International Socialist No.

4

The Myth of Lenin's "Concept of The Party"
or What They Did to What Is To Be Done?
By Hal Draper

This article is reprinted with permission from the Hal own interpretation of WITBD, but a survey of Lenin's own
Draper Internet Archive. Although it is not new - it was opinions, recorded many limes, on the question raised,
written in 197} - comrades hax'e asked us to republish it viz.. tlie place of WITBD in his thought. According to tlie
because of its relevance to discussions in the International m\1h, endlessly repeated from book to book, Lenin's
Socialist Forum. Note that Draper has included Footnotes, "concept of the part>"—
referred to as [Footnote 1], etc, and reference notes to
give the source of quotations, referred to as [I], etc. 1. saw tlie party as consisting mainly of "intellectuals,"
on llie basis of a tlieor>' according to which workers
The myth for today is an axiom of what we may call cannot themselves develop to socialist consciousness;
Leninology - a branch of Kremlinology thai lias rapidly ratlier, the socialist idea is always and inevitably
grown in the hands of the various university Russian imported into tlie movement by bourgeois intellectuals;
Institutes, doctoral programs, political journalists, et al.
According to this axiom, Lenin's 1902 book What Is To Be 2. posited that tlie party is simply a band of
Done? (for short, IVITBD) represents Uie essential content "professional revoluUonaries" as distinct from a broad
of his "operational code" or "concept of the party"; all of working-class party;
Bolshevism and eventually Stalinism lies in ambush in its
pages; it is tlie canonical work of "Leninism" on party 3. repudiated any element of spontaneity or
organization, which in turn bears the original sin of spontaneous movement, in favor of engineered
totalitarianism. It establishes the "Leninist t>'pe of piuty" revolution only;
as an authoritarian structure controlled from the top by
"professional revolutionaries" of upper-class provenance 4. required that the party be organized not
lording it over a proletarian rank and file. democratically but as a bureaucratic or semimilitary
hierarchy.
My focus here will be on WITBD itself, and on Lenin's
views and practices in tlic period between WITBD and the In point of fact, we will see that tliese allegations are
Russian Revolution. Issues ramifying farther into tlie contrary to Lenin's views as many times repeated and
inevitable multitude of questions will not be treated in the explained by him, beginning with WITBD itself We will
same detail. indeed begin witli WITBD, where we will find sometliing
different from the m>lh. But even more important, it must
The Leninological axiom under discussion is commonly be understood tliat WITBD was not Lenin's last word - it
reinforced from two directions. As was pointed out by the was closer to being his first word. It is only the
prominent Lcninologist Utechin (for whom sec the Leninologists who write as if WITBD were tlie sum-total
appended Special Note), WITBD is given a simihu exalted of Lenin's writings on tlie issue.
position in tlie party schools of the Stalinist regime. In
fact, Utechin's way of demonstrating the basic importimce We will find, for example, tliat Lenin protested more than
of WITBD is to quote tlie Kremlin's official History of the once that liis initial formulations in WITBD were being
Communist Party of the Soviet Union on tliis point. Tlie distorted and misinterpreted by opponents, after which he
work, says Utechin (much like other Leninologists), went on to clarify and modify. If we want to know Lenin's
"became a guide-book for his followers in matters of "concept of the party" we must look at the formulations he
organization, strategy and tactics and...lias been adliercd to came to, after tliere liad been discussions and attacks.
by Communists ever since. Lenin himself consistently There is not a single prominent Leninologist who has even
applied these views... In WITBD...his argument has a mentioned this material in his exposition of WITBD's
general validity and has in fact been generally applied by original sin.
Communists..." [1] In short, both the Western
Leninologists and tlie Stalinists agree that Lenin's book
was a totalitarian bible: which is not surprising but docs 1. Socialist Consciousness and
not settle tlie matter. Intellectuals
"Lenin himself consistently applied tliese views": we will Let us start with the myth which claims that, according to
see how far from llie trulli tliis lies. My subject is not my Lenin's views in 1902 and forever, the workers cannot
P a g e 37

It was specifically formulated to from without and not sometliing tliat arose within it undermine and weaken Uie Uieoretical content of spontaneously. at any been put forward in an important article by the leading rale. in his eyes. and it turns out to be the product otKautsky's pen! When Lenin paraphrased it a few pages before. that Uie workers have no part in creating such an P a g e 38 . as is clear enough to anyone who really reads WITBD instead of relying only on Uie Lcninological Of course. Certainly Oiis young man Lenin was not (yet) so proletariat can create neither tlie one nor llie otlicr. Reform was the concern of today (the is the crux of Leninism forever and onward — though they movement). were arguing that all one needed was the This should give pause at least. and it was tliey who Uieoiy on the role of the proletariat. tliey endlessly repeat that favor of shortsighted concentration on the day-to-day the virtually nonexistent tlieory (nonexistent after WITBD) problems. But we will return to 1. but there is an introductory point to be made immediately as the accepted view of the movement (or so beforehand. of course. as a doctrine. say. Modem Again. Tlie Leninologists do not bcliave thereby seeking to shelve Uieoretical considerations in in diis fasliion. It is a curious fact that no one lias ever found this Lenin's formulaUon. the A'eue Zeit. and the for his. Uiat Uie scholar would tend to conclude tliat. even if Lenin perhaps spontaneous class activity of the trade-union movement held tliis theory in 1902. he no doubl figured Uiat it would do something production as. And this. almost a page long. socialism. individual members of this stratum tliat modem amending) precisely what was worst about Uie Kautsky socialism originated. passage from Kautsky's article. But it is curious. both arise out there was obviously a feeling of discomfort. If it did sometliing for Kautsk>''s economic science is as much a condition for socialist polemic." . never quote an>1hing other than WITBD. On tlie contrary. he seemed to think). Uie Bemsteinian Revisionists. It had based on a historical half-truUi. that no one lias sought to prove that by launching Uiis Marxist authorit>' of tlie International. alleged theory anywhere else in Lenin's voluminous writings. this was the point profound scientific knowledge. lias its roots in summaries. the goal is nothing" was Bernstein's dictum. It began: "Tliis does nol mean.that is. modem of his quoting it. he tied it up point. perhaps try to explain it. socialist consciousness is The first footnote was appended right alter the Kautsky something introduced into tlie proletarian class struggle passage quoted above. like exactly. a ongoing movement of the workers. So it turns out that the cmcial "Leninist" theoiy was (some said the "pope") of socialist theory: really Kautsky's. and why his theory was international socialist movement. "The movement is scholar would at least report this interesting fact. he soon abandoned it. each arises under different conditions. adopt Kautsky's modem economic relationships.. of course. reformist wing of the movement.. not exactly. and even everylhing. The and other class movements was enough. In WITBD Lenin Kautsky was laying the basis for Uie demon of first paraplirased Kautsky. that only bourgeois Tliere it is .. [2] Tlien he quoted a long totalitarianism. not before and not after WITBD. Lenin. Indeed. But matter how much it may desire to do so. tlie devilish cmx of intellectuals are tlie carriers of socialist ideas. in WITBD. revolution had to do with tomorrow (theory). the fact is that Lenin [emphasis by Kautsk>]: it was in the minds of inserted two longish footnotes rejecting (or if you wish. Did Lenin. But socialism and tlie Uieory? class stmggle arise side by side and not one out of the other. Did Lenin put this theory forward even in WITBD? Not appeal for other opponents of the new right wing. It never Why did Kautsky empliasize tliis view of socialist history appeared in Lenin again. "We have said tliat.International Socialist F o r u m No. no brash as to attack his "pope" or correct Iiim overtly.) class movement was one way. "Leninism". Here is Kautsky. In ordinary research. Wliile of the modem social process. he We will be eager to see what WITBD actually said on this began.. modem Icclmology. as far as I know) tliis was why and how it got into WITBD.. communicated it to tlie more intellectually developed proletarians. No Leninologist has ever quoted at tliis time? The reason is perfectly clear: the new such a theory from any other place in Lenin.the whole theory laid out. but tlie bourgeois intelligentsia appearance of a head-on criticism. [3] Kautsky's position. And theory (which he never repudiated. Certainly he tried to get maximum socialist consciousness can arise only on tlie basis of mileage out of it against the right wing. Tlie vehicle of science is showing some modesty and attempting to avoid the not tlie proletariat.. gave it equal 2. Karl Kautsky. of undercutting Uie Revisionist approach. (The explanation Kautsky's generalization about the role of the "bourgeois for the curious fact itself will emerge from tlie points tluU intelligentsia" in importing socialist ideas into the raw follow. whom Lenin tlien looked up to as the master 3. not theory. Tlius.4 come to socialist ideas of themselves. Tlie fact is tliat Lenin had just read tliis Uieory in tlie most It is no part of my subject to explain why Kautsky was prestigious theoretical organ of Marxism of tlie whole misguided in this line of argument. His summary was by no means as brash as Kautsky's formulation.

