Source: The Communist, Vol. XVIII, No. 12, December 1939
Publisher: Workers Library Publishers, New York, N.Y.
Transcription\HTML Markup: Brian Reid
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2007). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.
JOSEPH STALIN is sixty years of age on December 21, 1939. This anniversary is of exceptional interest to the entire world, but above all to those who have found in his words and his works the sure guide to the building of the new world, the World of Tomorrow.
In the United States, the mercenary press carries on an unprecedented campaign of calumny against Stalin, as their particular contribution to this anniversary. That is but the inexorable product of the struggle of the decaying old world against the new world of socialism that is being born. In the volume and intensity of the rage against Stalin that erupts from all the ideological servants of monopoly capitalism, we have presented to us, in negative form, a measure of Stalin’s greatness. With this characterization we may dismiss the whole mass of calumny, which has the same historical significance in principle as the attacks against all great leaders and thinkers produced by mankind. The higher the waves of calumny mount, all the more conclusive is the evidence of the stature in history of the personality against which it is directed.
It is one of the most glaring contradictions of bourgeois society that its ideology glorifies the individual at the expense of the masses, but that it has lost the capacity of producing great individuals even on its own terms. No philosopher or statesman of the bourgeois world is able to command the respect and allegiance of more than a fraction of his world, nor even this for long. There are no more “great men” in the world of capitalism, except in the most pitifully transitory and fragmentary sense, nor even a “great tradition” being upheld and continued by men of lesser stature, in anything more than empty phrases. Senile and decaying monopoly capitalism has poisoned the society it dominates so thoroughly that greatness of the individual in thought and achievement is no longer possible, except in the struggle to free society from its incubus—a struggle that engages more and more the working class, and together with it everything healthy and decent from the other classes that can escape from the universal decay of the old order.
Joseph Stalin emerges before the whole world as the greatest figure of our time. This fact is attested alike by friend and enemy.
When one looks for an explanation of this historic stature of Stalin, this is found, first of all, in his role as continuator of the work of Karl Marx, Frederick Engels, and Vladimir Lenin. The thought and work of these four giants of the proletariat, extending over more than ninety years, is one monolithic whole. It arises in history as the mighty synthesis of all previous human wisdom which is raised to new levels, and represents mankind in the process of mastering its own fate, society becoming captain of its own destiny, through socialism, the first stage of communism.
It is found, secondly, in his close identification with the masses, the broadest many-million masses, upon whom Stalin always bases himself in drought and action, and who always find in Stalin their most consistent and steadfast representative, guide and teacher.
It is found, thirdly, in Stalin as the leader of the Party, the vanguard of the working class, which realizes the potential power of that class, and gathers its allies around it in unshakable solidarity; the Party which finds in Stalin the embodiment of all its pest and strongest qualities.
Communism, the science of social development, the final step by which man becomes master of his fate; the working class, at the head of the broadest toiling masses of the population, which is “mankind” in the concrete, the fundament of society and the bearer of its future; the Party, which unites science with the masses, thought with action, consciousness with will—these are the three great pillars which have raised Joseph Stalin to his eminence at the head of humanity in its struggle for that selfrealization which is freedom.
The system of capitalism, of the bourgeoisie, which has dominated the world for hundreds of years, is today in the throes of its deepest and sharpest crisis, of which the second great imperialist war is the most dramatic expression. All its resources, material and spiritual, are thrown into the game of mutual mass destruction, to decide which members of the “family” of capitalist powers shall have the privilege of carving from the living bodies of the others, in the attempt to solve the insoluble problems of a moribund capitalist system. From this bourgeois world there are rapidly disappearing the last pretences of sustained rational thinking about the major problems of the world, and the last illusions of hope that the bourgeoisie can bring anything better to the world.
Even the United States, the “giant” of the capitalist world and its greatest stronghold, while still technically neutral in the war, shares fully in the world crisis of capitalism. For over ten years it has been partially paralyzed, one-third of its population must be maintained by extraordinary measures outside its orthodox principles and at a scandalously low and declining level; the more it accumulates wealth and productive resources the more insoluble become its difficulties. And now, when the imperialist war breaks out, this United States, ruled by Wall Street, can see in it nothing but the opportunity to seize without war some of the profits and booty, for which it prepares later to enter the war, when the easy pickings are exhausted. Capitalist America, while protesting its “peaceful” nature, has already become the most war-minded of all nations of the world; it is feverishly adjusting its entire economy and political resources to serve the war and prolong it; nothing rouses its hysterical denunciation so fiercely as a serious demand for the cessation of the war, and movements among the people to that end.
