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V. I. Lenin
SESSION OF THE COUNCIL
OF THE R.S.D.L.P.
January 15-17 (28-30), 1904
Published in the pamphlet
The Fight for a Congress,
by N. Shakhov, Geneva, 1904
Speeches and draft resolutions
moved on January 17(30), 1904;
first published in 1929
in Lenin Miscellany X
Draft resolutions published
according to the manuscripts
Speeches and the draft
resolution on convening
the Third Party Congress published
according to the text
of the Council Minutes
From V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, 4th English Edition,
Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1965,
Vol. 7, pp. 145-87.
Translated by Abraham Fineberg and by Naomi Jochel
Edited by Clemens Dutt
Prepared © for the Internet by David J. Romagnolo, email@example.com (November 2001)
SESSION OF THE COUNCIL OF THE R.S.D.L.P., January 15-17
(28-30), 1904  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
DRAFT RESOLUTION ON MEASURES TO RESTORE PEACE
IN THE PARTY, MOVED ON JANUARY 15 (28) . . . .
DISSENTING OPINION RECORDED BY THE REPRESENTA-
TIVES OF THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE, JANUARY 17 (30) .
DRAFT RESOLUTION ON CONVENING THE THIRD CON-
GRESS, JANUARY 17 (30) . . . . . . . . . .
DRAFT RESOLUTIONS MOVED ON JANUARY 17 (30) . .
I . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
II . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
III . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
SPEECHES ON MEASURES TO RESTORE PEACE IN THE
PARTY, JANUARY 15 (28) . . . . . . . . . .
I . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
II . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
III . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
IV . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
V . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
SPEECHES ON MEASURES TO RESTORE PEACE IN THE
PARTY, JANUARY 16 (29) . . . . . . . . . .
VI . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
VII . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
VIII . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
IX . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
SPEECHES ON CONVENING THE THIRD PARTY CONGRESS,
JANUARY 17 (30). . . . . . . . . . . . .
I . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
II . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
III . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
SPEECHES ON THE PUBLICATION OF PARTY LITERATURE,
JANUARY 17 (30). . . . . . . . . . . . .
I . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
II . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
III . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
IV . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
DRAFT RESOLUTION ON MEASURES
TO RESTORE PEACE IN THE PARTY,
MOVED ON JANUARY 15 (28)
In view of the character and forms of manifestation of the divergence among the Party membership in connection with the Second Regular Congress, the Party Council deems it urgently necessary to call vigorously on all Party members to work together in harmony under the direction of both central institutions of the Party: the Central Organ and the Central Committee.
The historical juncture through which Russia is now passing -- the tremendous intensification of revolutionary ferment within the country and the international complications, which may lead to war -- imposes particularly serious duties on the party of the class-conscious proletarians, who are fighting in the front ranks for the emancipation of the entire people from the yoke of the autocracy. The need to work together in harmony, under the direction of both the central bodies of the Party, at strengthening our organisation and developing the class-consciousness and solidarity of the widest possible masses of the working class has never been so urgent as it is now.
Individual differences over all manner of questions have always arisen and inevitably will arise in a party which rests on a vast popular movement and sets out to be the conscious spokesman of that movement, emphatically rejecting all circle spirit and narrow sectarian views. But if our Party members are to be worthy representatives of the class-conscious militant proletariat, worthy participants in the world working-class movement, they must do their
utmost to ensure that no individual differences over the interpretation and methods of realising the principles of our Party programme shall interfere, or be capable of interfering, with harmonious joint work under the direction of our central institutions. The deeper and broader our understanding of our programme and of the tasks of the international proletariat, the more we value positive work in developing propaganda, agitation, and organisation, and the farther removed we are from sectarianism, the petty circle spirit, and considerations of place and position, the more must we strive to have differences among Party members discussed calmly and on their merits and not to let these differences interfere with our work, disrupt our activities, impede the proper functioning of our central institutions.
The Party Council, as the supreme institution of the Party, vigorously condemns all disruptive moves, no matter on whose part, all refusals to work, all withdrawals of financial support for the central Party treasury, all boycotts, which are only calculated to lower a purely ideological struggle of opinions, views and shades to the level of methods of gross mechanical pressure, the level of an unseemly scuffle. The Party is worn out by the dissensions, which have already lasted nearly six months, and insistently demands peace. No differences among Party members, no dissatisfaction with the personal composition of one or other central body can justify boycotts or similar methods of struggle, which denote a lack of principles and ideals and show that the interests of the Party are being sacrificed to the interests of a circle, and the interests of the working class movement to narrow considerations of place and position. Cases occur, of course, in our Party, as they always will in every big party, when some of the members are dissatisfied with some nuance in the activities of one or other of the central bodies, with some features of its line, or with its personal composition, etc. Such members can, and should, state the causes and nature of their dissatisfaction in a comradely exchange of opinions, or by a controversy in the columns of the Party press; but it would be absolutely impermissible and unworthy of revolutionaries to express their dissatisfaction by resorting to boycotts or refusing to support in every way they can all the positive work co-
ordinated and directed by both the central Party bodies. To support both central bodies and work together under their direct guidance is our common and plain duty as Party members.
Such unprincipled, grossly mechanical methods of struggle as have been mentioned above are deserving of unqualified condemnation, for they could completely wreck the whole Party, whose unity depends solely and entirely on the free will of the revolutionaries. And the Party Council reminds all Party members that that free will was quite definitely expressed in our common decision -- to which no protest was raised -- to regard all the decisions of the Second Congress and all its elections as binding on all Party members. Already the Organising Committee in its time, which earned a general vote of thanks for its work in arranging the Congress, adopted in Point 18 of the Regulations for the Second Congress the following decision, which was approved by all the Party committees:
"All decisions of the Congress and all the elections it carries out are decisions of the Party and binding on all Party organisations. They cannot be challenged by any one on any pretext whatever and can be rescinded or amended only by the next Party Congress."
This decision, accepted by the entire Party before the Congress and reaffirmed several times at the Congress itself, was equivalent to a word of honour freely pledged by all Social-Democrats to each other. Let them not forget this word of honour! Let them at once abandon all petty mutual grievances! Let them once and for all confine the struggle of ideas within such bounds that it does not lead to breaches of the Rules or hamper practical activities and positive work!
DISSENTING OPINION RECORDED BY THE
REPRESENTATIVES OF THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE
JANUARY 17 (30)
The representatives of the Central Committee in the Party Council consider it their duty to record a dissenting opinion on Comrade Plekhanov's resolution.
The representatives of the Central Committee are profoundly convinced that, far from putting an end to the Party dissensions, which actually mean a complete split in the Party organisation, this resolution will, on the contrary, inflame and aggravate them still further, make them chronic, and further disrupt the Party's positive work.
This resolution is, essentially, nothing but an expression of the wish of the Party Congress minority to alter the personal composition of the Central Committee, ignoring the contrary wish of the Party Congress majority.
This resolution, as we are firmly convinced, is essentially a continuation within the Council of the policy pursued by the opposition ever since the Party Congress; and that policy has been one of boycott, disruption and anarchy, with the aim of altering the composition of the Party's central bodies by methods which do not conform in any degree to the standards of normal Party life, and which have now been condemned, too, by revolutionary public opinion as expressed in resolutions by the majority of the committees.
This resolution expresses the wish that the Central Committee should again enter into negotiations with the opposition. Negotiations have already been going on for over five months, causing complete demoralisation in the Party's ranks. The Central Committee has already stated that it
[facsimile] page 151
page 152 [blank]
said its last word when it consented, as far back as November 25,1903, to the co-optation of two in token of comradely confidence.
The negotiations have already entailed a tremendous expenditure of funds for travelling and an even more serious expenditure of the time and energy of revolutionaries, who have been diverted from their work.
The representatives of the Central Committee do not feel justified in again renewing these interminable negotiations, which produce fresh dissatisfaction on both sides and fresh contention over posts, hampering positive work in the most appalling way.
We most earnestly draw attention to the fact that such negotiations involve a complete interruption of the normal course of Party life.
We declare that the Central Committee lays the entire responsibility for these interruptions at the door of the minority.
We declare that we positively and absolutely fail to see any other honest and proper solution to the present dissensions in the Party, any other way of terminating this unpardonable struggle over the composition of the central bodies, than by the immediate convening of a Party Congress.
