Variants of communism have been developed throughout history, including anarchist communism, Marxist schools of thought, and religious communism, among others. Communism encompasses a variety of schools of thought, which broadly include Marxism, Leninism, and libertarian communism, as well as the political ideologies grouped around those. All of these different ideologies generally share the analysis that the current order of society stems from capitalism, its economic system, and mode of production, that in this system there are two major social classes, that 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, who make up the majority of the population within society and must sell their labor power to survive, and the bourgeoisie, a small minority that derives profit from employing the working class through private ownership of the means of production. According to this analysis, a communist revolution would put the working class in power, and in turn establish common ownership of property, the primary element in the transformation of society towards a communist mode of production.
Communism in its modern form grew out of the socialist movement in 19th-century Europe, which blamed capitalism for the misery of urban factory workers. In the 20th century, several ostensibly Communist governments espousing Marxism–Leninism and its variants came into power, 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. As one of the many types of socialism, communism became the dominant political tendency, along with social democracy, within the international socialist movement by the early 1920s. (Full article...)
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.
François-Noël Babeuf (23 November 1760 - 27 May 1797), known as Gracchus Babeuf (in tribute to the Roman tribunes of the people and reformers, the Gracchi brothers, and used alongside his self-designation as Tribune), was a French political agitator and journalist of the Revolutionary period. In spite of the efforts of his Jacobin friends to save him, Babeuf was arrested, tried, and convicted for his role in the Conspiracy of the Equals. Although the words "anarchist"and "communist" did not exist in Babeuf's lifetime, they have all been used to describe his ideas, by later scholars. The word "communism" was coined by Goodwyn Barmby in a conversation with those he described as the "disciples of Babeuf".
It is a strange fact. In spite of all the tall talk and all the immense literature, for the last 60 years, about emancipation of labor, no sooner do the working men anywhere take the subject into their own hands with a will, than uprises at once all the apologetic phraseology of the mouthpieces of present society with its two poles of capital and wages-slavery (the landlord now is but the sleeping partner of the capitalist), as if the capitalist society was still in its purest state of virgin innocence, with its antagonisms still undeveloped, with its delusions still unexploded, with its prostitute realities not yet laid bare. The Commune, they exclaim, intends to abolish property, the basis of all civilization!
Yes, gentlemen, the Commune intended to abolish that class property which makes the labor of the many the wealth of the few. It aimed at the expropriation of the expropriators. It wanted to make individual property a truth by transforming the means of production, land, and capital, now chiefly the means of enslaving and exploiting labor, into mere instruments of free and associated labor. But this is communism, “impossible” communism! Why, those members of the ruling classes who are intelligent enough to perceive the impossibility of continuing the present system – and they are many – have become the obtrusive and full-mouthed apostles of co-operative production. If co-operative production is not to remain a sham and a snare; if it is to supersede the capitalist system; if united co-operative societies are to regulate national production upon common plan, thus taking it under their own control, and putting an end to the constant anarchy and periodical convulsions which are the fatality of capitalist production – what else, gentlemen, would it be but communism, “possible” communism?