communism | Definition, Facts, & History | szsizu.info
Communism: Political and economic doctrine that aims to replace capitalism For many, however, the difference can be seen in the two phases of Since then , communism has been largely, if not exclusively, identified with the .. A second and closely related change appears in Lenin's Imperialism, the. Moscow-trained revolutionary who organized Vietnamese Communists. Mohandas Gandhi What was the relationship between communism and imperialism?. imperialism is when a nation takes over other nations and make them into colonies or satellite nations to take advantage of their labor and.
His views soon brought him to the attention of the police, and, fearing arrest and imprisonment, he left for Paris. There he renewed an acquaintance with his countryman Friedrich Engelswho became his friend and coauthor in a collaboration that was to last nearly 40 years. Like Marx, Engels was deeply disturbed by what he regarded as the injustices of a society divided by class.
Appalled by the poverty and squalor in which ordinary workers lived and worked, he described their misery in grisly detail in The Condition of the English Working Class Marx and Engels maintained that the poverty, disease, and early death that afflicted the proletariat the industrial working class were endemic to capitalism: Under this alternative system, the major means of industrial production—such as mines, mills, factories, and railroads—would be publicly owned and operated for the benefit of all.
Marx and Engels presented this critique of capitalism and a brief sketch of a possible future communist society in Manifesto of the Communist Partywhich they wrote at the commission of a small group of radicals called the Communist League. Marx, meanwhile, had begun to lay the theoretical and he believed scientific foundations of communism, first in The German Ideology written —46, published and later in Das Kapital ; Capital.
His theory has three main aspects: Marx derived his views in part from the philosophy of G.
Whats the relationship between imperialism and communism?
According to Marx, material production requires two things: In primitive societies the material forces were few and simple—for example, grains and the stone tools used to grind them into flour. For example, iron miners once worked with pickaxes and shovels, which they owned, but the invention of the steam shovel changed the way they extracted iron ore. Since no miner could afford to buy a steam shovel, he had to work for someone who could.
Marx held that human history had progressed through a series of stages, from ancient slave society through feudalism to capitalism. In each stage a dominant class uses its control of the means of production to exploit the labour of a larger class of workers. Thus, the bourgeoisie overthrew the aristocracy and replaced feudalism with capitalism; so too, Marx predicted, will the proletariat overthrow the bourgeoisie and replace capitalism with communism.
The problem, Marx believed, was that this wealth—and the political power and economic opportunities that went with it—was unfairly distributed. The capitalists reap the profits while paying the workers a pittance for long hours of hard labour. Under capitalism, Marx claimed, workers are not paid fully or fairly for their labour because the capitalists siphon off surplus valuewhich they call profit.
Thus, the bourgeois owners of the means of production amass enormous wealth, while the proletariat falls further into poverty. This wealth also enables the bourgeoisie to control the government or state, which does the bidding of the wealthy and the powerful to the detriment of the poor and the powerless. The exploitation of one class by another remains hidden, however, by a set of ideas that Marx called ideology. In slave societies, for example, slavery was depicted as normal, natural, and just.
In capitalist societies the free market is portrayed as operating efficiently, fairly, and for the benefit of all, while alternative economic arrangements such as socialism are derided or dismissed as false or fanciful.
These ideas serve to justify or legitimize the unequal distribution of economic and political power. Revolution and communism Marx believed that capitalism is a volatile economic system that will suffer a series of ever-worsening crises— recessions and depressions —that will produce greater unemploymentlower wages, and increasing misery among the industrial proletariat. These crises will convince the proletariat that its interests as a class are implacably opposed to those of the ruling bourgeoisie.
Once this threat disappears, however, the need for the state will also disappear. Thus, the interim state will wither away and be replaced by a classless communist society see classless society. Some features that he did describe, such as free education for all and a graduated income taxare now commonplace. Among them was his friend and coauthor, Friedrich Engels. This emendation of Marxist theory provided the basis for the subsequent development of dialectical materialism in the Soviet Union.
Friedrich Engels, detail of a portrait by H. The foremost revisionist was Eduard Bernsteina leader of the Social Democratic Party of Germanywho fled his homeland in to avoid arrest and imprisonment under the antisocialist laws of Chancellor Otto von Bismarck.
Bernstein spent most of his exile in Britain, where he befriended Engels and later served as executor of his will. Bernstein revised Marxian theory in four interrelated respects.
