politics

Communism: Basics one ought to know

Oct 12 2020 By Pratik Ghimire
Symbol of Communism.
Symbol of Communism.
Symbol /Flag of Communism, Pic. Wikipedia

Politics has had a long history since the development of human civilization. And, polity updates its ideology, beliefs and perceptions over time with the change in generations, situations and mindset of people. For over a century now, politics is developing as a scientific concept that possesses an immense impact on positive change. And, that positive change reflects development.

The economy and politics are interdependent. The economy is the production and consumption of goods and services and supply to a definite region. Both politics and economy run according to a specific ideology.

Thinking, beliefs, theories and ideas are the basis of an ideology. It is a system of plans which primarily creates the structural base for political and economic policy.

Communism: definition and background

You cannot find the origin of the word “Communism” in English grammar. This term came into use only after the 1840s, derived from the Latin word “Communis”, referring to “Shared” or “Common”.

Communism is a political and economic ideology that comforts itself in contradiction to a liberal ruler and capitalism. It advocates for a classless system where the community owns the means of production.

Political experts believe that although the term “Communism” came into practice after the mid-19th century, people had its concept earlier. At that time, it was not scientifically rehearsed but a few ideas of communism had been already written by Plato, the Greek philosopher in his book “Plato’s Republic” back in the 4th century.

A complete overview

Karl Marx (1818-1883) is known as the “Father of Communism”. He was a German philosopher, economist, historian, sociologist, political theorist and journalist. And, he observed the struggle of working-class people in England and envisioned ideas that could make the society class-less and equal.

Marx founded the “Communist Correspondence Committee” in 1846 with other comrades. In 1848, he published “The Communist Manifesto”, which delivered the concept, ideas, and the working mechanism of Communism to the public. Additionally, the document called for the political unification of the European working-class for the communist revolution. In 2015, The Communist Manifesto (1848) was a best-seller in Britain.

Read The Communist Manifesto (1848)

Followers of Communism are called Communists who use the term “Comrade” to address their fellow members. Communists believe that change or transformation is possible only through revolution.

The Communist Manifesto (1848)
The Communist Manifesto (1848), Pic. Amazon

Communism is an umbrella term that includes the collection of furthermore ideologies. It is a political system and practical implementation based on other leftist philosophy.

Let us discuss the major branch principles of Communism.

Marxism

The prime principle of Karl Marx is Marxism. He along with Friedrich Engels, a German theorist, prepared this ideology to explain the behavioural influence of people according to their societal and economic status in 1848 (The Communist Manifesto). Mostly, it includes social relations, school of thoughts, cultural and legal systems.

Both of them, Marx and Engels worked to uproot capitalism. And, their theory proposed for economic sustainability, improvement of living standards of working-class people and social benefits for everyone. Moreover, Marxism has a philosophy of transformation of society into Socialism and then into Communism.

After the classless campaign, Karl Marx observed, “At a certain stage of development, the material productive forces of society come into conflict with the existing relation of production or this merely expresses the same thing in legal terms with the property relations within the framework of which they have operated hitherto. From forms of development of the productive forces, these relations turn into their fetters. Then begins an era of social revolution”.

Leninism

The Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin (1870-1924) developed a political ideology called Leninism. At that time, the major work of Leninist was to provide political literacy to every working-class people to uproot capitalism from Russia. And, they considered The Communist Manifesto (1848) as the most advanced and resolute section of working-class parties of every country. Additionally, they brought the rule of directly elected soviet leaders in Russia.

Leninism is just a revised and updated version of traditional issues from Marxism. Surprisingly, it originally was neither a concrete principle nor a proper theory. However, after the death of Lenin, Josef Stalin proposed the updated theory of Marxism-Leninism. Further, Stalin expressed that the updated theory explained the ideology of Communism better.

Maoism

The Chinese insurgent Mao Zedong (1893-1976) upgraded the theory of Marxism-Leninism as required for the Republic of China. Specifically, he ran a socialist revolution based on agricultural and pre-industrial society.

Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Vladimir Lenin, Josef Stalin and Mao Zedong from the left
Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Vladimir Lenin, Josef Stalin and Mao Zedong from the left, Pic Communism/google

Later on, urban Marxism-Leninism adapted the principles of Maoism, which became famous as a fundamental theory to the whole world. Notably, Mao believed that education only cannot change the poor conditions of society. And, he began the rebel revolution so that people themselves will throw out capitalist rulers.

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The interrelation between the branches of Communism

The purpose of initiating the ideology of Communism was to transform the suppressed society into classless and equal people. With the turn of time, conditions, and generation; revolutionary comrades from each country proposed their principle according to the need of their country and society.

The base of every Communist principle came from Marxism. For instance, Leninism was first inspired by Marxism and later reformed into Marxism-Leninism. Likewise, Maoism got inspiration from Marxism-Leninism and their revolutions. The motto of Marx and Engels, “Workers of the world, unite!” never died. Additionally, it became the slogan of rallies and protests across Europe. After the world revolution, there was a time when almost one-third of the population lived under the communist government.

Leftist and Socialism

Leftist is the school of thought that trusts the theories on freedom, equality, rights and reforms. Followers of the leftist school of thought put both Communism and Socialism in the same basket.

Socialism is a political and economic system that takes stand for the community’s possession of the means of production, distribution, and exchange. Did you know Socialism existed before Communism? Moreover, it porfessed the same theory of overthrowing capitalism. Karl Marx often corresponded with Socialism and Communism.

The present situation of World Communism

After the world read The Communist Manifesto (1848), it inspired thinking and perception of a lot of people. Even anti-colonial nationalists from Asia and Latin America started seeing Communism as a promising belief.

Communist revolution in Nepal.
Communist revolution in Nepal, Pic. Nepal Communism

Sooner, countries like Nepal, Afghanistan, Burma, Hungary, Vietnam and Korea started the communist revolution against their autocratic rulers. They updated the branches of Communism according to their need and staged rallies and protests.

In the present context, China, Cuba, Laos, North Korea, and Vietnam are some of the major communist states. Moreover, few states led by the Communist governments in a multi-party set-up are Nepal, Guyana, and Moldova. However, these countries cannot be claimed as communist-ruled states due to the presence of other political parties there. Also, the constitution of these countries doesn’t allocate any special power for the Communist Party.

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