Stalinism refers to the period from 1926 to 1953 when
Joseph Stalin was leader of the Soviet Communist Party and all powerful dictator of the
Soviet Union. The term Stalinism was coined by Lazar Kaganovich and refers to the
political system of the Soviet Union under the leadership of Joseph Stalin.
Stalinism claimed absolute domination of the communist
party over all aspects of Soviet life, politics and culture and justified mass murder and
policies of mass terror in an attempt to establish communism.
Under Stalinism, the communist party itself was repeatedly purged and leading members
executed, exiled or imprisoned. It is estimated that as many as 20 million people may have
died in famines as a result of Stalin's policies of forced agricultural collectivisation.
During Stalinism, hundreds of thousands may have died in
political purges, displacements of populations and the rigours of the vast system of
prison camps established by Stalin's secret police.
The Political Economy of Stalinism: A Bergson
Paul Gregory, University of Houston, Comparative Economic Studies (2005) 47, 402417.
Abstract: This paper examines the nature of the Soviet
dictatorship Stalin and the Politburo in the 1930s using some of the
propositions put forward by Abram Bergson and by other participants in the socialist
controversy Hayek, Mises, and other contributors. Four models of dictatorship are
examined using the top level records of the Soviet dictatorship from the Soviet state and
party archives to examine how the dictator made decisions and with what results.
Stalinism: Criticism from Yugoslavia - Colin Barker
Extract From International Socialism (1st series), No.67, March 1974, p.32.
Stalinism, Stojanovic argues, converted Marxs thought into the ideology of a
new stage of pre-history. However much the Stalinists sought to protect
Marxism from bourgeois deformations, they themselves represented a negation of Marxism.
Stalinism sees the essential changes resulting from the socialist revolution as being in
the spheres of material and cultural construction rather than in social
relationships themselves. There are no structural or other contradictions in the new
society for them. If there are problems, these derive from
hangovers from the pre-revolutionary period. The humanness of productive
and other relations among people was the criterion of social progress for Marx, but
for the Stalinists the basic measure of socialism becomes the development of the forces of
production, understood statistically, in terms of increased rates and quantities of output
The concept of alienation provides Stojanovic and his colleagues with a key
entry point for their critique of Stalinism. It is important for the drawing of the
theoretical boundary that separates the socialist and the Stalinist state. For
alienation, which in Marx is linked to the institution of private property, is a
characteristic of societies like Stalinist Russia where, in formal legal terms, private
property has been largely abolished.
Stalinism as the Ideology of State Capitalism
Charles Bettelheim, Bernard Chavance, Charles Bettelheim, Bernard Chavance
Review of Radical Political Economics, Vol. 13, No. 1, 40-54 (1981)
The Soviet ideological formation of the Stalin period was closely linked with the class
struggles and the economic and social transformations of that period. This article
examines two major themes running through the some times contradictory ideology of
Stalinism: 1) "state socialism" as a political ide ology, and 2) the
"socialist mode of production" as an economic ideology. On the first theme, the
reinforcement of the state was identified with the reinforce ment of socialism. The denial
of social contradictions was combined with praise for the dictatorial apparatus.
"Workerism" meant that certain pretended qual ities of workers (discipline,
self-sacrifice) were used as a means of repression and that the existence of a
"worker base" was seen as a guarantee of the party's revo lutionary character.