Communism is an ideology that seeks to establish a classless, statelesssocial organization based on common ownership of the means of production. Karl Marx held that society could not be transformed from the capitalistmode of production to the advanced communist mode of production all at once, but required a transitional period which Marx described as the revolutionarydictatorship of the proletariat, the first stage of communism. What is Communism?
According to the Marxist argument for communism, the main characteristic of human life in class society is alienation; and communism is desirable because it entails the full realization of human freedom. Karl Marx
Marxism holds that a process of class conflict and revolutionary struggle will result in victory for the proletariat and the establishment of a communist society in which private ownership is abolished over time and the means of production and subsistence belong to the community. Marx himself wrote little about life under communism, giving only the most general indication as to what constituted a communist society. Karl Marx
In Russia, the 1917 October Revolution was the first time any party with an avowedly Marxist orientation, in this case the Bolshevik Party, seized state power. Marx believed 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. The growth of modern Communism
The Bolsheviks successful rise to power was based upon the slogans "peace, bread, and land" and "All power to the Soviets," slogans 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. During the Russian Civil War (1918-1922), the Bolsheviks nationalized all productive property and imposed a policy of "war communism," which put factories and railroads under strict government control, collected and rationed food, and introduced some bourgeois management of industry.
The Stalinist version of socialism, with some important modifications, shaped the Soviet Union and influenced Communist Parties worldwide. It was heralded as a possibility of building communism via a massive program of industrialization and collectivization. The rapid development of industry, and above all the victory of the Soviet Union in the Second World War, maintained that vision throughout the world, even around a decade following Stalin's death, when the party adopted a program in which it promised the establishment of communism within thirty years. Stalinism
Stalinism • However, under Stalin's leadership, evidence emerged that dented faith in the possibility of achieving communism within the framework of the Soviet model. Stalin had created in the Soviet Union a repressive state that dominated every aspect of life. Later, growth declined, and rent-seeking and corruption by state officials increased, which dented the legitimacy of the Soviet system.
Trotskyism • Trotsky and his supporters organized into the "Left Opposition," and their platform became known as Trotskyism. But Stalin eventually succeeded in gaining full control of the Soviet regime, and their attempts to remove Stalin from power resulted in Trotsky's exile from the Soviet Union in 1929.
… • On the political spectrum of Marxism, Trotskyists are considered to be on the left. They supported democratic rights in the USSR, opposed political deals with the imperialist powers, and advocated a spreading of the revolution throughout Europe and the East. The Left Opposition, led by Trotsky, grew in influence throughout the 20s, until Stalin used force against them in 1928, sending Trotsky into internal exile and jailing his supporters. The Left Opposition, however, continued to work in secret within the Soviet Union. Trotsky was eventually exiled to Turkey, then Norway, and finally to Mexico.
Maoism • After the death of Stalin in 1953, the Soviet Union's new leader, Nikita Khrushchev, denounced Stalin's crimes and his cult of personality. He called for a return to the principles of Lenin, thus presaging some change in Communist methods. However, Khrushchev's reforms heightened ideological differences between the People's Republic of China and the Soviet Union, which became increasingly apparent in the 1960s. As the Sino-Soviet Split in the international Communist movement turned toward open hostility, China portrayed itself as a leader of the underdeveloped world against the two superpowers, the United States and the Soviets.
Maoism or Mao Zedong Thought (Simplified Chinese: 毛泽东思想; Hanyu Pinyin: Máo Zédōng Sīxiǎng), is a variant of Marxism-Leninism derived from the teachings of the Chinesecommunist leader Mao Zedong "Mao Tse-tung").
Communism Today • Find out: • What countries are currently under communist rule? • What countries are under socialist rule? • What population of the world is under a socialist/communist government? • Are there any models where communism has been successful?