When And Why Did Communism Emerge?
Communism is a concept or system of society in which the major resources and means of production are owned by
the community rather than by individuals. This concept has been around since Plato’s Republic, but it reemerged in
mid-19th century due to many causes. Some are more obvious than others, and in this paper I would like to discuss,
in length, when and why did communism emerge.
Some minor aspects of communism were seen in ancient Oriental societies. For example, there was an Oriental
commune which contained elements of "communal landed property," or the idea that all land belonged to the
community instead of the people. But that didn’t get far at all, until the mid- 19th century, when the Communist
Manifesto was published.
The communist manifesto was the fuse that was lit, which in turn ignited all the explosives — the workers. The
manifesto was written in 1848, by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, and it basically criticized the bourgeoisie, by
giving lots of examples on how it is not fit to rule the country, and described all the advantages of communism. It
was divided into four main parts or chapters:
1. bourgeoisie and proletarians, the chapter in which Marx outlines his theory of history and predicts an end to
exploitation. He identifies class struggle as the primary dynamic in history. Driven by the logic of capitalism to seek
ever greater profit, the bourgeoisie- one class, constantly revolutionizes the means of economic production, and
therefore the other class suffers. The more advancements in production the greater the hostility on the worker’s side,
since he gets the same wage, but the owner gets much more.
2. proletarians and communists, the chapter where Marx explains that the communists are the allies of proletarians.
Him and Engels mention that if ownership of businesses would be equal, the class barrier would gradually be
eliminated.
3. Socialist and communist literature was the third chapter. It described and ridiculed different types of "wanna-be"
socialist and communist like governments throughout Europe.
4. Position of the communists in relation to the various existing opposition parties is the last chapter, which talks
about countries which could be beneficial for communism’s growth. At the end of this chapter, one of the most
famous communist quotes are written: WORKING MEN OF ALL COUNTRIES, UNITE!
Many important ideas and beliefs were laid down in that small book. It was written with very strong opinions, and
was pretty much- propaganda. The book was written almost poetically, and was very persuasive.
"…The bourgeoisie has through its exploitation of the world market given a cosmopolitan character to production
and consumption in every country…all old-established national industries have been destroyed or are daily being
destroyed."
Phrases such as this one were very common throughout the book. It was printed, and re-printed in many languages
and in many countries. In Marx’s other works he discusses the ultimate state of communism where there is no
currency, and a person would work as much as he/she can, and then come into a store and take anything that he/she
needs. This person will not take too much because he/she has morals and cares about the needs of others. These
ideas didn’t have much immediate effect, but over the years they greatly influenced communist regimes in Russia
and China, and they even influenced the British Welfare State.
The reason for Engels’ and Marx’s book was to spread the word about communism, a rather utopian idea, yet
somehow doable. A lot of what was written in the book was very true. Every sentence had meaning, and people saw
it when they read it. Lenin was influenced by the manifesto, took its ideas, and developed the socialist, and
communist aspects farther than ever. He brought communism to a new level in Russia. But the way there wasn’t
easy.
The reasons for communism’s success could be explained, if we look at the people’s positions at that time. First, to
backtrack a little… Russia was under a monarchy for many centuries, and peasants were very poorly treated all
throughout that time. They were treated unfairly by the czar, just because there was no constitution, and the czar
made the rules. They coped with it, until one day, they finally had