What is Communism? Communism is the doctrine of the conditions of the liberation of the proletariat. It also can be defined as a conceptualized system of government in which resources and production facilities are the property of the entire society rather than individuals. In a communist society, labor is shared equally as well, and the benefits of labor are distributed according to need (Communism.4all 1). No one person shall be ranked higher than another and there is to be one person in charge of the society in a communism government. There are still to this day many countries that fall under the rule of communism and the ways they were transformed under communist rule is quite interesting. Just a few to mention are; Vietnam, Cuba, and China. China and Russia both went to great lengths to turn their countries into communist ones. Russia then became a non-communist country and is better for it. Communism is also looked at from a religious standpoint and the church has extremely strong views on it. Communism is not only a governmental system it is how people are forced to live their lives, good and the bad come with it.
As I mentioned before, communism goes under the liberation of the proletariat. A proletariat is that class in society which lives entirely from the sale of its labor and does not draw profit from any kind of capital; whose weal and woe, whose life and death, whose sole existence depends on the demand for labor-hence, on the changing state of business, on the vagaries of unbridled competition. The proletariat or the class of
Proletarians, is, in a word, the working class of the 19th century (Marxists 1). This is just one example of the ways of the Communist rule.
The Proletariat originated in the industrial revolution, which took place in England in the last half of the 18th century, and which has since been repeated in all the civilized countries in the world (Marxists 2). Before the industrial revolution began, devices such as the steam engine, spinning machines and a bunch of other mechanical devices were invented. These new and extremely expensive machines could only be purchased by the capitalists. Therefore, the machines were brought industry work into the hands of the capitalists and were worthless property to the workers. This meant that the capitalists had everything and the workers had nothing.
Labor was more and more divided among the individual workers so that the worker who previously had done a complete piece of work now did only a part of that piece. This division of labor was less time consuming and the worker could make more and a less amount of time. The invention of these machines reduced the amount of time that the workers had to spend on making the items themselves. This in turn lessened the work for because soon there would be no need for the workers due to the machines. But, at the same time, they also fell in to the hands of big capitalists, and their workers were deprived of whatever independence remained to them (Marxists 3).
Communism is viewed also by a religious standpoint. To explain the kind of communism that the early church practiced it is necessary to understand the sense of
brotherhood that the members of the Church had toward each other. It was not, to be sure, an arbitrary communism and bears no relation to communists of today, but the
principal on which it was based was communistic. They held jobs, bought and sold and made profit of their earnings, much like you would see in an ideal social democracy (Latter Rain 1).
What the Jerusalem church practiced was a voluntary and democratic social communism. The representation of communism in the modern world is something entirely different. American society and capitalism in general has oversimplified the terms of independence and class struggle as being part of the red menace and demonized the social gospel to the point of starving the greater part of the world. The Communists however see capitalistic society as a 19th century bourgeois relic which is doomed to perish. The truth is that laissez faire capitalism and totalitarian communism is both anti-Christian. In case you are wondering, I’m a social democrat. Communism represents an obsolete point of view that lags a century behind the present situation and capitalism has always violated the precepts of Jesus and apostolic mandate (Latter Rain 1).
To a Marxist, communism has solved the enigma of history. Communism is defined as a movement and consciousness of movement advancing towards the highest form of social organization. It settles the question of men and nature, existence and essence, freedom and necessity, individual and collectiveness. In theory and practice it solves all these questions and it is mindful that it solves them. With its criticism of oppression and expectations of a better world, Marxist communism started as a rational eschatology, in many ways akin to restoration prophetic ideals. With the appearance of
Soviet communism, however, the rational and eschatological setting was discarded and only the tyranny and atheism remained (Latter Rain 2).
China was not always a country with a communist government. It was not until a man by the name of Mao Zedong came to power, and changed the ways and status of the Chinese. Mao Zedong was born in 1893 and lived in a town called Shaoshan. Mao left home and joined the Nationalist army in 1911 when the Revolution began. In a training college, Mao was introduced to the philosophy of Marxism (Hoobler 140). The father of communism came to command in 1935 as the chairman of the Party’s Politburo during the Long March. Also, Mao had the support of the farmers, accounting roughly for eighty-five percent of China’s population. Zhu De, leader of the thousand fighters, combined forces with Mao to fight other peasant armies.
