Individual and State Roles in Communism According to Marx and Engels
Individuals will ultimately serve the state in which the state will control many facets of the individuals’ life, but in return, the civilians will receive the freedoms they deserve in a communistic society. Karl Marx and Frederick Engels adamantly opposed capitalism in many ways and felt the bourgeoisie, or capitalists are enslaving the proletarians, or working class. They claimed that industrialization was reducing the common workingman into mere wage labor and believed that the proletarians of every nation needed to unite and form a revolutionary party in order to overthrow their bourgeoisie captors in order to bring about the “common interests of the proletariat.”1 This party will create a society in which all men are equal: a communistic society. Within the society there were roles which the individual and the state would play: the individuals would join to form a classless society in which the common interest of the citizens will rule, but the state would require the individuals to make sacrifices.
Marx and Engels placed much of the responsibility of forming this ideal society on the individual. They called upon the working class, the proletarians, to unite and overthrow their oppressors, the bourgeoisie. In the Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels urged the “Formation of the proletariat into conquest of political power by the proletariat.”1 The proletariats needed to disregard their immediate interests in order to promote the general will of the masses. The Communist Manifesto called upon all proletarians to unite in order to overthrow the bourgeoisie for the implementation of a classless society.
One of the main roles of the individual in a communistic society is to work for and benefit the community, not for one’s own benefits. Individuals will remain enslaved so long as the bourgeoisie is in control. In a capitalist society, money enslaves man, and therefore man loses all character. Marx feels that, “Man becomes increasingly poor as a man; he has increasing need of money in order to take possession of the hostile being.”2 Because of the almighty dollar, individual character was lost and money was the only object that could fulfill personal greed. On the other hand, according to Marx and Engels’ theory of Communism, an individual will be able to remain a man because they will not be working for their own self-interests, rather each individual will be “converted into employees of the community, who would be […] rewarded according to their own performance.”3 Because all people would be employees of the community, they would no longer be able to further their own wealth through private enterprise. The state would then pay these employees according to their performance value of their occupation. By serving the community, corruption and greed will no longer run the lives of so many and individuals will be able to establish their own...