V. I.   Lenin

Would-Be “Uniters”

Published: La Pravdu No. 36, November 15, 1913. Published according to the Za Pravdu text.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 19, pages 495-498.
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

The Berlin group of Polish Social-Democrats (Rosa Luxemburg, Tyszka and Co.), which the Polish worker Social-Democrats emphatically repudiate, is irrepressible. It persists in calling itself the “Executive Committee” of the Polish Social-Democratic Party, although there is not a person in the world who can say what this miserable Executive without a party “administers”.[1]

The worker Social-Democrats of Warsaw and Lodz declared long ago that they had dissociated themselves from the aforesaid Berlin group. The State Duma elections in Warsaw and the insurance campaign in that city revealed to all that there is only one Social-Democratic organisation in Poland, namely, the one that has categorically declared it does not recognise the disruptors and slanderers on the Executive Committee. Of the feats performed by this Executive it is sufficient to mention one: these people came out with the unsupported statement that the main bulwark of the Polish worker Social-Democrats, the Warsaw organisation, was “in the clutches of the secret police”. A year elapsed, but this Executive produced no evidence whatever in support of their atrocious charge. This, of course, was enough in itself to discourage any honest for son, active in the working-class movement, from having any dealings whatever with the people in the Tyszka group. As the reader sees, the fighting methods of these people differ very little from those employed by our Martov, Dan and Co....

And it is this group of persons, condemned by all the parties working in Poland, that has now decided to act as the saviour of the Russian working-class movement.   Rosa Luxemburg has sent to the International Socialist Bureau[2] a proposal that it should discuss the question of restoring unity in Russia. One of the motives that she advances for this is that the “Lenin group”, if you please, is causing disruption in the Polish Social-Democratic Party.

This statement gives the Berlin group away at once. It is common knowledge that the Bolsheviks are shoulder to shoulder with the Polish worker Social-Democrats who have repudiated this group of intriguers. That fact keeps our notorious Executive awake at nights, and explains its “unity” campaign, which was opened with attacks on the Russian Marxists and has the object of supporting the Russian liquidators.

Rosa Luxemburg would never have done this if things were “going well”. Even her group refused to meet the liquidators at the “August” reconciliation.

But having lost all significance in the Polish and in the Russian working-class movement owing to its lack of principles and to its intrigues, this tiny group of political bankrupts is now clutching at the liquidators’ coat-tails. It turns out, of course, that the “Lenin group” is guilty of all mortal sins, and therefore—therefore it is necessary, at all costs, to amalgamate with it. The old, old story!...

What is essentially the Russian Marxists’ attitude to wards the proposal that the International Socialist Bureau should investigate the disagreements among the Russians?

As far as we know, they will be very pleased if the West-European comrades can be persuaded to investigate the substance of our controversies. We have heard that the Russian Marxists have, for their part, sent to the International Socialist Bureau a proposal that it should also investigate the split in the Polish Social-Democratic Party and the disgraceful conduct of the Tyszka group towards the genuine workers’ organisations in Poland. The Marxists will be very pleased if the International Bureau also examines the disagreements between the six and the seven Duma deputies. This will bring before our foreign comrades the question of whether the parliamentary group should be subordinate to the workers’ party, or, on the contrary,   whether the workers’ party should be subordinate to the parliamentary group.

The Marxists will be still more pleased if Rosa Luxemburg’s proposal that the question of Russian unity be placed on the agenda of the International Congress to be held in Vienna in 1914 is accepted.

The new International has twice discussed such questions at its congresses. The first occasion was in Amsterdam, in 1904, when the question of unity in France was discussed. The Congress examined the substance of the controversy between the Guesdists (Marxists) and Jaurèsists (revisionists) and condemned the line of the Jaurèsists, condemned their tactics of joining bourgeois Cabinets, of compromising with the bourgeoisie, etc. And on the basis of this decision on the substance of the issue it proposed that the conflicting groups should unite.

The other occasion was in Copenhagen in 1910, when the Czech-Austrian split was discussed. The Congress again discussed the substance of the controversy, expressed its opposition to the “Bundist-nationalist” principles of the Czech separatists, and declared that the trade unions in a given country should not be organised on a national basis; and it was on the basis of this settlement of the sub stance of the controversy that the Congress recommended the two sides to unite. (Incidentally, the Czech Bundists refused to obey the decision of the International.)

If the Russian question is brought up at the Vienna Congress there can be no doubt that the Congress will express an opinion on the importance of the “underground” in a country like present-day Russia, on the question as to whether, under present conditions, Marxists should be guided by the prospects of “evolution” or by the prospects of “uncurtailed” slogans, etc. At all events, it will not be without interest to hear the opinion of the International on all these questions....

Unfortunately, however, this is still a long way off. Meanwhile, we merely have the irate but impotent pronouncement of the Rosa Luxemburg and Tyszka group in Berlin. We advise Mr. F. D. to make good use of this pronouncement against the Marxists and in defence of the liquidators. Although the liquidators’ newspapers reported the disgraceful   exploits of this Berlin group in its struggle against the Polish workers, Mr. F. D. will not, of course, be able to resist the temptation to drink also from this ... fresh spring.

But the Russian workers will say: We ourselves will establish unity in our Russian workers’ organisations. As for feeble intrigues, we shall simply laugh at them.


[1] The differences of opinion between the Executive Committee of the Social-Democratic Party of Poland and Lithuania and the Warsaw organisation, the strongest and most consistently revolutionary Polish Social-Democratic organisation, arose in 1908 at the Sixth Congress of that party. The line of behaviour of the Executive   Committee headed by Rosa Luxemburg, L. Tyszka and others was sharply criticised at the Congress; the Board was criticised for its unprincipled position in the R.S.D.L.P., for not allowing criticism from the local organisations, etc. The Congress passed a vote of no confidence in the Executive.

The Executive, in 1912, announced the dissolution of the War saw Committee on the grounds of its “schismatic” activities, accused it falsely of connections with the secret police, and established a new Warsaw Committee from among its own supporters. From this moment the Social-Democratic Party of Poland and Lithuania was split into two.

Lenin kept track of the struggle within the Polish Social-Democratic Party. He published a number of articles in both the Russian and Polish Party press on the split in the Polish Social-Democratic Party and spoke in the International Socialist Bureau against the attacks of the Executive on the Warsaw organisation.

The “schismatics” agreed with the tactical line of the Bolsheviks on a number of points and tried to establish organisational ties with the Bolsheviks despite their differences on the national question (the “schismatics” adopted the semi-Menshevik position of Rosa Luxemburg and her followers). The “schismatics” took part in the Poronin Conference During the First World War the two divisions of the Polish Social-Democrats formed a single party with an internationalist platform. In December 1918 the Social-Democratic Party of Poland and Lithuania together with the Left elements of the Polish Socialist Party established the Communist Workers’ Party of Poland.

[2] The International Socialist Bureau was the executive body of the Second International established by a decision, of the Paris Congress in 1900.

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