Appeal of Communism
To understand why communism became so appealing to the Vietnamese people, one must first understand the means to which communism seeks and end. Communism was founded as economic theory by German philosophers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. It was largely a reaction to the horrific conditions that workers faced in industrial revolution-era England. According to Marxist theory, in order to achieve the classless, stateless society of communism in which the people completely control the means of production and work for the collective good of society, capitalism must first reach a critical tipping point in which the workers, or “proletariat” rise up and violently revolt against the wealthy capitalists, or “bourgeoisie”, that are perpetually exploiting them. After the overthrow of the bourgeoisie, the proletariat will then nationalize the means of production (everything will be state-owned, otherwise called socialism, a sort of transitionary period before the realization of communism) and everything will be distributed equally. This will effectively eliminate social class, the need for money, and the state. The state will then dissolve, and what will be left is the self-sustaining utopian society in which everything is communally owned and distributed, “from each according to his own ability, to each according to his needs.” This process was described in Marx’s and Engels’ now famous 1844 publication, The Communist Manifesto.