V. I. Lenin

Party Unity Abroad

Published: Sotsial-Demokrat No. 13, April 26 (May 9), 1910. Published according to the text in Sotsial-Demokrat.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1974], Moscow, Volume 16, pages 185-188.
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
Copyleft: V. I. Lenin Internet Archive (www.marxists.org) © 2004 Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.
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A base of operations abroad is necessary and inevitable for a party which is working in conditions like ours. Every one who reflects on the position of the Party will admit this is so. However pessimistic the comrades in Russia feel about “abroad” it will be far from disserviceable to them to know what is going on here, particularly after the recent plenary session.

Has unity been achieved abroad? No. And for a very simple reason: one of the sides—the Golosists—shows absolutely no desire to respond to the unanimous appeal of the Central Committee to put an end to the split abroad. The factional Golos, contrary to the unanimous decision of the Central Committee, did not close down, although at the plenum one of Its editors, Comrade Martov, officially declared (see the minutes of the plenum) that he would try to get it stopped temporarily at any rate.[1] Before the Central Committee Bureau Abroad had time to take any steps towards unity the four editors of Golos (two of them members of the editorial board of the Central Organ!!) issued a manifesto with a thinly veiled injunction not to aim at unity. The foreign C.B.G.A. (“Central Bureau of Groups Abroad”, which was elected in Basle one-and-a-half years ago at a factional Congress of Mensheviks) did the same.   This C.B.G.A. now does not even represent all the Mensheviks but only their Golosist section. But with the support of Golos it is strong enough to disrupt unity. All the Central Committee Bureau Abroad can do now is to appeal to the groups themselves, the pro-Party elements and above all the workers. But—for reasons which are discussed be low—this is not being done, or is being done very unsatisfactorily. As before, the Central Committee abroad can count so far only on the support of the Bolshevik groups. Lately, however, they are being reinforced by the pro-Party Mensheviks, the enemies of liquidationism (for the most part they are on the side of Comrade Plekhanov’s Dnevnik).

The ideological differentiation of the Mensheviks abroad has, of course, considerable significance as a symptom, as a reflection of what is taking place—perhaps less obviously—in Russia as well. The pro-Party Mensheviks have already passed a number of resolutions in this connection. Here are a few excerpts from them. The anti-Golosist Mensheviks in Paris (there are about 20 of them) write: “...in No. 19–20 of this organ (Golos) a new course is undoubtedly indicated, incidentally, in Comrade Dan’s article ‘The Fight for Legality’, which seeks to replace Social-Democratic slogans by a specific slogan, ambiguous to say the least, which is the very twin of the slogan of the ‘Economic’ period: the fight for rights”, ... “liquidationism, which the editorial board of Golos has repudiated until now, has found frank expression in the last issue of this newspaper”. The pro-Party Mensheviks in Geneva (14 persons) find that “the cessation of the factional Golos Sotsial-Demokrata is an essential condition for strengthening Party unity”.

The group of pro-Party Mensheviks in Nice is of the opinion (unanimously) that “in No. 19–20 of this organ (Golos), liquidationism has already been frankly expressed in a number of articles. The group finds that such a policy on the part of Golos Sotsial-Demokrata is harmful and refuses to give it any support whatsoever. The group is indignant at the behaviour of Mikhail, Roman and Yuri, who have proved unworthy of the confidence of the last Party Congress and have carried liquidationist tendencies to their ghastly conclusion as regards practical manifestations”. The group of pro-Party Mensheviks in San Remo “unanimously refuse   any support whatsoever for the said publication (Golos) because they do not subscribe to its liquidationist tendencies. The group cannot restrain their indignation evoked by the conduct of Mikhail, Roman and Yuri”. The pro-Party Mensheviks in Liége write in their resolution: “The letter from Stiva Novich and F. Dan’s article ‘The Fight for Legality’ (in Golos No. 19–20) make quite definite the anti-Party trend of this organ.... Golos Sotsial-Demokrata is a centre around which the liquidationist tendencies are grouping.” The same point of view is taken by a considerable section of the Menshevik group in Zurich and the majority of the group in Berne. There are supporters of the pro-Party Mensheviks in other cities too.

Only by uniting these Menshevik pro-Party elements with the Bolsheviks and the non-factional Party members who are opposed to liquidationism could the Central Committee Bureau Abroad achieve results and help the work in Russia. And this is exactly what the Bolsheviks abroad are exhorting all comrades to do (see the resolution of the second Paris group).{2} A struggle against the Golosists who are disrupting unity and against the otzovist-ultimatumists who walked out of the editorial board of Diskussionny Listok and the general Party committee of the school and who are also undermining Party unity is inevitable if all the real pro-Party elements are to be brought solidly together. So far this has been left to the private initiative of the pro-Party elements, for the C.C. Bureau Abroad has so far proved incapable of adopting the proper position. According to the new Rules, three of the five members of the Bureau Abroad are appointed by “nationals”; thus it is not the Central Committee of the Party that determines the personnel of the majority of the C.C. Bureau Abroad, and this produces some unexpected and surprising results. For instance, at a recent session of the C.C. Bureau Abroad a majority was formed against the line of the Central Committee. A new majority consisting of one Golosist and two alleged, “non-factional” nationals refused to endorse the “modus” of uniting the groups (in the spirit of the decisions of the plenum, i.e., with the demand that all funds be turned over to the Central Committee and not to the factional organs) which was worked out directly after the plenum of the Central Committee. It turned down   the proposal (of a Bolshevik and a Polish Social-Democrat) in a letter to each of the groups that the slogan should be put forward: all funds to be given to the general Party bodies and not to the factional newspapers (i.e., Golos Sotsial-Demokrata). This decision evoked a sharp protest from two members of the C.C. Bureau Abroad (a Bolshevik and a Polish Social-Democrat), who have sent their protest to the Central Committee.


[1] Here is the text of the statement:

“Comrade Martov declares that although he cannot speak officially for the editorial board of Golos Sotsial-Demokrata, he can say for himself personally that there will be no obstacles in the editorial board of “Golos Sotsial-Demokratato stoppingGolos” temporarily after the next issue (for a couple of months or even longer) as an experiment pending the results of the work of the new editorial board of the Central Organ.” —Lenin

{2} The Second Paris Group for Assistance to the R.S.D.L.P. was formed in November 1908. It was an offshoot of the general Paris group that included the Mensheviks and was a union of the Bolsheviks alone, including members of the Bolshevik Centre, headed by Lenin. The resolution of the Second Paris (Bolshevik) Group for Assistance to the R.S.D.L.P. was adopted at a meeting on March 17 (30), 1910, and was printed as a separate leaflet.

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