THE EVOLUTION OF COMMUNISM
P.1 Karl Marx (1818-1884)
"The theory of communism may be summed up in one sentence: Abolish all private property"- Karl Marx
In 1818, Karl Marx was born in Prussia into a wealthy middle class family. After he studied in Universities he began writing in radical newspapers. In 1848, Marx released his most famous writing, The Communist Manifesto, promoting socialism and communism. A famous political slogan used by the USSR that came from The Communist Manifesto was "Workers of the world, unite!" Biography Source
Marx's definition of communism is a society governed by a "community of freely associated individuals." Source
Marx believed that communism would fall into place as a result of conflict between the capitalist class and the proletariat class. Marx's view of capitalism was that it was a "dictatorship of the bourgeoisie" ran by the capitalist (wealthy) class to benefit themselves. Capitalism would lead to self destruction because of the struggle between the bourgeoisie and proletariat (the laborers). Eventually, this will result in favor of the proletariat and establish communism and a classless society. Source
As seen on the cover of The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx the symbols of communism are used: a hammer and a sickle and the color red. The hammer represents the working class while the sickle represents the agricultural laborers. Red is a color used when relating to revolutionary movements.
P.2 Vladimir Lenin (1870-1924)
"The way to crush the bourgeoisie is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation." -Lenin
Lenin was born in 1870 in Russia. In 1877, Lenin's older brother was arrested and executed for planning to assassinate Emperor Alexander III. After his brothers death Lenin enrolled himself in school to study law but was shortly expelled. Lenin began reading radical literature about revolutionary politics, mostly written by Karl Marx. In 1895, Lenin was arrested and exiled to Siberia because his communist activities with the Bolsheviks. Source.
After his release Lenin had to escape to western Europe to avoid being arrested by Czar. When Lenin saw crisis happening in Russia because of the Russo-Japanese War, Bloody Sunday, WWI, and March Revolution he came back to Russia with the help of Germany. Lenin led the Bolsheviks through the Bolshevik Revolution where the Red Guards, armed factory workers, stormed the Winter Palace to take down Kerensky. This is when the slogan "Peace, Land, Bread" was being used to defend the people's natural rights.
After Lenin stepped into power and "restored order" he set up one of his communist ideas, the New Economic Policy, which mixed capitalism and socialism. This allowed peasants to sell surplus crops instead of turning them in to the government and also allowed for smaller businesses to manage themselves. When nationalism became a problem Lenin renamed Russia to the USSR, Union of Soviet Socialist Republic. Also, the Bolsheviks were renamed to communists.
How communism evovled?
Marxism and Leninism are very similar since Lenin was influenced greatly by Marx.
Their similarities are that they both believed history was a story of class struggle between the capitalist and proletariat but Lenin believed the peasants took part in this too. Lenin believed the Communist Revolution would start when the peasants were pushed by the government to their limit while Marx believed the Revolution was bound to happen eventually when the capitalist and proletariat classes fought. They also agreed that there would be a "Dictatorship of the Proletariat" but Marx believed everyone would have the same power while Lenin believed there still needed to be a source of power.
P.3 Zedong's China (1893-1976)
Mao Zedong was the founder of the People's Republic of China, leader of the Cultural Revolution and a communist radical revolutionary. In 1921, Zedong helped organist the Chinese Communist Party and developed his own version of Communism. Zedong believed the peasants would lead the revolution, like Lenin, and it would occur in a rural country.
Since Lenin and Zedong shared similar communist ideas, in 1923 Lenin sent military help and supplies to China in return to let the Chinese Communist be apart of the Kuomintang. Nationalists stopped working cooperatively with the Communist and began attacking and killing the Communist Party in 1927. Japan took advantage of this conflict and invaded Manchuria. Japan controlled most of China at this point which forced the Nationalists and Communists to work together to defeat Japan.
In attempt to return China to its "communist roots", Zedong began the Cultural revolution. In 1949, he established the People's Republic of China and in 1966 began introducing the idea of a Cultural Revolution. A year later, Zedong sent the Red Guards, Chinese youth soldiers, to destroy the "Four Olds" which were old customs, old culture, old habits and old ideas. Zedong began a "rustification" movement where he sent his Red Guards to learn from the peasant class, since this was the class who he believed would start the communist revolution.
