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The communist society (or communist system) is the type of society postulated by the theory of Marxism and the goal of the political ideology of communism. A Communist society is classless and stateless, based upon common ownership of the means of production with free access to articles of consumption, and therefore the end of economic exploitation. Karl Marx referred to this stage of development as upper-stage communism.
In Marxist theory, communism is a specific stage of historical development that inevitably emerges from the development of the productive forces that leads to a superabundance of material wealth, allowing for distribution based on need and social relations based on freely-associated individuals.
In a communist society, economic relations no longer would determine the society. Scarcity would be eliminated in all possible aspects. Alienated labor would cease, as people would be free to pursue their individual goals. This kind of society is identified by the slogan put forth by Karl Marx: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need."
Marx never clearly said whether communist society would be just; others have speculated that he thought communism would transcend justice and create society without conflicts, thus, without the needs for rules of justice. It would be a democratic society, enfranchising the entire population.
Marx also wrote that between capitalist and communist society, there would be a transitory period known as the dictatorship of the proletariat. During this preceding phase of societal development, capitalist economic relationships would be abolished and in place would arise socialism. Natural resources and earth would become public property, while all manufacturing centres and workplaces would become owned by their workers and democratically managed. Production would be organised by scientific assessment and planning, thus eliminating what Marx called the "anarchy in production". The development of the productive forces would lead to the marginalisation of human labour to the highest possible extent, replacing with automated labour.
According to the 1986 Programme of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union:
- "Communism is a classless social system with one form of public ownership of the means of production and with full social equality of all members of society. Under communism, the all-round development of people will be accompanied by the growth of the productive forces on the basis of continuous progress in science and technology, all the springs of social wealth will flow abundantly, and the great principle "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs" will be implemented. Communism is a highly organised society of free, socially conscious working people a society in which public self-government will be established, a society in which labour for the good of society will become the prime vital requirement of everyone, a clearly recognised necessity, and the ability of each person will be employed to the greatest benefit of the people.
- The material and technical foundation of communism presupposes the creation of those productive forces that open up opportunities for the full satisfaction of the reasonable requirements of society and the individual. All productive activities under communism will be based on the use of highly efficient technical facilities and technologies, and the harmonious interaction of man and nature will be ensured.
- In the highest phase of communism the directly social character of labour and production will become firmly established. Through the complete elimination of the remnants of the old division of labour and the essential social differences associated with it, the process of forming a socially homogeneous society will be completed.
- Communism signifies the transformation of the system of socialist self-government by the people, of socialist democracy into the highest form of organisation of society - communist public self-government. With the maturation of the necessary socio-economic and ideologial preconditions and the involvement of all citizens in administration, the socialist state - given appropriate internatioal conditions - will, as Lenin noted, increasingly become a transitional form "from a state to a non-state." The activities of state bodies will become non-political in nature, and the need for the state as a special political institution will gradually disappear.
- The inalienable feature of the communist mode of life is a high level of consciousness, social activity, discipline, and self-discipline of members of society, in which observance of the uniform, generally accepted rules of communist conduct will become an inner need and habit of every person.
- Communism is a social system under which the free development of each is a condition for the free development of all."
- Critique of the Gotha Programme, Karl Marx.
- Full Communism: The Ultimate Goal
- Barry Stewart Clark (1998). Political economy: a comparative approach. ABC-CLIO. pp. 57–59. ISBN 978-0-275-96370-5. Retrieved 7 March 2011.
- Craig J. Calhoun (2002). Classical sociological theory. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 23–23. ISBN 978-0-631-21348-2. Retrieved 5 March 2011.
- "Karl Marx – Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy".. First published Tue Aug 26, 2003; substantive revision Mon Jun 14, 2010. Accessed March 4 2011.