World Imperialism and Marxist Theory: On the International Line of the Communist Movement
This trend he traced not to the kindness of capitalists but to the growing power of unions and working-class political parties. Orthodox Marxists branded Bernstein a bourgeois and a counterrevolutionary traitor to the cause. Chief among his communist critics was Lenin, who had devoted his life to the revolutionary transformation of Russia. Its economy was primarily agricultural; its factories were few and inefficient; and its industrial proletariat was small. Most Russians were peasants who farmed land owned by wealthy nobles.
Russia, in short, was nearer feudalism than capitalism. Lenin was the chief architect of this plan. The first, set out in What Is to Be Done? Secretive, tightly organized, and highly disciplinedthe communist party would educate, guide, and direct the masses.
This was necessary, Lenin claimed, because the masses, suffering from false consciousness and unable to discern their true interests, could not be trusted to govern themselves. Democracy was to be practiced only within the party, and even then it was to be constrained by the policy of democratic centralism.
In short, the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat had to be a dictatorship of the communist party in the name of the proletariat. This, he argued, was because the most direct and brutal exploitation of workers had shifted to the colonies of imperialist nations such as Britain. Its immediate impetus was World War Iwhich was taking a heavy toll on Russian soldiers at the front and on peasants at home.
Riots broke out in several Russian cities. When Tsar Nicholas II ordered soldiers to put them down, they refused. Nicholas abdicatedand his government was replaced by one led by Aleksandr Kerensky.
Bettelheim argues that precisely this eventuality came to pass. The dominant element in the party-state apparatus fusion increasingly became the state apparatus, with the consequent transformation of the practice and outlook of key sections of the party from that of proletarian revolutionaries to that of state functionaries. The effect of this process of ideological transformation on the Bolshevik understanding of imperialism was significant.
The awareness of imperialism as a world system appropriate to an internationalist proletarian revolutionary came to be replaced by a conception of imperialism as policies of national and international alliances appropriate to statesmen and state bureaucrats. The perspective of class struggle came to be replaced by considerations of Soviet foreign policy and state interest. The speech by Zhdanov, who was a member of the politbureau of the CPSU B and head of the Cominform, is valuable both for its clarity and for the way it foreshadows many elements of current Chinese thinking on the world situation.
Zhdanov argued that the post-war world was divided into two camps: Finland, Indonesia and India became anti-imperialist not by a change in the class which held state power or any change in their place in the imperialist system, but by the state policies of those countries in the international arena.
In this respect, too, the Cominform foreshadowed current Chinese practice. I am referring, of course, to the case of Yugoslavia.
The contradictions between the USSR and Yugoslavia in the immediate postwar period reached a stage of open polemics in It is clear to every Marxist that there can be no talk of building socialism in Yugoslavia when the Tito clique has broken with the Soviet Union, with the entire camp of socialism and democracy, thereby depriving Yugoslavia of the main bulwark for building socialism It displaces the main bulwark of socialism from the Yugoslavian working class and peasantry to Soviet aid.
This approach to Marxist theory and analysis is representative of the devolution of Marxism-Leninism — the return to the theory and analysis of Social Democracy in the pre-World War I period. They were deprived of their revolutionary, scientific, analytical character and functioned as terms of abuse. This is not to say that Yugoslavia was not then, and is not now, a capitalist country.
It is, however, to insist that the process by which this conclusion was reached by the Cominform had nothing in common with Marxism-Leninism. One more point before we leave this episode in communist history. The replacement of class criteria in theory with national criteria in assessing the character of a particular country produced parallel effects in the strategic line of the communist movement. The class struggle became subordinate to the national struggle, class questions secondary to national interests.
Here is how Zhdanov in the same speech defined the tasks of the communists of Western Europe: Upon the Communists devolves the special historical task of leading the resistance to the American plan for the enthrallment of Europe At the same time, Communists must support all the really patriotic elements who do not want their countries to be imposed upon, who want to resist their enthrallment to foreign capital and to uphold their national sovereignty.
In the beginning, China targeted the Soviet Union for its capitulation to imperialism and for its advocacy of class collaboration as a strategy for communists in the capitalist countries.
To Soviet arguments for peaceful coexistence and peaceful transition, the Chinese counter-posed the need for proletarian independence and proletarian revolution as strategic goals of the world communist parties. The Chinese broke with modern revisionism and its international line and sought to develop a new international line, one based both on Marxist-Leninist principles and the reality of advanced imperialism. This effort was caught up in the Cultural Revolution and the intense struggles which accompanied it.
