The Origins of Anti-Imperial Marxism: Rediscovering the Polish Socialist Party

Anas­tazy Wisiniews­ki, Red Tape, 1989.

It has often been mis­tak­en­ly assumed that V.I. Lenin and the Bol­she­viks were the first anti-impe­r­i­al Marx­ists. Yet over a decade before the 1903 emer­gence of the Bol­she­vik fac­tion – and over two decades before it began to seri­ous­ly address the nation­al ques­tion – the Pol­ish Social­ist Par­ty (Pol­s­ka Par­tia Soc­jal­isty­cz­na, PPS) put the fight for nation­al lib­er­a­tion at the cen­ter of its Marx­ist project.1 From its birth in 1892 onwards, the PPS devel­oped a strat­e­gy of merg­ing work­ing-class and anti-impe­r­i­al strug­gle, pre­sag­ing an ori­en­ta­tion cham­pi­oned by the ear­ly Com­mu­nist Inter­na­tion­al and social­ist activists across Asia, Africa, and Latin Amer­i­ca through­out the 20th cen­tu­ry.

The his­to­ry of the PPS – and its inter­nal fac­tion fight, which cul­mi­nat­ed in the party’s split in 1906 – is too com­plex to be ade­quate­ly cov­ered in a short arti­cle. Instead, I will focus on three sig­nif­i­cant aspects of its strate­gic ori­en­ta­tion, par­tic­u­lar­ly as it was artic­u­lat­ed by the party’s left wing.2 First, the PPS insist­ed that only the inde­pen­dent move­ment and orga­ni­za­tion of work­ers could win nation­al lib­er­a­tion. Sec­ond, the PPS linked Pol­ish free­dom to the lib­er­a­tion of all peo­ples, includ­ing both neigh­bor­ing nations such as Rus­sia and the Jew­ish nation­al minor­i­ty inside of Poland itself. And, final­ly, left­ists in the PPS argued that the impend­ing rev­o­lu­tion­ary upheaval should seek to simul­ta­ne­ous­ly top­ple impe­r­i­al dom­i­na­tion and cap­i­tal­ist rule itself.

Class, Nation, and Self-Determination

In 1795 the Pol­ish state was wiped off the map after its final par­ti­tion by the Russ­ian, Aus­tri­an, and Pruss­ian monar­chies.3 In sub­se­quent years the “Pol­ish ques­tion” became a cause célèbre of rad­i­cals and democ­rats across Europe. Many social­ists, includ­ing Karl Marx and Fred­er­ick Engels, saw Poland as the van­guard of the fight against Tsarism, which was wide­ly con­sid­ered to be the uphold­er of reac­tion across Europe – in fact, the Inter­na­tion­al Workingman’s Asso­ci­a­tion was found­ed at a ral­ly in large part ded­i­cat­ed to sol­i­dar­i­ty with the Pol­ish nation­al insur­rec­tion of 1863–64. But in the wake of the Russ­ian regime’s vio­lent sup­pres­sion of the 1863–64 upris­ing, Poland’s inde­pen­dence strug­gle dwin­dled for close to two decades.

The found­ing of the PPS in 1892 marked both the re-emer­gence of a strong pro-inde­pen­dence cur­rent in Pol­ish polit­i­cal life and its re-artic­u­la­tion on a new polit­i­cal and social basis. Where­as the nation­al strug­gle had pre­vi­ous­ly been based on the nobil­i­ty, the PPS pro­claimed that only the inde­pen­dent action of the work­ing class could win both social and nation­al lib­er­a­tion. Rev­o­lu­tion­ary social democ­ra­cy remained the uncon­test­ed frame­work of the new par­ty, which unan­i­mous­ly resolved that “the class posi­tion of the pro­le­tari­at is the posi­tion of the Social­ist Par­ty.”4

Giv­en the accom­mo­da­tion of the Pol­ish bour­geoisie and the non-social­ist polit­i­cal forces to Tsarist rule, it was under­stand­able that cross-class nation­al­ism held lit­tle appeal for PPS mil­i­tants, includ­ing those like Józef Pil­sud­s­ki who were most focused on the sep­a­ratist strug­gle. The PPS explic­it­ly reject­ed “nation­al uni­ty” as a fic­tion mask­ing class antag­o­nisms. Only the work­ing class, the par­ty argued, could defend the nation and win inde­pen­dence, as the Pol­ish rul­ing class had capit­u­lat­ed to the occu­py­ing pow­er:

Only the Social­ist Par­ty, pre­cise­ly because it rep­re­sents nation­al inter­ests, and not class priv­i­leges, adheres faith­ful­ly to the ban­ner of inter­na­tion­al rev­o­lu­tion­ary thought, aim­ing for uni­ver­sal lib­er­a­tion. Only it can save the coun­try from the sui­ci­dal pol­i­cy which our upper class and pet­ty bour­geoisie have imposed on us. There­fore it is clear that the Pol­ish Social­ist Par­ty must ensure that the mass­es of work­ers achieve the prop­er polit­i­cal con­scious­ness, and thus they must main­tain their inde­pen­dent polit­i­cal orga­ni­za­tion.5

In short, the PPS advo­cat­ed both pro­le­tar­i­an class inde­pen­dence and nation­al inde­pen­dence. Syn­the­siz­ing these two goals remained the party’s essen­tial project – and its core dilem­ma – in the com­ing years.

Left­ists in the par­ty insist­ed that the case for Pol­ish inde­pen­dence had to always be artic­u­lat­ed from a pure­ly Marx­ist stand­point. In dozens of arti­cles and pam­phlets PPS the­o­rist Kaz­imierz Kelles-Krauz in par­tic­u­lar sought to artic­u­late an “ortho­dox” Marx­ist case for nation­al inde­pen­dence. “An inde­pen­dent Poland for the sake of the pro­le­tari­at, not the pro­le­tari­at for the sake of Pol­ish inde­pen­dence,” was his mot­to.6  Inde­pen­dence could only be won through the self-orga­ni­za­tion and mobi­liza­tion of work­ers, giv­en that the native bour­geoisie, fear­ing the low­er class­es, had ceased to fight for polit­i­cal democ­ra­cy.7

The PPS’s main rival was the Social Democ­ra­cy of the King­dom of Poland (SDKP) led by Rosa Lux­em­burg. In 1893, Lux­em­burg and her com­rades had split away from the PPS in oppo­si­tion to its advo­ca­cy of Pol­ish inde­pen­dence. Accord­ing to the SDKP, the lib­er­a­tion of Pol­ish work­ers could only come about through a joint strug­gle with their Russ­ian com­rades and the end of nation­al oppres­sion would be won by the abo­li­tion of cap­i­tal­ism.

