V. I.   Lenin

The Question of Bureau Decisions[1]

Written: Written December 2 (15), 1913
Published: First published in the fourth Russian edition of the Collected Works. Published according to the manuscript.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 19, pages 516-518.
Translated: The Late George Hanna
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

Today, Monday, December 2 (15), yesterday’s decision of the Bureau on Russian affairs became known—so far from a brief telegram. Plekhanov has announced his resignation in writing, i.e., resigned of his own accord.

The Organising Committee (OC), the liquidators’ leading institution, has been affiliated, i.e., has obtained the right to representation in the Bureau.

(Apropos of this it must be mentioned that according to the Rules, not only the most opportunist parties, but even semi-party workers’ organisations may affiliate. The most opportunist groups of the British are affiliated; there fore, the affiliation of the OC could not be prevented.)

What is the result? Plekhanov has been squeezed out by the liquidators! If the liquidators try to rejoice over this, they must be answered—hypocritical supporters of unity. The liquidators have managed to replace Plekhanov. That is the actual result. Let all workers in general, and worker Mensheviks in particular, judge whether the liquidators are sincerely striving for unity, whether sincere supporters of unity would have substituted themselves for Plekhanov. Surely there cannot be anybody so naive as to believe that the replacement of Plekhanov by a liquidator is a step towards unity and not away from it.

At all events I can offer the editors an article on the subject if the liquidators have started any foolish jubilation. It can also be added (later) that having become affiliated, the OC members (the liquidators) have committed themselves to becoming an entity, i.e., a party. Probably an open party, eh gentlemen? Time will show.

At last “unification has been entrusted to the executive”—says the telegram. That means that the Executive Committee of the Bureau (Vandervelde+Bertrand +Anseele+the Secretary Huysmans) has been instructed to take measures or to take steps towards re-establishing unity.

Apparently (or probably) that has been done without any reproach to us. In that case it is quite acceptable to us. It must be said that the Executive Committee of the Bureau always and unconditionally must work for unity, and that two years ago, Huysmans, the Secretary of the Bureau, asked Lenin in writing what measures should be adopted as a step towards unity. Entrusting this to the Executive, therefore, is, I repeat, quite acceptable to us, and any possible misinterpretations by the liquidators will be simply untrue.

Nothing is said in the telegram about the seven and the six. It is known from a letter, however, that at the be ginning of the Bureau session a liquidator was named during the roll-call. Our representative then said that the six had not elected him, to which Huysmans replied with an explanation of the rules, according to which representation (from socialist parliamentary groups) is granted only to the majority irrespective of party membership. It is probable that they left it at that—one liquidator from the seven or the eight. If such are the rules (which we shall verify—so far we have had to accept the official explanation of the rules of the Bureau by the Secretary of the Bureau at an official session), then it was a good thing we did not waste our efforts and did not “put in an appearance”, did not go there and make demands. It has no practical significance. It is not convenient to speak about it in the press. If the liquidators start rejoicing—we shall again answer them: = hypocritical supporters of unity, who contravene the will of the majority of politically conscious workers.

And so the result is as mentioned elsewhere.

We also see from the letter of our representative that the liquidators have been agitating Kautsky (who represent ed the Germans) to have a commission appointed on the question of unity. Kautsky censured Rosa Luxemburg for her attack on Lenin and was of the opinion that nothing   could be done from abroad; it was necessary for the Russian workers to demand unity.

We shall await a confirmation of these statements. We are certainly in favour of unity in accordance with the will of the majority of politically conscious workers in Russia.

Such is the state of affairs according to information at present available.


[1] This letter was addressed by Lenin to the editors of Za Pravdu when he received the first report of the decisions of the December session (1913) of the International Socialist Bureau on the unification of the R.S.D.L.P.

The question was raised by Rosa Luxemburg (member of the Bureau from the Social-Democratic Party of Poland and Lithuania) in support of the Russian liquidators, who had been defeated in their struggle against the Bolsheviks. At the session on December 14 (N.S.), 1913, the resolution proposed by Kautsky was adopted; in this resolution the Executive Committee of the Bureau was instructed, allegedly for the purpose of re-establishing the unity of the R.S.D.L.P., to organise an exchange of opinion “between all factions of the working-class movement in Russia”.

At the conference held in July 1914 in Brussels in accordance with the decision of the Bureau, the leaders of the Second International, on the pretext of “reconciling” the Bolsheviks and liquidators, demanded that the Bolsheviks cease their criticism of the liquidators; the Bolsheviks refused; and continued their struggle against the liquidators.

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