Library:History of the communist party of the Soviet Union

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Introduction

The Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolsheviks) has traversed a long and glorious road, leading from the first tiny Marxist circles and groups that appeared in Russia in the eighties of the past century to the great Party of the Bolsheviks, which now directs the first Socialist State of Workers and Peasants in the world.

The C.P.S.U.(B.) grew up on the basis of the working-class movement in pre-revolutionary Russia; it sprang from the Marxist circles and groups which had established connection with the working-class movement and imparted to it a Socialist consciousness. The C.P.S.U.(B.) has always been guided by the revolutionary teachings of Marxism- Leninism. In the new conditions of the era of imperialism, imperialist wars and proletarian revolutions, its leaders further developed the teachings of Marx and Engels and raised them to a new level.

The C.P.S.U.(B.) grew and gained strength in a fight over fundamental principles waged against the petty-bourgeois parties within the working-class movement—the Socialist-Revolutionaries (and earlier still, against their predecessors, the Narodniks), the Mensheviks, Anarchists and bourgeois nationalists of all shades—and, within the Party itself, against the Menshevik, opportunist trends—the Trotskyites, Bukharinites, nationalist deviators and other anti-Leninist groups.

The C.P.S.U.(B.) gained strength and became tempered in the revolutionary struggle against all enemies of the working class and of all working people—against landlords, capitalists, kulaks, wreckers, spies, against all the hirelings of the surrounding capitalist states.

The history of the C.P.S.U.(B.) is the history of three revolutions: the bourgeois-democratic revolution of 1905, the bourgeois-democratic revolution of February 1917, and the Socialist revolution of October 1917.

The history of the C.P.S.U.(B.) is the history of the overthrow of tsardom, of the overthrow of the power of the landlords and capitalists; it is the history of the rout of the armed foreign intervention during the Civil War; it is the history of the building of the Soviet state and of Socialist society in our country.

The study of the history of the C.P.S.U.(B.) enriches us with the experience of the fight for Socialism waged by the workers and peasants of our country.

The study of the history of the C.P.S.U.(B.), the history of the struggle of our Party against all enemies of Marxism-Leninism, against all enemies of the working people, helps us to master Bolshevism and sharpens our political vigilance.

The study of the heroic history of the Bolshevik Party arms us with a knowledge of the laws of social development and of the political struggle, with a knowledge of the motive forces of revolution.

The study of the history of the C.P.S.U.(B.) strengthens our certainty of the ultimate victory of the great cause of the Party of Lenin-Stalin, the victory of Communism throughout the world.

This book sets forth briefly the history of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolsheviks).

The struggle for the creation of a social-democratic labour party in Russia (1883—1901)

Abolition of serfdom and the development of industrial capitalism in Russia. Rise of the modern industrial proletariat. First steps of the working-class movement

Tsarist Russia entered the path of capitalist development later than other countries. Prior to the sixties of the past century there were very few mills and factories in Russia. Manorial estates based on serfdom constituted the prevailing form of economy. There could be no real development of industry under serfdom. The involuntary labour of the serfs in agriculture was of low productivity. The whole course of economic development made the abolition of serfdom imperative. In 1861, the tsarist government, weakened by defeat in the Crimean War, and frightened by the peasant revolts against the landlords, was compelled to abolish serfdom.

But even after serfdom had been abolished the landlords continued to oppress the peasants. In the process of "emancipation" they robbed the peasants by inclosing, cutting off, considerable portions of the land previously used by the peasants. These cut-off portions of land were called by the peasants otrezki (cuts). The peasants were compelled to pay about 2,000,000,000 rubles to the landlords as the redemption price for their "emancipation."

After serfdom had been abolished the peasants were obliged to rent land from the landlords on most onerous terms. In addition to paying money rent, the peasants were often compelled by the landlord to cultivate without remuneration a definite portion of his land with their own implements and horses. This was called otrabotki or barshchina (labour rent, corvee). In most cases the peasants were obliged to pay the landlords rent in kind in the amount of one-half of their harvests. This was known as ispolu (half and half system).

Thus the situation remained almost the same as it had been under serfdom, the only difference being that the peasant was now personally free, could not be bought and sold like a chattel.

The landlords bled the backward peasant farms white by various methods of extortion (rent, fines). Owing to the oppression of the landlords the bulk of the peasantry were unable to improve their farms. Hence the extreme backwardness of agriculture in pre-revolutionary Russia, which led to frequent crop failures and famines.

The survivals of serfdom, crushing taxation and the redemption payments to the landlords, which not infrequently exceeded the income of the peasant household, ruined the peasants, reduced them to pauperism and forced them to quit their villages in search of a livelihood. They went to work in the mills and factories. This was a source of cheap labour power for the manufacturers.

Over the workers and peasants stood a veritable army of sheriffs, deputy sheriffs, gendarmes, constables, rural police, who protected the tsar, the capitalists and the landlords from the toiling and exploited people. Corporal punishment existed right up to 1903. Although serfdom had been abolished the peasants were flogged for the slightest offence and for the non-payment of taxes. Workers were manhandled by the police and the Cossacks, especially during strikes, when the workers downed tools because their lives had been made intolerable by the manufacturers. Under the tsars the workers and peasants had no political rights whatever. The tsarist autocracy was the worst enemy of the people.

Tsarist Russia was a prison of nations. The numerous non-Russian nationalities were entirely devoid of rights and were subjected to constant insult and humiliation of every kind. The tsarist government taught the Russian population to look down upon the native peoples of the national regions as an inferior race, officially referred to them as inorodtsi (aliens), and fostered contempt and hatred of them. The tsarist government deliberately fanned national discord, instigated one nation against another, engineered Jewish pogroms and, in Transcaucasia, incited Tatars and Armenians to massacre each other.

Nearly all, if not all, government posts in the national regions were held by Russian officials. All business in government institutions and in the courts was conducted in the Russian language. It was forbidden to publish newspapers and books in the languages of the non-Russian nationalities or to teach in the schools in the native tongue. The tsarist government strove to extinguish every spark of national culture and pursued a policy of forcible "Russification." Tsardom was a hangman and torturer of the non-Russian peoples.

After the abolition of serfdom, the development of industrial capitalism in Russia proceeded at a fairly rapid pace in spite of the fact that it was still hampered by survivals of serfdom. During the twenty-five years, 1865-90, the number of workers employed in large mills and factories and on the railways increased from 706,000 to 1,433,000, or more than doubled.

Large-scale capitalist industry in Russia began to develop even more rapidly in the nineties. By the end of that decade the number of workers employed in the large mills and factories, in the mining industry and on the railways amounted in the fifty European provinces of Russia alone to 2,207,000, and in the whole of Russia to 2,792,000 persons.

This was a modern industrial proletariat, radically different from the workers employed in the factories of the period of serfdom and from the workers in small, handicraft and other kinds of industry, both because of the spirit of solidarity prevailing among the workers in big capitalist enterprises and because of their militant revolutionary qualities.

The industrial boom of the nineties was chiefly due to intensive railroad construction. During the course of the decade (1890-1900) over 21,000 versts of new railway line were laid. The railways created a big demand for metal (for rails, locomotives and cars), and also for increasing quantities of fuel—coal and oil. This led to the development of the metal and fuel industries.

In pre-revolutionary Russia, as in all capitalist countries, periods of industrial boom alternated with industrial crises, stagnation, which severely affected the working class and condemned hundreds of thousands of workers to unemployment and poverty.

Although the development of capitalism in Russia proceeded fairly rapidly after the abolition of serfdom, nevertheless, in economic development Russia lagged considerably behind other capitalist countries. The vast majority of the population was still engaged in agriculture. In his celebrated work, The Development of Capitalism in Russia Lenin cited significant figures from the general census of the population of i897 which showed that about five-sixths of the total population were engaged in agriculture, and only one-sixth in large and small industry, trade, on the railways and waterways, in building work, lumbering, and so on.

This shows that although capitalism was developing in Russia, she was still an agrarian, economically backward country, a petty-bourgeois country, that is, a country in which low-productive individual peasant farming based on small ownership still predominated.

Capitalism was developing not only in the towns but also in the countryside. The peasantry, the most numerous class in pre-revolu-tionary Russia, was undergoing a process of disintegration, of cleavage. From among the more well-to-do peasants there was emerging an upper layer of kulaks, the rural bourgeoisie, while on the other hand many peasants were being ruined, and the number of poor peasants, rural proletarians and semi-proletarians, was on the increase. As to the middle peasants, their number decreased from year to year.

In 1903 there were about ten million peasant households in Russia. In his pamphlet entitled To the Village Poor, Lenin calculated that of this total not less than three and a half million households consisted of peasants possessing no horses.These were the poorest peasants who usually sowed only a small part of their land, leased the rest to the kulaks, and themselves left to seek other sources of livelihood. The position of these peasants came nearest to that of the proletariat. Lenin called them rural proletarians or semi-proletarians.

On the other hand, one and a half million rich, kulak households (out of a total of ten million peasant households) concentrated in their hands half the total sown area of the peasants. This peasant bourgeoisie was growing rich by grinding down the poor and middle peasantry and profiting from the toil of agricultural labourers, and was developing into rural capitalists.

The working class of Russia began to awaken already in the seventies, and especially in the eighties, and started a struggle against the capitalists. Exceedingly hard was the lot of the workers in tsarist Russia. In the eighties the working day in the mills and factories was not less than 12½ hours, and in the textile industry reached 14 to 15 hours. The exploitation of female and child labour was widely resorted to. Children worked the same hours as adults, but, like the women, received a much smaller wage. Wages were inordinately low. The majority of the workers were paid seven or eight rubles per month. The most highly paid workers in the metal works and foundries received no more than 35 rubles per month. There were no regulations for the protection of labour, with the result that workers were maimed and killed in large numbers. Workers were not insured, and all medical services had to be paid for. Housing conditions were appalling. In the factory-owned barracks, workers were crowded as many as 10 or 12 to a small "cell." In paying wages, the manufacturers often cheated the workers, compelled them to make their purchases in the factory-owned shops at exorbitant prices, and mulcted them by means of fines.

The workers began to take a common stand and present joint demands to the factory workers for the improvement of their intolerable conditions. They would down tools and go on strike. The earlier strikes in the seventies and eighties were usually provoked by excessive fines, cheating and swindling of the workers over wages, and reductions in the rates of pay.

In the earlier strikes, the workers, driven to despair, would sometimes smash machinery, break factory windows and wreck factory-owned shops and factory offices.

The more advanced workers began to realize that if they were to be successful in their struggle against the capitalists, they needed organization. Workers' unions began to arise.

In 1875 the South Russian Workers' Union was formed in Odessa. This first workers' organization lasted eight or nine months and was then smashed by the tsarist government.

In 1878 the Northern Union of Russian Workers was formed in St. Petersburg, headed by Khalturin, a carpenter, and Obnorsky, a fitter. The program of the Union stated that its aims and objects were similar to those of the Social-Democratic labour parties of the West. The ultimate aim of the Union was to bring about a Socialist revolution—"the overthrow of the existing political and economic system, as an extremely unjust system." Obnorsky, one of the founders of the Union, had lived abroad for some time and had there acquainted himself with the activities of the Marxist Social-Democratic parties and of the First International, which was directed by Marx. This circumstance left its impress on the program of the Northern Union of Russian Workers. The immediate aim of the Union was to win political liberty and political rights for the people (freedom of speech, press, assembly, etc.). The immediate demands also included a reduction of the working day.

The membership of the Union reached 200, and it had about as many sympathizers. It began to take part in workers' strikes, to lead them. The tsarist government smashed this workers' Union too.

But the working-class movement continued to grow, spreading from district to district. The eighties were marked by a large number of strikes. In the space of five years (1881-86) there were as many as 48 strikes involving 80,000 workers.

An exceptional part in the history of the revolutionary movement was played by the big strike that broke out at the Morozov mill in Orekhovo-Zuyevo in i885.

About 8,000 workers were employed at this mill. Working conditions grew worse from day to day: there were five wage cuts between 1882 and 1884, and in the latter year rates were reduced by 25 per cent at one blow. In addition, Morozov, the manufacturer, tormented the workers with fines. It was revealed at the trial which followed the strike that of every ruble earned by the workers, from 30 to 50 kopeks went into the pocket of the manufacturer in the form of fines. The workers could not stand this robbery any longer and in January 1885 went out on strike. The strike had been organized beforehand. It was led by a politically advanced worker, Pyotr Moiseyenko, who had been a member of the Northern Union of Russian Workers and already had some revolutionary experience. On the eve of the strike Moiseyenko and others of the more class-conscious weavers drew up a number of demands for presentation to the mill owners; they were endorsed at a secret meeting of the workers. The chief demand was the abolition of the rapacious fines.

This strike was suppressed by armed force. Over 600 workers were arrested and scores of them committed for trial.

Similar strikes broke out in the mills of Ivanovo-Voznesensk in 1885.

In the following year the tsarist government was compelled by its fear of the growth of the working-class movement to promulgate a law on fines which provided that the proceeds from fines were not to go into the pockets of the manufacturers but were to be used for the needs of the workers themselves.