In a minor­i­ty report sub­mit­ted for the Zurich 1893 con­gress of the Sec­ond Inter­na­tion­al, Lux­em­burg put for­ward her basic the­o­ret­i­cal case against the demand for Pol­ish inde­pen­dence. State sep­a­ra­tion was impos­si­ble because the spread of cap­i­tal­ism had eco­nom­i­cal­ly inte­grat­ed Poland into Ger­many, Aus­tria, and Rus­sia: “The socio-eco­nom­ic his­to­ry of the three parts of the for­mer Pol­ish King­dom has organ­i­cal­ly incor­po­rat­ed them into the three par­ti­tion­ing pow­ers and has cre­at­ed in each of these three parts dis­tinct aspi­ra­tions and polit­i­cal inter­ests.” Work­ers should thus reject the utopi­an call for inde­pen­dence – which could only lead to their polit­i­cal sub­or­di­na­tion to oth­er social class­es – and instead forge uni­ty with the oth­er work­ers in the states under which they lived.8

This did not mean that Lux­em­burg opposed all demands for nation­al equal­i­ty. In the July 1893 first issue of the party’s paper, Sprawa Robot­nicza [The Work­ers’ Cause], Lux­em­burg declared that “here, as else­where, the work­er is the only defend­er of every kind of free­dom – eco­nom­ic, polit­i­cal, nation­al.”9 Sim­i­lar­ly, in response to the government’s Ger­man­iza­tion dri­ve in Pruss­ian Poland, Lux­em­burg wrote a 1900 pam­phlet Wobronie nar­o­dowoś­ci [In Defense of Nation­al­i­ty] to pro­mote the defense of Pol­ish cul­ture:

So it is a crime to speak in one’s own lan­guage, which you have tak­en in with your mother’s milk – so it is a crim­i­nal offence to belong to a peo­ple, into which you were born. Tru­ly, it is high time for the Pol­ish peo­ple to shake off its life­less­ness, to express its indig­na­tion, to rise to fight against Ger­man­iza­tion. How to lead this fight, which path is the most effec­tive to defend the Pol­ish nation­al­i­ty – these are ques­tions that mer­it seri­ous con­sid­er­a­tion.10

Luxemburg’s intran­si­gence against the PPS was root­ed not in nation­al nihilism, but rather in a con­vic­tion that her rivals and their demand for an inde­pen­dent Poland posed a grave threat to the inde­pen­dence of the work­ing-class move­ment. As such, she ded­i­cat­ed an extra­or­di­nary amount of polit­i­cal ener­gy through­out her life to com­bat­ting the PPS with­in Poland and on an inter­na­tion­al lev­el.

The entrance of the slo­gan of nation­al self-deter­mi­na­tion into the dis­course of inter­na­tion­al Marx­ism can be traced back to a cam­paign launched by Kelles-Krauz in 1895–96, the major oppo­nent of which was Lux­em­burg. Aim­ing to win West­ern Euro­pean social­ist sup­port for the PPS and its polit­i­cal project, Kelles-Krauz sought to get the upcom­ing Lon­don con­gress of the Sec­ond Inter­na­tion­al to pass the fol­low­ing res­o­lu­tion:

Con­sid­er­ing: that the oppres­sion of a nation by anoth­er only ben­e­fits the cap­i­tal­ists and despots; that it is equal­ly dis­as­trous for the work­ing peo­ple of both nations; that in par­tic­u­lar Russ­ian Tsarism, draw­ing its inter­nal and exter­nal strength from sub­or­di­na­tion and par­ti­tion of Poland, rep­re­sents a per­ma­nent dan­ger for the advance of the inter­na­tion­al pro­le­tari­at – the Con­gress declares: The inde­pen­dence and auton­o­my of Poland is a polit­i­cal demand as nec­es­sary for the whole inter­na­tion­al work­ers’ move­ment as it is for the Pol­ish pro­le­tari­at.11

As this cor­re­spond­ed to the tra­di­tion­al posi­tion of Marx, Engels and their co-thinkers, Kelles-Krauz was con­fi­dent that such a res­o­lu­tion would pass at the upcom­ing inter­na­tion­al con­gress. Lux­em­burg would not gen­er­ate any sig­nif­i­cant oppo­si­tion, he assumed, as her par­ty had been recent­ly wiped out by Tsarist repres­sion.12 But the dis­ap­pear­ance of the SDKP did not pre­vent Lux­em­burg from lead­ing a counter-offen­sive from exile in Gene­va. In the spring and sum­mer of 1896, she pub­lished a series of arti­cles in Karl Kautsky’s jour­nal Die Neue Zeit argu­ing that Marx’s old per­spec­tive on Poland no longer cor­re­spond­ed to con­tem­po­rary real­i­ty since Rus­sia was no longer the bul­wark of reac­tion in Europe and because the emer­gence of a work­ers’ move­ment in cen­tral Rus­sia posed the pos­si­bil­i­ty of win­ning polit­i­cal free­dom through an empire-wide rev­o­lu­tion­ary strug­gle. Inde­pen­dence, fur­ther­more, was a utopi­an demand run­ning counter to the objec­tive trends of socio-eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment – to fight for it could only result in the sub­or­di­na­tion and splin­ter­ing of the work­ers’ move­ment.13 For the upcom­ing Lon­don con­gress she pro­posed a counter-res­o­lu­tion to the PPS, which reit­er­at­ed these points.14

Luxemburg’s efforts proved suf­fi­cient to dis­tance most lead­ers of the Inter­na­tion­al from active­ly sup­port­ing the PPS res­o­lu­tion, as they did not want to get involved in a fac­tion­al dis­pute on a top­ic about which they were not par­tic­u­lar­ly con­cerned. By July, Kelles-Krauz felt oblig­ed to pub­licly express his frus­tra­tion at the lack of inter­na­tion­al sup­port for the res­o­lu­tion:

Imag­ine if France were par­ti­tioned by vic­to­ri­ous invaders, Ger­many, Eng­land, Italy – is there any rea­son to doubt that the first objec­tive of French social­ists would be the recon­sti­tu­tion of France and that with­out this recon­sti­tu­tion the devel­op­ment of social­ism would be stopped or at least slowed in the annexed provinces? … But when the Pol­ish Social­ist Par­ty declares in its pro­gram that the first goal of its polit­i­cal strug­gle is the estab­lish­ment of an Inde­pen­dent Demo­c­ra­t­ic Pol­ish Repub­lic, there are – as unlike­ly as it may be – men who don’t under­stand and who say this is “patri­o­tism” con­trary to social­ism and inter­na­tion­al­ism.15

The deep­en­ing of the dis­pute oblig­ed the Ger­man “Pope of Marx­ism” to reluc­tant­ly inter­vene. Short­ly before the open­ing of the inter­na­tion­al con­gress, Kaut­sky pub­lished an impor­tant arti­cle “Finis Polon­ais?”16 Agree­ing with Lux­em­burg that Tsarism no longer con­sti­tut­ed the major threat to the rev­o­lu­tion­ary move­ment of West­ern Europe, Kaut­sky con­clud­ed that Pol­ish inde­pen­dence had lost its for­mer role in the inter­na­tion­al are­na. But he reject­ed Luxemburg’s claims that Pol­ish inde­pen­dence was utopi­an or con­trary to socio-eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment. Inde­pen­dence, he argued, was in the inter­ests of the Pol­ish pro­le­tari­at, thus both Pol­ish Marx­ists, and the Inter­na­tion­al, should con­tin­ue to advo­cate it.

