100 Years Ago Today (5th January 1912): The Bolshevik Party was Formed

Lenin’s Bolshevik faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party broke away from the main party and formed what would later become the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. The Bolsheviks were born out of Russia’s Social Democrat Party. When the party split in 1903, the Bolsheviks only had one obvious leader – Lenin.

In the last years of the C19th, the Social Democrats had competed with numerous other ideologies in Russia. Included in these ideologies were the Socialist Revolutionaries and Populists. As with many movements based on pure ideologies, the Social Democrats frequently spent their time arguing about their beliefs and where they should go to further them. The intellectuals in the movement, men such as Plekhanov and Julius Martov, spent their time in debate as opposed to actually getting their beliefs out to the workers and peasants. It was as a result of this that Lenin wrote “What is to be done” in 1902. The work was smuggled into Russia and clearly expressed his views regarding what the Social Democrats should be doing as a party. Lenin attacked party members who “were content to wait while history took its predetermined course.” Rather than wait, Lenin wanted to kick-start the issue he believed in to get things done rather than wait on polemics…[more]