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Dr. Afxendiou AP Comparative Government and Politics Sachem North High School COMMUNIST AND POST-COMMUNIST COUNTRIES.

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Presentation on theme: "Dr. Afxendiou AP Comparative Government and Politics Sachem North High School COMMUNIST AND POST-COMMUNIST COUNTRIES."— Presentation transcript:

1 Dr. Afxendiou AP Comparative Government and Politics Sachem North High School COMMUNIST AND POST-COMMUNIST COUNTRIES

2 INTRODUCTION Advanced democracies value FREEDOM Communist countries value EQUALITY 20 th century 2 big countries became communist – Soviet Union and The Peoples Republic of China Today, only major country that is communist is China (Cuba and North Korea well known) Many variations of communism, all claim roots in Marxism

3 MARXISM – vision of a new world without social class or private property LENINISM – democratic centralism; vanguard of the revolution; industrialization MAOISM – peasant-based society, equality, cooperation, revolutionary fervor

4 MARXISM Karl Marx – father of communism. Laid out his ideas in the Communist Manifesto. He believed that capitalism and the free market it relied on exploited workers and increased gap between rich and poor Conditions in capitalist countries would eventually become so bad that workers would join together in a revolution of the proletariat (workers) and overcome the bourgeoisie (the owners of factories and other means of production) After revolution social class would disappear because ownership of private property would be banned. People would be equal and would cooperate and government would be unnecessary

5 MARXISM-LENINISM Russia 1917 Revolution of the Proletariat but did not follow steps laid out by Marx According to Marx the revolution would happen in capitalist countries Followed Lenin’s ideas of then need to free the peasants from the czar’s dictatorial rule. He advocated a revolution led by a group of revolutionary leaders, the vanguard of the revolution. After the revolution Lenin established a government based on democratic centralism made up of the revolutionary leaders

6 MARXISM-LENINISM DEMOCRATIC CENTRALISM- a hierarchical party structure in which leaders were elected from below. Discussion was permitted by party members until a decision was made, but centralism took over and the leaders allowed no questioning of the decision after the fact.

7 MARXISM-LENINISM Lenin used the government to direct industrialization and agricultural development and capitalism was severely restricted This system has become very important because every communist system that followed has been modeled on the Soviet precedent: Political power rests with the Communist Party A small vanguard group rules the Communist Party and no competing ideologies are allowed State legitimacy rests on the party as the embodiment of communist ideology

8 MARXISM-LENINISM transformed Marxism with its idealistic beliefs in equality for the common citizen into an authoritarian system Relies on CO-OPTATION – the allocation of power throughout various political, social and economic institutions Uses force Elite recruitment takes place through NOMENKLATURA – the process of filling influential jobs in the state, society or the economy with people approved and chosen by the Communist Party. It includes not only political jobs but almost all top positions in other areas as well, such as university presidents, newspaper editors, etc. This makes membership in the Communist Party a necessity in order to get ahead. It does allow for social mobility, the improvement of one’s social status

9 MAOISM AND MARKET-BASED SOCIALISM Chinese version of communism Began in 1949 China’s first communist leader was Mao Zedong who had a different interpretation of Marxism than Lenin ( ) Marxist ideals of equality and cooperation But maintain peasant-based society Deng Xiaoping – 2 nd communist leader Instituted market-based socialism – allowed a certain amount of capitalism to be gradually infused in the Chinese system by the government

10 GENDER RELATIONS IN COMMUNIST REGIMES Marxist ideal: traditional gender relations, with women in subservient roles to men, are the result of the underlying inequality encouraged by capitalist societies. Men exploit women through the family structure in much the same way that the bourgeoisie exploit the proletariat in the workplace. Communism would bring complete economic, social and political equality between men and women Not the reality of the communist societies that developed. Only difference is that women were provided with more opportunities to work outside the home than in capitalist countries

11 COMMUNIST POLITICAL ECONOMY Based on central planning – the ownership of private property and the market mechanism were replaced with the allocation of resources by the state bureaucracy Rationale for this was the communist belief that ownership of private property and a market economy are not capable of distributing wealth equitably But there have been two key problems with communist central planning: 1. LOGISTICAL DIFFICULTIES – very difficult to plan the entire economy of a country. The larger the economy, the more difficult it is. 2. LAC K OF WORKER INCENTIVES – workers are not afraid of losing their jobs, factories are not afraid of going out of business so what is the incentive for quality work and product? No competition so no innovation, no need to improve efficiency so communist economies fell behind capitalist ones.

12 NEW ECONOMIES TODAY Russia no longer has any ties to communism China has integrated capitalism into its economic system Both have new roles in the global marketplace Now both countries part of BRIC (Brazil-Russia-India-China: all four have fast growing economies even though they have been variously affected by the global recession and Russia especially by the plunging oil prices) Both have authoritarian political systems, Russia with some democratic structures that are enshrined in a Constitution


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