Party Council

Party Council


one of the directing centers of the RSDLP from 1903 to 1905. The Party rules adopted at the Second Congress of the RSDLP in 1903 established the Party Council as the highest body of the party. The practical guidance of party work was assigned to the Central Committee, and ideological leadership and supervision of printed materials to the Central Organ. The Party Council was intended to coordinate the work of the Central Committee and that of the editorial board of the Central Organ, represent the party in dealings with other parties, reestablish the Central Committee and the editorial board of the Central Organ in the event of the arrest of their members, and convene party congresses.

The Central Committee and the editorial board of the Central Organ were each to appoint two members to the Party Council. A fifth member was to be appointed by the RSDLP congress (see Vtoroi S”ezd RSDRP: Protokoly, Moscow, 1959, p. 426). At the Second Congress of the RSDLP, V. I. Lenin and L. E. Gal’perin were appointed to the council from the Central Organ, and F. V. Lengnik and V. A. Noskov, from the Central Committee. The fifth member was G. V. Plekhanov, who also served as chairman. After Plekhanov embraced Menshevism and co-opted four Men-sheviks onto the editorial board of the Central Organ, Lenin resigned from the editorial board in November 1903 and temporarily resigned from the council; he was co-opted into the Central Committee on Nov. 6–8 (19–21), 1903. As a result of a change in staff, the council consisted of Plekhanov, L. Martov, and P. B. Aksel’rod from the Central Organ and Lengnik and Lenin from the Central Committee.

The conflict between the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks intensified. In January 1904, Lenin proposed the convocation of a third party congress as the only way to resolve the crisis within the party. The Party Council rejected this proposal. The Bolsheviks, however, began preparations for the congress, and the council declared all those who were to take part in it to be outside the party. Thus the Party Council became a weapon in the Mensheviks’ struggle against the Bolsheviks. The Third Congress of the RSDLP, convened in 1905, abolished the Party Council. The Central Committee was declared the party’s only directing center in the intervals between congresses and was given the power to appoint the editorial board of the Central Organ.


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