Perhaps only now is it becoming possible to evaluate the Cultural Revolution in all its positive and negative features. Any critique of the strategy without an accompanying critique of its theoretical underpinnings will not get us to the heart of the problem. The theory and the strategy are inseparable: This understanding is central to the current debate: For China, the first criteria by which a nation is judged is its attitude to the main enemy — in the present context, the Soviet Union.
As with the Cominform this assessment disregards class criteria and instead makes questions of foreign policy central to its analysis.
The balance of class forces, social relations or place in the world economy? By posing the question in this way, a contrast is apparent. In place of class questions, they ask policy questions: This is not the place to discuss how such an analysis violates the principle that production relations rather than productive forces are primary.
What is important for our purposes is how it obscures the character of world imperialism itself. Having abandoned class analysis for interests of national policy, such a confusion is to be expected.
On the one hand, it produces the illusion that the workers and the bourgeoisie of the former countries cooperate or share in this exploitation. Such an illusion in turn constitutes an obstacle to the recognition on the part of the workers of all countries of their common interests, because it pits one section of the class against another. Missing in both approaches is the centrality of class criteria and class struggle.
To this theoretical deviation corresponds a strategic deviation as well, which we can identify by the term class collaboration. Added almost as an after-thought is the sentence: But first we must discuss communist strategy and proletarian internationalism. What is the relationship between the duty of communists to fight for revolution in their own country and at the same time support the world revolutionary movement?
Lenin offered this answer in Only he is an internationalist who in a really international way combats his own bourgeoisie, his own social chauvinists, his own Kautskyites.
Further, under abstract, patriotic pretexts, the party erroneously was involved, more or less openly, in an alliance with the bourgeoisie to defend national independence; which came down to calling on the working-class to place itself at the mercy of its principal enemy.
Our knowledge that we are a second world country clarifies our immediate task, which is to win independence from superpower control. Having won that independence we consolidate it and protect it in the course of struggling for socialism.
But it would be wrong to demand immediate transition to socialism as this would strengthen the traitor class, by driving into its arms the entire national bourgeoisie and the working farmers. This would lead to the failure of the revolution. It is my considered judgment that the American people are so ill-prepared, subjectively, for any deep-going change in the direction of socialism that post-war plans with such an aim would not unite the nation but would further divide it Adherents of socialism, therefore, in order to function actively as bearers of unity within the broad democratic camp, must make it clear that they will not raise the issue of socialism in such a form and manner as to endanger or weaken that national unity.
These comparisons should demonstrate that we have, indeed, come full circle. The polemics initiated by the Chinese twenty years ago revitalized the communist movement because they pinpointed and denounced the class collaborationism of the modern revisionists. Today, it is none other than the Communist Party of China which is attempting to lead the anti-revisionist communist movement straight into class collaborationism.
Consequently, the world communist movement is again at the cross-roads. In the international situation and the class collaboration of social democracy necessitated a decisive break with the Second International. Such a time is again upon us. The reason such a decision has become necessary is that significant sections of the world and American communist movements, led by the Communist Party of China, have taken up theoretical and political positions which are fundamentally at variance with Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism.
Genuine Marxist-Leninists have no choice except to unite openly around a line which upholds Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism while demarcating ourselves from those who will not do so. A centrist position on this critical issue is not a viable alternative. It is most strange therefore, to find a position being put forward which indeed tries to incorporate or fuse both lines — proletarian internationalism and class collaboration.
They think that simply affirming an opposition to class collaboration in the US will excuse their support for the theory which has led communists around the world, and in the US, to that very same class collaboration to which they claim they are opposed. They think it will relieve them of their responsibility as communists to actively oppose that theory and its practitioners, here and abroad, who have done such harm to our movement.
Clearly, three years after Angola, the US communist movement cannot continue to avoid this issue any longer. Nor will it absolve its proponents from their complicity with the betrayal of proletarian internationalism.
The inadequacy of this line can be located in the following areas: To overcome this inadequacy, to supplement what is positive in this political line, we present the following points for discussion. Imperialism is a world system. The dynamic of this system flows from the two major tendencies of the capitalist mode of production: The first tendency leads to the formation of nations and national entities.
The motive force in the development of these national entities is the class struggle the primary aspect and the effect of the world imperialist system in its national aspects the struggle between nations the secondary aspect. The second tendency leads to the formation of a world imperialist system, a hierarchy of social formations, dominated by a hegemonic power. The motive force in the development of imperialism is the class struggle the primary aspect and the struggle between national entities the secondary aspect.
The first set of factors relates to the balance of class forces, productive relations and productive forces, and the direction of their development within that social formation.