Communism is such a dirty word here in the western world, which is why I’m surprised to find that a lot of people don’t know what it actually is. They can name you one or two communist countries but they can’t describe what the original philosophy of communism is and how it is supposed to work, which is probably a result from the efforts of the rich. Knowledge is power.
Communism is a political ideology that is characterised by a classless society in which the means of production is owned by all in that society i.e. there is no private ownership. Although communist ideas had been in existence for a long time, the term was popularised by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in their ground-breaking pamphlet The Communist Manifesto which was published in 1848. It was written in response to the antagonism they felt towards capitalism which emerged from the Industrial Revolution; they felt that capitalism was taking advantage of the factory workers by paying them little and exposing them to poor working conditions in the name of profit.
To summarize The Communist Manifesto, it theorizes that all history of societies
consists of a struggle between their classes: the oppressor and oppressed, or
bourgeoisie and proletariat. The state has reached a point where it only exists
to serve the interests of the bourgeoisie; the proletarians are exploited from
behind the mask of religion and politics. Industry now uses machinery and has
divided labour so much so that little skill is required from the individual labourer:
the labourer has been reduced to a minor role in a much larger process. This
means that the cost of production from the individual labourer is small, and
therefore the wages fall. The wages fall further as cheaper methods of
production are developed. But the numbers of this new class of proletariat grows
with industry. Because they are being reduced to a point where they have no
property of their own, or much at all for that matter, the proletarian class
will eventually turn on the bourgeoisie and seek to balance the books more
fairly. It’s predicted that this will first happen in each individual nation,
and these movements will be ripe for joining together to become one powerful
force that knows no borders.
Communists seek to abolish private property, countries and nationality, as such things are tainted by exploitation of one by the other, and only stand for the benefit of the bourgeoisie. Unfair exploitation will be at an end. All instruments of production will be controlled by the state which will exist to serve everyone.
I am sure that many would agree that a state that exists to serve everyone would be ideal. This communist ideology is something that scares the rich capitalists here in the western world. They’d rather cut the throats of their own children than to lose everything they have gained for it to be used for the common good of society. Capitalism is an economic system that is driven entirely by profit. We only have to look at the extortionate prices that the pharmaceutical industry charges for new, life-saving drugs to find an example of the lack of morals in a purely capitalist society. The rich capitalists in our society would be trembling in their Armani shoes if they thought the working class were seriously considering an overthrow and a rebalancing of society. After all, a lot of those in the upper class are not there because they have earned their way; they merely inherited their wealth. However, in practice, there are two things that capitalist and communist societies have in common: greed and a lust for power.
Although the communist ideology of a society that exists to serve everyone is noble, we only have to look at communist countries to see that things haven’t exactly worked out as what had been originally intended. The three countries that instantly come to my mind when I think of communism are Russia, China and North Korea. These are single-party states that are riddled with corruption i.e. the party membership is self-serving. These single parties came to power through the promise of overseeing the transformation of the state to a truly communist society, and it didn’t happen.
Power and greed are damaging desires. No matter what political system you put in place, there will always be those who will always want more. The most prominent of these become addicts – slaves to their lust for power and wealth. Drug addicts do damages to themselves, but the prominent people in society do damage to others for their own shameless benefit. It is these flaws of the human race that guarantees that the ideology of a completely communist society that exists to serve all will never come to fruition and even if it did, it could never be maintained. However, taking into account the fact that the gap between the richest and the poorest in society is forever growing wider, I feel the possibility of the working class rising up against the so-called elite in the distant future is a scenario that could yet become reality.