Communism


Civics / Communist


3/12/04


Communism shaped most of history from the late 1800’s to present 1900, most people believe that Communism is a threat to world peace, but others believe it to be the world’s greatest hope. Communism has many meanings being; a form of government, an economic system, a revolutionary movement, a way of life, or a goal or ideal. Communism is also a set of ideas about how and why history moves, and in what direction it is headed. The founder of these ideas is mainly, V.I. Lenin from the writings of Karl Marx. Lenin was a Russian revolutionary leader of the 1900’s, and Marx a German social philosopher in the 1800’s. According to Communists their long-range goal is a society that provides equality and economic security for all. During the 1900’s millions of people lived under a Communist rule. In 1917, Russia became the first state to be controlled be a Communist party. By 1940, 12 more republics were added, and the Soviet Union had become one of the most powerful countries in the world. The rapid spread of Communism after World War II (1939-1945) brought about a struggle for International power and influence between Communist countries and non-Communist countries. This struggle was known as the ‘Cold War’. Most believe that events in the 1980’s –1990’s marked the end of the Cold War. These events included, the collapse of several Communist Governments in Eastern Europe in 1989, and the fall of Communism in the Soviet Union by 1991. By 1992 Communist parties remained only in power in only a small number of countries, including China, Cuba, Laos, North Korea, and Vietnam. Communist and Socialist are frequently confused; Communist usually refers to their beliefs and goals as “Socialists”, But Socialists do not consider themselves Communist. Communists and Socialists both seek public ownership or regulation of the principal means of production. But most Socialists favor peaceful, and legal methods to achieve their goals, while Communists have often used force without regard to law. Socialism may or may not be based on the teachings of Marx. Communism is both based on the teachings of Lenin, and Marx.


The ideas of Marx were first expressed in the “Communist Manifesto” (1848), a pamphlet that he wrote with Fredrich Engels, a German economist. Marx believed that the only way to achieve a happy, harmonious society was to put the workers in control. Marx also believed that the progress of Communism was inevitable. He taught that history follows certain unchangeable laws as it advances from one stage to the next. Communism, Marx declared, is the highest and final stage of development. Marx believed in order to understand of the changes in historical development is to know the relationships between the two classes of people producing goods. Claiming the owners of factories and other means of production-‘the ruling class’- use their economic power to force their will upon the people. He saw the struggles between ‘the rulers’ and ‘the ruled’, as the means by which history moves from one stage to the next. Under the rule of Capitalism, Marx believed, that a struggle takes place between the ‘Bourgeoisie’ and the ‘Proletariat’. The Bourgeoisie are the owners and managers of the means of production, and the Proletariats are the workers. He believed and argued that the workers did not receive full wage for their labor they provided. Finally the workers would go against their government and revolt and seize control of industry and the government.


Lenin ideas believed that Capitalism in Europe had escaped failure because of ‘Imperialism’, a policy in which one country extends influence over other countries. Capitalist from European Imperialist countries hired underpaid African and Asian people. This helped the capitalist produce goods cheaply, which in turn kept prices in Europe low. Low prices contributed to a high standard of living for Europeans, which helped prevent unrest in Europe. But the exploitation for workers in no industrial societies created the possibility of a Communist revolution there, which Marx had not foreseen.


The Communist party performed four different roles in Communist systems. (1.) It carefully selected members (2.) It maintained total control over public policies (3.) It supervised every branch of government (4.) It carefully screened people for key jobs throughout the society. In Communist countries, the Communist party