Communism

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Communism Ideology)
Jump to: navigation, search
For the Western term for a state that is governed by a self-professed Communist party, see Communist state. For the ideology upheld in multiple Communist states, see Marxism–Leninism.

Communism (from Latin communis – common, universal)[1][2] is a socioeconomic system structured upon common ownership of the means of production and characterized by the absence of social classes, money,[3][4] and the state; as well as a social, political and economic ideology and movement that aims to establish this social order. The movement to develop communism, in its Marxist–Leninist interpretations, significantly influenced the history of the 20th century, which saw intense rivalry between the states which claimed to follow this ideology and their enemies.

Communism is most associated with Marxism, which considers itself the embodiment of scientific socialism. According to Marxism, capitalism is a historically necessary stage of society, which has led to the concentration of social classes into two major groups: proletariat - who must work to survive, and who make up a majority of society - and bourgeoisie - a minority who derive profit from employing the proletariat, through private ownership of the means of production. The political, social, and economic conflict between both groups (class struggle), each attempting to push their interests to their logical extreme, will lead into the capture of political power by the proletariat. Public ownership and management of the means of production by society will be established - this is known as socialism. As the development of the productive forces end scarcity, goods and services are made available on the basis of free access. This results in the disappearance of social classes and money.[5] Eventually, as the class struggle ends, the state ceases to be relevant and fades from recognition, as the social institutions for the collective self-management of the human community continue without it.[6] The result is communism: a stateless, classless and moneyless society, structured upon common ownership of the means of production.

Over Russia, there were hundreds of soviets; councils of workers which had the capability to act as a local government. The February Revolution had ousted the Tsarist monarchy and established a provisional government. Half a million demonstrators called for transferring the power to the soviets in an event known as the July Days, but hundreds of peaceful demonstrators were murdered by the provisional government.[7] The October Revolution, led by Lenin and Trotsky, transferred power to the soviets, overthrowing the provisional government and making the Congress of Soviets as the governing body, composed of delegates elected by the soviets.[8][9][10] A majority of these soviets supported Lenin's Marxist Bolsheviks party. The Congress convened, and elected Lenin to the position of head of government.[11] This eventually resulted in the creation of the Soviet Union, with the aim of developing socialism and eventually communism. Lenin never claimed that the Soviet Union had achieved socialism; in fact, Lenin openly admitted that state capitalism was in place, but also stated that socialism was eventually going to be developed.[12][13]

Lenin's death led to a struggle for power between opposed factions, eventually resulting in the victory of Stalin, whose rule saw the elimination of any opposition. In his last days, Lenin had asked for Stalin to be removed from his position.[14] Stalin invented the term "Marxism-Leninism",[15] a promotional term designed to emphasize a professed adhererence to Marxism and Leninism (which is controversial) and a more accurate interpretation of these than other tendencies, which describes the political ideology Stalin implemented in the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and, in a global scale, in the Comintern[16]. Marxism-Leninism sets deviations from both Marxism and Leninism (such as the acceptance of "socialism in one country"[17][18][19]). There is no definite agreement between historians of about whether Stalin actually followed the principles of Marx and Lenin.[20] Marxism-Leninism is based on the creation of a single-party state[21] which has full control of the economy. According to Marxism-Leninism, the Soviet Union had achieved socialism and was on the way to communism; other communist tendencies disagree, some (of which some are Marxist, some others not) claiming that it had in fact established state capitalism,[22] and that socialism was not being developed but rather that its development was halted since the come to power of Stalin. To these tendencies, Marxism-Leninism is neither Marxism, Leninism, nor the union of both; but rather an artificial term created to justify Stalin's ideological distortion,[19] forced upon the CPSU and Comintern. In the Soviet Union, the struggle against Marxism-Leninism was led by the Left Opposition (with Trotsky as de facto leader). Trotskyism describes itself as a Marxist and Leninist tendency.

Marxism-Leninism was made into the official ideology of the Comintern, and exported to other countries. This body of thought formed the basis for the most clearly visible communist movement in the 20th century and, as such, in the Western world, the term "communism" came to refer to social movements and states associated with the Comintern. However, these states did not develop communism,[23] and the degree to which they had achieved socialism, if at all, is debated.

History

Main article: History of communism

Early communism

The origins of communism are debatable, and there are various historical groups, as well as theorists, whose beliefs have been subsequently described as communist. German philosopher Karl Marx saw primitive communism as the original, hunter-gatherer state of humankind from which it arose. For Marx, only after humanity was capable of producing surplus, did private property develop. The idea of a classless society first emerged in Ancient Greece.[24] Plato in his The Republic described it as a state where people shared all their property, wives, and children: "The private and individual is altogether banished from life and things which are by nature private, such as eyes and ears and hands, have become common, and in some way see and hear and act in common, and all men express praise and feel joy and sorrow on the same occasions."[24]

In the history of Western thought, certain elements of the idea of a society based on common ownership of property can be traced back to ancient times. Examples include the Spartacus slave revolt in Rome.[25] The 5th-century Mazdak movement in Persia (Iran) has been described as "communistic" for challenging the enormous privileges of the noble classes and the clergy, criticizing the institution of private property and for striving for an egalitarian society.[26]

At one time or another, various small communist communities existed, generally under the inspiration of Scripture.[27] In the medieval Christian church, for example, some monastic communities and religious orders shared their land and other property (see Religious and Christian communism).

