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What is Communism?

Amy Pollick
Updated May 23, 2024
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“From each, according to his ability, to each according to his need.” This is one of the phrases that crystallize the meaning of communism. It isn’t easy to get an unbiased definition of communism, but one of the better ones describes it as socialism that abolishes private ownership and seeks to create a classless society.

Communism has been a major historical theme since the Bolshevik Revolution of Russia in 1917. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels popularized the communist ideology in their 1848 work, Communist Manifesto. Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, founder of the Bolshevik Party, was inspired by this work and eventually became the first Communist ruler of Russia.

Communism sounds like a good idea. In the purest form of communism, all people hold all land, factories and so on in trust, as it were. In this way, all goods are shared equally by the people. There is no poverty — nor is there an upper class. In the Depression-era America of the 1930s, many people joined the Communist Party because it seemed to be sympathetic to the needs and desires of the worker, rather than to the bosses.

Unfortunately, communism in practice tends to be somewhat different, as those who have lived in the 20th century know. Communism as practiced by Lenin, Stalin and Chairman Mao is an entirely different proposition. This kind of communism sets up an authoritarian government, with the best goods and services going to those in government.

It was not uncommon in Soviet Russia for people to vie for government jobs — not because they were such fans of communism, but because they got a larger apartment. Capitalists gripe about corruption, but communist governments are just as rife with it as capitalist systems. Government members tend to rationalize that they deserve the best of everything because they are governing for the people.

Another problem with political communism is that governments tend to focus on “production” as the ultimate goal. Production is usually defined as that which comes from factories and farms. As a result, the arts may suffer under a communist regime. This was certainly true for years in China, when Chairman Mao instituted the “cultural revolution.” Since these governments tend to become insular and paranoid, they also usually form a secret police force to quash any hint of revolution by the people.

Communism would probably function well if humans didn’t have the unfortunate tendency toward greed. Some argue that if everyone had the same, no one would want more. This, of course, has been proven to be a fallacy over and over again. If there are no goals to achieve, and nothing to work toward except a production quota, where is the incentive to excel? Capitalism is not a perfect system either. It just functions better in the face of human greed than other systems do, as it offers the carrot of financial gain for hard work.

An article like this cannot delve into the minutiae of communism. However, there are many excellent resources on the Internet that discuss communism as an ideology as well as a political system. Communism is worth researching for a better picture of an ideology that helped shape history in the 20th century.

Historical Index is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Amy Pollick
By Amy Pollick
Amy Pollick, a talented content writer and editor, brings her diverse writing background to her work at Historical Index. With experience in various roles and numerous articles under her belt, she crafts compelling content that informs and engages readers across various platforms on topics of all levels of complexity.
Discussion Comments
By anon1006680 — On Apr 27, 2022

Some people are dumb. If he/she is employed, does not realize that the owner by paying peanuts to him, grabs everything earned in the name of profit. Communism rejects such open theft from the workers and employees and say that the benefits of their work must be shared by them depending on the work they have done or their contribution. If somebody feels this is stealing, he must be that thief called the owner.

By anon998216 — On Apr 25, 2017

Some states in the U.S.A. are partially acting as communist countries are today.

By anon996612 — On Sep 19, 2016

Communism is a bad form of government.

By anon994022 — On Jan 07, 2016

I hate communism, and I could never to stand to live in a world where people just take stuff of yours.

I am not greedy however, but what if someone fixed an old bike of yours and it was precious and sentimental to you?

And then one day, some stupid person decided to take it just because not knowing it was sentimental to you?

Communism will never work in this society and I am very much glad. Iḿ glad that when I work hard to earn something, I can keep it instead of being worried about someone stealing it just because they can.

Communism is basically stealing. A stupid form of trying to make stealing okay.

By anon928625 — On Jan 28, 2014

Communism is misjudged with lots of bad blood on its hands. The problem with these Utopians is that they believe that whatever is done, however horrible in the past, is forgivable for the immediate and prosperous future.

But Communism doesn't have to operate under a Democratic or Republican governmental platform, and neither does capitalism. The principals of its economics can operate the economy but politically it can be anything -- and that is the problem, really. Communism is really an economic and social system. It has a political feel to it, such as a one party state, but that is the basis to minimize infighting etc etc.

It can also be seen as an attempt to recondition people into different ways of thinking. Capitalism, on the other hand, is inherently greedy and forthcoming about it.

By anon352513 — On Oct 23, 2013

What phrase describes communism in a nutshell?

By anon352447 — On Oct 22, 2013

@post 145: So you think it's right for government to make all decisions for you? Research if and see if Cuba is doing well.

By anon343363 — On Jul 29, 2013

I believe in Communism. I also believe in all humans in the world. But the main problem is actually our parents and their parent. No child is born to this world with greed. Greed is something other people teach you and in that way, greed is a human invention.

