Mensheviks

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    In 1903, a disagreement regarding membership marked a split within the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party.

-At the Congress, Martov and Lenin were disagreeing over party membership and centralized control of the party. Lenin had a basic mistrust of workers' instincts and attempted to limit membership to join in party organizations.

-Martov wanted a more broad-based party that would include both full-time revolutionaries and less active supporters.

-Lenin lost to Martov when the issue of membership was put to a vote, he did win on another important issue.

-The congress's decision to agree to stronger controls over the RSDLP by a reduced Iskra board signaled victory for Lenin since he and Plekhanov were elected to the board.

-Lenin declared his faction to be the bolshinstvo (majority), while those of his rival, Martov, would be the menshinstvo (minority).

 -They sought to improve the existing conditions. This mostly Proletariat party had some intelligentsia, but was mass based for the most part. Unlike the Bolsheviks, this was truly a party of the Proletariat, not over them.

-The Mensheviks were much more alligned with the ideology of Marx, in comparison to their opponents. 

-Both Marx and the Mensheviks recognized the the need for a capitalist revolution in order to achieve socialism.

-Lenin, however, felt that he could forego this requirement since Russia was neither an industrialized country, nor had she experienced full-blown capitalism, something that Marx said was necessary in order for a revolution to occur.

-The Mensheviks wanted a Parliamentary Bourgeoise run by capitalists(socialists).

-This would, however, take quite a while since a long run of capitalism was necessary. Not surprisingly, the Bolsheviks were able to seize power and control.

Mensheviks vs. Bolsheviks

On July 30, 1903, the second congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party (RSDLP) was held in Brussels, Belgium. While the meeting was supposed to unite the party, instead it split in two. Lenin headed the Bolsheviks, they believed that violence was necessary for the revolution to succeed. The Bolsheviks thought that only a violent uprising in the proletariat can truly create a communist state, with the rebellion to be headed by a small number of intelligent revolutionaries. The Mensheviks believe that reform and democracy will gradually bring Russia into communism. They thought that the formulation of a parliament and organization into different parties will allow Russia's working class to gain more power. Lenin gave his group the name "Bolshevik", which means majority-class. His opponents he called "Mensheviks", which means minority-class, although, at the congress in Brussels, there were more Mensheviks than Bolsheviks. During the civil war following the overthrow of Czar the Bolsheviks represented the red army and the Mensheviks represented the white army. The Mensheviks wanted to later establish a monarchy, which was not supported by the Mensheviks.


White Army

Those who fought against the Soviet Red Army in the Russian Civil War (1918-21). The name was derived from the royalist opponents of the French Revolution, known as Whites, because they adopted the white flag of the French Bourbon dynasty. The White Army, though smaller than the Red, was better equipped and had an abundance of Tsarist officers, some of whom offered to serve as ordinary soldiers. Its two main bases were in the south, where the army was successively led by Kornilov, Denikin, and Wrangel, and in Siberia where Kolchak was nominally head of a provisional government at Omsk. The White Russians were ultimately defeated by their own internal quarrels and by their refusal to grant land reforms in the areas under their control.