V. I. Lenin

Reply to Liquidators’ Article in Leipziger Volkszeitung{2}

Written: Written after September 16 (29), 1912
Published: First published in Russian on April 21, 1963 in Pravda No. 111. Published on October 9, 1912 in Leipziger Volkszeitung No. 235. Printed from the Leipziger Volkszeitung text. Translated from the German.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 41, pages 260.2-262.1.
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.  

A note on “a conference of organisations of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party” appeared in No. 226 of Volkszeitung{1} on September 28, but is regrettably based on one-sided and unverified facts.

We consider it necessary to point out that the said conference was actually in no sense a conference of Russian Party organisations. Russian workers’ centres were not represented at the conference at all. St. Petersburg was represented by the liquidators from the so-called promotion group{3} who do not belong to the Social-Democratic Party and have been fighting it fiercely in their magazine and newspaper.{4} Moscow was represented only by a delegate from an insignificant section of the Party organisation, and he had been given an imperative mandate to conduct the political line of the Party Conference held in January 1912. The rest of Russia (Kiev, Yekaterinoslav, Kharkov, the Volga and Ural regions, the Central Industrial Area, the Don district and many others) was not represented at all, apart from Krasnoyarsk and Sevastopol, but it was only from the liquidators’ magazines and the report about the “conference” that the Party learned of there being any sort of organisation in either city.

For a long time it has of course been no secret to the   Party that a group of liquidators has been trying to call a conference with the assistance of the Bund, which has essentially nothing to do with actual Russian Social-Democratic activity. (For the information of German readers let us add that when we speak about Russian Party work the Bund is not included because its sphere of activity is con fined exclusively to the Jewish proletariat.) However, the real character of this attempt was so clear that Comrade Plekhanov replied to the invitation to attend the “conference” that he would not do so not only because he regarded the “conference” as being one-sided, but also because it was not attended either by the “Party elements” or by the “anti-Party elements”. That is exactly what was said in the report published by the Organising Committee of the liquidators’ conference in September 1912. But these words of the neutral Comrade Plekhanov are not in the German report carried in No. 226 of Volkszeitung on September 28 inst. We put it now to every German comrade whether this report can be considered honest. Even from the groups abroad which gave their formal consent to the convocation of a conference together with the liquidators, the former deputy of the Second Duma, Alexinsky, representing the Vperyod group, left it as a sign of open opposition to the liquidators’ party conference, because he did not regard it as a valid party conference.

It is our duty, however briefly, also to point out the following: In the six months (from January 1 to June 30, 1912), the anti-liquidators’ newspapers in St. Petersburg, Zvezda and Pravda, united 550 workers’ groups as against the liquidators’ 16. Upon its appearance, the latter’s new paper, Luch,{5} was given a hostile reception by the St. Petersburg workers, who saw it as an attempt to split the Party. The liquidators were roundly defeated in the election of workers’ representatives to the Duma (elections to the workers’ curia of the Duma) on September 16 (29). Despite its use of all the means of advertising, the group which had called this private conference of liquidators fighting against the Party, failed to mislead the Russian organisations. It is now making spasmodic efforts through the same advertising channels to misinform the German comrades, at least.

We most resolutely protest against this, and point out that the liquidators’ anonymous information will continue to mislead the German comrades until they demand that the “informers” should make a public stand under their own names and with proof in their hands.

Central Committee of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party


{1} Leipziger Volkszeitung.—Ed.

{2} This is a reply to the article published in the German Social-Democratic newspaper Leipziger Volkszeitung on September 28, 1912, on the liquidators’ conference held in Vienna in August 1912, which formalised the anti-Party (so-called August) bloc. The article tended to mislead the German Social-Democrats, distorted the true character of the conference and championed the liquidators.

The article written by Lenin and signed by the R.S.D.L.P. C.C. was printed in Leipziger Volkszeitung No. 235 of October 9, 1912, and was soon sent by Lenin to the Secretary of the International Socialist Bureau Camille Huysmans. The article, Lenin wrote, “will give you an idea of this ostensibly Social-Democratic conference” (see Fifth Russian edition of the Collected Works, Vol. 48, Document 76).

Leipziger Volkszeitung—a Social-Democratic daily published from 1894 to 1933; for a number of years it was edited by Franz Mehring and Rosa Luxemburg, and was an organ of the Left-wing Social-Democrats. From 1917 to 1922, it was the organ of the   German “Independents”; after 1922, the organ of the Right-wing Social-Democrats. p. 260

{3} Promotion groups of Social-Democratic functionaries of the open working-class movement were set up by the Menshevik liquidators from the end of 1910 to counteract the illegal Party organisations. These were small groups of intellectuals which had no ties with the working class. p. 260

{4} A reference to the legal organs of the Menshevik liquidators: the journal Nasha Zarya published in St. Petersburg from 1910 to 1914, and the newspaper Nevsky Golos published from May to August 1912. p. 260

{5} Luch (Ray)—a legal daily of the Menshevik liquidators published in St. Petersburg from September 16 (29), 1912, to July 5 (18), 1913. Altogether 237 issues were put out, The newspaper was mainly run on the contributions of liberals. Its ideological leaders were P. B. Axelrod, F. I. Dan, L. Martov and A. S. Martynov. On the pages of the paper the liquidators attacked the revolutionary tactics of the Bolsheviks, preached the opportunist slogan of setting up a so-called “open party”, opposed revolutionary mass strikes by workers and tried to revise the key propositions of the Party Programme. Lenin wrote that Luch was enslaved by liberal policy and said it was an organ of the renegades. p. 281

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