Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party Second Congress

Twenty-seventh Session

(Present: 43 delegates with 51 mandates and 12 persons with consultative voice.)

Voting on Paragraph 12 of the rules continued.

Martov’s proposal on co-option [Martov’s resolution: ‘Co-option of new members to either body is to be effected only by a majority and in the absence of more than one reasoned protest. The point about mutual co-option is deleted.’] was voted on and adopted by 26 to 24.

Lenin moved an amendment. [Lenin’s resolution: ‘Co-option of members to the Central Committee and the editorial board of the Central Organ is admissible only with the agreement of all members of the Party Council.’]

Panin asked that the arguments for this proposal be presented.

Martov proposed that a discussion take place on Lenin’s amendment, with two speakers allowed on each side.

Martov’s proposal was voted on and adopted by 27 to 16.

Trotsky: I cannot say that Lenin’s amendment was not clear. Comrade Lenin proposes that the Council re-decide the decisions of one of the central bodies, and that means interfering in their field of work. Considering that the CC and the editorial board must be autonomous and independent, I think that principles of unity should exist between them, and that moral unity should exist within them.

Martov: I agree with what Trotsky has said. Our original draft is being altered to an increasing extent, and in a very undesirable direction. We started out with two centres, and then we reverted to the idea of a single centre. We have arrived at the point where not only does a member have to be accepted unanimously, but co-option is to require unanimity of both bodies. In this way we lay the basis for constant war between the bodies, and war, moreover, about questions concerning individuals. If in all the CC not one righteous man is to be found to prevent acceptance, and if no such righteous man is to be found in the Council either, where then can an appeal be lodged? From the standpoint of the tasks which the supporters of unanimity wish to accomplish, we are going too far. Why introduce unanimity into the Central Organ and the CC when we consider this inadequate?

Lenin: I will reply briefly to both objections. Comrade Martov says I propose unanimity of both bodies for co-option of members: that is not true. The congress decided not to give the right of veto to every one of the members of two perhaps rather large bodies, but this does not mean that we cannot give this power to the institution which co-ordinates all the activity involved in the combined work of the two centres. Such combined work by the two centres calls for complete unanimity and even unity at the personal level, and this is possible only if co-option is unanimous. After all, if two members consider that co-option is necessary, they can convene the Party Council.[2]

By roll-call vote Comrade Lenin’s amendment was rejected by 27 to 22. [This roll-call vote is not in the minutes.]

Deutsch moved a resolution [Deutsch’s resolution: ‘The Central Committee and the editorial board of the Central Organ must inform each other of the co-option of members.’] which was adopted by 22 to 2. Martov moved another resolution. [Martov’s resolution: ‘In a case when unanimity on the co-option of new members to the Central Committee or the editorial board of the Central Organ has not been attained, the question of the acceptance of a member may be referred to the Council, and in the event of its cassation of the decision by the body in question, the latter’s final decision is to be taken by a simple majority.’]

Lenin: Martov’s amendment contradicts the point already adopted about unanimity in co-option to the CC and the Central Organ.

Martynov considered that the amendment did not in any way contradict the point which had been adopted, as that had stated that the CC and the Central Organ could not decide otherwise than unanimously, but this did not rule out the possibility of an appeal to the Council.

Martov: The explanation given by Comrade Lenin runs counter to his interpretation of the amendment which he has moved. I propose that a minority which is dissatisfied with the decision of a majority be given the right to appeal for a decision to the Party Council.

Lenin: Comrade Martov’s interpretation is wrong, for such an exception contradicts unanimity. I appeal to the congress and ask it to decide whether Comrade Martov’s amendment should be put to the vote.

By a majority of 25 to 19 it was decided to vote on Martov’s amendment, which was then adopted by 24 to 23.

Paragraph 12 as a whole was then adopted, by 38 to 2.

The rapporteur of the rules commission read paragraph 13, and in his résumé advocated omitting this point from that day’s discussion, and referring it to the CC.