The Morozov and other strikes taught the workers that a great deal could be gained by organized struggle. The working-class movement began to produce capable leaders and organizers who staunchly championed the interests of the working class.

At the same time, on the basis of the growth of the working-class movement and under the influence of the working-class movement of Western Europe, the first Marxist organizations began to arise in Russia.

Narodism (populism) and Marxism in Russia. Plekhanov and his “emancipation of labour” group. Plekhanov's fight against narodism. Spread of Marxism in Russia

Prior to the appearance of the Marxist groups revolutionary work in Russia was carried on by the Narodniks (Populists), who were opponents of Marxism.

The first Russian Marxist group arose in 1883. This was the "Emancipation of Labour" group formed by G. V. Plekhanov abroad, in Geneva, where he had been obliged to take refuge from the persecution of the tsarist government for his revolutionary activities.

Previously Plekhanov had himself been a Narodnik. But having studied Marxism while abroad, he broke with Narodism and became an outstanding propagandist of Marxism.

The "Emancipation of Labour" group did a great deal to disseminate Marxism in Russia. They translated works of Marx and Engels into Russian— The Communist Manifesto, Wage-Labour and Capital, Socialism, Utopian and Scientific, etc.—had them printed abroad and circulated them secretly in Russia. Plekhanov, Zasulich, Axelrod and other members of this group also wrote a number of works explaining the teachings of Marx and Engels, the ideas of scientific Socialism.

Marx and Engels, the great teachers of the proletariat, were the first to explain that, contrary to the opinion of the utopian Socialists, Socialism was not the invention of dreamers (utopians), but the inevitable outcome of the development of modern capitalist society. They showed that the capitalist system would fall, just as serfdom had fallen, and that capitalism was creating its own gravediggers in the person of the proletariat. They showed that only the class struggle of the proletariat, only the victory of the proletariat over the bourgeoisie, would rid humanity of capitalism and exploitation.

Marx and Engels taught the proletariat to be conscious of its own strength, to be conscious of its class interests and to unite for a determined struggle against the bourgeoisie. Marx and Engels discovered the laws of development of capitalist society and proved scientifically that the development of capitalist society, and the class struggle going on within it, must inevitably lead to the fall of capitalism, to the victory of the proletariat, to the dictatorship of the proletariat.

Marx and Engels taught that it was impossible to get rid of the power of capital and to convert capitalist property into public property by peaceful means, and that the working class could achieve this only by revolutionary violence against the bourgeoisie, by a proletarian revolution, by establishing its own political rule—the dictatorship of the proletariat — which must crush the resistance of the exploiters and create a new, classless, Communist society.

Marx and Engels taught that the industrial proletariat is the most revolutionary and therefore the most advanced class in capitalist society, and that only a class like the proletariat could rally around itself all the forces discontented with capitalism and lead them in the storming of capitalism. But in order to vanquish the old world and create a new, classless society, the proletariat must have its own working-class party, which Marx and Engels called the Communist Party.

It was to the dissemination of the views of Marx and Engels that the first Russian Marxist group, Plekhanov's "Emancipation of Labour" group, devoted itself.

The "Emancipation of Labour" group raised the banner of Marxism in the Russian press abroad at a time when no Social-Democratic movement in Russia yet existed. It was first necessary to prepare the theoretical, ideological ground for such a movement. The chief ideological obstacle to the spread of Marxism and of the Social-Democratic movement was the Narodnik views which at that time prevailed among the advanced workers and the revolutionary-minded intelligentsia.

As capitalism developed in Russia the working class became a powerful and advanced force that was capable of waging an organized revolutionary struggle. But the leading role of the working class was not understood by the Narodniks. The Russian Narodniks erroneously held that the principal revolutionary force was not the working class, but the peasantry, and that the rule of the tsar and the landlords could be overthrown by means of peasant revolts alone. The Narodniks did not know the working class and did not realize that the peasants alone were incapable of vanquishing tsardom and the landlords without an alliance with the working class and without its guidance. The Narodniks did not understand that the working class was the most revolutionary and the most advanced class of society.

The Narodniks first endeavoured to rouse the peasants for a struggle against the tsarist government. With this purpose in view, young revolutionary intellectuals donned peasant garb and flocked to the countryside—"to the people," as it used to be called. Hence the term "Narodnik," from the word narod, the people. But they found no backing among the peasantry, for they did not have a proper knowledge or understanding of the peasants either. The majority of them were arrested by the police. Thereupon the Narodniks decided to continue the struggle against the tsarist autocracy single-handed, without the people, and this led to even more serious mistakes.

A secret Narodnik society known as "Narodnaya Volya" ("People's Will") began to plot the assassination of the tsar. On March 1, 1881, members of the "Narodnaya Volya" succeeded in killing Tsar Alexander II with a bomb. But the people did not benefit from this in any way. The assassination of individuals could not bring about the overthrow of the tsarist autocracy or the abolition of the landlord class. The assassinated tsar was replaced by another, Alexander III, under whom the conditions of the workers and peasants became still worse.

The method of combating tsardom chosen by the Narodniks, namely, by the assassination of individuals, by individual terrorism, was wrong and detrimental to the revolution. The policy of individual terrorism was based on the erroneous Narodnik theory of active "heroes" and a passive "mob," which awaited exploits from the "heroes." This false theory maintained that it is only outstanding individuals who make history, while the masses, the people, the class, the "mob," as the Narodnik writers contemptuously called them, are incapable of conscious, organized activity and can only blindly follow the "heroes." For this reason the Narodniks abandoned mass revolutionary work among the peasantry and the working class and changed to individual terrorism. They induced one of the most prominent revolutionaries of the time, Stepan Khalturin, to give up his work of organizing a revolutionary workers' union and to devote himself entirely to terrorism.

By these assassinations of individual representatives of the class of exploiters, assassinations that were of no benefit to the revolution, the Narodniks diverted the attention of the working people from the struggle against that class as a whole. They hampered the development of the revolutionary initiative and activity of the working class and the peasantry.

The Narodniks prevented the working class from understanding its leading role in the revolution and retarded the creation of an independent party of the working class.

Although the Narodniks' secret organization had been smashed by the tsarist government, Narodnik views continued to persist for a long time among the revolutionary-minded intelligentsia. The surviving Narodniks stubbornly resisted the spread of Marxism in Russia and hampered the organization of the working class.

Marxism in Russia could therefore grow and gain strength only by combating Narodism.

The "Emancipation of Labour" group launched a fight against the erroneous views of the Narodniks and showed how greatly their views and methods of struggle were prejudicing the working-class movement.

In his writings directed against the Narodniks, Plekhanov showed that their views had nothing in common with scientific Socialism, even though they called themselves Socialists.

Plekhanov was the first to give a Marxist criticism of the erroneous views of the Narodniks. Delivering well-aimed blows at the Narodnik views, Plekhanov at the same time developed a brilliant defence of the Marxist views.

What were the major errors of the Narodniks which Plekhanov hammered at with such destructive effect?

First, the Narodniks asserted that capitalism was something "accidental" in Russia, that it would not develop, and that therefore the proletariat would not grow and develop either.

Secondly, the Narodniks did not regard the working class as the foremost class in the revolution. They dreamed of attaining Socialism without the proletariat. They considered that the principal revolutionary force was the peasantry—led by the intelligentsia—and the peasant commune, which they regarded as the embryo and foundation of Socialism.

Thirdly, the Narodniks' view of the whole course of human history was erroneous and harmful. They neither knew nor understood the laws of the economic and political development of society. In this respect they were quite backward. According to them, history was made not by classes, and not by the struggle of classes, but by outstanding individ-uals—"heroes"—who were blindly followed by the masses, the "mob," the people, the classes.

In combating and exposing the Narodniks Plekhanov wrote a number of Marxist works which were instrumental in rearing and educating the Marxists in Russia. Such works of his as Socialism and the Political Struggle, Our Differences, On the Development of the Monistic View of History cleared the way for the victory of Marxism in Russia.

In his works Plekhanov expounded the basic principles of Marxism. Of particular importance was his On the Development of the Monistic View of History, published in 1895. Lenin said that this book served to "rear a whole generation of Russian Marxists." (Lenin, Collected Works, Russ. ed., Vol. XIV, p. 347.)

In his writings aimed against the Narodniks, Plekhanov showed that it was absurd to put the question the way the Narodniks did: should capitalism develop in Russia or not? As a matter of fact Russia had already entered the path of capitalist development, Plekhanov said, producing facts to prove it, and there was no force that could divert her from this path.

The task of the revolutionaries was not to arrest the development of capitalism in Russia—that they could not do anyhow. Their task was to secure the support of the powerful revolutionary force brought into being by the development of capitalism, namely, the working class, to develop its class-consciousness, to organize it, and to help it to create its own working-class party.

Plekhanov also shattered the second major error of the Narodniks, namely, their denial of the role of the proletariat as the vanguard in the revolutionary struggle. The Narodniks looked upon the rise of the proletariat in Russia as something in the nature of a "historical misfortune," and spoke of the "ulcer of proletarianism." Plekhanov, championing the teachings of Marxism, showed that they were fully applicable to Russia and that in spite of the numerical preponderance of the peasantry and the relative numerical weakness of the proletariat, it was on the proletariat and on its growth that the revolutionaries should base their chief hopes.

Why on the proletariat?

Because the proletariat, although it was still numerically small, was a labouring class which was connected with the most advanced form of economy, large-scale production, and which for this reason had a great future before it.

Because the proletariat, as a class, was growing from year to year, was developing politically, easily lent itself to organization owing to the conditions of labour prevailing in large-scale production, and was the most revolutionary class owing to its proletarian status, for it had nothing to lose in the revolution but its chains.

The case was different with the peasantry.

The peasantry (meaning here the individual peasants, each of whom worked for himself—Ed.), despite its numerical strength, was a labouring class that was connected with the most backward form of economy, small-scale production, owing to which it had not and could not have any great future before it.

Far from growing as a class, the peasantry was splitting up more and more into bourgeois (kulaks) and poor peasants (proletarians and semi-proletarians). Moreover, being scattered, it lent itself less easily than the proletariat to organization, and, consisting of small owners, it joined the revolutionary movement less readily than the proletariat.

The Narodniks maintained that Socialism in Russia would come not through the dictatorship of the proletariat, but through the peasant commune, which they regarded as the embryo and basis of Socialism. But the commune was neither the basis nor the embryo of Socialism, nor could it be, because the commune was dominated by the kulaks—the bloodsuckers who exploited the poor peasants, the agricultural labourers and the economically weaker middle peasants. The formal existence of communal land ownership and the periodical redivision of the land according to the number of mouths in each peasant household did not alter the situation in any way. Those members of the commune used the land who owned draught cattle, implements and seed, that is, the well-to-do middle peasants and kulaks. The peasants who possessed no horses, the poor peasants, the small peasants generally, had to surrender their land to the kulaks and to hire themselves out as agricultural labourers. As a matter of fact, the peasant commune was a convenient means of masking the dominance of the kulaks and an inexpensive instrument in the hands of the tsarist government for the collection of taxes from the peasants on the basis of collective responsibility. That was why tsardom left the peasant commune intact. It was absurd to regard a commune of this character as the embryo or basis of Socialism.

Plekhanov shattered the third major error of the Narodniks as well, namely, that "heroes," outstanding individuals, and their ideas played a prime role in social development, and that the role of the masses, the "mob," the people, classes, was insignificant. Plekhanov accused the Narodniks of idealism, and showed that the truth lay not with idealism, but with the materialism of Marx and Engels.

Plekhanov expounded and substantiated the view of Marxist materialism. In conformity with Marxist materialism, he showed that in the long run the development of society is determined not by the wishes and ideas of outstanding individuals, but by the development of the material conditions of existence of society, by the changes in the mode of production of the material wealth required for the existence of society, by the changes in the mutual relations of classes in the production of material wealth, by the struggle of classes for place and position in the production and distribution of material wealth. It was not ideas that determined the social and economic status of men, but the social and economic status of men that determined their ideas. Outstanding individuals may become nonentities if their ideas and wishes run counter to the economic development of society, to the needs of the foremost class; and vice versa, outstanding people may really become outstanding individuals if their ideas and wishes correctly express the needs of the economic development of society, the needs of the foremost class.

In answer to the Narodniks' assertion that the masses are nothing but a mob, and that it is heroes who make history and convert the mob into a people, the Marxists affirmed that it is not heroes that make history, but history that makes heroes, and that, consequently, it is not heroes who create a people, but the people who create heroes and move history onward. Heroes, outstanding individuals, may play an important part in the life of society only in so far as they are capable of correctly understanding the conditions of development of society and the ways of changing them for the better. Heroes, outstanding individuals, may become ridiculous and useless failures if they do not correctly understand the conditions of development of society and go counter to the historical needs of society in the conceited belief that they are "makers" of history.

To this category of ill-starred heroes belonged the Narodniks.

Plekhanov's writings and the fight he waged against the Narodniks thoroughly undermined their influence among the revolutionary intelligentsia. But the ideological destruction of Narodism was still far from complete. It was left to Lenin to deal the final blow to Narodism, as an enemy of Marxism.

