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definitions - Communism

communism (n.)

1.a form of socialism that abolishes private ownership

2.(politics)a political theory favoring collectivism in a classless society

Communism (n.)

1.(MeSH)A totalitarian system of government in which a single authoritarian party controls state-owned means of production with the professed aim of establishing a classless society.

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Merriam Webster

CommunismCom"mu*nism (?), n. [F. communisme, fr. commun common.] A scheme of equalizing the social conditions of life; specifically, a scheme which contemplates the abolition of inequalities in the possession of property, as by distributing all wealth equally to all, or by holding all wealth in common for the equal use and advantage of all.

☞ At different times, and in different countries, various schemes pertaining to socialism in government and the conditions of domestic life, as well as in the distribution of wealth, have been called communism.

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definition (more)

definition of Wikipedia

synonyms - Communism

Communism (n.) (MeSH)

Leninism  (MeSH), Marxism  (MeSH)

see also - Communism

communism (n.)

commie, communist, communistic anticommunism

phrases

-Agrarian communism • Anarchism-Communism • Anarchist communism • Anarcho-Communism • Anti-communism • Armed Proletarians for Communism • Barrack communism • Barracks communism • Black Book of Communism, The • Black book of communism • Chinese Left Communism • Christian communism • Collapse of Communism • Communism and LGBT rights • Communism and homosexuality • Communism and religion • Communism from below • Communism in 20 years • Communism in Benin • Communism in Colombia • Communism in Eritrea • Communism in Ethiopia • Communism in Korea • Communism in Mozambique • Communism in Peru • Communism in Thailand • Communism in Vietnam • Communism in the Republic of the Congo • Council communism • Criticism of communism • Decree against Communism • End of Communism in Albania (1991) • End of Communism in Bulgaria (1989) • End of Communism in Hungary (1989) • End of Communism in Poland (1989) • Euro-Communism • Gender roles in Eastern Europe after Communism • Global Museum of Communism • Global Museum on Communism • Goulash Communism • Great construction projects of communism • Historians of American Communism • History of communism • Homosexuality and communism • Ideology of Soviet Communism • Institute for Information on the Crimes of Communism • International Center for Studies into Communism • International Centre for Studies into Communism • LGBT rights and communism • Left Communism in China • Left communism • Libertarian Communism (journal) • Memorial for the Victims of Communism • Memorial of the Victims of Communism and of the Resistance • Memorial to the victims of Communism • Moral Code of the Builder of Communism • Moral Code of the Communism Builder • Mt Communism • Museum of Communism • Museum of Communism, Czech Republic • Museum of Communism, Poland • National Association for Struggle against Communism • National Committee of Defense Against Communism • National communism • Office for the Documentation and the Investigation of the Crimes of Communism • Party of Revolutionary Communism • Paul Robeson and communism • Polish communism • Pool and its Role in Asian Communism • Post-Communism • Prague Declaration on European Conscience and Communism • Pre-Marxist Communism • Primitive communism • Problems of Communism (journal) • Pure communism • Religious communism • Republican communism • Rock Against Communism • Scientific Communism • Stateless communism • Suppression of Communism Act • The ABC of Communism • The Black Book of Communism • The Downfall of Capitalism and Communism • The Lost World of Communism • This Godless Communism • Victims of Communism Memorial • Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation • War communism • World communism

analogical dictionary

 

Social Sciences[Hyper.]

Communism (n.) [MeSH]


communism (n.)




Wikipedia

Communism

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Communism is a social structure in which classes are abolished and property is commonly controlled, as well as a political philosophy and social movement that advocates and aims to create such a society.[1] Karl Marx, the father of communist thought, posited that communism would be the final stage in society, which would be achieved through a proletarian revolution and only possible after a socialist stage develops the productive forces, leading to a superabundance of goods and services.[2][3]

"Pure communism" in the Marxian sense refers to a classless, stateless and oppression-free society where decisions on what to produce and what policies to pursue are made democratically, allowing every member of society to participate in the decision-making process in both the political and economic spheres of life. In modern usage, communism is often used to refer to Bolshevism or Marxism-Leninism and the policies of the various communist states which had government ownership of all the means of production and centrally planned economies. Communist regimes, all inspired only by the Leninist current, have historically been authoritarian, repressive, and coercive governments concerned primarily with preserving their own power.

As a political ideology, communism is usually considered to be a branch of socialism; a broad group of economic and political philosophies that draw on the various political and intellectual movements with origins in the work oftheorists of the Industrial Revolution and the French Revolution.[4] Communism attempts to offer an alternative to the problems with the capitalist market economy and the legacy of imperialism and nationalism.

Marx states that the only way to solve these problems is for the working class (proletariat), who according to Marx are the main producers of wealth in society and are exploited by the Capitalist-class (bourgeoisie), to replace the bourgeoisie as the ruling class in order to establish a free society, without class or racial divisions.[1] The dominant forms of communism, such as Leninism, Stalinism, Maoism and Trotskyism are based on Marxism, as well as others forms of communism (such as Luxemburgism and Council communism), but non-Marxist versions of communism (such as Christian communism and Anarchist communism) also exist.

Karl Marx never provided a detailed description as to how communism would function as an economic system, but it is understood that a communist economy would consist of common ownership of the means of production, culminating in the negation of the concept of private ownership of capital, which referred to the means of production in Marxian terminology.

Contents

Terminology

In the schema of historical materialism, communism is the idea of a free society with no division or alienation, where mankind is free from oppression and scarcity. A communist society would have no governments, countries, or class divisions. In Marxist theory, the dictatorship of the proletariat is the intermediate system between capitalism and communism, when the government is in the process of changing the means of ownership from privatism, to collective ownership.[5] In political science, the term "communism" is sometimes used to refer to communist states, a form of government in which the state operates under a one-party system and declares allegiance to Marxism-Leninism or a derivative thereof.