By over-focus­ing on the dan­ger of Pol­ish nation­al­ism, Kaut­sky added, Lux­em­burg risked abet­ting the Tsarist oppres­sors of Poland. Nation­al sen­ti­ment could not be sim­ply ignored, as “the more the Social Democ­ra­cy firm­ly takes root in the mass­es, the more it acts upon and through the mass­es, the more nation­al dif­fer­ences will make them­selves felt – with or with­out a ‘social-patri­ot­ic’ pro­gram.”17

For all sides in the debate, the 1896 Lon­don con­gress of the Sec­ond Inter­na­tion­al proved to be some­what anti­cli­mac­tic. Most inter­na­tion­al del­e­gates were far more inter­est­ed in the heat­ed con­flict with anar­chists – cul­mi­nat­ing in phys­i­cal clash­es and their expul­sion from the Inter­na­tion­al – than in Poland or the nation­al ques­tion more gen­er­al­ly. The PPS not­ed this dis­re­gard at the Lon­don Con­gress, which it attrib­uted to the absence of nation­al ques­tions oblig­ing social­ist atten­tion inside of most West­ern Euro­pean coun­tries.18  As French his­to­ri­an Georges Haupt has observed, “indif­fer­ence and incom­pre­hen­sion towards the nation­al prob­lem” was the norm for social­ists in this peri­od.19

The Lon­don con­gress end­ed up adopt­ing a com­pro­mise res­o­lu­tion that nei­ther explic­it­ly sup­port­ed or opposed Pol­ish inde­pen­dence:

The Con­gress declares its sup­port for the full right of self-deter­mi­na­tion for all nations and express­es its sym­pa­thy for the work­ers of every coun­try cur­rent­ly suf­fer­ing under the yoke of mil­i­tary, nation­al or oth­er despo­tism. The Con­gress calls upon the work­ers of all these coun­tries to join the ranks of the class-con­scious work­ers of the whole world to togeth­er fight for the over­com­ing of inter­na­tion­al cap­i­tal­ism and the achieve­ment of the aims of inter­na­tion­al Social-Democ­ra­cy.20

Both sides pub­licly claimed that the 1896 res­o­lu­tion had vin­di­cat­ed their per­spec­tive, though in pri­vate PPS lead­ers admit­ted that it fell short of their goals.21 It should be kept in mind that the polit­i­cal mean­ing of “self-deter­mi­na­tion” was unclear in 1896 – so much so that the French and Eng­lish ver­sion of the con­gress min­utes used the term “auton­o­my” in its place.22

The Lon­don deci­sion had lit­tle imme­di­ate effect in Poland, but its long-term impact on world­wide Marx­ism was major. Kelles-Krauz and the PPS’s efforts had led to the Sec­ond International’s first gen­er­al res­o­lu­tion on the nation­al ques­tion, cen­tered on the con­cept of “nation­al self-deter­mi­na­tion.” In 1898 this “ortho­dox” slo­gan would be echoed by the Russ­ian Social Demo­c­ra­t­ic Party’s found­ing con­gress and lat­er Lenin would famous­ly make this the cen­ter­piece of his nation­al strat­e­gy.

Internationalism and Anti-Imperial Marxism

One of the most cen­tral dis­putes between the cen­ter and left wings of the PPS con­cerned the extent to which the Pol­ish work­ing class should strate­gi­cal­ly ori­ent towards an alliance with Russ­ian work­ers and their strug­gle for democ­ra­cy. The 1895 PPS Con­gress resolved that:

The inclu­sion of the demand for Pol­ish inde­pen­dence in our pro­gram does not mean we oppose any poten­tial changes favor­able for the work­ing class in the polit­i­cal regime of the Russ­ian state today; to the con­trary, our social­ist stance requires that we not only sym­pa­thize with any such changes, but more­over it oblig­es us, depend­ing on the avail­able resources of our par­ty, to active­ly sup­port any real­iz­able polit­i­cal reforms, such as those on a con­sti­tu­tion­al lev­el.23

In a sig­nif­i­cant breach of par­ty democ­ra­cy, Józef Pil­sud­s­ki cut this for­mu­la­tion from the August issue of the PPS news­pa­per, which was man­dat­ed to pub­li­cize this demand.24 A major fac­tion­al bat­tle over this issue was only avoid­ed because the PPS left’s main leader Lud­wik Kul­czy­c­ki was arrest­ed by the gov­ern­ment in War­saw a month lat­er.

After the incar­cer­a­tion of Kul­czy­c­ki, the fight for the PPS to active­ly sup­port the democ­ra­ti­za­tion of Rus­sia was led by Kelles-Krauz, from exile in Paris. Declar­ing that indif­fer­ence to the Rus­sians’ fight for a con­sti­tu­tion was a “seri­ous error,” he argued that the PPS should “help them in this bat­tle.”25 Yet in many ways Kelles-Krauz’s approach to alliances with Rus­sians dove­tailed close­ly with the PPS cen­ter. Both saw the oppressed nation­al­i­ties of the West­ern bor­der­lands as the main allies of the Pol­ish pro­le­tari­at. The strug­gle against Tsarism, accord­ing to this con­cep­tion, would be led by the Poles in alliance with the sep­a­ratist move­ments of Lithuan­ian, Ukrain­ian, Lat­vian, and Finnish work­ers.26  Kelles-Krauz, like the PPS cen­ter, stressed the socio-eco­nom­ic back­ward­ness of Rus­sia, por­trayed its rev­o­lu­tion­ary move­ment as an aux­il­iary force, and raised doubts about its abil­i­ty to win polit­i­cal free­dom. He argued that the cre­ation of a demo­c­ra­t­ic Rus­sia, even a fed­er­al­ist one, would not be suf­fi­cient to sat­is­fy the nation­al and demo­c­ra­t­ic needs of Poles and oth­er oppressed nation­al­i­ties, giv­en the uneven eco­nom­ic and cul­tur­al devel­op­ment of the dif­fer­ent peo­ples of the empire.27

Karl Kaut­sky, in a sharp 1904 polemic with Kelles-Krauz, crit­i­cized his adher­ence to Marx’s old vision of Poland as a bul­wark against reac­tionary Rus­sia. The growth of a strong Russ­ian rev­o­lu­tion­ary move­ment now made this old posi­tion irrel­e­vant. The upcom­ing rev­o­lu­tion, Kaut­sky pre­dict­ed, would start not in Ger­many, as Kelles-Krauz hoped, but in Rus­sia.28