Communist thought has also been traced back to the work of 16th-century English writer Thomas More. In his treatise Utopia (1516), More portrayed a society based on common ownership of property, whose rulers administered it through the application of reason. In the 17th century, communist thought surfaced again in England, where a Puritan religious group known as the "Diggers" advocated the abolition of private ownership of land.[28] Eduard Bernstein, in his 1895 Cromwell and Communism[29] argued that several groupings in the English Civil War, especially the Diggers espoused clear communistic, agrarian ideals, and that Oliver Cromwell's attitude to these groups was at best ambivalent and often hostile.[30] Criticism of the idea of private property continued into the Age of Enlightenment of the 18th century, through such thinkers as Jean Jacques Rousseau in France. Later, following the upheaval of the French Revolution, communism emerged as a political doctrine.[31]

Various social reformers in the early 19th century founded communities based on common ownership. But unlike many previous communist communities, they replaced the religious emphasis with a rational and philanthropic basis.[32] Notable among them were Robert Owen, who founded New Harmony in Indiana (1825), and Charles Fourier, whose followers organized other settlements in the United States such as Brook Farm (1841–47).[32] Later in the 19th century, Karl Marx described these social reformers as "utopian socialists" to contrast them with his program of "scientific socialism" (a term coined by Friedrich Engels). Other writers described by Marx as "utopian socialists" included Saint-Simon.

In its modern form, communism grew out of the socialist movement of 19th-century Europe. As the Industrial Revolution advanced, socialist critics blamed capitalism for the misery of the proletariat—a new class of urban factory workers who labored under often-hazardous conditions. Foremost among these critics were Marx and his associate Friedrich Engels. In 1848, Marx and Engels offered a new definition of communism and popularized the term in their famous pamphlet The Communist Manifesto.[32]

Modern communism

Countries of the world now (red) or previously (orange) having nominally Marxist-Leninist governments.

The 1917 October Revolution in Russia set the conditions for the rise to state power of Lenin's Bolsheviks, which was the first time any avowedly communist party reached that position. The revolution transferred power to the All-Russian Congress of Soviets,[8][9][10] in which the Bolsheviks had a majority. The event generated a great deal of practical and theoretical debate within the Marxist movement. Marx predicted that socialism and communism would be built upon foundations laid by the most advanced capitalist development. Russia, however, was one of the poorest countries in Europe with an enormous, largely illiterate peasantry and a minority of industrial workers. Marx had explicitly stated that Russia might be able to skip the stage of bourgeois rule.[33] Other socialists also believed that a Russian revolution could be the precursor of workers' revolutions in the West.

The moderate Mensheviks opposed Lenin's Bolshevik plan for socialist revolution before capitalism was more fully developed. The Bolsheviks' successful rise to power was based upon the slogans such as "Peace, bread, and land" which tapped the massive public desire for an end to Russian involvement in the First World War, the peasants' demand for land reform, and popular support for the Soviets.[34]

Vladimir Lenin after his return to Petrograd.

The Second International had dissolved in 1916 over national divisions, as the separate national parties that composed it did not maintain a unified front against the war, instead generally supporting their respective nation's role. Lenin thus created the Third International (Comintern) in 1919 and sent the Twenty-one Conditions, which included democratic centralism, to all European socialist parties willing to adhere. In France, for example, the majority of the French Section of the Workers' International (SFIO) party split in 1921 to form the French Section of the Communist International (SFIC). Henceforth, the term "Communism" was applied to the objective of the parties founded under the umbrella of the Comintern. Their program called for the uniting of workers of the world for revolution, which would be followed by the establishment of a dictatorship of the proletariat as well as the development of a socialist economy.

During the Russian Civil War (1918–1922), the Bolsheviks nationalized all productive property and imposed a policy named war communism, which put factories and railroads under strict government control, collected and rationed food, and introduced some bourgeois management of industry. After three years of war and the 1921 Kronstadt rebellion, Lenin declared the New Economic Policy (NEP) in 1921, which was to give a "limited place for a limited time to capitalism." The NEP lasted until 1928, when Joseph Stalin achieved party leadership, and the introduction of the Five Year Plans spelled the end of it. Following the Russian Civil War, the Bolsheviks, in 1922, formed the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), or Soviet Union, from the former Russian Empire.

Vladimir Lenin giving a speech.

Following Lenin's democratic centralism, the Leninist parties were organized on a hierarchical basis, with active cells of members as the broad base; they were made up only of elite cadres approved by higher members of the party as being reliable and completely subject to party discipline.[35] The Great Purge of 1937–1938 was Stalin's attempt to destroy any possible opposition within the Communist Party. In the Moscow Trials many old Bolsheviks who had played prominent roles during the Russian Revolution of 1917, or in Lenin's Soviet government afterwards, including Kamenev, Zinoviev, Rykov, and Bukharin, were accused, pleaded guilty, and executed.[36]

Following World War II, Marxist-Leninists consolidated power in Central and Eastern Europe, and in 1949, the Communist Party of China (CPC), led by Mao Zedong, established the People's Republic of China, which would follow its own ideological path of development following the Sino-Soviet split. Cuba, North Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Angola, and Mozambique were among the other countries in the Third World that adopted or imposed a government ran by a Marxist-Leninist party at some point. By the early 1980s almost one-third of the world's population lived in states ruled by a self-proclaimed Marxist-Leninist party, including the former Soviet Union and PRC.[citation needed]

States such as the Soviet Union and PRC succeeded in becoming industrial and technological powers, challenging the capitalists' powers in the arms race and space race.

Cold War

Main article: Cold War
USSR postage stamp depicting the states ruled by self-proclaimed communist parties, launching the first artificial satellite Sputnik 1.

Its leading role in the Second World War saw the emergence of the Soviet Union as a superpower, with strong influence over Eastern Europe and parts of Asia. At the same time the existing European empires were shattered and Communist parties played a leading role in many independence movements.

Marxist-Leninist governments modeled on the Soviet Union took power with Soviet assistance in Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Poland, Hungary and Romania. A Marxist-Leninist government was also created under Marshal Tito in Yugoslavia, but Tito's independent policies led to the expulsion of Yugoslavia from the Cominform, which had replaced the Comintern. Titoism, a new branch in the Marxist-Leninist movement, was labelled "deviationist"[by whom?]. Albania also became an independent Marxist-Leninist state after World War II.[37]

By 1950, the Chinese Marxist-Leninists had taken over all of mainland China. In the Korean War and Vietnam War, Communists fought for power in their countries against the United States and its allies. With varying degrees of success, Communists attempted to unite with nationalist and socialist forces against perceived Western imperialism in these poor countries.

