>From: New Worker Online <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>

>On the hundred and twenty first anniversary of Stalin's birth ANDY BROOKS
>takes a brief overview of his life and achievements
>THE TWENTIETH century was one of great upheavals, world wars and
>revolutions. It was the century of great revolutionary changes; popular
>movements inevitably linked with the leaders thrown up by their times --
>Lenin, Stalin, Mao Zedong, Kim II Sung, Ho Chi Minh and Fidel Castro. It
>was the century in which the ideas of Marx and Engels were put into
>practice, the century when torch of the Paris Commune lit the flames of
>revolution across the globe.
> The memory of all these leaders is subjected to denigration and abuse by
>the hired hands of the bourgeois media and academic world. The unholy
>alliance of bourgeois politicians, social democrats, Trotskyites and
>revisionists stoke fires of their own every day to produce a seemingly
>endless torrent of lies about the great revolutions that shook the world
>and the people who led them. The name of Joseph Stalin heads the list.
>colossal achievements
> Their hatred of Stalin should not surprise us. He led the world's first
>socialist state from 1924 until his death in 1953. During those decades the
>Soviet Union was the hope of working people across the world.
> The colossal achievements of the Soviet Union led by Stalin was living
>proof of the validity of the socialist system. The Soviets swept out the
>capitalists and land-owners and unleashed the immense potential of the
>workers and peasants to build a new life for themselves.
> While the economies of the imperialist world crashed the people of the
>Soviet Union saw their living standards rise twelvefold. While the
>imperialists prepared for another world war, against themselves and
>eventually against the USSR, the Soviet Union worked tirelessly for
>collective security and peace.
> While the imperialists mercilessly plundered Africa and Asia the Soviet
>Union helped the world communist cause and the national liberation movement.
> The oppressed nations or the Czarist empire were freed and lived as equals
>in a Union of Soviet Socialist Republics which guaranteed everyone work,
>education, science and culture. The socialist system created new men and
>women who rebuilt the country after the destruction of the Civil War; who
>struggled to create the industries needed for the future; who sacrificed
>themselves by the millions to defend the Soviet Union and defeat fascism in
>the Second World War.
>early days
>   Joseph Vissarionovich Djugashvili was born on 21 December 1879 in the
>town of Gori in the Czarist province of Georgia. He came from humble
>origins. His father was a peasant who later worked in a shoe factory in the
>Georgian capital, Tbilisi. His mother came from a peasant family. Neither
>could read or write.
>   But Joseph Vissarionovich was brilliant at primary school. He was
>recommended for admission into the leading school in Georgia which was run
>by the Georgian Orthodox church.
>   The Tbilisi Seminary was a centre for Georgian nationalism and
>opposition to the Czar's regime. Here the young man turned to Marxism and
>   "My parents were uneducated, but they did not treat me badly by any
>means. But it was a different matter at the Orthodox theological seminary
>which I was then attending. In protest at the outrageous regime and the
>Jesuitical methods prevalent at the seminary, I was ready to become, and
>actually did become, a revolutionary, a believer in Marxism as a really
>revolutionary teaching," he said later.
>   In his second year at the seminary, when Stalin was just 15, he made
>contact with underground Marxist circles. Three years later, in 1897, he
>joined the first socialist organisation in Georgia. Stalin started by
>setting up Marxist   study groups for students and workers. In 1899 he was
>expelled and became a full-time revolutionary worker.
>   He called hirnself "Stalin" -- meaning "Steel" in Russian -- most
>Bolsheviks adopted movement names to work underground.
>  The Caucasus was seething with discontent. The Georgians and other
>peoples of the region were doubly oppressed by the Russian colonial and
>largely feudal administration and the Russian and local exploiters who were
>plundering the new industries in the province. Tbilisi was an
>administrative and railway centre serving the oil-town of Baku, on the
>Caspian Sea.
