History and Backround of Communism
Foundation, Goals, and Priorities
Communism was an economic-political philosophy founded by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in the second half of the 19th century. Marx and Engels met in 1844, and discovered that they had similar principles. In 1848 they wrote and published "The Communist Manifesto." They desired to end capitalism feeling that it was the social class system that led to the exploitation of workers. The workers that were exploited would develop class consciousness. Then there would be a fundamental process of class conflict that would be resolved through revolutionary struggle. In this conflict, the proletariat will rise up against the bourgeoisie and establish a communist society. Marx and Engels thought of the proletariat as the individuals with labor power, and the bourgeoisie as those who own the means of production in a capitalist society. The state would pass through a phase, often thought of as a socialism, and eventually settle finally on a pure communist society. In a communist society, all private ownership would be abolished, and the means of production would belong to the entire community. In the communist movement, a popular slogan stated that everyone gave according to their abilities and received according to their needs. Thus, the needs of a society would be put above and beyond the specific needs of an individual.
It became the dominant political philosophy of many countries across Asia, Eastern Europe, Africa and South America. In the late 19th century, communist philosophy began to develop in Russia. In 1917, the Bolsheviks seized power through the October Revolution. This was the first time any group with a decidedly Marxist viewpoint managed to seize power. They changed their name to the Communist Party, and sent their ideals to all European socialist parties. They then nationalized all public property as well as putting factories and railroads under government control. Stalin continued leading by the communist philosophies, and extended the growth of the the USSR. This example of Communism has been followed in many countries since then, including China.