The best part of working at Tattoodo is that occasionally we get to compress centuries of complex history into three or four hundred words. Taking intricately complicated subjects and reducing them to bare-bones simplicity is simply our bread and butter. Today, we are tasked with the fun objective of teaching the masses about communism.
Communism is a political ideology that aims to structure a socioeconomic order in which the means of production are controlled under common ownership. In perfect communism there hypothetically would exist no class structure, money, or even the state. Of course, perfect communism has never really been implemented.
This particular political ideology is often attributed to the works of Karl Marx, but communist thought predates Marx by at least a hundred years. In 1777 the French philosopher Victor d’Hupay first advanced the theory of communal society in which everyone benefits from the work of everyone else. Before that, the seeds of collectivism were sown in the works of Thomas More, namely Utopia way back in 1516.
Communism didn’t really enter into the mainstream consciousness until the early 20th century when Vladimir Lenin and his Bolsheviks seized control of Russia in the October Revolution of 1917. Lenin had been highly influenced by the works of Marx and sought to turn Russia into a socialist paradise. This great plan only hit a few minor snags.
The human ego is a powerful thing and man will always lust for power. Now, this may seem antithetical to the tenets of communist thought, and it is, completely. After Lenin’s death, a huge power struggle occurred between Leon Trotsky and Joseph Stalin for the leadership of the communist party. The short version goes that Trotsky ended up in Mexico City with an ice pick in his brain while Stalin used his reign to murder more people than Hitler.
Despite the rocky state of life in the USSR, at some point China decided this communism thing would be a good idea. Under Chairman Mao, the country undertook a great leap forward. This mostly seems to have involved the government making its people abandon agriculture, mass produce steel, and starve to death.
After World War II, the USSR and the USA famously engaged in nearly half a century of cold war during which time it was ingrained in the minds of nearly all of America that communism was essentially evil. Which it isn’t, in and of itself, but that cannot be said for many who have ruled under this ideology.
Let’s take a look at some collectively awesome tattoos of communist imagery. All your favorites are here – from Lenin to Mao, Trotsky to Stalin, we’ve collected up some seriously awesome ink immortalizing this ideology and some of the the driving forces behind it.
Please take note, we here at Tattoodo take no political stances, we just like tattoos of interesting stuff. We’re not going to tell you communism is what America needs. We’ll leave that up to this kid.