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The Communist Revolution of China:
A Marxist Revolution?

Charlie Ma

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          Communism and Marxism are interchangeable to many, a dangerous misconception. Communal societies have existed for thousands of years, while Marxism was only created during the mid-nineteenth century. Communism is the general communal sharing of property. Marxism is specific to industrial nations, involving the revolutionary overthrow of the pro-capitalist government from the roots by an oppressed proletarian class, leading to the emancipation of the proletariate from the bottom of the social hierarchy, the formation of a single class from the abolition of all classes, and the abolition of private property such that all property becomes public. Marxist theory predicts the proletariat will inevitably seize control of the means of production. Marxism is so specific that a nation could be under Communist rule without following the Marxist doctrine.

          Another common misconception is that all Communist states are the same, a mistake even the US government believed in early stages of the Cold War. Communist nations have their own unique style of Communism. Russia for example, regards itself as the most authentic communist nation, following a Marx-Leninist doctrine, yet it is also a highly stratified nation. A better example of a variation from Marxism is the Communist Revolution of China. Though the idea of a functional communal society was present, numerous deviations from Marxism exist.

          The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, served as the foundation for Marxism, which was aimed at highly industrialized nations like Britain or Germany, and not rural agrarian societies like China. According to Marx, the proletariat is a class who lives as long as they can find work, where work exists only when it is profitable. The proletariate, or the working class, suffered from high unemployment, unsafe work environments, long hours, and unsanitary living conditions. This class was a large problem for Britain or Germany, who both had large populations of workers growing increasingly dissatisfied as revolutionary ideas spread, becoming increasingly organized and enlightened, and swelling in numbers each day. This class concentrated in the cities, which contained a large percentage of the total population.

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