The Real Split
A TABLE and chairs stood in one corner of the vast room. Only a single electric lamp cast some light on the table, leaving the rest of the room in darkness. The four men at the table could see a painting on the wall--a young girl reclining at the mouth of a cave reading a book resting on a skull. A precious screen separated the table, the chairs and the men from the remainder of the room. Behind the screen was an opulently emblazoned canopied bed.
It was in this room--the royal bedchamber of Nicholas II, last of the Czars--that Lenin took the decisive step in January 1919 to form the long-awaited Third International. The three others were the Commissar for Foreign Affairs, Georgi Vassilievich Chicherin, the Finnish Communist, Y. Sirola, and the Russian-British Communist, J. Fineberg. Lenin showed them the draft of a manifesto inviting thirty-nine Left Wing parties, groups, and tendencies all over the world to send delegates to a Congress in Moscow. After a brief discussion, his proposal was adopted. 1 Chicherin sent out the message by radio on January 24.
Among the signatories of this manifesto were the Lettish exile, Rosin, in the name of the Russian bureau of the new Latvian Communist party, and Boris Reinstein, in the name of the Socialist Labor party. The way Reinstein came to play this role reveals a great deal about the problems of launching the Third International.
Reinstein was born in the town of Rostov, on the river Don, re