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Introduction

In political and social sciences, communism (from Latin communis, "common, universal") is the philosophical, social, political, and economic ideology and movement whose ultimate goal is the establishment of the communist society, which is a socioeconomic order structured upon the common ownership of the means of production and the absence of social classes, money, and the state.

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 conflict between these two classes is the root of all problems in society;[citation needed] and that this situation will ultimately be resolved through a social revolution. The two classes are the working class—who must work to survive and who make up the majority within society—and the capitalist class—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 communist states and those concerning themselves with communist principles and theory.

Marxism-Leninism and democratic socialism were the two dominant forms of socialism in the 20th century; democratic socialism advocates economic reform through gradual democratic legislative action rather than through revolution.

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Mao flag
Maoism or Mao Zedong Thought (Chinese: 毛澤東思想, pinyin: Máo Zēdōng Sīxĭang) is an ideology derived from the teachings of Mao Zedong. In the People's Republic of China (PRC) Mao Zedong Thought has been the official doctrine of the Communist Party of China since the Cultural Revolution of the mid 1960s, although since the reforms of Deng Xiaoping the term has had little meaning in practice.

Outside the PRC, Maoism was a term, used from the 1960s onwards, usually in a hostile sense, to describe parties or individuals who supported Mao Zedong and his form of Communism, as opposed to the form practised in the Soviet Union, which these groups denounced as "revisionist." These groups usually rejected the term Maoism, preferring to call themselves Marxist-Leninists. Since the death of Mao and the reforms of Deng, most of these parties have disappeared, but various small Communist groups in a number of countries continue to advance Maoist ideas.

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Erich Honecker
Erich Honecker (German: [ˈeːʁɪç ˈhɔnɛkɐ]; 25 August 1912 – 29 May 1994) was a German communist politician who, as the General Secretary of the Socialist Unity Party, led East Germany from 1971 until the weeks preceding the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. From 1976 onward he was also the country's official Head of State as Chairman of the State Council following Willi Stoph's relinquishment of the post.

Honecker's political career began in the 1930s when he became an official of the Communist Party of Germany, a position for which he was imprisoned during the Nazi era. Following World War II, he was freed and soon relaunched his political activity, founding the youth organisation the Free German Youth in 1946 and serving as the group's chairman until 1955. As the Security Secretary of the Party’s Central Committee in the new East German state, he was the prime organiser of the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961 and, in this function, bore responsibility for the "order to fire" along the Inner German border.

In 1971, he initiated a political power struggle that led, with Soviet support, to his replacing Walter Ulbricht as First Secretary of the Central Committee and as chairman of the state's National Defense Council. Under his command, the country adopted a programme of "consumer socialism" and moved toward the international community by normalising relations with West Germany and also becoming a full member of the UN, in what is considered one of his greatest political successes.

As Cold War tensions eased in the late 1980s under the liberalising reforms of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, Honecker refused all but cosmetic changes to the East German political system and was consequently forced to resign by his party in October 1989 and ousted from power as the regime sought to retain its power, thus ending Honecker's eighteen years (effectively) at the helm of the soon-to-cease state.

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Though the sex class system may have originated in fundamental biological conditions, this does not guarantee once the biological basis of their oppression has been swept away that women and children will be freed. On the contrary, the new technology, especially fertility control, maybe used against them to reinforce the entrenched system of exploitation.

So that just as to assure elimination of economic classes requires the revolt of the underclass (the proletariat) and, in a -temporary dictatorship, their seizure of the means of production, so to assure the elimination of sexual classes requires the revolt of the underclass (women) and the seizure of control of reproduction: not only the full restoration to women of ownership of their own bodies, but also their (temporary) seizure of control of human fertility - the new population biology as well as all the social institutions of child-bearing and child-rearing. And just as the end goal of socialist revolution was not only the elimination of the economic class privilege but of the economic class distinction itself, so the end goal of feminist revolution must be, unlike that of the first feminist movement, not just the elimination of male privilege but of the sex distinction itself: genital differences between human beings would no longer matter culturally. (A reversion to an unobstructed pansexuality Freud's 'polymorphous perversity' - would probably supersede hetero/homo/bi-sexuality.) The reproduction of the species by one sex for the benefit of both would be replaced by (at least the option of) artificial reproduction: children would born to both sexes equally, or independently of either, however one chooses to look at it; the dependence of the child on the mother (and vice versa) would give way to a greatly shortened dependence on a small group of others in general, and any remaining inferiority to adults in physical strength would be compensated for culturally. The division of labour would be ended by the elimination of labour altogether (through cybernetics). The tyranny of the biological family would be broken.

And with it the psychology of power. As Engels claimed for strictly socialist revolution: 'The existence of not simply this or that ruling class but of any ruling class at all [will have] become an obsolete anachronism.' That socialism has never come near achieving this predicated goal is not only the result of unfulfilled or misfired economic preconditions, but also because the Marxian analysis itself was insufficient: it did not dig deep enough to the psychosexual roots of class. Marx was on to something more profound than he knew when he observed that the family contained within itself in embryo all the antagonisms that later develop on a wide scale within the society and the state. For unless revolution uproots the basic social organisation, the biological family - the vinculum through which the psychology of power can always be smuggled - the tapeworm of exploitation will never be annihilated. We shall need a sexual revolution much larger than - inclusive of - a socialist one to truly eradicate all class systems.

— Shulamith Firestone (1945-2012)
The Dialectic of Sex , 1970

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Egyptian Communist Party demonstrators at Tahrir Square.

Photo credit: Lilian Wagdy

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