Difference between revisions of "Communism"

From Conservapedia
Jump to: navigation, search
m
Line 1: Line 1:
'''Communism''' is a [[socialist]] form of government in which the state owns everything and the wealth is divided evenly among the citizens. The word has several meanings but is usually reserved for the doctrine developed by Marx and Lenin which advocated the overthrow of capitalism by the revolution of the proletariat (the social group which does not control the means of production), followed by close state control of all sectors of the economy.
+
'''Communism''' is an economic system advocating (to varying degrees) the absence of personal ownership, and hence supporting a communal society. It is frequently (incorrectly) equated with a [[socialist]] economy in which the state owns everything and the wealth is divided evenly among the citizens. Note that it is possible to operate a communist economic system under a variety of political systems including democracy, autocracy, and monarchy. The term communism has colloquially taken on several meanings and is often used to describe the doctrine developed by Marx and Lenin which advocated the overthrow of capitalism by the revolution of the proletariat (the social group which does not control the means of production), followed by close state control of all sectors of the economy.  
  
The most famous government to label itself "communist" was the [[USSR]] or the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics; the Communist Party controlled its government from 1922 to 1991. This government was officially atheist and attempted to suppress all religion. Like many authoritarian regimes, it tried to cultivate reverence for the state as a psychological substitute for religion. (Left-wing critics of the USSR charged that it was communist in name only, and had betrayed the revolution which founded it. George Orwell expressed this viewpoint eloquently in his 1945 fable [[Animal Farm]]).  
+
The most famous government to label itself "communist" was the [[USSR]] or the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics; the Communist Party controlled its government from 1922 to 1991. This government was officially atheist and attempted to suppress all religion. Like many authoritarian regimes, it tried to cultivate reverence for the state as a psychological substitute for religion. Left-wing critics of the USSR charged that it was communist in name only, and had betrayed the revolution which founded it. George Orwell expressed this viewpoint eloquently in his 1945 fable [[Animal Farm]].  
  
 
A famous quote describing Communism, attributed to Karl Marx, is "From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs".
 
A famous quote describing Communism, attributed to Karl Marx, is "From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs".

Revision as of 05:11, 15 March 2007

Communism is an economic system advocating (to varying degrees) the absence of personal ownership, and hence supporting a communal society. It is frequently (incorrectly) equated with a socialist economy in which the state owns everything and the wealth is divided evenly among the citizens. Note that it is possible to operate a communist economic system under a variety of political systems including democracy, autocracy, and monarchy. The term communism has colloquially taken on several meanings and is often used to describe the doctrine developed by Marx and Lenin which advocated the overthrow of capitalism by the revolution of the proletariat (the social group which does not control the means of production), followed by close state control of all sectors of the economy.

The most famous government to label itself "communist" was the USSR or the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics; the Communist Party controlled its government from 1922 to 1991. This government was officially atheist and attempted to suppress all religion. Like many authoritarian regimes, it tried to cultivate reverence for the state as a psychological substitute for religion. Left-wing critics of the USSR charged that it was communist in name only, and had betrayed the revolution which founded it. George Orwell expressed this viewpoint eloquently in his 1945 fable Animal Farm.

A famous quote describing Communism, attributed to Karl Marx, is "From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs".

Early Christian sharing

As described in the Acts of the Apostles, early Christians practiced some form of voluntary sharing for the common good:

And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. (Acts 2:44-45, KJV)
Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,
And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.
And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus,
Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles' feet.(Acts 4:34-7, KJV)

Some modern preachers and scholars speak of a Social Gospel, interpreting Jesus' teachings as radically materialistic rather than spiritual, especially referring to his support of the poor and his pleas to the rich to aid those who are impoverished.

However, the price for not giving every penny was steep. The Bible says, "But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles' feet. But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things. And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him.

"And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in. And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much. Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out. Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband." (Acts 5:1-10)

This voluntary communal sharing among the early Christians has been described by Marxists as "communism"; Arnold Toynbee has pointed out,

The passage in the Acts represents the philanthropy of the primitive Christian Society as flowing from a God-given grace which was the fruit of a belief in the divinity of Jesus. In other words, the charity which is here depicted as moving the primitive Christians to go—in their mutual concern for one another's welfare—to the extreme length of sharing all their worldly goods is not a mere love of Man for Man (which is the limited literal meaning of the word ‘philanthropy’), but is a spiritual relation to which God is a party as well as His human creatures. In fact, this Christian Socialism is a practical application, on the economic surface of life, of the fundamental religious truth that the brotherhood of Man is a consequence of the fatherhood of God - a truth which is driven home with special force by a religion which teaches that God is not only the father and creator of Man, but also his saviour who has been incarnate in human shape and has suffered, and triumphed over, Death.[1]

Some small Utopian experiments and intentional communities, notably the Shakers.[2] have successfully practiced similar kinds of sharing, but rarely for long.

Modern Communism

Between 1989 and 1991, many communist governments were overthrown. The Berlin Wall in Germany, which had become a symbol for the division between the West and communist states, was torn down in 1989, and there was also a large revolution against Romanian dictator Nicolaie Ceausescu. In 1991, the USSR broke up into several countries. Some of these remained under autocratic governments, but some have embraced democracy.

Several countries still exist that are governed by a communist one-party system. The most famous of these is China, but others (such as North Korea, Laos, and Vietnam) remain. There is considerable debate as to the extent to which these governments actually implement communist policies. China has not democratized (note especially the crushing of the Tiananmien Square protests in 1989), but its economic policies have been called "red capitalism" by some commentators, as there is a growing sector that behaves in a less-regulated, free market style. China's economy manufactures a wide variety of products that are sold to non-communist countries, and there is quite obvious tolerance of economic inequality, with some provinces struggling with poverty while others prosper.

Notes and references

  1. Arnold Toynbee, A Study of History, Annex II to Vol. V, Part C (i) (c) 2, p. 585, Marxism, Socialism, and Christianity.
  2. officially: United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing