The following study guide was originally published by The Marxist-Leninist news blog

December 21, 2009 marks the 130th anniversary of the birth of Comrade Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin and working and oppressed people around the world will celebrate this historic date. To commemorate the birth of this outstanding proletarian revolutionary here are some quotes, followed by some longer articles, highlighting his achievements and contributions to Marxist-Leninist theory and to the cause of socialism. The Marxist-Leninist would encourage those interested to read the 1947 political biography of Stalin published by the Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute as well as the other texts below.

For a collection of material on the struggle of the Bolshevik Party against Trotskyism, see Against Trotskyism: A Reading Guide.

International Worker's Day, May Day 2010, Moscow

Quotations from Revolutionaries on Stalin

“Stalin has further developed Marxism-Leninism through many invaluable theoretical accomplishments. His principal contributions to Marxian theory lie in indicating the path of the actual building of socialism in the U.S.S.R. Thus, his powerful polemics against Trotsky, Zinoviev, Bukharin and their counterrevolutionary affiliates comprised the greatest ideological struggle of our times. They clarified every aspect of the vast and unique problem of building socialism in one country, and surveyed the whole position of international capitalism. They resulted in a decisive victory for the leadership of the Communist Party and, thereby, of socialism.” – William Z. Foster

“Throughout this whole struggle, we Black students at the school had been ardent supporters of the position of Stalin and the Central Committee. Most certainly we were Stalinists – whose policies we saw as the continuation of Lenin’s. Those today who use the term “Stalinist” as an epithet evade the real question: that is, were Stalin and the Central Committee correct? I believe history has proven that they were correct.” – Harry Haywood

“In all spheres of modern life the influence of Stalin reaches wide and deep. From his last simply written but vastly discerning and comprehensive document, back through the years, his contributions to the science of our world society remain invaluable. One reverently speaks of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin—the shapers of humanity’s richest present and future.” – Paul Robeson

“Joseph Stalin was a great man; few other men of the 20th century approach his stature. He was simple, calm and courageous. He seldom lost his poise; pondered his problems slowly, made his decisions clearly and firmly; never yielded to ostentation nor coyly refrained from holding his rightful place with dignity. He was the son of a serf but stood calmly before the great without hesitation or nerves. But also—and this was the highest proof of his greatness—he knew the common man, felt his problems, followed his fate.” – W. E. B. Du Bois

“This day was a day of jubilation and joy in republican Spain. In the cities and villages, at the fronts and at the rear, millions of voices, expressing what their hearts felt, cheered Stalin. In the factories and trenches, the workers and soldiers carved the name ‘Stalin’ on their tools and on their gun-stocks. The most beautiful streets of the cities and the most important localities were called: Soviet Union Avenue. And Stalin’s picture had a place of honor in every home and his name, lived in the hearts of all who fought and worked for a Spain freed from its age-old enemies.” – Dolores Ibárruri

“In the so called mistakes of Stalin lies the difference between a revolutionary attitude and a revisionist attitude. You have to look at Stalin in the historical context in which he moves, you don’t have to look at him as some kind of brute, but in that particular historical context . . . I have come to communism because of daddy Stalin and nobody must come and tell me that I mustn’t read Stalin. I read him when it was very bad to read him. That was another time. And because I’m not very bright, and a hard-headed person, I keep on reading him. Especially in this new period, now that it is worse to read him. Then, as well as now, I still find a series of things that are very good.” – Ernesto Che Guevara

“Stalin has died. The ardent heart of the great leader of progressive mankind has ceased to beat. This sad news has spread over Korean territory like lightning, inflicting a bitter blow to the hearts of millions of people. Korean People’s Army soldiers, workers, farmers, and students, as well as all residents of both South and North Korea, have heard the sad news with profound grief. The very being of Korea has seemed to bow down, and mothers who had apparently exhausted their tears in weeping for the children they had lost in the bombing of the [American] air bandits sobbed again.” – Kim Il Sung

“Stalin earned his place among the great classics of Marxism-Leninism with his stern and principled struggle for the defence, consistent implementation and further development of the ideas of Marx, Engels and Lenin. With his keen mind and special ability, he was able to find his bearings even in the most difficult times, when the bourgeoisie and reaction were doing everything in their power to hinder the triumph of the Great October Socialist Revolution.” – Enver Hoxha