But the world of socialism, the Soviet Union, headed by the Communist Party and Stalin, emerges above the chaos of the capitalist world, calm and confident in its great and rapidly multiplying strength, a fortress of prosperity and peace for its peoples, a example to the oppressed masses of all lands.
While the capitalist world has been closing down its factories, destroying its own economies, throwing millions upon millions of its population into unemployment and starvation, the socialist Soviet Union has multiplied its national production by ten-fold, brought employment and security to all its people, raised living standards many hundred per cent, created a cultured life for its masses, and forged an invincible wall of protection against a hostile world around it.
While the capitalist world has destroyed the foundations of orderly relations between nations and reduced these relations to the basis of naked force, the Soviet Union has welded its own great family of nations in the unbreakable unity of peaceful collaboration, and given the only example among great powers of a government which observes to the end every international pledge and responsibility.
While the capitalist world is rapidly discarding all the remnants of democratic self-government, which was its proudest achievement of the past, and is going over to open military and fascist dictatorships, a trend fully realized in the belligerent countries an rapidly rising also in the U. S.-the socialist Soviet Union celebrates its great Stalinist Constitution, the most democratic of all history, which has placed one-sixth of the earth irrevocably in the hands of its entire one hundred and eighty-three million people.
While the capitalist nations can not or dare not inform their own peoples and the world about their aims, policies and commitments, for fear of popular uprisings and revolutions from outraged masses—the socialist Soviet Union confidently and calmly informs the whole world of all its aims and policies, thereby confounding the diplomacy of the capitalist world which is based upon falsehood, trickery and deception, knowing full well that the more intimately the world knows all about the Soviet Union, the stronger will be its support among the toiling and oppressed peoples of all lands.
Less than twenty years ago, Lenin evaluated the relation of forces between the world of socialism and the world of capitalism in the following words:
“We are, from the military and economic standpoint, infinitely weak. We have not one-hundredth of the forces of the combined imperialist states, and yet they are unable to stifle us.”
Compare that relationship of forces to the one that exists today. From the military and economic standpoint the Soviet Union has emerged as the mightiest power in Europe. What the imperialist powers gained, in their post-War recuperation, they have largely lost in the protracted crisis and the new war. Even before the new imperialist war is well under way, the capitalist class is already faced by a mass of workers and peasants who are against the war and who demand peace. Behind the capitalist powers are disillusioned and rebellious populations; behind the Soviet Union the unexampled enthusiasm of peoples without oppression or class divisions, rising rapidly in economic and cultural advancement, new men and women boldly masters of their own destiny.
Thus the relation of forces between the socialist and capitalist worlds is infinitely more favorable to the Soviet Union than it was in 1920, when Lenin noted the inability of imperialism, a hundred-fold stronger, to stifle the socialist world.
All capitalist leaders and statesmen, with their Social-Democratic, Trotskyite and Lovestoneite hangers-on, are dreaming about how to transform the present imperialist war into a general assault of all the capitalist world against the Soviet Union. They, abjectly beg Hitler to “come back home” and head this holy crusade for them. But their dream has lost the material foundations for its realization.
Thanks to Stalin and to the Communist Party which he heads, as its outstanding guide, the world of socialism is invincible.
Thanks to Stalin, and to the genius which he inherited and developed further from Marx, Engels and Lenin, the working class and oppressed peoples of all lands have a mighty example and ally in their struggle against capitalist exploitation, oppression and war.
The whole world enters the period in which the transition to socialism is being placed on the order of the day. The words and deeds of Joseph Stalin and the Communist Party furnish the only clear guide to the world for the most orderly and efficient mastering of the world crisis, and the inauguration of socialism.
That is why the sixtieth birthday of Joseph Stalin will be noted by all men in all lands. The capitalists, reactionaries, monopolists and all their servants will continue to rage against and calumniate this man. The working class and the oppressed peoples greet his name with joy and hope, as the harbinger and beacon of a new and better world.