Third Conference of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party

Third Conference of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party

 

(Second All-Russian Conference of the RSDLP), a conference held in Kotka, Finland, on July 21–23 (Aug. 3–5), 1907. It was convened by the Central Committee of the RSDLP to discuss tactical questions in connection with the counterrevolutionary coup d’etat of June 3 and the elections to the Third State Duma. The conference was attended by 26 delegates—nine Bolsheviks, five Mensheviks, five Polish Social Democrats, five Bundists, and two Latvian Social Democrats. Also attending the conference were members and candidate members of the party Central Committee elected at the Fifth Congress of the RSDLP in May 1907.

The following items were on the agenda of the conference: (1) participation in the elections to the Third State Duma; (2) electoral agreements with other parties; (3) the electoral platform; and (4) the All-Russian Congress of Trade Unions.

Three reports were heard on the first item on the agenda: speaking for the Bolsheviks were V. I. Lenin, who opposed a boycott of the elections, and A. A. Bogdanov, who was in its favor; F. I. Dan spoke for the Mensheviks and the Bund. The Mensheviks insisted on participating, together with the Cadets, in all the legislative work of the Duma. Lenin advocated using the election campaign, and later the Duma, to propagandize the party’s views. The Polish and Latvian Social Democrats supported Lenin. By a majority of votes, the conference adopted as a guiding principle Lenin’s draft resolution, which called for the party’s participation in the election campaign, and rejected the proposals of the Mensheviks and of the pro-boycott group headed by Bogdanov. After the defeat of their own draft, those favoring a boycott gave their support to Lenin’s resolution.

It was decided that the Social Democrats should campaign in the elections as independents and not enter into any electoral agreements. On the second ballet, agreements could be made with all parties to the left of the Cadets. At the second and at subsequent stages of the elections, which were to be held in many stages, agreements could be made with all revolutionary and opposition parties in the struggle against the rightists. In the workers’ curia no agreements were allowed with other parties and organizations except the national Social Democratic organizations that were not in the RSDLP and the Polish Socialist Party. The conference proposed that the Central Committee draw up an electoral platform on the basis of the adopted resolution on participation in the elections.

What started as a discussion about the All-Russian Congress of Trade Unions turned into a discussion on the relations between the party of the working class and the trade unions—this being the result of the Mensheviks’ attempt to revise the decision of the Fifth Congress of the RSDLP on the party’s ideological guidance of the trade unions. Two reports were heard: the first one argued for the party’s indispensable leadership of the trade unions, while the second one defended the trade unions’ “neutrality” with respect to the party. Four draft resolutions were submitted on the basis of the reports—Lenin’s Bolshevik draft, a Menshevik draft, and two compromise drafts. It was decided by the conference that all the draft resolutions on this question were to be submitted for consideration to the Central Committee of the RSDLP.

As directed by the conference, the RSDLP participated in the elections to the state Duma.

REFERENCES

Lenin, V. I. Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 16.
KPSS v rezoliutsiiakh i resheniiakh s”ezdov, konferentsii i plenumov TsK, 8thed., vol. 1. Moscow, 1970.

I. M. MISHAKOVA

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