The Historical Background of the Communism

Table of contents

Many scholars have defined Communism as the creation of a free society whereby there are no social classes and also a society where the wealth of a state is shared equally among the citizens. Social class is a separation of society because of their social and economic status. Moreover, people in class society were divided on to class society such as upper, middle, working and poor classes.

The ideas of communism have been practised since the 4th centuries BC. For instance, Plato wrote a book on the subject of communism called The Republic. Karl Marx also noticed these class dissimilarities and he wanted to fix and change these differences. He then began to write a pamphlet called a communist manifesto. This essay will go deeper and examine the factors responsible for the emergence of Marx’s communism and why has the world witnessed a decline in communism since the collapse of the Soviet Union.


According to Marx & Engels (1886:102), the abolishment of capitalism was the main factor responsible for the emergence of Marx communism, as he believed that capitalism had a vicious impact on societies. Furthermore, he believed that capitalism lead to a growth of wealth to the bourgeoisie and misery for the poor. According to Gurley (1982:89), for Marx capitalism is more brutal to workers than enslavement was to slaves, he also perceives workers as wage slaves under a capitalist state.

He argued that capitalist bourgeoisies remorselessly exploited the working –class. He described how the riches and capital of the rich class rely on the hard work of the proletariat. He then realised that the labour carried out by the working –class creates wealth for the bourgeoisie. He also believed that capitalism, sustained by its own social dialectics, which would lead to its own collapse. For example, for capitalism to thrive it needs underprivileged, but Marx adumbrated that the continued exploitation of the working – class would produce resentment.

He maintained that ultimately the proletariat would want to revolt against capitalism and its supports. This would lead to the emergence of new classless and equal society, where land, society, labour and wealth would be shared equally among all the citizens (Law, 2007:312). For instance, in 1927 November Joseph Stalin introduced a policy called collectivisation in order to erase all hints of capitalism.

Class and State

The conception of class and state was the second main factor that was responsible for the emergence of Marxism. Hence Marx book starts off by acknowledging the subject of class combativeness, For example, Marx articulated in his book called the communist manifesto that “the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggle”. (Marx & Engels, 2009:19). Marx portrays this class struggle as the fight between the oppressor and the oppressed. He argued that every society is occupied by two classes the haves and have not. He maintained that the haves exploit the have-nots, for example, the feudal system in France.

Marx believed that the state creates classes and it is run by the bourgeoisie who exploit the proletariat. Hence he advocates for the formation of a communist state which will be stateless and classless. He argues that for a communist state to be created the poor should revolt against the rich then classes will liquidate and states will also fade away (Resnick & Wolff, 2002:60). For instance, the French revolution can be used as an example of the proletariat standing against the bourgeoisie and wanting to create a classless society by the abolishment of the Feudal system in France. A country which managed to create a communist society is Tanzania under Julius Nyerere with the Ujama community.

All Right of Inheritance

Karl Marx argued that abolishment of all right of inheritance would advance greater social and economic equality. For instance, when someone passes on, their assets go to the government to be divided as an alternative to being transferred to family members (Satterwhite, 1981:280). In Karl Marx’s analysis, the abolishment of all rights of inheritance was a necessity to collectivist society. Collectivist society can be defined as goals of individuals being subjected to the communities (group) need, for example, Cambodian society (Berkvens, 2017:340).

Karl Marx maintained that the abrogation of inheritance would be an element of natural evolution, once private ownership of means of production and land abolished. Furthermore, he argued that when the transfer of means of productions to the state is completed, personal and private wealth will end (Leszek, 1978:352). For instance, during the reign of the Russian Socialistic Soviet Federative Republic (Soviet Union), the inheritance right was abolishing. If a person dies the possessions and assets belonged to him, whether movable or immovable automatically becomes the assets of the government (Conciliation, 1919:1).

Private Property

Marx’s communism considers private property as the tremendous enemy of society. He argues that private property is the creator of inequality, exploitation and poverty among the mass. Furthermore, Marx maintains that private property obtained by the fruits of individuals work had to be abolished. This was because the workers do not gain any property through their labour; instead, the acreage or capital they accomplish serves to exploit them (Engels, 2010:220).

For instance in South Africa people who works in farms just provide their labour they don’t own the land while whites obtained the property by the fruits of their labour. Marx believed that private property is an indication of capitalism and that religion sustains private property that’s why it’s an evil institution. In conclusion, Marx wanted private property to be abolished and be replaced by the method of public ownership. For example, in China, one cannot own private property the land belongs to the public either the community or state (Grundy, 1964:55).

Why Communism Failed

According to Sarker (1994:197), after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the world witnessed a decline in communism. In many countries the fall of communism was not administered by the anti-communist countries, communism withered not by virtue of intervention of war by other countries. However it collapsed by agreements made internally, for instance, the communist in Poland agreed to hold free elections and leave communism.

According to Brown (2010:97), there are other reasons for the collapse of communism, for example, the mass murders recorded under it. In the process of collectivization of agricultural land and abolition of autonomous property owing people, many people were killed. For example, in the Soviet Union, the collectivization of Joseph Stalin took over 1 million lives. Moreover, crowd famine transpired in many other regimes of communism, from North Korea to Ethiopia. Many others were also eliminated in group execution such as the Great Purge of Stalin and “killing field” of Cambodia.

Sassoon (2007:153), argues that for communism to collapse is because Communism was established on tyranny that requires the use of horror and fear as an instrument to control the mass. He maintained that communism brought up a cult of personality and people were practically prisoner under communism. He also argued that in a communist state the government control all economic activities and this eventually leads to extreme consequences.

For instance, regulating all economic activities entails a strong oppressive, absolute rule and measures of violence. According to Sassoon (2007:160), it has been historically proven that on many junctures that many societies found on oppression has revolted against the regime. For example, in Romania, there was a violent demonstration against the communist dictator Ceausescu and he was executed and also the revolution of workers against Stalin.

According to (Brzezinski, 1990:150), the reason communism decline is because of the country that adopted communism did not have the Karl Marx steps. Brzezinski (1990:230) maintained that a country must have a class struggle whereby there is a class difference caused by Primitive tribalism. Like Karl Marx said Primitive Tribalism is the main cause of class difference because there is a form of enslavement that takes place.

Also stage of Rudimentary cities, where the inspiration of private property begins and where the society is formally segregated into classes. Followed by Feudal Agrarianism where people start to own and control large estates, also capitalist industrialism where land-holders companies’ gather a large amount of money then the society amalgamates into capitalism. Eventually, all these stages lead to the formation of communism. For instance, Russia was regulated by feudalism there was no actual working – class and there was no capitalism.

It can be concluded that communism could never work today even after many countries have reached capitalism and class difference stage. This is because today’s world is driven by the free market, trade and entrepreneurship, however, in communist state entrepreneurs are not expected to make more money than other (equality) and it opposes free market and trade economy. Also in a communist state, there is limited freedom of speech and the government has more control over the lives of the people.

Communism is the opposite of what people want today, for example, financial freedom is limited, earning is limited, poverty, and there is no competition. Furthermore, communism could never work because workers are treated as machines for the sake of equality. Communism ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union and it will never rise. For instance, Venezuela has revealed to the world how communism can destroy the economy and the country as a whole.

There is a high rate of crime, shortage of medicine, food, high crime and the inflation rate is bad. The innocent Venezuelans are being misled by their communist leaders who have sold them a dream when they know that communism does not work. In general, communism will never work not because it is badly applied but the model in which it fails to speak for itself.

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