Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party Second Congress

A Note on the Text

These minutes have all the defects mentioned by Lenin in One Step Forward and some others as well. The Russian text contains a great many misprints and some obvious errors due to mishearing of what delegates said. Often, a passage in a delegate’s speech to which reference is made subsequently is not to be found in the report of the speech in question.

For reasons of security, presumably, the speeches of the women delegates, and references to these delegates by other speakers, are given in such a way that the difference of sex does not appear—‘he’ for ‘she’, ‘his’ for ‘her’, and so on—and this has not been altered in the translation.

Some important interjections, asides and the like are not reported in the minutes, and, of course, what went on in the intervals and, in general, behind the scenes (caucus meetings, etc.) does not appear. Accounts of the Congress which draw upon memoirs by participants and give a more three-dimensional and detailed picture than can be got from the minutes include (besides those written by Lenin, Krupskaya and Trotsky themselves): S.H. Baron, Plekhanov, pp. 231 f; B.D. Wolfe, Three Who Made A Revolution, pp. 230 f; I. Getzler, Martov, pp. 66f; L.H. Haimson, The Russian Marxists, pp. 165f; J.L.H. Keep, The Rise of Social-Democracy, pp. 107f. N. Valentinov’s Encounters With Lenin includes impressions of some of the congress personalities—Akimov, Martynov, Krasikov, etc.—and describes Lenin at the time when he wrote One Step Forward.

To aid the reader in following Lenin’s references to the minutes in One Step Forward, a page concordance is provided following the appendixes.

B.P. (Brian Pearce)