Communism was seen as a rival of and a threat to western capitalism for most of the 20th century.[38] This rivalry peaked during the Cold War, as the world's two remaining superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union, polarized most of the world into two camps of nations. It supported the spread of their respective economic and political systems. As a result, the camps expanded their military capacity, stockpiled nuclear weapons, and competed in space exploration.

Dissolution of the Soviet Union

A demonstration of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, Moscow, December 2011.

In 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev became leader of the Soviet Union and relaxed central control, in accordance with reform policies of glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring). The Soviet Union did not intervene as Poland, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary all abandoned Marxist-Leninist rule by 1990. In 1991, the Soviet Union dissolved.

At present, states controlled by Marxist-Leninist parties under a single-party system include the People's Republic of China, Cuba, Laos, and Vietnam. North Korea currently refers to its leading ideology as Juche, which is portrayed as a development of Marxism-Leninism. Communist parties, or their descendant parties, remain politically important in a number of other countries. The South African Communist Party is a partner in the African National Congress-led government. In India, communists lead the governments of three states, with a combined population of more than 115 million. In Nepal, communists hold a majority in the parliament.[39] The Communist Party of Brazil is a part of the parliamentary coalition led by the ruling democratic socialist Workers' Party and is represented in the executive cabinet of Dilma Rousseff.

The People's Republic of China has reassessed many aspects of the Maoist legacy; it, along with Laos, Vietnam, and, to a lesser degree Cuba, has reduced state control of the economy in order to stimulate growth. Chinese economic reforms started in 1978 under the leadership of Deng Xiaoping; since then, China has managed to bring down the poverty rate from 53% in the Mao era to just 6% in 2001.[40] The People's Republic of China runs Special Economic Zones dedicated to market-oriented enterprise, free from central government control. Several other states ran by self-proclaimed Marxist-Leninist parties have also attempted to implement market-based reforms, including Vietnam.

Theories within Marxism as to why communism in Central and Eastern Europe was not achieved after revolutions pointed to such elements as the pressure of external capitalist states, the relative backwardness of the societies in which the revolutions occurred, and the emergence of a bureaucratic stratum or class that arrested or diverted the transition process in its own interests. Marxist critics of the Soviet Union, most notably Trotsky, referred to the Soviet system, along with other states ran by Marxist-Leninist parties, as "degenerated" or "deformed workers' states", arguing that the Soviet system fell far short of Marx's communist ideal and he claimed the working class was politically dispossessed. The ruling stratum of the Soviet Union was, by Trotskyism, held to be a bureaucratic caste, but not a new ruling class, despite their political control.

Marxist communism

Marxism

Main article: Marxism

Marxism, first developed by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, has been the foremost ideology of the communist movement. Marxism considers itself to be the embodiment of scientific socialism; rather than model an "ideal society" based on intellectuals' design, it is a non-idealist attempt at the understanding of society and history, through an analysis based in real life. Marxism does not see communism as a "state of affairs" to be established, but rather as the expression of a real movement, with parameters which are derived completely from real life and not based on any intelligent design.[41] Marxism, therefore, does no blueprinting of a communist society; it only makes an analysis which concludes what will trigger its implementation, and discovers its fundamental characteristics based on the derivation of real life conditions.

At the root of Marxism is the materialist conception of history, known as historical materialism for short. It holds that the key characteristic of economic systems through history has been the mode of production, and that the change between modes of production has been triggered by class struggle. According to this analysis, the Industrial Revolution ushered the world into a new mode of production: capitalism. Before capitalism, certain working classes had ownership of instruments utilized in production. But because machinery was much more efficient, this property became worthless, and the mass majority of workers could only survive by selling their labor, working through making use of someone else's machinery, and therefore making someone else profit. Thus with capitalism, the world was divided between two major classes: the proletariat and the bourgeoisie.[42] These classes are directly antagonistic: the bourgeoisie has private ownership of the means of production and earns a profit off surplus value, which is generated by the proletariat, which has no ownership of the means of production and therefore no option but to sell its labor to the bourgeoisie.

Historical materialism goes on and says: the rising bourgeoisie within feudalism, through the furtherance of its own material interests, captured power and abolished, of all relations of private property, only the feudal privileges, and with this took out of existence the feudal ruling class. This was another of the keys behind the consolidation of capitalism as the new mode of production, which is the final expression of class and property relations, and also has led into a massive expansion of production. It is, therefore, only in capitalism that bourgeois property in itself can be abolished.[43] The proletariat, similarly, will capture political power, abolish bourgeois property through the implementation of the community of the means of production, therefore abolishing the bourgeoisie, and ultimately abolishing the proletariat itself, and ushering the world into a new mode of production: communism. In between capitalism and communism there is the dictatorship of the proletariat, a democratic state characterized by the existence of organs of class rule, where the whole of the public authority is elected and recallable under the basis of universal suffrage;[44] it is the defeat of the bourgeois state, but not yet of the capitalist mode of production, and at the same time the only element which places into the realm of possibility moving on from this mode of production.

An important concept in Marxism is socialization vs. nationalization. Nationalization is merely state ownership of property, whereas socialization is actual control and management by society of property. Marxism considers socialization its goal, and considers nationalization a tactical issue, with state ownership still being in the realm of the capitalist mode of production. In the words of Engels: "the transformation [...] into State-ownership does not do away with the capitalistic nature of the productive forces. [...] State-ownership of the productive forces is not the solution of the conflict, but concealed within it are the technical conditions that form the elements of that solution".[45] This has led some Marxist currents to label states such as the Soviet Union, based on nationalization, as state capitalist.

