Visit Website Stalin grew up poor and an only child. His father was a shoemaker and alcoholic who beat his son, and his mother was a laundress. As a boy, Stalin contracted smallpox, which left him with lifelong facial scars. As a teen, he earned a scholarship to attend a seminary in the nearby city of Tblisi and study for the priesthood in the Georgian Orthodox Church.
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But to most people, his name is also associated with socialism. After all, Stalin justified his brutal rule with the rhetoric of workers' power. In reality, this tyranny is separated from genuine socialism by "a whole river of blood," as Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky put it. How can we socialists say that we're for the "self-emancipation of the working class" when Russian workers had no power whatsoever under "socialism"?
How can we champion a system that tolerated and encouraged numerous forms of oppression--based on race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, nationality and ethnicity, to name a few? The answer is that we don't. So-called "socialism" in Stalin's Russia--and other countries, like China and Cuba, that modeled their systems on the USSR--is diametrically opposed to the basic principles we stand for.
The rulers of the former USSR under Stalin used the rhetoric of socialism and Marxism to justify a different reality--an exploitative system, run by a minority, using forms of authority not that very different to capitalism in the West.
Stalin and his allies established this system by re-imposing class rule over a society that had overthrown the old order in the Russian Revolution.
Though they mouthed socialist phrases, the rise of Stalin's regime represented the victory of the counterrevolution against As Martov, a prominent opponent of Lenin and the Bolshevik Party, put it at the time, "Understand, please, what we have before us after all is a victorious uprising of the proletariat--almost the entire proletariat supports Lenin and expects its social liberation from the uprising.
Marxists believe that the basis for socialism is abundance--having enough to go around. Certainly, such a society would be impossible if an economically backward country like Russia remained isolated in a sea of capitalism, without socialist revolutions in other countries to come to its aid.
All of Russia's revolutionaries accepted this. International revolution wasn't a pipe dream either. The years following the Russian Revolution saw massive upheavals in Germany, Italy and other European countries.
But none succeeded in putting a workers' government in power. Russia was left isolated. And ultimately, Lenin was proved right--the revolution couldn't survive in these conditions.
But the form that its defeat took was unexpected. The workers' state won a civil war against forces that wanted to bring back the Tsar--and which were supported by the active military intervention of 14 imperialist countries, including the U.
But the cost of the victory was catastrophic. Russia's economy suffered the worst decline ever known in world history, by one estimate.
And the Russian working class, the class that made the revolution, was effectively destroyed--killed in the civil war, or driven out of the cities by famine. In these desperate conditions, the Bolshevik Party came increasingly to substitute its own rule for that of the decimated institutions of workers' power created in This was viewed as a temporary necessity to defeat the menace of counterrevolution.
But eventually, the temporary necessities became permanent--and out of the circumstances of war and economic chaos, a group of state bureaucrats came together around Stalin and began to put its hold on power before everything else.
Stalin and his allies didn't take over without a fight. In particular, Trotsky led an opposition that aimed to preserve the traditions of But the Stalinists defeated this challenge--and from the late s on, they systematically began to take back every gain won in the revolution.
Average wages were slashed by 50 percent in seven years following the announcement of the first "five-year plan" in The population of Russian labor camps increased by 22 times in three years.
Rights won by women in such as free abortion on demand and liberalized divorce laws--were overturned. And the Stalinists set about rebuilding the Tsar's colonial empire that had won the right to self-determination after Formally, production was still owned by the state. But the question was: Who owned the state?
Plainly, the state bureaucracy was in command of all important decisions about the resources of society, how they were used and how the labor of the vast majority was organized.
And the decisions that the bureaucrats made were actually very similar to the dynamics of Western-style capitalism. The capitalists who rule over the free market don't spend all their profits on their own luxurious lifestyle--though they do live like kings!Stalin used his power to appoint his supporters to important positions and removed those who opposed him.
Stalin was deft at political manoeuvring, shown by his tactical alliance first with his political opponents Kamenev and Zinoviev to expel Trotsky from the Party, and then his alliance with Bukharin to defeat Zinoviev and Kamenev, whom he then expelled alongside Trotsky.
The following year, , marks the beginning of Stalin's rise to power. At that point he was one of seven members of the Politburo--the others were Zinoviev and Kamenev, Trotsky, Nikolai Bukharin, Alexei Rykov, and Mikhail Tomsky. By , Stalin would overshadow them, and by outlive them.
Stalin did this but also at the same time, built up a body of supporters that were loyal to him in the Party. In , Stalin was appointed to the position of General Secretary.
This position gave him great power in the Party. Stalin created a network of supporters in the Party. In conclusion, Hitler and Stalin were similar in many way in their rise to power, however three reasons stand out the most. They were gifted in the ability to use propaganda and brainwash people, which in turn proves that they were both unethical, and they desired to make their countries better and stronger.
The following year, , marks the beginning of Stalin's rise to power. At that point he was one of seven members of the Politburo--the others were Zinoviev and Kamenev, Trotsky, Nikolai Bukharin, Alexei Rykov, and Mikhail Tomsky.
So what happened next was a power tussle between Stalin and Trotsky. At the end, Stalin won, mostly due to his craftiness and sly creativity.
So, Stalin rose to power, becoming the leader of Russia.