A New Menshevik Conference

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We are in receipt of hectographed copies of the resolutions passed by the ‚ÄúSouthern Constituent [!?] Conference‚ÄĚ of the Mensheviks.[1] The most important of these resolutions (on the State Duma) will be dealt with by us on some other occasion. For the present we shall only note that of the two main points of Iskra‚Äôs ‚ÄúDuma‚ÄĚ tactics the Conference rejected ‚Äúpressure for the election of resolute people to the State Duma‚ÄĚ (like Martov, Cherevanin, and Parvus), but accepted ‚Äúorganisation of nation-wide popular elections to a constituent assembly‚ÄĚ. Three resolutions were adopted on the composition of Iskra‚Äôs Editorial Board, yet the question was not settled. One resolution asks Axelrod not to leave the Editorial Board; another requests Plekhanov to return to the Board (the Conference‚ÄĒprobably without humorous intention‚ÄĒexpressing ‚Äúsurprise‚ÄĚ at Plekhanov‚Äôs resignation); the third thanks Iskra, expresses complete confidence in it, etc., but refers the question of the composition of the Editorial Board to an ‚Äúall-Russia constituent conference for final decision‚ÄĚ. The ‚ÄúFirst All-Russia Conference‚ÄĚ, as is known, ‚Äúreferred‚ÄĚ this question for decision to the local organisations. The latter ‚Äúrefer‚ÄĚ it to the decision of a constituent conference.... This is probably what is called doing away with red tape and formalities.... In the meantime Iskra continues calling itself the Central Organ, although even its own supporters have not conferred such a title on it. A convenient position this, indeed!

The organisational Rules of the Southern Conference are a copy of the Rules we are already familiar with, but contain some minor changes. A new clause has been added: ‚ÄúParty congresses, which must be convened as far as possible once a year, are the supreme organ of the Party.‚ÄĚ We heartily welcome this amendment. In connection with the new and excellent point that the ‚ÄúCentral Committee shall be elected at the Congress‚ÄĚ, and also with the excellent desire to have the question of the Editorial Board decided at the Congress (be it even in the future), this amendment shows progress towards the decisions of the Third Congress. Let us hope that in another four months the next ‚Äúconstituent‚ÄĚ conference will also set up the procedure for convening congresses, these supreme organs of the Party.... On the question of unity the Conference unfortunately beats about the bush, without giving a clear reply to the question: ‚ÄúDo you want to unite on the basis of the Third Congress? If not, do you want to prepare two congresses to assemble at the same time and in the same place?‚ÄĚ Let us hope that the next ‚Äúconstituent‚ÄĚ conference (preferably in something under four months!) will decide the matter.

  1. ‚ÜĎ The Southern Russian Constituent Conference of the Mensheviks was held in Kiev in August 1905. Its decisions were criticised by Lenin also in the article ‚ÄúThe Latest in Iskra Tactics, or Mock Elections as a New Incentive to an Uprising‚ÄĚ (see pp. 356-73 of this volume).