Organised Marxists on Intervention by the International Bureau
|Written||15 April 1914|
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1972, Moscow, Volume 20, pages 233-236.
We are informed that the International Bureau has received the reply of the organised Marxists to the Bureau’s offer to intervene, in the affairs of Russian Social-Democracy. We publish below the more important parts of this reply.
Following receipt of the “Supplement” to No. 11 of The Periodical Bulletin of the International Bureau, the representative body of Russia’s organised Marxists feels bound to express profound gratitude to the International Bureau and its Executive Committee for their assistance to the working-class movement and for their efforts to strength en and consolidate it by ensuring its unity.
The present situation among Russian Marxists is as follows.
The general state of affairs in 1907–08 led to an extremely grave ideological crisis among Marxists and the break up of their organisations. Both in 1908 and in 1910, organised Marxists formally recognised the existence of a special theory advocated by the liquidators, who repudiated and sought to liquidate the old Party, and were out to form a new and legal party. This trend was emphatically and irrevocably condemned by a formal decision. However, the liquidators refused to accept these decisions and continued their splitting and disruptive activities against the “entire body”.
In January 1912, the entire Marxist body was opposed to the liquidators, who were declared to be outside its ranks.
Since then, the overwhelming majority of class-conscious workers in Russia have rallied in support of the decisions adopted in January 1912 and of the guiding body that was elected at the time. This fact, of which all workers in Russia are aware, can and must be corroborated by objective facts, in view of the incredible number of unsupported and grossly untrue statements circulated by the liquidators and by the scattered groups abroad.
1. The electoral law of Russia places the workers in a separate worker curia. Of the members of the Duma elected by this curia, the Bolsheviks constituted 47 per cent in the Second Duma (1907), 50 per cent in the Third Duma (1907–12), and 67 per cent in the Fourth Duma (1912–14).
The elections to the Fourth Duma were held in September 1912, and the majority that was gained (two–thirds) proved organised Marxism’s complete victory over liquidationism.
2. In April 1912, the Marxist daily newspaper Pravda began to appear. In opposition to it, the liquidators started, also in St. Petersburg, a rival organ, Luch, which pursued splitting tactics. In the course of two years, from January 1, 1912 to January 1, 1914, the liquidators’ newspaper, together with all their supporters in the shape of the numerous groups abroad and the Bund, received the backing—according to that newspaper’s own reports—of 750 workers’ groups, whereas during the same period Pravda, which fights for the Marxist line, rallied around itself 2,801 workers’ groups.
3. Early in 1914, elections were held in St. Petersburg of representatives of the workers’ sick insurance societies on the All-Russia Insurance Board and the Metropolitan Insurance Board. To the first body the workers elected five members and ten deputy-members; to the second, they elected two members and four deputy-members. In both cases, the lists of candidates put forward by Pravda sup porters were elected in their entirety. In the last elections the ballot figures announced by the chairman were: Pravda supporters—37; liquidators—7; Narodniks—4; abstentions—5.
We shall confine ourselves to those very brief figures. They show that real unity among Marxists in Russia is making steady headway and that the unity of the majority of the class-conscious workers on the basis of the decisions of January 1912 has already been achieved.
The document then goes on to describe the disruptive activities of the various groups abroad and the liquidators, who are persistently trying to thwart the will of the majority of Russian workers.
Besides partyists and liquidators, there are now no less than five separate Russian Social-Democratic groups operating abroad, besides the national groups. For two whole years, 1912 and 1913, there has not been a shadow of any objective evidence that these groups abroad are in touch with the working-class movement in Russia. In August 1912 the liquidators formed what is called the “August bloc”, which included, among others, Trotsky, the “Bund”, and the Lettish Social-Democrats. That this “bloc”—which really served as a screen for the liquidators—was a fiction, was pointed out long ago. Now this “bloc” has fallen completely apart. The Congress of the Lettish Social-Democrats, which was held in February 1914, decided to withdraw its representatives from the bloc because the latter had not dissociated itself from the liquidators. Trotsky, too, in February 1914, founded his own group’s journal, in which he backed his outcries for unity by breaking away from the August bloc!
The “Organising Committee”, which now represents the “August bloc”, is a pure fiction, and it is obviously impossible to enter into any relations with that fiction. Since the liquidators talk about “unity” and “equality”, it should be said that it is the prime duty of advocates of unity to refrain from throwing into disarray the ranks of the united overwhelming majority of the workers, and emphatically to repudiate the liquidators, who are out to destroy the entire Marxist body. Talk about “unity” coming from the liquidators is no less a mockery of the actual unity of the majority of the workers in Russia than similar talk about unity by the “Allemane-Cambier party” in France, or by the “P.P.S.” in Germany.
The authors then go on urgently to request the Executive Committee of the International Socialist Bureau to bend every effort to hasten the “interchange of opinion among all the Social-Democratic groups on controversial issues” (resolution of the December 1913 session of the International Bureau), in order to expose to an impartial body, to the Inter national, the utterly fictitious nature of the “August bloc” and of the liquidators’ “Organising Committee”, and also to expose all their disruptive activities against the united majority of the Social-Democratic workers of Russia.
- This article is an abridged version of the reply of the Party’s Central Committee, which agreed to attend the Conference called by the International Socialist Bureau. This reply is the “official report” of the CC to the Executive of the I. S. B., of the dispatch of which Lenin informed C. Huysmans, the Secretary of the I. S. B., in his letter dated January 18–19 (January 31–February 1), 1914. (See pp. 74–81 of this volume.)
- The reference is to the Sixth (Prague) All-Russia Conference of the RSDLP held in January 1912. (See Note 90.)