Communism works the day people dare to open their minds, hearts and everything there is to open, and lay down all kinds of judgment. The problem here is also that the USA would do anything to stop communism, because the USA is led by people who like having a lot of money.

Real communism will come some day, but we will all probably be dead by then. But I really hope they one day figure it out, because greed is not in my mind and if it is not in mine, is there not a chance it will spread? Well I most certainly hope so. But again, as the world is now, communism will never work, and the beginning of world wide communism would have to be fitted to every area, but in time they all would work for a common goal and the science will move a lot faster than it does today.

Well, I would love to go outside, just take the first bike I see, and then be on my way. If I were to go far, I would take a car, which would be shared among all people. If I had to travel far, I would go by train, boat or plane, and when I reached my destination, I would take a random car of my liking and just drive off into the sunset.

The best thing here, there would be no money, which is the thing that controls the world we live in today. Instead, people would all work on making things better for each other. Actually money (greed) is the root of most evil things in our world.

Hmm, I could write on for hours about this, but I will not. I just hope someday humanity sees the light.

By anon325531 — On Mar 16, 2013

Communism is no way of life. Even though it might have the right idea of treating people equally, that gets corrupted along the way. No one is allowed to have their own opinion. That is considered as going against the government. God wants us all to be free and you can't be free in the government system of communism.

By anon322938 — On Mar 02, 2013

Communism cannot and will not ever work, simply because human nature will not allow it. It's simply naive to believe that a communist utopia could ever happen in the real world. It requires "forcing" everyone to be equal, and to do that you need to control them! This is the opposite of freedom, and it is why you see the results you see where communism has been enacted.

Even in the United States, communism was tried at Jamestown Colony during it's founding, only to have disastrous effects! The early Americans learned their lesson and this led to the principles of freedom and capitalism that made America the envy of the world. Unfortunately, as more and more Americans forget history and start gravitating towards the fantasy of socialism/communism/statism/progressivism, etc., they are drifting away from those principles of freedom and will suffer for it!

By anon321813 — On Feb 24, 2013

The communism system is a good idea. Why do I say this? See how fair people are with a classless and equal society.

To compare the system of communism, it's like what God wants, because God is holy and sees people equally: no rich no poor, no tall no short, no beautiful no ugly, etc.

So really, my advice is this: if the world wants to be comfort and stable please try to imitate the communist system.

By anon319844 — On Feb 15, 2013

I believe, from my miniscule base of data, that capitalism works better to manage the different types of people in very large countries. I believe this is true because in most cases, if legally obtained, money ensures you are being productive for your country. Although some people do obtain money illegally, the majority contribute to the country. All democracies have their doors and their guards that protect those doors. The police prevent money scams, but even the police system has problems.

Capitalism is good way to ensure a standard lifestyle, such as in a small village. If everyone is given the same amounts of wealth and power, everyone connects with each other in a more powerful way and is more willing to work together. But eventually (because every human strives to go forward) control will be lost (as proven in several parts of Africa’s "various wars"). There is no true way to have no social class for a human. Everyone will find someone to base as the leader regardless if it's official or not.

I don't actually believe capitalism is possible to achieve, although many claim to have achieved it. If that were possible, we'd basically be just robots, emotionless non-judgmental beings. That's why communism was thought of, as a judgment on unfair living. For example, when or if you were to attend a public transportation service and see various empty seats each containing one person sitting next to it, would you choose the seat with the most socially acceptable human (providing you don't know any of them) or sit next to a person who has a lower social acceptance (Providing that all the humans are of the same gender and the seats are fairly close to each other).

With capitalism, there is a lot of judgment. Stereotypes such as social class, race, and popularity have a terrible effect on the western economy. It causes rebellion and people to go against each other and form groups. This isn't necessarily caused by capitalism, but capitalism promotes this. Capitalism highly influences gang activity and criminal activity.

Because I don't believe communism is possible to achieve to its peak extent, I disagree with communism. By the way, I am also a poor-early middle class civilian.

If you wish to gain wealth and power, you must find a job that few people can do. If you mine a rare gem, you will receive more money for it because of how difficult it is to obtain. If you work at a fast food restaurant, your pay will be low because you are easily replaced. But, if you were a CEO of a very powerful organization, your value goes up and you have more money. If you try to sell bananas and there are high quality banana trees everywhere, you would make little or no money. But if you were trying to sell rare antiques, you could price them at a greater value.

By anon319737 — On Feb 14, 2013

I get up and go to work every day to sell products in my own store. I work long hours and am not making a lot of money. I enjoy my customers and they enjoy buying products I sell.

Then I know people who sit at home all day watching TV, getting food stamps (which is taken from me via taxes), and never contribute to their own welfare. How does communism get these lazy bums motivated to work?

At least I have a chance of buying a home, which I have, and owning a car, and enjoy many nice things that would not be possible in a communist society. Capitalism works because it provides the goods and services people want and need, as long as a profit can be made. You can choose to work hard and get ahead, or sit at home and be a bum.