Sim­i­lar crit­i­cisms were raised inside of the PPS itself. Start­ing in 1903, a new gen­er­a­tion of mil­i­tants based in Poland known as the Młodzi [The Young] pushed the orga­ni­za­tion in a dif­fer­ent direc­tion from the exile lead­er­ship.29 They demand­ed that the PPS press elim­i­nate all anti-Russ­ian epi­thets and give more cov­er­age to the work­ers’ move­ment of Cen­tral Rus­sia.30 In late 1903 the Młodzi argued that the summer’s gen­er­al strike wave rep­re­sent­ed the “symp­toms of an inevitable rev­o­lu­tion,” in which the main ally of the Poles would be the Russ­ian pro­le­tari­at.31  This new ori­en­ta­tion was artic­u­lat­ed most force­ful­ly in left PPS leader Mar­i­an Bielecki’s Zagad­nienia Rewolucji [Issues of Rev­o­lu­tion]. Though this piece was on the whole a sharp Marx­ist cri­tique of Kautsky’s over­ly-defen­sive rev­o­lu­tion­ary per­spec­tives, Bielec­ki announced his agree­ment with Kaut­sky on the issue of the Russ­ian move­ment. Pol­ish social­ists must tie the strug­gle for pro­le­tar­i­an and nation­al eman­ci­pa­tion to the impend­ing rev­o­lu­tion in the Russ­ian Empire, Bielec­ki argued. Advo­cat­ing Pol­ish inde­pen­dence as an out­post against Tsarism was sim­ply “out­dat­ed” – basic prin­ci­ples of democ­ra­cy were a “suf­fi­cient jus­ti­fi­ca­tion” for the recon­sti­tu­tion of a nation “torn into sev­er­al pieces.”32

From 1903 onwards, the Młodzi were hege­mon­ic in the PPS in Poland and ori­ent­ing the par­ty firm­ly towards a unit­ed strug­gle with Russ­ian work­ers. Illus­tra­tive of the over­all evo­lu­tion of the PPS was the case of Kelles-Krauz. After the out­break of rev­o­lu­tion in Jan­u­ary 1905, he dropped his long­stand­ing skep­ti­cism of the Russ­ian move­ment and essen­tial­ly adopt­ed the ori­en­ta­tion of the Młodzi. In one of his last arti­cles before his sud­den death from tuber­cu­lo­sis in June 1905, Kelles-Krauz argued:

There is no rea­son to lose hope and to think that the unleashed Russ­ian cri­sis will stop halfway, at a con­sti­tu­tion grant­ed by Tsar, with a con­ces­sion of auton­o­my for the Pol­ish King­dom; stu­pid resis­tance and hes­i­ta­tions by the gov­ern­ment accom­pa­nied by the stir­ring up of mass­es allow us to keep up hope that the solu­tion will rather be a rev­o­lu­tion that will over­throw the Tsar and give the nation­al­i­ties, at least in Poland as we see it, the oppor­tu­ni­ty to win inde­pen­dence. … The par­ty must seek out com­mu­ni­ca­tion with those ele­ments in Russ­ian soci­ety that also want to lead the cri­sis across the entire Russ­ian state to its fur­thest con­se­quences, and not let it stop half way.33

Dur­ing the 1905 rev­o­lu­tion, the PPS was often more active in build­ing uni­ty with the Cen­tral Russ­ian rev­o­lu­tion­ary move­ment than Luxemburg’s par­ty: in Novem­ber the PPS sent par­ty leader Feliks Kon to the St. Peters­burg sovi­et to help coor­di­nate the empire-wide strug­gle.34 Sim­i­lar­ly, the PPS ini­ti­at­ed a semi-insur­rec­tionary gen­er­al strike in Decem­ber 1905 across Poland in response to the Moscow work­ers’ upris­ing.

In late 1906, the Pil­sud­s­ki minor­i­ty was expelled by the PPS’s Marx­ist major­i­ty for its pri­or­i­ti­za­tion of guer­ril­la war­fare and its pro­to-nation­al­ist sep­a­ratism. The PPS-Left’s sub­se­quent attempts to join the Russ­ian Social Demo­c­ra­t­ic Work­ers Par­ty failed only because they were blocked by Luxemburg’s orga­ni­za­tion, which in 1906 had demand­ed and won this veto pow­er as a pre­con­di­tion for join­ing the Russ­ian Social Demo­c­ra­t­ic Work­ers Par­ty.35

A no less sig­nif­i­cant com­po­nent of PPS inter­na­tion­al­ism was its stance on the “Jew­ish ques­tion.” Giv­en the ten­den­cy of so many nation­al move­ments in the 20th cen­tu­ry to mar­gin­al­ize or oppress nation­al minori­ties in the name of the fight against the for­eign occu­pi­er, the PPS’s nuanced stance is par­tic­u­lar­ly impor­tant to high­light.

Most Euro­pean social­ists and lib­er­als in the ear­ly years of the 20th cen­tu­ry were assim­i­la­tion­ists, i.e., they saw the merg­ing of Jews into the sur­round­ing pop­u­la­tion as nec­es­sary and desir­able. Accord­ing to this con­cep­tion, the ongo­ing exis­tence of a dis­tinct Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ty reflect­ed a holdover from feu­dal­ism com­bined with con­tin­ued gov­ern­men­tal dis­crim­i­na­tion. Linked to these argu­ments was the assump­tion that Jew­ish cul­ture was exclu­sive­ly the expres­sion of reli­gious back­ward­ness and seg­re­ga­tion from Euro­pean civ­i­liza­tion. A mod­ern sec­u­lar Jew­ish cul­ture was there­fore a con­tra­dic­tion in terms.

Among non-Jews, the lead­ing oppo­nents of assim­i­la­tion were, of course, the anti-Semi­tes. They argued that the inher­ent bio­log­i­cal or cul­tur­al traits of Jews meant that their merg­ing into soci­ety was impos­si­ble or unac­cept­able. For exam­ple, the main Pol­ish nation­al­ist cur­rent – the Nation­al Democ­rats – declared that the assim­i­la­tion of Jews was unfea­si­ble giv­en the “spe­cif­ic prop­er­ties of their race” which made them “alien to Pol­ish soci­ety.”36  ND leader Dmows­ki affirmed that “the Jew­ish pop­u­la­tion is unde­ni­ably a par­a­site on the social body of what­ev­er coun­try it inhab­its.”37 In the face of such anti-Semi­tism, assim­i­la­tion­ism appeared to many peo­ple, Jews and non-Jews alike, as the only viable and coher­ent alter­na­tive.