Leninism

Main article: Leninism

"We want to achieve a new and better order of society: in this new and better society there must be neither rich nor poor; all will have to work. Not a handful of rich people, but all the working people must enjoy the fruits of their common labour. Machines and other improvements must serve to ease the work of all and not to enable a few to grow rich at the expense of millions and tens of millions of people. This new and better society is called socialist society. The teachings about this society are called 'socialism'."
-Vladimir Lenin, "To the Rural Poor" (1903); Collected Works, Vol 6, p. 366

Leninism is the revolutionary theories developed by Vladimir Lenin, including the organizational principles of democratic centralism, Vanguardism and the political theory of imperialism. Leninist theory postulates that, with the strongly determined will of the Bourgeoisie to establish Imperialism, socialism will not arise spontaneously through the natural decay of capitalism, and that workers by themselves, who may be more or less sedated by reactionary propaganda, are unable to effectively organize and develop socialist consciousness, therefore requiring the leadership of a revolutionary vanguard organized on the basis of democratic centralism. As a result, Leninism promotes a Vanguard party in order to lead the working-class and peasants in a revolution.

Although the creation of a vanguard party was outlined by Marx and Engels in Chapter II: "Proletarians and Communists" of The Communist Manifesto[citation needed], Lenin modified this position by changing the role of the vanguards to professional revolutionaries, who were to hold power post-revolution and direct the national economy and society in developing world socialism.

After disposing of the Bourgeois dictatorship through socialist revolution, Leninists seek to create a socialist state in which the working class would be in power, which they see as being essential for laying the foundations for a transitional withering of the state towards communism (Stateless society). In this state, the vanguard party would act as a central nucleus in the organization of socialist society, presiding over a single-party political system. Leninism rejects political pluralism, seeing it as divisive and destructive. Instead, Leninism advocates the concept of democratic centralism as a process to ensure the voicing of concern and disagreement and to refine policy. Generally, the purpose of democratic centralism is "diversity in ideas, unity in action."

Marxism-Leninism, Stalinism and Trotskyism

Marxism-Leninism and Stalinism

Main articles: Marxism-Leninism and Stalinism

Marxism–Leninism is a political ideology developed by Stalin,[15] which according to its proponents is based in Marxism and Leninism. It is a promotional term, designed to emphasize a professed relationship to Marxism and Leninism, which is controversial. The term describes the specific political ideology which Stalin implemented in the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and, in a global scale, in the Comintern. There is no definite agreement between historians of about whether Stalin actually followed the principles of Marx and Lenin.[20] It also contains deviations from both Marxism and Leninism, such as "socialism in one country".[17][18] Marxism–Leninism was the ideology of the most clearly visible communist movement. As such, it is the most prominent ideology associated with communism.

Marxism-Leninism refers to the socioeconomic system and political ideology implemented by Stalin in the Soviet Union and later copied by other states based on the Soviet model (central planning, single-party state, etc.), whereas Stalinism refers to Stalin's style of governance (political repression, cult of personality, etc.); Marxism-Leninism stayed after de-Stalinization, Stalinism did not. However, the term "Stalinism" is sometimes used to refer to Marxism-Leninism, sometimes to avoid implying Marxism-Leninism is related to Marxism and Leninism.

Maoism is a form of Marxism-Leninism associated with Chinese leader Mao Zedong. After de-Stalinization, Marxism-Leninism was kept in the Soviet Union but certain "anti-revisionist" tendencies, such as Hoxhaism and Maoism, argued that it was deviated from. Therefore, different policies were applied in Albania and China, which became more distanced from the Soviet Union.

Marxism-Leninism has been criticized by other communist and Marxist tendencies. They argue that Marxist-Leninist states did not establish socialism but rather state capitalism.[22] The dictatorship of the proletariat, according to Marxism, represents the rule of the majority (democracy) rather than of one party, to the extent that co-founder of Marxism Friedrich Engels described its "specific form" as the democratic republic.[46] Additionally, according to Engels, state property by itself is private property of capitalist nature[47] unless the proletariat has control of political power, in which case it forms public property.[48] Whether the proletariat was actually in control of the Marxist-Leninist states is a matter of debate between Marxism-Leninism and other communist tendencies. To these tendencies, Marxism–Leninism is neither Marxism nor Leninism nor the union of both, but rather an artificial term created to justify Stalin's ideological distortion,[19] forced into the CPSU and Comintern. In the Soviet Union, this struggle against Marxism–Leninism was represented by Trotskyism, which describes itself as a Marxist and Leninist tendency.

Trotskyism

Main article: Trotskyism

Trotskyism is a Marxist and Leninist tendency that was developed by Leon Trotsky, opposed to Marxism-Leninism and Stalinism. It supports the theory of permanent revolution and world revolution instead of the two stage theory and socialism in one country. It supported proletarian internationalism and another Communist revolution in the Soviet Union, which Trotsky claimed had become a degenerated worker's state under the leadership of Stalin, rather than the dictatorship of the proletariat, in which class relations had re-emerged in a new form.

Trotsky and his supporters, struggling against Stalin for power in the Soviet Union, organized into the Left Opposition and their platform became known as Trotskyism. Stalin eventually succeeded in gaining control of the Soviet regime and Trotskyist attempts to remove Stalin from power resulted in Trotsky's exile from the Soviet Union in 1929. Trotsky later founded the Fourth International, a Trotskyist rival to the Comintern, in 1938.

Trotsky's politics differed sharply from those of Stalin and Mao, most importantly in declaring the need for an international proletarian revolution (rather than socialism in one country) and unwavering support for a true dictatorship of the proletariat based on democratic principles.

