Communist party

Origins

Marxist socialism (see Marxism) took root in Russia in the 1880s. Led by Georgi Plekhanov, a small group of Marxists formed (1883) the League for the Emancipation of Labor, stressing the revolutionary capabilities of the growing industrial proletariat. Other groups were soon founded, the largest of which was the Jewish Bund, and in 1898 they united to form the Russian Social Democratic Labor party. The second party congress (1903) in Brussels and London split into factions of Bolshevism and Menshevism. The Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, demanded a highly disciplined, centralized, and dedicated revolutionary elite rather than a mass party. These principles guided the Bolsheviks before the 1917 revolution and remained the basis for the party during its years in power.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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