In prac­tice, how­ev­er, Russ­ian and Pol­ish social­ists’ open advo­ca­cy of assim­i­la­tion like­ly hurt more than it helped achieve clos­er uni­ty between the Jew­ish and non-Jew­ish social­ist move­ments. Assim­i­la­tion­ism was often under­stand­ably seen as imply­ing the supe­ri­or­i­ty of the dom­i­nant cul­ture and, as such, it was reject­ed by the main Jew­ish work­ers’ orga­ni­za­tion, the Jew­ish Bund. By 1902 it was clear that the Bund was win­ning the strug­gle for hege­mo­ny among the large Jew­ish work­ing class in Poland and lead­ers of the PPS began to rethink their ini­tial assim­i­la­tion­ist approach

Start­ing in 1902, the Jew­ish sec­tion of the PPS dropped the party’s push for assim­i­la­tion and began refer­ring to Jews as a nation­al­i­ty.38 In 1904, Józef Kwiatek, a leader of the PPS and its Jew­ish Sec­tion, pub­lished an impor­tant pam­phlet on the Jew­ish ques­tion, which empha­sized the per­va­sive­ness of anti-Semi­tism among the pop­u­la­tion in Poland and the need to com­bat it. His polit­i­cal con­clu­sion was that build­ing work­ing-class uni­ty required:

Not idle talk about the supe­ri­or­i­ty of assim­i­la­tion over cul­tur­al sep­a­rate­ness or vice ver­sa, but the idea of the neces­si­ty for the co-oper­a­tion of the work­ing class, which con­sti­tutes the vast major­i­ty of the nation. … If he (the social­ist) is a Jew, let him fight Zion­ism in words and deeds. If he is a Chris­t­ian, let him com­bat anti-Semi­tism in agi­ta­tion and by per­son­al exam­ple.39

The main push for a new ori­en­ta­tion came from Feliks Sachs, an influ­en­tial leader of the PPS left and the head of the party’s Jew­ish Com­mit­tee.40 With the goal of estab­lish­ing PPS influ­ence on the “Jew­ish street,” Sachs moved to Vil­na in 1902 to edit Der Arbeyter (The Work­er), the party’s Yid­dish-lan­guage news­pa­per.41  Break­ing with tra­di­tion­al PPS assim­i­la­tion­ism, Der Arbeyter began refer­ring to Jews as a “nation­al­i­ty.” Sachs explained this deci­sion to the PPS lead­er­ship: “We now treat Jews as a nation­al­i­ty equal to all oth­ers … we are fol­low­ing ‘the spir­it of the times’: if you were here, you would under­stand and even feel this ‘spir­it.’”42

By this time both Pil­sud­s­ki and Kelles-Krauz had also come to reject the party’s old line on the Jew­ish ques­tion. Pil­sud­s­ki argued that in order to win over Jew­ish social­ists and estab­lish an alliance with the Bund it was nec­es­sary to change the party’s pro­gram, which he not­ed “lacks a guar­an­tee for the rights of Jews as a group.”43 He con­clud­ed that “in a future Poland they would have the right to remain Jews if they so wish, and that we would defend their rights as a nation­al­i­ty.”44

Kelles-Krauz elab­o­rat­ed this argu­ment in his 1904 work “W Kwestii Nar­o­dowoś­ci Żydowskiej” (On the Ques­tion of Jew­ish Nation­al­i­ty). He argued that the spread of Jew­ish nation­al con­scious­ness (man­i­fest in the strength of the Bund and Zion­ism) and the rise of Yid­dish as a mod­ern lan­guage reflect­ed the gen­er­al ten­den­cy of cap­i­tal­ism to cre­ate nation­al­i­ties. To build Pol­ish-Jew­ish uni­ty in this con­text required dis­card­ing the PPS’s old assim­i­la­tion­ism. He con­clud­ed that “the con­cept of civ­il equal­i­ty for Jews should be extend­ed to include the right to have their own nation­al­i­ty. We should rec­og­nize this nation­al­i­ty to the extent that Jews them­selves rec­og­nize it.”45

In con­trast with the lat­er works of Lenin and Joseph Stal­in, Kelles-Krauz did not entire­ly dis­miss the rel­e­vance of “nation­al-cul­tur­al auton­o­my.” While this pro­pos­al was too lim­it­ed for ter­ri­to­r­i­al nations, he argued, it made sense for “dis­persed minor­i­ty nation­al­i­ties.”46 There was no rea­son to oppose nation­al-cul­tur­al auton­o­my for Jews; nor was it pos­si­ble to pre­dict whether they would assim­i­late or con­tin­ue to devel­op as a nation­al group.47 Non-ter­ri­to­r­i­al cul­tur­al auton­o­my, he not­ed, cor­re­spond­ed well to their needs since ter­ri­to­r­i­al solu­tions were pre­clud­ed by their geo­graph­ic dis­per­sion. Kelles-Krauz con­clud­ed that, if so wished by Jews, an inde­pen­dent Poland would grant them “full nation­al rights and cor­po­rate auton­o­my,” man­i­fest in autonomous schools and cul­tur­al insti­tu­tions for all Jews who desired such auton­o­my.48 There­fore, he con­clud­ed, the Bund should drop its equiv­o­cal stance and open­ly sup­port the fight for Pol­ish inde­pen­dence. By rec­og­niz­ing nation­al rights for Jews, Kelles-Krauz showed that ter­ri­to­r­i­al and non-ter­ri­to­r­i­al solu­tions to the nation­al ques­tion were not mutu­al­ly exclu­sive. The expe­ri­ence and strat­e­gy of the left PPS would seem to show that there was no inher­ent con­tra­dic­tion between fight­ing for nation­al inde­pen­dence and pro­mot­ing full nation­al rights for all peo­ples liv­ing inside a giv­en coun­try.

“Permanent Revolution” in Poland

Poland was the only region of the Russ­ian empire where there was an ongo­ing debate inside the pre-1905 Marx­ist move­ment about the fea­si­bil­i­ty of a direct social­ist rev­o­lu­tion. This dis­pute rather sig­nif­i­cant­ly under­mines the pre­vail­ing his­to­ri­o­graph­ic con­sen­sus that Rosa Luxemburg’s par­ty was the most rad­i­cal social­ist par­ty in Poland. Leszek Kolakows­ki, for exam­ple, has made the case that the PPS was oppor­tunist, unlike the pro­to-com­mu­nist SDKPiL: “It was here [Poland] that social­ism for the first time spit up in accor­dance, more or less, with the prin­ci­ples that sub­se­quent­ly divid­ed social democ­ra­cy from com­mu­nism.”49 In real­i­ty, the left wing of the PPS was con­sis­tent­ly Marx­ist and even more rad­i­cal in its social­ist ori­en­ta­tion than Luxemburg’s par­ty.

Where­as the “ortho­dox” Marx­ist oppo­si­tion to direct social­ist rev­o­lu­tion was adhered to by both the cen­ter PPS and Luxemburg’s SDKPiL, lead­ing PPS left­ists argued for the pos­si­bil­i­ty and desir­abil­i­ty of mov­ing straight to a social­ist over­turn, there­by pio­neer­ing the strat­e­gy of tying nation­al lib­er­a­tion to work­ers’ pow­er lat­er famous­ly artic­u­lat­ed in Leon Trotsky’s the­o­ry of per­ma­nent rev­o­lu­tion.

