League of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class

Founded in St Petersburg by Vladimir Lenin and Julius Martov in the autumn of 1895, the elaborately entitled League of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class (LSEWC) was concealment for Marxist propaganda and united twenty different Marxist circles that Lenin dominated through this ‘central group. Its main activity was agitation among the workers particularly of St Petersburg and the distribution of Marxist propaganda to the factories there. Lenin was initially arrested for the printing and distribution of sharply corrupting (Marxist) material but continued to guide the work of the League Martov too was arrested by early 1896. Directed by Lenin, however, those members of the group still at large scored a great success organizing a strike of the textile workers in St Petersburg in May 1896. Lasting three weeks, it spread to twenty other factories in Russia in what became the largest strike in Russian history up to that date. By the end of the 1890s the League was transporting its subversive literature through Finland and Stockholm. The LSEWC’s organization is responsible for the founding of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party (RSDLP) in 1898, and at the 2nd congress in 1903 Lenin and Martov contrived a dispute over membership of the party that would lead to a dialectical split resulting in a hardline Bolshevik (majority) under Lenin and more liberal Menshovik (minority) under Martov enabling the Jew Jacob Schiff to finance both sides to ensure a Marxist future for Russia.