Monday, November 20, 2017

Marx on the Proletarian Revolution

      Karl Marx did not believe that change could come without revolution.  This was one of the points of considerable dispute amongst Marxists.  Those Marxists who followed Lenin believed that the revolution had to be violent and complete, with the power of the capitalist class destroyed.  Capitalism would create the conditions for the revolution (the “seeds of its own destruction”).  It would make workers increasingly miserable.  It would bring large numbers of these unhappy, alienated workers under one roof.  It would make the working classes larger and larger, while the capitalist class became smaller and smaller.  It would generate continual wars that would only benefit the capitalists. However, the revolution would not happen all by itself.  Mobilizing the workers and instilling revolutionary consciousness in them was the function of the Communist Party – the vanguard of the proletariat!

                         “The communists … openly declare that their ends can be
                         attained by the forcible overthrow of all existing social
                         conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a communistic
                         revolution.  The proletarians have nothing to lose but their
                         chains.  They have a world to win.  Workers of the world,
                         unite.”     From the Communist Manifesto

     It should be noted that there have been no proletarian revolutions in history.  The revolutions in the Soviet Union and China were undertaken primarily by peasants and resulted from the chaos in each country following a world war.  Most of the other “communist countries” became communist due to the force of the Soviet army after World War II.