Marxist schools of communism

Self-identified communists hold a variety of views, including Marxism-Leninism, Trotskyism, council communism, Luxemburgism, anarchist communism, Christian communism, and various currents of left communism. However, the offshoots of the Marxist-Leninist interpretations of Marxism are the most well-known of these and have been a driving force in international relations during most of the 20th century.[1]

Marxism

Like other socialists, Marx and Engels sought an end to capitalism and the systems which they perceived to be responsible for the exploitation of workers. But whereas earlier socialists often favored longer-term social reform, Marx and Engels believed that popular revolution was all but inevitable, and the only path to the socialist state.[citation needed]

According to the Marxist argument for communism, the main characteristic of human life in class society is alienation; and communism is desirable because it entails the full realization of human freedom.[6] Marx here follows Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel in conceiving freedom not merely as an absence of restraints but as action with content.[7] According to Marx, Communism's outlook on freedom was based on an agent, obstacle, and goal. The agent is the common/working people; the obstacles are class divisions, economic inequalities, unequal life-chances, and false consciousness; and the goal is the fulfillment of human needs including satisfying work, and fair share of the product.[8][9] They believed that communism allowed people to do what they want, but also put humans in such conditions and such relations with one another that they would not wish to exploit, or have any need to. Whereas for Hegel the unfolding of this ethical life in history is mainly driven by the realm of ideas, for Marx, communism emerged from material forces, particularly the development of the means of production.[7]

Marxism holds that a process of class conflict and revolutionary struggle will result in victory for the proletariat and the establishment of a communist society in which private ownership is abolished over time and the means of production and subsistence belong to the community. Marx himself wrote little about life under communism, giving only the most general indication as to what constituted a communist society. It is clear that it entails abundance in which there is little limit to the projects that humans may undertake.[citation needed] In the popular slogan that was adopted by the communist movement, communism was a world in which each gave according to their abilities, and received according to their needs. The German Ideology (1845) was one of Marx's few writings to elaborate on the communist future:

"In communist society, where nobody has one exclusive sphere of activity but each can become accomplished in any branch he wishes, society regulates the general production and thus makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticise after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, herdsman or critic."[10]

Marx's lasting vision was to add this vision to a theory of how society was moving in a law-governed way toward communism, and, with some tension, a political theory that explained why revolutionary activity was required to bring it about.[7]

In the late 19th century, the terms "socialism" and "communism" were often used interchangeably. However, Marx and Engels argued that communism would not emerge from capitalism in a fully developed state, but would pass through a "first phase" in which most productive property was owned in common, but with some class differences remaining. The "first phase" would eventually evolve into a "higher phase" in which class differences were eliminated, and a state was no longer needed. Lenin frequently used the term "socialism" to refer to Marx and Engels' supposed "first phase" of communism and used the term "communism" interchangeably with Marx and Engels' "higher phase" of communism.[citation needed]

These later aspects, particularly as developed by Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, provided the underpinning for the mobilizing features of 20th century Communist parties.

Marxism-Leninism

Marxism-Leninism is a version of socialism adopted by the Soviet Union and most Communist Parties across the world today. It shaped the Soviet Union and influenced Communist Parties worldwide. It was heralded as a possibility of building communism via a massive program of industrialization and collectivization. Historically, under the ideology of Marxism-Leninism the rapid development of industry, and above all the victory of the Soviet Union in the Second World War occurred alongside a third of the world being lead by Marxist-Leninist inspired parties. Despite the fall of the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc countries, many communist Parties of the world today still lay claim to uphold the Marxist-Leninist banner. Marxism-Leninism expands on Marxists thoughts by bringing the theories to what Lenin and other Communists considered, the age of capitalist imperialism, and a renewed focus on party building, the development of a socialist state, and democratic centralism as an organizational principle.

Lenin adapted Marx’s urban revolution to Russia’s agricultural conditions, sparking the “revolutionary nationalism of the poor”.[11] The pamphlet What is to be Done? (1902), proposed that the (urban) proletariat can successfully achieve revolutionary consciousness only under the leadership of a vanguard party of professional revolutionaries — who can achieve aims only with internal democratic centralism in the party; tactical and ideological policy decisions are agreed via democracy, and every member must support and promote the agreed party policy.

To wit, capitalism can be overthrown only with revolution — because attempts to reform capitalism from within (Fabianism) and from without (democratic socialism) will fail because of its inherent contradictions. The purpose of a Leninist revolutionary vanguard party is the forceful deposition of the incumbent government; assume power (as agent of the proletariat) and establish a dictatorship of the proletariat government. Moreover, as the government, the vanguard party must educate the proletariat — to dispel the societal false consciousness of religion and nationalism that are culturally instilled by the bourgeoisie in facilitating exploitation. The dictatorship of the proletariat is governed with a de-centralized direct democracy practised via soviets (councils) where the workers exercise political power (cf. soviet democracy); the fifth chapter of State & Revolution, describes it:

“. . . the dictatorship of the proletariat — i.e. the organisation of the vanguard of the oppressed as the ruling class for the purpose of crushing the oppressors. . . . An immense expansion of democracy, which for the first time becomes democracy for the poor, democracy for the people, and not democracy for the rich: . . . and suppression by force, i.e. exclusion from democracy, for the exploiters and oppressors of the people — this is the change which democracy undergoes during the transition from capitalism to communism.”[12]

The Bolshevik government was hostile to nationalism, especially to Russian nationalism, the “Great Russian chauvinism”, as an obstacle to establishing the proletarian dictatorship.[13] The revolutionary elements of Leninism — the disciplined vanguard party, a dictatorship of the proletariat, and class war.

