The beliefs of communism, most famously expressed by Karl Marx, center on the idea that inequality and suffering result from capitalism. Under capitalism, private business people and corporations own all the factories, equipment and other resources called "the means of production.
A precocious schoolchild, Marx studied law in Bonn and Berlin, and then wrote a PhD thesis in Philosophy, comparing the views of Democritus and Epicurus. On completion of his doctorate in Marx hoped for an academic job, but he had already fallen in with too radical a group of thinkers and there was no real prospect.
Turning to journalism, Marx rapidly became involved in political and social issues, and soon found himself having to consider communist theory. Of his many early writings, four, in particular, stand out. The German Ideology, co-written with Engels inwas also unpublished but this is where we see Marx beginning to develop his theory of history.
This was again jointly written with Engels and published with a great sense of excitement as Marx returned to Germany from exile to take part in the revolution of With the failure of the revolution Marx moved to London where he remained for the rest of his life.
He now concentrated on the study of economics, producing, inhis Contribution to a Critique of Political Economy. In what follows, I shall concentrate on those texts and issues that have been given the greatest attention within the Anglo-American philosophical literature.
Bauer had recently written against Jewish emancipation, from an atheist perspective, arguing that the religion of both Jews and Christians was a barrier to emancipation. In responding to Bauer, Marx makes one of the most enduring arguments from his early writings, by means of introducing a distinction between political emancipation — essentially the grant of liberal rights and liberties — and human emancipation.
However, pushing matters deeper, in an argument reinvented by innumerable critics of liberalism, Marx argues that not only is political emancipation insufficient to bring about human emancipation, it is in some sense also a barrier. Liberal rights and ideas of justice are premised on the idea that each of us needs protection from other human beings who are a threat to our liberty and security.
Therefore liberal rights are rights of separation, designed to protect us from such perceived threats. Freedom on such a view, is freedom from interference. What this view overlooks is the possibility — for Marx, the fact — that real freedom is to be found positively in our relations with other people.
It is to be found in human community, not in isolation. Accordingly, insisting on a regime of rights encourages us to view each other in ways that undermine the possibility of the real freedom we may find in human emancipation.
Now we should be clear that Marx does not oppose political emancipation, for he sees that liberalism is a great improvement on the systems of feudalism and religious prejudice and discrimination which existed in the Germany of his day.
Nevertheless, such politically emancipated liberalism must be transcended on the route to genuine human emancipation. Unfortunately, Marx never tells us what human emancipation is, although it is clear that it is closely related to the idea of non-alienated labour, which we will explore below.
Just as importantly Marx here also considers the question of how revolution might be achieved in Germany, and sets out the role of the proletariat in bringing about the emancipation of society as a whole.
Precisely what it is about material life that creates religion is not set out with complete clarity. However, it seems that at least two aspects of alienation are responsible. One is alienated labour, which will be explored shortly. A second is the need for human beings to assert their communal essence.
Whether or not we explicitly recognize it, human beings exist as a community, and what makes human life possible is our mutual dependence on the vast network of social and economic relations which engulf us all, even though this is rarely acknowledged in our day-to-day life.
After the post-Reformation fragmentation of religion, where religion is no longer able to play the role even of a fake community of equals, the state fills this need by offering us the illusion of a community of citizens, all equal in the eyes of the law.
Interestingly, the political liberal state, which is needed to manage the politics of religious diversity, takes on the role offered by religion in earlier times of providing a form of illusory community. But the state and religion will both be transcended when a genuine community of social and economic equals is created.
Of course we are owed an answer to the question how such a society could be created. It is interesting to read Marx here in the light of his third Thesis on Feuerbach where he criticises an alternative theory. The crude materialism of Robert Owen and others assumes that human beings are fully determined by their material circumstances, and therefore to bring about an emancipated society it is necessary and sufficient to make the right changes to those material circumstances.
However, how are those circumstances to be changed? By an enlightened philanthropist like Owen who can miraculously break through the chain of determination which ties down everyone else? Indeed if they do not create the revolution for themselves — in alliance, of course, with the philosopher — they will not be fit to receive it.
However, the manuscripts are best known for their account of alienated labour. Here Marx famously depicts the worker under capitalism as suffering from four types of alienated labour. First, from the product, which as soon as it is created is taken away from its producer.
Second, in productive activity work which is experienced as a torment. Third, from species-being, for humans produce blindly and not in accordance with their truly human powers.
Finally, from other human beings, where the relation of exchange replaces the satisfaction of mutual need.Though the term "communism" can refer to specific political parties, at its core, communism is an ideology of economic equality through the elimination of private property. The beliefs of communism, most famously expressed by Karl Marx, center on the idea .
Though the term "communism" can refer to specific political parties, at its core, communism is an ideology of economic equality through the elimination of private property. The death toll from communist regimes in the 20th century is well-documented. One study found that more people were killed under communism than homicide and genocide combined, and only 9 million more people were killed in World War I and World War II .
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The fact that the Bolshevik’s enforced communism in Russia in was a result of conflicting ideologies between the Tsarists and the Bolshevik’s. The Bolshevik’s were a Marxist faction who wanted to impose Marxist communism upon Russia, whereas the Tsarist regime was very much a dictatorship in which Tsar Nicholas II ruled.
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