At the same time we feel that, now that Comrade Plekhanov's resolution has been adopted, our own earlier resolution has in effect been nullified and has become quite pointless, for which reason we withdraw it.
DRAFT RESOLUTION ON CONVENING
THE THIRD PARTY CONGRESS
JANUARY 17 (30)
Being convinced that the central Party institutions are powerless to terminate the absolutely abnormal and disorganising relations which have developed in the Party since the Second Congress and have continued for over five months, the Party Council resolves to convene the Third Party Congress.
DRAFT RESOLUTIONS MOVED ON JANUARY 17 (30)
The Party Council requests the editorial board of the Central Organ speedily to take all measures in its power to make available to the Central Committee at a very early date the 5,000-6,000 rubles about which the Central Organ and the Central Committee have been in correspondence and which the central Party treasury now urgently requires owing to the emergency created by the latest arrests in Russia.
The Party Council considers it improper for the editorial board of the Central Organ to dispatch representatives to the committees without the knowledge and consent of the Central Committee, for such action brings disorganisation into the Party and is a violation of the division of functions between the two central bodies as clearly laid down by the Second Congress.
The Party Council considers it improper for the editorial board of the Central Organ to communicate to the committees information on the composition of the Central Committee without the consent of the latter.
SPEECHES ON MEASURES TO RESTORE PEACE IN THE PARTY
JANUARY 15 (28)
I have raised the question of measures to restore peace and normal relations in the Party because the amount of misunderstandings among Party workers has reached threatening proportions. I do not think fruitful Party work is possible unless there is some common basis which Party members who become involved for any reason in mutual misunderstandings could adhere to in their activities. It is nobody's secret that the relations between individual members and sections of the Party have become so abnormal that it would be difficult to speak now of a united Social-Democratic workers' party and mean it. I could, of course, if necessary, furnish detailed proof of this (recall, for instance, many of the episodes in the business correspondence between the Central Committee and the Central Organ); but perhaps, since everybody knows it to be so, it would be better not to resort just now to such ticklish illustrations. And so, we must try to adopt more vigorous measures to remove the basic evil. Otherwise we shall have a position where the simplest, most routine Party acts will give rise to highly undesirable exchanges with systematic indulgence in very strong language and in the choicest -- how shall I put it mildly? -- compliments, shall we say. . . . It may seem that I am disposed to encroach in some way on "freedom of speech"; but after all, the trouble is that in the sphere of action all is not well either. As members of the Council, whose chief function is to work for unity in the Party,
against tendencies towards disunity, we must make an effort to remove the friction that is hindering the Party's work; and given the desire, this would not be impossible. And so, I ask whether some sort of measures could not be adopted against certain methods of struggle within the Party which reduce the latter to the condition of a disorganised group and turn it into a sheer fiction. Perhaps the Council could, in the interests of the common work, pass a resolution which I have drafted and will read to you in a moment. I consider it important in principle to have a Council decision that would aim at eliminating and condemning impermissible forms of struggle between individuals or groups in the Party who are at variance on any point. I repeat, the position now is much too abnormal and needs to be corrected. (Axelrod : "We all agree on that.") I ask the secretaries to enter Comrade Axelrod's remark in the minutes.
I shall now read the draft of the resolution I am submitting.[*]
That is the resolution which I am moving on behalf of the Central Committee, over the signatures of both its representatives, and which could serve, not to settle any specific issues or differences between Party members, but to create a common basis for Russian Social-Democrats, who are working in the interests of one common cause.
I saw with pleasure from the speeches of both representatives of the Central Organ that they agree in principle that vigorous measures ought to be taken to establish actual unity in the Party. That already creates a certain common basis between us. As regards Comrade Plekhanov's suggestion, I consider it necessary to say the following. Comrade Plekhanov suggests that I should single out from my draft resolution the most essential practical measures for removing the evils noted in Party life; the present resolution, he points out, has the character of an appeal. Yes, my proposal does have the character of an appeal -- but then, that is just what it is meant to be. The idea of this "appeal" <"fnp157">
* See pp. 147-49 of this volume. --Ed.
is that the Council should, in the name of both the central bodies, draw a dividing line between what are permissible forms of struggle in the Party and what are not. I know that generally speaking -- as such -- the struggle is unavoidable; but there are different methods of struggle, after all. Some methods are absolutely abnormal and cannot be tolerated in any at all healthy party. And Comrade Martov was right in saying that besides a struggle of ideas there had also been what he called "organisational complications".
We, gathered here not to engage in strife but to remove abnormal conditions in the Party's life, can and should influence our other comrades by authoritatively indicating the bounds of struggle permissible in the Party. But I know no other ways of influencing people than by appealing to them. Singling out the practical suggestions would be pointless here. As regards the statement of the Central Organ representatives that I merely point to the abnormal state of Party life, but do not go into its causes, I must say that this approach of mine is not accidental but quite deliberate, for I fear that if we touched this very tangled skein even ever so slightly, the result, instead of untangling it, would be to tangle it up still more. You have to remember, after all, that where that skein is concerned we are two equally interested and very subjective parties, so that any attempt to untangle it would certainly not be for us to make, but only for people who had nothing to do with the tangling. If we were to attempt it, we should find ourselves raking up various documents all over again, which, with the Council constituted as it is, would only lead to more . . . scuffles.
Let us take as our starting-point the position as it exists, for there is no getting away from realities, and I am quite ready to agree with Comrade Martov that all the differences and conflicts are not to be removed by some pious homily. That is so; but then, who could act as arbiter in these regrettable aspects of our Party life? Not we ourselves at any rate, I am persuaded; no, it would have to be a wide circle of people -- devoted practical revolutionaries who have had no part in the scuffles. While carefully steering clear of the causes of our dissensions, I shall, however, venture to illustrate my idea with one example from our recent past. The struggle has now been going on for five months. During this time
<"p159"> there have been, I should think, as many as fifty mediators who tried to put an end to the dissensions in the Party, but I only know of one whose efforts in this respect produced relatively useful, if very modest, results. I am referring to Comrade Travinsky, a person who, let me point out, is up to the ears, so to speak, in positive practical revolutionary work, so that his attention has been occupied almost exclusively by that work and he has had no share in the dissensions. It is only these fortunate circumstances, I would say, that account for his peace-making attempts having had some modicum of success. I think that if people like that were to take a hand in analysing the causes of the unfortunate position in the Party, it would be possible to untangle the skein which now has us perplexed. We, however, should beware of going into the causes of the dissensions, for this could lead, against our own will, to our dealing one another new wounds (to use Comrade Martov's expression) in addition to the many old ones still very far from healed. That is why I am against analysing the causes and favour looking for means that would at least keep the methods of struggle within more or less permissible bounds. There are only two alternatives: if it is possible to do something along these lines, then we must try to do it; but if not, if the contending sides are not to be influenced by authoritative suasion, the only remaining possibility is to apply to those third persons, uninvolved in the hostilities and engaged on their positive practical tasks, of whom I spoke before. I doubt whether we could ourselves convince one another of one or the other side being right. I don't think that is possible.
I do not quite understand Comrade Plekhanov's proposal. He says there should be some sort of practical measures; but surely, my draft already envisages such a practical measure. We have only to declare, to declare with authority, that a normal struggle, a struggle of ideas, a struggle carried on within definite bounds, is permissible, but that boycotts, refusal to work under the Central Committee's direction, refusal of financial support for the central Party treasury, and so on, are not permissible. We are told that mere words
will not convince anyone. I will not be so bold either as to assert that this will be enough to establish good will between the two sides in the Party, because the disease that has to be cured has indeed gone very far and a very solid wall, as Comrade Martov puts it, has indeed grown up between the two sides. We may not succeed in breaking down that wall, since we ourselves erected it; but that we who dealt one another the severest wounds may by an authoritative appeal in our capacity of Council members restrain comrades from unworthy forms of struggle is not at all impossible. And as regards demolishing the wall, I think time will then do its work and everything will tend to abate. As to the point that some passages in the appeal may be interpreted by each side in its own way, I think that the same thing could apply to anything that we might say. (Axelrod : "That is why it is necessary not just to talk, but to act.") Further, I fail to understand why Comrade Axelrod thinks that what I propose might only prove a fresh source of strife. I repeat, we may not break down the wall between the two sides in the Party, since we have ourselves done a great deal to erect it; but those of our comrades who, being engaged in practical work, have kept aloof from our dissensions could break it down. Comrade Martov, as I saw with pleasure today, agrees in principle with this idea of the useful role in settling our dissensions that might be played by other comrades, who have not been involved in the dissensions. But apart from that it seems to me that the very fact of representatives of the central bodies agreeing that such-and-such methods of struggle were allowable and such-and-such were not -- that that in itself could make the initial breach in the wall dividing the two sides, after which the present abnormality of Party life could diminish.