The following years were ones where Mao’s rule was strengthened. A huge advantage though, was the attack of nationalists, led by Chiang kai-sjek, both involved in a struggle for power in China. The first were fierce periods with unfortunate losses, in favor of the nationalists. Communists were punished badly, in fact many were slaughtered. This describes the legendary Long March of Mao and his supporters, who traveled from the East to the West for over a year in order to escape the nationalists. Here Mao applied the important tactics learned earlier. Eventually only ten percent of the original 200,000 Chinese made it to their final destination. Kai-sjek was outnumbered and the nationalists were defeated due to ambushes and starvation. As a result Kai-sjek fled to Taiwan and formed the Republic of China (van de Merwe 1).
While Mao was child, he wasn’t educated at all and therefore hated intellectuals. His plan was to make all teachers and others work on the farms. As a result, nobody was taught anything besides farming. This too added to the crumble of China. In 1953, the
Five Year Plan was made, these were plans about what had to be changed or improved for the next five years in China. These are just some of the powers and freedoms that you must give up when under the rule of communism.
Horrific times were a significant part of the continuous changing history of China. In 1958, the Great Leap Forward was activated. Predictions included that the next few years the Chinese would make economic gains on the western nations. From the years 1966-1976 schools and universities were closed for a long time, western clothing was forbidden, and young protestors were to be pursued by the Red Guards (van de Merwe 2). This change in how things were run was know as the Cultural Revolution and it left many Chinese dead.
By this time in China, the ruler Mao was getting extremely old and it was time for a new man to take over China. The people of China were split up into different groups according to status of the family. Mao supported the poor class, which consisted of men, women and children and the working class, as opposed to the wealthy landowners, often referred to peasants. Equivalent to an army, forces were named Red Guards to being a symbol of communism. It was usual for Red Guards to demolish anything that was old or having to do with anything to do with the past. Homes were destroyed and possessions taken away. All Chinese citizens were required to have a small book which contained the sayings and quotes from Mao and had to be learned by heart. All of these things were to be known by heart when asked or you were punished severely.
Mao Zedong died in 1976 at the age of 83 and was superseded by Deng Xiaoping. After Deng took over he changed China for the better. There were two different branches
of communism in China, the Moderates and the Radicals. Xiaoping was trained by Mao and was the leader of the Moderates. Deng wanted economic and social reforms, as opposed to the Radicals wanting to go back to the old rules of the Cultural Revolution. The economy got better as soon as Deng took over; the four modernizations began a program of important issues concerning farming, armed forces, science and technology. A huge change was that China actually started to allow foreigners and immigrants to travel and explore China’s magnificent success, the economy increasing over gradual years. Countrymen and workers’ salaries doubled for the first time, China was able to compete against big western countries. The event that declared him the devil himself was the Tiananmen Square massacre, where thousands of Chinese marched peacefully on the street and hundreds were killed. Even though Xiaoping was a better ruler than Zedong, it just shows that when under the rule of communism, anything can happen and this was just one example of what can go terribly wrong.
