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Potential rivals were accused of aligning with capitalist nations, convicted of being "enemies of the people" and summarily executed.The purges eventually extended beyond the party elite to local officials suspected of counterrevolutionary activities.In the late 1920s and early 1930s, Stalin reversed the Bolshevik agrarian policy by seizing land given earlier to the peasants and organizing collective farms.This essentially reduced the peasants back to serfs, as they had been during the monarchy.In 1902, he was arrested for coordinating a labor strike and exiled to Siberia, the first of his many arrests and exiles in the fledgling years of the Russian Revolution.It was during this time that Joseph adopted the name "Stalin," meaning steel in Russian.
In 1901, he joined the Social Democratic Labor Party and worked full-time for the revolutionary movement.
Though not a significant post at the time, it gave Stalin control over all party member appointments, which allowed him to build his base.
He made shrewd appointments and consolidated his power so that eventually nearly all members of the central command owed their position to him.
Many were exiled abroad to Europe and the Americas, including presumed Lenin successor Leon Trotsky.
However, further paranoia set in and Stalin soon conducted a vast reign of terror, having people arrested in the night and put before spectacular show trials.
Some of the members were socialists who introduced him to the writings of Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin. Though he excelled in seminary school, Joseph left in 1899.