J. V. Stalin

The Advanced Proletariat and
the Fifth Party Congress

April 8, 1907

Source : Works, Vol. 2, 1907 - 1913
Publisher : Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow, 1954
Transcription/Markup : Salil Sen for MIA, 2008
Public Domain : Marxists Internet Archive (2008). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit "Marxists Internet Archive" as your source.

The preparations for the congress are drawing to a close. 1 The relative strength of the different groups is gradually becoming revealed. It is becoming apparent that the industrial districts largely support the Bolsheviks. St. Petersburg, Moscow, the Central Industrial region, Poland, the Baltic region and the Urals—these are the regions where the Bolsheviks' tactics are trusted. The Caucasus, the trans-Caspian region, South Russia, several towns in the areas where the Bund 2 has influence, and the peasant organisations of the Spilka 3 — these are the sources from which the Menshevik comrades draw their strength. South Russia is the only industrial area where the Mensheviks enjoy confidence. The rest of the Menshevik strongholds are for the most part centres of small industry.

It is becoming apparent that the Mensheviks' tactics are mainly the tactics of the backward towns, where the development of the revolution and the growth of class consciousness are frowned upon.

It is becoming apparent that the Bolsheviks' tactics are mainly the tactics of the advanced towns, the industrial centres, where the intensification of the revolution and the development of class consciousness are the main focus of attention. . . .

At one time Russian Social-Democracy consisted of a handful of members. At that time it bore the character of a movement of intellectuals and was unable to influence the proletarian struggle. Party policy was then directed by one or two individuals—the voice of the proletarian membership of the party was drowned. . . . The situation is entirely different today. Today we have a magnificent party—the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party, which has as many as 200,000 members in its ranks, which is influencing the proletarian struggle, is rallying around itself the revolutionary democracy of the whole of Russia, and is a terror to “the powers that be." And this magnificent party is all the more magnificent and splendid for the reason that its helm is in the hands of the general membership and not of one or two “enlightened individuals." That was most clearly revealed during the Duma elections, when the general membership rejected the proposal of the “authoritative" Plekhanov and refused to have a “common platform" with the Cadets. True, the Menshevik comrades insist on calling our party a party of intellectuals, but that is probably because the majority in the party is not Men-shevik. But if the German Social-Democratic Party, which with a proletariat numbering 18,000,000 has a membership of only 400,000, has the right to call itself a proletarian party, then the Russian Social-Democratic Party, which with a proletariat numbering 9,000,000 has a membership of 200,000, also has the right to regard itself as a proletarian party. . . .

Thus, the Russian Social-Democratic Party is magnificent also because it is a genuine proletarian party, which is marching towards the future along its own road, and is critical of the whispered advice of its old “leaders"

In this respect the recent conferences in St. Petersburg and Moscow are instructive.

At both conferences the workers set the keynote; at both conferences workers comprised nine-tenths of the delegates. Both conferences rejected the obsolete and inappropriate “directives" of the “old leaders" like Ple-khanov. Both conferences loudly proclaimed the necessity of Bolshevism. And thus Moscow and St. Petersburg expressed their lack of confidence in the Menshevik tactics and recognised the necessity of the hegemony of the proletariat in the present revolution.

St. Petersburg and Moscow speak for the entire class-conscious proletariat. Moscow and St. Petersburg are leading all the other towns. From Moscow and St. Petersburg came the directives during the January and October actions; they led the movement during the glorious December days. There can be no doubt that they will give the signal for the impending revolutionary onslaught.

And St. Petersburg and Moscow adhere to the tactics of Bolshevism. The tactics of Bolshevism alone are proletarian tactics—that is what the workers of these cities say to the proletariat of Russia. . . .


Dro (Time), No. 25, April 8, 1907


1. The Fifth Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. was held in London from April 30 to May 19, 1907. On all the main questions the congress adopted Bolshevik resolutions. J . V. Stalin was present at the congress as the delegate from the Tiflis organisation. He summed up the proceedings of the congress in his article “The London Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. (Notes of a Delegate)," (see pp. 47-80 of this volume).

2. The Bund—The General Jewish Workers' Union of Poland, Lithuania and Russia—was formed in October 1897 (see J. V. Stalin, Works, Vol. 1, p. 394, Note 7).

3. Spilka—the Ukrainian Social-Democratic League, which stood close to the Mensheviks, was formed at the end of 1904 as a result of a break-away from the petty-bourgeois nationalist Revolutionary Ukrainian Party (RUP). Ceased to exist during the Stolypin reaction.