Variations of Communism

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					Variations of
Communism
Marxism
   Communist Manifesto –
       1848, by Karl Marx
       saw capitalism (free market) as economic system that
        exploited workers & increased gaps between rich & poor
       Believed conditions would get so bad workers would join
        together in a revolution of proletariat (workers) to
        overcome the bourgeoisie (owners, wealthy)
       Saw a new world after the revolution, where social class
        would disappear b/c ownership of private property would be
        banned
       Communism encourages equality and cooperation, & w/o
        property to encourage greed and strife, gov’ts would be
        unnecessary
Marxism-Leninism
   Russia first country to base political system
    on Marx’s theory
       Revolution of the proletariat in 1917, but
        didn’t follow steps described by Marx
            Marx believed revolution would take place in
             industrialized countries; in early 20th century, Russia
             just beginning to industrialize
       But… Vladimir Lenin believed the tsar (czar)
        needed to be overthrown & Russian peasants
        should be released from oppression
   Lenin changed nature of communism by
    asserting importance of vanguard of the
    revolution – a group of revolutionary leaders
    who could provide a revolution in non-
    capitalist Russia
       Gov’t established was based on democratic
        centralism, rule by a few for the good of the
        many
          Directed industrialization & agriculture from central gov’t
          Restricted capitalism
   Lenin influential b/c:
       All communist countries that followed based their
        systems on Soviet model
          Political power w/ communist party
          Legitimacy of the state rests on the Party as
           embodiment of communist ideology
             This transforms Marxism into authoritarianism
   Communist states often associated w/ force
       Also rely on co-optation – allocation of power
        throughout various political, social, and economic
        institutions
       Recruitment of elites using nomenklatura –
        process of filling influential jobs in the state,
        society, & economy w/ people approved by
        communist party
            Includes:
                 Political jobs
                 University presidencies
                 Newspaper editors
                 Military officers
            Party approval = party membership; easiest way for
             you to get ahead  join the party!
   Despite authoritarian nature of communist
    states…
       Does allow for certain amount of social
        mobility
Maoism
   China’s version of communism began shortly
        after Russian Revolution
      But China gov’t not controlled by communists
        until 1949
      Leader: Mao Zedong

   Maoism shares Marx’s vision of equality & cooperation
      But Mao believed in preserving China’s peasant-based
       society
         His gov’t occasionally emphasized industrialization

         But more interested in strengthening a revolutionary
          fervor supporting agriculturally-based communities
      After Mao’s death (1976): Deng Xiaoping instituted market-
       based socialism (which allows for significant infusion of
       capitalism into the system
Communist Political Economy
   Communist ideology leads to political
    economies of central planning – ownership
    of private property & the market mechanism
    are replaced by allocation of resources by the
    state bureaucracy
       According to Marxism, neither ownership of
        private property nor a market economy, is
        capable of equitably distributing wealth
   2 problems experienced by communist
    political economies
       Logistical difficulties: planning an entire
        economy is very difficult; larger the economy, the
        more difficult
            Active management of the economy takes more work &
             energy than free market economy
       Lack of worker incentives: workers have no
        fear of losing their jobs & factories don’t worry
        about going out of business, so are few incentives
        for producing quality products
            In absence of competition & incentives, innovation &
             efficiency disappear, so communist economies
             generally fall behind!
Gender Relations in Communist
Countries
   Marxists see traditional gender relations as
    result of underlying inequalities in capitalist
    societies
   Communism envisions complete economic,
    social, and political equality between men &
    women
       Often not followed in reality
       But did increase opportunities for women so that
        until late 20th century, women of communist
        countries more likely to work outside the home
        than women in capitalist societies

				
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posted:8/7/2012
language:English
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