Portal:Communism

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Introduction

Communism (from Latin communis, 'common, universal') is a philosophical, social, political, economic ideology and movement whose ultimate 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 includes a variety of schools of thought which broadly include Marxism and anarcho-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, conflict between these two classes is the root of all problems in society and 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 communism.

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PKI leader D.N. Aidit speaking at election meeting, 1955
The Communist Party of Indonesia (Indonesian: Partai Komunis Indonesia, PKI) was a political party in Indonesia. With growing popular support and a membership of about 3 million by 1965, the PKI was the strongest communist party outside the Soviet Union and China. The party had a firm base in various mass organizations, estimates claim that the total membership of the party and its frontal organizations might have at its peak organized a fifth of the Indonesian population. In March 1962 PKI joined the government. PKI leaders Aidit and Njoto were named advisory ministers.

Following the military coup in 1965, between 300,000 and one million Indonesians were killed in the mass killings that followed as the new regime cracked down on PKI. A CIA study of the events in Indonesia assessed that "In terms of the numbers killed the anti-PKI massacres in Indonesia rank as one of the worst mass murders of the 20th century...".

Selected biography

Portrait of Hồ Chí Minh ca. 1946
Hồ Chí Minh (19 May 1890 – 2 September 1969), born Nguyễn Sinh Cung, was a Vietnamese Marxist–Leninist revolutionary leader who was prime minister (1945–1955) and president (1945–1969) of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam). He was a key figure in the formation of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in 1945, as well as the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) and the Vietcong during the Vietnam War until his death in 1969.

Hồ led the Việt Minh independence movement from 1941 onward, establishing the communist-governed Democratic Republic of Vietnam in 1945 and defeating the French Union in 1954 at Điện Biên Phủ. He lost political power in 1955—when he was replaced as prime minister—but remained the highly visible figurehead of North Vietnam—through the presidency—until his death. The capital of South Vietnam, Saigon, after the Fall of Saigon, was renamed Ho Chi Minh City in his honor.

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What are the Ideological State Apparatuses (ISAs)?

They must not be confused with the (repressive) State apparatus. Remember that in Marxist theory, the State Apparatus (SA) contains: the Government, the Administration, the Army, the Police, the Courts, the Prisons, etc., which constitute what I shall in future call the Repressive State Apparatus. Repressive suggests that the State Apparatus in question ‘functions by violence’ – at least ultimately (since repression, e.g. administrative repression, may take non-physical forms).

I shall call Ideological State Apparatuses a certain number of realities which present themselves to the immediate observer in the form of distinct and specialized institutions. I propose an empirical list of these which will obviously have to be examined in detail, tested, corrected and re-organized. With all the reservations implied by this requirement, we can for the moment regard the following institutions as Ideological State Apparatuses (the order in which I have listed them has no particular significance):

  • the religious ISA (the system of the different churches),
  • the educational ISA (the system of the different public and private ‘schools’),
  • the family ISA,
  • the legal ISA,
  • the political ISA (the political system, including the different parties),
  • the trade-union ISA,
  • the communications ISA (press, radio and television, etc.),
  • the cultural ISA (literature, the arts, sports, etc.).

I have said that the ISAs must not be confused with the (Repressive) State Apparatus. What constitutes the difference?

As a first moment, it is clear that while there is one (Repressive) State Apparatus, there is a plurality of Ideological State Apparatuses. Even presupposing that it exists, the unity that constitutes this plurality of ISAs as a body is not immediately visible.

As a second moment, it is clear that whereas the unified – (Repressive) State Apparatus belongs entirely to the public domain, much the larger part of the Ideological State Apparatuses (in their apparent dispersion) are part, on the contrary, of the private domain. Churches, Parties, Trade Unions, families, some schools, most newspapers, cultural ventures, etc., etc., are private.

— Louis Althusser (1918-1990)
Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses , 1970

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Stalin birthday2.jpg
Stalin's 70th birthday celebrated in China.

Communism News

19 September 2020 – Protests over responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, COVID-19 pandemic in Romania
Hundreds of Romanian families protest at the University Square in Bucharest against the government's new mandate on social distancing and the wearing of face masks in schools. Many compare the measures to the country's communist regime. (AP via ABC News)
17 August 2020 – China–United States trade war, Chinese espionage in the United States, Concerns over Chinese involvement in 5G wireless networks
The United States Department of Commerce expands its sanctions on Chinese technological vendor Huawei by adding 38 of the company's affiliates to its "entity list", limiting Huawei's access into U.S. integrated circuits and other technology. The Trump administration has viewed Huawei as "an arm of the Chinese Communist Party's surveillance state." (AFP via The Independent)
12 July 2020 –
China releases law professor Xu Zhangrun, who had criticized CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), from detention after six days. (Reuters)
7 July 2020 – Censorship in Vietnam
In what is seen as an increase in arrests of political activists, a court in Vietnam sentences a 29-year-old Facebook user to eight years in prison for making anti-government posts, including several criticizing communist leader Ho Chi Minh. The man was also sentenced to serve three years of house arrest after finishing his prison term. (Reuters)
6 July 2020 – COVID-19 pandemic in mainland China, censorship in China
In Beijing, authorities arrest Xu Zhangrun, a law professor who published essays strongly criticizing Chinese Communist Party general secretary Xi Jinping over censored academia on the COVID-19 pandemic and accusing him of ruling "tyrannically." (Al Jazeera)
22 June 2020 – China–United States relations
The U.S. State Department adds four Chinese media organizations, including the public broadcasting service China Central Television, to its list of organizations participating in "foreign missions" due to their connections with the ruling Communist Party. They will be required to report all their employees and any real estate holdings to the American government. (Al Jazeera)

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