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Communism

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Cults of personality for the leadership, especially early ... Hauss Thumbs v Fingers idea. Beat Nazis, spread rapidly after WW2, seemed to be winning the day. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Communism


1
Communism
  • An Intellectual History and Framework

2
What is Marxism?
  • All too often discredited, but the way in which
    it makes us think and analyze things is still
    essential.
  • As an economist Marx was and is kind of an idiot,
    his economic system has basically failed, BUT as
    a sociologist and as a political scientist he
    still has a lot of really important insights and
    observations.
  • The problems may be more the applications of
    Marxism, by Lenin-Stalin-Mao. Marxism, to some
    extent, has never really been tried.

3
Basic Structures
  • Like all systems, there are differences between
    various communist states, but all have some
    essential characteristics
  • A party-state, fusion of party and state
    apparatus, and what really matters is your
    position in the party. The state institutions
    are mostly just rubber stamps.
  • Command economy, the government directs most
    economic decisions. Typically run by five year
    plans.
  • An absence of independent political points of
    power, including business, interest groups, other
    parties, etc.
  • A more significant role for the military than we
    are used to discussing in the liberal
    democracies.
  • Cults of personality for the leadership,
    especially early ones.

4
Socialism
  • As industrialization spread, many intellectuals
    worried about the ramifications.
  • Its easy to be dismissive, but the world really
    was horrible for a lot of workers, and there was
    rising level of inequality, bodily harm, social
    changes, etc.
  • Socialists believe that we arent really free
    unless we have some guarantees about positive
    rights like health, food, etc.
  • Also concerned that most things that really
    affect us like work and corporations are not
    democratic.

5
Marxism
  • From each according to his ability, to each
    according to his need.
  • The Communist Manifesto, Das Kapital
  • Marx believed in the dialectic, that societies
    change in fundamental ways through a wrenching
    process, not usually incremental change. This
    change was driven by historical materialism, or
    the distribution of economic power among and
    between classes.
  • Fedualism Bourgeoisie Capitalism - ???
  • Ruling class has to exploit others, workers never
    receive what they really deserve due to the need
    for profit.
  • The state and the military help control the
    populace for the ruling class.
  • Contradictions can only be resolved through
    revolution, and so it would come to be at first a
    dictatorship of the proletariat that would shut
    down the old structures and begin to rearrange
    society according to Marx and the means of
    production returned to the people.
  • After this communism occurs and people will live
    in peaceful bliss and stop exploiting each other.
    The state goes away as it is no longer needed.

6
Ignore the bottom part (whack) but top is good
7
Whoopsie
  • Marx thought his revolution would occur in rich,
    developed, industrial countries.
  • They more often occurred in agrarian, developing
    countries instead.
  • Lenin Democratic Centralism, need an elite to
    run the show, hierarchical organization adopted
    by most Marxist countries

8
Stalinism
  • Provided a lot of hope initially, positive growth
    for a long time.
  • Hauss Thumbs v Fingers idea.
  • Beat Nazis, spread rapidly after WW2, seemed to
    be winning the day.

9
Expansion and decline
  • Communists had a missionary zeal, commintern
    international movement.
  • Nomenklatura, key elite and bureaucrats in a
    communist state.
  • Eventually the elite grow old, system always
    produced elderly leaders wary of reform and
    change. Was probably the biggest problem with
    Communism, how do you adjust.

10
Reform Attempts
  • USSR perestroika, glasnost
  • PRC invite foreign talent, capital and business
    in to special economic zones, watch as spillovers
    occur.
  • China successful, largely due to different
    economic structures, less industrial but will it
    weather the next major economic upheaval? I have
    my doubts.

11
1989
  • Eastern Europe never as solid as it would appear,
    uprisings in Hungary and Czechoslovakia.
    Solidarity in Poland, movements in Baltics too.
  • Small opening in Hungary leads to downfall of
    Berlin Wall in DDR.
  • Tiananmen Square uprising, China more willing to
    use force.
  • USSR ends its satellites, eventually dissolves.
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