>   Stalin plunged into militant revolutionary activity. In 1901 he was
>elected   to the first Committee of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour
>Party. He organised illegal strikes. He was sent to Siberia many times,
>escaping twice to   return to the Caucasus.
>  In 1905 Stalin first met Lenin at the Bolshevik Congress in Czarist
>Finland. In 1912 at the Prague Conference which led to the final break
>between the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks within the Russian Social-Democratic
>Labour Party, Stalin was chosen to head the Bolsheviks' Russian Bureau. He
>published the first edition of Pravda and organised the new party's work in
>   By 1917 he was regarded by most as Lenin's second-in-command. Stalin
>represented Lenin at the key Sixth Congress as Lenin was in hiding in
>Finland. That Congress drew up the plans to overthrow the bourgeois
>Provisional Government which had removed the Czar in February 1917
>pretending to heed the workers, peasants and soldiers demands for "peace,
>bread and liberty" but secretly working to keep Russia in the war and for
>the restoration of the monarchy.
>  When the decision was taken to overthrow the provisional government
>Stalin was chosen by Lenin to lead the Party Centre which directed the
>uprising. In the Civil War which followed Stalin held important military
>and political commands. In 1922 when the post of General Secretary of the
>party was established Stalin was elected, an office he held until his death.
>Lenin's cause
>  Lenin, crippled by an assassin's bullet, died in 1924. Stalin was
>inevitably seen by the Soviet masses as Lenin's successor. But not by all.
>Within the Bolshevik leadership factions were at work. Lenin fought the
>same battle with the Menshevik defeatists and class collaborators when they
>were all in the same party. Now the Staiin leadership faced the same
>challenge, with much higher stakes -- the future of the first workers' and
>peasants republic.
>  Stalin fought first of all to defeat Trotsky, who had bitterly opposed
>Lenin in the past. Trotsky, who without foundation believed he should have
>succeeded Lenin, used a variety of bogus arguments to oppose the
>construction of socialism in one state. Later his tiny band of followers
>would abandon argument for treason and sabotage.
>  Stalin upheld Lenin's legacy against Trotsky's left sectarianism and
>against right deviation -- held by others who did not believe the
>revolution could succeed in building socialism and were ready to capitulate
>to local and international reaction.
>  Stalin stuck to Lenin's strategy of building socialism in one country.
>There was no other choice. The White Guards and the foreign interventionist
>armies were crushed in the Civil War but the great upheaval in the other
>imperialist heartlands which the Trotskyites said had to happen for
>socialism to work did not occur. The revolutionaty upsurge in Germany and
>Hungary was drowned in blood. Communist Parties were founded out of the
>working class movement in Europe and the rest of the world but
>social-democracy prevailed. As Stalin put it in 1927 "Our West European
>brothers do not yet want to seize power, and we are obliged to do the best
>we can with our own means".
>   And did it they did. Agriculture was collectivised and the grasping
>petty landlords, the kulaks, were liquidated as a class. Immense new
>industries were established across the Soviet Union, the country was
>electrified, universal education and a national health service that was the
>envy of the rest of the world was established. In the Thirties, when the
>capitalist world tottered on the brink of economic collapse and the ruling
>classes in some parts of Europe established naked dictatorships in the form
>of fascism, the Soviet Union ended unemployment and established a
>constitution which guaranteed every Soviet citizen work, education, science
>and culture.
>  Stalin was a great revolutionary and a great organiser. But he was also
>an outstanding populariser of Marxist-Leninist thinking and made some
>important new contributions to the science of socialism himself. His
>development of the Marxist-Leninist theory of the national question
>provided the basis for the revolutionary changes which transformed the
>Czarist Empire, which was a prisoner of nations, into a Union of Soviet
>Socialist Republics in which everyone regardless of nationality, creed or
>culture lived in equality and harmony. Stalin's Foundations of Leninism,
>written back in 1924 remains to this day the best introduction to
>  Stalin always upheld the principle of collective leadership and putting
>the Party first.
