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Communism Essay

Communism has many implications. In practice, few textbooks or reference books agree in defining it. At the same time politicians are inclined to over-simplify and concentrate on one of its many implications as a definition, Communism, generally, may be defined as the system of society in which property, particularly real property and the means of production, is held in common, This, with the implication of “from each according to his ability and to each according to his needs” is the classics definition, However, as communism developed in Russia the~first apparent need was a need for planning production rather than for the total state ownership of land and the means of production. So, in a “definition of communism, today state planning and the means of enforcing conformity to the plan are of the first importance. The theory of communism was first created by two German philosophers of the mid-nineteenth century, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. In formulating their ideology they borrowed various ideas from other philosophers particularly hegel, Adam Smith and Ricardo. Among these various proponents of socialism at the time, Marx and Engels were distinguished by their great emphasis on production of material goods. In this respect the two men were very close to certain modem capitalist economists. They were, however, true socialist, believing in equal distribution of wealth, and having little faith in the private property system.

The philosophy of Marx and Engels is fundamentally a reinterpretation of world economic history. In their view the history of mankind could be roughly divided into successive major periods. First, there was the prehistoric era, in which man barely eked out an existence. This was followed by the slave state period exemplified by the Roman Empie the age of feudalism and serfdom; and finally, the modem period of capitalism with the industrial revolution. In turn each period achieved a higher degree of production than its predecessors. Thus temporary setbacks and minor exceptions, the history of mankind represents slow but continual progress in increasing the production of the material goods which man.needs for existence. However, according to Marx and Engels , one the prehistoric period passed, each economic system had class groups of exploiters and exploited, and this’ maintained, the exploiting class in Rome was the patricians, in medieval times, the feudal lords, and under capitalism, the bourgeoisie. Each of these exploiting groups had held its powers by possessing or .controlling the means of production such as arable land, commercial forest, industrial machinery, factories.

Marx and Engels believed,that with the advance of capitalism and the rise of the Industrial Revolution, mankind had finally neared a stage in which it could almost produce sufficient material goods for full satisfaction of its needs. But to them, the system of capitalism itself had great faults, which prevented an equal distribution of material goods. for example, capitalism suffered periodic depressions, during which such means of production as factories would stand idle, though there was need for their products. Furthermore, the means of production were still in tile heads of an alleged exploiter class” the bourgeoisie. Meanwhile, the class of industrial workers, who actually operated the means of production had a very low standard of living, and could not afford to buy an adequate amount of products of their own factories.

The remedy for this situation of relative abundance of goods but unequal distribution, according to Marx and Engels, was to change capitalism in socialism. To effect this change, Marx and Engels believed that the class most exploited under capitalism, the industrial proletariat, would rule the state and establish complete socialism. When socialism (public control of both production and distribution of goods) had been fully established so that each individual’s needs were satisfied, the state authority would gradually wither away and be replaced by voluntary cooperation of the entire populace; all adult members of which would be engaged in some form of productive work.

Engels and Marx held various other views elaborating upon and confirming the above theories. According to their economic history, each great historical era (slave-state, feudalism and capitalism), had” first represented progress over the preceding civilization. But in their later stages, each of these forms of economic society had declined no longer could or would continue increasing production, and was finally replaced was brought about by a new-class seizing control of the means of production. Thus, the feudal nobles seized the production from the Roman patricians, and later lost power to the capitalist bourgeoisie. According to such reasoning, the capitalist system would also decline, and must be replaced by a new society. Thus socialism could logically replace capitalism, and the means of production pass from the hands of the bourgeoisie to those of the proletariat. Another argument of Marx and Engels was the wastefulness of class struggle, which in their opinion had always existed. Thus, in the , slave-state, the patricians and plebians had quarreled, during feudalism,the nobility and the serfs and under capitalism, the industrial proletariat and the, bourgeoisie. Both philosophers considered that such struggles hampered production and thus prevented the output of material goods needed by society.. In their view, a socialist state would eliminate these difficulties by abolishing classes, thus turning the entire populace into a proletariat means of production.

Another feature of Marxism, as the teachings of Engels and Marx came to be called, was international solidarity of the working classes. According to both men, quarrels between states were allegedly quarrels between their ruling classes, that is, the bourgeoisie of each country. Marx and Engles claimed that the real enemy of a proletariat is the bourgeoisie, not a foreign nation. Thus, by this reasoning, the proletariat of the world should unite against the world bourgeoisie. In fact, Marx actually started’ First International for this purpose.

