What (now Iran) long existed before that
What isCommunism? Communism is the doctrine of where all property is owned bythe community and every person contributes and receives according to theirneeds. It advocates a classless society in which no individual citizen canexploit others.
That implies common ownership of production and absence ofpersonal property, money and a controller state with interests unaligned withthe population. Basically it is preventing exploitation of the poor by the richthrough trying to ensure equitable concentration among the hands of all. Itisn’t expressly anti-individualist however it says that decisions should be forthe welfare of the whole population and not for a select few. Another tenet isthe establishment of an atheist society on the belief that religiouspractitioners fuel discontent.
The main factors in communism are labour,entrepreneurship, use of natural resources and capital goods. The wordcommunism is derived from the Latin communiswhich means ‘shared’ or ‘common’. This maxim sums up what it means, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” Earlyorigins and the Communist Manifesto:The term communism wasfounded by Victor d’Hupay in 1777.
Similar ideologies, such as the Plato’s inGreece and in Persia (now Iran) long existed before that and most of theinstances of early communism were based in religion. However, the actual creditof developing and expounding the concept of communism is always given to KarlMarx and Friedrich Engels who in 1848 published the Communist Manifesto and offered a new definition of Communism whichis now the cornerstone of modern communism. A notable individual work in thisfield was Communist Principles byFriedrich Engels.
They were commissioned by the Communist League who askedthese German philosophers to summarize and form a statement of communism. Marx and Engels felt that the source of all political andsocial conflict was the exploitation of the poor. They also believed that theproblems faced by the poor working class were endemic to capitalism and wouldbe erased if it was abolished.
Appalled by the condition of the industrialworkers they wanted the common means of production to be owned for the benefitof all. They wanted private property to be abolished and a class-revolution totake place to establish a stateless and classless society. In the CommunistManifesto they outlined abolition of property, a common plan, heavy income tax,elimination of rights of inheritance, equal liability of all towards labour,free education, gradual abolition of town and country distinctions, and statecontrol of credit, transport and communications.
He wanted to eradicate elitismand homogenize the populace among economic and political lines. However, theywere very vague in the definition of the type of political system that wouldemerge after a revolution and another controversial aspect was the’dictatorship of the proletariat’ that was supposed to be a sort of an interimgovernment. Practicalaspects, advantages and disadvantages:The practicality of communism has often been questioned inthe 21st century. To this date very few countries have usedcommunism in their country, much less Marx’s definition.
The abolishment of thepractice of religion is one factor that has come into play various times inthis debate. In the psychological realm it is against human nature to notaspire for material riches and it also prevents healthy competition that spurstoday’s industries. Also communism today is impractical as religion isessential in today’s world and communist regimes more often than not suppressthe freedom of their citizens.The arguments in favour of communism are:· It does away with elitism and paves the way for aclassless society devoid of distinctions on basis of descent, religion orcaste.
It basically implies that nobody is treated as royalty and people canlive without fear of ruling elites and upper classes.· Everyone is provided with equal opportunitiesirrespective of their past financial status. This means that everyone has thechance to become something based on their own gifts and talents.· When all members of society work, there is a drasticdecrease in the unemployment rate. The effect of this is that the crime ratewill consequently drop as there will be no lack of employment opportunitiesthat will coerce people to commit crimes. So more peace of mind and equalemployment opportunities which ideologically curb avarice and will spur peopleto work for the country. This can also help patriotism.· The poorest will always have food on the table, a roofover their head and access to healthcare and employment opportunities.
· The common ownership of the means of production andproperty bridges the rich-poor and rural-urban divide and has the potential tospur development in every sphere.· Almost everyone is provided a good education and afine shot at an advanced degree. · In industries the agricultural and manufacturingsectors are emphasized and most of the population is employed in theseindustries leading to innovation and development in these fields. This is thedriving factor for the GDP and so will drive the country’s economy forward.· It paves the way for a safe and strong country, wherestandards of living are the same, crime rates are low as there is strictcontrol over law and so when the entire population’s opinion is taken onsomething, there is no favour for select individuals.The arguments against communism are:· It is just a way for a repressive regime to disguisetheir actual goals.
In a democratically elected government, the people knowthat it was their votes that elected the government, whereas in it the peopleknow not by what virtue a person is at a higher post.· A communist regime would suppress the voice of thepeople as there would be no press and the state would intervene in everythingthus stifling the freedom of its citizens. · People are not free to pursue their own goals andinterests as they are working towards common goals and needs. It is absolutelyanti-ambition as the people have little room for personal growth anddevelopment and in a place meant for ‘equality’ personal achievement is notencouraged.