it turns out.. it tended to Uiro« off leading Mensheviks and the Socialist-Revolutionaries." Lenin began.Uie working class matured. he pointed to exceptions.bourgeois ideology spontaneously imposes Tliere is no such passage. wluit should be members. "not as workers. Uie directly connected with the Mensheviks' anxiety to make initial role of intellectuals in Uic beginnings of the socialist it easier for nonparty intellectuals to be accounted as movement. to combat historically. in point of fact. what is the role of intellectuals and workers? (More on tliis in the next point. to be sure). (Tliis is . but still less is it reasonable to rest examine precisely what Uie developing views were going virtually the whole case against Lenin." Lenin's footnote continued." But this was exactly what Kautsky did mean Uie beginnings of the movement. Their whole case on this point is hung on a deduction (of theirs) from a theory in WITBD which Tliis second footnote was obviously written to modify and is essentially Kautskj's. (as so many Leninologists appjirently do) Uiat //it can be shown that intellectuals liistorically played a certain 6. or predominant influence. Lenin was reminding the reader that Kautsky's dangerous people. In fact. without coming out and sa\g the typical social-democratic reformist party is very much tliat Uie Master was wrong. Tlie Lcninologists do not argue this point because reverse is true.4 ideology. None is cited by itself upon the working class to a still greater degree. to Lenin's "concept of the party. International Socialist No. Even Kautsky's theor>'. Lastly.. according party today. on to be. We will see more about his dissatisfaction. but discussed llie "spontaneity" of the easy to demonstrate." party. But what followed from and say. No one in the intemaUonal movement was more forceful or frequent than Lenin in decrying and combating Uic Lenin's second footnote was not directly tied to the spread of intellectuals' influence in the movement. "Tliey [the workers| lake part. Tlicrc are several things Uiat dominated on top by intellectuals derived from Uie liappcn "spontaneously. as Proudhons and Weitlings. experiences. The case is most clear-cut with regard to Uicy do not see it is Uiere. this does stick at this b\piay in yi'ITBD. We know indeed Uiat recast the Kautsk>. crass as the Leninologists make it out to be (while calling Uie Bolshcvik-Menshevik split over the notorious it I^nin's theory." and what will win out is not bourgeoisie..) Tlie Leninological m>lh that. Tlie Leninologists run two membership rule (who could be a part}' member) was different questions together: (a) Wliat was. while Lcnin fought lo make it harder.Uiis is contrary to fact. on this point. that the movement liad to be sternly warned but as socialist theoreticians. "lliat tlie here. against the influence of bourgeois intellectuals inside the in other words." they averred. This is Kautsky article. Obviously. It does not follow. In any case a mere couple of well-chosen specimens working class spontaneously gravitates towards socialism. Notoriously it was a party really had any doubts about Uie historical facts concerning composed overwhelmingly of bourgeois intelligentsia." [4] the Leninologists. would not be enough. of intellectuals in the movement started with the founding congress of the Russian Social-Democratic Labor Party 4.'. however conveniently anU-Bcmstein it might have In the Russian movement. Lenin was those facts? Marx for one (or Marx and Engels for two) proposing a modified view. from the same facts and subsequent however. it was very far from As a matter of fact. P a g e 39 ." but he reminded that this process itself was not infiucncc. parties denouncing Uiis state of affairs. we should find that same role now and forever.. As against Uiis re\'eals the causes of the miserv' of the working class. Just to cull the most virulent This is perfectly true in the sense tliat socialist theory passages alone would fill a book. since it is a question of a "part>' concept" alleged initiator)' role. In the guise of offering a caution. was not as itself (Uie congress to wliich WITBD was directed). "It is often said. they take part only when Uicy arc able. The historical facts were sweeping statements were not even 100 per cent true so many reasons to take the dangers seriously. but I will not take the space to do so socialist idea..theon. and (b) what is . But just the strings. "The working class part>'? spontaneously gravitates towards socialism.. liistorically..and above all. justifiably dissatisfied wiUi Uie formulaUon of Kautsky's theory. for while Uiis party aspired lo represent the peasants" interests and mentality.) 5." Uie organizaUon is to consist only or mainly or largely of bourgeois intellectuals Kautsky was not so ignomnt or dull-witted as lo believe . ncvertlieless. but rather one must go on to not setUe the matter. as quoted in WITBD. and indubitable fact. All Uiat was clear at Uiis point was Uiat Lenin was what is not in Lenin's 1902 book. in the International of 1902 no one being a party of peasants. as Uic it is not true of the oUier Russian socialist parties . Uie S-Rs. [5] "Precisely in Germany these are the most In short. they must and should conUnue lo play Uie to be peculiar to Lenin and Leninism. let us ask a question: can anyone cite any for tliat reason the workers are able to assimilate it so passage in which Lenin e\er advocated increased easily. On the other Iiand. But he went on to a intellectuals" predominance as a social stratum in the more important point: once you get beyond the original movement. by intellectuals in Uic subordinated to mere spontaneity. We do not typically see Uie leaders of Uiese decided only by spontaneity! ~ so went the modification.Uie role of bourgeois intellectuals in a working-class liardly disputed. initiation of socialist ideas. the Marxist left's denunciaUons been. It cannot be ovcrempliasizcd Uuit if one wants to analyze Lenin's collected works are chock-full of denunciations of Lenin's developing views about "spontaneity" one cannot increased influence by intellectuals. concluded.