The “ortho­dox” Marx­ist stance was that a peri­od of polit­i­cal free­dom under cap­i­tal­ism was a nec­es­sary pre­con­di­tion for the fight for social­ism. Pil­sud­s­ki thus argued that in “demo­c­ra­t­ic” coun­tries the pro­le­tari­at must “direct­ly aim for pow­er,” while in places like Poland where “the work­ing mass­es do not yet have polit­i­cal rights” the task at hand was to con­quer polit­i­cal free­dom.50 Lux­em­burg sim­i­lar­ly reject­ed “the hope for the pos­si­bil­i­ty of a direct path to social­ist rev­o­lu­tion, skip­ping the par­lia­men­tary-bour­geois phase. … The work­ing class can­not achieve wide-scale orga­ni­za­tion and con­scious­ness with­out cer­tain polit­i­cal con­di­tions enabling open class strug­gle, that is with­out demo­c­ra­t­ic insti­tu­tions in the coun­try.”51

PPS left­ists, in con­trast, pio­neered a new approach that syn­the­sized advo­ca­cy of direct social rev­o­lu­tion with the fight for nation­al inde­pen­dence. At the 1892 found­ing con­gress of the PPS, one of the left del­e­gates, Jan Loren­tow­icz, argued that the pro­gram should call for an “Inde­pen­dent Social­ist Repub­lic” not an “Inde­pen­dent Demo­c­ra­t­ic Repub­lic.”52 Feliks Perl, a lead­ing the­o­rist of the PPS cen­ter, opposed this pro­pos­al, argu­ing that “the impor­tant issue is whether the polit­i­cal free­dom we win will be used for the fur­ther devel­op­ment of bour­geois soci­ety or used to take the first step to social­ism.”53

The call for social­ist over­turn was most clear­ly artic­u­lat­ed by Kaz­imierz Kelles-Krauz. In 1896 he wrote:

Who says that the Pol­ish repub­lic that we will win shall nec­es­sar­i­ly be a bour­geois state? … The day we kick out the Tsarist invasion–the main obsta­cle to [the social­ist program’s] imple­men­ta­tion – we will do every­thing pos­si­ble at the same time, it goes with­out say­ing, to social­ize the means of pro­duc­tion and democ­ra­tize the polit­i­cal order. Up to what point will we suc­ceed? That depends on the cir­cum­stances and the moment in which the gen­er­al march of events in Europe and Rus­sia launch­es us into the strug­gle. … The abo­li­tion of for­eign oppres­sion in our coun­try can become the point of depar­ture for the abo­li­tion of the cap­i­tal­ist sys­tem itself.54

In 1902, Kelles-Krauz devel­oped this ori­en­ta­tion in a major polemic against PPS the­o­rists who reject­ed the idea of a social rev­o­lu­tion in Poland or rel­e­gat­ed it to a dis­tant future fol­low­ing an extend­ed peri­od of polit­i­cal free­dom. Kelles-Krauz called for the PPS to adopt the slo­gan “the land for those who plough it, the fac­to­ries to those who work them.” He argued that “our sacred duty in every city, in every neigh­bor­hood where the Tsarist army and author­i­ties are forced out, will be to imme­di­ate­ly pro­claim a social­ist repub­lic.” All the major indus­tries would become “prop­er­ty of the nation” and put under work­ers’ con­trol of pro­duc­tion. Whether the rev­o­lu­tion would progress towards “the dic­ta­tor­ship of the pro­le­tari­at” or whether the “social gains of the upris­ing” would be “par­tial­ly undone” through a return to pri­vate prop­er­ty, he con­clud­ed, “can­not be pre­dict­ed” as this to a con­sid­er­able extent would depend on the dynam­ic of the rev­o­lu­tion­ary strug­gle in the West.55 Kelles-Krauz repeat­ed this argu­ment until his ear­ly death from tuber­cu­lo­sis in 1905 at the age of 33. His last major arti­cle – “Pol­ish Inde­pen­dence and the Mate­ri­al­ist Con­cep­tion of His­to­ry” – thus posed the pos­si­bil­i­ty of the “estab­lish­ment of the social­ist sys­tem in Poland at the same time as it gets its inde­pen­dence.”56

This ori­en­ta­tion did not remain con­fined to the­o­ret­i­cal pub­li­ca­tions but was also reflect­ed in the party’s mass agi­ta­tion. Par­tic­u­lar­ly illus­tra­tive are the short list of slo­gans that invari­ably con­clud­ed the procla­ma­tions of the PPS, as with all Marx­ist par­ties in this epoch. Ini­tial­ly, PPS leaflets upheld the “ortho­dox” sep­a­ra­tion of demo­c­ra­t­ic and social rev­o­lu­tion by end­ing with a demo­c­ra­t­ic polit­i­cal slo­gan – for exam­ple, “Long Live Pol­ish Inde­pen­dence!” or “Down with Tsarism!” – and a long-term social­ist slo­gan like “Long Live Social­ism!” Start­ing in 1903, with the ascent of the PPS left inside of Poland, this sep­a­ra­tion was increas­ing­ly elim­i­nat­ed and replaced by slo­gans like “Long Live Inde­pen­dent Social­ist Poland!” or “Long Live Inde­pen­dent Work­ers’ Poland and Lithua­nia.”57


Due to the pre­vail­ing Marx­ist his­to­ri­o­graph­i­cal focus on Bol­she­vism and cen­tral Rus­sia, the dis­tinct con­tri­bu­tions and expe­ri­ences of rev­o­lu­tion­ar­ies in the bor­der­lands of the Tsarist Empire have been most­ly mar­gin­al­ized. As such, it is remark­ably lit­tle known that left­ist PPS mil­i­tants as ear­ly as the 1890’s pio­neered many of the polit­i­cal ori­en­ta­tions that became cen­tral to the prac­tice of anti-cap­i­tal­ist rev­o­lu­tion­ar­ies through­out the 20th cen­tu­ry. In this arti­cle, I high­light­ed in par­tic­u­lar the left PPS’s strate­gic artic­u­la­tion of the fight for state inde­pen­dence from a pro­le­tar­i­an and inter­na­tion­al­ist stand­point, the party’s nuanced com­bi­na­tion of ter­ri­to­r­i­al and non-ter­ri­to­r­i­al solu­tions to nation­al dom­i­na­tion, and its advo­ca­cy of win­ning nation­al lib­er­a­tion direct­ly through social­ist rev­o­lu­tion. I also demon­strat­ed that the ori­gin of the accep­tance of the slo­gan of nation­al self-deter­mi­na­tion with­in the orga­nized Marx­ist move­ment dates back to the 1895 cam­paign ini­ti­at­ed by PPS lead­ers with­in the Sec­ond Inter­na­tion­al.

That this impor­tant expe­ri­ence has been wide­ly ignored for close to a cen­tu­ry under­scores the need for a fresh re-exam­i­na­tion of the his­to­ry of the social­ist move­ment; too much of our under­stand­ing has been shaped by half-truths and received ideas. A crit­i­cal engage­ment with the past remains an indis­pens­able instru­ment for crit­i­cal­ly con­fronting the present.

  1. Although there is today an impor­tant dis­tinc­tion between “anti-impe­ri­al­ism” and “nation­al lib­er­a­tion,” in the peri­od sur­veyed in this arti­cle, the terms “anti-impe­r­i­al,” “anti-impe­ri­al­ist,” and “nation­al lib­er­a­tion,” were often used inter­change­ably. In this text, I will use the term “anti-impe­r­i­al” to avoid con­fu­sion. 