Libertarian Marxism

Main article: Libertarian Marxism

Libertarian Marxism refers to a broad scope of economic and political philosophies that emphasize the anti-authoritarian aspects of Marxism. Early currents of libertarian Marxism, known as left communism,[49] emerged in opposition to Marxism–Leninism[50] and its derivatives, such as Stalinism, Maoism, and Trotskyism.[51] Libertarian Marxism is also critical of reformist positions, such as those held by social democrats.[52] Libertarian Marxist currents often draw from Marx and Engels' later works, specifically the Grundrisse and The Civil War in France;[53] emphasizing the Marxist belief in the ability of the working class to forge its own destiny without the need for a revolutionary party or state to mediate or aid its liberation.[54] Along with anarchism, Libertarian Marxism is one of the main currents of libertarian socialism.[55]

Libertarian Marxism includes such currents as Luxemburgism, council communism, left communism, Socialisme ou Barbarie, the Johnson-Forest tendency, world socialism, Lettrism/Situationism and operaismo/autonomism, and New Left.[56] Libertarian Marxism has often had a strong influence on both post-left and social anarchists. Notable theorists of libertarian Marxism have included Anton Pannekoek, Raya Dunayevskaya, CLR James, Antonio Negri, Cornelius Castoriadis, Maurice Brinton, Guy Debord, Daniel Guérin, Ernesto Screpanti and Raoul Vaneigem.

Council communism

Main article: Council communism

Council communism is a far-left movement originating in Germany and the Netherlands in the 1920s. Its primary organization was the Communist Workers Party of Germany (KAPD). Council communism continues today as a theoretical and activist position within both left-wing Marxism and libertarian socialism.

The central argument of council communism, in contrast to those of social democracy and Leninist communism, is that democratic workers' councils arising in the factories and municipalities are the natural form of working class organization and governmental power. This view is opposed to both the reformist and the Leninist ideologies, with their stress on, respectively, parliaments and institutional government (i.e., by applying social reforms, on the one hand, and vanguard parties and participative democratic centralism on the other).

The core principle of council communism is that the government and the economy should be managed by workers' councils composed of delegates elected at workplaces and recallable at any moment. As such, council communists oppose state-run authoritarian "State socialism"/"State capitalism". They also oppose the idea of a "revolutionary party", since council communists believe that a revolution led by a party will necessarily produce a party dictatorship. Council communists support a worker's democracy, which they want to produce through a federation of workers' councils.

Left communism

Main article: Left communism
Rosa Luxemburg, inspiration of left communism.

Left communism is the range of communist viewpoints held by the communist left, which criticizes the political ideas of the Bolsheviks at certain periods, from a position that is asserted to be more authentically Marxist and proletarian than the views of Leninism held by the Communist International after its first and during its second congress.

Left Communists see themselves to the left of Leninists (whom they tend to see as 'left of capital', not socialists), anarchist communists (some of whom they consider internationalist socialists) as well as some other revolutionary socialist tendencies (for example De Leonists, who they tend to see as being internationalist socialists only in limited instances).

Although she died before left communism became a distinct tendency, Rosa Luxemburg has heavily influenced most left communists, both politically and theoretically. Proponents of left communism have included Amadeo Bordiga, Herman Gorter, Anton Pannekoek, Otto Rühle, Karl Korsch, Sylvia Pankhurst and Paul Mattick.

Prominent left communist groups existing today include the International Communist Party, the International Communist Current and the Internationalist Communist Tendency.

Non-Marxist communism

The dominant forms of communism are based on Marxism, but non-Marxist versions of communism (such as Christian communism and anarchist communism) also exist.

Anarchist communism

Main article: Anarchist communism

Anarchist communism (also known as libertarian communism) is a theory of anarchism which advocates the abolition of the state, private property, and capitalism in favor of common ownership of the means of production,[57][58] direct democracy and a horizontal network of voluntary associations and workers' councils with production and consumption based on the guiding principle: "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need".[59][60]

Anarcho-communism differs from Marxism rejecting its view about the need for a State Socialism phase before building communism. The main anarcho-communist theorist Peter Kropotkin argued "that a revolutionary society should "transform itself immediately into a communist society,", that is, should go immediately into what Marx had regarded as the "more advanced," completed, phase of communism."[61] In this way it tries to avoid the reappearance of "class divisions and the need for a state to oversee everything".[61]

Some forms of anarchist communism such as insurrectionary anarchism are egoist and strongly influenced by radical individualism,[62][63][64] believing that anarchist communism does not require a communitarian nature at all. Most anarcho-communists view anarcho-communism as a way of reconciling the opposition between the individual and society.[65][66][67]

To date in human history, the best known examples of an anarchist communist society, established around the ideas as they exist today, that received worldwide attention and knowledge in the historical canon, are the anarchist territories during the Spanish Revolution and the Free Territory during the Russian Revolution. Through the efforts and influence of the Spanish Anarchists during the Spanish Revolution within the Spanish Civil War, starting in 1936 anarchist communism existed in most of Aragon, parts of the Levante and Andalusia, as well as in the stronghold of Anarchist Catalonia before being brutally crushed by the combined forces of the authoritarian regime that won the war, Hitler, Mussolini, Spanish Communist Party repression (backed by the USSR) as well as economic and armaments blockades from the capitalist countries and the Spanish Republic itself. During the Russian Revolution, anarchists such as Nestor Makhno worked to create and defend—through the Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army of Ukraine—anarchist communism in the Free Territory of the Ukraine from 1919 before being conquered by the Bolsheviks in 1921.

Christian communism

Christian communism is a form of religious communism centred on Christianity. It is a theological and political theory based upon the view that the teachings of Jesus Christ urge Christians to support communism as the ideal social system. Christian communists trace the origins of their practice to teachings in the New Testament, such as the Acts of the Apostles at chapter 2 and verses 42, 44 and 45:

42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and in fellowship ... 44 And all that believed were together, and had all things in common; 45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.

