V. I. Lenin

Extraordinary Seventh Congress of the R.C.P.(B.)

MARCH 6-8, 1918

Section Sixteen


Speech On The Question Of Elections To The Central Committee[39] March 8 (Evening)

Lomov very cleverly referred to my speech in which I demanded that the Central Committee should be capable of pursuing a uniform line. This does not mean that all those in the Central Committee should be of one and the same opinion. To hold that view would be to go towards a split; therefore I proposed that the Congress should not accept this declaration, in order to enable the comrades, after consulting their local organisations, to think over their decision. I, too, was in the Central Committee in such a position at the time when a proposal not to sign the peace treaty was adopted, and I kept silent, without in any way closing my eyes to the fact that I was not accepting responsibility for it. Every member of the Central Committee is able to disclaim responsibility without ceasing to be a member and without raising an uproar. Of course, comrades, in certain circumstances it is permissible, sometimes it is inevitable, but that this should be necessary now with the present organisation of Soviet power, which enables us to check how far we are keeping contact with the masses—this I doubt. I think that if the question of Vinnichenko arises, the comrades can defend their point of view without resigning from the Central Committee. If we are going to uphold the standpoint of preparing for a revolutionary war and of manoeuvring, it is necessary to enter the Central Committee; one can state that disagreements have arisen from below, we have an absolute right to make a statement about that. There is not the slightest danger that history will impose responsibility on Uritsky and Lomov for not rejecting the title of members of the Central Committee. We must try to find some kind of restraint that will do away with the fashion for resigning from the Central Committee. It should be stated that the Congress expresses the hope that comrades will formulate their disagreement through their protests but not by resigning from the Central Committee, and that the Congress, taking its statement into account, will vote against removal of the candidatures of the group of comrades and will hold the elections, calling on them to take back their declarations.


[39] When the new Central Committee was elected the “Left Communists” refused to serve on it. On behalf of a group of “Left Communists” M. S. Uritsky stated at the Congress that they would not serve on the Central Committee because they did not wish to take responsibility for the policy it was conducting. The “Left Communists” even refused to vote during the election of the Central Committee. The Congress voted its condemnation of this disruptive step and passed a decision that the Party organisations that had delegated the “Left Communists” were to be informed of their conduct. When it met this resistance from the Congress, the group took part in the voting and the Congress rescinded its decision.