The Rise Of Communism In Russia.

1962 words - 8 pages

The Rise of Communism in Russia"Unless we accept the claim that Lenin's coup d'etat 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 ofthe Russians -- 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 inwhich all class differences would disappear and humankind would livein harmony. 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, accordingto Marx, in the socialist revolution and the attainment of fullcommunism (Groiler's Encyclopedia).Socialism, of which "Marxism-Leninism" is a takeoff, originatedin the West. Designed in France and Germany, it was brought intoRussia in the middle of the nineteenth century and promptly attractedsupport among the country's educated, public-minded elite, who at thattime were called intelligentsia (Pipes, 21). After Revolution brokeout over Europe in 1848 the modern working class appeared on the sceneas a major historical force. However, Russia remained out of thechanges that Europe was experiencing. As a socialist movement andinclination, the Russian Social-Democratic Party continued thetraditions of all the Russian Revolutions of the past, with the goalof conquering political freedom (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 a"congress" of nine men met at Minsk to proclaim the establishment ofthe Russian Social Democratic Worker's Party. The Manifesto issued inthe name of the congress after the police broke it up was drawn up bythe economist Peter Struve, a member of the moderate "legal Marxist"group who soon afterward left the Marxist movement altogether. Themanifesto is indicative of the way Marxism was applied to Russianconditions, and of 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 summerof 1903, but was forced by the interference of the Belgian authoritiesto move to...

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