MIA: Encyclopedia of Marxism: Glossary of Organisations



Emancipation of Labour group

The first Russian Marxist group. Founded by Georgi Plekhanov, Vera Zasulich, Paul Axelrod and Leo Deutsch in Geneva (Switzerland) in 1883. The group did a great deal to distribute and translate Marxist works into Russia and became the major adversary to the ideology of Narodism.

Two drafts (1883 and 1885) of a programme for the Russian Social-Democrats were written by Plekhanov and published by the group marking an important step to what would become the building of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party. From the first congress of the Second International in Paris (1889), the group represented Russian Social-Democrats at all congresses following.

Lenin later wrote that the group "laid the theoretical foundations for the Social-Democratic movement and took the first step towards the working-class movement in Russia." The group was later followed by League of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class.