Soon after the suppression of the "Narodnaya Volya" Party the majority of the Narodniks renounced the revolutionary struggle against the tsarist government and began to preach a policy of reconciliation and agreement with it. In the eighties and nineties the Narodniks began to voice the interests of the kulaks.

The "Emancipation of Labour" group prepared two drafts of a program for a Russian Social-Democratic party (the first in 1884 and the second in 1887). This was a very important preparatory step in the formation of a Marxist Social-Democratic party in Russia.

But at the same time the "Emancipation of Labour" group was guilty of some very serious mistakes. Its first draft program still contained vestiges of the Narodnik views; it countenanced the tactics of individual terrorism. Furthermore, Plekhanov failed to take into account that in the course of the revolution the proletariat could and should lead the peasantry, and that only in an alliance with the peasantry could the proletariat gain the victory over tsardom. Plekhanov further considered that the liberal bourgeoisie was a force that could give support, albeit unstable support, to the revolution; but as to the peasantry, in some of his writings he discounted it entirely, declaring, for instance, that :

"Apart from the bourgeoisie and the proletariat we perceive no social forces in our country in which oppositional or revolutionary combinations might find support." (Plekhanov, Works, Russ. ed., Vol. III, p. 119.)

These erroneous views were the germ of Plekhanov's future Menshevik views.

Neither the "Emancipation of Labour" group nor the Marxist circles of that period had yet any practical connections with the working-class movement. It was a period in which the theory of Marxism, the ideas of Marxism, and the principles of the Social-Democratic program were just appearing and gaining a foothold in Russia. In the decade of 1884-94 the Social-Democratic movement still existed in the form of small separate groups and circles which had no connections, or very scant connections, with the mass working-class movement. Like an infant still unborn but already developing in its mother's womb, the Social-Democratic movement, as Lenin wrote, was in the "process of fatal development."

The "Emancipation of Labor" group, Lenin said, "only laid the theoretical foundations for the Social-Democratic movement and made the first step towards the working-class movement."

The task of uniting Marxism and the working-class movement in Russia, and of correcting the mistakes of the "Emancipation of Labour" group fell to Lenin.

Beginning of Lenin’s revolutionary activities. St. Petersburg League of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class

Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (Lenin), the founder of Bolshevism, was born in the city of Simbirsk (now Ulyanovsk) in 1870. In 1887 Lenin entered the Kazan University, but was soon arrested and expelled from the university for taking part in the revolutionary student movement. In Kazan Lenin joined a Marxist circle formed by one Fedoseyev. Lenin later removed to Samara and soon afterwards the first Marxist circle in that city was formed with Lenin as the central figure. Already in those days Lenin amazed everyone by his thorough knowledge of Marxism.

At the end of 1893 Lenin removed to St. Petersburg. His very first utterances in the Marxist circles of that city made a deep impression on their members. His extraordinarily profound knowledge of Marx, his ability to apply Marxism to the economic and political situation of Russia at that time, his ardent and unshakable belief in the victory of the workers' cause, and his outstanding talent as an organizer made Lenin the acknowledged leader of the St. Petersburg Marxists.

Lenin enjoyed the warm affection of the politically advanced workers whom he taught in the circles.

"Our lectures," says the worker Babushkin recalling Lenin's teaching activities in the workers' circles, "were of a very lively and interesting character; we were all very pleased with these lectures and constantly admired the wisdom of our lecturer."

In 1895 Lenin united all the Marxist workers' circles in St. Petersburg (there were already about twenty of them) into a single League of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class. He thus prepared the way for the founding of a revolutionary Marxist workers' party.

Lenin put before the League of Struggle the task of forming closer connections with the mass working-class movement and of giving it political leadership. Lenin proposed to pass from the propaganda of Marxism among the few politically advanced workers who gathered in the propaganda circles to political agitation among the broad masses of the working class on issues of the day. This turn towards mass agitation was of profound importance for the subsequent development of the working-class movement in Russia.

The nineties were a period of industrial boom. The number of workers was increasing. The working-class movement was gaining strength. In the period of 1895-99, according to incomplete data, not less than 221,000 workers took part in strikes. The working-class movement was becoming an important force in the political life of the country. The course of events was corroborating the view which the Marxists had championed against the Narodniks, namely, that the working class was to play the leading role in the revolutionary movement.

Under Lenin's guidance, the League of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class linked up the struggle of the workers for economic demands—improvement of working conditions, shorter hours and higher wages—with the political struggle against tsardom. The League of Struggle educated the workers politically.

Under Lenin's guidance, the St. Petersburg League of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class was the first body in Russia that began to unite Socialism with the working-class movement. When a strike broke out in some factory, the League of Struggle, which through the members of its circles was kept well posted on the state of affairs in the factories, immediately responded by issuing leaflets and Socialist proclamations. These leaflets exposed the oppression of the workers by the manufacturers, explained how the workers should fight for their interests, and set forth the workers' demands. The leaflets told the plain truth about the ulcers of capitalism, the poverty of the workers, their intolerably hard working day of 12 to 14 hours, and their utter lack of rights. They also put forward appropriate political demands. With the collaboration of the worker Babushkin, Lenin at the end of i 894 wrote the first agitational leaflet of this kind and an appeal to the workers of the Semyannikov Works in St. Petersburg who were on strike. In the autumn of i895 Lenin wrote a leaflet for the men and women strikers of the Thornton Mills. These mills belonged to English owners who were making millions in profits out of them. The working day in these mills exceeded 14 hours, while the wages of a weaver were about 7 rubles per month. The workers won the strike. In a short space of time the League of Struggle printed dozens of such leaflets and appeals to the workers of various factories. Every leaflet greatly helped to stiffen the spirit of the workers. They saw that the Socialists were helping and defending them.

In the summer of 1896 a strike of 30,000 textile workers, led by the League of Struggle, took place in St. Petersburg. The chief demand was for shorter hours. This strike forced the tsarist government to pass, on June 2, 1897, a law limiting the working day to 11½ hours. Prior to this the working day was not limited in any way.

In December I895 Lenin was arrested by the tsarist government. But even in prison he did not discontinue his revolutionary work. He assisted the League of Struggle with advice and direction and wrote pamphlets and leaflets for it. There he wrote a pamphlet entitled On Strikes and a leaflet entitled To the Tsarist Government, exposing its savage despotism. There too Lenin drafted a program for the party (he used milk as an invisible ink and wrote between the lines of a book on medicine).

The St. Petersburg League of Struggle gave a powerful impetus to the amalgamation of the workers' circles in other cities and regions of Russia into similar leagues. In the middle of the nineties Marxist organizations arose in Transcaucasia. In 1894 a Workers' Union was formed in Moscow. Towards the end of the nineties a Social-Democratic Union was formed in Siberia. In the nineties Marxist groups arose in Ivanovo-Voznesensk, Yaroslavl and Kostroma and subsequently merged to form the Northern Union of the Social-Democratic Party. In the second half of the nineties Social-Democratic groups and unions were formed in Rostov-on-Don, Ekaterinoslav, Kiev, Nikolayev, Tula, Samara, Kazan, Orekhovo-Zuyevo and other cities.

The importance of the St. Petersburg League of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class consisted in the fact that, as Lenin said, it was the first real rudiment of a revolutionary party which was backed by the working-class movement.

Lenin drew on the revolutionary experience of the St. Petersburg League of Struggle in his subsequent work of creating a Marxist Social-Democratic party in Russia.

After the arrest of Lenin and his close associates, the leadership of the St. Petersburg League of Struggle changed considerably. New people appeared who called themselves the "young" and Lenin and his associates the "old fellows." These people pursued an erroneous political line. They declared that the workers should be called upon to wage only an economic struggle against their employers; as for the political struggle, that was the affair of the liberal bourgeoisie, to whom the leadership of the political struggle should be left.

These people came to be called "Economists."

They were the first group of compromisers and opportunists within the ranks of the Marxist organizations in Russia.

Lenin’s struggle against narodism and “legal Marxism.” Lenin’s idea of an alliance of the working class and the peasantry. First Congress of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party

Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (Lenin), the founder of Bolshevism, was born in the city of Simbirsk (now Ulyanovsk) in 1870. In 1887 Lenin entered the Kazan University, but was soon arrested and expelled from the university for taking part in the revolutionary student movement. In Kazan Lenin joined a Marxist circle formed by one Fedoseyev. Lenin later removed to Samara and soon afterwards the first Marxist circle in that city was formed with Lenin as the central figure. Already in those days Lenin amazed everyone by his thorough knowledge of Marxism.

At the end of 1893 Lenin removed to St. Petersburg. His very first utterances in the Marxist circles of that city made a deep impression on their members. His extraordinarily profound knowledge of Marx, his ability to apply Marxism to the economic and political situation of Russia at that time, his ardent and unshakable belief in the victory of the workers' cause, and his outstanding talent as an organizer made Lenin the acknowledged leader of the St. Petersburg Marxists.

Lenin enjoyed the warm affection of the politically advanced workers whom he taught in the circles.

"Our lectures," says the worker Babushkin recalling Lenin's teaching activities in the workers' circles, "were of a very lively and interesting character; we were all very pleased with these lectures and constantly admired the wisdom of our lecturer."

In 1895 Lenin united all the Marxist workers' circles in St. Petersburg (there were already about twenty of them) into a single League of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class. He thus prepared the way for the founding of a revolutionary Marxist workers' party.

Lenin put before the League of Struggle the task of forming closer connections with the mass working-class movement and of giving it political leadership. Lenin proposed to pass from the propaganda of Marxism among the few politically advanced workers who gathered in the propaganda circles to political agitation among the broad masses of the working class on issues of the day. This turn towards mass agitation was of profound importance for the subsequent development of the working-class movement in Russia.

The nineties were a period of industrial boom. The number of workers was increasing. The working-class movement was gaining strength. In the period of 1895-99, according to incomplete data, not less than 221,000 workers took part in strikes. The working-class movement was becoming an important force in the political life of the country. The course of events was corroborating the view which the Marxists had championed against the Narodniks, namely, that the working class was to play the leading role in the revolutionary movement.

Under Lenin's guidance, the League of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class linked up the struggle of the workers for economic demands—improvement of working conditions, shorter hours and higher wages—with the political struggle against tsardom. The League of Struggle educated the workers politically.

Under Lenin's guidance, the St. Petersburg League of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class was the first body in Russia that began to unite Socialism with the working-class movement. When a strike broke out in some factory, the League of Struggle, which through the members of its circles was kept well posted on the state of affairs in the factories, immediately responded by issuing leaflets and Socialist proclamations. These leaflets exposed the oppression of the workers by the manufacturers, explained how the workers should fight for their interests, and set forth the workers' demands. The leaflets told the plain truth about the ulcers of capitalism, the poverty of the workers, their intolerably hard working day of 12 to 14 hours, and their utter lack of rights. They also put forward appropriate political demands. With the collaboration of the worker Babushkin, Lenin at the end of i 894 wrote the first agitational leaflet of this kind and an appeal to the workers of the Semyannikov Works in St. Petersburg who were on strike. In the autumn of i895 Lenin wrote a leaflet for the men and women strikers of the Thornton Mills. These mills belonged to English owners who were making millions in profits out of them. The working day in these mills exceeded 14 hours, while the wages of a weaver were about 7 rubles per month. The workers won the strike. In a short space of time the League of Struggle printed dozens of such leaflets and appeals to the workers of various factories. Every leaflet greatly helped to stiffen the spirit of the workers. They saw that the Socialists were helping and defending them.

In the summer of 1896 a strike of 30,000 textile workers, led by the League of Struggle, took place in St. Petersburg. The chief demand was for shorter hours. This strike forced the tsarist government to pass, on June 2, 1897, a law limiting the working day to 11½ hours. Prior to this the working day was not limited in any way.

In December I895 Lenin was arrested by the tsarist government. But even in prison he did not discontinue his revolutionary work. He assisted the League of Struggle with advice and direction and wrote pamphlets and leaflets for it. There he wrote a pamphlet entitled On Strikes and a leaflet entitled To the Tsarist Government, exposing its savage despotism. There too Lenin drafted a program for the party (he used milk as an invisible ink and wrote between the lines of a book on medicine).

The St. Petersburg League of Struggle gave a powerful impetus to the amalgamation of the workers' circles in other cities and regions of Russia into similar leagues. In the middle of the nineties Marxist organizations arose in Transcaucasia. In 1894 a Workers' Union was formed in Moscow. Towards the end of the nineties a Social-Democratic Union was formed in Siberia. In the nineties Marxist groups arose in Ivanovo-Voznesensk, Yaroslavl and Kostroma and subsequently merged to form the Northern Union of the Social-Democratic Party. In the second half of the nineties Social-Democratic groups and unions were formed in Rostov-on-Don, Ekaterinoslav, Kiev, Nikolayev, Tula, Samara, Kazan, Orekhovo-Zuyevo and other cities.

The importance of the St. Petersburg League of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class consisted in the fact that, as Lenin said, it was the first real rudiment of a revolutionary party which was backed by the working-class movement.

Lenin drew on the revolutionary experience of the St. Petersburg League of Struggle in his subsequent work of creating a Marxist Social-Democratic party in Russia.

