In political and , communism (from Latin communis, "common, universal") World Book, 2008, p. 890. is the philosophical, social, Ideology, and economic ideology and movement whose ultimate goal is the establishment of the communist society, which is a Socioeconomics order structured upon the common ownership of the means of production and the absence of , money Principles of Communism, Frederick Engels, 1847, Section 18. "Finally, when all capital, all production, all exchange have been brought together in the hands of the nation, private property will disappear of its own accord, money will become superfluous, and production will so expand and man so change that society will be able to slough off whatever of its old economic habits may remain". The ABC of Communism, Nikoli Bukharin, 1920, Section 20. and the state. The ABC of Communism, Nikoli Bukharin, 1920, Section 21.
Communism includes a variety of schools of thought, which broadly include Marxism and anarchism (anarcho-communism), as well as the political ideologies grouped around both. All of these share the analysis that the current order of society stems from its economic system, capitalism; that in this system there are two major social classes; that class conflict is the root of all problems in society; and that this situation will ultimately be resolved through a social revolution. The two classes are the proletariat—who must work to survive and who make up the majority within society—and the Bourgeoisie—a minority who derives profit from employing the working class through private ownership of the means of production. The revolution will put the working class in power and in turn establish social ownership of the means of production, which according to this analysis is the primary element in the transformation of society towards communism. Critics of communism can be roughly divided into those concerning themselves with the practical aspects of 20th century Bruno Bosteels, The Actuality of Communism (Verso Books, 2014). and those concerning themselves with communist principles and theory.Raymond C. Taras, ''The Road to Disillusion: From Critical Marxism to Post-communism in Eastern Europe (Routledge, 2015).
According to Richard Pipes, the idea of a classless, egalitarian society first emerged in Ancient Greece.Richard Pipes Communism: A History (2001) , pp. 3–5. The 5th-century Mazdak movement in Iran has been described as "communistic" for challenging the enormous privileges of the noble classes and the clergy, for criticizing the institution of private property and for striving to create an egalitarian society. The Cambridge History of Iran Volume 3, , edited by Ehsan Yarshater, Parts 1 and 2, p. 1019, Cambridge University Press (1983).
Communist thought has also been traced back to the works of the 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. In the 17th century, communist thought surfaced again in England, where a Puritan religious group known as the "Diggers" advocated the abolition of private ownership of land. In his 1895 Cromwell and Communism, Eduard Bernstein argued that several groups during the English Civil War (especially the Diggers) espoused clear communistic, agrarian ideals and that Oliver Cromwell's attitude towards these groups was at best ambivalent and often hostile. 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. Later, following the upheaval of the French Revolution communism emerged as a political doctrine."Communism" A Dictionary of Sociology. John Scott and Gordon Marshall. Oxford University Press 2005. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press.
In the early 19th century, various social reformers founded communities based on common ownership. However, unlike many previous communist communities they replaced the religious emphasis with a rational and philanthropic basis."Communism". Encyclopædia Britannica. 2006. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Notable among them were Robert Owen, who founded New Harmony in Indiana (1825), as well as Charles Fourier, whose followers organized other settlements in the United States such as Brook Farm (1841–1847).
In its modern form, communism grew out of the socialist movement in 19th-century Europe. 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 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.
The moderate (minority) opposed Lenin's Bolshevik (majority) plan for socialist revolution before capitalism was more fully developed. The Bolsheviks' successful rise to power was based upon the slogans such as "Peace, bread and land" which tapped into 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.Holmes 2009, p. 18. The Soviet Union was established in 1922.
Following Lenin's democratic centralism, the Leninist 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.Norman Davies. "Communism". The Oxford Companion to World War II. Ed. I. C. B. Dear and M. R. D. Foot. Oxford University Press, 2001. The Great Purge of 1937–1938 was Joseph Stalin's attempt to destroy any possible opposition within the Communist Party. In the Moscow Trials, many old Bolsheviks who had played prominent roles during the Russian Revolution of 1917 or in Lenin's Soviet government afterwards, including Lev Kamenev, Grigory Zinoviev, Alexei Rykov and Nikolai Bukharin, were accused, pleaded guilty and executed.Sedov, Lev (1980). The Red Book on the Moscow Trial: Documents. New York: New Park Publications. .