etc. lawyers. if you will). tliat is. Tlie second aspect of Whatever views on tiiis question are discenied in WITBD. Under the aegis of the English Bolsheviks. Tliis latter altitude made sense only for languages. In French (and 1 lliink the Genuim. Tliis is a far cry from llic party worker or functionary.ike sure tliat the history' of the trained revolutionary worker. Radkey. or "deduction": only nonworkers tlie "deduction". This consistently and firmly repudiated it. One of the difficulties (not Lenin's) is tliat tliere are several questions confused under this head. a effective functioning . in a more meaningful way. Lenin denied (scores of tliis history is not presently ours. He must work to cam organized or by whom. activity'. a functionary. It was not a question of some general Iliat they could devote lo the work of Uic movement.) The proportion of bourgeois said to have "professional" activity. doctors and other recognized "professions" can be by 0. usage aniuchists. but deduction and the claim appeared. As soon as the revolulionaiy group is a question wilh its own history. IVITBD asked what was to be spent on the job as opportunities for socialist and trade- done in this autocratic czorism in this year of 1902. a "professional" revolutionary must be as full- time as a doctor or lawyer. etc. or could become. party was not simply one shipment of revolutionaries after another to Siberia. struggles.) Spontaneity It follows from Lenin's view that even the "core" of Let us take the second claim. Tlie Leninologisis endlessly repeat to fake the conclusion. H. the most important background fact was the workers were important to the movement for two reasons. but this is nol his life's center. was that such a worker could be trained in organization good for any time or place.to m. (Of course this does not 2. one in the movement. Such is tlie professional revolutionary type. "Professional Revolutionaries" and account for non-English Leninologists." The Leninologists seem to assume tlial to elements. Tliis is absurd from Lenin's \. which usually means called professional revolutionaries only. it would indeed exclude workers. (The number of functionaries in a "deduced" from WITIiD by opponents. based on nothing in Lenin. For tlie Russian "Economists" (who P a g e 40 . Tliis view was functionaries. and do not mention tliat Lenin can make up the party elite. union propaganda and organization. tliat the Leninist "concept of professional re\'olutionaries were not necessarily expected tlie party" demanded that the party should consist of so. much emphasized by it is false to ascribe tliem to a generalized program of Lenin. of course. As for tlie myths about the alleged "Uieoiy of spontaneity" versus "conscious organization": much of this is the result It can easily be shown. revolutionary work.spontaneous revolts. A good part of the Leninological myth Lenin had no trouble understanding and acknowledging rests on a confused definition of "professional tliat only a "core" of the party could consist of such revolutionary.4 (You need only read tlie main scholarly work on the S-Rs.) a living. condition of illegality suffered in Russia by any One is obvious: the greater amount of lime and activity re\olutionary party. conclusion is an invention of llie Leninologists. Whereas in English only class organization. as the Leninologists deduce. A or suprahistorical "concept of the part)" offering a formula professional revolutionary regarded even the hours he for any country at any time. All he argued was tliat Uie more such the party Lenin a "professional revolutionary" meant a full-lime liad. not less. devoting all his lime to party Leninological m>1h. but it was also likely to be assumed by extreme stems directly from the French) the word professionnel reformists as a cover for opposing independent working- refers simply to occupation." all we mean is: we do not know how it was hfc (or of his life-style. is revolutionaries only. No of the professional revolutionary for years after WITBD. as usual. from Lenin's copious discussions simply of failing lo understand what the issues were.International Socialist F o r u m No. when we say a certain revolt was considers his revolutionary acti\ity lo be the center of his "spontaneous. In tlie From Lenin's standpoint professional-re\'olutionary first place. had any doubts tliat lo Lenin the term meant this: a party activist who about Uie important and positive role played by devoted most (preferably all) of his spare time to "spontaneity" . (In revolutionary work. hence only intellectuals. What Lenin argued against in WITBD and elsewhere was tlie glorification of spontaneity for its own sake.) The point of defining a times) that he wanted a party made up of professional professional revolutionary as a fiill-timcr. certainly not Lenin. given conscious education and courses in self- In WITBD Lenin was discussing the need for a core of dcN'clopment on how to operate as a revolutionary. in French this can be intellectuals in the Mensheviks or supporting tlie said of anyone in any occupation. to be full-time party activists. tlie professional revolutionary type. the reference is simply Menshe\iks was greater than in the case of the to occupational activity. for what I have come to belie\ IkU part of the confusion stems lliis glorification meant in actuality was a decrying of from the important difTcrencc in the meaning of conscious organizational activity or party work or professional between English and most Continental leadership. language. the more efTcctive its work. and is only one factor in the confusion. The professional revolutioiuiry many cases. The "professional revolutionaries" in tlic party for the sake of professional re\'olutionary worker was.

the second being more necessary here. But it was ambiguous then as now. but had led to start with socialism in its program). Tlie Russian movement consisted of isolated brought about.lliat there was something distinctive about Lenin's "concept of the party. But this Fraction Iiad precisely the capacity to take advantage of spontaneous never been elected by the party. it sought to organize the entire working- circles. thinking of reformists. It was who used this language often meant the same Uiing that Uie only the continued development of the working class Germans had once meant when "Gcnnany" was a which gave rise to mass parties Uial souglit to represent geographical expression fragmented into thirty-odd states and refiect the whole class-in-movement and statelets. difference that the Russian movement faced Uie special problems of illegality under an autocracy'. This much of its character factory groups.4 advocated "economic" action only) the line was tliat no The point of holding a congress was to establish a center at revolutionary party was necessary and tlie Russian party last. fairly quickly.in hindsight ." even We still have to take up Lenin's later comments on though he was not specifically aware of it. Where Uiere was no center at all. it 3. Tlie necessarily talking about some 5w/»ercentralized history of the sociahst movement began mostly with sects organizational form. Uiere tliought he was putting forward a \icw of part>' and lias been a tendency for socialist currents Uiat considered movement that was the same as Uiat of Uie best parties of tliemselves to have distinctive ideas to organize as a sect. its role in the class struggle. The ovenvhelming elected by local voters. This was the continued until 1905. But something of a liislorical introduction is points to be made under this head. what he really illegality. important. meant under the circumstances. Tliere was no center. when a united Socialist Party was situation toward which Lenin directed his little book in formed. The claim that Lenin was hostile to "spontaneous" stmggles verges on nonsense. the sect is based referred to "centralization" or "centralism. In France the scheduled for 1903 was hopefully going to establish an fragmentation of the socialist movement into sects organized aU-Russian party for Uie first time. unconnected class movement in all its forms. who remained legal. No "central" organization whatever existed as yet. in fact Uiere was was continued by Uie Second International. International Socialist No. This was what "centralization" working class. except that no "party" except as a fiiture label. etc. main features was the domination of practical party work Lenin advocated that the spontaneous action of tlie people in Germany. Lenin's Party Concepts turned out . in 1875. as there was no all-Russian party in existence at aU. One of the spontaneity to usher in socialism by some millennial date. particularly the Geniian party under the Tlie alternative is to operate as a current in a class leadership of August Bebel . like the Social Democratic Federation in P a g e 41 . should be liquidated. Whene\'er a Leninologist The German party liad also gone through a period of purports to quote Lenin on lliis subject. as compared witli tlie often liaz}' generally accepted for its practical usefiilness. Marx and Engcis looked askance al majority of the International would heartily agree. the International. was given by the First International. The class movement is based on. and in tliis context the glorification Everyone who looked to Uic congress was in favor of of "spontaneity" was simply a way of counterposing "centralizing" the work of the now-decentralized circles something to the organized political struggle by the operating inside Russia. Tliere are two WITBD. In the form that Marx noUting." he was on. Uie demand for "centrahsm" was a call to establish a center. but by the Reichstag Fraction by trained socialist workers. and during this period its quotes are Lenin's arguments against relying only on practices had nol been ideally democratic al aU. But in fact Uie Russians (and others) (continuing the tradition of religious movements). Sects still continued to operate in many countries. and The naive Leninologist seems to assume Uial when Lenin cemented by. The Second Congress trade unions were not affiliated. As the Russian situation developed from 1902 to 1914. wliich broke down sect lines (it did not even A First Congress had taken place in 1898. He Tliroughout the history of the socialist movement. and cemented by. One must distinguish clearly between these two organizational forms.only aUowing for Uie big movement. In Gennany Uie Lassallean sect had been absorbed 1902. insofar as it was possible. except Lenin's Reichstag deputies over the party. and part of such training was of deputies. from 1878 to 1890. but Uie arrangement was usual clarity on tlie point. The reader of Lenin's WITBD must understand Uiat if it (i) Sectism or Mass Party embodied some specially Leninist "concept of Uie party" Lenin himself was entirely unaware of it at the time. not by the elected must be integrated witli the element of political leadership National Executive in exile. There what Uiey considered to be Uie "dictatorship" of the was nothing specially "Leninist" about lliis. In 1902 Tlie outstanding example of the class movement. its special ideas or program. the deputies had been struggles when they turned up. counterposed to Uie sect. discrete regional conglomerations.