Yegorov supported Glebov: Since the rules do not list all the organisations, I do not understand why preference should be given to one of them. I propose that the question be dropped now and brought up again when we discuss organisations.

Deutsch supported Glebov’s proposal, but thought the CC could not be given the task of deciding the question, and proposed that it be passed to the Party Council.

Akimov spoke against paragraph 13, as it seemed to him strange that only the League was mentioned, whereas the Union of Russian Social-Democrats existed, and had been endorsed by the First Congress. For this reason the question must be presented not as the question of the League but as that of the Foreign Committee of the Party.

Deutsch considered Comrade Akimov’s objection groundless, as the organisation of the League was continually enlarging its activity, while that of the Union was continually declining. Therefore Comrade Deutsch proposed that the question of the League of Russian Social-Democrats Abroad, or of the Party’s Foreign Committee, be referred to the Council.

Lenin: I am not going to argue with Comrades Glebov and Deutsch on the substance of the matter, but I thought we needed to mention the League in the rules; first, because everyone knows that it exists; secondly, so as to take note of the representation of the League in the Party under the old rules; thirdly, because all the other organisations have the status of committees, and the League is brought in so as to indicate its special position.

Martov: I am in favour of the League being mentioned in the rules. Although there are several organisations in existence abroad, one cannot put the Union on a par with the League, which has alone in recent years been linked with the movement in Russia.

Akimov: It seems to me that alteration of paragraph 13 is so obviously necessary that it should be done without any dispute. But since, nevertheless, this paragraph has found defenders, I must say something about it. Let me first make the reservation that I do not attach any particular practical significance to which way the question is decided. The ideological struggle which has been going on in our Party is undoubtedly not over yet; but it will be continued on a different plane and with a different alignment of forces. For this reason the separate existence of the Union, which is impossible from the standpoint of Party unity, is also unnecessary from that of those who do not agree with the majority.

But this question has great significance for me from the standpoint of principle.

Paragraph 13 of the rules once more reflects, and in a very marked way, the tendency to convert our congress from a Party congress into a factional congress.

Instead of causing all Social-Democrats in Russia to defer to the decisions of the Party Congress in the name of Party unity, by uniting all Party organisations, it is proposed that the congress should destroy the organisation of the minority and make the minority disappear from the scene. Such is, in general, the tendency of the majority at this congress, and I want this to be exposed and given sufficiently clear expression, and that is why I am bringing up this question. If this is not the case, the congress must reject paragraph 13 of the draft rules or replace it with another. I propose the following wording: ‘All Party organisations abroad are united in the Foreign Committee of the Party, which (then, as in the draft rules) enjoys the rights all other committees, with the exception,’ and so on.

Trotsky: Comrade Akimov has done the Union an ill service. We thought paragraph 13 was a technical matter, and he has made it a matter of principle. And since it is so, then we must, of course, agree that the League ought to be included in the rules, since it is the bearer of the principle which united the majority at the congress.

Yegorov: While sympathising with Comrades Lenin and Trotsky, I nevertheless think that it would be better to put the question of the foreign organisations in a general way, and I repeat that paragraph 13 expresses the desire of the congress to declare officially that the League represents the Party abroad. I move this amendment: the organisations abroad have the right to communicate with the organisation in Russia through the CC.

Karsky: The comrades who have lived or are living outside Russia must know how important are our organisations that exist abroad. I think that the comrades will agree with me that now that the idea of unity is established in Russia, we must desire that outside Russia too this unity ought to be achieved, under the name of the League. This unity is needed both morally and materially, and not only the Union but also the Foreign Committee of the Bund should enter the League, so that we do not have a multitude of separate organisations.

Lieber: Comrade Akimov, as the representative of the Union, has the formal right to demand that the Union be included in the rules. We must not forget that this is the second congress, but this fact is being forgotten, when such forgetting is needed, and if we are not to repudiate beforehand the Union which was endorsed by the First Congress we cannot adopt a new representative. This same idea I thought proper to express in connection with Rabochaya Gazeta and Iskra, as well, and I do not understand why Trotsky should call on the separate organisations to bow down.

