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The Rise of Communism in Russia Essay

Unless we accept the claim that Lenin’s coup gave birthto an entirely new state, and indeed to a new era in the history ofmankind, we must recognize in today’s Soviet Union the old empire of theRussians — the only empire that survived into the mid 1980’s (Luttwak,1). In their Communist Manifesto of 1848, Karl Marx and FriedrichEngels applied the term communism to a final stage of socialism in whichall class differences would disappear and humankind would live inharmony. Marx and Engels claimed to have discovered a scientificapproach to socialism based on the laws of history.

They declared thatthe course of history was determined by the clash of opposing forcesrooted in the economic system and the ownership of property. Just asthe feudal system had given way to capitalism, so in time capitalismwould give way to socialism. The class struggle of the future would bebetween the bourgeoisie, who were the capitalist employers, and theproletariat, who were the workers. The struggle would end, according toMarx, in the socialist revolution and the attainment of full communism(Groiler’s Encyclopedia).

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Socialism, of which Marxism-Leninism is a takeoff, originatedin the West. Designed in France and Germany, it was brought into Russiain the middle of the nineteenth century and promptly attracted supportamong the country’s educated, public-minded elite, who at that time werecalled intelligentsia (Pipes, 21). After Revolution broke out overEurope in 1848 the modern working class appeared on the scene as a majorhistorical force. However, Russia remained out of the changes thatEurope was experiencing.

As a socialist movement and inclination, theRussian Social-Democratic Party continued the traditions of all theRussian Revolutions of the past, with the goal of conquering politicalfreedom (Daniels 7). As early as 1894, when he was twenty-four, Lenin had become arevolutionary agitator and a convinced Marxist. He exhibited his newfaith and his polemical talents in a diatribe of that year against thepeasant-oriented socialism of the Populists led by N. K.

Mikhiaiovsky(Wren, 3). While Marxism had been winning adherents among the Russianrevolutionary intelligentsia for more than a decade previously, aclaimed Marxist party was bit organized until 1898. In that year acongress of nine men met at Minsk to proclaim the establishment of theRussian Social Democratic Worker’s Party. The Manifesto issued in thename of the congress after the police broke it up was drawn up by theeconomist Peter Struve, a member of the moderate legal Marxist groupwho soon afterward left the Marxist movement altogether. The manifestois indicative of the way Marxism was applied to Russian conditions, andof the special role for the proletariat (Pipes, 11).

The first true congress of the Russian Social DemocraticWorkers’ Party was the Second. It convened in Brussels in the summer of1903, but was forced by the interference of the Belgian authorities tomove to London, where the proceedings were concluded. The SecondCongress was the occasion for bitter wrangling among the representativesof various Russian Marxist Factions, and ended in a deep split that wasmainly caused by Lenin — his personality, his drive for power in themovement, and his hard philosophy of the disciplined partyorganization. At the close of the congress Lenin commanded a temporarymajority for his faction and seized upon the label Bolshevik (Russianfor Majority), while his opponents who inclined to the soft or moredemocratic position became known as the Mensheviks or minority(Daniels, 19). Though born only in 1879, Trotsky had gained a leading placeamong the Russian Social-Democrats by the time of the Second partyCongress in 1903.

He represented ultra-radical sentiment that could notreconcile itself to Lenin’s stress on the party organization. Trotskystayed with the Menshevik faction until he joined Lenin in 1917. Fromthat point on, he acomidated himself in large measure to Lenin’sphilosophy of party dictatorship, but his reservations came to thesurface again in the years after his fall from power (Stoessinger, 13).In the months after the Second Congress of the Social DemocraticParty Lenin lost his majority and began organizing a

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The Rise of Communism in Russia Essay
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Unless we accept the claim that Lenin’s coup gave birthto an entirely new state, and indeed to a new era in the history ofmankind, we must recognize in today’s Soviet Union the old empire of theRussians — the only empire that survived into the mid 1980’s (Luttwak,1). In their Communist Manifesto of 1848, Karl Marx and FriedrichEngels applied the term communism to a final stage of socialism in whichall class differences would disappear and humankind would live inharmony. Marx and Enge
2021-07-13 10:49:58
The Rise of Communism in Russia Essay
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