Marxism vs. Leninism
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto, 1848
Not only has the bourgeoisie forged the weapons that bring death to itself; it has also called into existence the men who are to wield those weapons—the modern working class—the proletariat…The proletariat will use its political supremacy to wrest, by degrees, all capital from the bourgeoisie, to centralize all instruments of production in the hands of the state, i.e., of the proletariat organized as the ruling class.
Ideas of Karl Marx :
People should contribute to the public wealth according to their ability, but receive according to their needs.
The means of production should be owned equally by the whole community (hence communism), not as in capitalism where individuals (who might be very rich) own the means of production and leave the rest of society to be poor and oppressed wage slaves.
A deterministic interpretation of history, which said that society, must inevitably develop through successive stages of slavery, feudalism, then capitalism, ending up with the violent overthrow of capitalism and the establishment of a communist society.
They should work to overthrow capitalism throughout the world by means of a revolution by the proletariat (workers).
Class was a feature of capitalist society, and should be destroyed and replaced by a society of equals.
The economy should be planned - controlled by the government.
Lenin changed Marx's ideas to add that a Communist government first had to be a dictatorship which was essential in order to bring in the communist state safely
Lenin, The Significance of Militant Materialism, 1922
One of the biggest and most dangerous mistakes made by Communists is the idea that a revolution can be made by revolutionaries alone. On the contrary, to be successful, all serious revolutionary work requires that the idea that revolutionaries are capable of playing the part only of the vanguard of the truly virile and advanced class must be understood and translated into action.
1) Explain Lenin’s adaptation to Marxism (Think about the Communist Revolution and the NEP).
2) Do you think Lenin faithfully enacted Marx’s philosophy or was it something different?
3) What are the possible POSITIVE human consequences of a command economy vs. a free market economy?
Command Economy Market Economy
4) What are the possible NEGATIVE human consequences of a command economy vs. a free market economy?