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Section 4 - The Bolshevik/Menshevik dispute – organisational questions and appraisals of the 1905 revolution

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 November 2011

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Summary

50. SECOND PARTY CONGRESS: THE DEBATE ON CLAUSE 1 OF THE PARTY RULES (AUGUST 1903)

Russian Social Democratic Labour Party

Twenty-third session

2 (15) August, evening

(Present: 43 delegates with 51 mandates and 12 persons with consultative voice.)

MARTOV: Of all the objections raised against my formulation I shall concentrate on the one about the impracticability of my Clause 1, i.e. of control by party organisations over members of the party. I think the position is quite the reverse. Control is practicable insofar as the committee, having delegated a particular function to someone, will be able to keep watch over it. On the other hand, the aim towards which Lenin's rules are directed is essentially impracticable. For Lenin there are no organisations within the party other than ‘party organisations’. In my view, on the contrary, these organisations must exist. Life creates and breeds organisations more quickly than we can include them in the hierarchy of our militant organisation of professional revolutionaries. Lenin thinks that the Central Committee will confer the title of ‘party organisations’ only on those that are completely reliable on matters of principle. But Comrade Brouckere understands very well that life will assert itself and that the Central Committee, in order to avoid leaving a large number of organisations outside the party, will have to legitimise them, despite the fact that they are not completely reliable; for this reason Comrade Brouckere goes along with Lenin. But I think that, if this kind of organisation is ready to accept the party programme and party control, then we may admit it to the party, without thereby making it a party organisation.

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Marxism in Russia
Key Documents 1879–1906
, pp. 277 - 372
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 1983

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