Stalinism

"Stalinism" refers to the political system of the Soviet Union, and the countries within the Soviet sphere of influence, during the leadership of Joseph Stalin. The term usually defines the style of a government rather than an ideology. The ideology was "Marxism-Leninism theory", reflecting that Stalin himself was not a theoretician, in contrast to Marx and Lenin, and prided himself on maintaining the legacy of Lenin as a founding father for the Soviet Union and the future Socialist world. Stalinism is an interpretation of their ideas, and a certain political regime claiming to apply those ideas in ways fitting the changing needs of society, as with the transition from "socialism at a snail's pace" in the mid-twenties to the rapid industrialization of the Five-Year Plans.

The main contributions of Stalin to communist theory were:

Trotskyism

Trotsky and his supporters organized into the Left Opposition and their platform became known as Trotskyism. Stalin eventually succeeded in gaining control of the Soviet regime and Trotskyist attempts to remove Stalin from power resulted in Trotsky's exile from the Soviet Union in 1929. During Trotsky's exile, world communism fractured into two distinct branches: Marxism-Leninism and Trotskyism.[1] Trotsky later founded the Fourth International, a Trotskyist rival to the Comintern, in 1938.

Trotskyist ideas have continually found a modest echo among political movements in some countries in Latin America and Asia, especially in Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia and Sri Lanka. Many Trotskyist organizations are also active in more stable, developed countries in North America and Western Europe. Trotsky's politics differed sharply from those of Stalin and Mao, most importantly in declaring the need for an international proletarian revolution (rather than socialism in one country) and unwavering support for a true dictatorship of the proletariat based on democratic principles.

However, as a whole, Trotsky's theories and attitudes were never accepted in worldwide mainstream Communist circles after Trotsky's expulsion, either within or outside of the Soviet bloc. This remained the case even after the Secret Speech and subsequent events critics claim exposed the fallibility of Stalin.

Some criticize Trotskyism as incapable of using concrete analysis on its theories, rather resorting to phrases and abstract notions.[15][16][17]

Maoism

This poster shows Mao Zedong as continuing the legacy set by former Communist leaders.[18]

Maoism is the Marxist-Leninist trend of Communism associated with Mao Zedong and was mostly practiced within the People's Republic of China. Khrushchev's reforms heightened ideological differences between the People's Republic of China and the Soviet Union, which became increasingly apparent in the 1960s. As the Sino-Soviet Split in the international Communist movement turned toward open hostility, China portrayed itself as a leader of the underdeveloped world against the two superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union.[citation needed]

Parties and groups that supported the Communist Party of China (CPC) in their criticism against the new Soviet leadership proclaimed themselves as 'anti-revisionist' and denounced the CPSU and the parties aligned with it as revisionist "capitalist-roaders." The Sino-Soviet Split resulted in divisions amongst communist parties around the world. Notably, the Party of Labour of Albania sided with the People's Republic of China. Effectively, the CPC under Mao's leadership became the rallying forces of a parallel international Communist tendency. The ideology of CPC, Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought (generally referred to as 'Maoism'), was adopted by many of these groups.[citation needed]

After Mao's death and his replacement by Deng Xiaoping, the international Maoist movement diverged. One sector accepted the new leadership in China; a second renounced the new leadership and reaffirmed their commitment to Mao's legacy; and a third renounced Maoism altogether and aligned with Albania.[citation needed]

Hoxhaism

Another variant of anti-revisionist Marxism-Leninism appeared after the ideological row between the Communist Party of China and the Party of Labour of Albania in 1978. The Albanians rallied a new separate international tendency. This tendency would demarcate itself by a strict defense of the legacy of Joseph Stalin and fierce criticism of virtually all other Communist groupings as revisionism. Critical of the United States, Soviet Union, and China, Enver Hoxha declared the latter two to be social-imperialist and condemned the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia by withdrawing from the Warsaw Pact in response. Hoxha declared Albania to be the world's only Marxist-Leninist state after 1978. The Albanians were able to win over a large share of the Maoists, mainly in Latin America such as the Popular Liberation Army, but also had a significant international following in general. This tendency has occasionally been labeled as 'Hoxhaism' after him.

After the fall of the Communist government in Albania, the pro-Albanian parties are grouped around an international conference and the publication 'Unity and Struggle'.

Titoism

Elements of Titoism are characterized by policies and practices based on the principle that in each country, the means of attaining ultimate communist goals must be dictated by the conditions of that particular country, rather than by a pattern set in another country. During Tito’s era, this specifically meant that the communist goal should be pursued independently of (and often in opposition to) the policies of the Soviet Union.

The term was originally meant as a pejorative, and was labeled by Moscow as a heresy during the period of tensions between the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia known as the Informbiro period from 1948 to 1955.

Unlike the rest of East Europe, which fell under Stalin's influence post-World War II, Yugoslavia, due to the strong leadership of Marshal Tito and the fact that the Yugoslav Partisans liberated Yugoslavia with only limited help from the Red Army, remained independent from Moscow. It became the only country in the Balkans to resist pressure from Moscow to join the Warsaw Pact and remained "socialist, but independent" right up until the collapse of Soviet socialism in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Throughout his time in office, Tito prided himself on Yugoslavia's independence from Russia, with Yugoslavia never accepting full membership of the Comecon and Tito's open rejection of many aspects of Stalinism as the most obvious manifestations of this.

Eurocommunism

Since the early 1970s, the term Eurocommunism was used to refer to moderate, reformist Communist parties in western Europe. These parties did not support the Soviet Union and denounced its policies. Such parties were politically active and electorally significant in Italy (PCI), France (PCF), and Spain (PCE).[citation needed]

Council communism

Council communism is a far-left movement originating in Germany and the Netherlands in the 1920s. Its primary organization was the Communist Workers Party of Germany (KAPD). Council communism continues today as a theoretical and activist position within both left-wing Marxism and libertarian socialism.

