The emergence of the first Polish socialist parties
and their activities on the territory of Belarus
before the first Russian revolution
At the end of XIX century underwent a process of intensive development
of Polish society, the establishment of the Polish nation. It was the
active struggle of the Poles for the preservation of national identity
in the absence of their own statehood. This process has faced in Russia
and Imperial Germany in the opposite process – the unification of their
own state organisms – and the attendant process of Russification and
Germanization. Polish socialist socio-political movement in the
territory of the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, that Belarus and
Lithuania, one of the main ideological objectives, along with the idea
of world revolution, considered the national association of Polish
forces in the struggle for national self-preservation [4, pp. 19].
During this period, is beginning to emerge of the socialist system of
the Polish political parties, which in its programs reflect the
economic, political, cultural and religious aspirations of the Polish
working class, in particular, and in the Belarusian-Lithuanian lands [7,
The development of the Polish working class and socialist movement in
Belarus has been primarily associated with the process of
industrialization, development of industry and the increasing number of
workers. However, it is worth noting that the Polish socialist movement
mainly in Belarus was presented first national intellectuals and the
nobility and the very limited electoral, working the same movement as
opposed to build on the work of trade unions and had a massive
character. However, the socialist parties sought to lead the labor
movement. The specificity of the Polish workers and socialist movement
in Russia Empire, and in Belarus, in particular, was that the party had
to operate underground. These conditions affect the content of party
programs, which aim to accomplishment of the socialist revolution in
Russia [25, pp.127].
Before the form of political party, the Polish workers and the socialist
movement has passed the phase of socialist circles of self-organized
students, workers and intellectuals under the influence of Russia’s
revolutionary thought of the Populists and lobbied socialist ideas among
workers. In the late 70’s. XIX century. these groups were organized into
structures characteristic of the political parties [6, pp.56].
In 1878 in Warsaw, was developed by the first program of the Polish
Socialist-Revolutionaries. Her sponsor was Ludwik Waryѓskiego [9, pp.5].
Program primarily was based on Marxism. In the works of historians, this
program is known as the “Brussels Program”. It outlined the basic tenets
of the Party: the social revolution of the means of production, social
equality. The importance of international co-workers to fight for their
rights. The national idea was not seen as the main, since the main task
of the commission considered the world socialist revolution, after which
the nation-state will disappear. Significant impact on the Brussels
program had the idea of M. Bakunin, promoted to replace the existing
structure of society “production associations” [26, pp.33].
Polish workers’ socialist movement before the first Russian Revolution
1905 – 1907 gg. Belarus was represented by the following parties: I and
II of the proletariat, the Union of Polish workers, Polish Socialist
Party (PPP), the Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania
(SDKP and L) [22, pp.12].
I proletariat – International Social Revolutionary Party “proletariat”
was the first Polish working-class party. One of the founders of the
party was Ludwik Waryѓskiego. In September 1882, the working committee,
which included A. Dembsky, G. Dulemba. S. Kunitsky and others [21,
pp.84], published a political program, which was a continuation of the
Brussels program. It reviewed the main provisions of the Communist
Manifesto by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, adapted to the realities of
the Kingdom of Poland [20, pp.112].
Software requirements of the Party formulated in three sections, each of
which corresponded to a specific area of public life: economic,
political and spiritual. The main economic demands were:
1). nationalization of the basic means of production, including land,
2). abolition of private property, wage labor.
The political demands were:
1). elimination of the autocracy, and 2). establishment of democracy,
and 3). equality of religions, and 4). freedom of speech, association
Main spiritual demands were:
1).compulsory free education 2). separation of church and state [7,
Since its inception, 25 Socialist Party published pamphlets and about 20
leaflets. The party had its own press organs: the clandestine newspaper
“Poletariat” (Warsaw), a legal newspaper, Robotnik (Krakow), a legal
newspaper, Pshedsvit ” (Geneva), the theoretical journal” Valka klyas ”
(Geneva) [10, pp.39].
Largest party cells were in Warsaw, Lodz, Modlin, St. Petersburg,
Moscow. On the territory of the five provinces of the largest Belarusian
party cells I proletariat is in Pinsk, Vilna, Bialystok [15, pp.59].
I Proletariat Party positioned itself prominent parties. She ignored the
national question, but the main purpose was to unite the party workers
in the struggle against autocracy and protect the interests of the
working class, as well as their organization in the struggle for
socialism [3, pp.211].
The ultimate goal of the party was a future socialist state, which
should happen with the help of the world socialist revolution. The
solution of these installations was planned to conduct with the economic
and political struggle. The main means of economic struggle – the
strike, the creation of illegal organizations working in the factories.
The political struggle was conducted with the help of terrorist acts
against class enemies.
I proletariat actively cooperated with Russia’s revolutionaries,
organized strikes at enterprises and made attempts of individual terror.
In 1884, as a result of seizures and was beheaded in 1886, was
completely destroyed [11, pp.314].
After the destruction I Proletarian Polish socialist movement was
dropped to the level of intellectuals circles of self. Further
strengthening the labor movement in Russia has pushed some Polish
socialist circles of attempts to create socialist party. In 1888 was
created the Polish Social-Revolutionary Party of the proletariat, dubbed
II proletariat. Leader of the party was Martin Kasprshak [16, pp.34].
