TW Viewpoint | The History of Marxism

May 13, 2022 | Javid Khan

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Nations today are grappling to overcome riots and protests that wage war against the foundations of our society. As our history is rewritten to the narrative of leftist ideologies, we ought to pause and think. How will these ideas reshape our world? And where are they coming from?

Karl Marx, a scholar and an activist alongside his fellow German Philosopher, Friedrich Engels wrote the Communist Manifesto, published in 1848. The core beliefs of this pamphlet have gained numerous followers over the years, but what are these beliefs?

Considered to be the father of modern communism, Marx was born to a Jewish lawyer in 1818 and studied law and philosophy at the University of Berlin and Jena. During his time in Paris, he adopted a more extreme form of socialism, eventually giving rise to the Communist Manifesto.

"Marx argued that all history was a history of class struggles, and that the working class (or proletariat) would inevitably triumph over the capital class (bourgeoisie) and win control over the means of production, forever erasing all class struggle." (How Are Socialism and Communism Different?)

While the notion of erasing class struggle, or poverty in general, can be appealing, the idea that the working-class triumphs over the capital class is one we should carefully scrutinize. The working-class, in Marx's mind, were the oppressed, while the capitalist class were the oppressors.

"a violent revolution in which the workers rise up against the middle and upper classes is seen as an inevitable part of achieving a pure communist state." (ibid.).

Take a moment to think on this concept. If the bourgeoisie are considered evil and the proletariat are good, after the inevitable uprise to control production, wouldn't that place the proletariat in the same position of the bourgeoisie - with the potential for evil themselves? The idea that the proletariat are inherently good, ignores the potential for them to be evil when given power – after all, what occurs in a violent uprising, doesn't exactly portray a good character.

Let's go back to 1917, when Vladimir Lenin, a Marxist, led the Bolshevik movement, and world's first communist revolution in Russia, which set in motion one of the deadliest examples of this flawed theory of communism. As part of the communist philosophy, the central government controls all aspects of economic production and such was the case with Lenin and the Kulaks. Kulaks in Russian means 'fist' or 'you tight-fisted' , and were formerly a group of wealthy farmers. Prior to the reign of Stalin, Lenin argued:

"Anyone who used hired labour, owned a dairy, or was suspected of being a "grain speculator" … could be accused of being part of the rural Bourgeoisie – and therefore an enemy of the revolution. [And] In 1918, during the bloody civil war that followed the revolution, Lenin himself infamously ordered party officials in Penza, to 'hang (absolutely hang, in full view of the people) no fewer than one hundred known kulaks, filthy rich men, bloodsuckers.'" (Who were the Kulaks?)

After the death of Lenin in 1924, Joseph Stalin succeeded in dispersing approximately 1.8 million kulaks to Siberia, Kazakhstan and the Urals, while others were stripped of their property and forced to the state-controlled farms. And the result? A famine, which in the Ukraine alone killed approximately 25% of the population of that region, an event now considered a genocide.

In a public debate on April 19, 2019, Professor Jordan Peterson gave his critique on the Communist Manifesto stating:

"I've rarely read a tract that made as many errors per sentence, conceptual errors per sentence, as the Communist Manifesto" Peterson goes on, "…and so, what I tried to do when trying to read the Communist Manifesto was to separate the wheat from the chaff, and I'm afraid I found some wheat, yes, but mostly chaff…" (Jordan Peterson, 'Jordan Peterson's Critique of the Communist Manifesto')

Today, over a hundred years after the revolutionary Communist Manifesto was published, we see the same ideologies present in the background of the riots and protests that inundate the news in North America and western Europe. Historic statues are defaced and toppled as the oppressed seeks justice over their oppressors. In fact, the co-founder of one of the movements that led to one series of riots describe herself as a "trained Marxist" making clear the movement's rooted philosophy. While these movements, on the surface, may purport to be inherently good, Marxist and neo-Marxist ideologies are ones that promote violence and leave a devastating historical track record of death and suffering.

In the famous words of George Santayana, 'Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it'.

Watch The History of Marxism on YouTube at Tomorrow's World Viewpoint