V. I. Lenin

The Tasks Of Our Party in the International

Apropos Of The Third Zimmerwald Conference

Written:October, 1917
First Published: 1928 Lenin Miscellany VII; Published according copy of the Minutes
Source:Lenin’s Collected Works, Progress Publishers, Moscow, Volume 26, 1972, pp. 220-222
Translated: Yuri Sdobnikov and George Hanna, Edited by George Hanna
Transcription & HTML Markup: Charles Farrell and David Walters
Online Version: Lenin Internet Archive November, 2000


Rabochy Put No. 22 of September 28 published the manifesto of the Third Zimmerwald Conference. If we are not mistaken, the only other newspaper that published this manifesto was the Menshevik, internationalist Iskraa[89] No. 1 of September 26, which added a very brief note referring to the composition of the Third Zimmerwald Conference and the date on which it was held (August 20 to 27, N. S.). No other newspaper published either the manifesto or any detailed information about the Conference.

We are now in possession of certain materials on this Conference consisting of an article published in Politiken, the organ of the Swedish Left Social-Democrats (a translation of which appeared in Tydmies, the organ of the Social-Democratic Party of Finland)[90] and two written communications, one from a Polish and one from a Russian comrade who took part in the Conference. On the basis of this information we will first of all say something about the Conference in general and then make our appraisal of it and of the tasks of our Party.


The representatives of the following parties and groups were present at the Conference: (1) the German Independent" Social-Democratic Party (the Kautskyites); (2) the Swiss party; (3) the Swedish Left party (which, you will remember, has broken off all connection with the opportunist Branting party); (4) the Norwegians and (5) the Danes (there is nothing in our material to indicate whether this refers to the official, opportunist, Danish party headed by the Minister Stauning); (6) the Social-Democratic Party of Finland; (7) the Rumanians; (8) the R.S.D.L.P. Bolsheviks; (9) the R.S.D.L.P. Mensheviks (Panin sent a written statement to the effect that he would not take part in this Conference on the grounds that it was not a representative conference; Axelrod, however, attended some of the meetings, but did not sign the manifesto); (10) the Menshevik internationalists; (11) the American group of Christian Socialist Internationalists (?); (12) the American Social-Democratic Propaganda Group (evidently this is the group I mentioned in my pamphlet, The Tasks of the Proletariat in Our Revolution, Draft Platform for the Proletarian Party, page 24, for this group began to publish the newspaper, The Internationalist[Journal of the American Socialist Propaganda League] in January 1917); (13) the Polish Secial-Democrats united under the National Executive; (14) the Austrian Opposition (the Karl Marx Club, which was closed down by the Austrian Government after the execution of Stürgkh by Friedrich Adler; this Club is also referred to in the above-mentioned pamphlet, page 25); (15) the Bulgarian Independent Trade Unions (which, as the writer of the letter I have in my possession adds, belong not to the Tesnyaki, i.e., not to the Left, internationalist Bulgarian party, but to the Shiroki group, i.e., to the opportunist Bulgarian party); this delegate arrived after the Conference had closed, as also did the delegates of (16) the Serbian party.

Of these sixteen parties and groups, Nos. 3, 8, 12, 13, and 14 belong to the "third" trend referred to in the resolution of our Conference of April 24-29, 1917 (and in my pamphlet, page 23 in which this trend is called "true internationalist"); closer to this Left trend or between it and the Kautskian Centre, stand groups 4 and 16, although it is difficult to define their position precisely—perhaps they also belong to the Centre. Then, group 1, and probably 2, 6 and 7, group 10 and probably 15, belong to the Kautskian Centre. Groups 5 (if this is Stauning's party) and 9 are ministerialists, defencists and social-chauvinists. Finally, group 11 obviously got to the Conference by accident.

From this it is seen that the composition of the Conference was very mixed—even absurd, for the people who got together were not in agreement on the main thing, and therefore were incapable of really unanimous action, of really acting together; they were people who were bound to disagree on the fundamental trend of their policy. Naturally, the fruit of the "collaboration" of such people is either wrangling or gossip, or elastic, compromise resolutions written for the purpose of concealing the truth. Examples and proof of this we shall see in a moment......

[Here the manuscript breaks off—Ed.]