Chapter 2 – Marxism-Leninism Communist Roots of the Cold War to the Eve of the Second World War—1848 to 1939

official reports in the British Museum) and provided for the Marx family’s subsistence in hard times for the remainder of Marx’s life. In collaboration with Engels, Marx published his Theses on Feuerbach in 1845 and The Holy Family in 1846. With Engels and the socialist thinker, Moses Hess, Marx wrote The German Ideology (not published until 1932). In 1847, he authored Misere de la Philosophie, a critique of the influential historical and economic analyses presented by the French socialist, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon. Marx considered Proudhon and other philosophical and socialist rivals to be unscientific and too democratic compared to Marx’s own inflexible “scientific” theories. Marx never wavered from the requirement for the violent revolutionary seizure and dictatorial maintenance of power on a communist path.
Marx’s Communist Manifesto. In 1848, Marx and Engels together published the Communist Manifesto as a break-through doctrinal creed and global call to arms for violent Communist revolutions and regimes. The Manifesto was written in German as the platform of a Brussels-based “Communist League,” a rival to the European socialists whom Marx considered as weak on revolution and too committed to social reforms by means of democracy, non-violence, parliaments, and support of labor unions, all of which were gaining popularity and influence. The Manifesto was translated into French and English, and soon became a key inspiration and guide for radical socialist factions throughout Europe. The text formed the roots of the Communist ideology and faith (thus a capital “C”), and Communist practice throughout the decades of the Cold War, marked by the Party’s claims to infallibility and its anti-democratic subversion, betrayal, and warfare, both cold and hot.
The Manifesto’s Scientism, “Dialectical Materialism,” and Theory of Revolution. In his Manifesto, Marx claimed to have discovered the “keys” to “the iron laws of history” based on “dialectical materialism” and “scientific socialism.” His text, however, exposes a mishmash of nineteenth-century German back-to-nature romanticism, “dialectical” World Spirit philosophies like Hegel’s, and materialistic philosophies like Feuerbach’s. Marx warns Western societies that a revolutionary “specter is haunting Europe,” a ghost-like spirit that would fulfill History’s destiny of antagonistic dialectical stages in the war between “classes.” These succeeding classes were in turn based on agriculture, feudalism, industrialism, and “bourgeois” capitalism—the latter, a class of people owning and controlling “finance capital,” the “means of production,” and the “means of distribution.” Like its predecessor classes, the current ruling class invariably faced overthrow by the next class, in this case the industrial “proletariat” or industrial working class that Marx insisted must be led by a specially astute, indoctrinated, and trained elite “vanguard” party of Communists. The vanguard’s revolution would be historically victorious by imposing a collectivist “dictatorship of the proletariat” in the new society on behalf of the workers (though not on behalf of what Marx dismissed as the “Lumpenproletariat” or “rag proletariat” of the unemployed, truly poor). Because Lenin, and later Mao, were active in pre-industrial Russia and China, they added non-land-owning “peasants” to the “proletariat” as part of the new “class” to be the chief object, beneficiary, and ruler of the monopolistic revolutionary Communist party and state.
Marx’s Dictatorial Administrative State. Marx foreshadowed Lenin’s variant of the absolutist state in asserting that, following the prescribed Communist revolution, the party vanguard’s new administration must forcibly abolish all private property (including homes and farms), as well as religion, family, and other non-state, “bourgeois” institutions that were the basis of Western civil society. Marx’s “dictatorship of the proletariat” must also abolish (even to the point of killing off) the broadly-defined ”capitalist class” that, for Marx, included what most would consider a “middle class” of shopkeepers, and owners of small farms and other small family properties. The new regime’s socialist/communist “administration” (i.e., an all-encompassing Leviathan bureaucracy) would run a regime ruled through a centralized bureaucracy of the Communist Party “vanguard” planners to determine the “rational” collective path of nationalization, production, and distribution of the “collectivized” state property, i.e., everything. In this society, there would be no inalienable rights of speech, assembly, press, religion, family, or home property, and thus no competing parties, legal checks and balances, or anything else that could democratically and effectively judge or critique the new state. The all-knowing administration would require all to contribute “according to their ability” and to receive “according to their needs.” The administration would somehow rationally and justly judge such important factors, while also determining all aspects of national planning and use of state property and power. The (party) vanguard’s administrators in the required “dictatorship of the proletariat” would thus have a monopoly of national political, economic, social, and moral power and legitimacy. Decades before Lenin and Stalin’s Soviet Union and Hitler’s National Socialist Germany, Marx’s vision idealized the twentieth century’s totalitarian state.
[Book pg. 24]