The central argument of council communism, in contrast to those of social democracy and Leninist Communism, is that democratic workers' councils arising in the factories and municipalities are the natural form of working class organisation and governmental power. This view is opposed to both the reformist and the Leninist ideologies, with their stress on, respectively, parliaments and institutional government (i.e., by applying social reforms), on the one hand, and vanguard parties and participative democratic centralism on the other).

The core principle of council communism is that the government and the economy should be managed by workers' councils composed of delegates elected at workplaces and recallable at any moment. As such, council communists oppose state-run authoritarian "State socialism"/"State capitalism". They also oppose the idea of a "revolutionary party", since council communists believe that a revolution led by a party will necessarily produce a party dictatorship. Council communists support a worker's democracy, which they want to produce through a federation of workers' councils. Council communism (and other types of "anti-authoritarian and Anti-leninist Marxism" such as Autonomism) are often viewed as being similar to Anarchism because they criticize Leninist ideologies for being authoritarian and reject the idea of a vanguard party.

Luxemburgism

Luxemburgism, based on the writing of Rosa Luxemburg, is an interpretation of Marxism which, while supporting the Russian Revolution, as Luxemburg did, agrees with her criticisms of the politics of Lenin and Trotsky; she did not see their concept of "democratic centralism" as democracy.

The chief tenets of Luxemburgism are commitment to democracy and the necessity of the revolution taking place as soon as possible. In this regard, it is similar to Council Communism, but differs in that, for example, Luxemburgists don't reject elections by principle. It resembles anarchism in its insistence that only relying on the people themselves as opposed to their leaders can avoid an authoritarian society, but differs in that it sees the importance of a revolutionary party, and mainly the centrality of the working class in the revolutionary struggle. It resembles Trotskyism in its opposition to the totalitarianism of Stalinist government while simultaneously avoiding the reformist politics of modern Social Democracy, but differs from Trotskyism in arguing that Lenin and Trotsky also made undemocratic errors.

Luxemburg's idea of democracy, which Stanley Aronowitz calls "generalized democracy in an unarticulated form", represents Luxemburgism's greatest break with "mainstream communism", since it effectively diminishes the role of the Communist Party, but is in fact very similar to the views of Karl Marx ("The emancipation of the working classes must be conquered by the working classes themselves"). According to Aronowitz, the vagueness of Luxembourgian democracy is one reason for its initial difficulty in gaining widespread support. However, since the fall of the Soviet Union, Luxemburgism has been seen by some socialist thinkers as a way to avoid the totalitarianism of Stalinism. Early on, Luxemburg attacked undemocratic tendencies present in the Russian Revolution.

Juche

In 1992, Juche replaced Marxism-Leninism in the revised North Korean constitution as the official state ideology, this being a response to the Sino-Soviet split. Juche was originally defined as a creative application of Marxism-Leninism, but after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union (North Korea’s greatest economic benefactor), all reference to Marxism-Leninism was dropped in the revised 1998 constitution. The establishment of the Songun doctrine in the mid-1990s has formally designated the military, not the proletariat or working class, as the main revolutionary force in North Korea. All reference to communism had been dropped in the 2009 revised constitution.[19]

According to Kim Jong-il's On the Juche Idea, the application of Juche in state policy entails the following:

  1. The people must have independence (chajusong) in thought and politics, economic self-sufficiency, and self-reliance in defense.
  2. Policy must reflect the will and aspirations of the masses and employ them fully in revolution and construction.
  3. Methods of revolution and construction must be suitable to the situation of the country.
  4. The most important work of revolution and construction is molding people ideologically as communists and mobilizing them to constructive action.

Prachandapath

Prachanda, giving a speech at the Nepalese city of Pokhara.

Prachanda Path refers to the ideological line of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist). This thought doesn't make an ideological break with Marxism, Leninism and Maoism but it is an extension of these ideologies totally based on home-ground politics of Nepal. The doctrine came into existence after it was realized that the ideology of Marxism, Leninism and Maoism couldn't be practiced completely as it were done in the past. And an ideology suitable, based on the ground reality of Nepalese politics was adopted by the party.

After five years of armed struggle, the party realized that none of the proletarian revolutions of the past could be carried out on Nepal’s context. So moving further ahead than Marxism, Leninism and Maoism, the party determined its own ideology, Prachanda Path.

Having analyzed the serious challenges and growing changes in the global arena, the party started moving on its own doctrine. Prachanda Path in essence is a different kind of uprising, which can be described as the fusion of a protracted people’s war strategy which was adopted by Mao in China and the Russian model of armed revolution. Most of the Maoist leaders think that the adoption of Prachanda Path after the second national conference is what nudged the party into moving ahead with a clear vision ahead after five years of ‘people’s war’.

Senior Maoist leader Mohan Vaidya alias Kiran says, ‘Just as Marxism was born in Germany, Leninism in Russia and Maoism in China and Prachanda Path is Nepal’s identity of revolution. Just as Marxism has three facets- philosophy, political economy and scientific socialism, Prachanda Path is a combination of all three totally in Nepal’s political context.’ Talking about the party’s philosophy, Maoist chairman Prachanda says, ‘The party considers Prachanda path as an enrichment of Marxism, Leninism and Maoism.’ After the party brought forward its new doctrine, the government was trying to comprehend the new ideology, Prachanda Path.

see also: 'People's Revolution' In Nepal

Non-Marxist schools

The dominant forms of communism, such as Leninism, Trotskyism and Maoism, are based on Marxism, but non-Marxist versions of communism (such as Christian communism and anarchist communism) also exist and are growing in importance since the fall of the Soviet Union.

