Communism - From Marx to Zemin
Communism has long been heralded in capitalist countries as the root of all evil. However, as with all phobias, this intrinsic fear of communism comes from a lack of knowledge rather than sound reasoning. It is that same fear that gave the world the Cold War and McCarthy's Red Scare. The purpose of this paper is neither to support communism over capitalism nor the reverse of that. Rather, it is to inform the reader of communism's migration through time and hopefully assist the regression of such fear.
The ideology of communism came out of the minds of two men, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels (Marxism, 11). (Dueto Marx being the more widely known influence, he will be the one most often referred to.) It was his belief that private property was the cause of the poverty and degradation of the proletariat. Therefore, he came to settle on the idea that no one person should have control over production of good, ownership of land, and management of funds. In that same token then, no one class should be allowed to have control over these things. He went onto comment that the exploitation of the working class must come to an end. That end would be achieved through revolution. Once this was achieved, everybody would work according to their abilities and then be paid accordingly (Capital, 586-617). Soon after, however, technical innovations would create such abundance of goods that "everyone works according to his abilities and receives according to his needs." Soon thereafter, money would have no place in society. People would be able to take what they want and would be lacking nothing. Marx then believed that the pleasure of seeing the fruits of labor would be enough to cause man to work (Communism, 56-62). Countries and people were soon to catch on to this ideology. The two most known of which are Russia and China.
Of the two, Russia was the first to adopt the communist beliefs. Russia already had a long history of peasant insurrection. Most of these uprisings though, were leaderless and highly unorganized. The motives of the rebels were vague and often confused. By the time the government did anything to please the peasants, it was too late. In 1917, due to the breakdown of administration and military order, the peasants moved to carry out their own revolution. They tore down any form of legal and territorial authority and distributed the land in a rough equal fashion. During this time, a man by the name of Georgi V. Plekanhov had smuggled into Russia.
Once there, these books influenced young students who saw the revolution dependent on the proletariat, not the peasant class. One of the people influenced by Plekanhov was man going by the name Nikolai Lenin. His revolutionary ardor was strong. Lenin went on to form a group called the Bolsheviks that would go on to create a revolution(Communism, 63-70).
It began on March 6, 1917 when bread riots erupted in Petrograd, Russia and didn't end until the U.S.S.R. was organized on December 30, 1922. Then on January 21, 1924, Lenin died. This only complicated matters since two other people were interested in Lenin's position. A power struggle between Joseph Stalin and Leon Trotsky began (Soviet, xi). Stalin became the Bolshevik party general secretary in 1922. In 1925 Stalin offered a more attractive solution to the Russian people than Trotsky did (Communism, 73-74). Thus in 1927, Stalin scored the first major victory for himself when the Fifteenth All-Union Congress of the Communist party denounced all deviations of the Stalinist line. Trotsky and any ally of his were banished to the Russian provinces. Here Stalin's ruthless nature begins to show. He completely expelled Trotsky from the Soviet Union (Russia, 246). Fear of Trotskiest ideas forced Stalin to have Trotsky assassinated in 1940. However, those fears never completely dissipated.
Stalin went on to establish his dictatorship, crushing any opposing voices within his party and his country. He wouldn't stop there though. Still being enough of a Marxist, Stalin wanted to see the realization of the ultimate goal of world socialist revolution. He and many other Soviet leaders would look toward this ultimate goal. They would