Comrade Plekhanov's proposal arouses in me very mixed feelings. By talking about the causes of the struggle, he comes straight back to the wounds which Comrade Martov has pointed out we have been dealing each other. What I try to do in my draft is draw a line between what is permissible in our struggle and what is not, no matter who makes the attacks.
If we started going into who did what and when, it would be the beginning of the end, that is, of the end of our discussion. For us to be our own arbiters is, just psychologically, morally, quite impossible. If we again proceed here to discuss what has produced the strained relations among the Party membership, shall we ourselves be able to rise above the level of petty squabbling? (Axelrod : "Yes, we shall!") I do not share Comrade Axelrod's optimism. Comrade Plekhanov in his analysis of the causes of the split in the Party gave his own interpretation of the facts, with which I do not agree. But if we start arguing, we shall have to fetch out the minutes and turn to them for information. For example, Comrade Plekhanov says that over the election of the central bodies the Congress divided into two practically equal parts, that a single delegate who crossed over from the majority to the minority thereby equalised the numbers of the two halves of the Congress, that therefore the Central Committee only represents one part of the Party, and so on. But you cannot argue like that; it just isn't possible, after all, to talk of the Central Committee only having been elected by one part of the Party. Many, perhaps, would now vote on various matters otherwise than they did at the Congress; I might vote differently on many points myself; but that is not to say that the possible changes and new combinations in this respect in any way invalidate the results of the earlier voting. When it is a question of a struggle, there is always a division of the whole into parts. Yes, the Central Committee now -- but not at the Congress -- is the representative of a part; but I know very well that in the opinion of the comrades the Central Organ too is, in the same way, the representative only of a part. From one standpoint only could I acknowledge Comrade Plekhanov's expression correct, namely, from the standpoint of the split that does in fact exist. It is not because the Congress did something wrong that one can speak of the composition of one or other of the central bodies being "abnormal", but solely because, there being such-and-such circumstances, people refuse to work together. . . . Thus, no sooner do we touch on the causes of the abnormality than we again get involved in unravelling a skein which we, far from being able to untangle, will only tangle
the more. That many are dissatisfied with the composition of the Central Committee is true; but it is equally true that a good many people are dissatisfied with the present composition of the Central Organ. To Comrade Martov's question of whether it is permissible to "break up" existing organisations, I would reply: "Yes, to reconstruct organisations is entirely permissible!" Is it permissible for a competent Party authority to remove a particular person from a particular kind of revolutionary work? My answer is: "Yes, it is!" But if I were to ask why and how a given "encroachment" on the integrity and inviolability of an organisation arose, why so-and-so was not assigned to such-and-such a sphere of Party work, and so forth, I should again be reaching out towards that skein which it is beyond us to untangle. Thus, the matter of whether or not it is permissible to "break up" organisations also brings us back to the disagreements. All of which goes to prove that to argue now about the causes of our dissensions would be a completely useless and even harmful waste of time. Now let me come back to the question of proportional representation. One could speak of that only by starting from recognition of an already existing split. We are here representatives of two contending sides. . . . (Plekhanov : "We have met here as members of the Council, not as contending sides.") Comrade Plekhanov's remark conflicts with his own resolution, which speaks of the dissensions in the Party having split the Party into two halves, one of the halves, according to the resolution, being completely unrepresented on such a central body as the Central Committee. Of course, officially we are not the representatives of two contending sides, but since that representation emerges from the course of our debates, I had a logical right to speak of it. (Plekhanov : "The expression you used was that we had met here as the representatives of two contending sides, and that is what caused my remark.") I will not deny that perhaps the expression I used was not quite accurate. . . . (Plekhanov : "It was incorrect.") Perhaps it was even incorrect, I shan't argue the point. I am only saying that Comrade Plekhanov's resolution shifts the argument to the basis of de facto recognition of the split. We have split, that is the fact I am noting. If it were not the case, the resolution would be out of order. The Party
majority is dissatisfied, too, with the composition of the Central Organ, in which four out of the five editors belong to the minority. The Central Committee could put forward the same claim for a change in the composition of the Central Organ as is now being made in relation to the Central Committee. Essentially, Comrade Plekhanov's resolution amounts to a statement of the terms of only one side. . . . (Plekhanov : "I do not belong to either majority or minority.") Comrade Plekhanov tells us he does not belong to either majority or minority, but no one else in the Council will say that. Looked at formally, from the standpoint of the Rules, the resolution moved by Comrade Plekhanov is out of order. But, I repeat, actually one can understand it insofar as it proceeds from the fact of the split. But if one side is stating its "terms", the other would be similarly entitled to present "terms". We do not stand above the "two sides", we are ourselves those "two sides". Consequently, if we are going to recognise that actually the Party has split, we must also recognise that there is only one radical way of resolving our disputes and "misunderstandings", namely, to apply to third persons. There are people in the Party, as I said before, who are engaged in positive work and have had no part in the struggle of "majority" and "minority". Those are the people to turn to.
I do not agree with either Martov or Plekhanov. They say there can be no question of such a resolution being out of order, and adduce two arguments. 1) Martov's argument is that the Council is the Party's supreme institution. But don't forget that the competence of the Council is limited by special provisions in the Rules -- a thing which Comrade Martov himself went to no small pains to secure. 2) The second argument is that by this resolution the Council would only be voicing its opinion and recommendation. The Council can, of course, voice an opinion and recommendation, but without attempting to do more. (Plekhanov : "Of course! Of course!") The Council can only suggest co-optation to the Central Committee; but in that case the Central Committee will demand a change in the composition of the Central
Organ. I am willing, under certain conditions, to agree to proportional representation. But I ask, is there proportional representation on the Central Organ? The composition of the Central Organ is one to four,<"p164"> and even that one is a person who belongs to neither majority nor minority. The Central Committee on an earlier occasion made an offer of two to nine; it made it at a time of total dissension, with a split impending. In a sense, all disagreement is a split, and when two halves will not work together, then it is an actual split. Only from the standpoint of a split could we acknowledge Comrade Plekhanov's resolution as making sense. It could be regarded as an ultima ratio ;[*] but in that event both sides would be equally entitled to have the composition of the central bodies changed. I am firmly convinced that the Central Committee, for its part, is dissatisfied with the composition of the Central Organ. The moment we touch on the question of the past Congress, there will be a clash and we shall get nowhere. Thus, for example, Plekhanov claims that the Congress did not elect a third person to the editorial board because there was no suitable third person. I maintain that the Congress did not elect a third because it was convinced that Comrade Martov would join the board. The same can be said of the composition of the Council. Many people at the Congress thought that Comrade Martov would sit on the Council in the capacity of member of the editorial board. The majority can say, and will, that if there is to be proportional representation, then the Central Organ should be augmented with another six members, belonging to what is known as the majority. But that sort of argument will not help us towards the desired end, for which reason I believe Comrade Plekhanov's resolution is not as good as mine. My resolution about "the permissible and the impermissible" would have this significance, that we, as representatives of the contending sides, would be calling on the rest of the comrades to keep within the bounds of permissible forms of struggle.
We should not take a purely juridical view, for actually our common recognition of the fact that the relations in the Party are abnormal is equivalent to recognising that we <"fnp164">
* Last resort. --Ed.
are two contending sides, the Central Organ and the Central Committee. (Plekhanov : "This is a meeting of the Council, not of the editorial board.") Yes, I am not forgetting that. From the juridical standpoint we cannot speak of proportional representation on the central bodies. But from the political standpoint, too, it is inadvisable to operate with this idea, for we should have to defer to the wishes of one side without hearing the wishes of the other. There is no third party between us who could settle our dispute. Yet only the opinion of such a third party could have weight, both political and moral. An actual split exists, and we are on the eve of a formal split if the minority persists, without caring what means it uses, in trying to make itself the majority.
