Longley, David Anthony (1938-) (1978)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
In January 1912, the Bolsheviks became a separate Party, as opposed to being merely a faction of the RSDLP. Lenin's initial problem was to convince both the leaders of the Second International and his own middle echelon leaders inside Russia that Bolshevism was distinct from Menshevism. This proved difficult before August 1914. The War made the distinction clearer, but also gave rise to an international tendency, with support inside the Bolshevik Party, to the Left even of Lenin. Inside Russia too, joint work with SR Maximalists fostered a kind of Left Populist Bolshevism among some of the Party rank and file. After the February Revolution, the Right Bolsheviks were pushing for a reunification with the Mensheviks, the Left Populist Bolsheviks began to organise nationally and, as the Russian Bureau of the Central Committee lacked authority, the Party was on the verge of a split. Lenin was urgently recalled from abroad. His intervention in the faction fight marked the end of one period of Party history and the beginning of the next. For the first time, the Party leadership was on the spot, and this contact with the rank and file enabled Lenin to clarify and develop ideas he had been formulating in his disputes abroad. The result was a new policy for the Party, quite unmistakeably distinct from Menshevism.
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