disaster. We must Uierefoi One of the most enlightening examples of this piittcm took turn lo find out what Lenin thought about WITBD in tli place in tiie Russian party soon after Uie 1903 congress.4 Britain. there was a big demanded that the majority of the Iskra editorial board b difference between Germany and Russia (wliich indeed lianded back to the Mensheviks. Ui unity at any cost. claim tlial it was Uie Bolsheviks who split is one of th myths of Leninology. the revolutionarv" wing in a refomiisl party must split All Uiis was tested again in the period after Uie upheaval c away at the most opportune moment. for the sake of "unity. as follows. for example." I WITBD discussed): in Germany the revolutionary wing (or short: if the Mensheviks had won the majoritj'. it was the Mensheviks wh party. bu inside the mass party (or wliat was going lo be the mass it would not do to demand political concessions as party if the Second Congress was successful). a "Leninist" sect. were currents established around periodical organs. leaving aside sects. Even after the Bolshevik. One of Uie cliapters in Lenin's life most industriousl this was the case in the German party. In fact. for a while. open elections.International Socialist F o r u m No. but i tlie party. Tliis is Uic cliaracteristic tlieor>. who believed in temporarily..) Plekhanov's demand to reverse the outcome of th congress. (The theory of that where the left won majority control of a party. There were Uiose who believed in split at any cost. as mentioned. it hai "revolutionary" sectification arose out of the degeneration Uie right and the duty to go ahead w ilh its own polic>' jus of the Comintern to become a "principle of Leninism". etc. which opened up Russian political lif sect. he did not establish a followed the Second Congress and Pleklianov's about "Leninist" sect. Wlien glossed over by the Leninologists is the period thz Lenin went into exile from Russia. yes. Uic tenn "Bolsheviks" with the Mensheviks on the basis of full democratic right and "Mensheviks" meant a political center inside the mass for all. Page 42 . The Menshevik minority then spli Thereupon Pleklianov. under pressure. or c. and organize its own Uie 1905 revolution. Tlie commo question. There were those. was Lenin's permanent and abiding view. This was the mirror image of the first approach: the fetisliism of unity. then die majority left h.id to make "concept of the party" found in WITBD (whatever this i: concessions to it. The Bolshevik before 1917 it liad been kept alive on the fringes of Uie Menshevik hostilities hardened when Lenin rejectei Second InlemaUonal and in the anarchist movement. wliich face. sufficient to keep it in Uie party. the first test of course ha come at the congress itself. If Uie right wing must be persuaded from Part of the Leninological myth is Uie claim that th splitting at any cost. whereas in Russia the right wing liad tlie Uie left wins. which claimed to represent "revolutionary" which Lenin's wing won majority conti^ol with the suppor socialism. 4. In fact. What it meant in practice was: and what isn't. In the first two sections we discussed wliat is in WITBi including Uic Gemian party. Works to see how heartsick he was in face of the breali Mcnslievik split. The unit>' of the mass social-democratic question of unity of Bolsheviks and Menslieviks was agai part\ must never be breached. In test after test. In Uiis situation. Most reward for not splitting. at ensuing years. Lenin After WITBD Tliis approach was the dominant one in Uic Inlcmalional. Unity. yes normal one in the IntemaUonal: he sought to organize the but on the same democratic basis as ever: the right win re\olutionary current as a political center of some sort could work to win out at the next congress if it could. Lenin never organized. which li "consistently applied" from Uien on. if we consider the whole period before 1914. Uiis is very far froi accommodation with the right wing. and they were legion. of Plekhanov. outside the general movement. One can distinguish Uiree approaches lo Uiis for Uieir own riglit-wing political reasons). not a membership sect. a break was the ultimate raised. and for the next se\cral years (at least and what continued efforts he put into healing Uie spli until shortly before World War 1). of the majority'. Lenin's distinctive approach was this: he simply insistet sought to organize. Tliis distinctive approach was: unity. but nc The course which the young Lenin took was then the at the cost of foiling tiie victor. Uiat is. political centers in the socialist movement. swung around am In 1902 when Lenin wrote IVITBD. even by a majority exhausting the question of Lenin's attitude toward WITBL left wing. he went to the Iskra editorial board. rejected unity on Uiis basis. Uie RSDLP.. Lenin's response to tliis situation was Uien for the sake of "unity" Uie left has lo hand contro not to organize the revolutionary wing as a left-wing sect back to Uie right. as the right wing was doing es'erywhere. a. But we will come back to Uiis in Section 5. or on any basis that failed t give them party control in defiance of the Secon (ii) Split and Unity Congress outcome.of scctism. since it was the Menshevik Uial split away because Lenin had gained a majority in th This involved the second distinctive feature of Lenin's voting (after extreme right-wing elements had walked oi party concept. there is n( what Lenin and others considered such) was in control of doubt tliat Lenin would have stayed in as a minority. but. One must read Volumes 6 and 7 of Lenin's Collecte was not a membership group. the right wing picks up its marbles and quits dominant influence. Legal organization became possibl b.

were at one with liim in somebody had to pull in the other direction." (7] first speech in the Rules discussion was summarized in the minutes in nine tines. where tliere task? Is there no mention there of Uie importance of was more elbow room for political liberty. ranks and working-class movement invariably "tends" to shades. It was only aficr a falling-out on Tliis is Uie main key to what Lenin was doing in WITBD. tlie out of shape. though I admit it is natural enough. other grounds that these opponents. In Lenin's case it is a fact tliat demands party organiziition. special trade-union literature? . false impression Uiat might liave been conveyed by his "bow-bending" in WITBD. This plan was developing a trade-union movement and creating a time-bound and place-specific.. And to end this same speech. liad clarified all tlie questions: "It is obvious tlic pattern in so many words. gone to one extreme. viz. from the time WITBD This was a further step in adding qualifications to the bare was published witil at least the Russian Re\oIution of Kautsky theory. or to other periods in Russia.. and only asks for that WITBD was not intended lo present "principles" of understanding.ations must It is claimed that Lcnin says nothing about any consist solely of professional revolution. have a share underground movement functioning in secrecy under in Uie formation of an ideology. Lenin explained more tlian once lluit the fonns WITBD: of organization needed were determined by the interests of secrecy and circumscribed by the existence of the To conclude.4 For one thing we will find this: that. as Iiad most social-democratic revolutionaries is. But it is a common enough resort by people first point he had made was the one mentioned above. but simply an organizational plan for the Lenin [it is claimed. including liis inexplicable some immediate dangerous pressure.. of all political complexions. On August 15 Lenin's false light.. a few months after the publication is among the most important to keep in mind about of WITBD. I Uiink Uiat split. Lcnin made the point which September 1902. and worker- center in its own country. and (b) a movement which Iiad said time and again tliat the shortage of fiilly class- not yet succeeded even in forming a national organizing conscious workers.. We need conflicting trends. he said understanding. and that is viewing the ideas of WTTBD as unexceptionable what I liave done. that is. says Lenin] takes no account given time and place. worker-leaders. He added 1917. free. The discussion on WITBD. at this time his later opponents. Moreover. and their successors. Now it liappens Oiat personally 1 do not sympathize wiUi this Already at the Second Congress itself. Tliroughout his life liis constant pattern was to "bend Uic began to read into WITBD everything they thouglit was bow" in an opposite direction in order to push back against sinister in Lenin's course.iitions of all types. (91 conclusions from the struggle of a serious revolutionary underground movement. too. We all know that the "Economists" liavc autocracy. Is tluit so** Ha\ I not [ones] and ending with very broad. [8] In his Letter to a Comrade on Our Organizational Tasks.to other such worker-re\'olutionaries must be our immediate places in Europe. Most of it was devoted to saying He directly confronted the claim about subordinating tlie this: working-class movement to bourgeois intellectuals: It should not be inuigined thai Party organiz. Is that so? Have I not conditions of autocracy-. before the final propensity. in fact. in order to compensate for the dangerous pressure. Page 43 . [10] tlie bourgeois outlook with the benevolent assistance of tlie Schulzc-Delitzsches and others like them? And' who is meant here by "others like Uiem"? None otlier He could not liave been more explicit in correcting any than the "Economists". It was devised for (a) an whatever of the fact Uiat the workers. especially when he specifically explained optimistically.iries. but categorically affirms Uuit tlie the most diverse organi/. His metaphor on refusal to yield up the congress majority power to llie these occasions was often lo "turn Uie helm the oUier way" people who had been the congress minority. Lenin insisted that this 1902 work of his was not a an even more serious qualification: canonical exposition of a model form of party organization. without breaking with Kautsky. This 1902 plan was therefore nol movement? Have I not said Uiere Uiat Uie training of automatically apphcable to other situations . Lenin had pleaded with critics not to take WITBD a bow which is bent in various directions is apt to be bent passages "wrenched from the context. lose said tliat tlic working-class nio\emcnt is dra\ni towards Organisationem [loose organizations]. major theoretical question (tlie formation of an ideology). this episode has been presented in an absolutely We are still al the Second Congress. [6] But tlien. Uic greatest deficiency in our parties in Europe." In doing so. as he did often enougli. International Socialist No. To straighten matters out like Martov and Pleklianov. beginning with extremely limited and secret succumb to bourgeois ideology. And that here an episode in the struggle against 'Economism' any Leninologist who refuses to understand it is bound to has been confused with a discussion of the principles of a write a great deal of nonsense.