SPEECHES ON MEASURES
TO RESTORE PEACE IN THE PARTY
I think it necessary to reply mainly to the detailed objections advanced by Comrade Martov; but so as not to leave Comrade Plekhanov's objections unanswered either, I shall first touch briefly on these. My impression was that he was in principle in favour of proportional representation. . . . (Plekhanov : "No!") Perhaps I misunderstood him, but that was my impression. In our Party organisation the principle of proportional representation is not practised, and the sole criterion of the lawfulness of the composition of any body whose members were elected at a congress is the clearly expressed will of the congress majority. But we are told here that the lawful elections at the Congress have produced a "lawful" state of affairs that is worse than an unlawful one. That is true, but why is it so? Is it because the majority was a slight one, or because the minority has in effect brought about a split? When people talk about the Central Committee having been elected by only twenty-four votes, that is, by a tiny margin, and claim that that is the reason for all the unhappy complications in Party life since, I declare that that is not so. As to Comrade Plekhanov's remark about my "formalistic mentality" preventing me from going to the root of the matter, I must say I am at a loss to know what, properly speaking, this means. Perhaps the "root of the matter" lies in the Congress? In that case we are all formalists, for, casting our minds back to the Congress, we must go by its formal decisions. If, on
the other hand, the "root of the matter" lies outside the Congress, just where does it lie? Yes, the way things have gone, the state of affairs in the Party is worse than unlawful (a very serious thing to say), but the whole question is, why has this happened? Is the Congress to blame, or what occurred after the Congress? Unfortunately, Comrade Plekhanov does not put the matter like that.
I turn now to the remarks of Comrade Martov. He asserts that the minority does not and did not refuse to work together with us. That is not true. For three months -- September, October and November -- many representatives of the minority gave practical proof of not wanting to work together with us. In such cases the boycotted side only has one course open to it -- to make an agreement, a deal with the "offended" opposition that refuses to work and is leading the Party towards a split, for this very fact of refusing to work together is nothing but a split. When people tell you point blank that they will not work with you, thus proving in practice that the "united organisation" is simply a fiction, that, actually, it has already been wrecked, they are certainly advancing a shattering,<"p167"> if not a convincing, argument. . . . I pass on to Comrade Martov's second objection -- concerning the resignation of Comrade Ru from the Council. This question involves two separate issues. In the first place, was it in order for Ru to be appointed to the Council from the editorial board when he was not himself a member of the board? I think it was in order. (Martov : "Of course it was!") Please enter Martov's interjection in the minutes. Secondly, are Council members subject to recall at the will of the bodies that delegated them? This is an intricate point, which can be interpreted both ways. In any case, the fact is that Plekhanov, who from November 1 onwards remained the sole member of the editorial board, did not recall Ru from the Council right up to November 26, when Martov and Co. were co-opted. Ru resigned of his own accord, it was a concession on his part so that no controversy should start over him. (Plekhanov : "It seems to me that arguments about Comrade Ru are out of place here. The question is not on our agenda and I don't see why we should waste precious time discussing what for us is an extraneous matter.") I must point out that at our last meeting Comrade Martov asked
to have entered in the minutes his explanation on this point -- an explanation with which I totally disagree -- so that if the other side is not allowed to give its opinion on the subject too, the picture given here in the Council will be a one-sided, incorrect one. (Plekhanov : "I wish to emphasise that the question is not on the agenda and has no direct bearing on the main subject under discussion.")
Lenin, protesting against this formulation, appeals to the Council to decide as to his right to give his own account, as against Martov's, of a fact meeting here with such divergent interpretations. (Plekhanov again indicates that discussion of the question of Ru is out of place.)
Lenin insists on his right to appeal to the Council for permission to speak on a point that has already been brought up in the Council and has aroused argument. (Martov : "Since Comrade Lenin has raised the very important question of the right of the bodies represented on the Council to recall their delegates, let me state that I shall table a special motion to have this question settled once and for all. Perhaps this statement will satisfy Lenin and induce him to drop this matter of Ru from the present discussion.")
Comrade Martov has not only not disproved but has confirmed that I am right in my intention to present Comrade Ru's resignation from the Council in its proper light here and now. Please note that my explanations on this point have only been in answer to Comrade Martov's remarks concerning it. (Plekhanov informs Martov and Lenin that the question of Ru is not subject to present discussion, as not being among the problems on which the attention of the Council should at this session be centred.) I protest against Comrade Plekhanov's statement that it is out of place to discuss the question of Comrade Ru, who held that Council members were not recallable, so that his resignation from the Council must be viewed as a concession made to the opposition in the interests of peace and good will in the Party. (Plekhanov : "Since the Council apparently has nothing against an exchange of opinion on the subject of Comrade Ru, by all means let Lenin go on with it.") I have already finished. (Plekhanov : "If you have finished, I suggest that the Council should now discuss the resolutions moved yesterday by Comrade Lenin and myself.")
I agree with Comrade Martov that the Council resolutions would have, not juridical, but moral significance. Comrade Plekhanov has suggested that it would be desirable if I were to join the editorial board. (Plekhanov : "I did not say that.") At any rate, those were your words as I noted them down: "The best thing would be if Lenin joined the editorial board and the Central Committee co-opted three." (Plekhanov : "Yes, I said that under certain conditions, in order to secure peace in the Party, Comrade Lenin might be included on the editorial board and minority representatives co-opted to the Central Committee.")
Answering the question put to me as to just what change in the editorial board of the Central Organ would be considered desirable, it would be easy for me to cite the opinion of the "majority", who have indicated the desirability of Comrades Axelrod, Zasulich, and Starover leaving the board. Further, I must point out that in the activities of the Central Committee there has not been a single case of anyone being barred from Party work. Similarly, I cannot leave without protest Comrade Martov's statement that the Central Committee became an instrument of warfare of one side against the other. The Central Committee was appointed as an instrument for the performance of Party functions, not as an instrument of "warfare of one side against the other". This assertion of Comrade Martov's is completely contrary to the facts. No one can cite a single fact to show that the Central Committee started and waged "war" on the minority. On the contrary, it was the minority that, by its boycott, made war, which inevitably provoked resistance. Then, too, I protest against the assertion that the alleged lack of confidence in the Central Committee hinders peaceful positive work more than the lack of confidence in the Central Organ. As to the centre of the discord not lying abroad, but in Russia, as Comrade Martov insists is the case,<"p169"> I have to say that the Party documents will prove the reverse. Comrade Martov, referring to the document of November 25, said that the Central Committee had itself admitted in principle that its composition was one-sided, since it had agreed to co-opt two of the minority. I protest against this interpretation of that document, for I myself had a share in drawing it up. The Central Committee's action had an entirely
different significance. It was not because it acknowledged its composition to be one-sided that the Central Committee agreed to this co-optation of two, but because we saw what was virtually a complete split in the Party. Whether the picture we formed of the situation was right or not is another matter. . . . Rumours reached us that preparations were going on for publishing a new organ. . . . (Plekhanov : "If we are going to bring in rumours, we shall get nowhere." Axelrod : "I for my part have heard that preparations for publishing a new organ are going on now. . . .") I appeal to the Council: since Comrade Martov has interpreted the Central Committee document in a certain way, I am obliged to present my own interpretation of it. . . . I do not understand why my remark has occasioned so much excitement. (Plekhanov : "It is not a matter of excitement but of references to rumours being out of place.") I may be told that my motives were not valid. Perhaps not. But I put on record in any case that they were of the nature I have just indicated.
To resume: Comrade Martov has impugned the Central Committee's motives in agreeing to the co-optation of two. But I declare that the Central Committee was actuated by the conviction that a virtual split already existed in the Party and that we were on the eve of a complete formal split, in the sense of the publication of a separate organ, separate transport arrangements and a separate organisation in Russia. Now on a point of procedure: Comrade Martov's remark had to do with the substance of the question, not with procedure. And I want to ask the Council: was the chairman right in acting as he did in this case?
Comrade Martov declares that I plunged straight off into polemic instead of calmly and peacefully discussing the general question of devising measures for peace in the Party. I cannot agree with that, because the polemic was started by none other than Comrade Martov himself. There is nothing polemical in my draft resolution. Not for nothing did Comrade Axelrod describe it as a "pastoral exhortation" -- and pastoral exhortations, as we know, do not go in for polemic.
