The theoretical elements of Stalin’s leadership seems to go rather unnoticed by the majority of people, left or right. Many Marxists themselves even seem to be unaware of Stalin’s contributions to Marxism and some will assert that he never contributed at all to Marxism. These claims are quite opposite from reality, as Stalin was not only an excellent leader, but an excellent theorist and speaker as well. First, it is important to understand that Stalinism is non-existent. Stalin would have rejected the label of Stalinism, as he merely extended upon Leninism and did not create some strikingly different ideology. The proper ideology of Stalin and pro-Stalin Communists is known as Marxism-Leninism. Marxism-Leninism includes the Stalin-Mao-Hoxha line, although the status between Hoxha and Mao is sometimes disputed. Theirs, nor Stalin’s beliefs call for totalitarianism, however, and that is what “Stalinism” refers to. Stalinism is merely a pejorative designed by the bourgeoisie and Trotskyists to discredit Stalin and Marxism-Leninism based on their own misconceptions and perversions. Now that we cleared the air of “Stalinism” let us examine Stalin’s beliefs and contributions to Marxism.
The main contribution to Marxist theory is the theory of socialism in one country. The theory had it’s grounds in the work of some 1870s theorists, as well as in Leninism itself, and by 1924 Stalin began to fully put forward his views of the theory. The theory of socialism in one country states that socialism can be achieved in one country and then spread throughout surrounding ones. In other words, shall one country build a stable, and strong socialist base, it can then provide aid to other socialist revolutionaries and countries attempting socialism for themselves. Historically this meant that the Soviet Union was the leader of the international proletarian force. However, it is important to note that nowhere did Stalin reject internationalism. The theory, or Marxism-Leninism does not reject internationalism as well. It simply states that socialism can happen in one country and from there can expand eventually on a more international level. Stalin supported Spanish revolution, the formation of Israel, and so forth and was originally a member of an International Communist Party for many years himself. Although Marxist-Leninists support international revolution, and indeed it would be wonderful if we could have one, we realize that instead of waiting for one to occur we shall build socialism strongly in one country. The Soviet Union should inherently be proof enough that socialism in one country works. While socialism was not truly created, through socialistic mode of production, rapid industrial and agricultural development was able to occur and Russia, as well as the later Soviet Republics, were modernized and became superpowers, competing with the US and being the driving force against Nazi Germany.
Stalin also developed the Two Stage Theory, which states that underdeveloped countries must first undergo a capitalistic development route before achieving socialism. This is to say that society must follow a specific order of stages in order to achieve socialism. Marx originally formulated the stages of society as being primitive communist then slave society then feudalistic society then capitalist society then socialist society and then in the final epoch of history communist society in which the means of production are public, the state has withered away, private property has been abolished, and social classes cease to exist. Stalin was therefore expanding on Marx and Engels theories of history and historical materialism. In countries that lack conditions for capitalism and socialism, the proletariat must become educated, and industry is necessary to properly develop.
Aggravation of class struggle under socialism is another important contribution to Marxist theory Stalin developed. Although some credit the basic idea of this to Mao, it was Stalin who originally put forward the idea. Stalin argued that forms of class struggle potentially arise even in the socialist stage of development and must be dealt with via necessary repression; not totalitarianism, but recognizing the detrimental counter-revolutionary forces that exist and attempting to route them out of power. It is true that socialism is generally indicative that the bourgeoisie no longer exist and that class antagonisms have ceased, but when attempting socialism in one country counter-revolutionaries that are not necessarily bourgeois but ones with pro-bourgeois agenda are still capable of infiltrating the Party and undermining socialism. This can also happen on an International level; Trotskyists seem to allow it, though (e.g. August Bloc, alliance with liberals, etc).
~Written by Glowstick.