Proletarskaya Pravda No. 9, December 17, 1913.
Printed from the Proletarskaya Pravda text.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 41, pages 308-310.1.
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.
We warmly welcome the decision of the workers’ International concerning the need for full and final clarification of the substantial and basic differences existing in Russia between the political trends participating in the working-class movement.
In response to the International’s proposal we believe it necessary, for our part, to outline the basic differences which, in our opinion, divide the Marxists and the liquidators into two irreconcilable camps.
We declare, first of all, that for any class-conscious worker it is not a matter of setting up some new entity, but merely of strengthening and fully restoring the old organisation as it took shape more than 15 years ago—with its old programme and its most important tactical decisions. The liquidators have split away from this Marxist organisation. These are the necessary conditions for restoring unity with them in the sphere of work outside the Duma:
1) Full and unconditional recognition (in fact) of “the underground”, unconditional subordination to the decisions of its cells and an undertaking not to allow, in any circumstances, any kind of attacks against it in the press.
2) Full and unconditional recognition of the fact that the main task of the epoch consists of the three principal demands put forward by the working class of Russia, performance of work in that spirit, and repudiation of the liberal-reformist preachings calling for abdication of the old tasks.
3) Retraction of all attempts to change the programme of the Marxists (cultural-national autonomy) and unconditional acceptance of the programme worked out in 1903.
4) Full subordination on questions connected with the strike movement to the decisions of workers organised on Marxist lines, and repudiation of the struggle against the so-called “strike itch”.
5) Recognition in fact of the proletariat’s independent tactics, and refusal to play down the tasks of the working class for the sake of blocs with the liberals.
6) Recognition that in the matter of work in the trade unions guidance should be taken from the decisions of the International Socialist Congress in Stuttgart and the London Congress of Russian Marxists.
7) Repudiation of the principle of establishing workers’ organisations on the national basis. Establishment of united organisations in Poland and the North-Western Territory. Fulfilment by the Bund of the decision on local mergers which has been repeatedly reiterated by Russian Marxists as a whole.
These are the terms for unity in the sphere of Duma activity:
I. Recognition that the group is an organ unconditionally subordinated to the organised will of the Marxist whole.
II. Retraction of all the violations of the programme (cultural-national autonomy, acceptance of Jagiello, etc.).
III. Condemnation of the splitting acts of the Seven, which have also been condemned by G. V. Plekhanov in his letter to the International Socialist Bureau.
As for the groups which it would be useful for the Inter national Bureau to contact for arranging a general exchange of opinion, we demand, above all, that participation in it should be confined exclusively to representatives of workers’ organisations existing in Russia, and should in no instance include any of the circles abroad which are not connected with work in Russia.
We furthermore believe that: 1) either invitations should go out only to the representatives of the two principal trends struggling in Russia, i.e., the Marxists and the liquidators, 2) or, if there is a desire to clarify all differences in general between the Russian Social-Democrats and those who regard themselves as Social-Democrats? invitations should go out, without exception, to all workers’ organisations operating in Russia and regarding themselves as being close to the Social-Democrats. In that case, there is no reason to exclude some of the Left-wing Narodniks, or the Jewish groups who regard themselves as socialists and who compete with the Bund, etc.
Finally, we feel sure that in order to throw a true light on the differences among Russian Social-Democrats, the foreign socialist press will make its pages available to responsible representatives of Russian organisations who—in contrast to émigré circles and irresponsible persons—could give the foreign comrades a precise idea of the ideological and political basis of the differences in the Russian working-class movement.
A group of organised Marxists