Martov: I do not understand the fervour with which Comrade Lieber discusses this question. If, however, Comrade Akimov wants to make the issue one of principle, we have nothing against it; especially as Comrade Akimov has spoken of possible combinations in a struggle between two trends. The victory of one trend must be sanctioned not in the sense that we make another bow to Iskra, but in the sense that we how a last farewell to all the possible ‘combinations’ Comrade Akimov spoke of.

It was proposed that the list of speakers be closed, and this was done.

Martynov: What Comrade Akimov said has been wrongly interpreted. It was claimed that Comrade Akimov made the question one of principle, and we are taking up this challenge. But Comrade Akimov said clearly that in so far as there will be a struggle in the future, too, between different trends, it will be fought out on other planes and with new combinations of forces, and will have nothing to do with the question of the Union. Nor did Comrade Akimov claim for the Union the right to be the representative of the Party abroad; he merely spoke against a decision that would exclude the Union from the Party.

Akimov: Comrade Trotsky considers that I did an ill service to my organisation by raising this question: it could have been settled later, without any fuls, but since I raised it, the congress must settle it to the disadvantage of the Union. But Comrade Trotsky is wrong in thinking that I only want to obtain some concessions or indulgences for the Union. I want it to be clearly stated whether or not the congress wishes to achieve unity of all Party forces, or admission by the dissidents that they have been vanquished; and Comrade Trotsky himself answered this question, when he said: ‘this congress must be the triumph of a trend’. Comrade Deutsch’s statement that in recent months the Union has done less and less, and the League more and more, cannot have any significance. The Union has been carrying on its activity not for a few months but for five years: the congress has not yet heard its report and cannot, without having discussed its activity, take a decision which indirectly closes down, without giving any reasons, an old Party organisation which, by the will of the First Congress, bears the title of a committee. Comrade Karsky’s arguments are even more groundless. This is not a dispute about whether the Union ought to exist independently of any other organisation abroad. We are all agreed that there ought to be only one, united organisation abroad; but this should be formed not by recognising one organisation and suppressing the others but by uniting them all into one. As to Comrade Martov’s opinion that my hopes of a new trend appearing in our Party are in vain, let me say that even he himself inspires me with such hopes.

Yegorov: I have modified my amendment so as to avoid misunderstanding. I am against the existence of two organisations abroad.

Lenin: It seems to me that the upshot of the discussion is that it is desirable for this point to be retained in the rules.

Brouckère: In my opinion the desire that all the organisations be united into one does not mean that this organisation should bear the name of one of the existing organisations, and I oppose this.

The amendments to Paragraph 13 were voted on.

Akimov’s amendment was rejected by the majority, with two votes in favour.

Yegorov’s proposal (‘The Organisation Abroad, endorsed by the congress or by the Party Council, renders support to the movement in Russia not otherwise than through persons and groups specially designated by the Central Committee’) was rejected by 27 to 15.

Glebov’s proposal to drop Paragraph 13 was rejected by 26 to 19.

Rusov proposed to insert the word ‘sole’ before ‘organisation abroad’.

Lieber considered that to adopt such an amendment would be irregular, since it would exclude from the Party all the other organisations abroad.

Rusov: I merely wanted to say that there should be only one organisation abroad.

Martynov: We shall be voting on what Comrade Rusov said, not on what he meant to say.

Yegorov: Rusov’s proposal is not acceptable because it would slaughter all the other organisations abroad whose representatives we have here. Those organisations should not be killed off until the last session, so as not to put their delegater in an awkward position.

Chairman: I do not see any slaughtering here, or any other dreadful thing, since I believe that agreement is possible, and that all sections can enter into a single organisation. The Bureau proposes that Rusov’s amendment be put to the vote.

Yegorov: I request the Bureau to record in the minutes that I not only did not take part in the voting but was not even present at it. [He then left the hall.]

Chairman: Please do not take offence. We have not yet put Comrade Rusov’s amendment to the vote.