>collective leadership
>  "Comrades, I shall not comment on the matter of personal feelings,
>although personal feelings played a rather conspicuous part in the speeches
>of some of the comrades from Bukharin's group," he warned in 1929.
>  "I shall make no comment on this subject because personal feelings are a
>trivial matter, and it is not worth while speaking of trivial matters.
>Bukharin spoke of letters he had written to me. He read some of these
>letters and from their content one could gather that although we were still
>friends some time ago, now we differ politically. The same mood could be
>detected in the speeches of Uglanov and Tomsky: What is happening, they
>seemed to suggest, how is it that we, old Bolsheviks, should suddenly be at
>odds and have no respect for each other.
>  "I think that these moans and lamentations are not worth a
>brass-farthing. Our organisation is not a family group nor is it an
>association based on personal friendship; it is the political party of the
>working class. We cannot tolerate that interests of personal friendship
>should be placed higher than the interests of our cause.
>  "Things have come to a sad pass, comrades, if the only reason why we are
>called old Bolsheviks is that we are just old. Old Bolsheviks are respected
>not because they are old, but because they are eternally young, never-aging
>revolutionaries. If an old Bolshevik has swerved from the path of the
>revolution, or degenerated and failed politically, then, be he even one
>hundred years old, he has no right to call himself an old Bolshevik; he has
>no right to demand that the Party should respect him.
>  "Moreover, questions of personal friendship should not be placed on one
>level with political questions, for, as the saying goes -- friendship is
>all very well, but duty comes first. We are all of us servants of the
>working class, and if the interests of personal friendship clash with the
>interests of the revolution, then personal friendship must come second. For
>Bolsheviks this is the only possible attitude.
>  "I shall not comment either on the subject of insinuations and veiled
>accusations of a persona1 nature that were contained in the speeches of the
>comrades from Bukharin's opposition. Evidently these comrades are
>attempting to conceal the underlying political reason for our differences
>behind a cloak of insinuations and ambiguities. They are seeking to
>substitute petty political scheming for politics. Tomsky's speech is indeed
>typical in this respect. His was the speech of a typical trade union
>politician trying to substitute petty political scheming for politics.
>However, this subterfuge will get them nowhere."
>defending the USSR
>  In the Thirties war was in the air. Fascists, the most aggressive
>elements of the German and Italian ruling class, were preparing for war.
>The Soviets knew another war was coming. Either all the imperialists would
>combine against them as they did during the Civil War, or some of them
>would attack -- which is what eventually happened. This made the drive for
>rapid industrialisation even more urgent.
>  Stalin put it like this in 1931: "Do you want our socialist motherland to
>be beaten and lose its independence ... we are fifty to a hundred years
>behind the advanced countries. We must make good this distance in ten
>years. Either we do this or they crush us,".
>  While the Party led the campaign for greater production others amongst
>the leadership were plotting the Soviet Union's downfall. On the 1 December
>1934 Sergei Kirov, regarded as second only to Stalin himself in the Party
>leadership, was shot dead by an agent of the Trotskyite opposition. At the
>17th Party Congress that same year Kirov had said: "Immense, indeed, are
>the successes we have achieved. To put it in plain human language 'one
>would like to live on and on'".
>  The anti-communist lie-machine immediately claimed Stalin had ordered it
>himself. In fact, as became clear in a series of state trials later, the
>right-deviationists and the left sectarian Trotskyites had made common
>cause in a conspiracy involving imperialismn to overthrow Soviet power.
>  The leaders were put on trial. All confessed. The ring-leaders were
>sentenced to death and shot for treason. The Party ordered a purge, a
>cleansing of its ranks which led to waves of arrests.
>  The professional anti-communist bourgeois "historians" and their
>Trotskyite friends portray this period as the time of "Stalin's terror".
>Ludicrous figures are given of the numbers sent to labour camps during the
>crackdown and astronomic figures for those said to have died in the camps.
>Most claim "millions" perished. The most rabid talk about "25 million" in
>an effort to equate Stalin with the very real number of people who died on
>the orders of Adolf Hitler and the German Nazis.
