Bolshevik-Menshevik Split 1903

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Background

  • 1903 2nd Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (SD) was held in London and Brussels saw a split within the SDs
  • One side of the faction was led by Vladimir Lenin and became known as the Bolsheviks
  • The other side of the faction was led by Julius Martov and became known as the Mensheviks
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Revolution

Mensheviks

  • Believed Russia was not yet ready for a true Revolution and that the bourgeois stage had to occur first

Bolsheviks

  • Bolsheviks believed that the both the proletarian and bourgeois stage could be telescoped into one Revolution bringing about historical change within Russia
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Role

Bolsheviks

  • Seize power on behalf of the workers

Mensheviks

  • Educate the workers so that they too could take part in the Revolution
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Type of Party

Bolsheviks

  • Tight-knit, well-educate organisation made up of political revolutionaries known as a vanguard

Mensheviks

  • Mass organisation open to all revolutionaries
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Decision-making

Bolsheviks

  • Decisions to be made by the central committee through democratic centralism

Mensheviks

  • Decisions to be made through vots by every party-member through open democratic discussion
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Strategy

Bolsheviks

  • Dismiss economism as it played into the hands of the bourgeoise
  • Turn all workers into revolutionaries

Mensheviks

  • An alliance with all other revolutionary and bourgeoise liberal parties
  • All trade unions should be legalised in Russia to provide workers with better working conditions and wages
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