And indeed, all I spoke of in it was the bounds within which any internal struggle in the Party must be kept: what forms of such struggle can be accounted permissible, and what forms must be acknowledged impermissible and fraught with danger not only to the normal course of Party life, but to the Party's very existence. Moreover, I carefully tried to avoid an approach that might involve us in further fruitless controversy -- in my proposal I endeavoured not to start from an appraisal of the methods of struggle that have actually marked the nearly six months' war between the two sides in the Party. Comrade Martov would not keep the matter on this plane and chose to indulge in polemic. Nevertheless, I shall be ready, should it be desired, to go back afterwards to where I started. As for the present, let me say the following. Comrade Martov quoted Travinsky as having welcomed the co-optation of the old editors to the editorial board. I think it necessary to emphasise here that private conversations or negotiations do not count. All official negotiations were conducted by Travinsky in writing. As to his private remarks, Comrade Martov apparently misunderstood them, and some other time, should it be necessary, I can prove it.
Further, Comrade Martov said there were all sorts of shortcomings in the activities of the Central Committee, and thereby he again entered the domain of polemic. There may indeed be shortcomings in the Central Committee's activities, but for a representative of the Central Organ to criticise those activities is nothing but polemic. I for my part find that the activities of the Central Organ have gone off the right track; but for all that I did not start out here by criticising the line the Central Organ's activities have taken, but by stating that there is mutual dissatisfaction between the Central Committee and the Central Organ. I also protest against the assertion that my resolution, if adopted by the Council, would turn the latter into an "instrument of warfare". My appeal speaks only of what forms of struggle are permissible and what forms are not. . . . Where does an "instrument of warfare" come into that? Comrade Axelrod said I had "started with a toast and ended with a requiem", and accused me of having devoted all my efforts to proving that there was a split in the Party. But surely, we started out yesterday by acknowledging that there was a split. . . . Further,
<"p172"> by way of proving that the centre of the discord does not lie abroad, Comrade Martov quoted Comrade Vasilyev's letter of December 12, which says that in Russia things are sheer hell. To that let me say that it does not necessarily take strong groups to "create a hell", for it is petty and petti-fogging squabbles<"p172a"> that oftenest and easiest create big impediments to the work. I have mentioned my letter of September 13 to one of the former editors. I am going to publish that letter. Comrade Plekhanov says the word "Marsh" is an insult. Let me remind you, however, that in the German socialist press and at congresses of the German Party the term versumpft [*] evokes scoffing sometimes, but never cries of having been insulted. Neither Comrade Vasilyev nor I had any thought of insulting anyone in using the word. When there are two sides, each with its definite trend, irresolute waverers between the two are described by the term "Marsh", instead of which one could, I suppose, use "golden mean."
To call the Central Committee eccentric may be witty, but it also leads to polemic. After all, I could say the same of the Central Organ. I am told that my "appeal" is a homoeopathic remedy for an allopathic evil. I do not deny that the remedy I propose is only a palliative; but then, we cannot find allopathic remedies here. If you are going to talk of the need for "allopathic", radical remedies for this evil, then go all the way. A remedy like that does exist, and this one radical remedy is none other than a congress. For five months now we have been trying vainly to come to an understanding ("That's not so!") . . . yes, it is so, and I shall prove it to you with documents. . . . We have been at it ever since September 15 and have not achieved it yet. Wouldn't it be better in that case to appeal to the body that Comrade Martov too spoke of yesterday? -- and that body can only be a congress of Party workers. The Party Congress -- that is the body that decides about the "conductor's baton". One of the reasons we have congresses is to "fight" over the "conductor's baton" (not in the crude sense of the word, of course). There a struggle is waged by way of ballots, by way of negotiations with comrades, and so forth, and there this struggle over the <"fnp172">
* Of the Marsh. --Ed.
composition of the central bodies is in order, but outside congresses it should have no place in Party life.
And so, while my "pastoral message" may be a palliative, no other, more radical remedy exists except a congress, if you do not want to make the evil a chronic one. Comrade Axelrod pointed out that in Western Europe the members of the central institutions paid due regard to any opposition to their policy even in the remotest corners of the Party, and tried, by negotiating with the opposition, to<"p173"> smooth things out. . . . But then, our Central Committee is doing the same. The Central Committee sent two of its members abroad for that purpose,the Central Committee has negotiated with various opposition representatives dozens of times, proving to them the absurdity of their arguments, the groundlessness of their fears, etc., etc. Let me say that this is an impossible waste of energy, money and time, and in that sense we really do have something to answer for before history.
Coming back again to the matter of practical suggestions, I repeat that you only have one radical means of ending this unhappy period of polemic -- a congress. My resolution was intended to bring the struggle in the Party within more normal bounds. . . . We are told that that will not remove the splinter, that the trouble lies deeper. . . . In that case it is only the summoning of a congress that can extract the splinter completely.
It is absurd to describe as insulting what amounts to a demand for definiteness and precision. We have seen dozens of times (and particularly at the League Congress) what countless misunderstandings and even rows result from incorrect accounts of private conversations. That is a fact which it would be strange to deny. I say that the private remarks of Comrade Travinsky have been misunderstood both by the representative of the Central Organ and in part by Comrade Plekhanov. Here is what Comrade Travinsky writes me, among other things, in a letter of December 18: "We have just learned that the editorial board has circulated to the committees an official letter of the most invidious [I am toning down a stronger expression] character. In it the
editorial board openly comes out against the Central Committee and threatens that through the Council it could even now compel the co-optation of anyone it chose, but that it does not wish to resort yet to such measures and calls the attention of the committees to the narrow exclusiveness and incapacity of the Central Committee and the illegitimacy of the co-optation of Lenin. . . . A host of sallies of a personal nature. In a word, a disgraceful and . . . [I again omit a too strong expression] breach of all the promises made to me. I am thoroughly disgusted. Is it possible that Plekhanov had a part in this? The Ekaterinoslav Committee is deeply incensed at the letter and has sent a very sharp reply. . . . Now the minority is recklessly severing the connecting bonds. The letter circulated to the committees is, in my opinion, the last straw and an open challenge. And I for one find that Lenin has every right to publish his letter outside Iskra. I am sure the other comrades too will have nothing against it."
There you have proof that the idea formed of Comrade Travinsky's opinion is mistaken. Comrade Travinsky could expect co-optation to take place since he hoped peace and good will would be established in the Party; but his hopes entirely failed to materialise.
What happened was that, instead of peace, the editorial board of Martov and the rest started war on the majority. Whereas Travinsky had hoped, and had had a right to hope, for peace.
What happened was that Plekhanov's attempts to restrain the "anarchistic individualists" did not succeed (in spite of his efforts). Accordingly, the hopes entertained by both Travinsky and myself -- hopes of Plekhanov being able to keep the new editorial board from warring on the majority -- these hopes did not materialise. Which only goes to show that hopes do not always materialise; when I resigned from the editorial board, it was also in the hope that this would make for peace, but my hopes did not materialise either. No one denies that private negotiations occurred, only you have to distinguish between expressions of the hopes and expectations of individuals and decisions of official bodies. There is nothing insulting to the members of the Council in my remark that one cannot draw conclusions here from private
negotiations. I emphatically deny that Comrade Travinsky expressly promised co-optation to the Central Committee. Undoubtedly, he departed hoping for peace, and as a result of that peace he could expect co-optation, but he could not expressly promise it.