After the arrest of Lenin and his close associates, the leadership of the St. Petersburg League of Struggle changed considerably. New people appeared who called themselves the "young" and Lenin and his associates the "old fellows." These people pursued an erroneous political line. They declared that the workers should be called upon to wage only an economic struggle against their employers; as for the political struggle, that was the affair of the liberal bourgeoisie, to whom the leadership of the political struggle should be left.

These people came to be called "Economists."

They were the first group of compromisers and opportunists within the ranks of the Marxist organizations in Russia.

Lenin’s fight against “Economism.” Appearance of Lenin’s newspaper Iskra

Lenin was not present at the First Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. He was at that time in exile in Siberia, in the village of Shushenskoye, where he had been banished by the tsarist government after a long period of imprisonment in St. Petersburg in connection with the prosecution of the League of Struggle.

But Lenin continued his revolutionary activities even while in exile. There he finished a highly important scientific work, The Development of Capitalism in Russia, which completed the ideological destruction of Narodism. There, too, he wrote his well-known pamphlet, The Tasks of the Russian Social-Democrats.

Although Lenin was cut off from direct, practical revolutionary work, he nevertheless managed to maintain some connections with those engaged in this work; he carried on a correspondence with them from exile, obtained information from them and gave them advice. At this time Lenin was very much preoccupied with the "Economists." He realized better than anybody else that "Economism" was the main nucleus of compromise and opportunism, and that if "Economism" were to gain the upper hand in the working-class movement, it would undermine the revolutionary movement of the proletariat and lead to the defeat of Marxism.

Lenin therefore started a vigorous attack on the "Economists" as soon as they appeared on the scene.

The "Economists" maintained that the workers should engage only in the economic struggle; as to the political struggle, that should be left to the liberal bourgeoisie, whom the workers should support. In Lenin's eyes this tenet was a desertion of Marxism, a denial of the necessity for an independent political party of the working class, an attempt to convert the working class into a political appendage of the bourgeoisie.

In 1899 a group of "Economists" (Prokopovich, Kuskova and others, who later became Constitutional-Democrats) issued a manifesto in which they opposed revolutionary Marxism, and insisted that the idea of an independent political party of the proletariat and of independent political demands by the working class be renounced. The "Economists" held that the political struggle was a matter for the liberal bourgeoisie, and that as far as the workers were concerned, the economic struggle against the employers was enough for them.

When Lenin acquainted himself with this opportunist document he called a conference of Marxist political exiles living in the vicinity. Seventeen of them met and, headed by Lenin, issued a trenchant protest denouncing the views of the "Economists."

This protest, which was written by Lenin, was circulated among the Marxist organizations all over the country and played an outstanding part in the development of Marxist ideas and of the Marxist party in Russia.

The Russian "Economists" advocated the same views as the opponents of Marxism in the Social-Democratic parties abroad who were known as the Bernsteinites, that is, followers of the opportunist Bernstein.

Lenin's struggle against the "Economists" was therefore at the same time a struggle against opportunism on an international scale.

The fight against "Economism," the fight for the creation of an independent political party of the proletariat, was chiefly waged by Iskra, the illegal newspaper founded by Lenin.

At the beginning of I900, Lenin and other members of the League of Struggle returned from their Siberian exile to Russia. Lenin conceived the idea of founding a big illegal Marxist newspaper on an all-Russian scale. The numerous small Marxist circles and organizations which already existed in Russia were not yet linked up. At a moment when, in the words of Comrade Stalin, "amateurishness and the parochial outlook of the circles were corroding the Party from top to bottom, when ideological confusion was the characteristic feature of the internal life of the Party," the creation of an illegal newspaper on an all-Russian scale was the chief task of the Russian revolutionary Marxists. Only such a newspaper could link up the disunited Marxist organizations and prepare the way for the creation of a real party.

But such a newspaper could not be published in tsarist Russia owing to police persecution. Within a month or two at most the tsar's sleuths would get on its track and smash it. Lenin therefore decided to publish the newspaper abroad. There it was printed on very thin but durable paper and secretly smuggled into Russia. Some of the issues of Iskra were reprinted in Russia by secret printing plants in Baku, Kishinev and Siberia.

In the autumn of I900 Lenin went abroad to make arrangements with the comrades in the "Emancipation of Labour" group for the publication of a political newspaper on an all-Russian scale. The idea had been worked out by Lenin in all its details while he was in exile. On his way back from exile he had held a number of conferences on the subject in Ufa, Pskov, Moscow and St. Petersburg. Everywhere he made arrangements with the comrades about codes for secret correspondence, addresses to which literature could be sent, and so on, and discussed with them plans for the future struggle.

The tsarist government scented a most dangerous enemy in Lenin. Zubatov, an officer of gendarmes in the tsarist Okhrana, expressed the opinion in a confidential report that "there is nobody bigger than Ulyanov [Lenin] in the revolution today," in view of which he considered it expedient to have Lenin assassinated.

Abroad, Lenin came to an arrangement with the "Emancipation of Labour" group, namely, with Plekhanov, Axelrod and V. Zasulich, for the publication of Iskra under joint auspices. The whole plan of publication from beginning to end had been worked out by Lenin.

The first issue of Iskra appeared abroad in December I900. The title page bore the epigraph: "The Spark Will Kindle a Flame." These words were taken from the reply of the Decembrists to the poet Pushkin who had sent greetings to them in their place of exile in Siberia.

And indeed, from the spark (Iskra) started by Lenin there subsequently flamed up the great revolutionary conflagration in which the tsarist monarchy of the landed nobility, and the power of the bourgeoisie were reduced to ashes.

Brief summary

The Marxist Social-Democratic Labour Party in Russia was formed in a struggle waged in the first place against Narodism and its views, which were erroneous and harmful to the cause of revolution.

Only by ideologically shattering the views of the Narodniks was it possible to clear the way for a Marxist workers' party in Russia. A decisive blow to Narodism was dealt by Plekhanov and his "Emancipation of Labour" group in the eighties.

Lenin completed the ideological defeat of Narodism and dealt it the final blow in the nineties.

The "Emancipation of Labour" group, founded in 1883, did a great deal for the dissemination of Marxism in Russia; it laid the theoretical foundations for Social-Democracy and took the first step to establish connection with the working-class movement.

With the development of capitalism in Russia the industrial proletariat rapidly grew in numbers. In the middle of the eighties the working class adopted the path of organized struggle, of mass action in the form of organized strikes. But the Marxist circles and groups only carried on propaganda and did not realize the necessity for passing to mass agitation among the working class; they therefore still had no practical connection with the working-class movement and did not lead it.

The St. Petersburg League of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class, which Lenin formed in i895 and which started mass agitation among the workers and led mass strikes, marked a new stage — the transition to mass agitation among the workers and the union of Marxism with the working-class movement. The St. Petersburg League of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class was the rudiment of a revolutionary proletarian party in Russia. The formation of the St. Petersburg League of Struggle was followed by the formation of Marxist organizations in all the principal industrial centres as well as in the border regions.

In i898 at the First Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. the first, although unsuccessful, attempt was made to unite the Marxist Social-Democratic organizations into a party. But this congress did not yet create a party : there was neither a party program nor party rules; there was no single leading centre, and there was scarcely any connection between the separate Marxist circles and groups.

In order to unite and link together the separate Marxist organizations into a single party, Lenin put forward and carried out a plan for the founding of Iskra, the first newspaper of the revolutionary Marxists on an all-Russian scale.

The principal opponents to the creation of a single political working-class party at that period were the "Economists." They denied the necessity for such a party. They fostered the disunity and amateurish methods of the separate groups. It was against them that Lenin and the newspaper Iskra organized by him directed their blows.

The appearance of the first issues of Iskra (1900-0I) marked a transition to a new period—a period in which a single Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party was really formed from the disconnected groups and circles.

Formation of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party. Appearance of the Bolshevik and the Menshevik groups within the party (1901—1904)

Upsurge of the revolutionary movement in Russia in 1901—1904

The end of the nineteenth century in Europe was marked by an industrial crisis. It soon spread to Russia. During the period of the crisis (1900-03) about 3,000 large and small enterprises were closed down and over 100,000 workers thrown on the streets. The wages of the workers that remained employed were sharply reduced. The insignificant concessions previously wrung from the capitalists as the result of stubborn economic strikes were now withdrawn.

Industrial crisis and unemployment did not halt or weaken the working-class movement. On the contrary, the workers' struggle assumed an increasingly revolutionary character. From economic strikes, the workers passed to political strikes, and finally to demonstrations, put forward political demands for democratic liberties, and raised the slogan, "Down with the tsarist autocracy!"

A May Day strike at the Obukhov munitions plant in St. Petersburg in 1901 resulted in a bloody encounter between the workers and troops. The only weapons the workers could oppose to the armed forces of the tsar were stones and lumps of iron. The stubborn resistance of the workers was broken. This was followed by savage reprisals: about 800 workers were arrested, and many were cast into prison or condemned to penal servitude and exile. But the heroic "Obukhov defence" made a profound impression on the workers of Russia and called forth a wave of sympathy among them.

In March 1902 big strikes and a demonstration of workers took place in Batum, organized by the Batum Social-Democratic Committee. The Batum demonstration stirred up the workers and peasants of Transcaucasia.

In 1902 a big strike broke out in Rostov-on-Don as well. The first to come out were the railwaymen, who were soon joined by the workers of many factories. The strike agitated all the workers. As many as 30,000 would gather at meetings held outside the city limits on several successive days. At these meetings Social-Democratic proclamations were read aloud and speakers addressed the workers. The police and the Cossacks were powerless to disperse these meetings, attended as they were by many thousands. When several workers were killed by the police, a huge procession of working people attended their funeral on the following day. Only by summoning troops from surrounding cities was the tsarist government able to suppress the strike. The struggle of the Rostov workers was led by the Don Committee of the R.S.D.L.P.

The strikes that broke out in 1903 were of even larger dimensions. Mass political strikes took place that year in the south, sweeping Transcaucasia (Baku, Tiflis, Batum) and the large cities of the Ukraine (Odessa, Kiev, Ekaterinoslav). The strikes became increasingly stubborn and better organized. Unlike earlier actions of the working class, the political struggle of the workers was nearly everywhere directed by the Social-Democratic committees.

The working class of Russia was rising to wage a revolutionary struggle against the tsarist regime.

The working-class movement influenced the peasantry. In the spring and summer of 1902 a peasant movement broke out in the Ukraine (Poltava and Kharkov provinces) and in the Volga region. The peasants set fire to landlords' mansions, seized their land, and killed the detested zemsky nachalniks (rural prefects) and landlords. Troops were sent to quell the rebellious peasants. Peasants were shot down, hundreds were arrested, and their leaders and organizers were flung into prison, but the revolutionary peasant movement continued to grow.

The revolutionary actions of the workers and peasants indicated that revolution was maturing and drawing near in Russia.

Under the influence of the revolutionary struggle of the workers the opposition movement of the students against the government assumed greater intensity. In retaliation for the student demonstrations and strikes, the government shut down the universities, flung hundreds of students into prison, and finally conceived the idea of sending recalcitrant students into the army as common soldiers. In response, the students of all the universities organized a general strike in the winter of 1901-02. About thirty thousand students were involved in this strike.

The revolutionary movement of the workers and peasants, and especially the reprisals against the students, induced also the liberal bourgeois and the liberal landlords who sat on what was known as the Zem-stvos to bestir themselves and to raise their voices in "protest" against the "excesses" of the tsarist government in repressing their student sons.

The Zemstvo liberals had their stronghold in the Zemstvo boards. These were local government bodies which had charge of purely local affairs affecting the rural population (building of roads, hospitals and schools). The liberal landlords played a fairly prominent part on the Zem-stvo boards. They were closely associated with the liberal bourgeois, in fact were almost merged with them, for they themselves were beginning to abandon methods based on survivals of serfdom for capitalist methods of farming on their estates, as being more profitable. Of course, both these groups of liberals supported the tsarist government; but they were opposed to the "excesses" of tsardom, fearing that these "excesses" would only intensify the revolutionary movement. While they feared the "excesses" of tsardom, they feared revolution even more. In protesting against these "excesses," the liberals pursued two aims: first, to "bring the tsar to his senses," and secondly, by donning a mask of "profound dissatisfaction" with tsardom, to gain the confidence of the people, and to get them, or part of them, to break away from the revolution, and thus undermine its strength.

Of course, the Zemstvo liberal movement offered no menace whatever to the existence of tsardom; nevertheless, it served to show that all was not well with the "eternal" pillars of tsardom.

In 1902 the Zemstvo liberal movement led to the formation of the bourgeois "Liberation" group, the nucleus of the future principal party of the bourgeoisie in Russia—the Constitutional-Democratic Party.

Perceiving that the movement of the workers and peasants was sweeping the country in a formidable torrent, the tsarist government did everything it could to stem the revolutionary tide. Armed force was used with increasing frequency to suppress the workers' strikes and demonstrations; the bullet and the knout became the government's usual reply to the actions of the workers and peasants; prisons and places of exile were filled to overflowing.

