Communism is a concept or system of society in which the community owns the major resources and means of production rather than by individuals. (Beers 670) Which means if that theory was true, everything should be shared between people.
That also suggests that society wouldn’t need a government because this society would be without rulers. However, communism also involves the abolition of private property by a revolutionary movement. In the early 19th century the idea of a communist society was a response of the poor and dislocated to the beginning of modern capitalism.
(Carr 28) At that time communism was the basis for a number of Utopian settlements.
Most Communistic experiments, however, failed eventually. Most of these small private experiments involved voluntary cooperation, with everyone participating in the governing process. Later the term communism was reserved for the philosophy advanced by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in their Communist Manifesto and movement they helped create in Central Europe. Since 1917 the term has denoted those who regard the Russian Revolution as a model that all Marxists should follow.
(Beers 670-71) Beginning with the Russian Revolution the center of gravity of global communism has moved away from Central and Western Europe from the late 1940s through the 1980s, communist movements were often connected with Third World strivings for national independence and social change. (Beers 729)Karl Marx was born on May 5, 1818 in the city of Trier in Prussia now Germany. He was one of seven children of Jewish Parents. Marx attended high school in his hometown in (1830-1835).
During high school years he was always politically rebellious and often was drunk and disorderly causing him to spend a lot of time in jail. After high school he went to university in Berlin. In October of 1842, Marx became an editor of the paper Rheinische Zeitung and as the editor wrote editorials on socioeconomic issues such as poverty. However, the Prussian government suspended it because of “pressures from the government of Russia.
” So, Marx went to Paris to study “French Communism.” In June of 1843 he was married to Jenny Von Westphalen. Paris was also the place were Marx and Engels joined forces at the end of August in 1844. This time they had more in common.
Engels had rejected the Young Hegelians and other “radical bourgeois” acquaintances. And Marx had moved rapidly into communism. They had reached a common point. Marx had introduced Engels to the editors of a new radical journal in Paris called Vorwarts which after a vague beginning had become an organ of revolutionary and communist propaganda.
But later on, a Prussian government in 1845 closed down the Vorwarts. Forcing Marx along with a small group of others, among them the Russian radical Mikhail Bakunin to move in Brussels, the capital neighboring Belgium. The rest was history. (Rice 1-74)In their writings Marx and Engels tried to analyze society which they described as capitalistic.
They pointed out the differences between ideals and reality in modern society. Rights granted to all had not done away with injustices, constitutional self government had not abolished mismanagement and corruption, science provided mastery over nature but nor over fluctuations of the business cycle and the efficiency of modern production methods had produced slums in midst of abundance. (Beers 495-96.) They described all human history as the attempt of men and women to develop and apply their potential for creativity for the purpose of controlling the forces of nature so as to improve the human condition.
In this ongoing effort to develop its productive forces, humanity has been remarkably successful; history has been a march of progress. Yet in developing productivity, various social institutions have been created that have introduced exploitation, domination and other evils humanity pays for progress is an unjust society. Every social system of the past, Marx argued had been a device by which the rich and powerful few could live by the hard work and misery of the powerless many. Engels and Marx believed that the capitalist system too was flawed and therefore bound to destroy itself.
They tried to show that the more productive the system became, the more difficult it would be to make it function. The more goods it produced, the less use it would have for these goods, the more people it trained, and the less it could utilize their talents. (Rice 55-60) Capitalism in short would eventually choke on its own wealth. The collapse of the capitalist economy, it was thought, would turn in a political revolution in which the masses of the poor would rebel against their leaders.
The proletarian revolution would do away with private ownership of the means of production. But after a brief period of proletarian dictatorship the economy would produce not what was profitable but what the people needed. Abundance would reign and inequalities and coercive government would disappear. (Rice 57-60) All this Marx and Engels expected would happen in most highly industrialized nations of Western Europe, the only part of the world where conditions were ripe for these developments.
The basis fallacy of Marxist economics is that they invariably stress need, or demand and depress output productivity and supply. (Riskal)From its beginning Communist rule in the Soviet Union faced a variety of problems. In the early years the government’s very existence was challenged repeatedly by its enemies within the country. When the Communist party emerged victorious it was faced with the need to rebuild the nation’s ruined economy and to train the Russian people for life in the 20th century.
Later, all efforts were concentrated on the task of transforming a backward country into a leading industrial nation and a first rate military power. (Beers 717, 723-25) The task was ambitious, the obstacles were formidable and there was no time to waste particularly after the disastrous interruption of World War II. (Beers 717) The Soviet leadership therefore was ruthless in marshaling all available human and material resources for the job of modernization. The resulting system of total control has been labeled totalitarianism, but others have called it Stalinism, after Joseph Stalin the leader who shaped and controlled the government of the USSR for more than a quarter of a century after Lenin’s death.
(Riskal) Stalinism of course in no way resembled the Communist Utopia that Marx and Engels had envisioned. Three decades after Stalin’s death USSR was still ruled by command it was a society administered in authorial fashion by a managerial bureaucracy which in many ways was no less conservative no closer to the people that huge bureaucracy tend to be everywhere. The country’s cultural and intellectual life remained substantially under the control of the ruling party. Party ideology meanwhile stressed that socialism had been attained and communism was near.
(Riskal)The relationship of this first Communist State with the rest of the world was consistently troubled. To the West, a Communist government always appeared as a threat and from very beginning there were attempts to destroy it by force of arms, attempts that may have reinforced the efforts of the Communist government to save itself by promoting revolution everywhere. Yet in its isolated and endangered position, the Communist regime also was needed to establish workable relations or alliances with other countries. Between 1945 and 1975 the number of countries under Communist rule increased greatly, partly because revolutionary Communist movements gained strength in various parts of the Third World.
(Beers 781, 805) In this manner the former isolation of the Soviet Union has been lifted, but the hostility between the Communist and the non-Communist world has to some extent, been complicated by deep antipathy within world communism. Rapid political changes in Easter Europe, the USSR and elsewhere between 1989 and 1991 dramatically reduced the number of Communist regimes. (Riskal)
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