Meeting of the Bolshevik Groups Abroad

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Author(s) Lenin
Written 14 December 1911

Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1974, Moscow, Volume 17, pages 393-396.

The Meeting of the Bolshevik Groups Abroad took place in Paris on December 14–17 (27–30), 1911. It was called on the initiative of the Paris Group supporting the Bolshevik newspaper Rabochaya Gazeta. The aim of the Meeting was to unify the Bolshevik organisations abroad and support the convening of an all-Russia Party conference. Eleven delegates with full voting rights participated from Bolshevik groups in Paris, Nancy, Zurich, Davos, Geneva, Liége, Berne, Bremen, and Berlin. Lenin reported on the state of affairs in the Party, and the draft resolution on this question, drawn up by Lenin, served as a basis for the general resolution, adopted by the Meeting. The “Notification” and resolution of the Meeting were published by the Committee of the RSDLP Organisation Abroad in a leaflet on January 12, 1912 (N.S.).

December 14–17 (27–30), 1911

1. Draft Resolution on the Report “State of Affairs in the Party”[edit source]

Organisation of the Social-Democratic Party Forces Abroad and the Tasks of the Bolsheviks

Written early in December 1911

First published in 1933 in Lenin’s Miscellany XXV

The present state of Social-Democratic organisations abroad is abnormal in the extreme.

From 1908 onwards, when Social-Democratic publishing had begun to shift more and more abroad, and prior to the Plenary Meeting, there was a complete organisational split in all important centres abroad, owing to the complete secession of the Menshevik groups from the Party.

The Plenary Meeting (January 1910) attempted to create unity on the basis of its unanimous approval of an anti-liquidationist and anti-otzovist line, and made a particularly energetic call for the establishment of complete unity abroad.

After the Plenary Meeting, however, in view of the non-fulfilment of its terms by the liquidators and otzovists, no unity of the groups abroad was achieved. On the contrary, there was greater disintegration, as in fact the Vperyod group broke away from the Bolsheviks, and Plekhanov’s followers from the Mensheviks. The parallel—“first” and “second” or Menshevik and Bolshevik—groups continued to exist traditionally, but actually in no way united any sound elements capable of carrying out joint Social-Democratic work.

At the present moment Bolshevik, “conciliator”, Vperyod; Golos, and Plekhanov’s groups exist abroad in factional isolation, linked together purely formally, and often not at all, completely independent of each other, following different ideological lines and having their own individual ties with various Social-Democratic elements in Russia.

The formation of the Russian Organising Commission (ROC) in Russia by the forces of the Bolsheviks and pro-Party Mensheviks and the energetic start made by this ROC Collegium to call a general Party conference of the RSDLP make for a decisive turn in the history of the Party and show the only possible way, demanded by reality, out of the condition of disruption and collapse.

Since the Plenary Meeting, real Social-Democratic work has been carried out only by the Bolsheviks and the pro-Party Mensheviks; it was particularly harmonious in 1910. The Golos group represents nothing but a section abroad of the Russian liquidator group Dyelo Zhizni and Nasha Zarya, which has placed itself outside the Party; and the Vperyod group abroad, which continues to cover up otzovism and through its leader Lunacharsky to carry out religious propaganda, conducts work which is not Social-Democratic.

At the present moment, the ROC, created by the Bolsheviks and the pro-Party Mensheviks and supported by nearly all the local Social-Democratic organisations in Russia, is, in fact, the only absolutely competent centre of Social-Democratic Party work.

Uniting the Bolsheviks in one Social-Democratic organisation abroad, the Meeting places the responsibility for the continuing split abroad on those groups who do not wish to support the Russian centre, the ROC, or on those who, cut off from Russia, continue “to play at agreeing”, thus supporting non-Social-Democratic groups that are isolated from Russian work.

The Bolshevik organisation abroad will, as hitherto, use all its strength to attract, irrespective of trends, all Social-Democrats prepared to support the ROC and to carry out the Party line, that is, the anti-liquidationist and anti-otzovist (and equally anti-god-seeker) line, in order that they join forces and merge into one Party organisation.

The practical task of the Party organisation abroad is to struggle against the liquidationist and otzovist trends, against the disintegration of the groups abroad having no ideological basis, assisting the unification of all real Social-Democratic Party members and pro-Party Mensheviks in particulars and assisting the ROC. We consider that the organs which should be supported, by Party members are the Central Organ and Rabochaya Gazeta, as the isolation of the pro-Party Mensheviks (abroad) can in no manner be justified, and no change of the line confirmed by Party decisions can be found in the above-mentioned journals.


Written early in December 1911

Published on January 12, 1912, in the Notification of the Committee of the Organisation Abroad

The resolution was adopted on December 17 (30), 1911, at the last session of the Meeting of the Bolshevik groups abroad. The resolution was published in the “Notification” of the Committee of the RSDLP Organisation Abroad, with the following explanation: “A special resolution of the Meeting drew the attention of all Party comrades to the need to give energetic support to the Russian Organising Commission and the conference which it is convening”.

The heading to the document has been provided by the Institute of Marxism-Leninism of the Central Committee of the CPSU

This Meeting confirms that for a long time? for two years at least, the Party has recognised the urgent need to call a Party conference. At the present time, despite all obstacles a decisive step has been taken to bring this about. An ROC has been formed in Russia, supported by all local organisations (Kiev, Baku, Tiflis, Ekaterinoslav, Ekaterinburg, St. Petersburg, Moscow? Nikolayev, Saratov, Kazan, Wilno, Dvinsk, Nizhni-Novgorod, Sormovo, Samara, Tyumen, Rostov, and others).

This Meeting welcomes the formation of the ROC, and declares it to be the duty of every Party member to render it every support.