Development of Communist Theory


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 

 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 (Payne 423). 

 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: 1980.

Payne, Robert. Marx. Simon and Schuster; New York: 1968. 


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