an antiparty group formed outside of Russia in December 1909 from the ranks of the RSDLP at the initiative of A. A. Bogdanov and G. A. Aleksinskii.
Vpered was comprised of Otzovists, Ultimatists, and adherents of Bogostroitel’stvo. The group included G. A. Aleksinskii, A. A. Bogdanov, V. L. Shantser (Marat), A. V. Lunacharskii, M. N. Liadov, M. N. Pokrovskii, P. I. Lebedev-Polianskii, D. Z. Manuil’skii, V. R. Menzhinskii, A. V. Sokolov, Izrailevich, and F. I. Kalinin. For a while, A. M. Gorky and M. G. Tskhakaia were associated with the group. It had circles in Paris and Geneva, but with the exception of a circle in Tbilisi, the group had no viable organizations in Russia.
Before the closing of the faction school in Capri, participants in the group adopted the platform The Current Situation and the Tasks of the Party, written by Bogdanov, and sent it on Dec. 28, 1909, to the Central Committee of the RSDLP, together with notification of the formation of the group under the name “Vpered” and a request that it be officially confirmed as a literary organization. The platform was intended by the group’s participants to serve as a counterbalance to the resolution On the Present Moment and the Tasks of the Party, which had been written by V. I. Lenin and adopted by the fifth conference of the RSDLP in December 1908. In its platform Vpered, failing to understand the specifics of the situation in Russia following the coup d’etat of June 3, 1907, essentially opposed the party’s use of the Duma tribune and other semilegal and legal opportunities to participate in revolutionary work. The platform gave lip service to the goals of “creating” and “spreading among the masses a new proletarian culture,” “developing proletarian studies,” and “working out a proletarian philosophy.” With Machism and Bogostroitel’stvo as their ideological basis, the Vperedists slid to the position of demanding the merging of Marxism with religion and led a struggle against revolutionary Marxism. Led by Lenin, the Bolsheviks decisively opposed the group.
The 1909 conference of the extended editorial board of Proletarii condemned the Vperedists’ distortions of Marxism and their divisive activity; Bogdanov was expelled from the Bolshevik organization for his refusal to submit to the resolutions of the conference. In his article “Notes of a Publicist” (1910), Lenin exposed the essentially anti-Bolshevik, anti-Marxist character of the Vpered platform, characterizing it as the platform of adherents and defenders of Otzovism and Machism. At the plenum of the Central Committee of the RSDLP of January 1910, the Vperedists A. Bogdanov and V. Shantser (Marat), together with Mensheviks and Trotskyists and with the support of the “conciliators” L. Kamenev, G. Zinoviev, and others, opposed Lenin and his supporters, who had demanded the cessation of the Vperedists’ factional, divisive activity. Vpered refused to participate in the sixth (Prague) conference of the RSDLP of January 1912. It insisted on the right of factions to exist openly within the party, organized a new faction school in Bologna in 1910, and began publishing the faction collection Vpered. In August 1912 the group participated in the conference organized in Vienna by L. Trotsky, at which the August anti-party bloc was created. With the beginnings of an upsurge in the workers’ movement, a struggle took place in the group around a number of questions involving principles and organization. For all intents and purposes, the group broke up at the end of 1913. It ceased to exist after the February Revolution of 1917 and was never reorganized.
REFERENCESLenin, V. I. “Zametki publitsista.” Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 16.
Lenin, V. I. “Soveshchanie rasshirennoi redaktsii Proletariia.” Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 19.
Lenin, V. I. ‘“[Pis’ma] Uchenikam Kapriiskoi partiinoi shkoly, 30 avgusta 1909 i okt. 1909.” Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 47.
Lenin, V. I. “O fraktsii storonnikov otzovisma i bogostroitel’stva.” Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 19.
Lenin, V. I. “O fraktsii ‘vperedovtsev’.” Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 19.
Lenin, V. I. “O ‘vperedovtsakh’ i o gruppe ‘Vpered’.” Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 25.
KPSS v resoliutsiiakh i resheniiakh s”ezdov, konferentsii iplenumov TsK, 8th ed., part 1. Moscow, 1970, pp. 273–77.
M. G. VLASOV