History has repeatedly shown us that human greed, ambition, and selfishness will never let Karl Marx’s ideas properly work in the real world. When Karl Marx wrote his ideology of communism, he envisioned a world of near-total equality. In other words, this would be a world without any division of classes or inequality. While his ideas looked promising on paper, they did not properly function in the real world. Instead, totalitarian states formed, under which the working class had even fewer rights than before. Unlike capitalism, the workers didn’t even have a slight chance of eventually joining the upper class.
Communist states have pre-defined classes throughout history. Rather than removing them entirely, the governmental 1% controlled resources and lived a life of luxury. Meanwhile, they permitted nobody else to accumulate wealth. Now, Karl Marx never wanted his theories to create totalitarian states and more suffering. But unfortunately, it has occurred several times over. In order for his theories to work, humanity would have to be pure and honest, which we all know that to be impossible.
Time has repeatedly shown us that communism ends up benefitting a small bourgeoisie elite seeking more power. In order to achieve their dreams of ruling a country with an iron will, they misappropriate Karl Marx’s ideas to falsely bait the working class with promises of change.
However, as history suggests, this bourgeoisie fails to keep their promises and ends up being awful leaders. As soon as they gain control of the country, they tend to create totalitarian regimes, where the working class has even fewer rights and power than in capitalist regimes. Below I will show historical examples of this occurring via subterfuge and force.
The Counter-Marxist Revolutions
According to Marx, communism was supposed to be a working-class revolution to create a perfectly egalitarian society. But during the existence of the Soviet Union, workers disillusioned with the false promises of an egalitarian Marxist society organized several counter-revolutions. Nonetheless, the majority of those revolutions died before they could gain any momentum. If there was one thing Stalin did well, it was his ability to control counter-revolutions. After all, Stalin was a man famous for his cruelty and policy of no mercy for his opposition.
Below I will present some of the most iconic and infamous counter-Marxist revolutions that occurred in the communist bloc. In every case, the Soviet government eventually shut them down.
The East German Uprising of 1953
Most people know that Germany was divided between the capitalist and communist blocs after World War II. However, few, except for history enthusiasts, know about the Uprising of East Germany in 1953. Unlike what some believe, the working class actually despised the Bolshevik Domination. The 1953 East Germany rebellion was one of the most documented examples of working-class resistance against the totalitarian communist regime that they, in theory, were supposed to love.
An attempt by the USSR government to increase the production of industrial goods by lowering wages sparked this counter-revolution. Unlike Russian workers, Germans weren’t quite used to earning such low wages. As a result, this led to a massive national demonstration of power; the working class went on strike and protested in East Germany. Citizens tore down government propaganda and buildings, vandalized, lynched law enforcement and so on.
Although in the end, the USSR government was able to regain control, they paid a heavy price for it. The causalities were enormous to both sides; the Soviets and East Germans lost a lot of tanks, buildings, civilians, soldiers, and equipment.
The Hungarian Revolution of 1956
Similarly, to the Uprising of East Germany in 1953, The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 was a working-class counter-revolution in Hungary against the new puppet government of the Communist Party. After the collapse of Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia swept into the communist bloc; Hungary was no exception to this.
During the first years of Soviet rule, the Bolsheviks tried to slowly assimilate Hungary to the Soviet bloc. First, they added politicians loyal to the USSR’s interests, such as Mátyás Rákosi. Before long, they were bombarding children to learn Russian as a second language and feeding them Soviet propaganda. But then the Soviets, with the help of Rákosi, started to take a more aggressive approach when their party only got 17% of the votes during the free elections of 1945. They then started to slowly eliminate and ostracize all other politicians who weren’t willing to cooperate with the Hungarian Communist Party. Eventually, the country was a one-party state.
Soon, anger and hatred rose among the Hungarian population. The USSR and Rákosi were attempting to turn Hungary from an agriculture-based economy into an industrial one. Their unrealistic demands caused a food shortage and burnout for the working class.
However, the tipping point was when college students tried to invade a radio building. There to broadcast the demands of an already fatigued working class, they were detained. When other students asked for their release, state security met them with bullets. This caused widespread anger and resentment in the population. Soon, the entire country’s working-class joined the revolt and Hungary found itself under a civil war.
In the end, they were able to dismantle the Hungarian government and get rid of Soviet forces. For a few weeks, the country tried to slowly reestablish itself as a democracy. However, their happiness didn’t last for too long, as the USSR quickly annexed them back into the soviet bloc by flooding more troops in. Hungary soon found itself at the hands of the USSR again, causing more than 200,000 to flee.
Communism: A Failure in Practice
Karl Marx’s writings paint an attractive picture; after all, total equality sounds like a fair and just plan to many. But, when implemented, communism always ends up as a tool for totalitarian sociopaths to gain control of entire nations. In short, communism only works on paper; history has shown us this many times. Let’s not let history repeat itself again!
Ultimately, all ‘isms” are just theoretical constructs of the human mind. Like us, they are all doomed to failure and flaw. No ideology is perfect, no matter how much we try. Communism, an ideology that has led to immense suffering, is no exception to this. In other words, to err is human; we must not forget the limitations of the human brain. We should avoid trying to live our lives under any mantra or ideology because, in the end, they all have their own flaws and biases. In some cases, they turn to a blind cult of worship. Next time you see someone celebrating communism, remind him or her of all the suffering and death it has caused.
Originally published on 71Republic