Christian communism can be seen as a radical form of Christian socialism. Also, because many Christian communists have formed independent stateless communes in the past, there is a link between Christian communism and Christian anarchism. Christian communists may not agree with various parts of Marxism, but they share some political goals of Marxists, for example replacing capitalism with socialism, which should in turn be followed by communism at a later point in the future. However, Christian communists sometimes disagree with Marxists (and particularly with Leninists) on the way a socialist or communist society should be organized.

Criticism

See also Criticisms of Marxism and Criticisms of socialism for a discussion of objections to socialism in general.
The government's forced collectivization of agriculture is considered a main reason for the Soviet famine of 1932–1933.

Some people[who?] have criticized socialism and by extension communism, stating that the two systems would distort or remove price signals,[68][69] slow or stagnate technological advance,[70] reduce incentives,[71][72][73] and reduce prosperity,[74][75] as well as on the grounds of its feasibility[68][69][70] and its social and political effects.[76][77][78][79][80][81]

See also

References

Notes

  1. ^ "Communism". Britannica Encyclopedia. 
  2. ^ World Book 2008, p. 890.
  3. ^ Principles of Communism, Frederick Engels, 1847, Section 18. "Finally, when all capital, all production, all exchange have been brought together in the hands of the nation, private property will disappear of its own accord, money will become superfluous, and production will so expand and man so change that society will be able to slough off whatever of its old economic habits may remain."
  4. ^ The ABC of Communism, Nikoli Bukharin, 1920, Section 20
  5. ^ Gregory and Stuart, Paul and Robert (2003). Comparing Economic Systems in the Twenty-First. South-Western College Pub. p. 118. ISBN 0-618-26181-8. "Communism, the highest stage of social and economic development, would be characterized by the absence of markets and money and by abundance, distribution according to need, and the withering away of the state…Under socialism, each individual would be expected to contribute according to capability, and rewards would be distributed in proportion to that contribution. Subsequently, under communism, the basis of reward would be need." 
  6. ^ Anti-Duhring. Part 3, Chapter 2. Friedrich Engels; "State interference in social relations becomes, in one domain after another, superfluous, and then dies out of itself; the government of persons is replaced by the administration of things, and by the conduct of processes of production. The state is not "abolished". It dies out."
  7. ^ The Soviet Colossus: History and Aftermath. Michael Kort. p. 104
  8. ^ a b Russia in the Twentieth Century: The Quest for Stability. David R. Marples. p. 38
  9. ^ a b How the Soviet Union is Governed. Jerry F. Hough. p. 81
  10. ^ a b The Life and Times of Soviet Socialism. Alex F. Dowlah, John E. Elliott. p. 18
  11. ^ The Course of Russian History, 5th Edition. Melvin C. Wren, Taylor Stults. p. 410
  12. ^ V.I. Lenin. The New Economic Policy And The Tasks Of The Political Education Departments. Report To The Second All-Russia Congress Of Political Education Departments October 17, 1921. Lenin’s Collected Works, 2nd English Edition, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1965, Volume 33, pages 60-79
  13. ^ V.I. Lenin. Role and Functions of the Trade Unions Under The New Economic Policy. Decision Of The C.C., R.C.P.(B.), January 12, 1922. Lenin’s Collected Works, 2nd English Edition, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1965, Volume 33, pages 188-196
  14. ^ V.I. Lenin. Lenin's Testament, Letter to the Congress. "Stalin is too rude and this defect, although quite tolerable in our midst and in dealing among us Communists, becomes intolerable in a Secretary-General. That is why I suggest that the comrades think about a way of removing Stalin from that post and appointing another man in his stead who in all other respects differs from Comrade Stalin in having only one advantage, namely, that of being more tolerant, more loyal, more polite and more considerate to the comrades, less capricious, etc."
  15. ^ a b Г. Лисичкин (G. Lisichkin), Мифы и реальность, Новый мир (Novy Mir), 1989, № 3, p. 59 (Russian)
  16. ^ History for the IB Diploma: Communism in Crisis 1976–89. Allan Todd. Page 16. "Essentially, Marxism–Leninism was the 'official' ideology of the Soviet state" and all communist parties loyal to Stalin and his successors - up to 1976 and beyond."
  17. ^ a b Contemporary Marxism, Issues 4-5. Synthesis Publications, 1981. Page 151. "socialism in one country, a pragmatic deviation from classical Marxism".
  18. ^ a b North Korea Under Communism: Report of an Envoy to Paradise. Cornell Erik. Page 169. "Socialism in one country, a slogan that aroused protests as not only it implied a major deviation from Marxist internationalism, but was also strictly speaking incompatible with the basic tenets of Marxism".
  19. ^ a b c History for the IB Diploma: Communism in Crisis 1976-89. Allan Todd. Page 16. "The term Marxism-Leninism, invented by Stalin, was not used until after Lenin's death in 1924. It soon came to be used in Stalin's Soviet Union to refer to what he described as 'orthodox Marxism'. This increasingly came to mean what Stalin himself had to say about political and economic issues." [...] "However, many Marxists (even members of the Communist Party itself) believed that Stalin's ideas and practices (such as socialism in one country and the purges) were almost total distortions of what Marx and Lenin had said".
  20. ^ a b Александр Бутенко (Aleksandr Butenko), Социализм сегодня: опыт и новая теория// Журнал Альтернативы, №1, 1996, pp. 2–22 (Russian)
  21. ^ Ian Adams. Political ideology today. Manchester England, UK: Manchester University Press, 1993. p. 201.