Anarcho-communism

Some of Marx's contemporaries espoused similar ideas, but differed in their views of how to reach to a classless society. Following the split between those associated with Marx and Mikhail Bakunin at the First International, the anarchists formed the International Workers Association.[20] Anarchists argued that capitalism and the state were inseparable and that one could not be abolished without the other. Anarchist-communists such as Peter Kropotkin theorized an immediate transition to one society with no classes. Anarcho-syndicalism became one of the dominant forms of anarchist organization, arguing that labor unions, as opposed to Communist parties, are the organizations that can change society. Consequently, many anarchists have been in opposition to Marxist communism to this day.[citation needed]

Anarchist communists propose that the freest form of social organisation would be a society composed of self-governing communes with collective use of the means of production, organized by direct democracy, and related to other communes through federation.[21] However, some anarchist communists oppose the majoritarian nature of direct democracy, feeling that it can impede individual liberty and favor consensus democracy.[22]

Christian communism

Christian communism is a form of religious communism centered on Christianity. It is a theological and political theory based upon the view that the teachings of Jesus Christ urge Christians to support communism as the ideal social system. Christian communists trace the origins of their practice to teachings in the New Testament, such as this one from Acts of the Apostles at chapter 2 and verses 42, 44, and 45:

42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and in fellowship [...] 44 And all that believed were together, and had all things in common; 45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. (King James Version)

Christian communism can be seen as a radical form of Christian socialism. Also, due to the fact that many Christian communists have formed independent stateless communes in the past, there is also a link between Christian communism and Christian anarchism. Christian communists may or may not agree with various parts of Marxism.

Christian communists also share some of the political goals of Marxists, for example replacing capitalism with socialism, which should in turn be followed by communism at a later point in the future. However, Christian communists sometimes disagree with Marxists (and particularly with Leninists) on the way a socialist or communist society should be organized.

History

Early communism

Karl Heinrich Marx saw primitive communism as the original, hunter-gatherer state of humankind from which it arose. For Marx, only after humanity was capable of producing surplus, did private property develop.[citation needed]

In the history of Western thought, certain elements of the idea of a society based on common ownership of property can be traced back to ancient times .[citation needed] Examples include the Spartacus slave revolt in Rome.[23] The fifth century Mazdak movement in what is now Iran has been described as "communistic" for challenging the enormous privileges of the noble classes and the clergy, criticizing the institution of private property and for striving for an egalitarian society.[24]

At one time or another, various small communist communities existed, generally under the inspiration of Scripture.[25] In the medieval Christian church, for example, some monastic communities and religious orders shared their land and other property (see religious communism and Christian communism). These groups often believed that concern with private property was a distraction from religious service to God and neighbor.[citation needed]

Communist thought has also been traced back to the work of 16th century English writer Thomas More. In his treatise Utopia (1516), More portrayed a society based on common ownership of property, whose rulers administered it through the application of reason.[citation needed] In the 17th century, communist thought arguably surfaced again in England. In 17th century England, a Puritan religious group known as the Diggers advocated the abolition of private ownership of land.[citation needed] Eduard Bernstein, in his 1895 Cromwell and Communism[26] argued that several groupings in the English Civil War, especially the Diggers espoused clear communistic, agrarian ideals, and that Oliver Cromwell's attitude to these groups was at best ambivalent and often hostile.[27]

Criticism of the idea of private property continued into the Age of Enlightenment of the 18th century, through such thinkers as Jean Jacques Rousseau in France.[citation needed] Later, following the upheaval of the French Revolution, communism emerged as a political doctrine.[28] François Noël Babeuf, in particular, espoused the goals of common ownership of land and total economic and political equality among citizens.[citation needed]

Various social reformers in the early 19th century founded communities based on common ownership. But unlike many previous communist communities, they replaced the religious emphasis with a rational and philanthropic basis.[25] Notable among them were Robert Owen, who founded New Harmony in Indiana (1825), and Charles Fourier, whose followers organized other settlements in the United States such as Brook Farm (1841–47).[25] Later in the 19th century, Karl Marx described these social reformers as "utopian socialists" to contrast them with his program of "scientific socialism" (a term coined by Friedrich Engels). Other writers described by Marx as "utopian socialists" included Saint-Simon.

In its modern form, communism grew out of the socialist movement of 19th century Europe.[citation needed] As the Industrial Revolution advanced, socialist critics blamed capitalism for the misery of the proletariat  — a new class of urban factory workers who labored under often-hazardous conditions. Foremost among these critics were the German philosopher Karl Marx and his associate Friedrich Engels. In 1848, Marx and Engels offered a new definition of communism and popularized the term in their famous pamphlet The Communist Manifesto.[25] Engels, who lived in Manchester, observed the organization of the Chartist movement (see History of British socialism), while Marx departed from his university comrades to meet the proletariat in France and Germany.[citation needed]

Growth of modern communism

Vladimir Lenin, following his return to Petrograd.

In the late 19th century, Russian Marxism developed a distinct character. The first major figure of Russian Marxism was Georgi Plekhanov. Underlying the work of Plekhanov was the assumption that Russia, less urbanized and industrialized than Western Europe, had many years to go before society would be ready for proletarian revolution to occur, and a transitional period of a bourgeois democratic regime would be required to replace Tsarism with a socialist and later communist society. (EB)[citation needed]

In Russia, the 1917 October Revolution was the first time any party with an avowedly Marxist orientation, in this case the Bolshevik Party, seized state power. The assumption of state power by the Bolsheviks generated a great deal of practical and theoretical debate within the Marxist movement. Marx predicted that socialism and communism would be built upon foundations laid by the most advanced capitalist development. Russia, however, was one of the poorest countries in Europe with an enormous, largely illiterate peasantry and a minority of industrial workers. Marx had explicitly stated that Russia might be able to skip the stage of bourgeoisie capitalism.[29] Other socialists also believed that a Russian revolution could be the precursor of workers' revolutions in the West.

