12. Communism

Russia was the first Communist state, when the peasants and workers through social revolution captured the ruling power of the state and dictatorship of the Communist Party was established. Communism is a branch of Marxism and it is generally believed that Marxism and Communism are identical. But actually there is distinction between the two.
Marxism consists of the ideas of Marx. Marxism in an amended form as established in Russia and other Communist countries is called Communism. Actually Communism is a theory, a movement, a system of government, a social order or social organisation. It is a theory according to which the social revolution is to be brought-out, dictatorship of the working classes is to be established, capitalism is to be rooted out and a classless and stateless society is to be establish. Marx named his first book as ‘Communist Manifest’.
Communism is very important political philosophy of the 20th Century. It is based upon Marxism and some people find no difference between Marxism and Communism. But actually there is a distinction between the two Marxian principles as they were implemented in Russia and other Communist countries can be called Communism. Communism had its first appearance in Russia and later on in China and other states. Thus Communism is Marxism in an amended form. Its two main principles are class struggle and dictatorship of the proletariat. Main principles of Communism are found in ‘Communist Manifest.’
Main principles of communism
Main principles of Communism are contained in the ‘Communist Manifest’ of Karl Marx. Russian and Chinese supporters of communism enforced it in some amended form. They may differ with one another on details but they agree on some fundamental principles which are given below:
Based on Marxism : Marxism is the basis of the Communism. Karl Marx was the father of Communism also. Communists have faith in almost all the principles of Marxism like Dialectial Materialism, Economic Interpretation of History, theory of Surplus Value, theory of Class Struggle, Social Revolution and Dictatorship of the Proletariat. Thus it is based mainly on Marxism.
Opposed to Capitalism : Communism is opposed to capitalism. Communists believe that capitalists exploit the working classes and pocket the whole profit which actually should go the workers. In a capitalist order the workers cannot get their due and their conditions cannot improve. They cannot compromise with capitalism in any form. They want to do away with capitalism and capitalistic state. As long as the capitalists are there, class struggles will continue and there can be no peace and cooperation in the society.
Need of Social Revolution : Communists believed that the present capitalistic system cannot be changed without a social revolution. Capitalists can never abdicate ruling power voluntarily. For this the working class shall have to adopt all sorts of constitutional and violent means. The workers should organise themselves at local, national and even at international levels. Only through their organised efforts they can bring about social revolution. All workers should unite under the banner of one party which shall prepare them for the revolution. Thus revolution is a must for change in the existing set up.
Dictatorship of Working Class: Communists believe in the dictatorship of the working class. Through revolution the working class should capture not only the means of production and distribution, but also the political power, the machinery of the state. They should establish their dictatorship and make such laws as would completely abolish the capitalism and capitalists. Workers would enforce laws nationalize landed property, means of production and distribution. Only the working classes should be allowed the right to vote and contest election so that capitalists may not influence the government. According to them dictatorship of proletariat is necessary to rid the society of opposing classes and root out capitalists.
Faith in Economic Democracy : Communists do not attach much importance to individual liberty and political liberty. An individual is not granted absolute individual liberty or the freedom of thought and expression, freedom to form association and criticise the government. But a communists state guarantees the right to work, right to adequate wages, right to economic security, right to equality in economic field. According to them real democracry is that which guarantees freedom from hunger and starvation. Economic democracy is the real democracry according to them.
Common Ownership—the Basis of Social Order : Communists have no faith in private property or private ownership of means of production and distribution. They believe that only the common or collective ownership of landed property and other means of production and distribution can save the workers from exploitation, hunger and starvation. In the social order state shall own and control the means of production and distribution. In small villages, these can be owned and managed by the people on cooperative basis not on individual basis. Every man shall work according to his capacity and everybody shall get according to his needs. Thus in common ownership economic needs of all the members of the society shall be met out.
No Faith in Religion : Communists have no faith in religion, which, they think is the opium of the poor people. Religion is a powerful weapon in the hands of capitalists to exploit the poor people. In a communistic state the citizens are not allowed the right to freedom of religion or the freedom to propagate religion. It makes the people fatalists and inactive.
Faith in One-Party System and Strict Party Discipline : Marx had no mention of importance of the political party. But the communists attach greatest importance to the party which represents the working classes through their organised part. They also believe in strict discipline in the party. In China and other communistic states only one party, the Communist party is allowed to exist. No other party is allowed to exist and no member or non-member is allowed to criticise the policy and programme of that party. It is that party which guides them for the revolution, gives them training for the revolution, provides them with necessary arms and ammunition. This party has full control over all the agencies of the government also. In fact all government decisions are taken by the party first. The governmental agencies only implement them. It is not easy to obtain the membership of this party and its members are considered privileged citizens.
Classless and Stateless Society : Like Marx, Communists also want to establish ultimately a classless and stateless society. Dictatorship of Communist Party shall finish all anti-forces and when there is only one class, the society shall become classless. In the classless society there is no struggle and thus there is no need of a state. Thus the communists ultimately want to establish a classless and stateless society in which people live happily and work on cooperative basis.
set-back to communism
Communism had its influence over about 1/3 of world population and Communistic states had dominating influence over world politics. World was divided into Communist Block and non-Communist Block. But today it appears that it is losing its hold.
In 1989 in China the people raised their voice against dictatorship and demanded the restoration of democratic set-up. But this agitation was suppressed. Then there was a popular revolt in Romania and it was successful. Communist set up was changed and Communist dictator was done to death. There was revolt in East Germany and the wall of Berlin that separated it from West Germany has since been destroyed. Now both the Germany have formed a united Germany. There were revolts in other Communist countries like Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland also.
In December 1991, eleven republics of USSR declared themselves as independent states and decided to put an end to the Soviet Union and recommended that permanent seat of USSR in Security Council be given to Republic of Russia. They also decided to form a Commonwealth of Independent States. Consequently, the Supreme Soviet of USSR was abolished and on 26th December, 1991. USSR came to an end and now is a thing of the past. This shows that man loves liberty, democracy, liberal thinking, humanism and such an atmosphere in which he can lead a life of his own choice.

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