Previously, from August to December all the individual republics, including Russia itself, had seceded from the union. The week before the union's formal dissolution, eleven republics signed the Alma-Ata Protocol formally establishing the Commonwealth of Independent States and declaring that the Soviet Union had ceased to exist.
The People's Republic of China has reassessed many aspects of the Maoist legacy and along with Laos, Vietnam and to a lesser degree Cuba has decentralized state control of the economy in order to stimulate growth. Chinese economic reforms were started in 1978 under the leadership of Deng Xiaoping and since then China has managed to bring down the poverty rate from 53% in the Mao era to just 6% in 2001. These reforms are sometimes described by outside commentators as a regression to capitalism, but the communist parties describe it as a necessary adjustment to existing realities in the post-Soviet world in order to maximize industrial productive capacity. In these countries, the land is a universal public monopoly administered by the state, as are natural resources and vital industries and services. The public sector is the dominant sector in these economies and the state plays a central role in coordinating economic development.
At the root of Marxism is the materialist conception of history, known as historical materialism for short. It holds that the key characteristic of economic systems through history has been the mode of production and that the change between modes of production has been triggered by class struggle. According to this analysis, the Industrial Revolution ushered the world into a new mode of production: capitalism. Before capitalism, certain working classes had ownership of instruments utilized in production, but because machinery was much more efficient this property became worthless and the mass majority of workers could only survive by selling their labor, working through making use of someone else's machinery and therefore making someone else profit. Thus with capitalism the world was divided between two major classes: the proletariat and the bourgeoisie.Engels, Friedrich. Marx & Engels Selected Works, Volume One, pp. 81–97, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1969. "Principles of Communism". No. 4 – "How did the proletariat originate?". These classes are directly antagonistic: the bourgeoisie has private ownership of the means of production and earns a profit off surplus value, which is generated by the proletariat, which has no ownership of the means of production and therefore no option but to sell its labor to the bourgeoisie.
Historical materialism goes on and says: the rising bourgeoisie within feudalism, through the furtherance of its own material interests, captured power and abolished, of all relations of private property, only the feudal privileges and with this took out of existence the feudal ruling class. This was another of the keys behind the consolidation of capitalism as the new mode of production, which is the final expression of class and property relations and also has led into a massive expansion of production. It is therefore only in capitalism that private property in itself can be abolished.Engels, Friedrich. Marx & Engels Selected Works, Volume One, pp. 81–97, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1969. "Principles of Communism". No. 15 – "Was not the abolition of private property possible at an earlier time?". Similarly, the proletariat will capture political power, abolish bourgeois property through the common ownership of the means of production, therefore abolishing the bourgeoisie and ultimately abolishing the proletariat itself and ushering the world into a new mode of production: communism. In between capitalism and communism there is the dictatorship of the proletariat, a democratic state where the whole of the public authority is elected and recallable under the basis of universal suffrage.Thomas M. Twiss. Trotsky and the Problem of Soviet Bureaucracy. Brill. pp. 28–29. It is the defeat of the bourgeois state, but not yet of the capitalist mode of production and at the same time the only element which places into the realm of possibility moving on from this mode of production.
An important concept in Marxism is socialization vs. nationalization. Nationalization is merely state ownership of property, whereas socialization is actual control and management of property by society. Marxism considers socialization its goal and considers nationalization a tactical issue, with state ownership still being in the realm of the capitalist mode of production; in the words of Engels: "The into State-ownership does not do away with the capitalistic nature of the productive forces. ... State-ownership of the productive forces is not the solution of the conflict, but concealed within it are the technical conditions that form the elements of that solution".Engels, Friedrich. . Chapter 3. "But, the transformation—either into joint-stock companies and trusts, or into State-ownership—does not do away with the capitalistic nature of the productive forces. In the joint-stock companies and trusts, this is obvious. And the modern State, again, is only the organization that bourgeois society takes on in order to support the external conditions of the capitalist mode of production against the encroachments as well of the workers as of individual capitalists. The modern state, no matter what its form, is essentially a capitalist machine—the state of the capitalists, the ideal personification of the total national capital. The more it proceeds to the taking over of productive forces, the more does it actually become the national capitalist, the more citizens does it exploit. The workers remain wage-workers—proletarians. The capitalist relation is not done away with. It is, rather, brought to a head. But, brought to a head, it topples over. State-ownership of the productive forces is not the solution of the conflict, but concealed within it are the technical conditions that form the elements of that solution". This has led some Marxist groups and tendencies to label states such as the Soviet Union—based on nationalization—as State capitalism. "State capitalism" in the Soviet Union, M.C. Howard and J.E. King.
