|← Life of Slaves in the Middle Age Passage||African Decolonization →|
Civilization of man led to people developing new skills of living such as new ways of farming, domestication of animals and development of other means of production. Individual with better techniques gained some power over those who individuals who did not have similar techniques this consequently resulted to the emergence of divisions in the society: Those who had the necessary skills versus those who did not have the skills. At the crudest form of human civilization the first class differences resulted in slavery where those who had skills became masters. Eventually there was a struggle to terminate slavery so that the slaves could work in the farms of their masters who had increasingly multiplied. Growth of capitalism led to fight against feudalism; this was in order to allow a common pool of labour. Perhaps one of the most elementary fights against landlords by the capitalist was the French Revolution of 1789.
The chief catchphrase of the capitalists was: Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity. In real sense what the capitalist meant by 'liberty' was that they (capitalist) would get the 'liberty' to exploit workers freely and that those who were rich were equal and would be the ruling class. In the capitalist society, huge workplaces rose, where thousands of workforces were concentrated. This concentration of workers necessitated the ground for the advance of the Communist movement. Communism essentially is a political, economic and philosophical movement that originates from the works of Karl Marx. It's a socioeconomic configuration replacing capitalism and founded on communal ownership of the means of production; simply said its a juncture or phase in the mellowness of this post capitalist structure that is more complex than socialism. It's a classless social arrangement with one outline of community rights of the resources and full social egalitarianism; beneath it versatile progress of people will be accompanied by the growth of the productive forces through incessant advancement in knowledge and technology; all the springs of supportive means will surge abundantly and the great theory 'From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs' will be implemented (Programma KPSS, 1972, p. 62).
Communism is an extremely structured society of liberated, collectively cognizant working people in which public autonomy will be conventional, a society in which effort for the benefit of society will become the principal obligation of everyone, a requirement recognized by one and all, and in which the aptitude of each person will be engaged to the maximum benefit of the people. This movement calls for workers to revolt against capitalism so as to develop a workers utopia. In other words it focuses on elimination of classes in the society and replacing it with a society where there is a common ownership of the methods of production and the products of the labour.
Communism was based on the following principles: elimination of possessions in land and submission of all rents of land to public purposes, a profound progressive income tax, eradication of all privileges of inheritance, taking away of the property of all emigrants and rebels, centralization of banking, government ownership of communication and transportation, government ownership of factories and agriculture, government control of labor, corporate farms and regional planning and free education to all children. For Marx these pillars would see to it an establishment of a society with no conflict. Marxism perceived the society to be in conflict between and among the classes. Marx did not apply his ideologies and principles but predicted that at one time in history when the people will be fed up and oppressed by the capitalistic inequalities in the society the working class will eventually form a revolution and thus capitalism take place. Few countries in the world have borrowed and applied the communism ideologies such countries include Russia, China, Cuba. We shall examine communism as applied in China and Russia.
Communism in Russia was advanced by Joseph Stalin, a great admirer of Karl Marx. This type of communism is referred to as Stalinism; it defines the hypothetical and realistic interpretations and applications of Marxism. Immediately Joseph Stalin got into power he seize on the Leninist instrument of democratic centralism and employed it as a method of gaining total personal authority. Stalin's used new modes of mobilizing his country to achieving industrialization, intensifying agricultural industry, protecting the state against the Nazi assail, and reconstructing the war-devastated nation. In the foremost efforts to accomplish speedy industrialization and collectivization of farming, resistance was dealt with by a substantial secret law enforcement method that engaged fear as a custom mechanism for gaining conformity and consistency. This distorted the combined decision-making mechanism of the party and administration, and all chief decisions became a question of one man's will. All political and military people against him were executed. Stalinism incorporated a suspicious system of ever-present observation and punishments, on a scale conceivably exceptional in the modern world.
The citizens' lives became an important article of trade in Stalin's strategy to change Russia wellbeing as myriads of Russian citizen fell victims to the horror. The impacts of Stalinism were felt in Russia for several years. Stalin built oppressive party and legislative institutions of authoritarian power that were comprehensive in Russian customs of totalitarianism into the presently half of the 20th century. The majority of these institutions developed during the Stalinist years remained in place until the fall down of the Soviet Union in 1991, even if on a customized foundation. Private belongings was acceptable in the early stages of building communism but the failure to integrate it officially with controls and limitations left the door open to its own contrary development. A little effort was done on involving every citizen in decision making; this was true even in the Communist party itself. Decision making and control was directive - induced from above.
