Notes to the Resolution of the Stuttgart Congress on “Militarism and International Conflicts”

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The International Socialist Congress at Stuttgart (the Seventh Congress of the Second International) was held from August 18 to 24, 1907.

The Congress was attended by 886 delegates representing socialist parties and trade unions. The German delegation was especially numerous (289 persons), most of them trade union officials, a fact which had a strong effect on the stand of the German Social-Democratic Party in the discussion and adoption of the Congress resolutions.

The delegation from Russia consisted of 37 Social-Democrats, 24 S.R.s and 7 trade unionists. On the Bolshevik delegation were V. I. Lenin, A. A. Bogdanov, I. P. Goldenberg (Meshkovsky), B. A. Knunyants, M. M. Litvinov, A. V. Lunacharsky, N. A. Semashko and M. Tskhakaya.

The Congress examined the following questions: 1) Militarism and international conflicts. 2) Relations between political parties and trade unions. 3) Colonial question. 4) Immigration and emigration of workers. 5) Women’s suffrage.

Lenin held several conferences of Bolshevik delegates to define their line in the Social-Democratic section, in the Russia delegation and at the Congress; he took part in the meetings of the Social-Democratic section, where he fought the opportunist line of the Mensheviks, and in the meetings of the Russia delegation, where he defended the RSDLP stand against the S.R.s.

During the Congress, Lenin carried out a great deal of work in uniting the Left-wing forces in international Social-Democracy, resolutely fighting the opportunists and revisionists. The conferences he organised with Left-wingers (Clara Zetkin, Rosa Luxemburg, Leon Tyszka, Georg Ledebour and others) were the first step in rallying the revolutionary Marxists.

The work of the Congress was concentrated in the committees, which drafted the resolutions for the Plenary Meetings. Lenin took part in the work of the committee on “Militarism and International Conflicts”. In the discussion of the draft resolution motioned by August Bebel, Lenin proposed amendments, which were supported by the Polish Social-Democrats, and secured a basic change in the draft in the spirit of revolutionary Marxism.

There was an acute struggle on the colonial question. The opportunist majority of the committee, headed by die Dutch “socialist” Van Kol, motioned an opportunist draft resolution which was supported by a majority of the German delegation. The resolution on the colonial question adopted by the Congress denounced all colonial policy straightforwardly and without reservations.

The Congress adopted a resolution on the immigration and emigration of workers, which met the demands of the revolutionary Social-Democrats, and of the internationalist education of workers in all countries.

Lenin attached great importance to the adoption by the Congress of a resolution on the relations between the trade unions and the political party of the working class. In the committee Lenin’s line on the partisanship of the trade unions was supported by A. V. Lunacharsky. On this, question, contrary to the efforts of the Right wing, the Congress adopted a resolution confirming the principle of partisanship of the trade unions.

For Lenin’s articles on the Stuttgart Congress see present edition, Vol. 13, pp. 75–93. p. 200

Accordingly, the Congress considers it to be the duty of the working class and especially of its representatives in the parliaments, in View of the class character of bourgeois society, to use every means to struggle against and to deny appropriations for the aggressive policy of states, and to act in such a way as to educate working-class youth in the spirit of socialism and an awareness of the brotherhood of nations.*)

. . .

*) The Russian amendment also had this provision: “in such a way that the ruling classes would not dare to use it (youth) as an instrument to consolidate their class domination against the fighting proletariat”. These words were deleted by the commission not because anyone disagreed with them in principle, but because they were regarded by the Germans as being illegal and capable of providing a pretext for the dissolution of German Social-Democratic organisations. This abridgement did not alter the essential meaning of the corresponding passage of the resolution. . . .

In the event of a danger of war, the working class and its parliamentary representatives in the countries concerned must, relying on the support of the international Bureau, do everything they can to prevent a declaration of war, by every means which they consider reasonable, and the choice of which depends on the degree of aggravation of the class struggle and the general political situation.*)

. . .

*) The Russian amendment said that these means (to prevent war) are changed and intensified (sich ändern und steigern) depending on the aggravation of the class struggle, etc. The commission deleted “intensified”, leaving only “changed”.