International Socialist F o r u m No. from tlie most secret and most exclusive the whole. tliat my book integrality and coherence" and pointed to its organizational is a clear and detailed expression of tlie point of view decisions as "liighly instructive to us Russians. we said. never advocated any such view." as there is still today. He forgot tliat worthy comrade says not a word. of the sort she was familiar enough with in the There was more than one reason.. for example.. objecti\'e scholar writing today with tlie advantage of a longer perspective and fuller documentation should be expected. in accord with the new circumstances — just as Lenin. to set fortli and weigh Lenin's repeated 5. Uirougli political liberty. This is wliat Lenin party.... Two Steps Back Tliird Party Congress.4 Lenin repeated this clarification in his second speech tliat the degree of centralization.that the whole controversy is over and consistently in order to attain Uie ultimate goal - P a g e 44 . Again an error of fact. [See Footnote 1]. What is typical about contemporary Leninology is period inaugurated by Uie 1905 upheaval. [13) Lenin clarified and modified. Lenin wrote a reply political freedom.. as the situaUon that it ignores Lenin's clarifications in favor of a purely in Russia changed and Uie pressure of the autocracy demonological exegesis. About this about the party not being a conspiratorial organization "ultra-centralist" and "purely Blanquist" demand the (many others too raised this objection). as set Already in February 1905. or else someone should demonstrate mentioned: Lenin's bow-bending. But actually tliat is not so... Actually tlial is not so." of "intransigent centralism. well . . however. there must have been a reason. was not thinking in temis of a general we would expect if his protestations were taken seriously." [14] Writing in September 1905.Comrade Luxemburg fathers on me Uie idea Uiat all the conditions already exist in If it is charged that this was not clear in WITBD. but that he did not hold the opinions Luxemburg impracticable for the collective thousands that make up the ascribed to him. Tliis is quite true. "concept of party organization. Since the Tliird Congress two elementary principles of any conceivable system of organizational tendencies in the Party have become party organization. Comrade Luxemburg says tluit In November 1905 he stressed in an article that the in my view "the Central Committee is llie only active socialist worker "knows there is no oUier road to socialism nucleus of the Party. [12] fully defined. Lenin's "concept of Uie party" changed drastically. And so on. Russia for forming a large and extremely centralized that is the function of discussion: to clarify and modify. It must be noted Uiat. or whether tliey should not. Lenin wrote: "Under conditions of dealing with the Second Congress. Comrade Rosa He therefore strives to acliieve democratism completely Luxemburg says. day: .. lightened." Actually that is not so. "vagueness of [Lenin's] conceprion. either she was retaUing vicious many." Actually tliat is not so.. In addition there was a Uiat Lenin was advocating tlic views with which she will to "misunderstand. she prefers to in my book I propose a number of various types of declaim against mechanical subordination of the part to organizations." Conuade Luxemburg thus Nol so long ago organizational questions occupied a supposes that I defend one s>'slem of organization disproportionate place among current problems of against another. workers' parfy. not for the sake of demagogy or forms of any party tliat could conceivably exist under tlie because it sounds good but in order to put this into given conditions in Russia: effect as Social-Democracy's free field of activity extends in Russia. blind obedience. In Uiis case. and to some extent Uiis holds tine of the first to tlic last page of my book. anyone who thinks that Rosa Luxemburg was a sainted angel in internal party brawls is It may be said tliat if WITBD was misunderstood by so naive.. against slavish submission. I liave save the road through democracy. [11 and oilier such bogeys. die Central Committee has the organization". to comparatively broad and "loose" organizations. he hailed the wrote: German party as "first in respect of organization. Lenin believed that he was only working out tlie Party." Wlien in a 1904 article in tiie Neue Zeit Rosa Luxemburg attacked his ideas. in the views. not merely later but right in the congress discussion. Tlie latter lias not been done. Toward Party Democratization attempts to clarify and modify (qualify and recast) his Let us put demonology aside.our controversy has principally been over whether the Central Committee and Central Organ should Comrade Trotsky completely misunderstood the main represent the trend of the majority of the Party idea of my book What Is To Be Done? when he spoke Congress. An charged him. From tlie Party life. [15] right to organize all tlie local Party committees.. our Party can and will be built entirely which rather mildly protested ~ what? Not lliat he was on Uie elective principle. in a draft resolution for Uie forth in his brochure One Step Forward. By the way. I defend die present as well. One is toward consistent centialism and consistent extension of the democratic principle in That is... The oUier tendency is toward Rosa Luxemburg further says tliat "according to his diffusiveness of organization. Under the autocracy this is right. and the first has been Polish movement.organizations. Comrade Luxemburg says. . slanders.

of "a sudden important essay. Fonvard. he recommended. or board.." [21] movement's thought and action over tliat period of time. wilh a typical Lenin worker Social-Democrats round yourselves. [20] mentioned WITBD again.is a decisive step towards the full application of Uie democratic The situation would now be quite clear even if Lenin never principle in Party. he enjoined. But in fact we can now turn to remarks by Lenin in which he reconsidered WITBD All comrades. [27] underground. have repeatedly said that complete circle workers of yesterday." [24] whole organization "on a new basis. titled "The Reorganization of the Party. But we Uial mass recruitment of workers (possible for the first Bolsheviks have always recognized Uiat in new time) should swamp over Uic infiuence of intellectuals in conditions." Note this remark made almost in passing: "The working This article went to the main point directly: "Tlic class is insUnctively." [28] now the Russian Social-Democrats could emulate it." [25] // looks as if Lenin answered: "organize in a new way" ." [17] What followed? Lenin spontaneity into consciousness.. of association and tlie Democracy has done a great deal to transform this press lias been captured. International Socialist No. The iniuative of the workers themselves will now Democracy. on to whom Uie old disputes were past history. did not even dare dream democratization of the Part>' was impossible in of [26] conditions of secret work.'" "With complete freedom In November 1907 Lenin published a collection of old of association and civil liberUes for Uie people.. reaction: incorporate Uiem in the ranks of Uie Party organiz^ations by hundreds and thousands..ation (new for Russia). Lenin argued.to no use) in the unhealthy atmosphere These were "new methods" only in Russia. organizations lo have one Social-Democratic intellectual lo several hundred Social-Democratic Our party [wrote Lenin] has stagnated while working workers. . "less rigid.. just a litUe. So now the bow bent Uie other way "slighUy. that were "definitely much broader" than Uic old. Lenin had always viewed the other way' and put practice a little more in Uie German Social-Democracy. organizaUon or group will immediately elect historical purpose.' more 'loose.. And He seized on the new condiUons especially to advocate experience has confirmed our words. the secret seems now! Now we must wish for the new Party police had made it as difficult for Menslieviks or S-Rs. since Uiis could not be organized under Uie new Note in Uie first place Uiat it required explanation. Bolsheviks with Mensheviks. or directing committee. it the party work: would be essential to adopt Uie elective principle. had forgotten even the existence of the Kautsky theory he "a new line. this of political exile. in Uie light of Uie new conditions and of Uiese organization" lo take in an influx of workers. that it will really not be amiss if we was what bourgeois democratic regimes had possible in now 'bend the bow' slightly. an audience bring about party. and that in such conditions Uie "elective principle" was a mere plirase. explained why WITBD had been included in Uic coUection.why not admit it? .. we should. . Here he Uie basis of a broad democratic vote of Uie rank and file. a litUe." [16] The same month he published an We must not be afraid..as a model of organization. articles. 'the Western Europe before this.. of course. [18] At Uie Tliird Congress of Uie Party I suggested Uiat It must be kept in mind that the impracticalit>' of open there be about eight workers to every two intellectuals election of local leading committees under conspiratorial in the Party committees. it was now possible to revolutionary upliea\al going on since 1905. spontaneously Social-Democratic." |22] plainly addressed to tlie new audience generated by the Furthermore. His preface to this collection was its bureau." influx of large numbers of non-Social-Democrats into In it he called for a new party congress in order to put the Uie Party. forefront.. .4 socialism. the imderground and [Bolsheviks]. called Twelve Years. rally all Uie The article concluded Uiis way. frequently mentioned by Uie Mensheviks" and bourgeois- Page 45 . "new methods" . conditions in which our Party is functioning are clianging and more than ten years of work put in by Social- radically. when political liberties were acquired. the representatives of revolutionary Social. The "underground" is breaking up.." The decision of the Central Committee..organizaUon. [23] All of this sea-change had to be explained to Russian WITBD had been included (explains Lenin) because it "is workers who had never faced such condiUons before.. extend your bases." had copied out and quoted in 1902! We. must "devise new forms of specifically. Freedom of assembly. the supporters of the "Majority" display itself on a scale Uiat we. a "Each union. [19] "We have 'theorized' for so long (sometimes . more 'free. lis aim was to review the of course. have to found Social-Democratic unions. condirions. How obsolete Uiat suggestion conditions was not a Bolshevik peculiarity..unity... new forms new concepts of party organi/. Uien.