While tightening up the measures of repression, the tsarist government tried at the same time to resort to other, non-repressive and more "flexible," measures to divert the workers from the revolutionary movement. Attempts were made to create bogus workers' organizations under the aegis of the gendarmes and police. They were dubbed organizations of "police socialism" or Zubatov organizations (after the name of a colonel of gendarmerie, Zubatov, who was the founder of these police-controlled workers' organizations). Through its agents the Okhrana tried to get the workers to believe that the tsarist government was itself prepared to assist them in securing the satisfaction of their economic demands. "Why engage in politics, why make a revolution, when the tsar himself is on the side of the workers?"—Zubatov agents would insinuate to the workers. Zubatov organizations were formed in several cities. On the model of these organizations and with the same purposes in view, an organization known as the Assembly of Russian Factory Workers of St. Petersburg was formed in 1904 by a priest by the name of Gapon.

But the attempt of the tsarist Okhrana to gain control over the working-class movement failed. The tsarist government proved unable by such measures to cope with the growing working-class movement. The rising revolutionary movement of the working class swept these police-controlled organizations from its path.

Lenin’s plan for the building of a Marxist party. Opportunism of the “Economists.” Iskra’s fight for Lenin’s plan. Lenin’s book What is to be Done? Ideological foundations of the Marxist party

Notwithstanding the fact that the First Congress of the Russian Social-Democratic Party had been held in 1898, and that it had announced the formation of the Party, no real party was as yet created. There was no party program or party rules. The Central Committee of the Party elected at the First Congress was arrested and never replaced, for there was nobody to replace it. Worse still, the ideological confusion and lack of organizational cohesion of the Party became even more marked after the First Congress.

While the years 1884-94 were a period of victory over Narodism and of ideological preparation for the formation of a Social-Democratic Party, and the years 1894-98 a period in which an attempt, although unsuccessful, was made to weld the separate Marxist organizations into a Social-Democratic Party, the period immediately following 1898 was one of increased ideological and organizational confusion within the Party. The victory gained by the Marxists over Narodism and the revolutionary actions of the working class, which proved that the Marxists were right, stimulated the sympathy of the revolutionary youth for Marxism. Marxism became the fashion. This resulted in an influx into the Marxist organizations of throngs of young revolutionary intellectuals, who were weak in theory and inexperienced in political organization, and who ad only a vague, and for the most part incorrect, idea of Marxism, derived from the opportunist writings of the "legal Marxists" with which the press was filled. This resulted in the lowering of the theoretical and political standard of the Marxist organizations, in their infection with the "legal Marxist" opportunist tendencies, and in the aggravation of ideological confusion, political vacillation and organizational chaos.

The rising tide of the working-class movement and the obvious proximity of revolution demanded a united and centralized party of the working class which would be capable of leading the revolutionary movement. But the local Party organizations, the local committees, groups and circles were in such a deplorable state, and their organizational disunity and ideological discord so profound, that the task of creating such a party was one of immense difficulty.

The difficulty lay not only in the fact that the Party had to be built under the fire of savage persecution by the tsarist government, which every now and then robbed the organizations of their finest workers whom it condemned to exile, imprisonment and penal servitude, but also in the fact that a large number of the local committees and their members would have nothing to do with anything but their local, petty practical activities, did not realize the harm caused by the absence of organizational and ideological unity in the Party, were accustomed to the disunity and ideological confusion that prevailed within it, and believed that they could get along quite well without a united centralized party.

If a centralized party was to be created, this backwardness, inertia, and narrow outlook of the local bodies had to be overcome.

But this was not all. There was a fairly large group of people within the Party who had their own press—the Rabochaya Mysl (Workers' Thought) in Russia and Rabocheye Delo (Workers' Cause) abroad— and who were trying to justify on theoretical grounds the lack of organizational cohesion and the ideological confusion within the Party, frequently even lauding such a state of affairs, and holding that the plan for creating a united and centralized political party of the working class was unnecessary and artificial.

These were the "Economists" and their followers.

Before a united political party of the proletariat could be created, the "Economists" had to be defeated.

It was to this task and to the building of a working-class party that Lenin addressed himself.

How to begin the building of a united party of the working class was a question on which opinions differed. Some thought that the building of the Party should be begun by summoning the Second Congress of the Party, which would unite the local organizations and create the Party. Lenin was opposed to this. He held that before convening a congress it was necessary to make the aims and objects of the Party clear, to ascertain what sort of a party was wanted, to effect an ideological demarcation from the "Economists," to tell the Party honestly and frankly that there existed two different opinions regarding the aims and objects of the Party—the opinion of the "Economists" and the opinion of the revolutionary Social-Democrats—to start a wide campaign in the press in favour of the views of revolutionary Social-Democracy—just as the "Economists" were conducting a campaign in their own press in favour of their own views—and to give the local organizations the opportunity to make a deliberate choice between these two trends. Only after this indispensable preliminary work had been done could a Party Congress be summoned. Lenin put it plainly :

“Before we can unite, and in order that we may unite, we must first of all draw firm and definite lines of demarcation.”

Lenin accordingly held that the building of a political party of the working class should be begun by the founding of a militant political newspaper on an all-Russian scale, which would carry on propaganda and agitation in favour of the views of revolutionary Social-Democracy —that the establishment of such a newspaper should be the first step in the building of the Party.

In his well-known article, "Where to Begin?" Lenin outlined a concrete plan for the building of the Party, a plan which was later expanded in his famous work What is To Be Done?

"In our opinion," wrote Lenin in this article, "the starting point of our activities, the first practical step towards creating the organization desired,* finally, the main thread following which we would be able to develop, deepen and expand that organization unswervingly, should be the establishment of a political newspaper on an all-Russian scale. . . . Without it we cannot systematically carry on that all-embracing propaganda and agitation, consistent in principle, which form the chief and constant task of Social-Democrats in general, and the particularly urgent task of the present moment when interest in politics, in questions of Socialism, has been aroused among the widest sections of the population." (Ibid., p. 19.)

Lenin considered that such a newspaper would serve not only to weld the Party ideologically, but also to unite the local bodies within the Party organizationally. The network of agents and correspondents of the newspaper, representing the local organizations, would provide a skeleton around which the Party could be built up organizationally. For, Lenin said, "a newspaper is not only a collective propagandist and collective agitator, but also a collective organizer."

“This network of agents," writes Lenin in the same article, "will form the skeleton of precisely the organization we need, namely, one that is sufficiently large to embrace the whole country, sufficiently wide and many-sided to effect a strict and detailed division of labour; sufficiently tried and tempered to be able unswervingly to carry on its own work under all circumstances, at all 'turns' and in all contingencies; sufficiently flexible to be able to avoid open battle against an enemy of overwhelming strength, when he has concentrated all his forces at one spot, and yet able to take advantage of the awkwardness of this enemy and to attack him whenever and wherever least expected.”

Iskra was to be such a newspaper.

And Iskra did indeed become such a political-newspaper on an all-Russian scale which prepared the way for the ideological and organizational consolidation of the Party.

As to the structure and composition of the Party itself, Lenin considered that it should consist of two parts: a) a close circle of regular cadres of leading Party workers, chiefly professional revolutionaries, that is, Party workers free from all occupation except Party work and possessing the necessary minimum of theoretical knowledge, political experience, organizational practice and the art of combating the tsarist police and of eluding them; and b) a broad network of local Party organizations and a large number of Party members enjoying the sympathy and support of hundreds of thousands of working people.

“I assert,” Lenin wrote, 1) that no revolutionary movement can endure without a stable organization of leaders that maintains continuity; 2) that the wider the masses spontaneously drawn into the struggle . . . the more urgent the need of such an organization, and the more solid this organization must be . . . 3) that such an organization must consist chiefly of people professionally engaged in revolutionary activity; 4) that in an autocratic state the more we confine the membership of such organization to people who are professionally engaged in revolutionary activity and who have been professionally trained in the art of combating the political police, the more difficult will it be to wipe out such an organization, and 5) the greater will be the number of people of the working class and of the other classes of society who will be able to join the movement and perform active work in it.” (Ibid.) pp. 138-39.)

As to the character of the Party that was being built up and its role in relation to the working class, as well as its aims and objects, Lenin held that the Party should form the vanguard of the working class, that it should be the guiding force of the working-class movement, co-ordinating and directing the class struggle of the proletariat. The ultimate goal of the Party was the overthrow of capitalism and the establishment of Socialism. Its immediate aim was the overthrow of tsardom and the establishment of a democratic order. And inasmuch as the overthrow of capitalism was impossible without the preliminary overthrow of tsardom, the principal task of the Party at the given moment was to rouse the working class and the whole people for a struggle against tsardom, to develop a revolutionary movement of the people against it, and to overthrow it as the first and serious obstacle in the path of Socialism.

“History,” Lenin wrote, “has now confronted us with an immediate task which is the most revolutionary of all the immediate tasks that confront the proletariat of any country. The fulfilment of this task, the destruction of the most powerful bulwark not only of European but also (it may now be said) of Asiatic reaction would make the Russian proletariat the vanguard of the international revolutionary proletariat.”

And further:

“We must bear in mind that the struggle with the government for partial demands, the winning of partial concessions, are only petty skirmishes with the enemy, petty encounters on the outposts, whereas the decisive engagement is still to come. Before us, in all its strength, stands the enemy's fortress, which is raining shot and shell upon us and mowing down our best fighters. We must capture this fortress; and we shall capture it if we unite all the forces of the awakening proletariat with all the forces of the Russian revolutionaries into one party, which will attract all that is alive and honest in Russia. And only then will the great prophecy of Pyotr Alexeyev, the Russian worker revolutionary, be fulfilled: 'the muscular arm of the working millions will be lifted, and the yoke of despotism, guarded by the soldiers' bayonets, will be smashed to atoms!'”

Such was Lenin's plan for the creation of a party of the working class in autocratic tsarist Russia.

The "Economists" showed no delay in launching an attack on Lenin's plan.

They asserted that the general political struggle against tsardom was a matter for all classes, but primarily for the bourgeoisie, and that therefore it was of no serious interest to the working class, for the chief interest of the workers lay in the economic struggle against the employers for higher wages, better working conditions, etc. The primary and immediate aim of the Social-Democrats should therefore be not a political struggle against tsardom, and not the overthrow of tsardom, but the organization of the "economic struggle of the workers against the employers and the government." By the economic struggle against the government they meant a struggle for better factory legislation. The "Economists" claimed that in this way it would be possible "to lend the economic struggle itself a political character."

The "Economists" no longer dared openly to contest the need for a political party of the working class. But they considered that it should not be the guiding force of the working-class movement, that it should not interfere in the spontaneous movement of the working class, let alone direct it, but that it should follow in the wake of this movement, study it and draw lessons from it.

The "Economists" furthermore asserted that the role of the conscious element in the working-class movement, the organizing and directing role of Socialist consciousness and Socialist theory, was insignificant, or almost insignificant; that the Social-Democrats should not elevate the minds of the workers to the level of Socialist consciousness, but, on the contrary, should adjust themselves and descend to the level of the average, or even of the more backward sections of the working class, and that the Social-Democrats should not try to impart a Socialist consciousness to the working class, but should wait until the spontaneous movement of the working class arrived of itself at a Socialist consciousness.

As regards Lenin's plan for the organization of the Party, the "Economists" regarded it almost as an act of violence against the spontaneous movement.

In the columns of Iskra, and especially in his celebrated work What is To Be Done?, Lenin launched a vehement attack against this opportunist philosophy of the "Economists" and demolished it.

1) Lenin showed that to divert the working class from the general political struggle against tsardom and to confine its task to that of the economic struggle against the employers and the government, while leaving both employers and government intact, meant to condemn the workers to eternal slavery. The economic struggle of the workers against the employers and the government was a trade union struggle for better terms in the sale of their labour power to the capitalists. The workers, however, wanted to fight not only for better terms in the sale of their labour power to the capitalists, but also for the abolition of the capitalist system itself which condemned them to sell their labour power to the capitalists and to suffer exploitation. But the workers could not develop their struggle against capitalism, their struggle for Socialism to the full, as long as the path of the working-class movement was barred by tsardom, that watchdog of capitalism. It was therefore the immediate task of the Party and of the working class to remove tsardom from the path and thus clear the way to Socialism.

2) Lenin showed that to extol the spontaneous process in the working-class movement, to deny that the Party had a leading role to play, to reduce its role to that of a recorder of events, meant to preach khvostism (following in the tail), to preach the conversion of the Party into a tall-piece of the spontaneous process, into a passive force of the movement, capable only of contemplating the spontaneous process and allowing events to take their own course. To advocate this meant working for the destruction of the Party, that is, leaving the working class without a party—that is, leaving the working class unarmed. But to leave the working class unarmed when it was faced by such enemies as tsardom, which was armed to the teeth, and the bourgeoisie, which was organized on modern lines and had its own party to direct its struggle against the working class, meant to betray the working class.

3) Lenin showed that to bow in worship of the spontaneous working-class movement and to belittle the importance of consciousness, of Socialist consciousness and Socialist theory, meant, in the first place, to insult the workers, who were drawn to consciousness as to light; in the second place, to lower the value of theory in the eyes of the Party, that is, to depreciate the instrument which helped the Party to understand the present and foresee the future; and, in the third place, it meant to sink completely and irrevocably into the bog of opportunism.

