Communism - Explained
What is Communism?
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What is Communism?
Communism is defined as a system whereby all the properties in a society are owned by the community. It is a socioeconomic structure that aims to achieve classless system in which all the means of production are owned and controlled by the community and not by individuals. The Communist ideology is contrary to liberal democracy and capitalism that allows private ownership of means of production. In a communist society, private ownership is non-existent, rather, there is communal ownership of all the means of production. Communism aims to achieve equality through the elimination of social classes, hence, individuals work towards collective and communal goal.
How Does Communism Work?
Communism is an ideology that originated in the early ages, it is an advocacy for communal ownership and classless system. The origin of Communism can be traced to Victor d'Hupay, a French aristocrat in the 18th who advocated living in "communes". That is to say that all property would be shared by members of the community in a way that everyone benefits from it.
This ideology opposes liberal democracy and capitalism. As a new ideology at that time, the first-century Christian communities who practiced Communism used the koinonia system before the ideology expanded to other communities.
The 'Communist Manifesto' which was published in 1848 by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels gave rise to modern communist ideology. The Communist Manifesto disregarded certain communist philosophies prominent during the early practice of the ideology. The Communist Manifesto was published during the French Revolution and this symbolizes a significant period in human history. This period witnessed the emergence of "bourgeoisie" and "proletariat. "
The bourgeoisie class (owners of capital) overturned the existing feudal power structure which led to the emergence of a capitalist regime. During this revolution, the proletariat (working class) traded their labor for wages paid by the bourgeoisie.
The evolution of Communism put an end to class struggle and maintains that capital and means of production are owned by the community. It encouraged a classless society a society without ranks or class distinctions.
Marx and Engels' modern Communism theory was not put into practice until they died. The civil war enrolled the Bolsheviks into power in 1922. This group was led by Vladimir Lenin, it founded the Soviet Union and it was the first group that attempted to put communist theory into practice.
Before the Bolshevik Revolution, Vladimir Lenin who led the group at that time had developed vanguardism, a Marxist theory, then later socialism before it finally came to communism.
Upon the death of Lenin, Joseph Stalin, his successor enforced agricultural collectivization. Despite the havoc wreaked during this period, the Soviet Union became a powerful institution in which banking, agricultural and industrial production system are subject to quotas and price controls laid out in a series of Five Year Plans.
Upon the collapse of Soviet Union in 1991, there was a push for reform which had effects on the Communist state.
In 1946, there was a Chinese Communist Revolution which resulted in the proclamation of the People's Republic of China in October, 1949. Before the revolution, the Chinese Nationalist Party and Imperial Japan were at war for more than 20 years.
The 1946 revolution was led by the Communist Party of China and Mao Zedong, they gained control of China due to the revolution. This control led to the formation of the world's major Marxist-Leninist state, because Mao allied the China with the Soviet Union.
Even after the death of Mao in 1976, the Chinese Communist Party remained in power, despite the normalizing relations between U. S and China. T
he United States, after World War II, became the richest and most powerful nation. The Soviet Union also emerged as the most military powerful nation alongside the U.S, both nations were tagged 'the two superpowers'.
Academic Research on Communism
- The idea of communism, Douzinas, C., & iek, S. (2010). Goodbye Lenin (or not?): The effect of communism on people's preferences, Alesina, A., & Fuchs-Schndeln, N. (2007). American Economic Review, 97(4), 1507-1528.
- Why do firms hide? Bribes and unofficial activity after communism, Johnson, S., Kaufmann, D., McMillan, J., & Woodruff, C. (2000). Journal of Public Economics, 76(3), 495-520.
- A normal country: Russia after communism, Shleifer, A., & Treisman, D. (2005). Journal of Economic Perspectives, 19(1), 151-174.
- Corruption, culture, and communism, Sandholtz, W., & Taagepera, R. (2005). International Review of Sociology, 15(1), 109-131.
- A capitalist road to communism, Van der Veen, R. J., & Van Parijs, P. (1986). Theory and Society, 635-655.
- Post-communist modernization, transition studies, and diversity in Europe, Blokker, P. (2005). European journal of social theory, 8(4), 503-525.
- Communism and political culture theory, Almond, G. A. (1983). Comparative Politics, 15(2), 127-138.
- Uncertainty in the transition: post-communism in Hungary, Bunce, V., & Csanadi, M. (1993). East European Politics and Societies, 7(2), 240-275.
- Communism and clientelism: rural politics in China, Oi, J. C. (1985). World Politics, 37(2), 238-266.