To What Extent Was Stalin Truly Marxist?

1656 WordsJan 3, 20167 Pages
In order to answer the question 'To what extent was Stalin truly Marxist? ' one must first define the term ‘Marxism’ and establish a success criteria which can be used in the assessment of Stalin and his policies. The term ‘Marxism’ is defined as ‘the system of economic and political thought developed by Karl Marx, along with Friedrich Engels, especially the doctrine that the state throughout history has been a device for the exploitation of the masses by a dominant class, that class struggle has been the main agency of historical change, and that the capitalist system, containing from the first the seeds of its own decay, will inevitably, after the period of the dictatorship of the proletariat, be superseded by a socialist order and a classless society’(Dictionary.com, 2015). Karl Marx with his radical thinking of the time had a great influence on the Communist Manifesto; he had specific ideas of key elements such as equality that conflict with what one might now consider as equality. It is thus important to note that Marx does not regard capitalist exploitation of labor as unjust, or as a violation of the labourer’s rights as suggested by Wood (2004) which confides with what one may now consider as equality. Thus in the assessment of Stalin one must keep focus on what Marx believed, not the beliefs of society now. For the purpose of this essay, the term communism will be defined as an ideology based on equality between the classes which involves centralisation in all
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