If neither Marx or Engels never lived and written the books
they did, former Soviet Union and China would probably be
conducting their governmental systems in a different
manner. Defined by Marx and Engels, the communist theory
can be summed up in the single phrase: abolition of private
property (Engels, Marx 80). Communists are distinguished by
the lower working class which will rise to overthrow the
higher supreme class (Engels, Marx 80). The second
distinction can be found in the struggle of the
proletariats against the Bourgeoisie, or the higher class
(Engels, Marx 80).
Marx and Engels state that society as a whole is more and
more splitting up into the great hostile camps, or opposing
classes; the Proletariats and the Bourgeoisie (Engels, Marx
58). Political power, property so called is merely the
organized power of one class oppressing another (Engels,
Marx 95). "Communism deprives no man of the power to
appropriate the products of society; all that it does is to
deprive him of the power to subjugate the labor of others
by means of such appropriation (Engels, Marx 86)."
Communists do not form a separate party opposed to other
working class parties. There are ten measures needed to
convert to communism (Engels, Marx 94). 1. Abolition of
property in land and application of all rents of land to
the public. 2. Heavy progressive income tax. 3. Abolition
of all rights of inheritance. 4. Confiscation of the
property of all emigrants and rebels. 5. Centralizing of
credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national
bank with a state capital. 6. Centralizing of the means of
communication and transportation in the hands of the state.
7. Factories and production owned by the state and
cultivation of wastelands. 8. Equal liability of all labor.
Establishment of industrial armies, especially for
agriculture. 9. Combining agriculture and manufacturing
industries; abolition of distinction between town and
country by a more equal distribution of the population. 10.
Free education for all children in public schools.
Abolition of children's factory labor (Engels, Marx 94).
According to Marx and Engels these were the ten steps to
follow if you wanted your country to convert to communism.
Marx and Engels had their influence in modern ideology
because heads of state put their ideas into action in their
own countries (Hacker 516). Words and phrases taken from
Marx and Engels' writings clearly constitute the ideology
framework of communist power (Hacker 516). The former
Soviet Union, China, and lesser communist states all claim
to be guided by Marxist principles (Hacker 512). "It would
be wrong to say that two nineteenth century political
theorists are responsible for the course of communism
today. Communist leaders of the twentieth are responsible
for keeping alive Marxist ideology (Hacker 516)."
Communist leaders have elected to utilize the books,
pamphlets, letters and speeches of Marx and Engels as their
official doctrine (Hacker 513). The leaders in communist
states use perceptions of Marxism as merely an aid in
motivating their citizens for the pursuit of political
goals (Hacker 516). While Communist leaders dictate the
words of Marx and Engels, they, themselves are the ones to
make and carry out plans (Hacker 516). The fact of the
matter is that communist leaders are the interpreters of
that Marxist ideology in their countries (Hacker 516).
It has been proven that Plato had an influence on Rousseau,
and Rousseau on Hugel, and Hugel on Marx and Engels (Hacker
515). The strength in an ideology is lies not only in its
content of ideas but also in the spirit that moves it
(Hacker 516). Obviously Marx and Engels wanted their ideas
to be put to use. They condensed their theory so that their
messages would move men to revolutionary activity (Hacker
515). Had a soviet power never emerged, the contribution of
Marx and Engels to political theory would still be a major
one (Hacker 517).
In the Communist Manifesto Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
applied the term communism to a final stage of socialism in
which all class differences would disappear (Payne 421).
They declared that the course of history was discovered by
the clash of opposing forces (Payne 421). These forces were
rooted in the economic system and the ownership of property
(Payne 421). The struggle between the Bourgeoisie and the
Proletariat would end when the socialists started a
revolution and attained a full communistic government
If the leaders of present day communist countries and the
former communist countries were not guided by the
principles of Marx and Engels they operation of the
countries past and present would most definitely be
different. It is true that each leader runs his country his
own way, but the bottom line is that the foundation of
their communist rule is rooted in the works of Marx and
Engels. Without these two men the entire basis of communism
and communist principles would be non-existent.
Engels, Friedrich, Karl Marx. The Communist Manifesto.
Washington Square Press;
New York: 1964.
Hacker, Andrew. Political Theory: Philosophy, Ideology,
Science. The Macmillian
Company; New York: 1961.
Heilbroner, Robert. Marxism, For and Against. W.W. Norton &
Company; New York:
Payne, Robert. Marx. Simon and Schuster; New York: 1968.