Communism – Definition, Historical, Ideology & Features

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COMMUNISM – Definition, Features and Characteristics


Meaning of communism
Communism simply refers to a classless society. According to Karl Marx, it is the highest stage of development of a society. In a communist society, there is a common sharing of material goods.

Communism, like socialism, emphasizes the abolition of private property and the enthronement of public ownership of the means of production.

Socialism is just like a bus stop in the journey of communism. Like a commuter at the bus stop gets a vehicle going to his destination in good time, he would have succeeded in achieving his objective. But if, for whatever reason, he cannot secure a vehicle, he goes back home and his journey would have been aborted. He cannot stay forever at the bus stop.

In the same vein, success in the socialist phase of production leads smoothly to the Communist phase of production. By so doing, the socialist state gives way to communism.

Communism is there for the highest stage which every society aspires to. However, there is no country that has reached the stage of communism.

Features of Communism

Communism has the following features and characteristics.

  • The Communist society is a classless society. Classes disappear, as the economic basis for their existence no longer exists. There are neither exploiting classes nor the exploitation of Man by Man; there is no racial or national operation.
  • There is a single dominant ideology, which is Marxism and Leninism.
  • There are no differences between cities, towns and villages as they experience uniform development.
  • Work becomes a pleasure and not a burden.
  • There is an all-round development of the individual and the gap between mental and physical labour is bridged. As such, the intelligentsia cease to be a special class.
  • The power of the state will fade away; the dictatorship of the proletariat will give way to a government of all the people.
  • What we have is the administration of things and not the administration of men.
  • The principle of distribution is: from each according to his ability and to each according to his need.
  • Communism is the peak of human development – there is abundance of everything and the Communist society is like heaven on Earth. According to a program of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), “Communism accomplishes the historic mission of delivering all men from social inequality, from every form of oppression and exploitation, from horrors of War, and proclaims peace, freedom, equality, fraternity and happiness for all people.”

Principles of Communism

The essential principles of communism are;

  1. The materialistic interpretation of history – The communists believe that the mode of production in material life determines the general character of the social, political and spiritual processes of life. In the social production which men are involved in, they enter into definite relations that are indispensable in life.
  2. The class war – The society has been divided into two hostile economic classes since the establishment of private property. the capitalist class which derives its income mainly from the ownership of property is antagonistic to the interest of the proletariat (workers) class which depends chiefly on the sale of its labour power for its livelihood.
  3. The theory of surplus value – The primary reason for the antagonism is that the capitalist class, through its ownership and control of the means of production, is able to appropriate  the surplus value which is created by labour and is supposed to go to labour. The surplus value arises because labour power kuddus values above the cost of tools, raw materials etc. The workers are there for being exploited by the capitalist because the state is but a tool in the hands of the capitalists classes.
  4. Social revolution – It is inevitable because the future development of capitalism will take the form of the concentration of capital in fewer hands, while at the same time there will be the ever closer and more elaborate organisation of the proletariat class. Therefore, at it’s climax, the proletariat will arise and overthrow the capitalist class.
  5. The dictatorship of the proletariat – The dictatorship of the dominant class will confiscate all private capital and then organised the labour, compel all to work, centralised credit and finance, establish state factories, concentrate means of transport and speed up production.
  6. The state will wither away – After capitalism is destroyed, the state is unnecessary, for there will no longer be any capitalist, for whose protection it now exists. Therefore, it will ultimately wither away.

Relationship Between Communism And Socialism

The relationship between socialism and communism is exemplified in the following:

  • Both communism and socialism were developed from the theories of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels.
  • To Marx and Engels, socialism and communism can only be achieved through evolutionary means.
  • Both communism and socialism are political and economic systems are forgetting collective of communal ownership of the means of production and distribution.
  • But reject bourgeois democratic ideas of freedom, Justice and equality because these terms seem to have no real meaning in a society in which the masses are exploited.
  • There is only one political party, Marxist-Leninist party.
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