>  In fact the figures were made public in 1990. Two Soviet historians
>delved deep into the archives which revealed a totally different picture.
>  According to Zemskov and Dugin the total number in the labour camps in
>1934 was exactly 510,307. This number includes criminals as well as those
>charged with "political crimes". In fact the number accused of "political"
>offences oscillated between 127,000 in 1934 to a maximum of 500,000 during
>the two war years of 1941 and 1942.
>  From 1936 to 1939 the figure for all criminals detained had risen to
>839,406 and then to 1,317,195. The largest number held in labour camps in
>Stalin's day was in 1951 when the figure had risen to 1,948,158. Most were
>ordinary criminals. The number sentenced for "political" offences totalled
>579,878. Most of them had been Nazi collaborators; 334,538 had been
>convicted of treason.
>  To put this into perspective the population of the Soviet Union in 1939
>was 170 million. It should also be noted that in Krushchov's day, the
>Soviet leader who did his best to denigrate and smear the memory of Stalin,
>the labour camp population was still around two million, all convicted of
>criminal offences.
>   The masses closed ranks around the Party. The counter-revolutionaries
>were crushed. Many workers took up the challenge of the Stakhanovite
>movement and worked even harder to meet rheir targets. In 1935 a coal
>miner, Alexei Stakhanov, overfulfilled his work target by 1,400 per cent.
>Others followed. But Stalin never forgot that working people had to benefit
>concretely from the revolution.
>concrete benefits
>  He told the Stakhanovites that. "The basis For the Stakhanov movement was
>first and foremost the radical improvement in the material welfare of the
>workers. Life has improved, comrades. Life has become more joyous. And when
>life is joyous, work goes well. Hence the high rate of output. Hence the
>heroes and heroines of labour. That, primarily, is the root of the
>Stakhanov movement. If there had been a crisis in our country, if there had
>been unemployment -- that scourge of the working class -- if people in our
>country lived badly, drably, joylessly, we should have had nothing like the
>Stakhanov movement.
>  "Our proletarian revolution is the only revolution in the world which had
>the opportunity of showing the people not only the political results but
>also material results. Of all workers' revolutions, we know only one to
>achieve power. That was the Paris Commune. But it did not last long.
>  "True, it endeavoured to smash the fetters of capitalism; but it did not
>have time enough to smash them, and still less to show the people the
>beneficial material results of revolution.
>  "Our revolution is the only one which not only smashed the fetters of
>capitaiism and brought people freedom, but also succeeded in creating the
>material conditions of a prosperous life for the people. Therein lies the
>strength and invincibility of our revolution.
>  "It is a good thing, of course, to drive out the capitalists, to drive
>out the landlords, to drive out the Czarist henchmen, to seize power and
>achieve freedom. That is very good.
>  "But unfortunately, freedom alone is not enough, by far. If there is a
>shortage of bread, a shortage of butter and fats, a shortage of textiles,
>and if housing conditions are bad, freedom will not carry you very far.
>  "It is very difficult, comrades, to live on freedom alone. In order to
>live well and joyously, the benefits of political freedom must be
>supplemented by material benefits.
>  "It is a distinctive feature of our revolution that it brought the people
>not only freedom, but also material benefits, and the possibility of a
>prosperous and cultured life. That is why life has become joyous in our
>country, and that is the soil from which the Stakhanov movement sprang."
>  Throughout the Thirties the Soviet Union worked to prevent war, proposing
>collective security to Britain and France to counter the threats from the
>new Nazi leadership in Gennany. But the leaders of Britain and France
>feared communism more than they feared Nazi demands. They hoped and
>encouraged the Nazis to look to the East for a new German empire. They
>didn't realise that the most aggressive sections of the German ruling
>class, those who had put Hitler into power to prepare for war, wanted to
>settle accounts with Britain and France first.
