Communism: an ideology that seeks to create human equality by eliminating private property and market forces.
• Marx believed that there was inherent conflict between what he termed the base (the economic system of
society, made up of technology and class relations between people) and the superstructure (institutions like
religion, culture, and national identity) that Marx saw as exploiting the base.
• Communism sought to remake social institutions that it saw as part of the exploitive superstructure. This
included suppressing religion, envisioning the elimination of marriage, providing greater work and political
opportunities for women, and eliminating ethnic and national identities.
• Marx believed that human history moved through a series of phases, and that economic conflict leads to
revolutions that would move the world from feudalism though capitalist democracy, and ultimately a
communist utopia. This was a process known as dialectical materialism.
o In Marx’s theory, the communist utopia would be a world without states, and he envisioned a world of
total equality without the conflicts of nationalism.
o Bourgeoisie: propertyowning middle class
o Proletariat: working class
o Vanguard of the proletariat: small revolutionary movement that could seize power on behalf of the
people, who may lack consciousness necessary to rise up
Marx argued that communism would emerge only where capitalism was strongest and thus
most prone to collapse. However, Lenin in Russia and Mao in China led communist
revolutions in states with low levels of economic development.
o The party structure resembled a state—general secretary as the executive, a Politburo as the cabinet,
the Central Committee as the legislature, and even local cells of supporters—but these institutions
usually merely approved whatever party leadership desired.
o Communist ideology shaped state policy making and legitimized authoritarian control.
o Partystate: a political system in which the roles of head of state and hear of government are assigned
to separate executive offices
Rise of Communism
• October Revolution ▯First successful communist revolution, no water no food no housing, people were
looking for security, family you were born into determined your future (lack of upward mobility)
• Eastern Europe between World War I and World War II
• Weak states ▯people searching for stability and losing faith in politics, governments using state machinery to
stay in power
• To survive people focused on subverting or working underneath rule of law, after revolution people were used
to subverting law so law didn’t apply
• Sovietization ▯colonization of Soviet organizations, every communist organization was controlled by Soviets
and Moscow, strategies and goals all imposed by Moscow
1940’s – Rise of Communism
• Vacuum of power – state collapsed and old rulers gone, everyone was in disarray except communists
o Easy for them to take control because they had a clear ideal and motive (strong organization and strong
goals) o Free democratic election: be part of a genuine democratic government but aim for key ministries
o Interior ministry (police)
o Always go after left wing first
o Went from genuine collation
1950’s – Entrenchment of Regimes
• By 1950’s Communist regime was firmly entrenched
• List of people who were politically suited for jobs, not based on act