Modern Communism: Marx, Engles, Lenin, And Stalin

2163 words - 9 pages

Karl Marx never saw his ideals and beliefs, as the founding father of communist thought, implemented in the world and society because he died in 1883.1 The communist ideology did not rise to power until the beginning of the 20th century. Then it would be implemented and put into practice in the largest country in the world producing a concept that would control half of the world’s population in less than 50 years. The Manifesto of the Communist Party, written by Karl Marx and Fredrick Engels, searched for a perfect society living in equality and united in freedom. According to Marx this could only be accomplished in an anti-capitalist society.2 When their ideals where implemented in the 20th century, their message became warped and disfigured by the leadership of the worlds’ communist powers. Communism became in some ways more and in others less than Marx had first envisioned so many years before in 1848. Marx’s sought a social “Utopia,” while modern communist thought became a view of world domination.3 Many of the centralized governments of modern communism have fallen apart toward the end of the 20th century, confronted with concepts of self-government and revolution. Therefore, it is vital to document the rise and fall of modern communism throughout the world, and review the modern communist thought as it contrasted with that of Marx and Engels over 150 years ago.

In essence, modern communism was founded in 1917 at the height of the First World War, in Russia.4 When Vladimir Ilich Lenin, a strong left wing Marxist intellectual from Russia, was provided passage back into his exiled homeland by train through war torn Europe. The German government agreed to allow Lenin to travel from Switzerland to Russia if he agreed to withdraw Russia from the Allied Powers in their war against Germany and Austria. Lenin and his communist cohorts, known as the Bolsheviks, proceeded in overthrowing the confused and dismayed government in a matter of weeks in what would become known as the “October Revolution.” 5 However, unlike Marx’s premonition, the revolution was not by the industrial workers (Proletariat), but instead by a select few individuals that seized political power. Lenin then began abolishing all privately owned land, making it the property of the state, similar to that prompted by Marx in the Communist Manifesto. In addition Lenin sought to subsidize the government into one entity, which would be run by a select few individuals. This entity fell under the Marxist theory of the “state,” which foresaw the governing of the entire country and its economic and political outlook.6 In 1902, Lenin believed that the government should be a dictatorship. “The organization of the party takes the place of the party itself; the central committee takes the place of the organization; and finally, the dictator takes the place of the central committee." 7 In essence, he stated that only he would have ultimate control over the government and society as a...

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