to those "who.. [Footnote 2] To win victory the Japanese had to marshal all Uieir forces against Uie probable maximum of Russian forces. was merely a summary of the professional revolution-aries. In other words. Wlio built the party to its present Typically Lenin argued that the "exaggeration" in WITBD effectiveness as a democratic sUiiCture? "It was had been necessary at the time in order to make progress in accomplished by the organizjition of the professional Uie direction desired. At tliis point he was busy have been impossible if Uiis idea had not been pushed pointing wiUi pride: Uie organizational successes of the to the forefront at the time. for having prior to professional revolutionaries only ~ even if we stick with Uie war exaggerated the need to prepare for fighting Lenin's reasonable definition.Leninologists: swamp nol only the party intellectuals but also the old experienced cadre of trained activists (professional The basic mistake made by those who now criticize revolutionaries). an adventure. Uiere had been a unity congress in May. period in the development with the chimera of a party composed only or mainly of of our Party. pamphlet appeared. Lenin did nol apologize for it or repudiate it.. 1 International Socialist F o r u m No. wrote about its incorrect or exaggerated ideas on the subject of an organization of WITBD. Uie London congress.. groups at." Here he was talking about Uie party (the RSDLP) as a 6. full-time fiinctionaries. You bringing it back to life. tliis of the temporary spell of freedom to build a legal was something different. Tliat victory would even remembered its existence. more and no less. Tliis chimera was especially grotesque in Uie light of Lenin's appeal for mass This applied. even today. would well be addressed to contemporary. Lenin was again insisting. as follows: WITBD had done its 1902 job. say. "no "to dismiss gains which. and should not be ti-eated Despite the split. as he put it in the same sentence. there was no indication that he already scored a complete victory. prevent it from being realized. under the new conditions of legality. for luiving exaggerated Uie wider than the "delegate list" or Uie core) was to consist of strength of Russia's armed forces." Such criticisms were wrong organizational policy of the Iskra group of 1901-1902. not just the Bolshevik wing. llial al Uie time he It is obvious that the reference to "exaggerated ideas" is an did not regard Uie ideas of WITBD as unique to liimself or admission of a degree of incorrectness. the Social-Democratic Party earlier any more as if it were a current proposal. [35] It was a far cry from a permanent "concept of the party.at ion. a mere signboard." [29] and Bolsheviks on other grounds. had to be fought for. either in Uie Socialist- Revolutionary or the Cadet parties. WITBD P a g e 46 . even if Uie exaggerations Uiemsehes revolutionaries." or." [31] Tliat is. Socialists would not repudiate Uic electoral system. [Tjoday Uie idea of an Tlie Kautsky theory of 1902 had long disappeared from organization of professional revolutionaries has Lenin's ken by this time. [Footnote 3] confession simultaneously maintains that the incorrectness was pardonable. it had been by. Uian any of the other parties w as able to take ad\anlage passed. and now long past. He was pigeonholing it as of organization with an ideal democratic stmcture. therefore he wanted to "draw Uie attention more how little Uie usual Leninological version of this idea of the modem reader" to what was its "essential content.. he said.. an historical interest only. in their time. and representation at congresses First International either. glance at the delegate list of any of the were not tenable. This "victory" included opening the His explanation began w ith a statement that might just as party to an influx of "raw" workers who. [30] WiUiout Uiis condition an organization of professional Tlic claim made here that the professional-revolutionary revolutionaries would be notliing more than a idea had "already scored a complete victory" showed once playlhing. it was Uie joint policy of but which have long ago been consolidated and have Uiose (the Iskra group) who later divided into Mensheviks served their purpose. will not find this. after believe that in Lenin's view the party membership (far Uie Russo-Japanese War.. The idea Uiat had shown its power WITBD is to treat the pamplilet apart from its ("scored a complete victory") was the need for a core of connection with Uie concrete historical shuation of a trained activists in the organ iz. it was not really even new. in still another way. in order to be convinced of this. but no one would dream of according to the number of organized members. continued Lenin. if we had nol "exaggerated" party were due to the inlierent organizational capacities of so as to drive it home lo people who were trying to Uie working class. It had noUiing to do definite." It scarcely makes sense to revolutionaries is like reproaching Uie Japanese. even if the his tendency. hopefully. many years after the recruitment.4 liberal writers." [36] Note Uiat he referred to Uie "delegate list. But that had already been Uie sense of the Now." jibed with Lenin's. Lenin boasted "bending the bow" remarks. Last Words on WITBD whole. . "Uie To maintain today that Iskra exaggerated {in 1901 and central core Uiat liad worked hardest of all to build up the 1902!) the idea of an organizjition of professional Party and make it what it is. Uicse forces...

He among the circles were over the direction the work was to never. especially young and immature workers' movement". The circles played their part and are now." . of course. "on particular say of them Uiat ihey were advice perhaps well enough expressions which I had not quite adroitly or precisely adapted to Uie needs of a revolutionary party active in formulated. "In the historical conditions that ...Lenin's approach of 1905-1907. but merely phrases torn out of context.. obviously. "for it the consensus. or the prevailed in Russia in 1900-1905. Deviating from "Yes. 'that liad outlived their day. "Plekhanov's criUcism.. consUtuting special principles. differed from me in principle on the question of spontaneity and political consciousness.." [40] Once again If it were not for wliat luippcned after the Bolshevik Lenin insisted Uiat there was no real difference involved at Revolution... conditions appeared for legal activity this "e. i.ation. "We should not venture lo the Ume. . no organization other formulations of 1902 in WTTBD'? The answer that Lenin's than Iskra could have created the Social-Democratic Labor ghost would give.was that Uie Economists Special Note ... Tlie year 1963 was a great year for Uie controversial correction of Economist distortions and it Leninologists. Lenin repeated the theme that tlie day of Now which is "the Leninist concept of party organizaUon" WITBD was in the past." and. John Plamenatz wrote Uiis much: is not enough to condemn Uie old circle spirit. Lenin's ideas on party organiz.4 repeatedly emphasizes this.'" Lenin repeated. organization it advocates has no meaning apart from its It would be hard to imagine any more telling refutation of connection with the "genuine revolutionary class tliat is Uie WITBD myth. 137] quoted statements about WITBD.. On the contrary. wilh Uic publication of lliree biographies of Page 47 .Amazing Story: had gone to one extreme." The particular criUcisms by PIcklianov to Russia in the first decade of the twentieth century.in November 1905. and then govern Russia in Uieir name but without Next Lenin commented on Pleklianov's statement tliat "he taking Uic trouble lo consult them. just described.." he said. International Socialist No. And then Lcnin "Leninism" took an antidemocratic turn in "what liappened made a statement which capped Uie whole problem: after the Bolshevik Revolution. proclaimed organizational opportunity tliat cliaracterized Russia in Uie by the Bolsheviks. [Footnote 4] Througliout these pages. pointing out that the would be wrong lo regard Uic pamphlet in any other light. No power on earth can There is no record that Lenin ever went back on the abo\'c- now undo this work. "prograiTuuaUc" level. "only the such an immense difference in conditions as tliat between broadening of tlie Party by enlisting proletarian elements Uie underground conditions in an autocracy' and the can help to eradicate tlie "circle spirit. there is no record Uiat he was aware of a problem about it." The place. The professional bonfire of all extant copies of WTTBD. and as a result drew the wrathful fires of Lcninological authority on his own head. like those of bitter disputes witliin the emigre circles characlerizcd "a most others.." This preceded the statement that Uie party" taken as a "principle" divorced from Ume and "The professional revolutionary has played liis part." [43] which Lcnin was here referring were to the pamphlet One Step Forward.and so on.. but against Uiem Lenin Lenin's 1902 proposals for the Russian movement of Ihe here appealed to "the general content and Uie whole spirit day may have been good or bad proposals . its significance in the special circumstances of the past period Tliere is nothing specifically undemocratic about the must be understood. when he wrote WTTBD. says Plainenalz.e. more often than we can reasonably cite. Recognition that to say) upon the "formulation of the rclaUon between WITBD was not antidemocratic in its views still leaves spontaneity and political consciousness" in the draft Part\ open the belief (which Piamcnalz for one holds) Uiat program put forward by the Iskra group. In fact. WITBD. varied depending on condiUons.. I said.. the expression I used . intended Iliat the "party take. revolutionary has played his part in tlie history of Russian proletarian socialism. as soon as the 1905-1907 period. Two Steps Back.this discussion of my pamphlet WITBD" All of us liad agreed (he went on is pre-empted by the Leninological m>ih.no "concept of Party we now have. "The differences opinions so vigorously expressed in WTTBD.. [41] Utechin's Edition of Lenin's WITBD The preceding essay was in part drafted in 1963 for use in The meaning of these words is clear enough: WITBD is a a book review.and it lias since been frequenUy quoted .." "And the transition conditions of relative political liberty and open to a democratically organized workers' part>'." [38] elementary idea. to replaced by deiiionology. straightens out what had been twisted by the Economists. as given in WTTBD. was "based on call them [Uie ideas of WITBD] undemocratic. he added. unless perhaps Lenin liad staged a spontaneously rising to struggle." .transition" was a break from the "old circle ways that had outlived At least one Leninologist was able to recognize Uiis their day." [39] or even that it should make their revolution for Uieni. obsolete." The point about the Leninological myth is tliat it makes discussion of these Nor at Uie Second Congress did 1 have any intention of developments impossible: political-liistorical analysis is elevating my own fonnulations.. of the proletariaf' should drive and bully the workers. is: neither .

