A fundamental tenet of Marxism
is that eventually the working class
(known as the proletariat
) of a country will attain revolutionary consciousness
and overthrow the dominant class, known as the bourgeoisie
. This happens due to an increasing awareness on the behalf of the proletariat of their situation.
The famous sociologist Karl Marx theorised that the societies of the world had been through a series of economic steps which will culminate in Communism. Firstly, countries existed in primitive Communism, which was a situation in which all individuals were equal (equated with ancient hunting and gathering).
Next, Marx theorised that societies progressed to classical slavery, a stage in which lower classes were formed for the first time. This stage is equated with the Greek and Roman empires.
Eventually classical slavery was overthrown by the lower classes in a Feudalist revolution, and a feudal system came into being. A good example of this is ancient England's system of lords and peasants.
After feudalism, came Capitalism, which we all know as the dominant economic system governing most of the world in 2002. According to Marx, Capitalism is destined to be overthrown by a Communist revolution.
The end result of a Communist revolution is that a country will be governed in such a way that the working class cannot be discriminated against. In practice this can mean many different measures from the nationalisation of industry to social welfare in the form of free health, housing and education.
In Russia, the Russian revolution of 1917 was the embodiment of a Communist revolution, although it later degenerated into Stalinism. At the time, workers all over the world hailed Russia as the embodiment of all that Socialism and Communism stood for.
Another good example of a communist revolution is the Cuban revolution. In 1959 Fidel Castro and his gang of Sierra rebels overthrew the government of Fulgencio Batista in Cuba and set up a Communist state, only 90 miles south of Florida in the United States of America.
In 1961 the CIA tried to intervene by assisting a bunch of Cuban exiles to land in Cuba's Bay of Pigs, however Cuba's military easily dealt with the threat, and has remained Communist to this day.
Castro has declared that he will be a Marxist for life, and recently Cuban's citizens voted to amend the constitution to keep Cuba socialist forever.
Examples of Communism in practice in Cuba include the majority nationalisation of many industries, including banking and sugar production.
Another country which has had a Communist revolution is North Korea.