Lieber: The Bureau has no right to put this amendment to the vote.

Chairman: Comrade Lieber’s objection that we have no right to put this amendment to the vote is unfounded. We appeal to the congress: who considers it inadmissible to put Comrade Rusov’s amendment to the vote?

By 27 to 15 Rusov’s amendment was accepted as admissible for voting

Karsky (on a point of order): Comrade Yegorov seems more sensitive to Comrade Rusov’s amendment than those whom this amendment affects.

The Chairman checked Karsky, as his speech had nothing to do with a point of order.

Lieber: I propose that the following be adopted: ‘All organisations abroad except the League are abolished.’

The vote was taken. Lieber’s proposal was rejected by all against nine. Rusov’s amendment was adopted by 25 to 17.

Brouckère’s proposal (‘All the organisations abroad to be united into one’) was rejected by the majority, with one vote in favour.

Paragraph 13 as a whole was adopted by 31 to 12, with six abstentions. (Comrade Yegorov was absent.)

The rules as a whole were adopted by 42 to six, with one abstention.

The congress proceeded to discuss the question of national organisations, and the Bund in particular.

The rapporteur of the rules commission: The commission has not discussed the question of national organisations, and so I propose that this question be discussed in the general assembly. As the basis for discussion I propose that we take the nine paragraphs of the rules pur forward by the Bund. [See notes to Seventh Session.]

Glebov: These nine points in the Bund’s rules are different in nature, and in order to facilitate the work of the congress I should like to group them in a certain way. I think that some of these points will not arouse any objection, whereas the second, third and fifth of them possess cardinal importance. The most cardinal of them is point two, and I suggest that the congress begin its discussion of the Bund question with this point.

Yegorov (as a formal statement): Comrade Glebov’s words do not express the view of the commission, which has not met to consider this matter.

Chairman: The Bureau finds that Comrade Glebov has the right, after reading the Bund’s rules, to express his personal opinion on the order in which the paragraphs should be discussed.

Popov: Comrade Yegorov is not blaming Comrade Glebov but merely explaining that what Comrade Glebov said was his own opinion and not that of the rules commission.

Chairman: I put it to the vote: who is against our proceeding to discuss point 2 first of all? Nobody.

Martov: In view of the fact that point 2 of the Bund’s draft rules is strongly marked by federalism, towards which we have already taken up our position of principle, in connection with the first item on our agenda, I will here merely tell the comrades of the experience of a federal organisation of the local proletariat, which took place in Riga. This letter was sent to our congress by the Riga comrades. [Reads the letter: see Appendix V . ]

The speaker then summarised another letter which clarified and supplemented the first, and drew the conclusion that the formula adopted by the Bund legitimised and perpetuated separatism, whereas we know that hundreds of thousands of Jewish workers are united in quite different organisations. ‘I propose that point 2 be completely deleted without being replaced by any corresponding point. I propose that the area of activity of the Bund be not defined, as this area cannot be defined.’

Lieber: First of all, I want to put a formal question to Comrade Martov about the letter he read to us. How could a ‘Riga Group of Russian Social-Democrats’ who had not been invited to the congress send a letter to this congress? I want him to answer regarding the essence of the matter, which was not dealt with either in this ‘letter’ or in Comrade Martov’s speech. What is this letter about? About a number of failures to form an organisation in Riga and get going a broad workers’ movement among the proletariat of all the nations living in Riga. But we could just as well blame Iskra for not having succeeded in organising a Russian movement in a whole number of towns—even, for example, in Moscow. The writers of this letter and Comrade Martov have, evidently, such a fantastic notion of the revolutionary might of the Jewish Social-Democrats that, as they see it, these ‘giants’, the Jewish Social-Democrats, would have only to turn their attention to the Russian proletariat in Riga for tens of thousands of these proletarians, as though by the waving of a magician’s wand, at once to become revolutionised. As for us, we do not consider that we need discuss any further the stupid fantasies which make up the essence of the accusations brought against us.