“Without a revolutionary theory,” Lenin said, “there can be no revolutionary movement. . . . The role of vanguard can be fulfilled only by a party that is guided by the most advanced theory.”

4) Lenin showed that the "Economists" were deceiving the working class when they asserted that a Socialist ideology could arise from the spontaneous movement of the working class, for in reality the Socialist ideology arises not from the spontaneous movement, but from science. By denying the necessity of imparting a Socialist consciousness to the working class, the "Economists" were clearing the way for bourgeois ideology, facilitating its introduction and dissemination among the work- ing class, and, consequently, they were burying the idea of union between the working-class movement and Socialism, thus helping the bourgeoisie.

“All worship of the spontaneity of the labour movement,” Lenin said, “all belittling of the role of 'the conscious element,' of the role of the party of Social-Democracy, means, altogether irrespective of whether the belittler likes it or not, strengthening the influence of the bourgeois ideology among the workers.

And further:

“The only choice is: either the bourgeois or the Socialist ideology. There is no middle course... Hence to belittle the Socialist ideology in any way, to turn away from it in the slightest degree means to strengthen the bourgeois ideology.”

5) Summing up all these mistakes of the "Economists," Lenin came to the conclusion that they did not want a party of social revolution for the emancipation of the working class from capitalism, but a party of "social reform," which presupposed the preservation of capitalist rule, and that, consequently, the "Economists" were reformists who were betraying the fundamental interests of the proletariat.

6) Lastly, Lenin showed that "Economism" was not an accidental phenomenon in Russia, but that the "Economists" were an instrument of bourgeois influence upon the working class, that they had allies in the West-European Social-Democratic parties in the person of the revisionists, the followers of the opportunist Bernstein. The opportunist trend in Social-Democratic parties was gaining strength in Western Europe; on the plea of "freedom to criticize" Marx, it demanded a "revision" of the Marxist doctrine (hence the term "revisionism"); it demanded renunciation of the revolution, of Socialism and of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Lenin showed that the Russian "Economists" were pursuing a similar policy of renunciation of the revolutionary struggle, of Socialism and of the dictatorship of the proletariat.

Such were the main theoretical principles expounded by Lenin in What is To Be Done?

As a result of the wide circulation of this book, by the time of the Second Congress of the Russian Social-Democratic Party, that is, within a year after its publication (it appeared in March 1902), nothing but a distasteful memory remained of the ideological stand of "Economism," and to be called an "Economist" was regarded by the majority of the members of the Party as an insult.

It was a complete ideological defeat for "Economism," for the ideology of opportunism, khvostism and spontaneity.

But this does not exhaust the significance of Lenin's What is To Be Done?

The historic significance of this celebrated book lies in the fact that in it Lenin:

1) For the first time in the history of Marxist thought, laid bare the ideological roots of opportunism, showing that they principally consisted in worshipping the spontaneous working-class movement and belittling the role of Socialist consciousness in the working-class movement;

2) Brought out the great importance of theory, of consciousness, and of the Party as a revolutionizing and guiding force of the spontaneous working-class movement;

3) Brilliantly substantiated the fundamental Marxist thesis that a Marxist party is a union of the working-class movement with Socialism;

4) Gave a brilliant exposition of the ideological foundations of a Marxist party.

The theoretical theses expounded in What is To Be Done? later became the foundation of the ideology of the Bolshevik Party.

Possessing such a wealth of theory, Iskra was able to, and actually did, develop an extensive campaign for Lenin's plan for the building of the Party, for mustering its forces, for calling the Second Party Congress, for revolutionary Social-Democracy, and against the "Economists," revisionists, and opportunists of all kinds.

One of the most important things that Iskra did was to draft a program for the Party. The program of a workers' party, as we know, is a brief, scientifically formulated statement of the aims and objects of the struggle of the working class. The program defines both the ultimate goal of the revolutionary movement of the proletariat, and the demands for which the party fights while on the way to the achievement of the ultimate goal. The drafting of a program was therefore a matter of prime importance.

During the drafting of the program serious differences arose on the editorial board of Iskra between Lenin, on the one hand, and Plekhanov and other members of the board, on the other. These differences and disputes almost led to a complete rupture between Lenin and Plekhanov. But matters did not come to a head at that time. Lenin secured the inclusion in the draft program of a most important clause on the dictatorship of the proletariat and of a clear statement on the leading role of the working class in the revolution.

It was Lenin, too, who drew up the whole agrarian section of the program. Already at that time Lenin was in favour of the nationalization of the land, but he considered it necessary in the first stage of the struggle to put forward the demand for the return to the peasants of the otrezki, that is, those portions of the land which had been cut off the peasants' land by the landlords at the time of "emancipation" of the peasants. Plekhanov was opposed to the demand for the nationalization of the land.

The disputes between Lenin and Plekhanov over the Party program to some extent determined the future differences between the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks.

Second Congress of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party. Adoption of program and rules and formation of a single party. Differences at the Congress and appearance of two trends within the party: the Bolshevik and the Menshevik

Thus the triumph of Lenin's principles and the successful struggle waged by Iskra for Lenin's plan of organization brought about all the principal conditions necessary for the creation of a party, or, as it was said at the time, of a real party. The Iskra trend gained the upper hand among the Social-Democratic organizations in Russia. The Second Party Congress could now be summoned.

The Second Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. opened on July 17 (30, New Style), 1903. It was held abroad, in secret. It first met in Brussels, but the Belgian police requested the delegates to leave the country. Thereupon the congress transferred its sittings to London.

Forty-three delegates in all, representing 26 organizations, assembled at the congress. Each committee was entitled to send two delegates, but some of them sent only one. The 43 delegates commanded 51 votes between them.

The chief purpose of the congress was "to create a real party on that basis of principles and organization which had been advanced and elaborated by Iskra." (Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. II, p. 412.)

The composition of the congress was heterogeneous. The avowed "Economists" were not represented, because of the defeat they had suffered. But they had since disguised their views so artfully that they managed to smuggle several of their delegates into the congress. Moreover, the Bund delegates differed only ostensibly from the "Economists"; in reality they supported the "Economists."

Thus the congress was attended not only by supporters of Iskra, but also by its adversaries. Thirty-three of the delegates, that is, the majority, were supporters of Iskra. But not all those who considered themselves Iskra-ists were real Leninist Iskra-ists. The delegates fell into several groups. The supporters of Lenin, or the firm Iskra-ists, commanded 24 votes; nine of the Iskra-ists followed Martov; these were unstable Iskra-ists. Some of the delegates vacillated between Iskra and its opponents; they commanded 10 votes and constituted the Centre. The avowed opponents of Iskra commanded 8 votes (3 "Economists" and 5 Bundists). A split in the ranks of the Iskra-ists would be enough to give the enemies of Iskra the upper hand.

It will therefore be seen how complex the situation was at the congress. Lenin expended a great deal of energy to ensure the victory of Iskra.

The most important item on the agenda was the adoption of the Party program. The chief point which, during the discussion of the program, aroused the objections of the opportunist section of the congress was the question of the dictatorship of the proletariat. There were a number of other items in the program on which the opportunists did not agree with the revolutionary section of the congress. But they decided to put up the main fight on the question of the dictatorship of the proletariat, on the plea that the programs of a number of foreign Social-Democratic parties contained no clause on the dictatorship of the proletariat, and that therefore the program of the Russian Social-Democratic Party could dispense with it too.

The opportunists also objected to the inclusion in the Party program of demands on the peasant question. These people did not want revolution; they, therefore, fought shy of the ally of the working class—the peasantry—and adopted an unfriendly attitude towards it.

The Bundists and the Polish Social-Democrats objected to the right of nations to self-determination. Lenin had always taught that the working class must combat national oppression. To object to the inclusion of this demand in the program was tantamount to a proposal to renounce proletarian internationalism and to become accomplices in national oppression.

Lenin made short work of all these objections.

The congress adopted the program proposed by Iskra.

This program consisted of two parts : a maximum program and a minimum program. The maximum program dealt with the principal aim of the working-class party, namely, the Socialist revolution, the overthrow of the power of the capitalists, and the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat. The minimum program dealt with the immediate aims of the Party, aims to be achieved before the overthrow of the capitalist system and the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat, namely, the overthrow of the tsarist autocracy, the establishment of a democratic republic, the introduction of an 8-hour working day, the abolition of all survivals of serfdom in the countryside, and the restoration to the peasants of the cut-off lands (otrezki) of which they had been deprived by the landlords.

Subsequently, the Bolsheviks replaced the demand for the return of the otrezki by the demand for the confiscation of all the landed estates.

The program adopted by the Second Congress was a revolutionary program of the party of the working class.

It remained in force until the Eighth Party Congress, held after the victory of the proletarian revolution, when our Party adopted a new program.

Having adopted the program, the Second Party Congress proceeded to discuss the draft of the Party Rules. Now that the congress had adopted a program and had laid the foundation for the ideological unity of the Party, it had also to adopt Party Rules so as to put an end to amateurishness and the parochial outlook of the circles, to organizational disunity and the absence of strict discipline in the Party.

The adoption of the program had gone through comparatively smoothly, but fierce disputes arose at the congress over the Party Rules. The sharpest differences arose over the formulation of the first paragraph of the rules, dealing with Party membership. Who could be a member of the Party, what was to be the composition of the Party, what was to be the organizational nature of the Party, an organized whole or something amorphous?—such were the questions that arose in connection with the first paragraph of the rules. Two different formulations contested the ground: Lenin's formulation, which was supported by Plekhanov and the firm Iskra-ists; and Martov's formulation, which was supported by Axelrod, Zasulich, the unstable Iskra-ists, Trotsky, and all the avowed opportunists at the congress.

According to Lenin's formulation, one could be a member of the Party who accepted its program, supported it financially, and belonged to one of its organizations. Martov's formulation, while admitting that acceptance of the program and financial support of the Party were indispensable conditions of Party membership, did not, however, make it a condition that a Party member should belong to one of the Party organizations, maintaining that a Party member need not necessarily belong to a Party organization.

Lenin regarded the Party as an organized detachment, whose members cannot just enroll themselves in the Party, but must be admitted into the Party by one of its organizations, and hence must submit to Party discipline. Martov, on the other hand, regarded the Party as something organizationally amorphous, whose members enroll themselves in the Party and are therefore not obliged to submit to Party discipline, inasmuch as they do not belong to a Party organization.

Thus, unlike Lenin's formulation, Martov's formulation would throw the door of the Party wide open to unstable non-proletarian elements. On the eve of the bourgeois-democratic revolution there were people among the bourgeois intelligentsia who for a while sympathized with the revolution. From time to time they might even render some small service to the Party. But such people would not join an organization, submit to Party discipline, carry out Party tasks and run the accompanying risks. Yet Martov and the other Mensheviks proposed to regard such people as Party members, and to accord them the right and opportunity to influence Party affairs. They even proposed to grant any striker the right to "enrol" himself in the Party, although non-Socialists, Anarchists and Socialist-Revolutionaries also took part in strikes.

And so it was that instead of a monolithic and militant party with a clearly defined organization, for which Lenin and the Leninists fought at the congress, the Martovites wanted a heterogeneous and loose, amorphous party, which could not be a militant party with firm discipline because of its heterogeneous character, if for no other reason.

The breaking away of the unstable Iskra-ists from the firm Iskra-ists, their alliance with the Centrists, joined as they were by the avowed opportunists, turned the balance in favour of Martov on this point. By 28 votes to 22, with one abstention, the congress adopted Martov's formulation of the first paragraph of the Rules.

After the split in the ranks of the Iskra-ists over the first paragraph of the Rules the struggle at the congress became still more acute. The congress was coming to the last item on the agenda—the elections of the leading institutions of the Party: the editorial board of the central organ of the Party (Iskra), and the Central Committee. However, before the elections were reached, certain incidents occurred which changed the alignment of forces.

In connection with the Party Rules, the congress had to deal with the question of the Bund. The Bund laid claim to a special position within the Party. It demanded to be recognized as the sole representative of the Jewish workers in Russia. To comply with this demand would have meant to divide the workers in the Party organizations according to nationality, and to renounce common territorial class organizations of the workers. The congress rejected the system of organization on national lines proposed by the Bund. Thereupon the Bundists quit the congress. Two "Economists" also left the congress when the latter refused to recognize their Foreign League as the representative of the Party abroad.

The departure of these seven opportunists altered the balance of forces at the congress in favour of the Leninists.

From the very outset Lenin focussed his attention on the composition of the central institutions of the Party. He deemed it necessary that the Central Committee should be composed of staunch and consistent revolutionaries. The Martovites strove to secure the predominance of unstable, opportunist elements on the Central Committee. The majority of the congress supported Lenin on this question. The Central Committee that was elected consisted of Lenin's followers.

On Lenin's proposal, Lenin, Plekhanov and Martov were elected to the editorial board of Iskra. Martov had demanded the election of all the six former members of the Iskra editorial board, the majority of whom were Martov's followers. This demand was rejected by the majority of the congress. The three proposed by Lenin were elected. Martov thereupon announced that he would not join the editorial board of the central organ.

Thus, by its vote on the central institutions of the Party, the congress sealed the defeat of Martov's followers and the victory of Lenin's followers.