· Even though it may help stifle unemployment, there isa lack of meaningful employment, as you are working for a pay-check that is inthe form of your basic needs which means you can’t spend where you deem usefuland is the ultimate death of passion and hobbies. Any improvements made under acommunist regime are mostly in a sector encouraged by an apparent benefactor. · Since everything belongs to the quote unquote’community’ there are no savings and in reality it drives most households intopoverty as the structure is very easily tweaked by politicians from above andexploited. Accumulated wealth is wiped off into the community account with youunaware of who has access to it.· Sometimes, it can be just as corrupt as capitalism asan influential group of leaders and magnates, who end up in lavish homes whilethe poor languish. That defeats the very purpose of it.· People are kept in ignorance as any outside influenceis restricted and regulated by the state and so it can sensor communicationsand such media which they deem as a threat to the message conveyed by them.
· People’s dissent and criticism towards any action isnot entertained and in most communist regimes there is no platform for peopleexpressing their view and so violent dissent and anarchy becomes the onlyoption. This leads to violent curfews and police brutality all in the name ofnational security which can brew further resentment, ultimately leading toimplosion of any such regime.· It stifles innovation and citizen innovation as thereare strict salary caps and there is no motivation to take initiative andinnovate. People have no incentive to go past the bare minimum level ofproductivity required by the government to provide their basic needs and sopeople won’t do it.
This can have adverse economic implications and is thedeath of all start-ups, NGOs and companies.Terms inCommunism:· TheProletariat-The proletariat are the general peasants and working classwho are oppressed by the wealthy landowners. They constitute most of thepopulation and have poor living conditions and work as labour; the richlandowners are full of discrimination and condescension towards those belowthem. They are supposed to control the government in a communist country asenvisioned by Marx. · TheBourgeoisie-They are the aristocrats and rich landowners who own themeans of production and employ the poor working class on them. In Marx’s viewthey suppress the proletariat.
He basically implied that the injustice by themwas the root cause of all problems and economic parity needed to be achieved ifsocial and economic struggle were to end.· TheBolsheviks and Mensheviks-Bolshevik is the Russian word for majority. It was the partythat spawned the Russian Bolshevik revolution. They introduced communism inRussia.Mensheviks, by definition the majority were another politicalfaction during the Bolshevik Revolution and they wanted to reform the existingsystem and not overthrow the existing government thereby implying that theywere not revolutionary.· Otherterms- Reds and whites are terms, sometimes derogatory to describecommunist supporters and those opposed to it respectively. Gulags were theRussian slave labour camps. Kulaks were the wealthy peasants.
Communism vs.Socialism vs. Capitalism:Communism and Socialism are both schools of thought that seekto establish equality among members of the society. While socialism is aneconomic system, communism is both an economic and political system. Communismalso advocates a classless and stateless society and thus is a more extremeform of socialism. An essential difference is that workers can choose how tospend their wages and the government makes decisions for the citizens throughelections. Another major difference is that in socialism wages are givenaccording to productivity whereas they are given according to need incommunism.
Socialism is more liberal as people have a say whereas in communismthere is only one authoritarian party and so all the important decisions aremade by a few. In socialism people can own private property whereas incommunism everything is owned by the state. With regard to capitalism,socialism allows it to exist amidst it while communism seeks to get rid of itentirely even though both have an outlook of abolishing it within theirsocieties and thereby fostering equality.In capitalism limitations and caps are non-existent and thosepeople who go beyond the minimum are rewarded. Unlike the two systems describedabove people are allowed to keep the excess production earned by them and thisfosters healthy competition which in turn spurs the economy. However, sincethis also inevitably results in a sharper rich-poor divide the aforementionedschools of thought are opposed to it.
Communism vs.Fascism:While communism is a type of system for economic equality,fascism is a political system which has an exclusive social hierarchy, isnationalistic and is ruled by an all-powerful dictator. Fascist philosophystates that the state has a private partnership with various companies with thestate dictating and that the individual has no role outside of working towardsstate glory.
There is no democratic election of representatives and the statecontrols all media. Private property is allowed based on loyalty towards state.There is sometimes belief in a particular class of people whether on gender orrace. Direct Force is employed. The most vocal proponents of this ideologyincluded Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini.
