Written: Written early in March 1912
Published: Published on March 18, 1912, in Circular No. 4 of the International Socialist Bureau. Translated from the German. Published according to the Circular text.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, , Moscow, Volume 17, pages 503-505.
Translated: Dora Cox
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
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The last few years have been years of indecision and disorganisation for the R.S.D.L.P. For three years the Party could not convene either a conference or a congress, and during the last two years the Central Committee has been unable to develop any activity. True enough, the Party has continued to exist, but only in the form of isolated groups in all the larger cities and, in view of the absence of a Central Committee, each of these groups has led a life of its own, somewhat isolated from the others.
Not so long ago, under the influence of the new awakening of the Russian proletariat, the Party again began to gain in strength, and quite recently we were able, at last, to convene a conference (something that had been impossible ever since 1908), at which the organisations of St. Petersburg and Moscow, of the North-West and the South, the Caucasus and the central industrial region were represented. In all, twenty organisations established close ties with the Organising Commission convening this conference; that is to say, practically all the organisations, both Menshevik and Bolshevik, active in Russia at the present time.
During its twenty-three sessions the Conference, which assumed the rights and duties of the supreme authority of the Party, discussed all the questions on the agenda, among which were a number that were extremely important. The Conference made a comprehensive evaluation of the present political situation and of Party policy, this evaluation fully corresponding to the resolutions of the Conference held in 1908 and to the decisions of the Plenary Meeting of the Central Committee in 1910. The Conference devoted special attention to the Duma elections which are to he held in a few months’ time, and adopted a resolution in three sections which gives a very explicit and detailed explanation of the intricate and involved election law, analyses the question of election agreements with other parties, and thoroughly elucidates the position and tactics of the Party in the forth coming election campaign. The Conference also discussed and adopted resolutions on the questions of combating the famine, of workers’ insurance, of trade unions, of strikes, etc.
Further, the Conference considered the question of the “liquidators”. This trend denies the existence of the illegal Party, declares that the Party is already liquidated and that the attempts to revive the illegal Party are a reactionary utopia, and maintains that the Party can be revived only as a legally existing organisation. Nevertheless, this trend, which has broken with the illegal Party, has so far been unable to found a legally existing party. The Conference placed on record that for four years the Party had been waging a fight against this trend, that the Conference held in 1908 and the Plenary Meeting of the Central Committee in 1910 had both declared against the liquidators, and that in spite of all the attempts made by the Party, this trend continued to maintain its factional independence and to carry on a struggle against the Party in the columns of publications appearing legally. The Conference, therefore, declared that the liquidators, grouped around the magazines Nasha Zarya and Dyelo Zhizni (to which Zhivoye Dyelo should now be added), had placed themselves outside the ranks of the R.S.D.L.P.
Finally, the Conference elected a Central Committee and an editorial board for Sotsial-Demokrat, the Party’s Central Organ. In addition, the Conference specially noted the fact that many groups abroad more or less adhering to socialism are, in any case, entirely divorced from the Russian proletariat and its socialist activity; consequently, these groups are absolutely irresponsible, and under no circumstances can they represent the R.S.D.L.P. or speak in its name; that the Party does not hold itself in any way responsible or answerable for these groups, and that all relations with the R.S.D.L.P. must be carried on solely through the Central Committee, whose address abroad is: Vladimir Ulyanov, 4, Rue Marie Rose, Paris XIV (for the Central Committee).
 The International Socialist Bureau (I.S.B.)—the permanent Executive-Information Bureau of the Second International. The decision to set up this Bureau representing the various socialist parties existing at the time was taken at the Paris Congress of the International (September 1900). The Russian representatives elected to the Bureau were G. V. Plekhanov and B. N. Krichevsky; V. I. Lenin became a member of the Bureau in 1905, as the representative of the R.S.D.L.P. In 1912 the Sixth (Prague) All-Russia Party Conference re-elected Lenin as the Party representative to the Bureau.
Lenin’s official report to the Bureau regarding the Conference that took place was distributed in Circular No. 4 of the I.S.B. to all the socialist parties on March 18, 1912 by its Secretary, C. Huysmans, with a request that it be published in their respective organs. It appeared in the central organ of the Belgian Labour Party Le Peuple of March 23, 1912, and in the central organ of the German Social-Democratic Party Vorwärts, No. 72 of March 26, 1912 (Supplement No. 1). Vorwärts accompanied this notification with a scurrilous commentary by Trotsky