Communism is a social, political, and economic theory developed by Karl Marx (see The Communist Manifesto) for how to achieve, what he believed, would be an ideal society or utopianism (specifically a Hegelian Utopia) throughout the entire world. It is a theoretical system of government for all aspects of life based on: central planning for both the economy (see Command or Planned Economy) and society, collectivism, groupthink, ideological control, the compulsion to establish and maintain equality and conformity, government control of the means of production and property, redistribution of wealth, and a fundamental opposition to Capitalism (see Market Economy and Americanism). Full implementation of Communism would be preceded by a temporary implementation of Socialism, or Limited Communism. According to Marx, Socialism would merely be a transitional phase, or partial implementation, of Communism because such dramatic change would take time to implement. Primarily, the distinction between Socialism and Communism is a matter of degree of implementation (see Spectrum of Economic Systems).
Marx wanted to replace Capitalism with an urbanized communal society controlled by a central government. The government would control both society and the economy. Everything that i necessary for life would be monitored, organized, controlled, and equitably rationed (see Redistribution of Wealth) to the people.
The foundation of the theory of Communism is the ideology that a capitalistic society is comprised of oppressors and the oppressed. The oppressors are considered to be the middle class, the wealthy, those who own and operate the means of production, capitalists, or the “bourgeois.”. The oppressed are considered to be the working class or the “proletariat.” Marx believed that individual wealth or power could only be attained by oppressing or taking advantage of others.
In the Communist Manifesto, Marx outlined his belief in what he consider to be the dangers and immorality of individualism, personal freedom, marriage, the family unit, private property, personal wealth, social and economic distinctions, technology, industrialization, commerce, nationalism, the world market, and the general inequality and volatility of a market economy (see Capitalism).
Marx wanted to implement urbanized communal living, working, and child rearing; and to regulate equality through the redistribution of wealth, and the prevention of any individual from acquiring or achieving more than any other individual. This communal society would be organized and controlled by a centralized government. As a result of communal living and regulated equality, communists believe that the entirety of society would benefit and flourish as a group. Overall, individual independence would be replaced by total communal dependence.
In order to maintain a communistic society, anyone identified by the government as an enemy of the people, unwilling to conform or remain silent when their individual morality conflicts with public morality, or anyone whose goals are in opposition to the government’s goals, would be brought into conformity through social and governmental pressure.
Communists intend to implement Communism through the rapid, extremely aggressive, and violent worldwide overthrow of Capitalism, temporary implementation of Socialism or Limited Communism, through the strategic use of the freedoms that only exist in capitalistic societies, as well as through class warfare, destruction of individualism, violent revolutionary action, and physically social and governmental pressure to conform.
Communists intend to implement Communism progressively beginning with a temporary implementation of Socialism, or Limited Communism, followed by Pure Communism. Both Socialism and Communism will be implemented through: strategic use of the freedoms that only exist in capitalistic societies; social and governmental pressure to conform; destruction of individualism; class warfare; and rapid, extremely aggressive, and violent worldwide revolutionary overthrow of Capitalism.
Marx expected humanity to suffer temporarily as capitalist nations transitioned from Capitalism, through Limited Communism or Socialism, to pure Communism. This suffering would arise due to: class warfare, violence, the forcible seizure of individual wealth and property from the oppressors, coercion to compel the people through both physical and social pressures to conform and cooperate, and finally the destruction of the market economy. Regardless of the suffering, it was Marx’s belief that having a higher purpose would justify these patriotic sacrifices as they would be worth the ultimate goal of Socialism or Communism. In other words, Communists believe that the ends will justify the means.
Comparing Systems of Government
The fundamental distinction among all systems of government is the amount of control that the government has, over which issues, and at what level of government (see Spectrum of Economic Systems and Government Control: Systems of Government Chart). On one end of the spectrum, both Communism and Socialism function based on collectivism, conformity, and dominant central or federal government control. On the oppose end of the spectrum, Limited Capitalism (see Americanism), and pure Capitalism (the complete absence of government control or Anarchy) function based on individualism, personal freedom, and limited central or federal control.
The United Soviet Socialist Republic (U.S.S.R.) was established in Russian with the intention of implementing Socialism and then eventually Pure Communism. The goal was to transition from a Capitalist State (Market Economy) to a Socialist state (Command or Planned Economy) and then to a Communist state as the government increasingly took control of its citizens. Russias never fully achieved pure Socialism or a transition to Communism because the economy collapsed, and Russia was unable to continue to function as a Socialist state.
Note: In Socialism and Communism, the government retains sovereign power and any power that the people have is given to them or allowed by the government.
Note: No state has survived an advanced stage of Socialism without collapsing.
The United States of America (U.S.A) was established as a Limited Capitalist state, or Republic. It was specifically designed to limit the power that government could ever take away from the People. Limitations were placed on government by the Constitution, leaving the majority of the control in the hands of the People or citizens themselves. The U.S.A. initially had so little government that it was unable to function properly. The People then gave or allowed the government enough power to function adequately but limited its ability to legally take power by establishing the Constitution. In turn, the Constitution established the Republic, or representative government, the Separation of Powers, and specifically gave the individual states the majority of the limited power that the government was allowed to have.
Note: Americanism identifies the People as retaining the sovereign power of the state in the Constitution and highlights this point by capitalizing the “P” in People.
Preamble of the U.S. Constitution
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
In the “Constitution,” the People give or allow the government to have power. The government does not allow the People to have power.
Note: Without removing, replacing, or ignoring the “Constitution,” Socialism and Communism cannot be implemented in the United States because Capitalism is the polar opposite of Socialism/Communism.
The central government in Socialism attempts to own or control the majority of society and the economy, unlike Communism, whose central government attempts to own and control all of society and the economy worldwide. Socialism does not necessarily require government ownership of the means of production and property because government control can be achieved remotely through regulation. Furthermore, Socialism is not necessarily intended to be implemented worldwide, unless it is Socialism/Limited Communism, a transitional phase of pure Communism.
Focus: The focus is on the group as opposed to the individual.
Slogan: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”
Messaging: The messaging used to promote socialistic and communistic efforts often describes governmental and societal efforts to modify societal views from support for individualism, personal responsibility, private property, personal achievement, etc; to the support of collectivism, groupthink, socioeconomic equality, the redistribution of wealth, class warfare, etc.
Terminology: Social responsibility, community, community activism, common good, public activism, village, society, fairness, inequality, offensive, oppression, and other terms that depict aspects of collectivism and social pressure.
Note the use of terminology in branding
Commun-ism and Social-ism
Communism is based on a communal society
Socialism is based on society as a group
Keep in mind: The use of these or words, or phrases, does not necessarily denote socialistic or communistic efforts in and of themselves because they have value and meaning in a capitalistic society. The use of these or similar terms would only be of significance when used as propaganda tools or efforts to promote the transition from Capitalism to Socialism or Communism.
Last Updated: 03/07/2016
See related: Socialism or Limited Communism