THE COMMUNISM PORTAL
Communism (from Latin communis, 'common, universal') is a philosophical, social, political, and economic ideology and movement whose goal is the establishment of a communist society, namely a socioeconomic order structured upon the ideas of common ownership of the means of production and the absence of social classes, money, and the state. Communism is a specific, yet distinct, form of socialism. Communists agree on the withering away of the state but disagree on the means to this end, reflecting a distinction between a more libertarian approach of communization, revolutionary spontaneity, and workers' self-management, and a more vanguardist or Communist party-driven approach through the development of a constitutional socialist state.
Variants of communism have been developed throughout history, including anarcho-communism, Leninism, Stalinism, and Maoism. Communism includes a variety of schools of thought which broadly include Marxism and libertarian communism as well as the political ideologies grouped around both, all of which share the analysis that the current order of society stems from capitalism, its economic system and mode of production, namely that in this system there are two major social classes, the relationship between these two classes is exploitative, and that this situation can only ultimately be resolved through a social revolution. The two classes are the proletariat (the working class), who make up the majority of the population within society and must work to survive, and the bourgeoisie (the capitalist class), a small minority who derives profit from employing the working class through private ownership of the means of production. According to this analysis, revolution would put the working class in power and in turn establish social ownership of the means of production which is the primary element in the transformation of society towards a communist mode of production.
In the 20th century, Communist governments espousing Marxism–Leninism and its variants came into power in parts of the world, first in the Soviet Union with the Russian Revolution of 1917, and then in portions of Eastern Europe, Asia, and a few other regions after World War II. Along with social democracy, communism became the dominant political tendency within the international socialist movement by the 1920s. Criticism of communism can be divided into two broad categories, namely that which concerns itself with the practical aspects of 20th century Communist states and that which concerns itself with communist principles and theory. Several academics and economists, among other scholars, posit that the Soviet model under which these nominally Communist states in practice operated was not an actual communist economic model in accordance with most accepted definitions of communism as an economic theory but in fact a form of state capitalism, or non-planned administrative-command system. (Full article...)
is the philosophy
, social theory
practice based on the works of Karl Marx
, a 19th century German
, and revolutionary
. Marx, often in collaboration with Friedrich Engels
, drew on G. W. F. Hegel
's philosophy, the political economy
of Adam Smith
and David Ricardo
, and theorists of 19th century French socialism
, to develop a critique of society which he claimed was both scientific and revolutionary. This critique achieved its most systematic (albeit unfinished) expression in his most famous work, Capital: A Critique of Political Economy
, more commonly known as Das Kapital
Marx defined history on a strictly economic basis, stating that history had 6 steps (Tribe, Slavery, Feudalism, Capitalism, Socialism and Communism), where economic inequility caused each step to be replaced over time. He as a communist believed that a violent revolution would be the catalyst in the transformation from capitalism to socialism. Since its inception and up to the present day, Marxism has been situated largely outside the political mainstream, although it has played a major role in history. Today, Marxist political parties of widely different sizes survive in most countries around the world.
Did you know...
"The Communists fight for the attainment of the immediate aims, for the enforcement of the momentary interests of the working class; but in the movement of the present, they also represent and take care of the future of that movement. In France, the Communists ally with the Social-Democrats against the conservative and radical bourgeoisie, reserving, however, the right to take up a critical position in regard to phases and illusions traditionally handed down from the great Revolution.
In Switzerland, they support the Radicals, without losing sight of the fact that this party consists of antagonistic elements, partly of Democratic Socialists, in the French sense, partly of radical bourgeois.
In Poland, they support the party that insists on an agrarian revolution as the prime condition for national emancipation, that party which fomented the insurrection of Cracow in 1846.
In Germany, they fight with the bourgeoisie whenever it acts in a revolutionary way, against the absolute monarchy, the feudal squirearchy, and the petty bourgeoisie."
- —Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Party, English edition of 1888
Photo credit: Jim Winstead
Want to find an article related to communism? Try browsing through any of the main categories
Select [►] to view subcategories
Variations of Communism
Organizations and ruling parties, past and present
Present and former Socialist states (under the direction of Communist parties)
Ideology and tactics
Marxian economics topics
Artists and writers
Things you can do
Communism in non-English Wikipedias
- Communistenbond van Bosnië-Herzegovina, De Tribune, De Vonk, Democratische Federatie van Hongaarse Vrouwen, Dimitrov Communistische Jeugdunie, Gerardus Johannes Marinus van het Reve, Hongaars Onafhankelijkheidsfront, Lijst van CPN-fractievoorzitters Tweede Kamer, Marxistischer Studentenbund Spartakus, Montenegrijnse Communistenbond, Nationale Raad van Hongaarse Vrouwen, De Waarheid, Elli Schmidt, Miljan Radović, Patriottisch Volksfront, PRON, Marko Orlandić, Ina Brouwer, Leendert van den Muijzenberg, Daan Monjé
- Arbeiterbund für den Wiederaufbau der KPD, Allgemeine Arbeiter-Union – Einheitsorganisation, GegenStandpunkt, Kommunistische Jugend Österreichs - Junge Linke, Kommunistischer StudentInnenverband, Kommunistische Partei der Türkei/Marxisten Leninisten, Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands, Kommunistische Partei Österreichs, Kommunistische Arbeiterpartei Deutschlands, Kommunistischer Jugendverband Deutschlands (1970er), Kommunistischer Oberschülerverband, Marxistisch-Leninistische Partei Deutschlands, Marxistische Gruppe, Münchner Räterepublik, Rote Gruppe, Rote Marine, Roter Frontkämpferbund, Sozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterjugend, Spartakusbund, Vereinigte Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands
- Joventut Comunista del País Valencià, Colectivos de Jóvenes Comunistas, Frente Revolucionario Antifascista y Patriota, Unión de Juventudes Comunistas de España, Las Trece Rosas, Julián Grimau, Gladys Marín, Luis Emilio Recabarren, Partido Comunista de España Unificado, Partido Socialista Popular (Cuba), Unión Navarra de Izquierdas, Organización Revolucionaria de Trabajadores