“Congratulating Stalin is not a formality. Congratulating Stalin means supporting him and his cause, supporting the victory of socialism, and the way forward for mankind which he points out, it means supporting a dear friend. For the great majority of mankind today are suffering, and mankind can free itself from suffering only by the road pointed out by Stalin and with his help.” – Mao Zedong


Stalin’s Accomplishments

Mao Zedong studying the writings of J. V. Stalin in the Yenan base area during the Chinese Revolution

From On the Question of Stalin, by the Communist Party of China (1963):

  • Stalin fought tsarism and propagated Marxism during Lenin’s lifetime; after he became a member of the Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party headed by Lenin; he took part in the struggle to pave the way for the 1917 Revolution; after the October Revolution he fought to defend the fruits of the proletarian revolution.
  • Stalin led the CPSU and the Soviet people, after Lenin’s death, in resolutely fighting both internal and external foes, and in safeguarding and consolidating the first socialist state in the world.
  • Stalin led the CPSU and the Soviet people in upholding the line of socialist industrialization and agricultural collectivization and in achieving great successes in socialist transformation and socialist construction.
  • Stalin led the CPSU, the Soviet people, and the Soviet army in an arduous and bitter struggle to the great victory of the anti-fascist war.
  • Stalin defended and developed Marxism-Leninism in the fight against various kinds of opportunism, against the enemies of Leninism, the Trotskyites, Zinovievites, Bukharinites, and other bourgeois agents.
  • Stalin made an indelible contribution to the international communist movement in a number of theoretical writings which are immortal Marxist-Leninist works.
  • Stalin led the Soviet Party and Government in pursuing a foreign policy which on the whole was in keeping with proletarian internationalism and in greatly assisting the revolutionary struggles of all peoples, including the Chinese people.
  • Stalin stood in the forefront of the tide of history guiding the struggle, and was an irreconcilable enemy of the imperialists and all reactionaries.
  • Stalin’s activities were intimately bound up with the struggles of the great CPSU and the great Soviet people and inseparable from the revolutionary struggles of the people of the whole world.
  • Stalin’s life was that of a great Marxist-Leninist, a great proletarian revolutionary.

Stalin’s Works

"I know that after my death a pile of rubbish will be heaped on my grave, but the wind of History will sooner or later sweep it away without mercy." - Stalin to Molotov, 1943, as quoted in Felix Chuev's 140 Conversations with Molotov Moscow, 1991

Stalin’s Works takes up a bulky 13 volumes, which span the period only from 1901-1934. When Stalin died in 1953 and Khrushchov came to power, part of the revisionist process of “de-Stalinization” meant the suppression of Stalin’s writings and the discontinuation of the publication of Stalin’s Works. Stalin also published three volumes collecting some of his most important articles and speeches,Problems of Leninism, On the Opposition, and Marxism and the National-Colonial Question. Out of such an enormous theoretical output, it is difficult to highlight essentials, but out of everything Stalin wrote, it is possible to say that Stalin wrote a number of texts that many communists would consider essential reading for any revolutionary Marxist-Leninist. These ten deserve special attention:

  1. The Foundations of Leninism
  2. Concerning Questions of Leninism
  3. Marxism and the National Question
  4. Trotskyism or Leninism?
  5. Revolution in China and Tasks of the Comintern
  6. The Right Danger in the C.P.S.U.(B.) 
  7. Dialectical and Historical Materialism
  8. Marxism and Problems of Linguistics
  9. Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR
  10. History of the C.P.S.U.(B.) – Short Course

These and his other Works make up a great treasury of Marxist-Leninist summation, polemic, and analysis, deeply connected to the practice of revolution, ideological struggle, and socialist construction.

Collected Articles on Stalin’s Contributions

Revolutionaries in Nepal honor Stalin

Here are some articles by various revolutionaries from around the world highlighting Comrade Stalin’s contributions:

Finally, The Marxist-Leninist would like to encourage readers to make use of the resources available from the Stalin Society.

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