Marxism–Leninism refers to the socioeconomic system and political ideology implemented by Stalin in the Soviet Union and later copied by other states based on the Soviet model (central planning, one-party state and so on), whereas Stalinism refers to Stalin's style of governance. Marxism–Leninism stayed after de-Stalinization, Stalinism did not. In the last letters before his death, Lenin in fact warned against the danger of Stalin's personality and urged the Soviet government to replace him.
Maoism is a form of Marxism–Leninism associated with Chinese leader Mao Zedong. After de-Stalinization, Marxism–Leninism was kept in the Soviet Union, but certain Anti-revisionism tendencies such as Hoxhaism and Maoism argued that it was deviated from, therefore different policies were applied in Albania and China, which became more distanced from the Soviet Union.
Marxism–Leninism has been criticized by other communist and Marxist tendencies. They argue that Marxist–Leninist states did not establish socialism, but rather state capitalism. According to Marxism, the dictatorship of the proletariat represents the rule of the majority (democracy) rather than of one party, to the extent that co-founder of Marxism Friedrich Engels described its "specific form" as the republicanism. A Critique of the Draft Social-Democratic Program of 1891. "Marx & Engels Collected Works", Vol 27, p. 217. "If one thing is certain it is that our party and the working class can only come to power under the form of a democratic republic. This is even the specific form for the dictatorship of the proletariat". Additionally, according to Engels state property by itself is private property of capitalist nature"Socialism: Utopian and Scientific". Friedrich Engels. Part III. Progress Publishers. "But, the transformation—either into joint-stock companies and trusts, or into State-ownership—does not do away with the capitalistic nature of the productive forces". unless the proletariat has control of political power, in which case it forms public property."Socialism: Utopian and Scientific". Friedrich Engels. Part III. Progress Publishers. "The proletariat seizes the public power, and by means of this transforms the socialized means of production, slipping from the hands of the bourgeoisie, into public property. By this act, the proletariat frees the means of production from the character of capital they have thus far borne, and gives their socialized character complete freedom to work itself out". Whether the proletariat was actually in control of the Marxist–Leninist states is a matter of debate between Marxism–Leninism and other communist tendencies. To these tendencies, Marxism–Leninism is neither Marxism nor Leninism nor the union of both, but rather an artificial term created to justify Stalin's ideological distortion,History for the IB Diploma: Communism in Crisis 1976–89. Allan Todd. p. 16. "The term Marxism–Leninism, invented by Stalin, was not used until after Lenin's death in 1924. It soon came to be used in Stalin's Soviet Union to refer to what he described as 'orthodox Marxism'. This increasingly came to mean what Stalin himself had to say about political and economic issues." ... "However, many Marxists (even members of the Communist Party itself) believed that Stalin's ideas and practices (such as socialism in one country and the purges) were almost total distortions of what Marx and Lenin had said". forced into the CPSU and Comintern. In the Soviet Union, this struggle against Marxism–Leninism was represented by Trotskyism, which describes itself as a Marxist and Leninist tendency.
Trotsky and his supporters, struggling against Stalin for power in the Soviet Union, 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. While in exile, Trotsky continued his campaign against Stalin, founding in 1938 the Fourth International, a Trotskyist rival to the Comintern In August 1940, Trotsky was assassinated in Mexico City on Stalin's orders.
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 support for a true dictatorship of the proletariat based on democratic principles.