  2. Through­out this arti­cle I will use the terms “left” and “cen­ter” as short­hand for, respec­tive­ly, the rev­o­lu­tion­ary Marx­ist and Józef Pil­sud­s­ki-led trends in the PPS. By 1903, the par­ty left ori­ent­ed to mass strug­gle and a rev­o­lu­tion­ary alliance with Russ­ian work­ers – com­prised the major­i­ty of the PPS and its lead­er­ship in Poland. Late in 1906, the par­ty expelled the Pil­sud­s­ki minor­i­ty for pri­or­i­tiz­ing sep­a­ratist strug­gle and guer­ril­la war­fare over inter­na­tion­al­ism and mass action. After the 1906 PPS split, the rad­i­cal major­i­ty named itself the PPS-Left and Pilsudski’s group took on the name PPS-Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Fac­tion. In 1918, the PPS-Left co-found­ed the new Pol­ish Com­mu­nist Par­ty togeth­er with Rosa Luxemburg’s orga­ni­za­tion. I address the post-1906 his­to­ry of the PPS-Left and its rela­tions with Luxemburg’s cur­rent in the forth­com­ing issue of His­tor­i­cal Mate­ri­al­ism. 

  3. Giv­en the region­al focus of this arti­cle, I will use the term Poland as short­hand for the Pol­ish lands ruled by the Russ­ian Tsar. 

  4. “Pro­tokuł Zjaz­du Paryskiego (Ostate­czny)” [1892] in Dzieje Zjaz­du Paryskiego 1892: Przy­czynek do His­torii Pol­skiego Ruchu Soc­jal­isty­cznego, ed. Leon Wasilews­ki (Warsza­wa: Insty­tut Bada­nia Najnowszej His­tor­ji Pol­s­ki, 1934), 32. 

  5. “Szkic Pro­gra­mu Pol­skiej Par­tii Soc­jal­isty­cznej” [1892] in Pol­skie Pro­gramy Soc­jal­isty­czne 1878-1918, ed. Feliks Tych (Warsza­wa: Ksiąka i Wiedza, 1975), 251. 

  6. Kaz­imierz Kelles-Krauz [Luś­nia], Kla­sowość Naszego Pro­gra­mu (Paris: A. Reiff, 1894), 20-1. 

  7. Kaz­imierz Kelles-Krauz, “Niepodległość Pol­s­ki a Mate­ri­al­isty­czne Poj­mowanie Dziejów,” [1905] in Wybór Pism Poli­ty­cznych (Kraków: Nakła­dem Drukarni Nar­o­dowej, 1907), 252, 256-63. 

  8. Rosa Lux­em­burg [Redakcjęe Sprawy Robot­niczej], Spra­woz­danie na III Międzynarodowy Kon­gres Soc­jal­isty­czny i Robot­niczy w Zurychu 1893 o Stanie Ruchu Soc­jaldemokraty­cznego w Królest­wie Pol­skim w Okre­sie 1889-1893,” [1903] in Kwest­ja Pol­s­ka a Ruch Soc­jal­isty­czny, ed. Rosa Lux­em­burg (Kraków: R. Moszoro, 1905), 176. Polemi­ciz­ing against this the­o­ry, Kelles-Krauz argued that the loy­al­ty of the Pol­ish upper class to the Russ­ian state was “far less due to the Russ­ian mar­kets than fear of dis­or­ders, of rev­o­lu­tion.” Kelles-Krauz, “Niepodległość Pol­s­ki,” 252. 

  9. O Wynarada­ni­a­n­iu (z Powodu Dziesię­ci­ole­cia Rządów Gen. Gub. Hur­ki)[1893] in Soc­jaldemokrac­ja Królest­wa Pol­skiego i Litwy, Mate­ri­ały i Doku­men­ty, Tom 1 1893-1903, eds. Han­na Buczek and Feliks Tych (Warsza­wa: Książka i Wiedza, 1957), 9. 

  10. Rosa Lux­em­burg, W obronie nar­o­dowoś­ci (Poz­nań: J. Gogows­ki, 1900), 1-2. 

  11. Kaz­imierz Kelles-Krauz, “Au Con­grès de Lon­dres,” Bul­letin Offi­ciel du Par­ti Social­iste Polon­ais 10 (1896): 1. 

  12. In 1900, the par­ty was refound­ed and its name was expand­ed to include Lithua­nia, there­by result­ing in the acronym SDKPiL. 

  13. Rosa Lux­em­burg, “Neue Strö­mungen in der Pol­nis­chen Sozial­is­tis­chem Bewe­gung in Deutsch­land und Oester­re­ich,” Die Neue Zeit 14, no. 32 (1896): 176-81 and 206-16; and Rosa Lux­em­burg, “Der Sozial­pa­tri­o­tismus in Polen,” Die Neue Zeit 14, no. 41 (1896): 459-70. 

  14. Rosa Lux­em­burg, “Dwie Rezoluc­je” [1896] in Soc­jaldemokrac­ja Królest­wa Pol­skiego i Litwy, eds. Buczek and Tych, 434-36. 

  15. Kaz­imierz Kelles-Krauz, “Les Motifs de Notre Pro­gramme,” Bul­letin Offi­ciel du Par­ti Social­iste Polon­ais 9 (1896): 1. 

  16. Karl Kaut­sky, “Finis Polo­ni­ae?” Die Neue Zeit 14, no. 42 (1896): 484-91 and no. 43 (1896): 513-25. This arti­cle was lat­er pub­lished in Pol­ish by the PPS, minus some of its for­mu­la­tions agree­ing with Lux­em­burg; it became one of the party’s most pop­u­lar pro-inde­pen­dence pam­phlets. 

  17. Kaut­sky “Finis Polo­ni­ae?” 521. 

  18. Przedświt Redakc­ja [Anon.], “Rzut oka na Wynik i Zjaz­du,” Przedświt 3, no. 7 (1896): 12. 

  19. Georges Haupt, Claudie Weill, et al., eds., Les Marx­istes et la Ques­tion Nationale, 1848–1914: Études et Textes (Paris: François Maspero, 1974), 27. 

  20. Ver­hand­lun­gen und Beschlüsse des Inter­na­tionalen Sozial­is­tis­chen Arbeit­er- und Gew­erkschafts-Kon­gress­es zu Lon­don, vom 27. Juli bis 1. August 1896 (Berlin: Expe­di­tion der Buch­hand­lung Vor­wärts, Th. Glocke, 1896), 18. 

  21. Feliks Tych, “The Pol­ish Ques­tion at the Inter­na­tion­al Social­ist Con­gress in Lon­don in 1896, a Con­tri­bu­tion to the His­to­ry of the Sec­ond Inter­na­tion­al,” Acta Polo­ni­ae His­tor­i­ca 46 (1982): 135. 

  22. For the Eng­lish, French, and Ger­man ver­sions see Con­grès Inter­na­tion­al Social­iste des Tra­vailleurs et des Cham­bres Syn­di­cales Ouvrières, Lon­dres 26 Juil­let-2 Août 1896, ed. Michel Winock (Genève: Minkoff Reprint, 1980), 223, 455, 478. 

