Communism is an economic and political system in which the means of production are owned by the community and everyone works together for the common good. In a communist society, there would be no such thing as private property or money. Instead, everyone would work together for the common good. Everyone would be paid according to their skills and contributions and there would be no poverty or inequality.
Karl Marx is called the father of communism. Karl Marx was a German philosopher, economist, historian, political theorist, sociologist, journalist. He was the founder of scientific socialism. Karl Marx proposed this new ideology in his Communist Manifesto which he co-wrote with Friedrich Engels in 1848.
Marx had resolved to end capitalism in his Communist Manifesto. He said that the system of succession should be abolished. Marx was of the opinion that there should be a peaceful revolution for economic and social equality and if this does not change then armed revolution should be done. Marx inspired the world to struggle. He said ‘All the workers of the world unite. You have nothing to lose except your chains.’
The philosophy laid down by Marx and Engels is called Marxism. Marxism is a form of revolutionary socialism. It believes in economic and social equality. Marxism is the philosophy of equality of all individuals. Marxism calls violent revolution as an imperative to radically change the capitalist system and establish a socialist system of the proletariat. Only after this revolution will the ideal system be established, that will be a classless, struggleless and exploitation-free state.
Features of Marxism
- Marxism explains the class struggle between the rulers and the oppressed.
- Marxism is a reaction against capitalism.
- Marxism is also anti-religion and it tells religion is harmful for mankind.
- Marxism lays emphasis on the establishment of a stateless and classless society.
- The principle of added value is another feature of Marxism. Marx says that laborer/worker creates value in a commodity while producing it. But he does not get what he produces, he only gets a salary and whatever is above the salary is taken by the owner.
- Marxism believes in International Communism.
- Marxism believes that a democratic institution is an institution of the capitalists, which has been created for the exploitation of the workers.
- Marxism considers violent revolution necessary to establish the socialist system of the proletariat.
Rise of Communism
The rise of communism was greatly influenced by the ideas of Karl Marx. Communism is a political and economic ideology that originated in the 18th century. Karl Marx wrote The Communist Manifesto which laid out the tenets of the communist movement. Marx believed that history was determined by class conflict and that the proletariat (the working class) would eventually overthrow the bourgeoisie (the middle class) and create a classless society.
Marx said in his ‘Communist Manifesto’ that the goal of the communist revolution was to dig the grave of capitalism and to give birth to a new egalitarian culture to make the society classless. To achieve these goals, Marx propounded the principles of dialectical materialism, class struggle and excess value and supported violent revolution.
The Communist Manifesto
The Communist Manifesto was published in 1848 and the following year Marx and his collaborator, Friedrich Engels, founded the Communist League. It was a small group of communist revolutionaries. The League was relatively unsuccessful and it was not until the Russian Revolution of 1917 that communism truly began to take hold.
The First World War was an important event for the socialist movement. While on the one hand, the socialist movement and their international organization were almost disintegrated as soon as it started. On the other hand the Bolshevik Revolution (October-November 1917) took place in Russia and the foundation of the first successful socialist state in the world was laid.
This revolution had a profound effect on the socialist movements of the world. The effect of this revolution was worldwide. Many countries of Eastern Europe became communist like Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, East Germany etc. Cuba in the west and China in the east turned red.
The Russian Revolution was a massive upheaval that saw the abdication of the czar, the end of the Russian Empire and the rise of the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union was the first communist state, and it would go on to have a major impact on the world stage. The Soviet Union was a major world power for much of the 20th century and its influence can still be felt today.
Failure of Communism
The failure of communism is a topic that has been hotly debated for decades. There are a variety of reasons why communism may have failed. But one of the most commonly cited reasons is the lack of incentive for individuals to work hard and be innovative.
In a capitalist system, individuals are driven by the possibility of financial gain. They work hard to develop new products or services because they believe that their efforts will be rewarded with increased earnings. In a communist system, on the other hand, individuals are not motivated by the possibility of financial gain. Instead, they are motivated by the possibility of improving the lives of others.
While the communist system may have been founded on good intentions. But It ultimately failed because it did not provide individuals with the incentive to work hard and be innovative. In practice, communist regimes have been characterized by one-party rule. They have often been repressive, with little or no room for dissent or individual rights.
The Soviet Union and China were the two largest communist countries in the world. But the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the reforms in China in the late 20th and early 21st centuries have left capitalism as the dominant economic system in the world.