Libertarian Marxism includes such currents as Luxemburgism, council communism, left communism, Socialisme ou Barbarie, the Johnson-Forest tendency, world socialism, Lettrism/Situationism and operaismo/autonomism and New Left. Libertarian Marxism has often had a strong influence on both post-left and Social anarchism. Notable theorists of libertarian Marxism have included Anton Pannekoek, Raya Dunayevskaya, CLR James, Antonio Negri, Cornelius Castoriadis, Maurice Brinton, Guy Debord, Daniel Guérin, Ernesto Screpanti and Raoul Vaneigem.
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 organization and governmental power. This view is opposed to both the reformist and the Leninist ideology, with their stress on respectively parliaments and institutional government (i.e. by applying social reforms on the one hand and Vanguard party and participative democratic centralism on the other).
The core principle of council communism is that the government and the economic system should be managed by workers' councils composed of delegates elected at workplaces and recall election at any moment. As such, council communists oppose Planned economy Authoritarianism "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.
Left communists represent a range of political movements distinct from Marxist–Leninists (whom they largely view as merely the left-wing of capital), from anarcho-communists (some of whom they consider internationalist socialists) as well as from various other revolutionary socialist tendencies (for example , whom they tend to see as being internationalist socialists only in limited instances).
Anarcho-communism differs from Marxism rejecting its view about the need for a state socialism phase before building communism. The main theorist of anarcho-communism, Peter Kropotkin, argued that a revolutionary society should "transform itself immediately into a communist society", that is should go immediately into what Marx had regarded as the "more advanced, completed, phase of communism". In this way, it tries to avoid the reappearance of "class divisions and the need for a state to oversee everything".
Some forms of anarcho-communism such as insurrectionary anarchism are Egoist anarchism and strongly influenced by radical individualism,Christopher Gray, Leaving the Twentieth Century, p. 88. believing that anarchist communism does not require a communitarian nature at all. Most anarcho-communists view anarchist communism as a way of reconciling the opposition between the individual and society."Communism is the one which guarantees the greatest amount of individual liberty—provided that the idea that begets the community be Liberty, Anarchy ... Communism guarantees economic freedom better than any other form of association, because it can guarantee wellbeing, even luxury, in return for a few hours of work instead of a day's work". This other society will be libertarian communism, in which social solidarity and free individuality find their full expression, and in which these two ideas develop in perfect harmony. "I see the dichotomies made between individualism and communism, individual revolt and class struggle, the struggle against human exploitation and the exploitation of nature as false dichotomies and feel that those who accept them are impoverishing their own critique and struggle".
To date in human history, the best-known examples of an anarcho-communist society, established around the ideas as they exist today and that received worldwide attention and knowledge in the historical canon, are the anarchist territories during the Spanish Revolution and the Free Territory during the Russian Revolution. Through the efforts and influence of the Spanish anarchists during the Spanish Revolution within the Spanish Civil War, starting in 1936 anarcho-communism existed in most of Aragon, parts of the Levante and Andalusia as well as in the stronghold of Anarchist Catalonia before being brutally crushed. During the Russian Revolution, anarchists such as Nestor Makhno worked to create and defend—through the Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army of Ukraine—anarcho-communism in the Free Territory of the Ukraine from 1919 before being conquered by the Bolsheviks in 1921.
Christian communism can be seen as a radical form of Christian socialism. Christian communists may or may not agree with various aspects of Marxism. They do not agree with the atheist and antireligious views held by secular Marxists, but they do agree with many of the economic and existential aspects of Marxist theory, such as the idea that capitalism exploits the working class by extracting surplus value from the workers in the form of profits and the idea that Wage labour is a tool of human alienation that promotes arbitrary and unjust authority. Like Marxism, Christian communism also holds the view that capitalism encourages the negative aspects of humans, supplanting values such as mercy, kindness, justice and compassion in favor of greed, selfishness and blind ambition.
Marxism is also subject to general criticisms, criticisms related to historical materialism that it is a type of historical determinism, the necessary suppression of liberal democratic rights, issues with the implementation of communism and economic issues such as the distortion or absence of . In addition, empirical and epistemological problems are frequently identified.See M. C. Howard and J. E. King, 1992, A History of Marxian Economics: Volume II, 1929–1990. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.