Against my appeal Comrade Martov advances the argument that it contains the attacks made by only one side. Nothing of the kind. I can, if it comes to that, move another resolution, modifying the expressions Comrade Martov does not like, but his contention that my resolution is one-sided is nonsense. Earlier it was said of my resolution that it smacked of a pastoral message, that it was full of truisms, and so on -- but no one ascribed to it a tendency to inflict new wounds. Comrade Martov charges me with evading a straight answer to Comrade Plekhanov's question of whether the Central Committee is or is not willing to co-opt representatives of the "minority". But how could we give you an answer to that question if we do not know what all the rest of the nine Central Committee members think of the matter now? (Plekhanov : "You misunderstood Comrade Martov.") To say that I am deliberately evading is ridiculous. I simply could not give the answer for not giving which I am being accused of evasion. I have said plainly that the dissatisfaction with the composition of the central bodies is mutual. One has to reckon with the opinion of other comrades too, after all. I am told: we must try to come to an understanding; but we have been trying to do that for the past five months. Comrade Martov's suggestion that by calling for a congress the Central Committee testifies to its own bankruptcy and impotence is therefore simply laughable. Hasn't the Central Committee already made every possible effort to resolve the conflict by domestic means? "The Central Committee will be demonstrating its inability. . . ." Inability to do what? To wage the struggle? Or to bring about peace in the Party? Yes indeed! And the attacks to which my proposal has been subjected here abundantly prove it. What your resolution talks about is gaining ground from the adversary, so to speak; but then a demand like that gives rise to counter-demands, and I will even put the question in this way: has the Central Committee the right to start negotiating again on that basis? There are committees, after all, which censured the Central <"p176">
Committee for making concessions to the League. You want us to reckon with the minority and not reckon with the majority. That is funny. And avoidance of a congress would under these conditions smack of fearing a congress. That is why we admit ourselves powerless, but not in the sense Comrade Martov means. The Central Committee is indeed powerless to end the dissensions in the Party, and that is why we are proposing to the Council that a congress should be convened. Next, the purely juridical point of the Council's power to convene one. Comrade Martov's interpretation of it is totally incorrect. What the Rules say is: "The congress is convened (if possible not less than once in two years) by the Party Council." Consequently, the Council has the power to convene a congress at any time. It is obliged to convene a congress only in one specific case. (Martov : "From the Rules it directly follows that the Council is obliged to convene a congress when demanded by a specified number of competent organisations, or upon the lapse of two years after the previous congress. Thus, until the two years are up or until the specified number of organisations call for a congress, the Council cannot convene one." Plekhanov : "I suggest that the matter of the provisions for convening a congress is out of order, as having no bearing on the business in hand.")
It was Comrade Martov who brought the matter up, and we have not taken any decision to drop it. Martov says the Council cannot convene a congress, and I say that it can. The congress is convened by the Party Council on its own responsibility at any time -- if possible not less than once in two years. Comrade Martov says that holding a congress is an ultima ratio. Yes, it is, and the fruitlessness of our present debates goes to confirm it.
You will recall that Comrade Martov has himself admitted in principle that a body made up of people who have not been involved in our dissensions could play a useful part in bringing peace to the Party. And since our own peace making attempts have produced no results and even in literature we are unlikely to keep to permissible forms of polemic, I maintain that only outside comrades can speak the decisive word. We, the representatives of the Central Committee, disclaim all responsibility in respect of further attempts at reconciliation in the Party; we see no other
honest way to end our dissensions than by appealing to the congress. Now about Comrade Plekhanov's remark as to the word "Marsh". (Plekhanov : "I was replying to the question of Comrade Vasilyev, who applied the term to a section of the Party; I repeat, as chairman I cannot allow such expressions in the Party Council.") I am admonished here that I say nothing about the abnormal and one-sided composition of the Central Committee; but what I am stating is the fact that there are two sides in the Party and that they are fighting with impermissible weapons. On the present basis, any positive work is quite impossible.
Before speaking on the substance of the matter, let me say in passing once again that no one ever takes offence at the word Sumpf.[*]
Then as to the negotiations with Travinsky. My words have been interpreted here to mean that I deny that there were negotiations with him. Nothing of the sort. I did not deny that negotiations took place, but merely pointed to the difference between the significance private negotiations can have and that attaching to official ones. I quoted here a letter by Comrade Travinsky himself as proof that if formerly he viewed things as Comrade Plekhanov does,<"p177"> afterwards he altered his view. That being the case, I would consider it quite out of place to raise the question of whom France will believe. There is no need whatever to appeal to "France".
Comrade Plekhanov declares that my peaceable "appeal" has had no effect even on myself. I repeat, all I do in that "appeal" is express the desire that certain methods of struggle should not be used. I call for peace. People reply by attacking the Central Committee, and then wonder that I thereupon attack the Central Organ. After the Central Committee has been attacked, I am accused of lack of peaceableness for hitting back! One has only to review our whole debate here in the Council in order to see who led off by proposing peace on the basis of the status quo and who <"fnp177">
* Marsh. --Ed.
continued with war against the Central Committee. It has been claimed that Lenin did nothing but tell the opposition: "Do what you're told and don't argue! . . ." That is not quite so. All our September and October correspondence is evidence to the contrary. Let me remind you, for instance, that at the beginning of October, I was prepared (with Plekhanov) to co-opt two to the editorial board. Then, as regards the ultimatum, which I myself helped to draw up, I was willing at that time to cede you two seats on the Central Committee. Next, I made another concession by resigning from the editorial board, which I did so as not to stand in the way of others joining. It will thus be seen that I did not only say "Do what you're told and don't argue", but made concessions too. Now to the actual matter in hand. The attitude to my resolution strikes me as very strange. For does that resolution accuse anyone, is it in the nature of an attack upon anyone? All it speaks of is whether such-and-such forms of struggle are permissible or not. That there is a struggle is a fact, and the idea is purely and solely to draw a line between permissible and impermissible forms of it. And what I'm asking is:. is that idea acceptable or not? Thus the expressions "instrument of struggle", "attack on the minority", etc., in relation to my resolution are quite out of place. Possibly its form is not very happy -- I would not argue particularly about that and would be prepared to modify the wording -- but its essence, which is that the contending sides in the Party must keep their struggle within definite permissible bounds -- that is not open to question. The kind of attitude the resolution is encountering here seems to me one-sided, for one of the sides concerned rejects it because it purports to discern in it some danger to itself. (Plekhanov : "I wish to offer a reminder that I have already pointed out several times that there are no two sides in this Council.") To that I can say that I am referring to the two sides that exist in actual fact, not to any juridical division of the Council into two. To Comrade Plekhanov's resolution, on the substance of which nothing has been said here, the representatives of the editorial board have added nothing. Yet I was waiting all the time for the one-sided character of that resolution to be modified.
SPEECHES ON CONVENING THE THIRD PARTY CONGRESS
JANUARY 17 (30)
On the question of convening a congress there is little to add. The Council debates too serve to illustrate the terribly difficult position in the Party. The point has repeatedly been made that two nearly equal halves formed at the Congress, so that when one member of the "majority" dropped out, complete equality resulted. I do not see how this equality could lead to peace without a Party congress. No one doubts that the discord is giving rise to crying abnormalities. A belligerent frame of mind exists on both sides; that is an indubitable fact. In the light of all this, no other honest and proper solution than convening a congress appears possible. Comrade Martov has spoken of the technical, financial, and other such difficulties of carrying out my proposal for a congress, but the present state of things is worse by far than all these difficulties.
I cannot agree with Martov; he gives a wrong picture of the role of a congress. He says the differences are not yet clear to all the comrades and that the convening of a congress would arrest the process of demarcation and the airing of the organisational conflict in the press. I think that precisely with a view to the free clarification of differences of principle it is necessary to eliminate the crisis, to clear the atmosphere of squabbles, and for that we need a congress. Not in order to cut short the struggle, but to bring it within normal bounds,
a Third Congress is required. The very suggestion that it would cut short the struggle over principles is a strange one. Let me remind you of the chairman's statement at the Second Congress, to the effect that even our programme is subject to further development and elucidation. But for the struggle over principles, the conflict of opinion, to be effective and fruitful, conditions are needed which at the moment we do not have. I protest against the historical parallels that have been drawn here and the reference to Rabocheye Dyelo. The difference between the position now and three years ago is that then we did not yet have a united party, and now we do. Those who talk here about a breakaway half should be the last to protest against a congress to eliminate the abnormality which by our own efforts we find ourselves unable to remove. Positive work and clarification of differences of principle will only be possible when the Third Congress removes that abnormality and brings the conflict of opinion within definite bounds.
Comrade Plekhanov's clearly stated argument is a "forceful" but false one. If the Third Congress were to lead to a split, it would mean that people do not want to submit to majority opinion, do not want to work together, that is, that in reality we have no party. Everyone has admitted that Comrade Travinsky's attempts to settle the conflict were not without result; and there are many comrades like Travinsky, and the congress would be a gathering and colloquy among just such comrades. A bitter struggle, a desperate struggle, even to the point of excesses, does not yet signify a split. If people really want to work together, they should also be willing to submit to the will of the majority, that is, of a congress.
SPEECHES ON THE PUBLICATION OF PARTY LITERATURE
JANUARY 17 (30)
I shall begin from the end. Comrade Martov has misunderstood the Central Committee's letters, particularly on the subject of funds, and given a wrong interpretation of them. He leaves out of account that these letters were a sequel to a conversation which he, Martov, had with Travinsky. Martov himself wrote about the purport of that conversation in these terms: "To Comrade Travinsky, as to yourself, I mentioned 5,000-6,000 as the expected minimum of what could over a year be obtained for the Party from the two sources to which the members of the editorial board have access." I must state that Travinsky spoke of this being made available as a lump sum, not over the course of a year, so that there is some misunderstanding. The fact is that we counted on these 5,000 and apportioned funds between the Russian and the foreign treasury accordingly.
