Bureau of Committees of the Majority BCM

Bureau of Committees of the Majority (BCM)

 

All-Russian Bolshevist party center, established on the initiative of V. I. Lenin at the end of 1904 to provide guidance for local organizations and to convoke the Third Congress of the RSDLP. The need for such a center arose from dissentient action of the Mensheviks, who, after the Second Congress of the RSDLP, had captured the majority in the party leadership bodies—the Central Committee, the party council, and the editorial board of the central organ, Iskra. In the face of a sharpened internal party struggle, it became the principal task of the Bolsheviks to convoke the Third Congress of the RSDLP. The Mensheviks opposed this, fearing the loss of the party centers they had usurped. An important role in preparing for the Third Congress of the RSDLP was played by the Conference of 22 Bolsheviks, held in August 1904 in Geneva on Lenin’s initiative. The conference issued the appeal “To the Party,” presenting a program of struggle for the congress, and decided to establish a Bolshevik center in Russia—the Bureau of Committees of the Majority—to take charge of the practical work of preparing for the congress. This center was created at three oblast conferences—the southern (Odessa, Nikolaev, and Ekaterinoslav committees), the northern (St. Petersburg, Moscow, Nizhni Novgorod, northern, Tver, and Riga committees), and the Caucasus (Tiflis, Baku, Batum, and Imeretin-Mingrely committees). Because of the conspiratorial conditions of the work, the party documentation was limited, as a result of which it is difficult to establish the exact composition of the BCM. Among those elected to it were A. A. Bogdanov, S. I. Gusev, R. S. Zemliachka, M. M. Litvinov, M. N. Liadov, and P. P. Rumiantsev. At the same time the newspaper Vpered was founded as the organ of the majority. The BCM and the newspaper were led by Lenin.

A struggle flared up between the BCM and the Menshevik centers for control of the social-democratic committees. On Jan. 21 (Feb. 3) 1905, in St. Petersburg, the BCM issued the Notice of the Convocation of the Third Party Congress as a separate leaflet; on Feb. 15 (28), 1905, it appeared in the newspaper Vpered. In March 1905, 21 of the 28 RSDLP committees came out in favor of the convocation of the congress. In these circumstances the Menshevik-dominated Central Committee of the RSDLP was compelled to change its attitude to the congress and to enter into negotiations with the BCM. On March 12 (25) an agreement was reached between the BCM and the Central Committee on the convocation of the Congress, and the Organizational Committee was formed, consisting of members of the BCM and of the Central Committee. However, the Mensheviks did not take part in the preparation or in the work of the congress. The activities of the BCM played an important role in the convocation of the Third Congress of the RSDLP.

REFERENCES

Lenin, V. I. “Izveshchenie ob obrazovanii Biuro komitetov bol’shinstva.” Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 9.
Lenin, V. I. “Izveshchenie ob obrazovannii organizatsionnogo komiteta i o sozyve III ocherednogo s”ezda RSDRP.” Ibid.
Lenin, V.l. “Uchastnikam konferentsii Iuzhnykh komitetov i Iuzhnomu biuro TsK RSDRP. Ibid., vol. 46.
“Biuro komitetov bol’shinstva.” In Tretii s”ezd RSDRP: Sbornik dokumentov i materialov. Moscow, 1955.
Liadov, M. N. Iz zhinzni partii 1903-1907 g. (Vospominaniia). Moscow, 1956.
Ol’minskii, M. S. Bor’ba za partiu posle II s”ezda RSDRP: Sb. st. 1904-1905 gg. Moscow, 1933.

G. V. ANTONOV

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