  22. ^ a b "State capitalism" in the Soviet Union, M.C. Howard and J.E. King
  23. ^ Steele, David (1992). From Marx to Mises: Post-Capitalist Society and the Challenge of Economic Calculation. Open Court Publishing Company. p. 45. ISBN 978-0875484495. "Among Western journalists the term ‘Communist’ came to refer exclusively to regimes and movements associated with the Communist International and its offspring: regimes which insisted that they were not communist but socialist, and movements which were barely communist in any sense at all" 
  24. ^ a b Richard Pipes Communism: A History (2001) ISBN 978-0-8129-6864-4, pp. 3–5.
  25. ^ "Historical Background for Spartacus". Vroma.org. Archived from the original on 2011-07-29. Retrieved 2009-10-18. 
  26. ^ The Cambridge History of Iran Volume 3, The Seleucid, Parthian and Sasanian Period at the Wayback Machine (archived June 11, 2008), edited by Ehsan Yarshater, Parts 1 and 2, p1019, Cambridge University Press (1983)
  27. ^ Lansford 2007, pp. 24–25
  28. ^ "Diggers' Manifesto". Archived from the original on 2011-07-29. Retrieved 2011-07-19. 
  29. ^ "Eduard Bernstein: Cromwell and Communism (1895)". 
  30. ^ Eduard Bernstein, (1895). Kommunistische und demokratisch-sozialistische Strömungen während der englischen Revolution, J.H.W. Dietz, Stuttgart. OCLC 36367345 Sources available at Eduard Bernstein: Cromwell and Communism (1895) at http://www.marxists.org.
  31. ^ "Communism" A Dictionary of Sociology. John Scott and Gordon Marshall. Oxford University Press 2005. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press.
  32. ^ a b c "Communism." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2006. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
  33. ^ Marc Edelman, "Late Marx and the Russian road: Marx and the 'Peripheries of Capitalism'"—book reviews. Monthly Review, Dec., 1984
  34. ^ Holmes 2009, p. 18.
  35. ^ Norman Davies. "Communism" The Oxford Companion to World War II. Ed. I. C. B. Dear and M. R. D. Foot. Oxford University Press, 2001.
  36. ^ Sedov, Lev (1980). The Red Book on the Moscow Trial: Documents. New York: New Park Publications. ISBN 0-86151-015-1
  37. ^ "Kushtetuta e Republikës Popullore Socialiste të Shqipërisë : [miratuar nga Kuvendi Popullor më 28. 12. 1976]. – SearchWorks (SULAIR)" (in Albanian). Archived from the original on 2011-07-29. Retrieved 3 June 2011. 
  38. ^ Georgakas, Dan (1992). "The Hollywood Blacklist". Encyclopedia of the American Left. University of Illinois Press. 
  39. ^ "Nepal's election The Maoists triumph Economist.com". Economist.com. 2008-04-17. Archived from the original on 2011-07-29. Retrieved 2009-10-18. 
  40. ^ "Fighting Poverty: Findings and Lessons from China's Success". World Bank. Retrieved August 10, 2006.  Archived 29 July 2011 at WebCite
  41. ^ Marx, Karl. The German Ideology. 1845. Part I: Feuerbach. Opposition of the Materialist and Idealist Outlook. A. Idealism and Materialism. "Communism is for us not a state of affairs which is to be established, an ideal to which reality [will] have to adjust itself. We call communism the real movement which abolishes the present state of things. The conditions of this movement result from the premises now in existence."
  42. ^ Engels, Friedrich. Marx & Engels Selected Works, Volume One, p. 81-97, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1969. "Principles of Communism". #4 - "How did the proletariat originate?"
  43. ^ Engels, Friedrich. Marx & Engels Selected Works, Volume One, p. 81-97, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1969. "Principles of Communism". #15 - "Was not the abolition of private property possible at an earlier time?"
  44. ^ Thomas M. Twiss. Trotsky and the Problem of Soviet Bureaucracy. BRILL. pp. 28-29
  45. ^ Engels, Friedrich. Socialism: Utopian and Scientific. Chapter 3. "But, the transformation — either into joint-stock companies and trusts, or into State-ownership — does not do away with the capitalistic nature of the productive forces. In the joint-stock companies and trusts, this is obvious. And the modern State, again, is only the organization that bourgeois society takes on in order to support the external conditions of the capitalist mode of production against the encroachments as well of the workers as of individual capitalists. The modern state, no matter what its form, is essentially a capitalist machine — the state of the capitalists, the ideal personification of the total national capital. The more it proceeds to the taking over of productive forces, the more does it actually become the national capitalist, the more citizens does it exploit. The workers remain wage-workers — proletarians. The capitalist relation is not done away with. It is, rather, brought to a head. But, brought to a head, it topples over. State-ownership of the productive forces is not the solution of the conflict, but concealed within it are the technical conditions that form the elements of that solution."
  46. ^ A Critique of the Draft Social-Democratic Program of 1891. Marx & Engels Collected Works Volume 27, p. 217. "If one thing is certain it is that our party and the working class can only come to power under the form of a democratic republic. This is even the specific form for the dictatorship of the proletariat"
  47. ^ "Socialism: Utopian and Scientific". Friedrich Engels. Part III. Progress Publishers. "But, the transformation — either into joint-stock companies and trusts, or into State-ownership — does not do away with the capitalistic nature of the productive forces."
  48. ^ "Socialism: Utopian and Scientific". Friedrich Engels. Part III. Progress Publishers. "The proletariat seizes the public power, and by means of this transforms the socialized means of production, slipping from the hands of the bourgeoisie, into public property. By this act, the proletariat frees the means of production from the character of capital they have thus far borne, and gives their socialized character complete freedom to work itself out"
