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Portal:Communism

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Introduction

Communism (from Latin communis, "common, universal") is a philosophical, social, political and economic ideology and movement whose ultimate goal is the establishment of a communist society, namely a socioeconomic order structured upon the ideas of common ownership of the means of production and the absence of social classes, money and the state.

Communism includes a variety of schools of thought which broadly include Marxism and anarchism (especially anarcho-communism) as well as the political ideologies grouped around both. All of these share the analysis that the current order of society stems from its economic system and mode of production, capitalism; that in this system there are two major social classes; that conflict between these two classes is the root of all problems in society; and that this situation will ultimately be resolved through a social revolution. The two classes are the proletariat (the working class)—who must work to survive and who make up the majority within society—and the bourgeoisie (the capitalist class)—a minority who derives profit from employing the working class through private ownership of the means of production. According to this analysis, revolution would put the working class in power and in turn establish social ownership of the means of production which is the primary element in the transformation of society towards communism.

Along with social democracy, communism became the dominant political tendency within the international socialist movement by the 1920s. While the emergence of the Soviet Union as the world's first nominally communist state led to communism's widespread association with the Soviet economic model and Marxism–Leninism, some economists and intellectuals argued that in practice the model functioned as a form of state capitalism, or a non-planned administrative or command economy.

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A young Karl Marx
Marxism is the philosophy, social theory and political practice based on the works of Karl Marx, a 19th century German socialist philosopher, economist, journalist, and revolutionary. Marx, often in collaboration with Friedrich Engels, drew on G. W. F. Hegel's philosophy, the political economy of Adam Smith and David Ricardo, and theorists of 19th century French socialism, to develop a critique of society which he claimed was both scientific and revolutionary. This critique achieved its most systematic (albeit unfinished) expression in his most famous work, Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, more commonly known as Das Kapital.

Marx defined history on a strictly economic basis, stating that history had 6 steps (Tribe, Slavery, Feudalism, Capitalism, Socialism and Communism), where economic inequility caused each step to be replaced over time. He as a communist believed that a violent revolution would be the catalyst in the transformation from capitalism to socialism. Since its inception and up to the present day, Marxism has been situated largely outside the political mainstream, although it has played a major role in history. Today, Marxist political parties of widely different sizes survive in most countries around the world.

Selected biography

Antonio Gramsci, ca. early 20s
Antonio Gramsci (22 January 1891 – 27 April 1937) was an Italian writer, politician, political philosopher, and linguist. He was a founding member and onetime leader of the Communist Party of Italy and was imprisoned by Benito Mussolini's Fascist regime. Gramsci was one of the most important Marxist thinkers in the 20th century, and his writings are heavily concerned with the analysis of culture and political leadership; he is notable as a highly original thinker within modern European thought. He is renowned for his concept of cultural hegemony as a means of maintaining the state in a capitalist society.

Gramsci wrote more than 30 notebooks and 3000 pages of history and analysis during his imprisonment. These writings, known as the Prison Notebooks, contain Gramsci's tracing of Italian history and nationalism, as well as some ideas in Marxist theory, critical theory and educational theory associated with his name.

Selected quote

A means can be justified only by its end. But the end in its turn needs to be justified. From the Marxist point of view, which expresses the historical interests of the proletariat, the end is justified if it leads to increasing the power of man over nature and to the abolition of the power of man over man.

“We are to understand then that in achieving this end anything is permissible?” sarcastically demands the Philistine, demonstrating that he understood nothing. That is permissible, we answer, which really leads to the liberation of mankind. Since this end can be achieved only through revolution, the liberating morality of the proletariat of necessity is endowed with a revolutionary character. It irreconcilably counteracts not only religious dogma but every kind of idealistic fetish, these philosophic gendarmes of the ruling class. It deduces a rule for conduct from the laws of the development of society, thus primarily from the class struggle, this law of all laws.

“Just the same,” the moralist continues to insist, “does it mean that in the class struggle against capitalists all means are permissible: lying, frame-up, betrayal, murder, and so on?” Permissible and obligatory are those and only those means, we answer, which unite the revolutionary proletariat, fill their hearts with irreconcilable hostility to oppression, teach them contempt for official morality and its democratic echoers, imbue them with consciousness of their own historic mission, raise their courage and spirit of self-sacrifice in the struggle. Precisely from this it flows that not all means are permissible. When we say that the end justifies the means, then for us the conclusion follows that the great revolutionary end spurns those base means and ways which set one part of the working class against other parts, or attempt to make the masses happy without their participation; or lower the faith of the masses in themselves and their organization, replacing it by worship for the “leaders”. Primarily and irreconcilably, revolutionary morality rejects servility in relation to the bourgeoisie and haughtiness in relation to the toilers, that is, those characteristics in which petty bourgeois pedants and moralists are thoroughly steeped."

— Leon Trotsky (1879-1940)

Their Morals and Ours , 1938

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May Day celebration in Sri Lanka.

Photo credit: Machang

Communism News

7 February 2020 – 2019–20 Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
General Secretary of the Communist Party of ChinaXi Jinping declares "people's war" on the coronavirus outbreak. (The National) (Reuters)
25 January 2020 – 2019–20 Wuhan coronavirus outbreak
General Secretary of the Communist Party of ChinaXi Jinping holds a special Party Politburo meeting where he says that the country faces a "grave situation" as he warns the virus is "accelerating its speed". (People's Daily)
28 November 2019 – Censorship in Vietnam
In the third case this month, and the second this week, a court in Vietnam convicts and sentences a Facebook user to nine years in prison for defaming the ruling Communist Party and government. (Reuters)
26 November 2019 – 2019 Australian Parliament infiltration plot, Chinese intelligence activity abroad
ASIO is investigating an alleged plot by the Communist Party of China to install an agent into the Parliament of Australia. (ABC Australia)
12 September 2019 – Social media use in politics
Twittersuspends several Cuban government and state media accounts, including First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba Raúl Castro and his daughter Mariela Castro. The pro-government Union of Journalists of Cuba denounces the suspensions as "massive censorship". (The Guardian) (BBC)
2 July 2019 – Education in Argentina, Argentina–Cuba relations
Argentine Education MinisterAlejandro Finocchiaro, who strongly condemned a school in Chaco Province for displaying a Cuban flag and displaying pictures of Che Guevara, says the school "has no supervision" and that they are "indoctrinating children with communism and totalitarian and populist governments". He also added in an interview on state TV that the school will be reviewed. (La Nación) (Clarín)

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