Communism did not get good grounds to build up in Russia since the Eastern European socialist's countries (Bulgaria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Germany and Yugoslavia) objected and deviated and this consequently led to Russian interference in Czechoslovakia and Hungary. The commanding attitude of the Russian government was so clear and was reflected in the relations of Russia with the neighboring Eastern European countries. The plan to expand and increase production in the military arena, space and other sophisticated forms of expertise and application of new organization took place; however, in the area of socialized arrangement for consumption, the prologue of new technology to develop the individual productivity of the labor force was neglected.
Development of production was accomplished arithmetically instead of geometrically; this basically can be interpreted to mean that though the means of production and skills ware improved the end products were not in any way proportion to the output. It is a basic assumption that for each increase unit of input, at least a given unit increase in output should be realized. Similarly the workers wages did not match their labor strength and utilization. Russia was not readily integrated in the world economy like the China. The superpowers like USA used China against the Russian nation and prevented it into achieving a realistic communism state. Due to this reasons the Stalinism principles on achieving communism in Russia, did not bear much fruits.
Maoism is a type of communism that sprouted in China under the reign of Mao Zedong and was widely applied in military and political philosophies. Mao Zedong was a political leader and revolutionalist. He incorporated Marxism ideologies on communism to build a communist China. Maoism has been on the decline in China due to other reforms brought by other leaders, although it's commonly used in India Nepal and Peru. Mao Zedong analysed the Mao's principles in a little red book which had been given to every Chinese person by Mao Zedong as a foundation of revolutionary knowledge. Maoism involves a strong military ideology intertwined closely to the political philosophies. In Maoism frame of reference command comes from use of violence. It holds that the peasants can be brought together and empowered to undertake struggle as a unit. This may involve guerilla warfare. The first initiative of peasantry guerilla warfare involves mobilizing the peasants and forming an organization. Secondly coordination and setting of rural base areas among the organization and lastly the stage involves conversion to conservative struggle.
During the tenure of Mao Zedong lives of Chinese improved steadily, he made real efforts to see to it that the Chinese wellbeing was increasingly becoming better. He introduced insurance and made policies that led to decline of unemployment. However workers especially those in urban areas had to work in areas where they had been assigned jobs by labor offices that were established by the state. It was difficult for people to move from one area to another as they were hindered by introduction of residence permits. One was given a permit to reside in an area they were only. A working schedule was introduced where people worked for eight hours, six days in a week. A one week paid holiday a year and up to three weeks 'family visiting' holiday was provided for each worker. Men were expected to retire at 55 to 60 years and 50 to 55 for women. Pensions, a health services and education were provided. Access to education became compulsory. Housing, water, electricity and other services were all made affordable. Reforms affected some while they favored the rest. Owners of means of production were forced to surrender their property.
The property was then redistributed to the peasants. Mao made sure that every peasant had a piece of land and plot and that the landowners were tried and often executed. In real sense Mao was trying to woo the loyalty of the peasants. He made sure that the peasants were clearly seeing it was in their interests and favor that he was doing this. The population of China was continually increasing each day, there was a tremendous growth especially in the cities and the food supply was not enough to cater for the increasing population. To solve this problem Mao ordered the peasants to live in communal areas and ordered to follow the fraudulent theories of the Soviet scientist Trofim Lysenko, this did more harm farming. Probably a clear illustration of the failure of communism occurred when about thirty million Chinese died due to famine. This was because the most important industrialized improvement required resource investment, technology and planning which the peasants did not have and Mao was too afraid to lose control if he involved experts. The famine lasted for three years. The government amplified procurement of food quota from the neighborhood to pay for international imports. The Chinese people in an effort to survive engaged in all manner of illegal activities and illegitimate means of production. There was inequality and unfair distribution of food as the local communist cadres gave whomever they pleased.
An application of Marxism communism ideologies is somewhat evident in the Stalinism and Maoism communism. Both widely use the principles of Marx but utterly fail in delivering to the fullest capacity as predicted by Karl Marx. Stalinism and Maoism is characterized by a revolution initiated by individuals on behalf or in pursuit of creating awakens from the working class rather than a revolution emanating from the working class themselves against the capitalists. The distinction where communism was supposed to be a final stage in which the class division would be surpassed was lost, and it began to apply to a particular party rather than a final goal. Vladimir Ilich Lenin held that the proletariat needed proficient revolutionaries to guide it. Joseph Stalin's version of communism was identical to numerous with totalitarianism. Mao Zedong mobilized peasants rather than an urban proletariat in China's communist revolution.