Communism and the New Society
According to Marx, after capitalism has fallen, as it must, there will be a period of transition to a new society called a “dictatorship of the proletariat.” Following this will come the first stage of Communism, now called “socialism.” Socialism will emancipate man from alienation, and he will then achieve his self-realization.
The history of civilizations until this time is the history of class conflicts, according to Marx. This continual succession of conflicts will no longer exist under Communism. Since there is no more private ownership of the means of production, society will no longer have the tensions and contradictions produced by class divisions. As Marx's friend Friedrich Engels describes it, “It is the assent of man from the kingdom of necessity to the kingdom of freedom.”
A famous catch phrase associated with Marx's
Workers in the new society will no longer be separated from the products of their labor and so alienation will cease. Competitive classes will fall away, since there will be no workers/slaves beholden to masters. Persons will no longer be reduced to commodities, like things, but will be able to discover their true selves and their dignity. A dog-eat-dog struggle for goods will give way to a family of humanity.
The new banner of Communism will read: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his means.” People will readily accept this change. They will accept it because one change will go deeper than the change in the work environment. You will learn that character traits like greed and selfishness are not intrinsic to human nature, but were only relics of the capitalist world. That competitive environment molded those traits. If you change society, however, according to Marx, you change human nature as you know it.
Marx's friend Friedrich Engels spoke at his funeral in 1883: “On the fourteenth of March, at a quarter to three in the afternoon, the greatest living thinker ceased to think. He had been left alone for scarcely two minutes, and when we came back we found him in his armchair, peacefully gone to sleep — but forever.”
Marx provided but an outline of this new society, with precious few details of it. This is because details of policies would only be decided as the society arose. In general terms, Marx thought the dawn of Communism would restore man to his true essence, where he would thrive: “Communism represents the general resolution of the conflict between man and nature and between man and man…. Communism is the riddle of human history solved, and it knows itself to be this solution,” Marx said in the