  23. “Uch­wały III zjaz­du Pol­skiej Par­tyi Socyal­isty­cznej” [1895], in Materyały do His­to­ryi P.P.S. i Ruchu Rewolucyjnego w Zaborze Rosyjskim od r. 1893-1904. Tom I, Rok 1893-1897, ed. Alek­sander Mali­nows­ki (Warsza­wa: Odbito w Drukarni Nar­o­dowej w Krakowie, 1907), 146. 

  24. Robot­nik, no. 9, August 15, 1895. 

  25. Kaz­imierz Kelles-Krauz [Michal Luś­nia], “Nasz Kryzys,” Przedświt 22, no. 3 (1902): 86.  

  26. Kelles-Krauz, “Nasz Kryzys,” 94. 

  27. Kaz­imierz Kelles-Krauz [Ele­hard Esse], “Social­istes Polon­ais et Russ­es,” L’Humanité Nou­velle: Revue Inter­na­tionale: Sci­ences, Let­tres et Arts 3, no. 4 (1899): 448-50. 

  28. Karl Kaut­sky, “Aller­hand Rev­o­lu­tionäres,” Die Neue Zeit 22, no. 20 (1904): 622. 

  29. Pilsudski’s wing became known as the Starzy [The Elders]. 

  30. Jan Sobczak, Współpra­ca SDKPiL z SDPRR: 1893–1907: Geneza Zjed­noczenia i Stanowisko SDKPiL Wewnątrz SDPRR (Warsza­wa: Książka i Wiedza, 1980), 214. 

  31. Flis, “Stre­j­ki Połud­niowo-Rosyjskie,” Przedświt 23, no. 8 (1903): 349. 

  32. Mar­i­an Bielec­ki [M. Raudonas], “Zagad­nienia Rewolucji,” Przedświt 24, no. 5-6 (1904): 201-02. 

  33. Kaz­imierz Kelles-Krauz [Inter­im], “Z Całej Pol­s­ki,” Kry­ty­ka 7, no. 1 (1905): 165. 

  34. Sobczak, 386. 

  35. Jan­i­na Kasprza­kowa, Ide­olo­gia i poli­ty­ka PPS-Lewicy w lat­ach 1907–1914 (Warsza­wa: Książka i Wiedza, 1965). 

  36. Cit­ed in Bri­an Porter, When Nation­al­ism Began to Hate: Imag­in­ing Mod­ern Pol­i­tics in Nine­teenth Cen­tu­ry Poland (New York: Oxford Uni­ver­si­ty Press, 2000), 228. 

  37. Cit­ed in Porter, 10. 

  38. Joshua D. Zim­mer­man, Poles, Jews, and the Pol­i­tics of Nation­al­i­ty: The Bund and the Pol­ish Social­ist Par­ty in late Tsarist Rus­sia, 1892–1914 (Madi­son: Uni­ver­si­ty of Wis­con­sin Press, 2004), 165-72. 

  39. Józef Kwiatek, Kwest­ya Żydowska (Kraków: Nakła­dem Admin­is­tra­cyi ‘Prawa Ludu’, ‘Naprzo­du’ i ‘Kole­jarza’, 1904), 34. 

  40. Zim­mer­man, Poles, Jews, and the Pol­i­tics of Nation­al­i­ty, 165-6. 

  41. From 1898 to 1901, Der Arbeyter had been pub­lished by the PPS lead­er­ship in Lon­don and advo­cat­ed assim­i­la­tion­ism. 

  42. Cit­ed in Zim­mer­man, Poles, Jews, and the Pol­i­tics of Nation­al­i­ty, 172. 

  43. Cit­ed in Zim­mer­man, Poles, Jews, and the Pol­i­tics of Nation­al­i­ty, 168. 

  44. Ibid. 

  45. Kaz­imierz Kelles-Krauz [Michal Luś­nia], “W Kwestii Nar­o­dowoś­ci Żydowskiej,” Kry­ty­ka 6, no. 1 (1904): 128. 

  46. Kaz­imierz Kelles-Krauz, “Pro­gram Narodowościowy Socyal­nej Demokra­cyi Aus­try­ack­iej a Pro­gram P.P.S.,” [1903] in Wybór Pism Poli­ty­cznych (Kraków: Nakła­dem Drukarni Nar­o­dowej, 1907), 215. 

  47. Kelles-Krauz “Pro­gram Narodowościowy,” 216. 

  48. Ibid., 216-17. 

  49. Leszek Kolakows­ki, Main Cur­rents of Marx­ism: Its Rise, Growth, and Dis­so­lu­tion, vol. 2 (Oxford: Claren­don Press, 1978), 17. 

  50. Robot­nik, no. 9, August 15, 1895. 

  51. Rosa Lux­em­burg, “‘Pamię­ci “Pro­le­tariatu,’” Przegląd Soc­jaldemokraty­czny 23, no. 2 (1903): 52. 

  52. “Pro­tokuł Zjaz­du Paryskiego (Ostate­czny)” [1892], in Wasilews­ki, 28. Loren­tow­icz was a main leader of a small group of Pol­ish rad­i­cals in Paris that pub­lished the social­ist jour­nal Pobud­ka (Reveille). Accord­ing to Pobud­ka, “polit­i­cal rev­o­lu­tion, aimed to lib­er­ate Poland from for­eign yoke, and social rev­o­lu­tion, aimed to lib­er­ate the Pol­ish pro­le­tari­at from eco­nom­ic oppres­sion, must be accom­plished simul­ta­ne­ous­ly. As the first can­not be effec­tive with­out the oth­er, so too is the sec­ond impos­si­ble with­out the first.” A.Z., “Nasze Zadanie,” Pobud­ka no. 10, Octo­ber 1891. 

  53. “Pro­tokuł Zjaz­du Paryskiego (Ostate­czny)” [1892], in Wasilews­ki, 28. 

  54. Kelles-Krauz, “Les Motifs de Notre Pro­gramme,” 3, 5. 

  55. Kelles-Krauz, “Nasz Kryzys,” 53-5. 

  56. Kelles-Krauz, “Niepodległość Pol­s­ki,” 265. 

  57. See for exam­ple the fol­low­ing dec­la­ra­tions: Łow­ic­ki Komitet Robot­niczy Pol­skiej Par­tyi Socyal­isty­cznej, “Towarzysze Włościanie!”, Przedświt 23, no. 3 (1903): 116; “Odezwa CKR PPS w Związku z Wybuchem Wojny Rosyjsko - Japońskiej,” [1904] in Naras­tanie Rewolucji w Królest­wie Pol­skim w Lat­ach 1900–1904, ed. Her­man Rap­pa­port (Warsza­wa: Państ­wowe Wydawnict­wo Naukowe, 1960), 488-90; “Odezwa CKR PPS Wzywająca Rez­er­wistów do Uchy­la­nia się od Służby” [1904], in Rap­pa­port, 561-63. 

Author of the article

is a doctoral student in the sociology department at New York University. He is the author of the forthcoming monograph, Anti-Colonial Marxism: Oppression & Revolution in the Tsarist Borderlands, 1881-1917.