To the Executive Committee of the German Social-Democratic Labour Party

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Author(s) Lenin
Written 23 March 1909


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Published according to the manuscript.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1973, Moscow, Volume 15, pages 380-382.
Keywords : RSDLP, SPD, Vorwärts

The manuscript has no heading. This heading has been supplied the Institute of Marxism-Leninism of the Central Committee CPSU

The article headed “The Question of Organisation in the Russian Social-Democratic Party” printed in No. 79 of Vorwärts (I. Beilage, d. 3. IV. 1909) obliges us to address a strong protest to the Executive Committee of the German Social-Democratic Labour Party. On behalf of the Central Committee of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party, which has charged us to look after its affairs abroad, we ask the Executive Committee of the German S.D.P. to give careful attention to the extremely abnormal situation which has been created. The Central Organ of German Social-Democracy persistently ignores our formal statement that a special representative body of the CC exists abroad, and does not print the report about this institution and its address, which were sent to the paper a long time ago. At the same time Vorwärts prints a report “From a Comrade” and sets forth in this report an official Party event, namely the Conference of the RSDLP, without giving the official text of the (two) resolutions of the conference on the question of organisation. By not giving the official Party resolutions the letter published in Vorwärts gives an entirely distorted version of the disputes and differences among the Russian Social-Democrats; what is more, the letter contains a covert factional polemic against the decisions of the conference. Such a form of polemics is liable more than ever to poison the already abnormal relations between the groups within the RSDLP Such a form of polemics arouses particular irritation and resentment, while at the same time making it more difficult to explain to the German comrades the real state of affairs and differences within our Party.

Therefore the Bureau Abroad of the CC of the RSDLP requests the Executive Committee of the German Social-Democratic Party to consider the question of reporting Russian differences in Vorwärts, and of the publication in Vorwärts of articles on Russian affairs, as well as official communications from the CC of the RSDLP and official texts of Party resolutions adopted by the RSDLP

The Bureau Abroad of the CC, RSDLP asks the Executive Committee to adopt a decision as to whether Party life of the Russian Social-Democrats can be reported in Vorwärts without giving official information from their CC and the official texts of Party resolutions.

As regards the substance of the matter, the Bureau Abroad of the CC thinks it essential to point out—among the bound less number of distortions of the truth in this article—at least the following three main untruths; to enumerate all the misstatements would necessitate the writing of a pamphlet.

(1) The first resolution on the question of organisation adopted by the conference records the fact that in the RSDLP there are two currents of opinion on the basic questions of organisation. In this resolution the Party condemns the current which is characterised as “liquidationist”, i. e., in effect aiming at the destruction of the present RSDLP Not only all the Bolsheviks and all the members of the Polish Social-Democratic Party voted for this resolution, but also two delegates from the Bund, out of the three Bundist delegates present.

(2) In the resolution on the assessment of the present situation, proposed by the Bolsheviks and adopted by the Party, it is pointed out at the very beginning that the old feudal autocracy is decaying, making a further step on the road of transformation into a bourgeois monarchy. The Mensheviks did not offer any draft of their own but voted against this resolution, moving the solitary amendment that the word “bourgeois” should be changed to “plutocratic”.

(3) The representatives of the Social-Democrats of the Ukraine did not support and could not support the Mensheviks, because there were no representatives of the Ukraine at the conference. As for the Polish Socialist Party being in agreement with the Mensheviks, this Party did not participate and could not participate in the conference, since this Party is not a member of the RSDLP The proposal of the Mensheviks that the RSDLP should amalgamate with this party was rejected by the conference in the form of a motion carried to call next business.