“WORKING MEN OF ALL COUNTRIES, UNITE”, is the dramatic end of The Communist Manifesto; one of the most influential, idealistic, but impractical pieces of political literature that has ever been written. It’s a shame that Marx never lived to see his “solution” to history being employed innocently into a state; or perhaps he should have been relieved that he was not alive to see it fall to pieces and, thus, become known as a portal to corruption.
Marx and Engels’ ideas were formulated by similar socialist minds. The basic theory of it is that society is ultimately divided by class and society is a struggle between these social classes. Furthermore, capitalism’s aim is to exploit the working class (proletarians), so the only way to prevent capitalism’s power becoming too excessive is by means of a proletarian revolution. The Communist Manifesto lays down ten rules that must be followed in order to achieve true communism; the most essential being the ones that strongly oppose capitalism, such as “Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.”
Marx’s ’10 commandments of communism’ radiate austerity. These ‘commandments’ seem to be an abrasive and somewhat mediocre attempt to upset any potential communist conformist’s final hope of clinging to their former beliefs that they were naturally attracted to. It is ultimately a frivolous, absurd and acerbic endeavor. Marx and Engels seem to adopt a threatening approach, just as the leaders that later brought communism to their countries did to their comrades.
Flaws of communism
Although Marx was one of the most ingenious philosophers, economists and sociologists of all time, his wisdom did not extend to being able to comprehend human nature. He looked forward to the world with no religion and no class, where the working class had, of course, overthrown the upper class. What Marx did not understand was that we, as humans, are intrinsically predisposed to need religion. This need has, however, deteriorated over time, because of technological developments in our ever-growing scientific society, so Marx’s views on religion would be embraced more, presently.
Secondly, Marx was strongly opposed to the endorsement of capitalism – an economic system in which production and distribution can be owned either privately, or corporately, and profit is proportional to investments – and believed that nothing should be either corporately or privately owned, but everything should be owned by the state. Again, this opposition is entwined with the class divide between the proletarian and the bourgeois (upper classes). He felt that the upper class would be able to exploit the system of capitalism and produce enormous profit, while the working class would be exploited by both the upper class and capitalism, as I have mentioned previously. The major flaw with the outrageous socialist view is that capitalism has been treated as the most efficient and fair economic system since its introduction to society in the 16th century. Why make such a drastic and arbitrary change just to benefit a class that may not necessarily deserve the same economic treatment as those who work their fingers to the bones and employ the working class?
Many argue that capitalism is the way forward in the economic world, an assessment that I unequivocally agree with – it would be disastrous and foolish for anyone to think otherwise. Nevertheless, Marx never did concede that his economic views were flawed, as were many of communism’s additional social and political policies.
Communism in practice – Russia
One of the earliest, but most crucial events, was the abolition and execution of the Tsars at the hands of the Bolsheviks (communist party), led by Lenin and Trotsky. This February revolution was the one that Marx had anticipated and predicted. It was the working class coming to power! This part of the revolution was prompted by the gradually increasing gap between the classes.
It may seem triumphant that the working class managed to successfully overcome the state, but one of the factors that allowed the defeat of the Tsarists regime’s defeat was the outbreak of World War 1 only a few years earlier. This ultimately pressurised the Tsars and weakened their defense. It seems as if the working class struck at the most inconvenient point.
The succeeding event was the October revolution, which capitalized on the February Revolution by, once again, exploiting the Tsars’ lack of defense. At this point the Bolsheviks were rising to power after completely overthrowing the state government. Communism had finally been installed in Russia.
However, after a few years of communism’s lead in Russia, the fiendish Stalin came to power after the leader of the communist party, Lenin, grew more and more ill. Stalin remained very much in the background of the rise of communism during 1917 – 1922 and opposed many of Trotsky’s political and social views. This devil of a man, comparable to Hitler, among many other contemptuous characters throughout history, murdered counter-revolutionaries for daring to oppose him.
As Stalin’s regime was prolonged, his power increased. He understood that he was hated by many, so became an incredibly paranoid man in fear of being poisoned by a ‘friend’ or assassinated, somehow. But, putting such enormous power into the hands of an unstable man out of kindness was not duly requited by himself. Instead, he turned to corruption and exploited his new found power, committing unimaginable sins, such as executing innocent civilians and forcing people to admit to crimes that they had not done.
I could give many other examples of communist power being exploited, such as in Cuba, Vietnam and China, but I would be at my desk for much longer than I need to be. Instead, I shall leave you with the powerful words of George Orwell in his novel Animal Farm that satirized the exploitation of power and inevitable corruption associated with communism:
“All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.”
Communism seems appealing in theory, but it is certainly not a pragmatic solution to the world’s problems.