Schools ofThought under Communism:· Marxism;Leninism-Karl Marx believed that the root cause of all the problemsfaced by the general population was the sharp contrast between the materialresources and class which divided the poor working class from the richlandowners. They proposed common ownership of the means of production and aclassless and stateless society which worked towards the upliftment of thegeneral population. For this to happen he proposed a materialistic conceptionof history, a deep-rooted criticism of capitalism and its workings and a visionfor a revolutionary overthrow and replacement with communism. Vladimir Lenin proposed was the Marxist who led the RussianBolshevik Revolution. The main variations in his definition of communism arethe establishment of a revolutionary vanguard party and establishing adictatorship of the proletariat as the stepping stone into communism. He wantedto depose capitalism and work towards establishing a revolutionary party ofsorts which was in his description, ‘diversity in discussion, unity in action’· Marxism-Leninism,Stalinism and Trotskyism-Marxism-Leninism is the ideology which was adopted by thethen USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics). It starts with anestablishment of socialism through the establishment of a revolutionaryvanguard party which would bring about the change and work for the bettermentof the general public.
In this the communist party is the supreme politicalinstitution and it should finally bring about communism.Trotskyism is the version of Marxism as advocated by Leon Trotskywho played a vital role in the Russian Revolution. He again proposed thevanguard party, a movement to mobilize the working class on a global scale,working class organization on a large scale through democracy.
Stalinism is the ideology espoused by Joseph Stalin, whogoverned the USSR from around 1920 to 1953. His ideas included rapidindustrialization, accepting that communism in Eastern Europe was lost and thusstrengthening the inner workings of it, establishing a centralized state,farming unions, escalating the class conflict and purging society of claimedsupporters of the bourgeoisie. His views were implemented in the Soviet Unionand came in direct conflict with those of Leon Trotsky. · Maoism-Maoism refers to the ideologies of Chinese Chairman MaoZedong. His ideology was very similar to Marxist-Leninist thought except for afew differences. His definition of revolution was one that was continuous andwas more destructive than constructive.ImportantEvents in Communist History:· The RussianBolshevik Revolution- The Bolshevik Revolution or October Revolution took place in1917 led by Vladimir Lenin in Petrograd, Russia.
Earlier that year, there hadbeen the February Revolution which overthrew the Czars of Russia. The BolshevikRevolution led by the Bolshevik Red Guards ended the Russian provisionalgovernment and established Soviet Russia. From the establishment of theProvisional government there had been a lack of trust and growing shortage offood and other supplies. There were a lot of uprisings and peasant protests andthus started the planning and execution of the coup and insurrection with theBolshevik Committee voting for an armed uprising. So a military committee wascreated.
So the Bolshevik forces marched on the Kerensky government inPetrograd, the then capital and stormed the Winter Palace. After that, came theRussian civil war until 1922 and thus was established the USSR in 1922. Thelarger picture of the outcome was the establishment of the congress of sovietsand that of the communist regime. · The ColdWar, Arms Race and related crises- There was a cold war between the two superpowers USA and USSRback in the post-war era. USA was the first to develop the weapons however USSRtoo followed up and developed nuclear weapons and thus began the cycle ofproliferation. Thus triggered the arms race and space race between thecommunist USSR and USA which led to the concept of Mutually Assured Destruction.There were a lot of events that generated friction between these two powerhousessuch as the Korean and Vietnam wars, Bay of Pigs Invasion and Cuban MissileCrisis.
Even though the nuclear tensions were diffused with diplomacy and newtreaties it took a lot out from both powers. The USSR aimed to spread communismaround the world and the USA with an absolutely different political structure,economy and culture prevented that. Communism was seen as a threat to westerncapitalism at that time. The sheer amount of resources that were put into thisled to stagnancy in the USSR economy and led ultimately to the break-up of theUSSR.
· The fall ofthe Berlin War and its effects- The Berlin Wall was built by communist East Germany dividingthe capital of Germany and was called the Anti-Fascist Protection Rampart bythe GDR authorities. It was a concrete barrier which along with the much longerInner German Border which was collectively called the Iron Curtain divided theideologically different East Germany and West Germany from 1961 to 1989. It wasvery well protected and prevented people from moving away from East Germanyinto Western countries and was a restriction on freedom of movement. Then thewall was torn down in 1989 following a series of events in nearby Austria.
Withincreasing calls for demolition the East German regime finally agreed todemolish the wall. This was the most visible symbol of division in EasternEurope and the reunification had significant effects for communism and itsinfluence in Europe. · Dissolutionof USSR- The final dissolution of the Soviet Union happened in December1991. After declaration 142-H the sovereignty of all the former countries wasacknowledged and the then President Mikhail Gorbachev resigned, declared hisoffice extinct and officially dissolved the Union. It was after a series ofexits from all the constituent countries and they signed the Alma-Ata protocolwhich formally established the Commonwealth of Independent States. Earlier theleader of the USSR made a number of actions such as dissociating itself fromthe Brezhnev regime and withdrawing support to other communist countries. Withthis the largest communist country ceased to exist and thereby dealt a majorblow to communism.