The moderate Mensheviks opposed Lenin's Bolshevik plan for socialist revolution before capitalism was more fully developed. The Bolsheviks' successful rise to power was based upon the slogans "peace, bread, and land" and "All power to the Soviets", slogans which tapped the massive public desire for an end to Russian involvement in the First World War, the peasants' demand for land reform, and popular support for the Soviets.[citation needed]

The usage of the terms "communism" and "socialism" shifted after 1917, when the Bolsheviks changed their name to the Communist Party and installed a single party regime devoted to the implementation of socialist policies under Leninism.[citation needed] The Second International had dissolved in 1916 over national divisions, as the separate national parties that composed it did not maintain a unified front against the war, instead generally supporting their respective nation's role. Lenin thus created the Third International (Comintern) in 1919 and sent the Twenty-one Conditions, which included democratic centralism, to all European socialist parties willing to adhere. In France, for example, the majority of the French Section of the Workers' International (SFIO) party split in 1921 to form the French Section of the Communist International (SFIC).[citation needed] Henceforth, the term "Communism" was applied to the objective of the parties founded under the umbrella of the Comintern. Their program called for the uniting of workers of the world for revolution, which would be followed by the establishment of a dictatorship of the proletariat as well as the development of a socialist economy. Ultimately, if their program held, there would develop a harmonious classless society, with the withering away of the state.[citation needed]

A map of countries who declared themselves to be socialist states under the Marxist-Leninist or Maoist definition (in other words, "communist states") in 1980. The map also includes Communist alignment: either to the Soviet Union, China or independent

During the Russian Civil War (1918–1922), the Bolsheviks nationalized all productive property and imposed a policy of war communism, which put factories and railroads under strict government control, collected and rationed food, and introduced some bourgeois management of industry. After three years of war and the 1921 Kronstadt rebellion, Lenin declared the New Economic Policy (NEP) in 1921, which was to give a "limited place for a limited time to capitalism." The NEP lasted until 1928, when Joseph Stalin achieved party leadership, and the introduction of the first Five Year Plan spelled the end of it. Following the Russian Civil War, the Bolsheviks formed in 1922 the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), or Soviet Union, from the former Russian Empire.

Following Lenin's democratic centralism, the Communist parties were organized on a hierarchical basis, with active cells of members as the broad base; they were made up only of elite cadres approved by higher members of the party as being reliable and completely subject to party discipline.[30]

After World War II, Communists consolidated power in Eastern Europe, and in 1949, the Communist Party of China (CPC) led by Mao Zedong established the People's Republic of China, which would later follow its own ideological path of Communist development.[citation needed] Cuba, North Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Angola, and Mozambique were among the other countries in the Third World that adopted or imposed a pro-Communist government at some point. Although never formally unified as a single political entity, by the early 1980s almost one-third of the world's population lived in Communist states, including the former Soviet Union and People's Republic of China. By comparison, the British Empire had ruled up to one-quarter of the world's population at its greatest extent.[31]

Communist states such as the Soviet Union and China succeeded in becoming industrial and technological powers, challenging the capitalists' powers in the arms race and space race and military conflicts.

Cold War years

USSR postage stamp depicting the communist state launching the first artificial satellite Sputnik 1.

By virtue of the Soviet Union's victory in the Second World War in 1945, the Soviet Army had occupied nations in both Eastern Europe and East Asia; as a result, communism as a movement spread to many new countries. This expansion of communism both in Europe and Asia gave rise to a few different branches of its own, such as Maoism.[citation needed]

Communism had been vastly strengthened by the winning of many new nations into the sphere of Soviet influence and strength in Eastern Europe. Governments modeled on Soviet Communism took power with Soviet assistance in Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Poland, Hungary and Romania. A Communist government was also created under Marshal Tito in Yugoslavia, but Tito's independent policies led to the expulsion of Yugoslavia from the Cominform, which had replaced the Comintern. Titoism, a new branch in the world communist movement, was labeled deviationist. Albania also became an independent Communist nation after World War II.[citation needed]

By 1950, the Chinese Communists held all of Mainland China, thus controlling the most populous nation in the world. Other areas where rising Communist strength provoked dissension and in some cases led to actual fighting through conventional and guerrilla warfare include the Korean War, Laos, many nations of the Middle East and Africa, and notably succeeded in the case of the Vietnam War against the military power of the United States and its allies. With varying degrees of success, Communists attempted to unite with nationalist and socialist forces against what they saw as Western imperialism in these poor countries.

Fear of communism

A 1947 propaganda book published by the Catechetical Guild Educational Society "warning of the dangers" of a Communist takeover.

With the exception of the Soviet Union's, China's and the Italian resistance movement's great contribution in World War II, communism was seen as a rival, and a threat to western democracies and capitalism for most of the twentieth century.[citation needed] This rivalry peaked during the Cold War, as the world's two remaining superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union, polarized most of the world into two camps of nations (characterized in the West as "The Free World" vs. "Behind the Iron Curtain"); supported the spread of their economic and political systems (capitalism and democracy vs. communism); strengthened their military power, developed new weapon systems and stockpiled nuclear weapons; competed with each other in space exploration; and even fought each other through proxy client nations.

