The Bund sought to ally itself with the wider Russian social democratic movement to achieve a democratic and socialist Russia. Within such a Russia, they hoped to see the Jews achieve recognition as a nation with a legal minority status.
The Bund was a secular socialist party, opposed to what they saw as the reactionary nature of traditional Jewish life in Russia. Created before the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party (RSDLP), the Bund became a founding collective member of the RSDLP at its first congress in Minsk in March 1898. For the next five years, the Bund was recognized as the sole representative of the Jewish workers in the RSDLP, although many Russian socialists of Jewish descent, especially outside of the Pale of Settlement, joined the RSDLP directly.