In recent times the meaning of the word communism has been narrowed down to that interpretation of marxian doctrine proposed by Lenin when he came to power in Russia as a result of the revolution’ in November, 1917, and on the basis of which he and his followers tried to transform society in Russia. Communism in that sense is only’ one of the possible inter-pretations of Maxian socialism and leading socialists from the beginning having attacked Lenin’s theory and its realisation in Russia. While socialism put its faith in an evolutionary development and in democratic means of attaining the liberation of. all men from economic servitude, communism regarded revolution and ensuing dictatorship of the proletariat as a necessary period of transition to the future free and egalitarian society in which everyone would contribute to the common good according to his abilities and would receive according to the needs. According to communist theory, the social revolution – accomplished in the interests of the proletariat and, after the abolition of class society, of all men – must be conducted by the “proletariat’s advance guard”, the communist party, because the people as a whole and even large parts of the proletariat, educated in the pre-socialist era in the bourgeoisie concepts of life, are unable to grasp and to realise the new order immediately. As the instrument of this participation they accepted the workers, soldiers and peasants’ councils (the Russian word for council is soviet) which had been formed during the Russian revolution in 1905. In these soviets only the working class were represented, not ‘the “capitalists” or “exploiters” the mode of election was carefully regulated that only deputies belonging to or approved by the party were chosen. But communism, differing in that respect from fascism, regards dictatorship as a transitional institution, and full democracy as the goal. It believes that true democracy cannot be realised in capitalistic society on account of the economic exploitation imposed upon the economically weaker elements of society, and that the generally accepted form of parliamentary democracy only veils ~e control of society by capitalists. While fascists believes in the unalterable and beneficial inequality of all races and appeals the instincts of man which have their origins in the past, communism, believes in the equality of all men and races, and its outlook is based on reason as a common element in all men and as a guide for the construction of the future.

Economic and political measures predominate in the Communist programme as long as the unfavorable environment persists. If the privileges of social life, are to be made available equally to all who share the burdens of that life, society must be made the owner of the instrumentality of the labour. The socialist system of distribution and ownership is so completely in opposition to the capitalist system of allotting privileges unequally, without any relation to differences in effort, that the transfer of control from capitalists to socialist has to be by a process that is abrupt and violent, there can be no gradual and voluntarycombination of the opposing groups nor any merging of their policies by a process of  concession and compromise. a catastrophic social revolution is  the first step in the concentrated and coercive rule made necessary, on the one hand, by the counter-efforts of a minority bent on regaining their privileges of the old order, and, on the other hand, by the inertia of a majority inexperienced and undisciplined in the ways of the new order.

It is chiefly in this emphasis upon the impossibility of a free and democratic socialist government – resting on the consent of the governed and recognising no private rights against itself – that Russian communist may be said to differ from the orthodox Marxians in the western states. Many writers, of widely varying social doctrines, hold that rule by a minority, forcibly guiding an incompetent and inert majority and denying any claims of particular interest against the collective interest, is the mark  of every community that attempts to act in an organic way. The Communist qualify this general doctrine of aristocratic and authoritarian collectivism by the Specification that every coercive political rule over a community is inevitably by and for the immediate benefit of some class within the community. Political authority is”never an expression of social solidarity; where there is solidarity is not needed. The state is always the organisation of a class, controlled by the most intelligent, energetic, and class-conscious minority, within the class. The communist state, its spokesmen contend, is, however, unique the represents the larges class within the community and is a definite preparation for a future classless and stateless society. Meanwhile it governs frankly in the interest of one class against that of another. In this policy it is always raising up a hitherto submerged group and bringing down a privileged group. rte communist policy, therefore, in contradistinction to the policy of capitalism, progressively diminishes rather that accentuates •the difference between the two classes and thereby gradually merges them into a single community. Indeed the Communist programme is intended to destroy eventually every group ~at insists on remaining a class. Thus proletarian class rule is an intermediate , transitional, stage of society between capitalist class rule and the classless commonwealth of the future. And when classes disappear, coercive social rule disappears. The communists, following Marx, held that under socialism the state “withers away”. For them, as for most other schools, of political doctrine, freedom is the ultimate goal. They believe that state power, which is the embodiment of class, rule, vanishes in proportion the vanishing of classes. The Moletariat only needs the state temporarily.

Posted on February 26, 2016 in Essays

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