Program II of the proletariat, despite the fact that also relied on the
basic tenets of Marxism, has undergone major changes. Given the growth
of the Polish national identity in the program was a requirement for the
autonomy of the Polish lands. Party to achieve its goals focused on
terror, because of what not acquired influence among the workers [5,
Ideological differences led to a split within the party, leaving in 1889
a breakaway group of party functionaries created the Union of Polish
workers. The main objective of the Union was the organization of mass
labor movement. SBP Program has relied on two postulates: the struggle
for social rights of workers in and out of illegality, the denial of
terror and the transition to mass agitation and education among the
workers [24, pp.449].
Growing in the Kingdom of the Polish workers and socialist movement
increasingly began to exaggerate, under the influence of the emigre
community, separatist slogans. Gradually the idea of world revolution in
the circles of the Polish Socialist intellectuals gives way to program
the postulate of the struggle for a sovereign and independent Poland.
Independence should have been, according to the leaders of the Polish
Socialist movement, appear key to the future of democratic
transformations [18, pp.59].
In November 1892 in Paris, was created Abroad Association of Polish
Socialists (LAVS), and the program was approved the struggle for
independence, developed Boleslav Limanowa, Stanislav Mendelssohn, Felix
Pearl [7, pp.212]. They were dropped the idea of world revolution and
the socialist principle of cooperation of different countries. The
program also emphasized that the party defending the interests of
workers and organizes them in the struggle for socialism. Among the
members of this party was widely disseminated the idea of the historical
rights of the Poles at the non-Polish territory of Poland. One of the
first on the subject spoke the famous Polish Socialist S. Mendelson [10,
Already in the program adopted at the Paris Congress, determined that
the new Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth Roetsch will be created as a
voluntary federation of equal peoples, but it certainly was not
determined which areas and peoples must be that federation. Congress
called for the creation of the Belarusian Party of socialist
orientation, establishing publishing campaign literature in the
Also in the Paris congress was attended by representatives of the
proletariat and the AB II, as well as members ZSPR where he decided to
merge their organizations into one party – Polish Socialist Party (PPP).
From 1894 on the territory of the Russia Empire were set up party cells
and to issue an illegal magazine “Eggman” [19, pp. 19].
PPP was not a monolithic party, and soon within the party began to form
separate faction. Many members drawn primarily separatist party slogans.
On the left flank of PPP supporters were of the world socialist
revolution. However, the two factions were behind the introduction of
more radical methods of struggle, mostly of terrorist methods. From May
1904 to the PSP for example Russian Socialist Party began to create
their own fighting organization, is entrusted the execution of death
sentences handed down the party king’s officials, as well as committing
“exes”, ie, armed robbery party militants of public insurance schemes
Later, at the IV Congress of the PPP (June 1902) in the Paris program
was amended, which concretized the previous formulation as follows:
Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth is a voluntary federation of Poland,
Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine [19, pp.18].
Unlike other Polish Socialist Party, which at first was put building a
new socialist society, the program PPP stated that the transition to
socialism will happen immediately after the establishment of an
independent Polish republic. The main requirements were: 8-hour workday,
freedom of speech, labor unions, universal vote by secret ballot, free
trials, and education, the elimination of the army and the creation of
militias, higher wages [11, pp.466].
In September 1902 from the PPP party cells operating in the territory of
Belarus and Lithuania was founded Polish Socialist Party in Lithuania,
one of its founders was PI Noises. Lithuanian working committee was in
Grodno. Had its party cells in Vilna, Grodno. Bialystok, Brest, Suwalki,
Belsky. The organ of the Party was an illegal newspaper “Valka”.
Published a leaflet in Yiddish, Polish, Belarusian, which presented its
program requirements. Invites the independent Lithuania, Belarus and the
constituent assembly in Vilna, called for overthrowing the monarchy by
making the revolution. It was on the positions of the federation of
peoples inhabiting Rossiyskuyu empire [2, pp.96].
Part of Polish Socialists (B. Veselovskii) disagreed with the national
program of the Party PPP, already in 1893 created a separate political
party called the Social Democracy of Poland (SDP), which two years
ceased to exist. Magazine “Right Robotnicza became the press organ of
the party. Only in January 1900 it was revived and merged with the
Workers Union of Lithuania (the union took place at a congress in
Minsk), entitled “Social-Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland and
Lithuania. The creators of the party were Julian Marhelevsky, Felix
Dzerzhinsky, Adolf varsky and the chief party theoretician – Rosa
Luxemburg. Program PPP postulate the independence of Poland’s leaders
SDKPiL considered unattainable utopia because of the full inclusion of
lands of the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the economic
organism of Russia, Germany and Austria-Hungary. However SDKPiL was more
important to follow the Marxist ideas of an international struggle of
the proletariat for the abolition of capitalism and establish a
dictatorship [5, pp.55].
Denial of the slogan of Polish independence influenced the fact that
Poles are not the party has become very popular, so in 1904 the program
was a party in this regard, several modified and, along with socialist
slogans slogan appeared on the autonomy of the Polish lands in the
Russia Empire [1. with.64].
From the above we can conclude that the emergence of the Polish
Socialist Party was a process which is organically linked with the
European trend of the growing influence of the labor movement and
Marxist ideology. In this process actively incorporated and five
Belarusian provinces, where the Polish Socialist Party had a significant
constituency. The specificity of the Polish socialist movement in the
territory of Belarus was the fact that he actively supported the Polish
nobility. This in turn affected the ideological postulates of the Polish
Socialist Party, who saw his main task in the acquisition of Polish
lands (under this definition, understood the land of the former
Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth) for a minimum of autonomy within Russia
Empire, and the maximum – of national independence, which will in future
guarantee of democratic transformations.
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