisation in Russia to be approached by it was the Kiev organisation. Even Trotsky admits that its status as an organisation is indisputable. In October 1911, the Kiev organisation took part in forming the Organising Commission in Russia. In January 1912 the latter convened the conference of the R.S.D.L.P.

In January 1912, a meeting was held by the representatives of the Bund, the Central Committee of the Letts and the Caucasian Regional Committee (all three being liquidationist groups). The Poles withdrew at once, declaring that the whole undertaking was a liquidationist affair. The “conciliators” and Plekhanov followed suit and refused to join, Plekhanov declaring in Dnevnik Sotsial-Demokrata No. 16 that that conference was being called by the liquidators. It is now June 1912, and yet neither the Bund nor Trotsky have succeeded in “uniting” anyone, except the Golos and the Vperyod groups; they have not won over a single serious and indisputable organisation in Russia, have not said a word to deny the substance of Plekhanov’s statement, nor made the slightest change in the propaganda conducted by the liquidators in Nasha Zarya and similar press organs.

For all that, there is no end of phrase-mongering and bragging about “unity”.


[1] Lenin is referring to the decision of the liquidators’ Organising Committee to invite the Left wing of the P.S.P. to the August liquidationist conference.

Polska Partia Socjalistyczna—the Polish Socialist Party (P.S.P.), a reformist nationalist party founded in 1892. In 1906 it split into the Left-wing P.S.P. and the chauvinist Right-wing P.S.P.

[2] Zionist-Socialists—members of the Zionist-Socialist Workers’ Party, a Jewish petty-bourgeois nationalist organisation founded in 1904. They sought to isolate the Jewish workers from the revolutionary struggle of the world proletariat, and advocated a compromise with the bourgeoisie with a view to bringing about the establishment of a Jewish state.

[3] The Lettish Social-Democratic Union, founded abroad in the autumn of 1900, put forward demands that were close to those of the Russian Socialist-Revolutionaries. It was imbued to a considerable extent with nationalist tendencies. In 1905 it gained some influence among a section of the peasantry, but it was not long before the Lettish Social-Democratic Labour Party superseded it. Subsequently the Union ceased to play any appreciable role.

[4] The Fourth (Unity) Congress of the R.S.D.L.P., held in Stockholm on April 10-25 (April 23–May 8), 1906, decided to merge the R.S.D.L.P. with the Social-Democratic Party of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania and with the Lettish Social-Democratic Labour Party. They became part of the R.S.D.L.P. as territorial organisations working among the proletariat of all nationalities in the territories concerned.

[5] Lenin has in mind the Menshevik liquidators’ plan to liquidate the illegal Party and replace it by a “broad”, petty-bourgeois labour party without a programme, a party similar to the British Labour Party, with a supreme body in the form of a “labour congress” in which Social-Democrats, Socialist-Revolutionaries and anarchists alike would be represented. Lenin exposed this exceedingly harmful attempt of the Mensheviks to liquidate the Social-Democratic Labour arty and dilute the vanguard of the working class with petty-bourgeois elements. This idea of the Menshevik liquidators amounted to renunciation of the dictatorship of the proletariat.

[6] Dnevnik Sotsial-Demokrata (The Diary of a Social-Democrat)—a non-periodical organ published by G. V. Plekhanov in Geneva from March 1905 to April 1912, at considerable intervals. Altogether 15 issues appeared. Publication was resumed in Petrograd in 1916, but only one issue appeared.

[7] In February 1912 T. 0. Belousov, a Menshevik liquidator, member of the Third Duma for Irkutsk Gubernia, withdrew from the Social-Democratic Duma group. See Lenin’s article “Deputy T. 0. Belousov’s Withdrawal from the Social-Democratic Group in the Duma” (see present edition, Vol. 17, pp. 521–26).

[8] Khlestakov—a character in Gogol’s comedy The Inspector-General, typifying a reckless braggart and liar.

[9] The Organising Commission Abroad (O.C.A.) for the convening of a general Party conference was established by a meeting of members of the Central Committee on June 1 (14), 1911, and consisted of representatives of the Bolsheviks, conciliators and Polish Social-Democrats. The other organisations and groups abroad which had been invited to join the Commission did not send their representatives. The O.C.A. sent a group of Party functionaries to Russia, including its authorised representative G. K. Orjonikidze, to help in making preparations for the planned conference. It also issued an appeal “To All Social-Democratic Party Organisations, Groups and Circles”, calling on them to set about electing members to the Russian Organising Commission (R.O.C.). But as soon as the O.C.A. was set up a majority in it was gained by the conciliators and the Polish Social-Democrats who backed them. The conciliatory majority pursued an unprincipled policy aimed at continuing talks with the Vperyod group and Trotsky, who had refused to send their delegates to the O.C.A. The conciliators’ publications accused the Bolsheviks of factionalism. They used their predominance on the O.C.A. to hold up the dispatch of Party money to Russia and obstructed preparations for the conference.

As a result of the work done by the Bolsheviks, the Russian Organising Commission was set up. At the end of October the O.C.A. discussed the Notification which the R.O.C. had adopted concerning its establishment and its resolutions by which it assumed full powers for the convening of the conference while the Organising and the Technical commissions were to be subordinated to the R.O.C. After the conciliatory majority of the O.C.A. had refused to submit to these decisions the Bolshevik representatives with drew from the O.C.A. On October 30 (November 12) Orjonikidze, who had arrived in Paris, made a report to the meeting of the O.C.A. on the activities of the R.O.C., whereupon the O.C.A. was compelled to recognise the leading role of the R.O.C. Nevertheless, it was not long before the O.C.A. began an open fight against the R.O.C. On November 20 (December 3) it issued a leaflet entitled “An Open Letter to the Russian Organising Commission” accusing the R.O.C. of factionalism. The anti-Party actions of the O.C.A.   were exposed by Orjonikidze in a letter to the Editor published in Sotsial-Demokrat No. 25, on December 8 (21), 1911. The entire work of convening the Party conference, held in January 1912, was carried out by the R.O.C., which had rallied all the illegal Party organisations in Russia.

Works Index   |   Volume 18 | Collected Works   |   L.I.A. Index
< backward   forward >