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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

  • An Intellectual History and Framework

What is Marxism?
  • All too often discredited, but the way in which
    it makes us think and analyze things is still
  • 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
  • The problems may be more the applications of
    Marxism, by Lenin-Stalin-Mao. Marxism, to some
    extent, has never really been tried.

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
  • 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
  • Cults of personality for the leadership,
    especially early ones.

  • 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

  • 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.

Ignore the bottom part (whack) but top is good
  • 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

  • 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.

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.

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

  • 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.