Special pages :
The Convening of the Third Party Congress
|Written||15 February 1905|
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1962, Moscow, Volume 8, pages 177-180.
The Editorial Board of Vperyod can only state that it is completely in sympathy with the initiative of the Russian Bureau. At last an energetic step has been made towards a way out of the situation created by the Bonapartists abroad, and a way out along Party lines! In our Party News column we publish reports showing the alacrity with which the committees are responding to the call issued by the Bureau. May their example be followed by each and every group and organisation, as well as by individuals who consider themselves members of the RSDLP or who at least stand close to it in their views and sympathies. The Third Congress is the first to be convened under conditions whereby its composition (as set forth in the Party Rules), its proceedings, and the basis of participation are known beforehand. Let all comrades then make the most of these conditions! Let them not forget that our Party Rules guarantee to everybody an opportunity to appeal to the Congress. (See Clause 10: “Every Party member, as well as any person having any dealings with the Party, has the right to demand that any statement he may submit to the Central Committee, to the Editorial Board of the Central Organ, or to a Party Congress be delivered in the original.”) Let everyone take advantage of this opportunity immediately. The Editorial Board of Vperyod undertakes to deliver such statements to the Russian Bureau, which has now been constituted as the Organising Committee of the Congress. The right to vote at the Congress is restricted to representatives of committees and of other qualified Party organisations as defined by the Rules. But the Congress itself may extend to everyone the right of participation with consultative voice, while the Organising Committee may grant this right to delegates from Party organisations not possessing full-rights status. (Clause 3, Note 2, of the Party Rules: “The Central Committee is authorised to invite to a congress, with consultative voice, delegates from organisations which do not fulfil the conditions stipulated in Note 1,” viz., organisations whose qualification has not been confirmed a year prior to the Congress.
It goes without saying that when the Organising Committee is instructed by the majority of the committees to convene a congress against the will of the Bonapartist Central Committee and Council, it takes over all the rights of the CC with regard to such convocation.)
The Editorial Board of Vperyod proposes to the Congress the following tentative agenda: (1) Constitution of the Congress (standing orders, report of the Organising Committee, examination of credentials). (2) Delegates’ reports. (3) The Party crisis. (4) Organisational question. (5) Attitude towards insurrection. (6) Agreement with the revolutionary democrats for purposes of the insurrection. (7) Attitude towards the liberals. (8) Work among the peasantry and sup port of the revolutionary peasant movement. (9) Work among the troops. (10) Improvement of propaganda and agitation. (11) Election of officers.
The active participation of all Party members in drafting and preparing reports and resolutions on these and other major questions (as well as in the collection of material for reports) is absolutely essential for the success of the Congress. We call upon all adherents of the Party principle to start on this work at once. Everyone who has been involved in one way or other in the trials and tribulations of the Party crisis can help the Congress by a brief statement of his experiences and his view of the way out. Everyone who has worked in any Party or Party-connected organisation can give invaluable information,based on personal experience, for solving various aspects of the organisational question. (The contributions might cover such points as time and place of the activity; membership of the particular organisation— number of workers and number of intellectuals; the relations between them; whether written rules are needed, and which; whether there should be any fixed rules—and if so, to what extent—governing the limits of autonomy and of the division of labour of the groups belonging to the Party or connected with it, co-optation and expulsion of members; the elective principle; the attitude of the committees to the groups of propagandists, agitators, and organisers, to the district circles and factory circles, to the publicists’ committees, technical committees, etc., etc.)
The Vperyod Editorial Board has already received some material on work among the peasants and the soldiers. We know of one group which is working systematically on a summary of the experience acquired by its members in the field of propaganda, agitation, and organisation, and is preparing a report for the Congress. We have been promised the report of a comrade who helped to organise hundreds of workers for armed resistance in the event of an anti-jewish pogrom in a certain large city, and a report on the question of street fighting from another comrade who has made a study of military science. It is of the highest importance that the greatest possible number of comrades undertake such and similar work at once.
The Party crisis has been clarified in our literature down to the minutest detail. The discussion of this question cannot and should not take up much time. The keynote of the Congress should be the new questions of organisation and tactics, which are being brought to the fore by the new gigantic upswing in our revolutionary movement. In the solution of these questions the collective experience of all Social-Democrats who have been in any way active in the movement will be of inestimable value. But we must gather this experience as soon as possible and make it available for discussion at the Congress.
To work, then, comrades! Let everyone who has the interests of the Social-Democratic working-class movement at heart bestir himself at once to give the Congress his active aid. Then the Party will quickly emerge from this period of temporary abasement and enfeeblement on to the path of most active participation in the great Russian revolution, the path leading to victory over the accursed enemy of the Russian people!
- ↑ Bonapartists abroad—applied by Lenin to the Mensheviks who, in defiance of the Party, had seized control of the Party’s Central Organ, Iskra, of the Central Committee, and of the Council of the Party.
- ↑ Bebel wrote to Lenin offering his services as arbitrator between the supporters of Iskra and the supporters of Vperyod. Lenin replied that neither he nor any other Vperyod supporters within his knowledge had the right to take any action binding upon the whole Party, and that Bebel’s proposal would, therefore, have to he submitted to the Party Congress that was being called by the Russian Bureau. We think the Congress could include this proposal in the item “Party crisis”.—Lenin