David Ryazanov – The Shattered Illusions (1904)

This 1904 book by David Ryazanov is not directly related to Bogdanov but, of course, provides important context for post-1903 ‘split’ at the Second Congress. As we are mostly familiar with Lenin’s side of the story – there are no translations of, say, Martov’s texts on the matter – this book represents an important perspective on how the ‘split’ was perceived by other groups in the Party. Ryazanov’s criticisms frame the overall attempt to ‘unify’ the Party by Isrka-centric approach as problematic – he calls it (in a typical Ryazanov fashion) an attempt to re-dis-organize the Party.

Ryazanov’s criticism – the Party cannot rely on some vague ‘spiritual center’ abroad and must organize from below and learn to dismiss inherent authority of the ‘leadership’ – is close to Bogdanov’s comments regarding ‘authoritarian thinking’ a few years later.

This is, if you will, a third point of view – in contrast to both Lenin and Martov. Enjoy!

Correction: Richard Mullin translated Martov’s main text on the Second Congress in his collection (that also has many contextual pieces) – The Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party, 1899‒1904 that is available in paperback from Haymarket (and that’s part of the same series as Bogdanov Library)/

Full PDF here.

Here is David Borisovich with a few other (some more well-known) Party members in 1919 (at Eight Party Congress):


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