>  In the end the Soviet Union signed a non-aggression pact with the Germans
>in 1939, sparing the Soviet people the horrors of war for two more years.
>The Nazi war-machine over-ran Western Europe and then turned its venom
>against the land of the Soviets in 1941.
>  Hitler and the Wehrmacht believed the Soviet Union would fall like a pack
>of cards under their blitzkrieg. They expected the Soviet masses to welcome
>the Nazis with open arms as liberators. What they got was ferocious
>  Soviet young men and women in the Red Army, the partizans, and working in
>the factories and fields, rallied to the Party to defend their Soviet
>Motherland. Millions upon millions, over 20 million, died in the struggle.
>  "For the Motherland! For Stalin!" was the watchword as the Red Army
>brought the might of the Nazi army to its knees in an epic struggle of
>sacrifice, endurance and heroism. It ended in 1945 with Berlin captured and
>the Nazi fuhrer dead by his own hands in his bunker.
>  The defeat of Nazi Germany and the Japanese Empire was largely due to the
>Soviet Union's efforts, a fact recognised by British and American
>politicians at the time but soon forgotten when the war ended.
>  The Soviet victory was only possible because of the measures taken by the
>Stalin leadership in the Thirties. Without rapid industrialisation the
>Soviet Union would not have been able to withstand the blows of the Nazi
>invaders. They would have made mince-meat out of the Red Army.
>  Without the purges, the Nazis would have found plenty of collaborators to
>work for them few offered to serve the swastika. The defeat of fascism was
>the greatest achievement of the Stalin leadership. The alternative -- a
>world run by Hitler and Hirohito -- would have set back humanity hundreds
>of years.
>   Stalin's last years saw the drive to reconstruct in a postwar world
>which was dramatically different. In eastern Europe socialism had triumphed
>and in the East the Chinese people had stood up, winning their own civil
>war and establishing the People's Republic of China in 1949.
>  The flames of revolution had spread to Korea and Vietnam. The people of
>Africa and Asia were breaking the chains of European colonialism. And the
>Soviet Union was able to stand up to the threats of the imperialists, now
>led by the United States. Within a decade the Soviets would match their
>technology rocket for rocket and bomb for bomb.
>  Joseph Stalin died on 5 March 1953. The people of the Soviet Union were
>overcome with grief. A file of mourners, sixteen across and ten miles long,
>marched through the icy streets of Moscow to pay their last respects.
>Hundreds of millions across the world paid tribute to the man who had led
>the Soviet Union.
>  In the years which followed much of Stalin's work was undone. Revisionist
>and corrupt elements who had wormed their way into the leadership began by
>attacking Stalin's record and then moved to attack what had been built
>during his leadership. They paved the way for hidden traitors to rise to
>top and lead the counter-revolution which destroyed the Soviet Union in 1990.
>pro-capitalist cliques
>  Now the Soviet Union has gone. The former Soviet republics including
>Russia are all led by pro-capitalist cliques drawn almost entirely from the
>corrupt Party apparatus which mushroomed after Stalin's death. Workers and
>peasants live in poverty unknown since the days of the Czar. The cities are
>run by drug-lords, spivs and profiteers and feudal relations are returning
>to much of the rural areas.
>  But Stalin's memory is now being recalled in Russia and the other
>republics. The genuine communist movements all uphold his name. Old people,
>old enough to have lived under the Stalin leadership bear his photo on
>demonstrations. Noone carries posters of Krushchov or Brezhnev. The traitor
>Gorbachov is probably one of the most despised men in Russia today.
>  "It is not heroes that make history, but history that makes heroes. It is
>not heroes who create a people, but the people who create heroes and move
>history forward. Heroes, outstanding individuals, may play an important
>part in the life of society only in so far as they are capable of correctly
>understanding the conditions of development of society and the ways of
>changing them for the better"  'History ofthe Communist Party of the Soviet
>Union (Bolsheviks), short course.' Moscow 1938.
>New Communist Party of Britain Homepage
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>Workers of all countries Unite!


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