Instead of replying to the writers of the letter or to Comrade Martov regarding these accusations, I shall permit myself to make some little ‘historical allusions’. With the light touch of Iskra, a large section of our Russian comrades have kept on asserting that once upon a time ‘the Bund’ was ‘a good thing’, that, generally speaking, everything used to be fine, but that since that unlucky fourth congress of the Bund, everything has changed: since then, ‘of course’, our ‘nationalism’ and ‘separatism’, and so on and so forth, have appeared. This sort of statement is taken as truth, because a large section of our comrades, especially those working in Russia, have very little knowledge of the past history of the RSDLP. The historical documents from which I shall quote a few passages show best the utter unsoundness of the charge brought against us. In 1895, that is, two years before the foundation of the Bund, this was said in one of our pamphlets: ‘This is why we had firmly to recognise that our aim, the aim of the Social-Democrats working in the Jewish milieu, was to create a special Jewish workers’ organisation, which would be the leader and educator of the Jewish proletariat in the struggle for economic, civil and political emancipation’ (A Turning-Point in the History of the Jewish Labour Movement, page 19). In 1898, that is, directly after the founding of the Bund, there appeared our pamphlet The Struggle of the PPS Against the Jewish Labour Movement, which was printed in Rabotnik, no. 5-6. This pamphlet was a reply to a number of attacks made by the PPS against the Bund as soon as it came into existence, attacks which were almost identical with the accusations levelled against us by Iskra. Here is the resolution on the Bund which the PPS adopted at its Fourth Congress: ‘Since the Jewish proletariat can have as its tasks only tasks which are the same as those of the proletariat and of the people among whom it lives; since the activity of the Jewish groups under the common titles of ”General Jewish Workers’ Union in Russia and Poland” is harmful to the movement, because its programmatic and organisational isolation frequently puts this union in a position of hostility to us—the congress therefore decides that the policy of this union is incorrect, that it is not in solidarity with the policy of the Polish and Lithuanian proletariat in its fight for liberation from the Russian yoke.’ (Rabotnik, no. 5-6, page 72.)

Thus, as you see, the same sort of accusation, just as unsubstantiated, as our adversaries bring against us now, was brought against us from the first day of our foundation. As everyone knows who has any knowledge at all of the history of the labour movement in Poland in recent years, all these insinuations have failed to prevent us (in spite of all the efforts of the PPS) from creating in Poland a very strong Social-Democratic movement among the Jewish proletariat, led by the Bund. The sharp rebuke, full of sarcasm and passion, in the charge levelled against us by the PPS, was published, as I mentioned, in the Rabotnik, which was edited by the ‘Emancipation of Labour’ group, without any comments by the editors. Along with our protest there was also published the protest of the ‘Lithuanian Social-Democracy’ against the PPS, which had denied to the Lithuanian proletariat, as well, the right to an independent organisation, and this also appeared without any comments by the editors. Evidently, what now seems to our opponents from Iskra to be ‘nationalism’ and ‘separatism’, and so on, seemed then quite natural and legitimate to the ‘Emancipation of Labour’ Group, all of whom entered the Iskra organisation and took part in its editorial work. Moreover, in the same issue of Rabotnik there appeared a translation of an article from No. 11 of Arbeiterstimme, our central organ, under the title: ‘Our Aims’. This article set out the whole profession de foi of the Bund, showing the need for an independent organisation of the Jewish proletariat and its autonomous status in the Party. Our opponents have told us here that the need for the Bund was justified in the first years of its existence by merely technical considerations.

Quotations from this article, which appeared in 1898, immediately after the first congress of the Party—an article which, incidentally, was one of the results of that congress—show better than anything else can whether our opponents were right. Here is the first quotation: ‘What the Party’s attitude was to be towards organisations of whole nations is clear from the passage in the Manifesto which speaks of the conditions for the entry of the ”Jewish Workers’ Union” into the Party: ”The General Jewish Workers’ Union in Russia and Poland enters the Party as an autonomous organisation which retains its independence only as regards questions concerning the Jewish proletariat.”