Comrade Martov said that both the financial sources (incidentally, how greatly the editorial board in its irritation misrepresents the matter is evident from the fact that in letters to the Central Committee Martov actually used the word "moneybags" in quotation marks and blamed us for this expression, when in reality it was his own expression, not ours) -- I repeat, Comrade Martov said that both the financial sources were known to us. Yes, they are known, but the point is not whether they are known, but whether they are accessible. I know that one of these sources could provide up to
10,000 a year, the other up to 40,000, but that does not help, for to me they are inaccessible. And it is their conversion from accessible into inaccessible sources that constitutes the cutting off of funds, which is an absolutely impermissible method of waging the struggle in the Party.
There is also the fact of the recent arrests, involving people who were due to obtain money in Russia. We have no money here, getting any from Russia will be a long business, and it will cost hundreds of rubles for the dispatch of special messengers. Some money will be coming through eventually, of course, barring further mishaps, but not soon, nor, in all likelihood, really enough.
That there were threats in the Central Committee's letter is quite untrue. There was no question of any threatening, for what the Central Committee was concerned for all along was the publication of the Central Organ. The point about addresses Comrade Vasilyev will deal with. According to our information, the editorial board is sending agents of its own to Russia. This implies a separate Central Organ treasury, which means a de facto split in the Party. It is contrary to the Rules, which require that the Central Committee should be kept fully informed and that all funds and all organisation of practical activities should be wholly concentrated in its hands. The Central Organ is grossly violating the Rules by setting up its own centre of travelling agents, its own centre of practical leadership and intervention in the affairs of the committees. The existence of these agents, contrary to the Party Rules, introduces direct disorganisation into the work. The Central Committee cannot and will not be answerable for order in the conduct of affairs when disorder is systematically introduced by the Central Organ itself. Here are letters from Odessa and Baku<"p182"> which illustrate how the matter stands. The Odessa letter, of December 24, says: "We had a visit yesterday from Zagorsky, who announced that he had been delegated by the editorial board to inform the committees of the latest developments, the negotiations, the present position in the editorial board and the editors' request to send in material and contributions and to commission leaflets or suggest topics for leaflets of general interest, and also for pamphlets, to issue which a special group has been set up. He repeated all the old stuff and
worked hard to prove the minority right, nobleminded and 'loyal'. The committee heard him out, then asked some questions, one of them being whether the Central Committee was informed of his mission; whereupon, instead of giving a straight yes or no, he proceeded to exonerate himself and prove that the editorial board had every right to approach the committees without the Central Committee's knowledge. He insisted that his communication should be discussed and a resolution drawn up there and then, in his presence; to which the committee replied that it took note of the communication, but that<"p183"> as to discussing it and passing a resolution, it would do that when it saw fit, while now<"p183a"> it was going on to its regular business." And here is what we read in a letter of January 1 from Baku: "The Baku Committee has received a visit from Martyn, who came with a communication from the Central Organ and with the undisguised object of sowing distrust in the Central Committee. When, at the end of his statement, he inquired as to the commit tee's opinion, the answer he got was: The Central Committee has our implicit confidence. And when he retorted that he would like to know their attitude to the Central Organ, he was told without<"p183b"> any mincing of words that after what they had just heard (the statement of his mission) confidence in the latter 'had been shaken'."
Equally improper and against the rules of secrecy is it that the Central Organ gives information on the composition of the Central Committee not only to the committees, but to private individuals (as for instance to Druyan, as the Central Committee pointed out in a letter to the Central Organ). As to "waging war", the fact is that Comrade Martov here confuses two totally different things. In the sphere of positive work and procuring funds any warfare (boycotts and the like) is most certainly impermissible, and the Central Committee has never engaged in any such thing. In the sphere of literature, however, "war" is permissible, and no one has ever restricted the Central Organ's polemics. You will recall that even at a much earlier period the Central Committee expressed complete readiness to publish both Dan's letter on the slogans of the opposition and Martov's pamphlet Once More in the Minority, though both contain attacks upon itself.
The Central Committee has never once caused any delay in issuing the Central Organ's publications. Nor has there been a single case of the Central Committee improperly or unfairly distributing literature, of its "discriminating" against the minority committees. On the contrary, Travinsky has here testified and proved that the minority committees were first of all generously supplied; Comrade Martov has had to admit that in this respect the Central Committee's activities are above reproach. As to refusing people Party literature, the matter stands as follows. Every Party member without exception (if he inspires confidence as regards secrecy precautions, etc.) is given literature free to transport to Russia and there hand over to the Central Committee agents for distribution. But when people have the hardihood to call themselves members of the Party and at the same time refuse to hand over literature to the Central Committee agents for general distribution, then naturally the Central Committee cannot (and has not even the right to) deal with such individuals. And if these people afterwards buy up literature for their separate parochial enterprises which disorganise the common work, so much the worse for them.
I cannot for the life of me understand what is insolent about the distribution secretary's first or second letter. He requests information which he needs for his accounts, and the editors, instead of giving a comradely answer to the point -- which he never did get -- engage in purely bureaucratic quill-driving. Now here is something that really is insolent, in a letter by the editors of the Central Organ to the Central Committee: "The editorial board of the Central Organ brings to the Central Committee's attention that the presence abroad of three members of the Central Committee, which is not justified by any operational considerations and which implies the establishment of a new organisational centre not envisaged in the Party Rules, inevitably brings political intrigue and disorganisation into Party life. . . ." This is outright vilification (intrigue) without a shadow of facts or evidence! The Central Committee's reply to it was: "Had the editors not been acting in a state of utmost irri-
tation, they would readily have seen the utter impropriety of their remarks about the number of Central Committee members present abroad. The only reply of the Central Committee's foreign representative to this and other unseemly sallies by the editors (such as the comical allegation about things being printed 'in secret') is to call on them to remember<"p185"> their duty as Party members and desist from actions which out of a controversy in literature could create occasions for a split. . . ."
That even bourgeois publishers supposedly let editors have hundreds of copies I must confess I have not heard. Let Comrade Martov try, if his are not just idle words, to ask Dietz whether he gives Kautsky 400 copies of the Neue Zeit to distribute. Or ask Singer, or Fischer, whether Gradnauer demands 200 copies of the Vorwärts to distribute on his own. The German Social-Democrats know the difference between anarchy and organisation.
The question of funds came up before the arrests -- but then, I was only speaking of the difference the arrests had made to it.
How the editors confuse permissible controversy with impermissible boycott is especially vividly seen from the following.
In their letter of January 4, replying to our inquiry about funds, they mention, as one of the "factors which make it difficult for them to appeal to acquaintances for active support of the central treasury", that "Central Committee agents and their protégés indulge at meetings in threatening talk about the illegality of the present composition of the editorial board (and the letter by Central Committee member Lenin talks about it too. . .)." Just look at this astounding perversion of political values! The question of providing (or cutting off) sources of funds is tied up with that of controversy in speeches and pamphlets! What is that but mixing up ideological struggle with squabbling and contention over posts?! The question of Party members approving or disapproving the composition (and activities) of the editorial board is jumbled with that of "legality"! What is that but bureaucratic formalism?! It is natural that the Central Committee's foreign representative replied: ". . . As representative of the Central Committee, I think it necessary
to point out to the editorial board that there is no reason to bring up the question of legality, etc., because of heated utterances at forums of the membership abroad or a controversy conducted in literature. . . . If in the controversy the editors descry attacks on themselves, they have every opportunity, after all, to reply to them. Is it reasonable to get excited over some sharp<"p186"> (in the editors' view) thrust in controversy when there is no suggestion, even, of boycott or any other disloyal (in the Central Committee's view) mode of action?" . . . To talk of "protégés" is nothing if not peculiar. . . . What is it supposed to mean? What sort of bureaucratic language is this? What has the Central Committee to do with what people say at forums? We have no censorship, that we should restrict freedom of speech and freedom of controversy. And does not this kind of struggle need to be marked off from boycotts?
Comrade Martov's story of the Odessa Committee having asked the Central Committee whether to send in letters to the Central Organ I regard as, obviously, a joke. No one could seriously speak of such a thing.