Now in Russia, it was a different story on how the citizens felt about communism. At first, the citizens like the idea of it because it eliminated the different social classes and it guaranteed employment. This was done by coercive tactics done by Lenin. He felt this was necessary in order to seize power. Under his rule, Russia made many changes, adopting a new economy, called the New Economic Policy. This economy called for some private ownership of the means of production, but the majority of the industry was made property of the people, which meant the majority of the means of production was controlled by the government. This government did end a long civil war against the Old Czarist military system. During these times through the communist rule, censorship and the subordination of interest groups such as trade unions was imposed to stop dissension and increase conformity to the new governments policies (studyworld.com)
A new leader took over the Soviet Communist Party in 1924 by the name of Joseph Stalin. Stalin became the most powerful man in Russia. This period of time was called the “Great Purge”. It consisted of Stalin being in charge of all political power and with that, he started a ruthless campaign of removing all opposition to the Communist Rule. If anyone stood in his way they were killed or greatly harassed. The citizens during this time endured great hardship and were not too fond of their leader, but what choice did they have? While all of this was going on, industrialization was on the downfall and there were great food shortages. Then WWII broke out and drained most of what was left of the already impoverished state. Then after the war, Russia became a superpower, only behind the United States of America (studyworld.com)
After Stalin died, Nikita Khrushchev became the First Secretary of the Communist Party. Khrushchev did not approve of the ways of Stalin and said that his actions were harmful to the process of moving the Socialists government to pure Communism. Khrushchev was well like at times because of his way with the people of Russia. He allowed them to have a say I the government even though it was a small one and also eased up the judicial system aggressiveness, allowing a defendant a better chance of defending themselves. After all that though he was dismissed from office because there were major shortages in main products and was also blamed for the “Cuban Missile Crisis”. The people were not happy that the Communist Party had not lived up to what they had been promised: employment, free health care and a level of comfort. Also, there was an extreme discrimination of women, and it was even tougher for women to find employment than men (studyworld.com)
Along these times, tension between the people of Russia grew very tense and sometimes was hostile towards each other. What made it even tenser was that in order for there to be political transactions made, they had to be made in the Russian language. Also, the education was based around the students being obedient towards the Communist Party and to follow the religion of Atheism. Once students graduated they were told what profession they were going to be in and sometimes persuaded students to commit suicide. The health care system was down, hospitals under staffed and the equipment was old. The death rate in Russia increased due to these types of things and there were just poor standards of sanitation. All of these factors lead to the fall of the Communist Party, taking into account the mismanagement of the countries resources and social problems over the years (studyworl.com)
The end of the Communist Party did not end all that easy. The first acting Presidential official was Boris Yeltsin. He was the first person to be elected into office by a popular vote by the people of Russia. Boris’s vice president did not have the same views as Boris and Boris asked Rutskoy to resign. He declined to and had parliament on his side to impeach Yeltsin. Once this happened Yeltsin ordered troops to barricade the parliament building and then his troops clashed with pro-parliamentary demonstrators, who were mainly hard-line Communists and nationalists. The vice president then surrendered to Yeltsin’s troops. While this was all going on, a small region of Russia called Chechnya had declared their independence from Russia. Yeltsin sent troops to try to reclaim Chechnya but made only minor efforts to get it back. This use or lack there of the military is just one example that democracy can not exist in Russia (studyworld.com)
The way I see things is that there are both good and bad about both governmental systems (democracy ; communism). Many people have their strong beliefs are these two types of systems and I believe that one is not better than the other due to their positives and negatives. No governmental system is perfect and I can truly understand both sides of the spectrum on this topic. People that are over here in the U.S have extremely strong negative views on communism because they lived in communist countries before fleeing here. The main reason I think that they are here is because of the freedoms this great country offers.
Communism is a government that control salaries, social status and freedoms of the people. It says that you have to go to a certain church and that you are not allowed to voice your opinion on topics that are going on in the country. These are all of the negatives that come out of a communist government, but there are also some good I believe too that comes along as well. Everyone is treated equal, there are no different social classes and there is free health care. If that country is a rich country, then the wealth would be shared evenly between the people of that country. That is what true communism is all about, but not always that case in some communist countries. If you need medical attention, you get it no matter how much money you have or don’t have. The ways from a communist lifestyle are just like any other system based on the fact that there will always be the good and the bad.
Overall, communism has had a negative impact on the world due to the ways of the governmental system. Majority of the people in the world would like to make their own decisions and not be told what to do from childhood. It is a system that does take away your freedoms and does not allow you to make your own decisions. United States on the other hand is just the opposite, in that you are allowed to protest, vote for what you believe in and have the basic freedoms of just about anything.
There are only a few countries left in this world that are still under the rule of communism and I believe that once the rulers of those nations die off, the U.S. will have something to say about it. I do not believe that communism will survive very long because America has shown in the past and recently that when we do not like a way a country is doing something, we will come in and fix it. For example, we did not like the way Saddam Hussein was running things and going about his business, so we went in and took over. Why not do this to every country we don’t agree with from a political standpoint. So, all in all, communism will not be around much longer and democracy will become the governmental system of the world.