Mao Zedong achieved most of his followers by mass propaganda, targeted mainly at the youth. One way his propaganda was used was through song, The East is Red, which became the People's Republic of China's anthem. The song idealizes Mao Zedong and it was played in every city and village at dawn and dusk.
How communism evolved?
From when communism was first introduced by Marx to Zedong's China, communism has evolved quite a bit. Marx and Zedong do not have the same communist vision of how the revolution would began but the do both agree that the bourgeoisie or wealthy class would be overthrown by a lower class. Lenin and Zedong both follow Marx's idea that human societies progress through class struggle and both support that this should happen.
One reaction against communism was Fascism. Fascism came up in Europe after WWI when people wanted national unity and a strong leadership in government. The characteristics of a fascist government are that they are ruled by a dictatorship, absolute power of the state, corporatism, extreme nationalism, superiority of the nation's people and militarism and imperialism. In Italy, Mussolini came up with the term fascism from his adoption of the Roman fasces as his symbol, a bundle of rods tied around an ax.
After World War I, Mussolini was looking for a way to unify the Italian people. As a result he called for a dictator to lead the country to overcome political party conflicts and socialist and communist movements. In 1919, Mussolini's "Black Shirts" abused socialists and communists and threw them out of the government. This fascist movement was two years after the Communist Revolution. In 1921, Mussolini formed the National Fascist Party looking to rule Italy. After Mussolini's constant demanding to be Prime Minister, the King finally gave in in 1922.
Mussolini didn't allow anyone to disagree with him by banning public protests, strikes, outlawed labor unions and opposition newspapers. He used propaganda and his charisma to get the people on his side. "ll Duce is always right" and "Believe, obey, fight" the Italian people would cheer. The Fascist party then began targeting young boys to join them. Mussolini's totalitarianism quest was to control the economy, schools, police, courts and the military. Mussolini didn't care much about religion but he made agreements with the Catholic church to get what he wanted. His police cracked down on anti-fascists and made workers set aside their private interests to follow all fascist interests. When Mussolini began invading outside nations and failing miserably the Italian people had enough. The British and Americans defeated Mussolini's army and his people abandoned him. Later in 1943, Mussolini was killed by an anti-fascist party in Milan.
Other fascist regimes and practices
Mussolini inspired Hitler to create his fascist state in Germany. He also inspired Franco to establish many fascist practices in the Spanish State. Even today there are fascist ideas still enforced and practiced in countries like racism and untrantionalism.
p.5 Republic of cuba
The Republic of Cuba is governed by the Communist Party of Cuba A.K.A. The Popular Socialist Party. Cuba wasn't a socialist state until Fidel Castro began a revolution with Che Guevara and overthrew Dictator Batista, who ruled Cuba with the wealthy class, in 1959. Castro believed in social justice and he took private property away to benefit the society. Castro also banned opposition newspapers against him. The Constitution of 1992 marked Cuba officially a socialist republic and states that they are guided by the "political and social ideas of Marx, Engels and Lenin."
Today, the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba and President of Cuba is Raul Castro, the brother of the founder of Socialist Cuba, Fidel Castro. It is still a party of the Marxist-Leninist model. The way Fidel Castro censored Cuba, according to the Human Rights Watch Raul Castro is still censoring the Cuban people today. They state "Cubans are systematically denied basic rights to free expression, association, assembly, privacy, movement, and due process of law." Since Cuba follows socialist ideals for their economy, most of the means of production are owned and ran by the government while most of the labor force is ran by the state.
Cuba's socialist practices relate back to Lenin's idea of communism. Lenin believed there still needed to be a source of power while Marx believed everyone should be equal. Cuba has a President because they are a republic so they fall under Lenin's view communism more than Marx's although they claim to be Marxist.
I believe that communism has great theory and intentions but in reality it will never work. If the country does well with communism, then it benefits everyone but if it fails, everyone suffers and that's what we've seen happen with dictators like Zedong, Stalin and Castro. I do believe the communist principle that everyone should be equal to a certain level but in reality I know that won't ever work because I also believe that there needs to be some sort of power like in a Republic. This is significant because our society has to realize that Zedong, Stalin, and other communist failures are mistake we should learn from so our economy and society doesn't fail like theirs did.