Politics in Minutes (2016)

Communism

Acommon misconception, particularly among those critical of communism, is that ‘communism’ refers to the political and economic system seen in self-styled ‘communist states’, such as Soviet Russia. These states, however, are very different from communism as it was envisaged by Marx. Despite the label ‘Marxist–Leninist’ they had little in common with either Marx or Lenin, and more to do with the authoritarian rule of Stalin, which many true communists regard as a form of state capitalism.

In contrast, the communism described by Marx and Engels in the Communist Manifesto is the final stage of a historical development, which is realized once a socialist state has been established, and the working class has gained control of the means of production. Once it has been achieved, true communism can be brought about – in Marx’s words ‘characterized by the absence of social classes, money and the state’. A far cry from any so-called communist state ever established.

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