Communism: Equality or Dictatorship?

Annette Peterman: Period 3

As stated in the second chapter of the Manifesto of the Communist Party, communists are unique in that they “bring to the front the common interests of the entire proletariat” [1]. However, while this may have been the intention of the Party, when the principles are actually used to govern a country, these ideals are not always lived up to. Despite the goal of creating an equal and classless society, communism often works out as a dictatorship, as evidenced in North Korea.

One of the main problems with society, Marx and Engels say, is the class systems that lead to the exploitation and unfair treatment of the majority, the proletariat. They propose that “In place of the old bourgeois society, with its classes and class antagonisms, we shall have an association, in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all” [2]. In theory, “In a communist government, no one is royalty, and everybody has equal access to health, education and food” [3]. In short, the idea of communism is to make sure that everyone is able to live peacefully, without fearing ruling elites or upper class.

This sounds like a utopic society that would lead to the greatest happiness for everyone; and in theory it could be. However, in actual practice, as can be seen in North Korea, it is very easy for this Party to go south. Looking at a satellite photo of the Korean peninsula at night, it is easy to see what communism has meant for the people of North Korea. Over 25 million people live in the darkness of isolation and deprivation, under the communist dictatorship of Kim Jong-un.

The Kim regime of North Korea is notorious for “the five main methods it has used to maintain power: brainwashing, isolation, an elaborate classification system, controlling access to resources, and fear through an elaborate system of “reeducation centers,” i.e. political prison camps” [4]. From birth to death, through propaganda, rigid laws, and inhumane punishments, North Koreans are brainwashed to revere and honor their leader as a god and to “believe they live in a “paradise” far better off than the rest of the world” [5] In his book, Death by Government, Dr. R. J. Rummel wrote in regard to North Korea that “In no other country in modern times has control by a party and its ruler been so complete” [6].

North Koreans lives in fear and surrounded by lies perpetrated by the government. Surely in order to justify its horrible and obscene treatment of its people, the country is more economically prosperous than its democratic counterpart? This assumption is incorrect. A comparison of the two Korean countries provides economic information that speaks to how unfit a government, North Korea currently has. Democratic South Korea has an annual per capita income of $33,200 and a GDP of 1.37 trillion USD while communist North Korea has an annual per capita income of $1,800 and a GDP of 12.38 billion USD. This is a massive difference along with the strict and harsh treatment used on the North Korean people, by their government shows that despite its best attempts, communism is unable to create a completely equal and prosperous society.

[1] Karl Marx, Manifesto of the Communist Party.

[2] Ibid.

[3] “10 Chief Pros and Cons of Communism,” Grean Garage, July 30, 2015,

[4] Suzanne Scholte, “Victims of Communism North Korea Under Communism 1948-2014,” Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation,

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

“Kim Jong-un Power.” JPG


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