Communism: A Very Short Introduction

Communism: A Very Short Introduction

Leslie Holmes

Language: English

Pages: 144

ISBN: 0199551545

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


If now in decline since the tumultuous events of 1989, communism was without doubt the great political movement of the twentieth century--at its peak, more than a third of the world's population lived under communist rule--and it is still a powerful force in many areas of the world, most notably in the People's Republic of China. What is communism? Where did the idea come from and what attracted people to it? Is there a future for communism? This Very Short Introduction considers these questions and more in the search to explore and understand this controversial political force. Explaining the theory behind its ideology, and examining the history and mindset behind its political, economic and social structures, Leslie Holmes considers the evolution of communism from Marx's time, to its practice in the Bolshevik Revolution, to its collapse in 1989-91. Holmes highlights the inner dynamics, crises, and demise of communism as a global system, and introduces the major players in the communist world, including Marx, Lenin, Stalin, and Mao.

About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam.

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Pact); the Hungarian invasion had been by Soviet troops acting alone. Another significant difference was that, unlike the Hungarians, the Czechs and Slovaks put up little physical resistance. Sources differ on the number of people killed, but the range is between none and a little over 100; either way, the figure was dramatically lower than in Hungary. A final difference relates to the eventual outcome. Hungary’s post-invasion leader proved over time to be increasingly liberal by Communist

collective goods, such as subsidized public transport. There were also major differences in the amount and type of state involvement Western countries opted for. Some believed that the best way in which a state could and should interfere in the economy, particularly when the latter was experiencing major problems such as no or negative growth, was for the government to kick-start it by commissioning large-scale projects, typically infrastructural ones such as major highways or new airports. The

Communist states have pursued decidedly uncommunist approaches to education in recent years. Vietnam, for instance, has since the 1990s been encouraging the development of the private education sector, and permitting state educational institutions to charge tuition fees. Structural unemployment as this is now known almost worldwide was not generally a feature of Communist systems. This helps to 91 Social policies and structures of communism USSR 1960 Communism 11. An early Soviet literacy

(eds.), Political Legitimation in Communist States (Macmillan, 1982), while that concerning performance-based legitimation is elaborated in L. Holmes, Post-Communism (Duke University Press, 1997); Habermas’ theory is in Legitimation Crisis (Heinemann, 1976). Finally, a thought-provoking analysis of the relevance of Marx since the collapse of Communist power is S. Sullivan’s Marx for a Post-Communist Era: On Poverty, Corruption and Banality (Routledge, 2002). Further reading 143 This page

realized that their problems were far from over, as some of their own erstwhile supporters began to question and challenge them. This culminated in the Kronstadt Rebellion of 1921, in which sailors and workers on the outskirts of what is now St Petersburg demanded that the Bolsheviks start sharing political power and conversing more with those they were supposed to represent. But the Bolshevik leadership was in no mood to make concessions to the rebels, and sent a contingent of some 60,000

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