Marxism is the ideology which stands at the basis of communism and which represents the sum of ideas developed by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. In order to comprehend it, it is imperative to speak about "Manifesto of the Communist Party", their major work, where all the principles of the new ideology were exposed. However, before doing this, they presented the social and political situation which existed in the second half of the 19th century. In the beginning, we are told the reason for which the manifesto had to be written: "It is high time that Communists should openly, in the face of the whole world, publish their views, their aims, their tendencies, and meet this nursery tale of the Spectre of Communism with a manifesto of the party itself".
Next, in the first chapter, the authors describe the relations between bourgeoisie and proletariat and also the role each had in society. Obviously, the bourgeoisie was the developed class that, unfortunately, represented another mask of manipulating the working class, just like in the feudalism from the Middle Ages. The quote "(the bourgeoisie) has converted the physician, the lawyer, the priest, the poet, the man of science, into its paid wage labourers" shows how big their influence, dominating even the domain of culture. Moreover, the authors say about the bourgeoisie that "it must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connexions everywhere", so their desire to reach total domination was obvious. We also have to take into consideration the fact that the bourgeoisie increased it's wealth by taking advantage of the "ginger bread of colonialism" (Otto von Bismarck) and by cashing in on the progress of technology.
In contrast, the proletarian was considered an "appendage of a machine" because man had become only a supervisor of an apparatus. The exaggerated exploitation of the workers determined the groups of proletarians to unite, giving birth to proletarian parties but also to riots and even civil wars. The authors continue the manifesto with a presentation of the relation between communists and the working class, and the first ones say that they "represent the interest of all laborers", continuing with "the immediate aim of the Communists is the same as that of all other proletarian parties: formation of the proletariat into a class, overthrow of the bourgeois supremacy, conquest of political power by the proletariat". However, besides these goals, communists also tried to achieve a greater ideal: abolition of private property and, through this, the abolition of classes. Afterwards, we are being told about the petty-bourgeoisie, a remnant of the old aristocracy, which joins the proletarian struggle against the leading bourgeoisie.
Finally, the authors organize all their goals like this:
- "Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
- A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
- Abolition of all rights of inheritance.
- Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
- Centralization of credit in the banks of the state, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.
- Centralizations of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.
- Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
- Equal liability of all to work. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
- Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of all the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the populace over the country.
- Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children's factory labor in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production."
In conclusion, we could say that these final ten ideas represent the quintessence of the communist ideology. It is easy to see that the significance of these principles is not a negative one and the intensions of modifying the society were justified by the political, social and even historical context of that time. As we will see in this project, the manner of applying communism was a disaster...the failure of a utopian system...
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All communist regimes had as a fundament the Marxist ideas, but in Russia, under Vladimir Ilich Lenin's dictatorship, another ideology developed, called Leninism. It was a controversial system, which attracted numerous opponents, but despite this fact, Lenin implemented it soon after the October Revolution without taking into consideration all the impediments that occurred in his way. Obviously, this new ideology, based on Marxism, received the leader's personal beliefs.
Firstly, Lenin said that the working class could have achieved its goal-implementation of a proletarian dictatorship-only with the help of a Communist Party, which actually represented the "revolutionary avant-garde". Moreover, the work of that party had to be based on democratic centralism, a means of organization. The further Leninist theories referred to imperialism as to the final stage of capitalism, thus revolution represented the solely solution to it. Additionally, Lenin improved Marxist theory regarding imperialism, considering it more than a national issue, like Marx had said it was a global state. In order to overthrow it, a worldwide revolution was necessary. Lenin also underlined that revolts were compulsory in both developed and undeveloped states.
In conclusion, the leadership of Vladimir Ilich Lenin was based on Marxist ideas improved by his personal acceptances. This ideology characterized the USSR's regime from the second to the third decade of the 20th century, but it was also adopted in other communist countries. In the Soviet Union it was replaced after Lenin's death with Stalinism.
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Joseph Stalin ruled the Soviet Union for 29 years, from 1924 to 1953. His reign was full of terror and abuses and that is why he is considered one of the cruelest leaders in history. Nevertheless, Stalinism is not a truly ideology like Leninism, for instance. Actually, the term "Stalinism" was given to Stalin's regime by the supporters of Leon Trotsky in order to express its violent character. Needless to say that this regime had found its fundaments in the Marxist-Leninist ideology thus it wasn't a "personal creation", if we may call it like this. It is well-known the fact that all the leader's activities resumed to the ones of political nature. He was not a theoretician, although he had written several books. Nonetheless, the only new element brought by Stalin was the endless violence, the limitless cruelty... In conclusion, Stalinism was rather an aggressive and far from reality appliance of the communist ideology, but we also have to mention that USSR felt a progressive development during this regime... Still, the price in human lives was enormous...
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