Outline of a Report to Local Organisations on the Poronin Joint Conference of the RSDLP CC and Party Functionaries
|Written||29 November 1913|
Published: First published in 1923 in the book Iz epokhi “Zvezdy” i “Pravdy” (1911–1914) (From the Zvezda and Pravda Period). Part III. Printed from a copy written in N. K. Krupskaya’s hand.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 41, pages 297.2-298.
For reasons of secrecy this was called a summer conference but actually it was held from September 23 to October 1 (October 6 to 14), 1913, in the village of Poronin, near Cracow, where Lenin then lived. On its agenda were the following questions: 1) reports from the localities, report on the work of the Social-Democracy of Poland and Lithuania, report on the work of the CC elected at the Prague Conference; 2) the tasks of agitation at the present moment; 3) organisational question and the Party congress; 4) strike movement; 5) Party press; 6) Social-Democratic work in the Duma; 7) Social-Democratic Duma group; 8) work in legal societies; 9) national question; 10) Narodniks; 11) the forthcoming International Socialist Congress (in Vienna). Lenin directed the Conference. He delivered the opening speech, gave the report on the work of the Central Committee, the report on the national question, and on the forthcoming International Socialist Congress in Vienna. He also spoke on almost all the questions of the agenda, kept a record of speeches by delegates from local Party organisations, motioned proposals, drafted and edited resolutions. The text of the report on the work of the CC has not been discovered. A brief summary of some points from the report is given in A. Y. Badayev’s reminiscences.
Two resolutions, written by Lenin, were adopted on the CC report and the reports from the localities: “The Tasks of Agitation in the Present Situation” and “On the Organisational Question and on the Party Congress”, which determined the Party’s tasks and the main forms of Party work in the new historical conditions. One of the main questions at the Conference was the national question, which at the time was among the most prominent in Russia’s social life. In his report on the national question, Lenin emphasised that the struggle against national oppression was indissolubly bound up with the struggle against tsarism, for freedom and democracy. The Conference, on the strength of the Party Programme, resolutely rejected the opportunist demand of the Mensheviks and the Bundists for “cultural-national autonomy” and adopted the propositions on the national question worked out by Lenin. He regarded the resolution on the national question as a declaration of the Party Programme on this issue. The Conference decided to include the question of a national programme on the agenda of the next Party congress.
In its resolution on the Social-Democratic Duma group, the Conference demanded equality for the Bolshevik and the Menshevik sections and resolutely condemned the actions of the Menshevik section, which made use of its chance majority of one vote and was violating the elementary rights of the Bolshevik deputies, who represented the vast majority of Russia’s workers. On instructions from Lenin and the CC of the Bolshevik Party, the Bolshevik deputies left the joint Social-Democratic group in the Duma in October 1913 and act up their own Bolshevik group (the Russian Social-Democratic Labour group).
In his report on the International Socialist Congress, which was to be held in Vienna in 1914, Lenin proposed that as many delegates as possible should be sent from the illegal and legal organisations, for it was intended to hold a Party congress simultaneously with the International Socialist Congress.
Lenin delivered the summing-up speech. In view of the importance of the questions discussed and the decisions adopted, the Poronin Conference had the significance of a Party conference. The minutes of the Conference have not been found. The announcement of the Conference and the resolutions it adopted were published in a separate pamphlet abroad as a Central Committee publication (Izveshcheniye i rezolutsii letnego 1913 goda soveshchaniya Tsentralnogo Komiteta R.S.D.R.P. partiinymi rabotnikami. (Announcement and Resolutions of the Conference held by the Central Committee of the RSDLP and Party functionaries in the Summer of 1913). For reasons of secrecy, some of the resolutions were published in part: point 6 of the resolution on the strike movement and points 1–5 on the Party press were omitted. The full text of the resolutions was printed in an illegal hectographed publication. There are police department records of the Conference, of which the details were supplied by the provocateurs Malinovsky and Lobov. About the Conference see present edition, Vol. 19, pp. 417–31.
Lenin sent an outline of the report to be made in the localities to St. Petersburg on November 29 (December 12), 1913. The outline was drawn up for the Bolshevik deputies of the Fourth Duma, as a guide for their reports about the Conference to be made to local Party workers during the Christmas recess. p. 297
Outline of a Report to Local Organisations[edit source]
General theme—events of the strike movement and Party life since the summer of 1913. Conference resolutions. In particular, the following points are brought out:
1. A general strike on January 9, 1914. Conference decision. Necessity of the strike. Its slogans (democratic republic, 8–hour working day, confiscation of landed estates). Intensified preparations for the strike.
2. Insurance campaign. More extensive circulation of the magazine Voprosy Strakhovaniya.—Formation of Party cells inside all societies and all boards. Getting our own, Party, majority on the boards (also in trade unions, clubs, etc., etc.).
3. The Six and the Seven. The main reasons for the split: (a) liquidationism=destruction of the Party. Struggle over that. The Seven incline to liquidationism; (b) the Seven do not recognise Party decisions; (c) the majority of the Party has been proved to back the Six. Main figures from Pravda. Issues with material on the question of the split should he on hand. (Resolutions for the Six should be p r e s s e d forward.)
4. Party congress. Necessity of it. Participation in it of all illegal Party cells. Its preparation: m o n e y is the main thing. Collection of fund for congress (mainly through the deputies). The task for each group or union of groups is by the spring to collect double the amount of expenses (expenses per delegate—150 rubles. Each group or union of adjacent groups must collect 300 rubles).
5. The need to develop ties—to strengthen them (teaching correspondence with the St. Petersburg Bureau and the Bureau Abroad). The correspondence is weak: that is why transport is poor. There must be agents everywhere.
6. A review of the main points from the resolutions of the conference. For instance, on the national question: (a) struggle against every brand of nationalism, even the refined one (cultural-national autonomy); (b) unity of workers of all nationalities; (c) struggle against Great-Russian Black-Hundred nationalism. (Idem briefly about the other resolutions.)
7. Legal and illegal press. Increase collections. The legal press will inevitably go down: concentrate efforts on creating an illegal one (see “Announcement”, pp. 9–10 especially).
- Voprosy Strakhovaniya (Problems of Insurance)—a legal Bolshevik journal published in St. Petersburg from October 1913 to March 1918 with interruptions. It waged a struggle not only for workers’ insurance but also for Bolshevik “uncurtailed slogans”—an eight-hour working day, confiscation of landed estates and a democratic republic. Among those who took part in the journal were prominent leaders of the insurance campaign, the Bolsheviks N. A. Skrypnik, P. I. Stučka, A. N. Vinokurov and N. M. Shvernik. p. 298