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The Rise and Fall of Communism in Russia$
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Robert V. Daniels

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780300106497

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300106497.001.0001

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The Left Opposition as an Alternative to Stalinism

The Left Opposition as an Alternative to Stalinism

(p.189) Chapter 16 The Left Opposition as an Alternative to Stalinism
The Rise and Fall of Communism in Russia

Robert Daniels

Yale University Press

Both Western historians and Soviet writers have often considered Leon Trotsky and Trotskyism as the forerunner of Stalinism rather than an alternative to it. According to this interpretation, Joseph Stalin came out the winner in a purely personal struggle for the leadership role, but this analysis fails to take into account the distinctive sources and premises of the Left Opposition in comparison with the Communist Party's Leninist and Stalinist leadership. Between 1923 and 1927, the Left Opposition tried to change the direction of Russia's national policy, which it accused of ruining the goals of the Bolshevik Revolution. Left Bolshevism, before and after the revolution, differed from the position represented by Vladimir Lenin, in terms of membership: it was made up of intellectuals who had been in emigration. The Left Opposition believed in the virtue and mission of the working class and advocated industrialization, which was inseparable from the question of agriculture and the peasantry. Both Left and Right viewed the peasantry as both a problem and a resource for progress toward socialism.

Keywords:   socialism, Leon Trotsky, Stalinism, Joseph Stalin, Left Opposition, Communist Party, Russia, Vladimir Lenin, working class, industrialization

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