Near the beginning of the Cold War, on February 9, 1950, Senator Joseph McCarthy from Wisconsin accused 205 Americans working in the State Department of being "card-carrying Communists".[32] The fear of communism in the U.S. spurred aggressive investigations and the red-baiting, blacklisting, jailing and deportation of people suspected of following Communist or other left-wing ideology. Many famous actors and writers were put on a "blacklist" from 1950 to 1954, which meant they would not be hired and would be subject to public disdain.[33]

After the collapse of the Soviet Union

A map of countries who declare themselves to be socialist states under the Marxist-Leninist or Maoist definition (in other words, "communist states") today. The map also includes Communist alignment: either to China or independent

In 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev became leader of the Soviet Union and relaxed central control, in accordance with reform policies of glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring). The Soviet Union did not intervene as Poland, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary all abandoned Communist rule by 1990. In 1991, the Soviet Union itself dissolved.

By the beginning of the 21st century, states controlled by Communist parties under a single-party system include the People's Republic of China, Cuba, Laos, Vietnam, and informally North Korea. Communist parties, or their descendant parties, remain politically important in many countries. President Dimitris Christofias of Cyprus is a member of the Progressive Party of Working People, but the country is not run under single-party rule. In South Africa, the Communist Party is a partner in the ANC-led government. In India, communists lead the governments of three states, with a combined population of more than 115 million. In Nepal, communists hold a majority in the parliament.[34]

The People's Republic of China has reassessed many aspects of the Maoist legacy; and the People's Republic of China, Laos, Vietnam, and, to a far lesser degree, Cuba have reduced state control of the economy in order to stimulate growth. The People's Republic of China runs Special Economic Zones dedicated to market-oriented enterprise, free from central government control. Several other communist states have also attempted to implement market-based reforms, including Vietnam.

A tableau in a communist rally in Kerala, India, of a young farmer and worker.

Theories within Marxism as to why communism in Eastern Europe was not achieved after socialist revolutions pointed to such elements as the pressure of external capitalist states, the relative backwardness of the societies in which the revolutions occurred, and the emergence of a bureaucratic stratum or class that arrested or diverted the transition press in its own interests. (Scott and Marshall, 2005) Marxist critics of the Soviet Union, most notably Trotsky, referred to the Soviet system, along with other Communist states, as "degenerated" or "deformed workers' states", arguing that the Soviet system fell far short of Marx's communist ideal and he claimed the working class was politically dispossessed. The ruling stratum of the Soviet Union was held to be a bureaucratic caste, but not a new ruling class, despite their political control. Anarchists who adhere to Participatory economics claim that the Soviet Union became dominated by powerful intellectual elites who in a capitalist system crown the proletariat’s labor on behalf of the bourgeoisie.

Non-Marxists, in contrast, have often applied the term to any society ruled by a Communist Party and to any party aspiring to create a society similar to such existing nation-states. In the social sciences, societies ruled by Communist Parties are distinct for their single party control and their socialist economic bases. While some social and political scientists applied the concept of "totalitarianism" to these societies, others identified possibilities for independent political activity within them,[35][36] and stressed their continued evolution up to the point of the dissolution of the Soviet Union and its allies in Eastern Europe during the late 1980s and early 1990s.[citation needed]

Today, Marxist revolutionaries are conducting armed insurgencies in India, Philippines, Peru, Bangladesh, Iran, Turkey, and Colombia.

Criticism

A diverse array of writers and political activists have published criticism of communism, such as:

Part of this criticism is on the policies adopted by one-party states ruled by Communist parties (known as "Communist states"). Critics are specially focused on their economic performance compared to market based economies. Their human rights records are thought to be responsible for the flight of refugees from communist states, and are alleged by some scholars to be responsible for famines, purges and warfare resulting in deaths far in excess of previous empires, capitalist or Axis regimes.[37][38][39]

Some writers, such as Courtois, argue that the actions of Communist states were the inevitable (though sometimes unintentional) result of Marxist principles;[40] thus, these authors present the events occurring in those countries, particularly under Stalin and Mao, as an argument against Marxism itself. Some critics were former Marxists, such as Wittfogel, who applied Marx's concept of "Oriental despotism" to Communist states such as the Soviet Union,[41] Silone, Wright and Koestler (among other writers) who contributed essays to the book The God that Failed (the title refers not to the Christian God but to Marxism).[42] Czesław Miłosz, author of the influential essay The Captive Mind, was an example of a sceptic holding a party post, that of cultural attaché.[43]

There have also been more direct criticisms of Marxism, such as criticisms of the labor theory of value or Marx's predictions. Nevertheless, Communist parties outside of the Warsaw Pact, such as the Communist parties in Western Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Africa, differed greatly.

Economic criticisms of communal and/or government property are described under criticisms of socialism.

