When And Why Did Communism Emerge?

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When And Why Did Communism Emerge? Communism is a concept or system of society in which the major resources and means of production are owned by the community rather than by individuals. This concept has been around since Plato’s Republic, but it reemerged in mid-19th century due to many causes. Some are more obvious than others, and in this paper I would like to discuss, in length, when and why did communism emerge. Some minor aspects of communism were seen in ancient Oriental societies. For example, there was an Oriental commune which contained elements of "communal landed property," or the idea that all land belonged to the community instead of the people. But that didn’t get far at all, until the mid- 19th century, when the Communist Manifesto was published. The communist manifesto was the fuse that was lit, which in turn ignited all the explosives — the workers. The manifesto was written in 1848, by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, and it basically criticized the bourgeoisie, by giving lots of examples on how it is not fit to rule the country, and described all the advantages of communism. It was divided into four main parts or chapters: 1. bourgeoisie and proletarians, the chapter in which Marx outlines his theory of history and predicts an end to exploitation. He identifies class struggle as the primary dynamic in history. Driven by the logic of capitalism to seek ever greater profit, the bourgeoisie- one class, constantly revolutionizes the means of economic production, and therefore the other class suffers. The more advancements in production the greater the hostility on the worker’s side, since he gets the same wage, but the owner gets much more. 2. proletarians and communists, the chapter where Marx explains that the communists are the allies of proletarians. Him and Engels mention that if ownership of businesses would be equal, the class barrier would gradually be eliminated. 3. Socialist and communist literature was the third chapter. It described and ridiculed different types of "wanna-be" socialist and communist like governments throughout Europe. 4. Position of the communists in relation to the various existing opposition parties is the last chapter, which talks about countries which could be beneficial for communism’s growth. At the end of this chapter, one of the most famous communist quotes are written: WORKING MEN OF ALL COUNTRIES, UNITE! Many important ideas and beliefs were laid down in that small book. It was written with very strong opinions, and was pretty much- propaganda. The book was written almost poetically, and was very persuasive. "…The bourgeoisie has through its exploitation of the world market given a cosmopolitan character to production and consumption in every country…all old-established national industries have been destroyed or are daily being destroyed." Phrases such as this one were very common throughout the book. It was printed, and re-printed in many languages and in many countries. In Marx’s other works he discusses the ultimate state of communism where there is no currency, and a person would work as much as he/she can, and then come into a store and take anything that he/she needs. This person will not take too much because he/she has morals and cares about the needs of others. These ideas didn’t have much immediate effect, but over the years they greatly influenced communist regimes in Russia and China, and they even influenced the British Welfare State. The reason for Engels’ and Marx’s book was to spread the word about communism, a rather utopian idea, yet somehow doable. A lot of what was written in the book was very true. Every sentence had meaning, and people saw it when they read it. Lenin was influenced by the manifesto, took its ideas, and developed the socialist, and communist aspects farther than ever. He brought communism to a new level in Russia. But the way there wasn’t easy. The reasons for communism’s success could be explained, if we look at the people’s positions at that time. First, to backtrack a little… Russia was under a monarchy for many centuries, and peasants were very poorly treated all throughout that time. They were treated unfairly by the czar, just because there was no constitution, and the czar made the rules. They coped with it, until one day, they finally had it. They decided to revolt in 1825, against Nicholas I. The purpose for these revolts (one in 1905, one in 1825) was to establish a constitutional monarchy. That didn’t work, so the people got even angrier. Plus, the lousy organization of the army for World War I, angered the common people and, in 1917, the common people of Russia were driven over the top, and another revolution happened. There were actually two of them, one in March, and one in November. The first one of the two was successful, and a provisional government was installed. The second, replaced it with a commu! nist government, lead by Lenin. Now that the government was established by Lenin as communist/socialist Russia, making it work was very hard. Lenin’s initial policy was: The proletariat…should not think of improving its position at the moment, but should think of becoming the ruling class" He was right, there was no time for improving the proletariat’s position, because after winning the November revolution, Russia was pretty chaotic. But Lenin, after working hard for years, and with the help of his comrades, put Russia on a somewhat "positive" track. Yet still, Russia was at standstill, if not regressing. The reasons for that are: 1. There were no funds in the government; 2. There was little with the rural life, so the party was mostly an urban government. 