I repeat, there has never been a single case of the Central Committee barring the minority from the work. And I stress that Comrade Martov himself admits that he can cite no instances of improper, one-sided or biased distribution of literature.
Comrade Martov espies the danger of a coup on our part. That is comical. (Martov : "What about the ultimatum?") The Central Committee's "ultimatum" was a reply to Starover's ultimatum. The ultimatum is our last word on conditions for peace and good will that we could accept. That is all. Only a diseased imagination could discover schemes for a coup in our reply to the minority, who have, unquestionably, brought the Party to the point of a split. The majority have no need to contemplate a coup. As regards the distribution of Iskra, all issues of the paper have, as far as possible, been distributed regularly, and had any committee deemed itself "forgotten" in this respect, it would only have needed to inform the Central Committee in a comradely way. We have up to the present received no such
notifications. And the editorial board's letter to the committees is not a comradely action, but an act of war.
The Central Committee is of the opinion that the work of literature distribution must be carried on from a single source and that a second distribution centre is unnecessary and harmful. Now a few words about the distribution secretary. I repeat that he became a target for attack only because he wanted to do his job conscientiously and addressed a business inquiry to the editorial board. And the editorial board's peremptory answer -- "Don't dare talk!" "Send along 100 or 200 copies!", etc. -- bears all the earmarks of a bureaucratic approach in its purest form.
On the subject of addresses I shall only say that everything that belongs to the editorial board has been handed over to it. Only personal and organisational correspondence has been sorted out, and all the rest turned over to the editors. I might also remind you that already in the London days the Organising Committee officially took all the organisational correspondence into its own hands.
To speak of there being a new centre because some members of the Central Committee are here abroad is a patent quibble and bureaucratic meddling in matters which are the Central Committee's independent concern.
Comrade Martov entirely misinterprets the Rules.<"p187"> The Central Organ must have full information about everything -- that is required both by the Rules and by the interests of the work. But the dispatch of representatives with organisational objects -- such as sending Z to the Odessa Committee without the Central Committee's knowledge -- manifestly upsets the natural division of functions between the two central bodies of the Party. It is quite unnecessary for purposes of information, and only introduces the plainest disorganisation, completely disrupting unity of action. What this sort of move does is to aggravate the chaos in Party affairs, and in practice it means an outright splitting of the Party in two -- instead of division of functions between the two central bodies.
<"en68"> The Party Council session held in Geneva on January 15-17 (28-30), 1904, was "called on the initiative of the representatives of the Central Organ to discuss measures for harmonising the activities of the Central Committee and Central Organ in the publication of Party literature" (Lenin Miscellany X, p. 181). It was attended by Lenin, Lengnik, Plekhanov, Axelrod, and Martov.
On Lenin's proposal, the Council resolved to include in the agenda and discuss as the first item the question of measures to restore peace in the Party. On January 15 (28) Lenin, on behalf of the Central Committee, moved a resolution on this question (pp. 147-49 of this volume). When the debate showed that the Mensheviks would not agree to this resolution, Lenin and Lengnik proposed, on January 16 (29), another resolution on restoring peace in the Party, which the Council adopted by three votes (Lenin, Lengnik, and Plekhanov) to two (Martov and Axelrod). However, instead of then practically discussing what must be done to restore peace, the
Council, over Lenin's protest, proceeded to vote Plekhanov's resolution, which demanded co-optation of Mensheviks to the Central Committee. By the votes of Plekhanov, Martov, and Axelrod, this resolution was passed. Thereupon the Central Committee representatives (Lenin and Lengnik) recorded on January 17 (30) a dissenting opinion which censured Plekhanov's resolution as ignoring the will of the majority of the Second Party Congress. The text of the dissenting opinion (pp. 150-53 of this volume) was drawn up by Lenin.
After the Mensheviks frustrated every effort to establish peace in the Party, Lenin moved a resolution on convening the Third Party Congress, as the only way out of the situation (p. 154 of this volume). By the votes of Plekhanov, Martov, and Axelrod this resolution was rejected and Martov's resolution against a congress was passed. Concerning the publication of Party literature no agreement was reached either. Rejecting the resolutions moved on this subject by Lenin (p. 155 of this volume), the Council adopted resolutions which endorsed the factional, disruptive activities of the Menshevik editorial board of Iskra.
The Council session of January 1904 made it plain that with Plekhanov's defection to the Mensheviks the Council had become an instrument of the Mensheviks' fight against the Party. [p. 145]
<"en69"> Travinsky -- pseudonym of G. M. Krzhizhanovsky, member of the Central Committee. [p. 159]
<"en70"> In Point 3 of its ultimatum of November 12 (25), 1903, the Central Committee had offered to co-opt two members of the minority. The Central Committee consisted at that time of Lenin, Krzhizhanovsky, Lengnik, Noskov (Glebov), Gusarov, Zemlyachka, Krasin, Essen, and Galperin. [p. 164]
<"en71"> Ru -- pseudonym of L. Y. Galperin, also referred to as Y. Valentin, and Konyagin. [p. 167]
<"en72"> The document in question was the Central Committee's ultimatum of November 12 (25), 1903, presented to the Mensheviks on Lenin's proposal. [p. 169]
<"en73"> This letter, which Central Committee member Lengnik (Vasilyev) sent on November 29 (December 12), 1903, to the Iskra editorial board, was written by Lenin. [p. 172]
<"en74"> Lenin is referring to his letter to Potresov of August 31 (September 13), 1903. He published it in slightly abridged form in One Step Forward, Two Steps Back (see pp. 351-52 of this volume). [p. 172]
<"en75"> These Central Committee members were Lengnik, who was appointed the Central Committee's official foreign representative, and Krzhizhanovsky, who came to Switzerland in November 1903 specially to negotiate with the Mensheviks. [p. 173]
<"en76"> Resolutions censuring the Central Committee for its concessions to the League Abroad and condemning the Mensheviks' conduct at the Second Congress of the League were adopted, for example, by the Saratov and Odessa committees. They were published in N. Shakhov's pamphlet The Fight for a Congress, Geneva, 1904, p. 28. [p. 176]
<"en77"> This refers to the preceding speech of Plekhanov, who claimed that Krzhizhanovsky (Travinsky) had conceded in negotiations with him that the composition of the Iskra editorial board with the Mensheviks co-opted to it would be normal, and went on to add: "And if the truth of my words were to be called in question, I would reply as a certain Minister once did to Louis Philippe, who questioned his words: 'I say that it was so. You say that it was not. We shall see whom France will believe.'" (Lenin Miscellany X, p. 238.) [p. 177]
<"en78"> Zagorsky -- pseudonym of the Menshevik V. N. Krokhmal. [p. 182]
<"en79"> Lenin is quoting a letter of December 24, 1903 (January 6, 1904), from I. K. Lalayants to N. K. Krupskaya. [p. 183]
<"en80"> Martyn -- pseudonym of the Menshevik V. N. Rozanov. [p. 183]
<"en81"> Lenin is quoting a letter of January 1 (14), 1904, from L. B. Krasin to the Foreign Branch of the Central Committee. [p. 183]
<"en82"> In his first letter the Central Committee's distribution secretary, M. Leibovich, asked the editors of the Menshevik Iskra to tell him for his report to the Central Committee what they did with the fifty copies of Iskra allotted to the editorial board. The editors refused to give him this information, and demanded to be given a larger number of copies. In his second letter the distribution secretary refused to supply more than the allotted fifty copies without permission from the Central Committee. [p. 184]
<"en83"> Lenin is quoting a letter sent the editors of Iskra on December 14 (27), 1903, in the name of Central Committee Foreign Representative Lengnik. The letter was written by Lenin (see present edition, Vol. 34). [p. 185]
<"en84"> Lenin is quoting a letter sent the Iskra editorial board on December 26, 1903 (January 8, 1904), in the name of Central Committee Foreign Representative Lengnik. The passage quoted was written by Lenin (see present edition, Vol. 34). [p. 186]
<"en85"> Starover's ultimatum -- Potresov's letter to Plekhanov of October 21 (November 3), 1903. In this letter Potresov, speaking for the Menshevik opposition, demanded to have the old editorial board of Iskra reinstated, Mensheviks co-opted to the Central Committee and the Party Council, and the decisions of the Congress of the League Abroad recognised as lawful. [p. 186]
<"en86"> By Z is meant V. N. Krokhmal. [p. 187]