A short history of communism

Communism is the ideology of a classless and stateless social order, which would be built around the idea of common ownership of all things produced and social, political and economic structures that would establish and reinforce this social order. In simple terms a communist state would eliminate all the differences between the poor, middle and rich by collecting everything that is created and re distributing equally to everyone. This is meant to stop the exploitation of the poor and lower classes. The word communism derives from the Latin word Communism meaning common/ universal.

Though communism existed before Karl Marx, it is he who spearheaded the Marxist theory which influenced the relationship between the socialist world and the western world through the 20th century.

In the 1840’s Karl Marx a German philosopher and sociologist who lived in England started developing and publishing books that consisted of ideas known know as Marxism. The ideas were influenced by earlier philosophers such as Robespierre, Ricardo and Hegel these ideas centred mainly on the class struggle in society. Marx stated that “the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.”  Marx saw communism as much-needed but also as inevitable. Support for communism spread throughout Europe and Asia, influencing the Mao regime and many other revolutions. Including the Russian revolution which ended in the Bolshevik party seizing power and creating the Soviet Union, what is seen as the world’s first Marxist state.


By 1947 the cold war began, the Soviet Union had mass control over Eastern Europe. The military success of the Red Army in Central and Eastern Europe led to a consolidation of power in Communist hands. In some cases, such as Czechoslovakia, this led to an enthusiastic support for socialism inspired by the Communist Party and a Social Democratic Party willing to fuse creating the communist party of Czechoslovakia winning the majority of seats in the 1946 elections. The 1948 Coup d’état led to Czechoslovakia becoming a communist state, this would remain so until the 1989 Velvet Revolution.


Mwen Fikirini


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