Communismin today’s world:In today’s day and age communism is now practiced officiallyonly in 5 countries and that too variations of the ideology espoused by KarlMarx. From the time of the USSR which symbolized communism and its worldwideinfluence from the Asia to Europe to Africa, communism was a major player.However, after the series of events mentioned above communism as an ideologywas rendered impractical and untenable for the majority of the world’spopulation.Communismin various countries:· China-Ever since Mao Zedong taking control of China in 1949 andproclaiming it a communist country, China is the only major power that iscommunist. Even though some liberalization and economic reforms have takenplace China to this date remains a communist country. The most major one wasthe change in constitution to recognize private property in 2004. The CommunistParty of China normally doesn’t face much resistance and is constantly ruling.· Cuba; DPRK(considered); Vietnam; Laos-The revolution led by Fidel Castro in 1959 led to theestablishment of communism in Cuba as it remains to this date.
They developedstrong ties with the USSR and always viewed the USA as its enemy given theevents such as the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile Crisis. However, after thecollapse of the Soviet Union they realigned their trading partners to China,Bolivia and Venezuela. In 2008, Fidel Castro stepped down and his brother RaulCastro took over and the animosity between them and the USA has softened sincethen but the new President Trump has imposed strict travel restrictions uponCuba again.
DPRK after Japanese occupation during World War II was backedby the Russians. It only became a communist country in 1948 when ROC declaredits independence and with Russian backing Kim-Il Sung asserted its sovereignty.Even though words such as communist and Marxist-Leninist were removed in Constitutionamendments it is considered the world-over as communist. It practices its ownbrand of communism known as Juche orself reliance. Laos became a communist country in 1975 following arevolution supported by Vietnam and the Soviet Union. Now it is largely run bymilitary generals who run a single-party government system which is based uponthe ideals of communism. It has had some liberalization as it has begunallowing some types of private ownership and it joined the World TradeOrganization in 2013.Vietnam was partitioned in 1954 in a conference after theFirst Indochina war.
North Vietnam became communist with Soviet backing. Afterthe 1976 re-unification the unified country became communist. Recently therehas been some liberalization as it has moved towards a market economy.· Countrieswith ruling communist parties and socialist regimes-Several non-communist countries with multiple parties havehad leaders associated with communist parties in recent years. These countriesare not considered communist as it is not empowered by the Constitution and bythe presence of multiple parties. However, Nepal, Guyana and Moldova have allhad ruling communist parties in recent years.
There is no dearth of socialist countries in the world whichhave guidelines protecting the rights of the workers. Socialist states includeIndia, Portugal, Sri Lanka and Tanzania among other countries.Symbols ofCommunism and Usage of Term:The colour red, the five-pointed star, the sickle and hammerand banners depicting various communist leaders like Mao Zedong and VladimirLenin. Some communist art depicts well-fed and happy farmers and peasants. Someart which shows fields of rice are also popular. The song The Internationale was adopted as the international song ofcommunism. ProminentPeople in Communism:· Karl Marx-He was the philosopher who along with Friedrich Engelsdeveloped the ideology of communism.
He wrote the Communist Manifesto whichtill date remains the most important work in communism.· VladimirLenin-He was the founder of the Russian Communist Party, leader ofthe Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 and was the Russian head of state and the headof the Soviet Union. He was the revolutionary who overthrew the ProvisionalGovernment and established a communist Russia.
· Mao Zedong-He was the founding father of the People’s Republic of China.Also known as Chairman Mao he established One-party communist China. · JosephStalin-He governed the Soviet Union from the mid 1920s to 1953 andis responsible for proposing much of the ideologies that characterize communistthought today.· LeonTrotsky-He was a Marxist politician who led the October Revolutionand proposed the theory of worldwide communism. He was assassinated by JosephStalin.· FidelCastro-He was the revolutionary who overthrew the militarydictatorship of Cuba and brought it under communist rule along with CheGuevara.
He served as Prime Minister and President of Cuba. My personalviews:I personally feel that the idea of equal economic resourcesfor all is a bit too utopian. In this age of fierce competition for materialgain implementing it word to word is practically impossible.
I think it is anantiquated system that cannot fit into today’s world. -Harshvardhan 8F DPS BN