Announcement of the Formation of an Organising Committee and the Convening of the Third Regular Congress of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, pubdate??, Moscow, Volume 7, pages 540-542.
The Announcement of the Formation of an Organising Committee and the Convening of the Third Regular Congress of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party was written by Lenin in December 1904 and sent at that time to the members of the Bureau of Major ity Committees. It formed the basis of the official Announcement of the convening of the Third Party Congress published in Vperyod, No. 8 (February 28 [151, 1905) over the signature of the Bureau of Majority Committees.
The severe crisis our Party has been experiencing for a year and a half, ever since the time of the Second Congress, has led to an inevitable and long-foreseen result: to a complete break of the central institutions with the Party. We shall not recapitulate here the painful history of that crisis and repeat facts sufficiently dealt with in the Party press, and in particular in numerous resolutions and statements by the committees in Russia and conferences of them. It is sufficient to state that the last such conference, the Northern, in which the St. Petersburg, Riga, Tver, Moscow, Northern, and Nizhni-Novgorod committees took part, elected a Bureau which it instructed to act as an Organising Committee for the immediate convening of the Third Regular Congress of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party.
After waiting beyond all time limits set by the committees for an answer from the so-called Central Committee, the Bureau has come to an understanding with representatives of the three Southern (Odessa, Ekaterinoslav, and Nikolayev) and four Caucasian committees. It is now coming forward in the capacity of Organising Committee to convene the Third Regular Congress of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party, without the consent of the central bodies, which are accountable to the Party but have shirked their responsibility to it.
This is a time of unprecedented political upsurge in Russia, and the proletariat is faced with immense historic tasks in the struggle against the autocracy. All Social- Democrats working in Russia know what tremendous harm the division within our Party has done to the work of organising and rallying the forces of the proletariat; what infinite damage the work of propaganda, agitation, and achievement of workers’ unity in Russia has suffered through the pernicious influence of the migr6 circle spirit. And if it is not possible to unite the 6migr6 circles and their placemen, let there be unity at least among all Social-Democratic Party workers in Russia, all who uphold the consistent line of revolutionary Social-Democracy. Their unification is the only true road to complete and lasting unity in future among all Russian Social-Democrats.
Long live Russian, long live international revolutionary Social-Democracy!
Concerning the arrangements for convening the Congress, the Organising Committee considers it necessary to make the following announcement:
1) The Organising Committee recognises the unqualified right to representation at the Third Regular Congress, with voice and vote, of all Russian committees and organisations endorsed by the Second Congress of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party (the St. Petersburg, Moscow, Kharkov, Kiev, Odessa, Nikolayev, Don, Ekaterinoslav, Saratov, Ural, Northern, Tula, Tver, Nizhni-Novgorod, Baku, Batum, Tiflis, Mining Area, Siberian, and Crimean committees).
2) The Organising Committee recognises the conditional right to representation at the Congress of committees endorsed by the Central Committee after the Second Congress (the Mingrelian, Astrakhan, Orel-I3ryansk, Samara, Smo lensk, Riga, Kursk, and Voronezh committees, and also the League Abroad). All these committees were endorsed by central bodies which have forfeited the confidence of the Party. We are in duty bound to invite them to the Third Congress, but only the Congress itself can make the final decision as to their participation (actual status of the committee, its right to voice only or to voice and vote, etc.).
3) On behalf of the majority of the Russian committees, the Organising Committee expresses the wish that all organisations of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party, both abroad and in Russia, and particularly all workers’ organisations that consider themselves part of it, should be represented at its Third Regular Congress. The participation of the last-named appears to us especially desirable because the Party crisis and the demagogic preaching of office by election and of democracy a‘ la Rabocheye Dyelo have already caused several splits. We must take advantage of the Congress to try, with the participation of representatives from most of the Russian committees, to heal these splits or lessen the harm from them.
4) The Organising Committee accordingly invites all wishing to participate in the Congress to respond immediately and communicate with it (through one of the thirteen committees named above).
5) The question of invitation to the Congress shall in disputed cases be decided by the two nearest committees and a third person representing the Organising Committee.
6) The terms of representation at the Congress (with voice only or with voice and vote) for committees and other organisations not endorsed by the Second Party Congress shall be determined by the Third Congress itself.
7) The time and place of the Congress will be fixed by the Organising Committee.