4 Key Moments in the History and Impact of Communism

The Impact and History of Communism

Communism, a revolutionary political ideology, first emerged in 1848 with the publication of the “Manifesto of the Communist Party” by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. This manifesto laid out the foundations of communism, advocating for the working class, or proletariat, to overthrow the capitalist bourgeoisie and establish a classless, communist society. The manifesto famously concludes, “The working class has nothing to lose but its chains. Workers of the world, unite!”

Distinguishing Communism from Socialism

Communism is often confused with socialism, but there are key differences. According to Encyclopaedia Britannica, while both ideologies aim for a classless society, socialists generally work within the capitalist system to achieve reforms, rather than seeking its complete abolition. Marxist philosophy views socialism as a transitional stage towards pure communism. In his seminal work “Capital,” Karl Marx critiques capitalism but does not provide a detailed plan for revolution.

Key Figures in Communism

After Marx’s death, influential figures such as Vladimir Lenin, Leon Trotsky, Joseph Stalin, and Mao Zedong implemented and shaped communist states, giving rise to various schools of communist thought like Leninism, Stalinism, and Maoism.

The Rise of Communism in Russia

Russia was the first country to adopt a communist system. Lenin’s Bolshevik movement overthrew the Tsarist regime in 1917, establishing the Soviet Union, which became one of the world’s most powerful countries, covering nearly one-sixth of the Earth’s surface. However, the initial idealism quickly turned dark. Lenin initiated the “Red Terror,” a campaign to eliminate political opponents. After Lenin’s death in 1924, Joseph Stalin rapidly consolidated power, leading to the Great Purge from 1936 to 1938, during which approximately 1.2 million Russian citizens were executed. The oppressive regime created a climate of fear, with dissenters risking execution or deportation to labor camps (Gulag).

Pages ( 1 of 4 ): 1 234Next »
June 19, 2024 | 5:00 pm