How Certain Social-Democrats Inform the International About the State of Affairs in the RSDLP

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In connection with the International Congress in Copenhagen articles have appeared in a number of publications on the state of affairs in our Party. We shall dwell briefly on three articles written by spokesmen of three different Party (or rather ante-Party) trends.

The first place for unceremoniousness should go to an article which appeared, sad to relate, in the central press organ of our comrades in Germany (Vorwärts, August 28). This article is anonymous. It is merely subtitled “From Our Russian Correspondent”.

From it the reader learns that “the Russian emigrants, who play a disproportionately great role in our Party, have never been so remote from the interests and requirements of the Russian labour movement as they are today”, that the Central Organ of our Party, Sotsial-Demokrat, “is being conducted in a narrow factional spirit” and that the Bolsheviks are noted for “formal and superficial radicalism”, that it is only by a process of evolution that they have finally come to a “recognition” of parliamentarism, and so on and so forth. The author is extremely dissatisfied with the majority of our Party. He paints a very black picture of the whole situation in the Party. He sees only one bright spot in the life of the RSDLP This is “the workers’ newspaper Pravda, published in Vienna, which from the outset has stood completely aloof from factional polemics and devotes itself to political agitation”, and so forth.

Don’t you begin to guess, reader, to whose “non-factional” pen this article belongs? You are not mistaken, of course. Yes, it is the “non-factional” Comrade Trotsky, who has no compunction about openly advertising his faction’s propaganda sheet. He provides the insufficiently informed German readers with the same appraisal of the policy of the Party majority as that made by the liquidators.[1]

Another literateur, R. Streltsov, set out to libel our Party in the organ of the German revisionists. His article Was published in the Sozialistische Monatshefte, which is edited by Herr Bloch, whom Bebel in Magdeburg justly called a National Liberal. R. Streltsov—who collaborates with Mr. Prokopovich on the newspaper Tovarishch[2]—quite openly takes the liquidators under his protection. “Nothing could be more absurd than the accusation which is being made against them.” It is the liquidators who are the real Social-Democrats. As for the Party majority, it, you see, “considers superfluous the utilisation of so-called legal opportunities, i. e., the participation of the Social-Democrats in the trade unions, co-operative societies, legal congresses, and so forth.” Yes, indeed, the German reader will get a true picture if he studies the history of the Russian revolution from Cherevanin and the contemporary situation and tactical struggle inside our Party—from Streltsov and Trotsky!

The third article is from the pen of the ultimatumist (and god-builder) Voinov, writing in Le Peuple,[3] the Party organ of our Belgian comrades.[4] And although Voinov gives the Belgian comrades a wrong idea of the “tactical trends in our Party” (the heading of his article) still, in one respect, his article has performed a valuable service: it has revealed to us once again the essence of otzovist ultimatumist tactics. Occasionally we do come across blessed writers in the Vperyod group who expound the aims of the otzovist-ultimatumists openly without veiling them, as is the common practice in the literary utterances of the Vperyodists. Listen for yourselves. What member of the Vperyod group would frankly admit now that the otzovist ultimatumists are still dreaming about fighting squads, etc.? But the candid Voinov writes frankly that he and his friends want to “continue and develop our preparation for armed action”, whereas Lenin, who has swung to the Right, denies “for example, the necessity of training schools” at the present time. What Yperyodist now says openly that an “ultimatum” must be sent to the Duma group? But the good Voinov informs us frankly that the “regeneration of the Party” is necessary to his friends in order to “present an ultimatum to our deputies”.... What Vperyodist will tell you in the press for what purpose the otzovist-ultimatumists require a “Party school” abroad? But the loquacious Voinov does not Omit to inform us that the “school” is necessary for preparing a “new congress” of the Party and the election of a different Central Committee in place of the present “Right-wing” Central Committee.[5] Surely the Vperyod “diplomats” will not thank Voinov for this candour!

Trotsky, Voinov and Streltsov have fraternally joined hands in opposing the Party line....

  1. The fact that this article was published in a Party organ like Vorwärts impelled our delegates at the Copenhagen Congress to make a protest to the Central Committee of the German Party. This protest was lodged by the delegates of our Central Organ (G. V. Plekhanov and A. Varsky) and by the Party’s representative on the International Bureau (N. Lenin).{6} It was while this question was being discussed by the Social-Democratic delegation that Comrade Trotsky divulged to us the secret that he himself had written the offending article. —Lenin
  2. Tovarishch (The Comrade)—a bourgeois daily newspaper published in St. Petersburg from 1906 until 4908 with the close participation of S. N. Prokopovich and Y. D. Kuskova. Though formally not the organ of any particular party, it was in fact the mouthpiece of the Left Constitutional-Democrats. It also published contributions from Mensheviks.
  3. Le Peuple (People)—a daily newspaper, the Central Organ of the Belgian (reformist) Labour Party, published from 1884 in Brussels.
  4. Voinov thoughtfully informs the readers that he is a “delegate at the International Congress in Copenhagen”. —Lenin
  5. In this article Voinov thought it expedient ... to add a little boast that “some members of the CC elected at the Congress, but dissatisfied with the CC’s new policy have resigned.” Where and when was that, Comrade Voinov? —Lenin