From that time on, Lenin's followers, who received the majority of votes in the elections at the congress, have been called Bolsheviks (from bolshinstvo, majority), and Lenin's opponents, who received the minority of votes, have been called Mensheviks (from menshinstvo, minority).

Summing up the work of the Second Congress, the following conclusions may be drawn:

1) The congress sealed the victory of Marxism over "Economism," over open opportunism.

2) The congress adopted a Program and Rules, created the Social-Democratic Party, and thus built the framework of a single party.

3) The congress revealed the existence of grave differences over questions of organization which divided the Party into two sections, the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks, of whom the former championed the organizational principles of revolutionary Social-Democracy, while the latter sank into the bog of organizational looseness and of opportunism.

4) The congress showed that the place of the old opportunists, the "Economists," who had already been defeated by the Party, was being taken by new opportunists, the Mensheviks.

5) The congress did not prove equal to its task in matters of organization, showed vacillation, and at times even gave the preponderance to the Mensheviks; and although it corrected its position towards the end, it was nevertheless unable to expose the opportunism of the Mensheviks on matters of organization and to isolate them in the Party, or even to put such a task before the Party.

This latter circumstance proved one of the main reasons why the struggle between the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks, far from subsiding after the congress, becameevenmoreacute.

Splitting activities of the Menshevik leaders and sharpening of the struggle within the party after the second congress. Opportunism of the Menshevik. Lenin’s book, One step forward, two steps back. Organizational principles of the Marxist party

After the Second Congress the struggle within the Party became even more acute. The Mensheviks did their utmost to frustrate the decisions of the Second Congress and to seize the central institutions of the Party. They demanded that their representatives be included in the editorial board of Iskra and in the Central Committee in such numbers as would give them a majority on the editorial board and parity with the Bolsheviks on the Central Committee. As this ran directly counter to the decisions of the Second Congress, the Bolsheviks rejected the Menshevik's demand. Thereupon the Mensheviks, secretly from the Party, created their own anti-Party factional organization, headed by Martov, Trotsky and Axelrod, and, as Martov wrote, "broke into revolt against Leninism." The methods they adopted for combating the Party were, as Lenin expressed it, "to disorganize the whole Party work, damage the cause, and hamper all and everything." They entrenched themselves in the Foreign League of Russian Social-Democrats, nine-tenths of whom were emigre intellectuals isolated from the work in Russia, and from this position they opened fire on the Party, on Lenin and the Leninists.

The Mensheviks received considerable help from Plekhanov. At the Second Congress Plekhanov sided with Lenin. But after the Second Congress he allowed the Mensheviks to intimidate him with threats of a split. He decided to "make peace" with the Mensheviks at all costs. It was the deadweight of his earlier opportunist mistakes that dragged Plekhanov down to the Mensheviks. From an advocate of reconciliation with the opportunist Mensheviks he soon became a Menshevik himself. Plekhanov demanded that all the former Menshevik editors of the Iskra who had been rejected by the congress be included in the editorial board. Lenin, of course, could not agree to this and resigned from the Iskra editorial board in order to entrench himself in the Central Committee of the Party and to strike at the opportunists from this position. Acting by himself, and in defiance of the will of the congress, Plekhanov co-opted the former Menshevik editors to the editorial board of Iskra. From that moment on, beginning with the 52nd issue of Iskra, the Mensheviks converted it into their own organ and began to propagate their opportunist views in its columns.

Ever since then Lenin's Bolshevik Iskra has been known in the Party as the old Iskra, and the Menshevik, opportunist Iskra as the new Iskra.

When it passed into the hands of the Mensheviks, Iskra became a weapon in the fight against Lenin and the Bolsheviks, and an organ for the propaganda of Menshevik opportunism, primarily on questions of organization. Joining forces with the "Economists" and the Bundists, the Mensheviks started a campaign in the columns of Iskra, as they said, against Leninism. Plekhanov could not stick to his position as an advocate of conciliation, and soon he too joined the campaign. This was bound to happen by the very logic of things: whoever insists on a conciliatory attitude towards opportunists is bound to sink to opportunism himself. There began to flow from the columns of the new Iskra, as from a cornucopia, articles and statements claiming that the Party ought not to be an organized whole; that free groups and individuals should be allowed within its ranks without any obligation to submit to the decisions of its organs; that every intellectual who sympathized with the Party, as well as "every striker" and "every participant in a demonstration," should be allowed to declare himself a Party member; that the demand for obedience to all the decisions of the Party was "formal and bureaucratic"; that the demand that the minority must submit to the majority meant the "mechanical suppression" of the will of Party members; that the demand that all Party members—both leaders and rank-and-filers— should equally observe Party discipline meant establishing "serfdom" within the Party; that what "we" needed in the Party was not centralism but anarchist "autonomism" which would permit individuals and Party organizations not to obey the decisions of the Party.

This was unbridled propaganda of organizational license, which would undermine the Party principle and Party discipline; it was glorification of the individualism of the intelligentsia, and a justification of the anarchist contempt of discipline.

The Mensheviks were obviously trying to drag the Party back from the Second Congress to the old organizational disunity, to the old parochial outlook of the circles and the old amateurish methods.

A vigorous rebuff had to be given the Mensheviks.

This rebuff was administered by Lenin in his celebrated book, One Step Forward, Two Steps Back, published in May 1904.

The following are the main organizational principles which Lenin expounded in his book, and which afterwards came to form the organizational foundations of the Bolshevik Party.

1) The Marxist Party is a part, a detachment, of the working class. But the working class has many detachments, and hence not every detachment of the working class can be called a party of the working class. The Party differs from other detachments of the working class primarily by the fact that it is not an ordinary detachment, but the vanguard detachment, a class-conscious detachment, a Marxist detachment of the working class, armed with a knowledge of the life of society, of the laws of its development and of the laws of the class struggle, and for this reason able to lead the working class and to direct its struggle. The Party must therefore not be confused with the working class, as the part must not be confused with the whole. One cannot demand that every striker be allowed to call himself a member of the Party, for whoever confuses Party and class lowers the level of consciousness of the Party to that of "every striker," destroys the Party as the class-conscious vanguard of the working class. It is not the task of the Party to lower its level to that of "every striker," but to elevate the masses of the workers, to elevate "every striker" to the level of the Party.

“We are the party of a class,” Lenin wrote, “and therefore almost the entire class (and in times of war, in the period of civil war, the entire class) should act under the leadership of our Party, should adhere to our Party as closely as possible. But it would be Manilovism (smug complacency) and 'khvostism' (following in the tail) to think that at any time under capitalism the entire class, or almost the entire class, would be able to rise to the level of consciousness and activity of its vanguard, of its Social-Democratic Party. No sensible Social-Democrat has ever yet doubted that under capitalism even the trade union organizations (which are more primitive and more comprehensible to the undeveloped strata) are unable to embrace the entire, or almost the entire working class. To forget the distinction between the vanguard and the whole of the masses which gravitate towards it, to forget the constant duty of the vanguard to raise ever wider strata to this most advanced level, means merely to deceive oneself, to shut one's eyes to the immensity of our tasks, and to narrow down these tasks.”

2) The Party is not only the vanguard, the class-conscious detachment of the working class, but also an organized detachment of the working class, with its own discipline, which is binding on its members. Hence Party members must necessarily be members of some organization of the Party. If the Party were not an organized detachment of the class, not a system of organization, but a mere agglomeration of persons who declare themselves to be Party members but do not belong to any Party organization and therefore are not organized, hence not obliged to obey Party decisions, the Party would never have a united will, it could never achieve the united action of its members, and, consequently, it would be unable to direct the struggle of the working class. The Party can lead the practical struggle of the working class and direct it towards one aim only if all its members are organized in one common detachment, welded together by unity of will, unity of action and unity of discipline. The objection raised by the Mensheviks that in that case many intellectuals—for example, professors, university and high school students, etc.—would remain outside the ranks of the Party, since they would not want to join any of the organizations of the Party, either because they shrink from Party discipline, or, as Plekhanov said at the Second Congress, because they consider it "beneath their dignity to join some local organization"—this Menshevik objection recoiled on the heads of the Mensheviks themselves; for the Party does not need members who shrink from Party discipline and fear to join the Party organization. Workers did not fear discipline and organization, and they willingly join the organization if they have made up their minds to be Party members. It is the individualistic intellectuals who fear discipline and organization, and they would indeed remain outside the ranks of the Party. But that was all to the good, for the Party would be spared that influx of unstable elements, which had become particularly marked at that time, when the bourgeois democratic revolution was on the upgrade.

“When I say,” Lenin wrote, “that the Party should be a sum (and not a mere arithmetical sum, but a complex) of organizations. . . I thereby express clearly and precisely my wish, my demand, that the Party, as the vanguard of the class, should be as organized as possible, that the Party should admit to its ranks only such elements as lend themselves to at least a minimum of organization. . . .”

And further:

“Martov's formulation ostensibly defends the interests of the broad strata of the proletariat, but in fact, it serves the interests of the bourgeois intellectuals, who fight shy of proletarian discipline and organization. No one will undertake to deny that it is precisely its individualism and incapacity for discipline and organization that in general distinguish the intelligentsia as a separate stratum of modern capitalist society.”

And again:

“The proletariat is not afraid of organization and discipline. . . . The proletariat will do nothing to have the worthy professors and high school students, who do not want to join an organization, recognized as Party members merely because they work under the control of an organization. . . . It is not the proletariat, but certain intellectuals in our Party who lack self-training in the spirit of organization and discipline.”

3) The Party is not merely an organized detachment, but "the highest of all forms of organization" of the working class, and it is its mission to guide all the other organizations of the working class. As the highest form of organization, consisting of the finest members of the class, armed with an advanced theory, with knowledge of the laws of the class struggle and with the experience of the revolutionary movement, the Party has every opportunity of guiding—and is obliged to guide—all the other organizations of the working class. The attempt of the Men-sheviks to belittle and depreciate the leading role of the Party tends to weaken all the other organizations of the proletariat which are guided by the Party, and, consequently, to weaken and disarm the proletariat, for "in its struggle for power the proletariat has no other weapon but organization." (Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. II, p. 466.) 4) The Party is an embodiment of the connection of the vanguard of the working class with the working class millions. However fine a vanguard the Party may be, and however well it may be organized, it cannot exist and develop without connections with the non-Party masses, and without multiplying and strengthening these connections. A party which shuts itself up in its own shell, isolates itself from the masses, and loses, or even relaxes, its connections with its class is bound to lose the confidence and support of the masses, and, consequently, is surely bound to perish. In order to live to the full and to develop, the Party must multiply its connections with the masses and win the confidence of the millions of its class.

“In order to be a Social-Democratic party,” Lenin said, “we must win the support precisely of the class.”

5) In order to function properly and to guide the masses systematically, the Party must be organized on the principle of centralism, having one set of rules and uniform Party discipline, one leading organ— the Party Congress, and in the intervals between congresses—the Central Committee of the Party; the minority must submit to the majority, the various organizations must submit to the centre, and lower organizations to higher organizations. Falling these conditions, the party of the working class cannot be a real party and cannot carry out its tasks in guiding the class. Of course, as under the tsarist autocracy the Party existed illegally the Party organizations could not in those days be built up on the principle of election from below, and as a consequence, the Party had to be strictly conspiratorial. But Lenin considered that this temporary feature in the life of our Party would at once lapse with the elimination of tsardom, when the Party would become open and legal, and the Party organizations would be built up on the principles of democratic elections, of democratic centralism.

Formerly,” Lenin wrote, “our Party was not a formally organized whole, but only the sum of separate groups, and, therefore, no other relations except those of ideological influence were possible between these groups. Now we have become an organized Party, and this implies the establishment of authority, the transformation of the power of ideas into the power of authority, the subordination of lower Party bodies to higher Party bodies.”

Accusing the Mensheviks of organizational nihilism and of aristocratic anarchism which would not submit to the authority of the Party and its discipline, Lenin wrote:

“This aristocratic anarchism is particularly characteristic of the Russian nihilist. He thinks of the Party organization as a monstrous 'factory'; he regards the subordination of the part to the whole and of the minority to the majority as 'serfdom' . . . division of labour under the direction of a centre evokes from him a tragicomical outcry against people being transformed into 'wheels and cogs' (to turn editors into contributors being considered a particularly atrocious species of such transformation); mention of the organizational rules of the Party calls forth a contemptuous grimace and the disdainful remark (intended for the 'formalists') that one could very well dispense with rules altogether.”

6) In its practical work, if it wants to preserve the unity of its ranks, the Party must impose a common proletarian discipline, equally binding on all Party members, both leaders and rank-and-file. Therefore there should be no division within the Party into the "chosen few," on whom discipline is not binding, and the "many," on whom discipline is binding. If this condition is not observed, the integrity of the Party and the unity of its ranks cannot be maintained.

“The complete absence of sensible arguments on the part of Martov and Co. against the editorial board appointed by the congress," Lenin wrote, "is best of all shown by their own catchword: 'We are not serfs!' . . . The mentality of the bourgeois intellectual, who regards himself as one of the 'chosen few' standing above mass organization and mass discipline, is expressed here with remarkable clarity. . . . It seems to the individualism of the intelligentsia . . . that all proletarian organization and discipline is serfdom.