‘Or, putting it another way, we have to understand this in the following fashion: the position of the Jews in Russia, the policy of the Tsarist Government towards them, and other special features (as, for example, a distinct language) have given rise in the case of the Jewish proletariat to special interests requiring special defence. The defence of these special Jewish interests can be assumed by a separate Jewish organisation possessing the full right to defend them in whatever way it finds necessary, while the Party does not interfere in the activity of this Union. In respect of matters affecting the whole Russian proletariat, without distinction of nationality or religion, the ”Jewish Union” is obliged, as a section of the Party, to submit to the CC.’ (Rabotnik, no. 5-6, p. 96.)

Just tell us what there is in the draft rules we have submitted that, in essentials, goes even a little way farther than what, in the opinion of those who took part in the First Congress, was expressed in its manifesto. And this understanding of the manifesto was, again, never objected to by our Russian comrades. I will give one more quotation, my last. This is how the article which I quoted concludes: ‘Thus, a separate Jewish workers’ organisation is desirable and necessary in the interests both of the Jewish and of the Christian proletariat. But only an organisation which has grown naturally out of the struggle of the Jewish proletariat against exploitation and is bound to it by thousands of ties can guard its interests and vigorously defend them, while at the same time facilitating the work of the Russian Party as a who le. The latter has understood that in these conditions its work can progress, and it is sufficiently developed politically to give independence, within certain limits, to a Jewish organisation.’ ‘The fact that the Russian Party understood its tasks correctly, that it did not merely promise but actually recognised the right of every nation to have its own independent workers’ organisation—all this provides the best guarantee that it will draw to itself all the live forces of the Russian proletariat and achieve through its activity the results that it expects.’

That is how we saw the question of the Bund’s position in the Party five years ago, just after the First Congress. These are the views we hold now, as well: these are the principles which underlie our draft rules. So it is not the Bund’s views that have changed, but views about the Bund. How are we to account for this? Why was it that until recently our Russian comrades did not notice these ‘harmful’ views of the Bund? The explanation is to be found in the tremendous growth of the Bund, on the one hand, and of the Russian labour movement, on the other. So long as we, to use the expression of our comrade from the Mining and Metallurgical Association, ‘stayed at home’, that is, in Poland and Lithuania, our comrades did not come into contact with the Bund. Now there has again arisen before us all, the Russian comrades and the Bund alike, the urgent task of uniting all the Social-Democratic forces in Russian into a single Party, and our comrades have sharply altered their attitude towards the Bund, denying its very right to exist. But our comrades should not forget that, while for them this question of the Bund is the first page in the story, for us, who have been through a struggle with the PPS on almost the same ground, the clash with our Russian comrades is the second page in our story. During all this time our comrades have evidently forgotten everything and learnt nothing, and so I think it pointless here, at the second congress of the Party, after five years of brilliant activity by the Bund, to prove its right to exist. It is enough that we can be asked to supply such proof at the second congress of a Party into which we entered and in whose ranks we have done so much for the entire Social-Democratic movement in Russia. I can only repeat, as categorically as possible, the demand expressed in the first point of our rules: the Bund is and must be the sole representative of the Jewish proletariat, in whatever part of the Russian state the Jewish proletariat lives and whatever language it speaks.

Martov: I am not clear on the answer to the question whether the Bund wishes to oblige all the local Russian committees to refrain from any dealings with even a single Jewish worker.

Lieber: I think the matter is clear. It is not a question of whether a particular organisation can work among the Jewish proletariat. Nobody denies that right. But the Bund is the sole representative of the Jewish proletariat in the Party.

The Chairman: The Bureau has been handed a statement from Comrades Akimov and Martynov: ‘Recognising that by the adoption of Paragraph 13, as amended, the congress has indirectly expressed its decision to close down the Union before hearing its report and before discussing the item of the agenda on the endorsement of existing Party organisations, we, delegates of the Union, refuse from now on to take Part in voting, and continue to be present at the congress only so as to hear the minutes of previous sessions and discuss how they are to be Published. Martynov, Akimov.’