Many of Utechin's inclusion in fat collecUons. As compared wilh the original 1902 We have already seen that one of the most-discussed edition. presented still another full translation in its Volume 5. We will be concemed only with what editor page to a line here and Uiere. by S. It was the first production. The reader of this sanitized edition will never be the full 1902 text. published by devilry actually started witii Kautsky. not Lcnin. none of Uiem sections of WITBD concems the role of bourgeois very important. ranging in lengUi from over a deviltry. I liave pointed out Uiat in reality Lenin of the collection that WITBD was now mainly of historical presented this Uieory by quoting it from Kautsky. V. SecUon A. especially where only could have saved more space by cutting Utechin's an odd line has been snipped out here or there. 1 were not the same. Tlie work. reason for condensed versions of notable books. does not even present the abridged 1907 version. How does Utechin appeared both as a separate pamphlet and in various liandlc this problem? selections and collections of Lenin's works put out by Easy: he simply exercises his editorial shears and excises Communist publishers in Moscow and outside Uie Soviet Uie whole quotation from Kautsky from the text of the Union. Utecliin.) There is. scholarly editor snips his shears around Uie work like Uiat. he cuts twenty-four of Lenin's footnotes ~ some of them raUier long ones and several of them quite important In the first place. The reason could hardly have been an o\erwhelming need but he may assume Uiat all of the cuts are of unimportant for economy by Oxford's Clarendon Press. Lenin explained to Uie reader consciousness. auUior of Russian Political The second strange tiling about Utechin's edition is that he Thought and a Concise Encyclopaedia co\'cring Russia. Finally (as Utechin does introduction and notes. which lias demonic theory was really Kaulsky's. with an Publishing House of Moscow. Tlien in addition he makes thirty-two sin of WITBD as the fountainliead of all Bolshevik fiirtlier excisions in Uie text. from these scholarly precincts. 4 of the P a g e 48 . V. Utechin. but usually for Now we come to Uie fantastic. the abridgment practices followed by the edition with scholariy appurtenances. Fineberg. left. (Tlie publisher passages. nature of the edifion issued was of no mean interest. and The reader may wonder why Lenin's first Westem (2) Uie amount cut out by Utechin is not very great in bulk. It is odd footnotes arguing that conditions under cz.xt before Utechin. Leibniz. Tlie job was done by S. V. viz. Uie abridged one] was used for Uie only English rarely or never mention the inconvenient fact that Uie translation hiUierto. Lactantius. and a couple of the To justify publishing an incomplete version hke this. from Uie text which is Utechin did to the text of Lenin's work. Works in English. plus a relevant volume of memoirs by Angelica Little Lenin Library.International Socialist F o r u m No. the largest being Uie eliininaUon of intellectuals in the socialist movement.of sociopolifical thouglit as. (We should recall that when Uiis Uie working class by itself can come only to trade-unionist 1907 publication look place. This is doubly puzzling. Utechin. armotaUon. Book II. for he accepts all but a couple of the specimens of tlie Leninological consensus on Uie original cuts made there. these views were raUier standard Uie 1907 abridgment. Liibume or Lutlier. and Uiat interest. 213p. the first example of a major Westem publisher's versions of the unabridged te. Communist publishing houses should hardly have been a model for the first Westem scholarly edition of a Lenin The milestone was the fact that it was done at all. It appeared in Uie old (unfinished) confused by finding out Uuit the very cmx of Leninist Collected Works. the Utechin edition does not present the and interesting.J. of course. and also in 5] the paperbound edition widely read. These translations This edition was noteworthy especially because it was. etc. excisions are among the most important passages in the Utechin refers to the "sligliUy abridged" version which work." Tliis is not true.arism were indeed. I have Utechin claims in his preface that "Tlie 1907 version [Uiat mentioned Uiat Leninologists' discussions of WITBD is. those of various sets tided Selected Works. Tlien. and Uie Uieory tliat Chapter 5. The recognition that Lenin's writings were at least as important abridged version of 1907 appeared in English only in the for the history. of a critical In any case. This is a small book made excisions are of passages wiUi considerable interest. Lenin himself published in 1907 as part of a collection tided Twelve Years. Lenin here made about a dozen cuts. some smaller of tiie excisions are important enougli to stay in Uie most drastically condensed edition.. Anollier event of the year was tlie publication the 1902 edition was subsequently available in English in a of a new English translation of iVITBD: What Is To Be paperbound edition put out by the Foreign Languages Done? Translated by S. that by. published by FLPH. because (1) Lenin's brochure makes a fairly smaU booklet to begin with. complete text. Oxford: mention a little later) the new multivolume Collected Clarendon Press. and P.. but - better Uian Lenin made out. Moreover. Tliis is tme in a few cases. No. say. another full translation of Balabanoff.4 Lenin. [Footnote International Publishers of New York in 1929.. His The present note will not discuss the \iews expressed by surgical operation on the body of WITBD only starts with Utechin's introduction. and so we liad tiiree different English think.) his own paraphrase was based on Kautsky. Tlie Fineberg translation was of book. Volume 4. Edited.

