V. I. Lenin

One of the Obstacles to Party Unity

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 189-190.
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
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While the pro-Party Mensheviks in quite a number of groups abroad are rallying together and coming out more and more strongly against the patently liquidationist trend of Golos Sotsial-Demokrata, the Vienna Pravda is still acting evasively. In No. 42 we find an article entitled “To Unity—Despite All Obstacles”. In this article one cannot but approve the first, even if very timid and very incomplete, attempt to carry out the resolution of the C.C. about explaining the danger of liquidationism. On the other hand, the who]e of the first part of the article is an illustration how much further from defending partyism certain alleged non-factional Social-Democrats are than the pro-Party Mensheviks.

Here Pravda tells a downright untruth, asserting that the editorial board of the Central Organ in the article entitled “Golos (Voice) of the Liquidators Against the Party”{1} declared the “whole agreement” to have been “disrupted”. Anyone who has read No. 12 of the Central Organ will see that we did not say anything of the sort. The agreement with the Mensheviks was on condition that they recognised partyism and sincerely, consistently renounced liquidationism. Golos Sotsial-Demokrata and a group of its followers in Russia disrupted this agreement: some, like Mikhail, Roman, Yuri, etc. in Russia? by declaring openly that the agreement itself was harmful (“the resolutions of the Central Committee are harmful”; the very existence of the Central Committee is harmful; there is no need to liquidate the Party, it has been liquidated already), others, like Golos, by defending the utterances of the former. The pro-Party Mensheviks, headed by Plekhanov, rebelled against the Golosists for their violation of the agreement. If Pravda   nevertheless wants as before, while speaking of the Mensheviks “in general”, to have in mind only the Golosists to the exclusion of the Plekhanovites and the pro-Party Mensheviks, we shall always expose such a mode of action everywhere.

Pravda declares that it “cannot and does not want to enter into a discussion” of the conflicts after the plenum, firstly, because “it is not in possession of the factual data required for a correct judgement”.

To this we reply: if Pravda abroad has not yet found sufficient “data” in the conduct of the Golosist liquidators it never will. In order to see the truth one must not fear to face the truth.

“...Secondly—and this is the most important—because organisational conflicts require organisational and not literary intervention.”

This principle is correct. But the pro-Party Mensheviks “intervened”, as any Party member should, in the appraisal of an ideological and not an organisational conflict. Pravda does the opposite. It invokes a principle but does not follow it in practice. Actually, Pravda devoted the first paragraph of its article to “interfering” in an organisational conflict. And that is not all. In its version of the organisational conflict Pravda brings grist to the mill of the liquidators by calling our article “harsh in the extreme” but without qualifying the anti-Party behaviour of the Golosists; it tells an untruth by describing as a factional conflict the struggle between the Party’s Central Organ and the anti-Party section of the Mensheviks (namely, the Golosists); it tells a half-truth by passing over in silence the splitting manifesto of the four editors of Golos Sotsial-Demokrata, and so forth.

A workers’ newspaper should either have kept off the subject of the “organisational” conflict or have given a full account of it, telling the whole truth.

One of the serious obstacles to Party unity lies in the attempts to screen the anti-partyism of Golos. Keeping silent about its liquidationism or adopting a frivolous attitude to it only aggravates the danger of liquidationism.


{1} See pp. 156–64 of this volume.—Ed.

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