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(Yiddish, “union”), a petit-bourgeois nationalist organization composed mainly of Jewish artisans from the western oblasts of Russia. It was called the General Union of Jewish Workers in Lithuania, Poland, and Russia. It was formed in September 1897 at the founding congress of the Jewish social democratic groups in Vil’na. In the beginning it conducted socialist propaganda but, in the course of the struggle for the abolition of the discriminatory laws against Jews, it slipped to positions of nationalism. In 1898, at the First Congress of the RSDLP, the Bund joined the party as an autonomous organization, which was independent only in matters relating specifically to the Jewish proletariat. From 1901 on, it was the advocate of nationalism and separatism in the Russian labor movement, adopted opportunistic positions, supported the Economists and Mensheviks, and fought against Bolshevism. In 1901 the Bund began publishing an information leaflet abroad, Poslednie izvestiia (The Latest News, 256 issues were published before January 1906). The central printed organs were Arberter Shtimme (The Worker’s Voice, published clandestinely in Russia) and Yiddisher Arberter (The Jewish Worker, published in Geneva by the Bund’s foreign committee). From December 1905 the Bund had legal publications in Russia. The Fourth Congress of the Bund (April 1901) demanded a reorganization of the RSDLP on federal principles. The opportunistic position and the nationalist tendencies of the Bund were sharply criticized by V. I. Lenin and the editors of Iskra (nos. 7 and 8). At the Second Congress of the RSDLP (1903), the Bundists fought for the federal principle in party organization, that is, the division of the party according to nationality. The Bund demanded to be recognized as the sole representative of the Jewish workers in the RSDLP. When the Bund’s claims were rejected, it left the RSDLP and allied itself with the Zionist movement of Poale Zion. V. I. Lenin, in the article “Does the Jewish Proletariat Need an ’Independent Political Party’ ” (1903), resolutely unmasked the harm of the nationalism preached by the Bund (see Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 7, pp. 117-22).
Under the impact of the general revolutionary upheaval, the Bund rejoined the RSDLP at the Fourth Congress of the RSDLP (the Unity Congress, 1906), but it adopted Men-shevik positions on all questions and did not fulfill the decision of the congress to unite social democrats in the provinces into single organizations. To the demand of the Bolshevik program on the right of nations to self-determination, the Bund opposed the demand (at the Sixth Congress of the Bund in 1905) of national cultural autonomy, which contributed to disunity among the forces of the proletariat. In the years of the Stolypin reaction, the Bund supported the liquidators and L. D. Trotsky. The Sixth (Prague) All-Russian Conference of the RSDLP (1912) expelled the Bundists from the party, along with other opportunists. During World War I (1914-18), the Bund adopted social chauvinistic positions. After the February Revolution of 1917, the Bundists joined the Mensheviks, supported the counterrevolutionary Provisional Government, and fought against the Bolshevik policy of transition to the socialist revolution. During the October Revolution the Bundists demanded the formation of a coalition government and, in December 1917, at their eighth congress, drew up tactics for fighting against the Soviet republic. While the leaders of the Bund (R. A. Abramovich, I. L. Eisenstadt) emigrated abroad and conducted anti-Soviet activity, a change of attitude toward a collaboration with the Soviet regime took place among the rank and file Bund members. In 1920, at their 12th conference in Moscow, the Bundists recognized the need for giving up the opposition tactics toward the Soviet regime. In March 1921, at their 13th conference in Minsk, the Bundists, despite the position of the right wing, adopted the decision of joining the RCP (Bolshevik) on the conditions proposed to them, that is, on general principles, which led to the self-liquidation of the Bund.
REFERENCESLenin, V. I. Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed. (See reference volume, part 1, pp. 52-53.)
KPSS v rezoliutsiiakh i resheniiakh s” ezdov, konferentsii i plenumov TsK, 7th ed., part 1. Moscow, 1954. Pages 47, 58, 113, 119, 132, 134, 270.
S. V. SHEPROV