Communism as Movement and Ideal: The Vision of Communism in The German Ideology

Tian Wang


This article tries to clarify the vision of communism in The German Ideology. Commentary on this matter has made communism split into halves, communism as movement and communism as ideal, from Marx’s writing of 1844, the year he came up with his vision of communism. Undoubtedly, the existence and collapse of Soviet Union and the East European communism helped or accelerated this misunderstanding that the voluntary disbanding of the so-called communist state was the practical defeat of Marx and Engels’s theory of communism. Therefore, some supporters of communism, who attempt to weaken communism as ideal and strengthen communism as movement, seize on Marx’s words that “we call communism the actual movement” and insist that communism of Marx and Engels is nothing more than a movement, because it is forever in a process of changing and becoming, namely, communism is a movement of revolutionising the existing world. While my aim is to propose a different approach to this matter and the main research object of this article would be a defence for a full vision of communism, communism as unity of movement and ideal, which should be two related aspects of one thing itself and should not be separable from one another in The German Ideology. In a specific way, the relationship between these two aspects can be read as means-purpose relation. Besides, this defence should take Marx and Engels’s intellectual relationship into consideration and The German Ideology cannot be taken as an agreement of these two thinkers. However, this is not to say that the vision of communism remains unchangeable in this work, rather it is always in the tension of self-negation. Because of the revolutionary strategy which firstly appears in Marx’s early writing, communism as movement in The German Ideology, such as class struggle, abolition of private property, overturning the illusory state and so on, gradually gains its importance. But this change or transformation will not be the focus of this article, and I just want to note that communism as unity of movement and ideal is an original thinking of these two thinkers concerning communism whose ideal aspect failed to catch up with the other aspect of movement in The German Ideology.The establishment of the notion of “criticizing and changing the present state of things” under the basic principle of communism as movement sets down a fundamental intellectual precondition for communism as ideal which goes without any feature of utopia, and it is from the valuable goal set up by communism as ideal that communist theory provides a prospective to judge the progress of human beings.

Keywords: Communism; movement; ideal; Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844; The German Ideology.

Full Text: PDF
Download the IISTE publication guideline!

To list your conference here. Please contact the administrator of this platform.

Paper submission email:

ISSN 2422-8443

Please add our address "" into your email contact list.

This journal follows ISO 9001 management standard and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Copyright ©