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The Rise Of Communism In Russia

2453 words - 10 pages

"Unless we accept the claim that Leninism gave birth to an entirely new state, and indeed to a new era in the history of mankind, we must recognize in today Soviet Union the old empire of the Russians -- the only empire that survived into the mid 1980's" (Luttwak, 1). In their Communist Manifesto of 1848, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels applied the term communism to a final stage of socialism in which all class differences would disappear and humankind would live in harmony. Marx and Engels claimed to have discovered a scientific approach to socialism based on the laws of history. They declared that the course of history was determined by the clash of opposing forces rooted in the economic ...view middle of the document...

He exhibited his new faith and his polemical talents in a diatribe of that year against the peasant-oriented socialism of the Populists led by N.K. Mikhiaiovsky (Wren, 3). While Marxism had been winning adherents among the Russian revolutionary intelligentsia for more than a decade previously, a claimed Marxist party was bit organized until 1898. In that year a "congress" of nine men met at Minsk to proclaim the establishment of the Russian Social Democratic Worker's Party. The Manifesto issued in the name of the congress after the police broke it up was drawn up by the economist Peter Struve, a member of the moderate "legal Marxist" group who soon afterward left the Marxist movement altogether. The manifesto is indicative of the way Marxism was applied to Russian conditions, and of the special role for the proletariat (Pipes, 11). The first true congress of the Russian Social Democratic Workers' Party was the Second. It convened in Brussels in the summer of 1903, but was forced by the interference of the Belgian authorities to move to London, where the proceedings were concluded. The Second Congress was the occasion for bitter wrangling among the representatives of various Russian Marxist Factions, and ended in a deep split that was mainly caused by Lenin -- his personality, his drive for power in the movement, and his "hard" philosophy of the disciplined party organization. At the close of the congress Lenin commanded a temporary majority for his faction and seized upon the label "Bolshevik" (Russian for Majority), while his opponents who inclined to the "soft" or more democratic position became known as the "Mensheviks" or minority (Daniels, 19). Though born only in 1879, Trotsky had gained a leading place among the Russian Social-Democrats by the time of the Second party Congress in 1903. He represented ultra-radical sentiment that could not reconcile itself to Lenin's stress on the party organization. Trotsky stayed with the Menshevik faction until he joined Lenin in 1917. From that point on, he acomidated himself in large measure to Lenin's philosophy of party dictatorship, but his reservations came to the surface again in the years after his fall from power (Stoessinger,13).
In the months after the Second Congress of the Social Democratic Party Lenin lost his majority and began organizing a rebellious group of Bolsheviks. This was to be in opposition of the new majority of the congress, the Menshiviks, led by Trotsky. Twenty-two Bolsheviks, including Lenin, met in Geneva in August of 1904 to promote the idea of the highly disciplined party and to urge the reorganization of the whole Social-Democratic movement on
Leninist lines (Stoessinger, 33). The differences between Lenin and the Bogdanov group of revolutionary romantics came to its peak in 1909. Lenin denounced the otzovists, also known as the recallists, who wanted to recall the Bolshevik deputies in the Duma, and the ultimatists who demanded that the deputies take a more radical...

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