References

  1. ^ a b c d "Communism". Columbia Encyclopedia. 2008. 
  2. ^ Schaff, Kory (2001). Philosophy and the problems of work: a reader. Lanham, Md: Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 224. ISBN 0-7425-0795-5. 
  3. ^ Walicki, Andrzej (1995). Marxism and the leap to the kingdom of freedom: the rise and fall of the Communist utopia. Stanford, Calif: Stanford University Press. p. 95. ISBN 0-8047-2384-2. 
  4. ^ "Socialism." Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia. Columbia University Press. 03 Feb. 2008.<reference.com http://www.reference.com/browse/columbia/socialis>.
  5. ^ "Critique of the Gotha Programme--IV". Critique of the Gotha Programme. http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1875/gotha/ch04.htm. Retrieved 2009-10-18. 
  6. ^ Stephen Whitefield. "Communism." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics. Ed. Iain McLean and Alistair McMillan. Oxford University Press, 2003.
  7. ^ a b c McLean and McMillan, 2003.
  8. ^ Ball and Dagger 118
  9. ^ Terence Ball and Richard Dagger. "Political Ideologies and the Democratic Ideal." Pearson Education, Inc.:2006.
  10. ^ Karl Marx, (1845). The German Ideology, Marx-Engels Institute, Moscow. ISBN 978-1-57392-258-6. Sources available at The German Ideology at www.marxists.org.
  11. ^ Faces of Janus p. 133.
  12. ^ Hill, Christopher Lenin and the Russian Revolution (1971) Penguin Books:Londonp. 86.
  13. ^ Harding, Neil (ed.) The State in Socialist Society, second edition (1984) St. Antony's College: Oxford, p. 189.
  14. ^ "Marxism and the National Question"
  15. ^ "On Trotskyism". Marx2mao.com. http://www.marx2mao.com/Other/OT73NB.html. Retrieved 2009-10-18. 
  16. ^ "Swedish FRP on anti-Marxist-Leninist dogmas of Trotskyism". Home.flash.net. http://home.flash.net/~comvoice/32cTrotskyism.html. Retrieved 2009-10-18. 
  17. ^ "What's Your Line?". Web.archive.org. http://web.archive.org/web/20080201115440/http://www.etext.org/Politics/MIM/wim/wyl/. Retrieved 2009-10-18. 
  18. ^ This poster has been jokingly referred to as "The History of Shaving" Stefan Landsberger's Chinese Propaganda Poster Pages-Ideological Foundations
  19. ^ http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSSEO253213
  20. ^ Marshall, Peter. "Demanding the Impossible  — A History of Anarchism" p. 9. Fontana Press, London, 1993 ISBN 978-0-00-686245-1
  21. ^ Puente, Isaac."Libertarian Communism". The Cienfuegos Press Anarchist Review. Issue 6 Orkney 1982.
  22. ^ Graeber, David and Grubacic, Andrej. Anarchism, Or The Revolutionary Movement Of The Twenty-first Century.
  23. ^ "Historical Background for Spartacus". Vroma.org. http://www.vroma.org/~bmcmanus/spartacus.html. Retrieved 2009-10-18. 
  24. ^ The Cambridge History of Iran Volume 3, The Seleucid, Parthian and Sasanian Period, edited by Ehsan Yarshater, Parts 1 and 2, p1019, Cambridge University Press (1983)
  25. ^ a b c d "Communism." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2006. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
  26. ^ Eduard Bernstein: Cromwell and Communism (1895)
  27. ^ Eduard Bernstein, (1895). Kommunistische und demokratisch-sozialistische Strömungen während der englischen Revolution, J.H.W. Dietz, Stuttgart. OCLC 36367345 Sources available at Eduard Bernstein: Cromwell and Communism (1895) at www.marxists.org.
  28. ^ "Communism" A Dictionary of Sociology. John Scott and Gordon Marshall. Oxford University Press 2005. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press.
  29. ^ Marc Edelman, "Late Marx and the Russian road: Marx and the 'Peripheries of Capitalism'" - book reviews. Monthly Review, Dec., 1984. Late Marx and the Russian road: Marx and the "Peripheries of Capitalism." - book reviews Monthly Review Find Articles at BNET at www.findarticles.com.
  30. ^ Norman Davies. "Communism" The Oxford Companion to World War II. Ed. I. C. B. Dear and M. R. D. Foot. Oxford University Press, 2001.
  31. ^ Hildreth, Jeremy (2005-06-14). "The British Empire's Lessons for Our own". The Wall Street Journal. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB111870387824258558.html. Retrieved 2009-10-18. 
  32. ^ Adams, John G. (1983). Without Precedent. New York, N.Y.: W. W. Norton & Company. p. 285. ISBN 0-393-01616-1. 
  33. ^ Georgakas, Dan (1992). "The Hollywood Blacklist". Encyclopedia of the American Left. University of Illinois Press. 
  34. ^ "Nepal's election The Maoists triumph Economist.com". Economist.com. 2008-04-17. http://www.economist.com/displaystory.cfm?story_id=11057207&fsrc=nwl. Retrieved 2009-10-18. 
  35. ^ H. Gordon Skilling (April 1966). [Expression error: Missing operand for > "Interest Groups and Communist Politics"]. World Politics 18 (3): 435–451. doi:10.2307/2009764. ?UNIQ3ab34e171166e61b-HTMLCommentStrip7c7dfbc41ccbeb7000000002
  36. ^ J. Arch Getty (1985). Origins of the Great Purges: The Soviet Communist Party Reconsidered: 1933–1938. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-33570-6. 
  37. ^ Rosefielde, Steven (2009). Red Holocaust. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-77757-5. 
  38. ^ Daniel Jonah Goldhagen. Worse Than War: Genocide, Eliminationism, and the Ongoing Assault on Humanity. PublicAffairs, 2009. ISBN 1586487698 p. 54: "...in the past century communist regimes, led and inspired by the Soviet Union and China, have killed more people than any other regime type."
  39. ^ Benjamin A. Valentino. Final Solutions: Mass Killing and Genocide in the Twentieth Century. Cornell University Press, 2004. p.91 ISBN 0801439655
  40. ^ Nicolas Werth, Karel Bartošek, Jean-Louis Panne, Jean-Louis Margolin, Andrzej Paczkowski, Stéphane Courtois, The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression, Harvard University Press, 1999, hardcover, 858 pages, ISBN 978-0-674-07608-2
  41. ^ Wittfogel, Karl Oriental Despotism, Vintage, 1981
  42. ^ Crossman, Richard, ed., The God That Failed. Harper & Bros, 1949
  43. ^ Czeslaw Milosz, Poet and Nobelist Who Wrote of Modern Cruelties, Dies at 93, The New York Times, accessed 3 January 2010.

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