Gorin proposed that point 2 of the Bund’s rules be split into two parts, which should be voted on separately.

Lieber: In the name of the Bund delegation I state that we shall not vote on the questions concerning the Bund.

Trotsky: Lieber’s statement seems to me incomprehensible. The comrades from the Bund might have refused to vote if they were simply an interested party. But we are all interested equally in the settlement of this problem, and therefore the Bund delegation’s refusal to vote on this question can only amount to a simple abstention.

Abramson: We do not want to make an incident out of this, and agree to vote.

Chairman: There are three ways in which you can vote: for, against, or abstention.

The first part of paragraph 2 of the Bund’s rules was voted on, and rejected by 39 to five, with eight abstentions, which included the two delegates from the Union. The second part of Paragraph 2 was also rejected by 39 to five, with eight abstentions. Paragraph 2 as a whole was rejected by 41 to five, with five abstentions. [Voters for Paragraph 2 of the Bund’s draft rules were: Hofman, Goldblatt, Yudin,Lieber, Abramson. Abstentions were: Makhov (2 votes), Brouckère, Martyrsov an Akimov. The rest voted against.]

Lieber: I ask to make a statement. On behalf of the whole Bund delegation I declare: in view of the fact that the congress has, by its last vote, rejected that point of principle, in the rules we presented, acceptance of which was made by our fifth congress the necessary condition for the Bund’s being in the Party, we, on the basis of this decision of the fifth congress of the Bund, depart from the Party congress and announce that the Bund leaves the RSDLP. We shall send a special reasoned statement in writing to the second congress.[3]

Makhov: When the second point of the Bund’s rules was voted on, a roll-call vote was taken, and so the best I could do was to abstain from voting. Since the result of this vote has been rejection of the entire point, and this was bound to have, and has had, the inevitable consequence of the departing of the Bund from the RSDLP, I think it necessary to explain to the congress the reasons why, in the given circumstances, I thought it best to abstain.

Proceeding from the consideration that, after we had, in the resolution adopted when we discussed the first item of the agenda, expressed our attitude of principle to the question of the Bund’s place in the RSDLP, we might again, in view of this, emphasise our negative attitude generally towards all national and territorial organisations when we came to discuss the question of such organisations, and would doubtless do this, I regarded the question of the place of the Bund in the RSDLP as having been disposed of from the standpoint of principle. Therefore, the question of the position of the Bund in the RSDLP had ceased to be for me a question of principle and had become a question of practical politics in relation to an historically evolved national organisation. Here I could not but take into account all the consequences that might follow from our vote, and would therefore have voted for Paragraph 2 in its entirety. But since my voting one way or the other would only have significance in principle and would not be of any practical importance, in view of the almost unanimous vote of all the other congress delegates, I preferred to abstain in order to bring out in principle the difference between my position on this question and the position of the Bund delegates, who voted in favour. Conversely, I would have voted in favour if the Bund delegates had abstained, as they had at first insisted.

Chairman: The representatives of the Bund told us more than once that they did not regard their conditions as constituting an ultimatum.

Brouckère: I abstained from voting on the rules put forward by the Bund, and I wish to explain why. I could not vote for the draft because I think it necessary in the interests of both the Jewish and the Russian proletariat that there should be one united Party organisation, in which none of the sections enjoys exclusive rights. But I could not vote against it because if the Bund entered the Party as a territorial organisation, in accordance with the rules the Party has just adopted, it would thereby deprive itself of the possibility of developing and continuing the useful activity it is now carrying on, since these rules make live work by local organisations impossible.

The session was closed.



[2] The “schismatics” (raskolniki) referred to by Deutsch were presumably Old Believers, who had, as persecuted religious dissenters, grievances against the government which might cause them to wish to contact Narodnaya Volya.

[3] L. Nadezhdin (E.O. Zelensky) was the author of a pamphlet, published by Svoboda, which is referred to by Lenin in What Is To Be Done?, Section V.