3. And most importantly, there was lack of experience on the party’s side, as well as on the peoples’. There were other problems as well. There wasn’t enough trained personnel to fill all the jobs in the government office and as the high positions in the red army, so people left over from the czarist government had to fill in. The majority of them, however, were corrupt, and that made controlling the office very hard. Then, as Lenin was about to die, he realized that the government started out in a very big hole, and the hole got bigger with time, and now, to get out of the hole, they needed to choose wisely from a restricted number of programs, and none of the programs were going to be easy routes to socialism. What happened in China was very different from Russia. Mao Tse-Tung was a hard-core Marxist and communist all his life. Over the years, he developed his own ideas from the ideas of Karl Marx and Lenin, again, taking it one step further. In 1927, he went to the hills and founded a revolutionary base area. Until 1949 he stayed there, training guerrilla forces and accumulating experience and knowledge, as well as developing new economic policies which would help the ‘new’ Chinese government be on its way to communism. Over the years, he studied the peasants’ miseries and demands, and thought of ways to make the country run more efficiently. The Bolsheviks were sent to teach and help Mao, but they really didn’t know what they were doing themselves, since Russia was disorganized at the time. However, there were some things that Mao learned from Russia. He learned a lot abut the economy quickly, things such as the 5-year plans, investments, and other economic operations. So, in that! sense, China was lucky. Unlike Russia, Mao spent many years spreading the ‘seed’ of socialism through China. He went to all the rural places and spread his ideas quickly, and in 20 years, he was sure he could win power over the nation. Peasants all over China were struggling with their landlords and moneylenders. Lenin once said, "The more backward a country which, owing to the zigzags of history has proved to be the one to start the socialist revolution, the more difficult it is for that country to pass from the old capitalist relations to socialist relations. New incredibly difficult tasks, organizational tasks, are added to the tasks of destruction." But when it came to china, Lenin was wrong since Mao had great support from the peasants. Mao was so confident that he thought he could move up to collectivization and other socialist programs. But then there was a period of retardation during the anti-Japanese wars and the civil wars. But again, Mao helped China out a lot with those issues, and the! communists were eagerly welcomed as a new government. Overall, Mao was very successful in what he did, mostly because he learned from Russia’s mistakes, and because he carefully planned everything out. One of the things he understood that probably made him so great was that "If the workers and peasants become dissatisfied with their living conditions, will it not affect the expansion of our Red Army and the mobilization of the masses for the revolutionary war?" But even the best still make mistakes, and Mao did make some big mistakes in his time, he admitted them though, later on in his life. Communism arose in other countries as well, but not on such a scale as in Russia or China. We saw that communist ideas came about at a time of great change- the industrial revolution, and that it emerged because of human nature. It is our nature to be greedy, and to always want to be like others if we can’t be better. The working class was underpaid, while the bourgeoisie was growing rich, so the workers wanted equality because they didn’t get enough money. They wanted to steal from the rich, and split the money amongst themselves. So, in conclusion, I have shown by giving specific examples, that communism arose in the mid 19th century, because of the underpaid worker’s everlasting desire to get rid of the ‘slave driver’. Bibliography Primary 1. Freedman, Robert The Marxist System New Jersey: Chatham House Publishers Inc., 1990 2. Hunley, J. D. The Life And Thought of Freidrich Engels New Haven: Yale University press, 1991 3. Marx, Karl Engels, Friedrich The Communist Manifesto New York: Viking Penguin Inc., 1987 4. Gurley, John G. Challengers of Capitalism: Marx, Lenin, Stalin, and Mao New York: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, Inc., 1988 5. Connor, James E. Lenin: on Politics and Revolution New York: Western Publishing Company, Inc., 1968 Secondary Encarta Ecyclopedia ’95 CD-Rom Compton’s Interactive Encyclopedia CD-Rom Encyclopedia Britanica Bibliography Bibliography Primary 1. Freedman, Robert The Marxist System New Jersey: Chatham House Publishers Inc., 1990 2. Hunley, J. D. The Life And Thought of Freidrich Engels New Haven: Yale University press, 1991 3. Marx, Karl Engels, Friedrich The Communist Manifesto New York: Viking Penguin Inc., 1987 4. Gurley, John G. Challengers of Capitalism: Marx, Lenin, Stalin, and Mao New York: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, Inc., 1988 5. Connor, James E. Lenin: on Politics and Revolution New York: Western Publishing Company, Inc., 1968 Secondary Encarta Ecyclopedia ’95 CD-Rom Compton’s Interactive Encyclopedia CD-Rom Encyclopedia Britanica Word Count: 1738

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