Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party Second Congress

Organisational Rules of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party

adopted at the Party’s second Congress

Resolution. The Party’s general rules are binding on all sections of the Party. Exceptions are defined in special appendices to the rules.


1. A member of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party is one who accepts the Party’s programme, supports the Party financially, and renders it regular personal assistance under the direction of one of its organisations.

2. The supreme organ of the Party is the Party Congress. It is convened (if possible, not less often than once every two years) by the Party Council. The Party Council must call a congress if this is demanded by Party organisations which together would command half the votes at the congress. A Congress is considered valid if at it are represented organisations which together are entitled to more than half of the deciding votes.

3. Entitled to representation at a congress are:

(a) the Party Council;

(b) the Central Committee;

(c) the Central Organ;

(d) all local committees which do not belong to special associations;

(e) other organisations which are in this respect on the same footing as committees;

(f) all associations of committees recognised by the Party. Each of the organisations mentioned is to be represented at a congress by a single delegate, with two votes, and the Party Council by all its members, each with one vote.

The representation of the associations is to be defined by special rules.

Note 1. The right to be represented is to be used only by organisations which have been approved not less than one year before the Congress.

Note 2. The Central Committee is empowered to invite to attend a congress, with a consultative voice, delegates of organisations which do not fulfil the requirement laid down in Note 1.

4. The Congress appoints the fifth member of the Party Council, the Central Committee, and the editorial board of the Central Organ.

5. The Party Council is appointed by the editorial board of the Central Organ and the Central Committee, which send two members each to the Council: arrested members of the Council are to be replaced by the bodies which nominated them; the fifth member is to be replaced by the Council itself.

The Party Council is the highest Party institution. Its task is to reconcile and co-ordinate the activity of the Central Committee and the editorial board of the Central Organ, and to represent the Party in dealings with other parties. The Party Council has the right to reestablish the Central Committee and the editorial board of the Central Organ in the event that the entire membership of one or other of these bodies are put out of action.

The Council meets whenever this is requested by one of the Party centres, that is, the Central Organ or the Central Committee, or by two members of the Council.

6. The Central Committee organises committees, associations of committees and all other Party institutions, and directs their activities; it organises and conducts undertakings which are of importance for the Party as a whole; it allocates the Party’s forces and resources, and has charge of the Party’s central treasury; it investigates conflicts both between and within the different Party institutions, and, in general, co-ordinates and directs all the Party’s practical activity.

Note. Members of the Central Committee cannot be at the same time members of any other Party organisation, except the Party Council.

7. The editorial board of the Central Organ is responsible for the ideological leadership of the Party.

8. All organisations belonging to the Party carry on autonomously all work relating specially and exclusively to the sphere of Party activity which they were set up to deal with.

9. Apart from the organisations established by the Party Congress, all other Party organisations are subject to approval by the Central Committee. All decisions by the Central Committee are binding on all Party organisations, which are also obliged to contribute sums, to be fixed by the Central Committee, to the Party’s central treasury.

10. Every Party member, and everyone who has any dealings with the Party, has the right to demand that any statement submitted by him be placed, in the original, before the Central Committee, or the editorial board of the Central Organ, or the Party Congress.

11. Every Party organisation is obliged to supply both to the Central Committee and to the editorial board of the Central Organ all information regarding every aspect of its activity and all its members.

12. All Party organisations and all the corporate bodies of the Party take decisions by simple majority vote, and have the right to co-opt members. For co-opting members and expelling them, a two-thirds majority is needed, unless there is a reasoned objection. Appeal may be made to the Party Council regarding any organisation’s decision on co-option or expulsion of members.

Co-option of new members to the Central Committee and to the editorial board of the Central Organ requires a unanimous vote. In cases where co-option to the Central Committee or to the editorial board of the Central Organ is not unanimously approved, the question may be referred to the Party Council, and, in the event of cassation by the Council of the decision taken by the body concerned, is to be finally decided by simple majority vote.

The Central Committee and the editorial board of the Central Organ are to notify each other of newly co-opted members.

13. The League of Russian Revolutionary Social-Democrats abroad, as the sole organisation of the RSDLP outside Russia, has the task of carrying on propaganda and agitation abroad and also of helping the movement in Russia. The League has all the rights possessed by the committees, except that it is to render support to the movement in Russia only through persons and groups specially nominated by the Central Committee.