Views & Reviews
Communism’s Re-definition of Human History to a Material Political Ideology
Ever since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, the whole of humanity was condemned to subsist from the toil of his sweat. The sentence from God on humankind was something like: “From the soil you were made. Back to the soil you shall go. And in the intermediate period, you shall subsist (live) from the produce of the soil.” (For Biblical reference see Gen.3:17-19). In conformity to this curse, mankind down through the eons of human history had been surviving from the toils of his sweat by tilling the soil and eating its produces. This was a universal fact true to all nations on earth. And this human struggle was not a political theory or ideology but simply a fact of reality. This fact of reality went on till the coming of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century (Beginning from 1750 in England to 1820). Prior to this period and as late as 1760, 80% of the world’s population were engaged in farming activities and feeding the rest 20% with their surplus produces. But amazingly, by the turn of the 20th century (1900), 85% of the world’s population were engaged in non-farming other professions concentrated mostly in the urban areas of the world. This left only 15% of the world’s population engaged in agriculture farming. (Information from Wikipedia sources). These changes showed a complete reversal of human life and professions.
Of course, the industrial revolution had brought about these drastic changes by transforming the methods of farming through machinery that replaced human labour. For example tractors replaced bullocks. Vehicles replaced bullock cards and the invention of electricity to replace kerosene lamps, storage systems etc. led to a mass production of farm produces with very little human labour involved. These changes all led to a mass migration of former farmers into urban settlements to take up new professions in the new industrial age. But this departure from the toil and the sweat of human labour also brought about changes in human thinking too. With the benefits of the industrial revolution accruing mostly to the educated minority in the human societies, there was a re-interpretation of human suffering into a political ideology. Human suffering caused by human labour was now re-interpreted as a class struggle between the Capitalist (Rich Bourgeois) and the farmers and peasants (Poor Proletariat). This pronouncement was penned down by the writings of Karl Marx in the late 1840s.
Born in 1818, Karl Marx was born 68 years after the industrial revolution of 1750 had brought about a very unequal society where the rich minority had tremendously benefited from the labour of the masses. Rebelling against this injustice, he re-interpreted human history from a purely materialistic basis of a class struggle between the rich and the poor. He began by stating that from the Feudal times up to the time of the Capitalist, all of human history had been a struggle for the establishment of a just society where wealth will finally be shared equally -“From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.”For that human destiny to be achieved into a reality, he called for a revolution where the Proletariat (working masses) must rise up and overthrow the Capitalist. Marx was of course, influenced by Darwin’s theory of material evolution, Hegel’s theory of relative synthesis and Rousseau’s theory that man though born free, was everywhere in chains. By these chains, Rousseau was meaning the chains of religion, morality and institutions which kept man from exercising his innate freedom. Marx called religion as the opium of the masses that kept them sedated from the realities of their miserable existence. Religion and morality was thus removed from the reality of human history and was replaced by a purely political theory of material class struggle. Man was now inferred to be free from the chains of religion. But in the process, man was reduced to a mere economic commodity that must topple the Capitalist and establish his own Utopian classless society. This new definition of human history would have serious consequences for future human history- including that of our own generation.
All communist leaders who built their own communist regimes did not follow Marx’s Communist Manifesto in its entirety. Lenin, Stalin, Mao Zedong or Pol Pot’s communist revolutions had their own modifications and additions to Marx’s thoughts, but the basic principles were all from Marx’s thoughts and writings. Marx was writing from the context of the European industrial revolution where the Capitalists were the beneficiaries of the industrial revolution. For Lenin and Stalin, the Capitalists were the Tsarists rulers of Russia. For Mao Zedong the Capitalists were the Democratic Nationalist government of Chang Kai Shek. For Cambodia’s Pol Pot, the Capitalists were the U.S. backed government of Lon Nol which had overthrown King Sihanouk’s rule in 1970.
But whatever their different cases may be, their communist revolutions left behind its trials, a bloodbath of humanity’s blood. As they overthrew ancient systems of governance- be it ancient Monarchies or newly sprouting Democracies- there were total chaos and volcanic eruptions in the human societies they tried to impose their communist ideologies. In all cases, there were terrible man made famines and starvation deaths as they overturned entire national systems of economic sustenance and survival. In Russia the total death toll from their communist revolution was between 40 to 50 million deaths. In China too, the toll was 50 million. In comparison with giant Russia and China, tiny Cambodia’s total death toll was 2 million deaths. I am in this article focusing mainly on Russia, China and Cambodia. The total death toll from Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and other parts of the world would be another horrific number of millions.
In conclusion, human history has had its Genghis Khans, Alexander’s and Napoleons etc., who out of their colonial and imperial ambitions had bled human history. But in modern times, these communist leaders have tormented human history with their political ideologies. They are indeed the tormentors and blood shedders of modern human history.
Kaka D Iralu