Is Communism really THAT bad?

Kennedi Stewart – HB

The first thing that comes to mind when someone says communism is anarchy, hostility, murder etc. But why do we automatically think of the worst when it comes to communism? This is due to the fact that the “communist” countries today and from the past have portrayed such evil and that evil is all we know. The definition of communism is “a theory or system of social organization based on the holding of all property in common, actual ownership being ascribed to the community as a whole or to the state.”[1] Karl Marx is the mind behind the theory of communism and intended it to be used for good not evil.

According to Karl Marx, Communists immediate aim was the same as all the other proletarian parties, the “formation of the proletariat into a class, overthrow of the bourgeois supremacy, conquest of political power by the proletariat.”[2] He believed that a truly utopian society must be classless and stateless. Marx defined his theory by examining human history to see if there was a struggle for power that existed, and there was. He wanted to free the lower class from poverty and give the poor a fighting chance and in doing so suggested that the government would have to control all means of production so that no one could outdo anyone else by making more money. Marx believed that there was an unfair distribution of wealth within society, especially when the bourgeois pay the proletariat very low wages while keeping the profits for themselves. Essentially the rich would become richer while the poor would become poorer. The only way to fix this would be to abolish private property because “property, in its present form, is based on the antagonism of capital and wage labour.” [2] Once you get rid of private property, the workers will own the means of production and all would share the profits equally. There would be no classes and all forms of government would slowly disappear. However, although this seems like an ideal situation to some, selfish dictators like Stalin ruined communism and the good Marx was trying to accomplish.

Now knowing what Karl Marx had in mind when creating his theory of communism, why do we associate it with evil? Simple, Joseph Stalin is a prime example. Claiming that the Soviet Union was under a communist rule during World War II, Stalin did unimaginable things while ruling with a totalitarian grip. Like most Americans, this time in history is embedded into our brains and we will forever know the horrible things Stalin did. Ever since WWII, communism has been looked at as an inhumane ideal that will never work. However, the Soviet Union was in fact not a communist country but a “dysfunctional combination of planned economy + totalitarianism + several failed trials of socialism,” ultimately giving communism a bad name.[3] The only reason Stalin used the word communism was to attract the poor and working class on his side and it worked. But by looking at some of the measures taken in a communist society, we see some that apply to the United States. For example, free education for all children in public schools. So why are we, in a way, hypocrites? Do you still think communism is bad?

[1] “The Definition of Communism.” Dictionary.com. Accessed December 03, 2016. http://www.dictionary.com/browse/communism.

[2] Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels. “Chapter II. Proletarians and Communists.” In Manifesto of the Communist Party. New York City, NY: International Publishers, 1948.

[3] Wang, Feifei. “Why Is Communism Considered Evil by Some People?” Why Is Communism Considered Evil by Some People? – Quora. August 07, 2013. Accessed December 03, 2016. https://www.quora.com/Why-is-communism-considered-evil-by-some-people.

Image: “Karl Marx.” Animal Farm & The Russian Revolution. Accessed December 03, 2016. http://leanimalfarm.weebly.com/karl-marx.html.

 

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