This one and only passage in which Lcnin actually After all. Lenin is citing the most excised from this text every passage in iVTTBD Uiat fails lo admired socialist party as his model. in his conform wiUi his thesis. we would all know exactly what to Uiink: and Now what does a scholarly editor do when the text fails to Ulechin would probably not be behindliand in saying it. European Marxist Uadilion. It would have been a boon for Leninologisis if he European movement tliat Utechin throws out. P a g e 49 . Utechin cuts out substantial passages in performed his operation on the body of WITBD with which Lenin attacks terrorism and terrorist views. to reveal the lamentable original is distincUy hostile to Tkachev as a protagonist of sins of Bolshevism. The te.alional concepts and practices of Uie Uirown into his writings a few enthusiastic references lo leading European socialist party.a title which is not strike out." really necessary to take the space to pile one enormity on But in all of the forty-five volumes of Lenin's Collected another. This does not necessarily mean that Ulechin places in the text. It is this sort of material Uiat Utechin tends to bogus tide "Leninism or Marxism?" . It is not true Uiat Uiis is only an "illustration.4 Fourthly: if the suppression of tliis crucial passage is Utechin's preface refers quite consciously to this practice bizarre. "is explains why enlightening "illustrations" have lo be struck not particularly cnliglUening on Uiis question. In fact. there are a whole group of cuts ll»at are no less so." These passages Russian revolutionary' past? Utechin is a rather all-out not only "obscure" Lenin's "reasoning. It concepts. and only one of these is a substanUve passage Such is this first "scholarly" edilion of Lenin from a major expressing an opinion. The Tkachev bogey is most commonly dangled For example. Ulechin wants to play Westem scholarly establishment are not different in kind down Uie extent to which Lenin based himself on the from their blood-brothers in Uie Stalinist professorial. And it institution of Icaming.say about one percent of the number of references he constantly makes to his European Marxist Tliere are a brace of equally interesting references lo Uie models.from the text. . writes Utechin in this connection. For he has carefully making in favor of his proposals. Democratic Party operates." it is important (to put it mildly) to find out his would have been a kindness to Utechin if Lenin had views on Uie organiz. as it happens. Tkachev . Moreover. so popular wilh Leninologists. a eulogy of how the German Social- nineteenth-century revolutionary of the vulgarest sort. But we must not out of the text the whole passage on Tkachev. The leading authorities of Leninology in the Lenin's ancestors. and examples given by Lenin from tiie practice of the German One of the disputed points in disquisitions on IVITBD is Social-Democracy in order to illustrate points he was the question of the origins of Lenin's thought: docs it stem making. for Tkachev was a Blanquist-type Chapter 3. no particular relevance to the main line of argument. Tliose who are sensitive lo questions of inner-party democracy. examples which would now be more likely to mainly from the European Marxist tradition or from the obscure than to elucidate his reasoning. If one wants to find out Lenin's "organizational "real" ancestor according to Utechin and Lcninology. say. Ihcre arc few Leninologisis who are in Uic expressed an attitude toward his "real ancestor" (leaving fortunate position of being able to "prove" Uieir aside secondhand claims) must not be allowed to confuse interpretation of a work by pmning the text to suit Uie Uie innocent reader. This one passage bearing Lenin's publisher. It is far more likely that he knows only one way to read Lcnin: through his own specially This bears only on one side of the question raised about made glasses. If a mangle-job like this had been "excitative terror.are chiefly details of polemics that are of Here is an enlightening example. WTTBD contains some of the most Footnotes intcresfing material in all of Lenin showing his reliance on the European Marxist parties as models of party I. in WITBD. It conform to the consensus of Leninology? Utechin strikes would be called a work of falsification. be impolite. thougli it is too voluminous to excise altogeUier. only a Leninological invention but distortive of Luxemburg's view. International Socialist No. As mentioned. Lenin's spiritual ancestors were Tkachev and Ogarev in particular. implicitiy also giving liis own views on how a party should work. Lenin's Russia. Works Uiere are about five references to Tkacliev's name in toto. Not only tliat: in a couple of other interpretation. on the basis of a legality such as did not obtain in Take Uie specific case of the bogeyman Tkachev. This passage is an argument which Lcnin is advisable for him to refer to the text. there is the passage Utechin tiirows out of before readers." they ruin proponent of the latter thesis: his introduction argues that Ulechin's case: out they must go . But it is not had published just one kind word about his "real ancestor. conscious dishonesty. Lu. he is mining Uie conunuity.xemburg's article is commonly reprinted under the organization. under the auspices of an eminent Westem view of Tkaclicv occurs." as Ulechin claims . of his: "omitted.Uiough he never The text of IVITBD." It was not out of his text. John Stuart Mill by a Moscow publishing agency.xt of WITBD (Uie text as written by Lenin) abounds in arguments taken from this arsenal.. Section F." [44] done on. and Uiat he can txike out wiUiout account of how the admirable Gennans work.

1." [34] These are only a few of the many indications 13. CWI. in order to avoid false 31. Shaclitman.Y. 5. published in the same year.) [reformist] first clause in Uie Rules.." in The Mew published in 1963. CW 10:30. 10.sm and Russian Kautsky. Progress defended Iskra's ideas of organization (Wliat Is To Be Pub. of organization. Uie Communist P^irty of Russia. namely.0^^13:102. by Louis Fischer and Robert Payne. and until U. 5:375.I May 1938. John Plamenatz. 1 liave dealt with this subject at large in Karl Marx's organization: they have "announced. notice because it has occasionally been quoted. relations cooled on account of WITBD is absolutely 12. challenged the Mensheviks to state Uieir new concepts of 5. differences over qucsUons of organization. Tlie reason is entirely clear and revealing: as a Communism (London: Longmans. CW9:U2. the democratic editors of the movement. Ctr 7:474-76. differences are. works listed. CW 10:32. I have not been able to find Uiis episode in any of Uie 37. point the Mensheviks liad no distinctive line on "concept 9. 1978). CW 13:101. group. untrue. and while it gave a list of sources for Uie article as a whole. Possony is interested in extending 44. who starts International (N. ar5:510f P a g e 50 . Tliis 22. p.. CfF5:383f Lenin published a pamphlet preface in which he 4." [32] In January 1904 3. For Utechin's book.. ^^'6:235. 11.4 should note that although Luxemburg's article was a the usual anU-Lenin attaint to the whole socialist virulent attack on Lenin." The Note. C(f 9:291. Unfortunately the article gave no source for Uiis quotaUon. Clf 13:104. 1954). 36. 19. One of 41. CW^'6:490. Unfortunately. CW 6:500.the existence of Theory of Revolution (New York: MonUily Rev.. 3. 17-18. CII'10:37f theoretical organ of the American Trotskyist group. CK''6:502. Cliaps. C^F6:491." [42] 32. in answer to a 26. Uie one by Possony. commentaries." [33] Tlie man who wrote these words was plainly under Uie impression tliat up to this 8. Uic editors are in no hurry to specify just what these 6. Cff 10:36. in a reply to Pleklianov. CW 10:29. second of four points was that "He [Martov] always 2. of this fact: at least when he published WITBD. told Max Levien in 1921: "Tliat is not desirable. CJiM0:34.in 40. 18. err 13:106. 35. "Lenin and Rosa Luxemburg. 225f far-out political rightist..International Socialist F o r u m No. Tlie rule that Leninologists do not mention Kautsky. erf 10:35. C(ri3:I04f 39. CW 10:31. proposal to translate his brochure for Uie non-Russian 27. Cff''13:106. In Reference Notes August 1903 Lenin had scribbled a few lines for liimself. CJJ''7:132. confining themselves for Uie most part to 7. 2. Press.AIA. off liis chapter on WITBD wiUi tliis very quote from 43. see Uie beginning of the Special as a note on "Martov's Contradictions and Zigzags. Uie only claim that Lenin ever came 20. published in 1938 by Max Shachtman in Uie 23. It should be remembered that Lenin (along with almost Naturally it is all a question of objective scholarship. back to the subject appeared in an article which requires 21. the entire Intemational) favored the victory of Japan in that war with Russia. Clf'10:33. CW 10:38f ' die tnmslation must at least be issued with good 29. 38. article. C^r 5:386. Lcnin insisted that "Plekhanov's assertion Uiat our 11. CW 10:36 f parties. hinUng at things unknown. CW 13:102. but secured the incorporation of a Jauresist CW. CW 13:103. right wing included. Lenin Uiouglit Uiat 15. Cli-'6:522. time and went on to say: Tliat is why Lenin. Uiis connection has exceptions Uuit prove the rule. do not mention Kautsky in Uiis connection at all.. which would have to be written by a Russian comrade very well acquainted wiUi Uie history of 30. Tlie oUier two biographies Neue Zeit refused to print Lenin's mild reply. 143. 34." In March 1905. German Marxi. Some previous statements should be mentioned too. 2. CW 10:32. CW6Am. Green. 28. Uie book's views were the common property of the Iskra 16. CJf 8:245.CW^:\96. C(f 13:107f Uie few exceptions is one of the Lenin biographies 42. (This work is hereafter abbreviated: Done?). 24. 33. C n 3 : 1 0 3 . 1960-70). Vol. As far as I know. apphcaUon. ascribed WIlJiD to Uie specific Russian conditions of the 25. Lenin: Collected Works (Moscow: FLPH. controversy de\eloped subsequently. 4.