  49. ^ Pierce, Wayne."Libertarian Marxism's Relation to Anarchism" "The Utopian" 73–80.
  50. ^ Herman Gorter, Anton Pannekoek, Sylvia Pankhurst, Otto Ruhl Non-Leninist Marxism: Writings on the Workers Councils. Red and Black, 2007.
  51. ^ Marot, Eric. "Trotsky, the Left Opposition and the Rise of Stalinism: Theory and Practice"
  52. ^ "The Retreat of Social Democracy ... Re-imposition of Work in Britain and the 'Social Europe'" "Aufheben" Issue #8 1999.
  53. ^ Ernesto Screpanti, Libertarian communism: Marx Engels and the Political Economy of Freedom, Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2007.
  54. ^ Draper, Hal. "The Principle of Self-Emancipation in Marx and Engels" "The Socialist Register." Vol 4.
  55. ^ Chomsky, Noam. "Government In The Future" Poetry Center of the New York YM-YWHA. Lecture.
  56. ^ "A libertarian Marxist tendency map". libcom.org. Retrieved 2011-10-01. 
  57. ^ Alan James Mayne (1999). From Politics Past to Politics Future: An Integrated Analysis of Current and Emergent Paradigms. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 316. ISBN 978-0-275-96151-0. Retrieved 2010-09-20. 
  58. ^ Anarchism for Know-It-Alls. Filiquarian Publishing. 2008. ISBN 978-1-59986-218-7. Retrieved 2010-09-20. 
  59. ^ Fabbri, Luigi (13 October 2002). "Anarchism and Communism. Northeastern Anarchist #4. 1922". Archived 29 July 2011 at WebCite
  60. ^ Makhno, Mett, Arshinov, Valevski, Linski (Dielo Trouda) (1926). "Constructive Section: available here".  Archived 29 July 2011 at WebCite
  61. ^ a b ""What is Anarchist Communism?" by Wayne Price". Archived from the original on 2011-07-29. 
  62. ^ Christopher Gray, Leaving the Twentieth Century, p. 88.
  63. ^ Novatore, Renzo. "Towards the creative Nothing".  Archived 29 July 2011 at WebCite
  64. ^ "Bob Black. Nightmares of Reason". Archived from the original on 2011-07-29. 
  65. ^ "Communism is the one which guarantees the greatest amount of individual liberty—provided that the idea that begets the community be Liberty, Anarchy ... Communism guarantees economic freedom better than any other form of association, because it can guarantee wellbeing, even luxury, in return for a few hours of work instead of a day's work." Kropotkin, Peter. "Communism and Anarchy".  Archived 29 July 2011 at WebCite
  66. ^ This other society will be libertarian communism, in which social solidarity and free individuality find their full expression, and in which these two ideas develop in perfect harmony. Dielo Truda (Workers' Cause). "Organisational Platform of the Libertarian Communists".  Archived 29 July 2011 at WebCite
  67. ^ "I see the dichotomies made between individualism and communism, individual revolt and class struggle, the struggle against human exploitation and the exploitation of nature as false dichotomies and feel that those who accept them are impoverishing their own critique and struggle. "MY PERSPECTIVES - Willful Disobedience Vol. 2, No. 12".  Archived 29 July 2011 at WebCite
  68. ^ a b Von Mises, Ludwig (1990). Economic calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth (PDF). Ludwig von Mises Institute. Retrieved 2008-09-08. 
  69. ^ a b F. A. Hayek, (1935), "The Nature and History of the Problem" and "The Present State of the Debate," om in F. A. Hayek, ed. Collectivist Economic Planning, pp. 1–40, 201–43.
  70. ^ a b Friedman, Milton. "We have Socialism Q.E.D., Op-Ed in New York Times, December 31, 1989". On Milton Friedman, MGR & Annaism.  Archived 29 July 2011 at WebCite
  71. ^ Zoltan J. Acs & Bernard Young. Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises in the Global Economy. University of Michigan Press, p. 47, 1999.
  72. ^ Mill, John Stuart. The Principles of Political Economy, Book IV, Chapter 7.
  73. ^ John Kenneth Galbraith, The Good Society: The Humane Agenda, (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1996), 59–60."
  74. ^ Hans-Hermann Hoppe. A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism https://www.mises.org/books/Socialismcapitalism.pdf[dead link].
  75. ^ Ludwig von Mises, Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis, Indianapolis, IN: Liberty Fund, Inc.. 1981, trans. J. Kahane, IV.30.21
  76. ^ F.A. Hayek. The Intellectuals and Socialism. (1949).
  77. ^ Alan O. Ebenstein. Friedrich Hayek: A Biography. (2003). University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-18150-9 p. 137
  78. ^ Friedrich Hayek (1944). The Road to Serfdom. University Of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-32061-8. 
  79. ^ Bellamy, Richard (2003). The Cambridge History of Twentieth-Century Political Thought. Cambridge University Press. p. 60. ISBN 978-0-521-56354-3. 
  80. ^ Self, Peter. Socialism. A Companion to Contemporary Political Philosophy, editors Goodin, Robert E. and Pettit, Philip. Blackwell Publishing, 1995, p. 339 "Extreme equality overlooks the diversity of individual talents, tastes and needs, and save in a utopian society of unselfish individuals would entail strong coercion; but even short of this goal, there is the problem of giving reasonable recognition to different individual needs, tastes (for work or leisure) and talents. It is true therefore that beyond some point the pursuit of equality runs into controversial or contradictory criteria of need or merit."
  81. ^ "Bloody Socialism". Importanceofphilosophy.com.  Archived 29 July 2011 at WebCite

Bibliography

  • Holmes, Leslie (2009). Communism: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-955154-5. 
  • Lansford, Tom (2007). Communism. Marshall Cavendish. ISBN 978-0-7614-2628-8. 
  • Link, Theodore (2004). Communism: A Primary Source Analysis. The Rosen Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-8239-4517-7. 
  • Rabinowitch, Alexander (2004). The Bolsheviks come to power: the Revolution of 1917 in Petrograd. Pluto Press. 
  • "Ci–Cz Volume 4". World Book. Chicago, Illinois: World Book, Inc. 2008. ISBN 978-0-7166-0108-1. 

Further reading

External links