From ProleWiki, the proletarian encyclopedia

The Mensheviks (from Russian меньшиство, "minority") were an opportunist group within the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party led by Julius Martov.


In 1903, at the Second Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party, they voted to allow members of the petty-bourgeoisie who sympathized with the proletariat to join the party. Soon after, they took control of Iskra, a formerly revolutionary socialist newspaper. In the summer of 1904, they gained a majority of seats in the Central Committee of the RSDLP.[1]

During the Russo-Japanese War, the Mensheviks, including Trotsky, sided with the tsarist government.[2]

The Mensheviks boycotted the Third Congress of the RSLDP in 1905 and held their own congress. They also supported the liberal bourgeoisie in the revolution of 1905.

During the Fourth Congress, the Mensheviks proposed giving land to local governments instead of nationalizing it.

The Mensheviks opposed the October Revolution and considered the USSR to be state capitalist.[3]


  1. Joseph Stalin (1939). History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolsheviks): 'Formation of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party. Appearances of the Bolshevik and the Menshevik Groups within the Party'. [MIA]
  2. “The Mensheviks, including Trotsky, were sinking to a position of defending the "fatherland" of the tsar, the landlords and the capitalists. The Bolsheviks, headed by Lenin, on the other hand, held that the defeat of the tsarist government in this predatory war would be useful, as it would weaken tsardom and strengthen the revolution.”

    Joseph Stalin (1939). History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolsheviks): 'The Mensheviks and the Bolsheviks in the Period of the Russo-Japanese War and the First Russian Revolution (1904–1907)'.
  3. Ludo Martens (1996). Another View of Stalin: 'The struggle against bureaucracy'.