Brünn Program

Brünn Program


a program on the national question adopted in September 1899 at the congress of the United Social Democratic Party of Austria in Brünn (Brno). It was the first attempt in the history of socialist parties to present a unified set of programmatic requirements in this area.

A draft program of cultural and national autonomy submitted by a southern Slavic organization was rejected, and a draft by the Central Committee of the Social Democratic Party, which pushed to the foreground the issue of national self-government on a territorial basis, was approved with minor changes. The Brünn Program envisaged the creation of nationally delimited, self-governing areas and their unification into autonomous extra-territorial unions instead of the historical crown lands of Austria-Hungary that had previously existed. Thus, the Brünn Program represented a compromise between the demand for territorial autonomy and the demand for cultural and national autonomy. V. I. Lenin regarded the concession to the idea of cultural and national autonomy in the Brünn Program as a mistake, a deviation from internationalism that opened the way for the penetration of reformist and nationalist ideology into the party. At the same time he also resolutely protested against the attempts of the Bundists, Mensheviks, and others to depict the Brünn Program as a direct proclamation of the principle of cultural and national autonomy and to use it to buttress their opportunist platform on the national question. The existence in the Brünn Program of erroneous, eclectic elements and the absence of a clearly formulated Marxist thesis on the right of nations to self-determination, even to the point of secession, created the groundwork for further deviations from Marxism on the national question by leaders of the Austrian Social Democrats and the ideologists of Austro-Marxism, who acted as theorists of cultural and national autonomy. This hurt the workers’ movement of Austria, contributing to the spread of reformist and nationalist views and increasing the tendency toward a split along national lines in both Social Democratic and trade union organizations.


Verhandlungen des Gesamtparteitages der Sozialdemokratie Österreichs, abgehalten zu Brünn vom 24. bis 29. September 1899. Vienna, 1899.
Debaty po natsional’nomu voprosu na Briunnskom parteitage. Kiev-St. Petersburg, 1906. (Translated from German.)


Lenin, V. I. Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 23, pp. 208-211, 314-22; vol. 24, pp. 130-50, 174-78, 223-29, 313-15; vol. 25, p. 144-47.
Prister, E. Kratkaia istoriia Avstrii. Moscow, 1952. Pages 462-79. (Translated from German.)
Böhm, J. “Nationale Problematik 1918.” Weg und Ziel, 1966, no. 9, p. 492.