And further:

“As we proceed with the building of a real party, the class-conscious worker must learn to distinguish the mentality of the soldier of the proletarian army from the mentality of the bourgeois intellectual who makes a display of anarchist phraseology, he must learn to demand that the duties of a Party member be fulfilled not only by the rank-and-filers, but by the 'people at the top' as well.”

Summing up his analysis of the differences, and defining the position of the Mensheviks as "opportunism in matters of organization," Lenin considered that one of the gravest sins of Menshevism lay in its underestimation of the importance of party organization as a weapon of the proletariat in the struggle for its emancipation. The Mensheviks held that the party organization of the proletariat was of no great importance for the victory of the revolution. Contrary to the Mensheviks, Lenin held that the ideological unity of the proletariat alone was not enough for victory; if victory was to be won, ideological unity would have to be "consolidated" by the "material unity of organization" of the proletariat. Only on this condition, Lenin considered, could the proletariat become an invincible force.

“In its struggle for power,” Lenin wrote, “the proletariat has no other weapon but organization. Disunited by the rule of anarchic competition in the bourgeois world, ground down by forced labour for capital, constantly thrust back to the 'lower depths' of utter destitution, savagery and degeneration, the proletariat can become, and inevitably will become, an invincible force only when its ideological unification by the principles of Marxism is consolidated by the material unity of an organization which will weld millions of toilers into an army of the working class. Neither the decrepit rule of Russian tsardom, nor the senile rule of international capital will be able to withstand this army.”

With these prophetic words Lenin concludes his book.

Such were the fundamental organizational principles set forth by Lenin in his famous book, One Step Forward, Two Steps Back.

The importance of this book lies primarily in the fact that it successfully upheld the Party principle against the circle principle, and the Party against the disorganizers; that it smashed the opportunism of the Men-sheviks on questions of organization, and laid the organizational foundations of the Bolshevik Party.

But this does not exhaust its significance. Its historic significance lies in the fact that in it Lenin, for the first time in the history of Marxism, elaborated the doctrine of the Party as the leading organization of the proletariat, as the principal weapon of the proletariat, without which the struggle for the dictatorship of the proletariat cannot be won.

The circulation of Lenin's book, One Step Forward, Two Steps Back, among the Party workers led the majority of the local organizations to rally to the side of Lenin.

But the more closely the organizations rallied around the Bolsheviks, the more malicious became the behaviour of the Menshevik leaders.

In the summer of 1904, thanks to Plekhanov's assistance and the treachery of Krassin and Noskov, two demoralized Bolsheviks, the Mensheviks captured the majority on the Central Committee. It was obvious that the Mensheviks were working for a split. The loss of Iskra and of the Central Committee put the Bolsheviks in a difficult position. It became necessary for them to organize their own Bolshevik newspaper.

It became necessary to make arrangements for a new Party congress, the Third Congress, so as to set up a new Central Committee and to settle accounts with the Mensheviks.

And this is what the Bolsheviks, headed by Lenin, set to work to do.

The Bolsheviks started a campaign for the summoning of the Third Party Congress. In August 1904, under Lenin's guidance, a conference of twenty-two Bolsheviks was held in Switzerland. The conference adopted an appeal addressed "To the Party." This appeal served the Bolsheviks as a program in their struggle for the summoning of the Third Congress.

At three regional conferences of Bolshevik Committees (Southern, Caucasian and Northern), a Bureau of Committees of the Majority was elected, which undertook the practical preparations for the Third Party Congress.

On January 4, 1905, the first issue of the Bolshevik newspaper Vperyod (Forward) appeared.

Thus two separate groups arose within the Party, the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks, each with its own central body and its own press.

Brief summary

In the period 1901-04, with the growth of the revolutionary working-class movement, the Marxist Social-Democratic organizations in Russia grew and gained strength. In the stubborn struggle over principles, waged against the "Economists," the revolutionary line of Lenin's Iskra gained the victory, and the ideological confusion and "amateurish methods of work" were overcome.

Iskra linked up the scattered Social-Democratic circles and groups and prepared the way for the convocation of the Second Party Congress. At the Second Congress, held in 1903, the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party was formed, a Party Program and Rules were adopted, and the central leading organs of the Party were set up.

In the struggle waged at the Second Congress for the complete victory of the Iskra trend in the R.S.D.L.P. there emerged two groups —the Bolshevik group and the Menshevik group.

The chief differences between the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks after the Second Congress centred round questions of organization.

The Mensheviks drew closer to the "Economists" and took their place within the Party. For the time being the opportunism of the Mensheviks revealed itself in questions of organization. The Mensheviks were opposed to a militant revolutionary party of the type advocated by Lenin. They wanted a loose, unorganized, khvostist party. They worked to split the ranks of the Party. With Plekhanov's help, they seized Iskra and the Central Committee, and used these central organs for their own purposes—to split the Party.

Seeing that the Mensheviks were threatening a split, the Bolsheviks adopted measures to curb the splitters; they mustered the local organizations to back the convocation of a Third Congress, and they started their own newspaper, Vperyod.

Thus, on the eve of the first Russian revolution, when the Russo-Japanese war had already begun, the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks acted as two separate political groups.

The Mensheviks and the Bolsheviks in the period of the Russo-Japanese war and the first Russian revolution (1904—1907)

Russo-Japanese war. Further rise of the revolutionary movement in Russia. Strikes in St. Petersburg. Workers’ demonstration before the Winter Palace on January 9, 1905. Demonstration fired upon. Outbreak of the Revolution

Workers' political strikes and demonstrations. Growth of the revolutionary movement among the peasants. Revolt on the Battleship Potemkin

Tactical differences between Bolsheviks and Mensheviks. Third party congress. Lenin’s Two tactics of Social-Democracy in the Democratic Revolution. Tactical foundations of the Marxist party

Further Rise of the Revolution. All-Russian Political Strike of October 1905. Retreat of Tsardom. The Tsar’s manifesto. Rise of the Soviets of workers’ deputies

December armed uprising. Defeat of the uprising. Retreat of the revolution. First State Duma. Fourth (Unity) Party Congress

Dispersion of the First State Duma. Convocation of the Second State Duma. Fifth Party Congress. Dispersion of the Second State Duma. Causes of the defeat of the First Russian Revolution

Brief summary

The Mensheviks and the Bolsheviks in the period of the Stolypin reaction. The Bolsheviks constitute themselves an independent marxist party (1908—1912)

Stolypin reaction. Disintegration among the oppositional intelligentsia. Decadence. Desertion of a section of the party intelligentsia to the enemies of Marxism and attempts to revise the theory of Marxism. Lenin’s rebutal of the revisionists in his Materialism and empiriocriticism and his defense of the theoretical foundations of the Marxist party

Dialectical and historical materialism

Bolsheviks and Mensheviks in the period of the Stolypin reaction. Struggle of the Bolsheviks against the liquidators and Otzovists

Struggle of the Bolsheviks against Trotskyism. Anti-party August bloc

Prague party conference, 1912. Bolsheviks constitute themselves an independent Marxist party

Brief summary

The Bolshevik party during the new rise of the working-class movement before the first imperialist war (1912—1914)

Rise of the revolutionary movement in the Period 1912—1914

The Bolshevik newspaper Pravda. The Bolshevik group in the Fourth State Duma

Victory of the Bolsheviks in the legally existing organizations. Continued rise of the revolutionary movement. Eve of the imperialist war

Brief summary

The Bolshevik party in the period of the imperialist war. The second revolution in Russia (1914—March 1917)

Outbreak and causes of the imperialist war

Parties of the Second International side with their imperialist governments. Disintegration of the Second International into separate chauvinist parties

Theory and tactics of the Bolshevik Party on the question of war, peace and revolution

Defeat of the tsarist army. Economic disruption. Crisis of Tsardom

The February revolution. Fall of Tsardom. Formation of soviets of workers’ and soldiers’ deputies. Formation of the provisional government. Dual power

Brief summary

The Bolshevik party in the period of preparation and realization of the October socialist revolution (April 1917—1918)

Situation in the country after the February revolution. Party emerges from underground and passes to open political work. Lenin arrives in Petrograd. Lenin’s April theses. Party’s policy of transition to socialist revolution

Beginning of the crisis of the provisional government. April conference of the Bolshevik Party

Successes of the Bolshevik Party in the capital. Abortive offensive of the armies of the provisional government. Suppression of the July demonstration of workers and soldiers

The Bolshevik Party adopts the course of preparing for armed uprising. Sixth party congress

General Kornilov’s plot against the revolution. Suppression of the plot. Petrograd and Moscow soviets go over to the Bolsheviks

October uprising in Petrograd and arrest of the provisional government. Second congress of soviets and formation of the soviet government. Decrees of the second congress of soviets on peace and land. Victory of the socialist revolution. Reasons for the victory of the socialist revolution

Struggle of the Bolshevik Party to consolidate the soviet power. Peace of Brest-Litovsk. Seventh party congress

Lenin’s plan for the initial steps in socialist construction. Committees of the poor peasants and the curbing of the kulaks. Revolt of the “left” socialist-revolutionaries and its suppression. Fifth congress of soviets and adoption of the constitution of the RSFSR

Brief summary

The Bolshevik party in the period of foreign military intervention and civil war (1918—1920)

Beginning of foreign military intervention. First period of the civil war

Defeat of Germany in the war. Revolution in Germany. Founding of the Third International. Eighth party congress

Extension of intervention. Blockade of the soviet country. Kolchak’s campaign and defeat. Denikin’s campaign and defeat. A three-months’ respite. Ninth party congress

Polish gentry attack Soviet Russia. General Wrangel’s campaign. Failure of the Polish plan. Rout of Wrangel. End of the intervention

How and why the Soviet Republic defeated the combined forces of British-French-Japanese-Polish intervention and of the Bourgeois-Landlord-Whiteguard counter-revolution in Russia

Brief summary

The Bolshevik party in the period of transition to the peaceful work of economic restoration (1921—1925)

Soviet Republic after the defeat of the intervention and end of the civil war. Difficulties of the restoration period

Party discussion on the Trade Unions. Tenth party congress. Defeat of the opposition. Adoption of the New Economic Policy (NEP)

First results of NEP. Eleventh party congress. Formation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Lenin’s Illness. Lenin’s co-operative plan. Twelfth party congress

Struggle against the difficulties of economic restoration. Trotskyites take advantage of Lenin’s illness to increase their activity. New party discussion. Defeat of the Trotskyites. Death of Lenin. The Lenin enrolment. Thirteenth party congress

The Soviet Union towards the end of the restoration period. The question of socialist construction and the victory of socialism in our country. Zinoviev-Kamenev “new opposition.” Fourteenth party congress. Policy of socialist industrialization of the country

Brief summary

The Bolshevik party in the struggle for the socialist industrialization of the country (1926—1929)

Difficulties in the period of socialist industrialization and the fight to overcome them. Formation of the anti-party bloc of Trotskyites and Zinovievites. Anti-soviet actions of the bloc. Defeat of the bloc

Progress of socialist industrialization. Agriculture lags. Fifteenth party congress. Policy of collectivization in agriculture. Rout of the bloc of Trotskyites and Zinovievites. Political duplicity

Offensive against the kulaks. The Bukharin-Rykov anti-party group. Adoption of the first five-year plan. Socialist emulation. Beginning of the mass collective-farm movement

Brief summary

The Bolshevik party in the struggle for the collectivization of agriculture (1930—1934)

International situation in 1930—1934. Economic crisis in the capitalist countries. Japanese annexation of Manchuria. Fascists’ advent to power in Germany. Two seats of war

From the policy of restricting the kulak elements to the policy of eliminating the kulaks as a class. Struggle against distortions of the party policy in the collective-farm movement. Offensive against the capitalist elements along the whole line. Sixteenth party congress

Policy of reconstructing all branches of the national economy. Importance of technique. Further spread of the collective-farm movement. Political departments of the machine and tractor stations. Results of the fulfilment of the five-year plan in four years. Victory of socialism along the whole front. Seventeenth party congress

Degeneration of the Bukharinites into political double-dealers. Degeneration of the Trotskyite double-dealers into a white-guard gang of assassins and spies. Foul murder of S. M. Kirov. Measures of the party to heighten Bolshevik vigilance.

Brief summary

The Bolshevik party in the struggle to complete the building of the socialist society. Introduction of the new constitution (1935—1937)

International situation in 1935—1937. Temporary mitigation of the economic crisis. Beginning of a new economic crisis. Seizure of Ethiopia by Italy. German and Italian intervention in Spain. Japanese invasion of central China. Beginning of the second imperialist war

Further progress of industry and agriculture in the USSR. Second five-year plan fulfilled ahead of time. Reconstruction of agriculture and completion of collectivization. Importance of cadres. Stakhanov movement. Rising standard of welfare. Rising cultural standard. Strength of the soviet revolution

Eighth congress of soviets. Adoption of the new constitution of the USSR

Liquidation of the remnants of the Bukharin-Trotsky gang of spies, wreckers and traitors to the country. Preparations for the election of the supreme soviet of the USSR. Broad inner-party democracy as the party’s course. Election of the supreme soviet of the USSR

Conclusion