The Rise Of Communism In Russia

2190 words - 9 pages

The Rise of Communism in RussiaÒUnless we accept the claim that LeninÕs coup dÕ tat gave birthto an entirely new state, and indeed to a new era in the history ofmankind, we must recognize in todayÕs Soviet Union the old empire of theRussians -- the only empire that survived into the mid 1980ÕsÓ (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(GroilerÕs Encyclopedia).Socialism, of which ÒMarxism-LeninismÓ 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 countryÕs 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 aÒcongressÓ of nine men met at Minsk to proclaim the establishment of theRussian Social Democratic WorkerÕs 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 Òlegal MarxistÓ 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 DemocraticWorkersÕ Party was the Second. It...

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