I also enjoy buying anything I want at a reasonable price because of fair competition in the marketplace. Capitalism works because of the greed factor, not in spite of it.

By anon318533 — On Feb 07, 2013

"Hitler did not have the atomic bomb and anyhow, Japan was on his side."

I cannot believe someone could ask such a question. The United States used the atomic bomb against Japan after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. They used one on Hiroshima on 8-6-1945 and used one on Nagasaki on 8-9-1945.

By anon303575 — On Nov 15, 2012

This is all from a Western Capitalist viewpoint. The history books are biased and probably written by rich capitalists themselves.

Remember that Stalin's economic plans caused economic growth higher then anything ever achieved. They also put the first man in space. Stalin killing 10 million is a myth; it is just figment of American propaganda. I've met people who have lived through this. They've told me you need to stop watching too much television.

Communism did work and that's why the west were and still are so scared of it

By anon303362 — On Nov 14, 2012

Do some research. History tells us communism is a failure. They have no innovation. Without freedoms to explore new ideas and technologies, we would be hundreds or years behind. Who wants to be a robot? Who wants everyone to have the same things? The rich work hard to get there, and they deserve it. Communism offers rich leaders and all poor people; it is a failed ideology. It's just a system of greater control which holds people back from freedoms to create and express themselves as individuals.

By anon295558 — On Oct 06, 2012

Anyone who knows what Communism truly is, wouldn't claim that Soviet Russia and China are Communist. There is no ruling government in a true Communism. In Communism, people would work because they would know the necessity of their and work, if they refused to work they would not benefit from the labor of others.

The closest thing a Communism would have to a government would be councils elected by the people, councils which would be kept under control by the people; they would have no real power or authority.

Why does the western world fear Communism? Because many there are lazy, self-entitled, and selfish people. They feed upon the labor of others like parasites and reap the rewards for themselves. Do you really think the wealthy in any western nation would so readily surrender their social influence and wealth to ease the suffering of others? The only thing Capitalism encouraged is avarice, cruelty, and the social enslavement of others. It promotes money over humanity, and that, in and of itself is utterly wrong.

By anon266813 — On May 07, 2012

I think the idea of communism is a good thing. A world where everyone is equal and no one rules over another would be a utopia. However, because all humans are different and by nature imperfect, we know that it is impossible to achieve utopia, as there will always be corruption. Because of this, actual execution of socialist governments will never actually work out the way they were planned.

By anon260522 — On Apr 11, 2012

Communism is a good thing. People are all equal.

By anon259117 — On Apr 04, 2012

I am anti communist because I have grown up in Guatemala, where I was surrounded with military forces. I do not condone communism. But, if the people want communism, fine. No problem.

I have seen the reality of the kind of American people are. There are some consequences when someone comes against an anti communist. They get in trouble. Can you approach to a militia man when there is civil war? No militia has mercy. Militants are merciless. Cops are a different case.

By anon259116 — On Apr 04, 2012

I do not know about communism. But, I am learning about the things which America, the United States is teaching me. Would you please forgive me if I say freedom of speech? I am anti communist. Do not confuse with the facts and mix and mingle anti communist with KKK Or Nazis. It is a different case. They do not understand the meaning of anti communism. Anti communism is only for rich people. Sorry. That's the truth.

Some people hate the rich and some cops hate rich people and they want communism. Anti communism is very different from what the KKK and Nazis think. They do not understand. Forgive them because they are unschooled.

By anon232190 — On Nov 29, 2011

Everyone's talking about communism as if it was designed to be a dictatorship.

Seriously, the "ruling class" isn't supposed to exist either!

Who really should have the power is the people itself, that would make decisions through councils ("soviets" in Russian).

However, that's rather difficult because it's direct democracy. Now, if there were indirect democracy, such as we have right now, the "ruling class" would be forced to leave the administration.

The problem is that all "communist" countries have been dictatorships, and the few democratic ones (The Spanish Republic, Chile in 1970) were subjects to fascist and neoliberal coups.

The other communist countries followed the ideals of 1917's revolution, which was done urgently and without thinking it through in reality. Read "A critique on the Russian Revolution" by Rose Luxemburg.

Seriously, there are ways and ways of communism, and if it hadn't been for the Russian Civil War (which made communism adapt to war, in a way that it could never dis-adapt to it), we would have true communist parties today.

By anon227815 — On Nov 06, 2011

Also, if anyone is referencing Orwell they should know that George Orwell was a lifelong democratic socialist. "1984" and "Animal Farm" are not anti-socialist; they are anti-authoritarian. Orwell took the stance that the USSR was never really socialist, it was just an oligarchy masquerading as socialism. Many people seem to have completely misunderstood Orwell's intent.

By anon227814 — On Nov 06, 2011

Also, the justification for unequal distribution of wealth under capitalism is completely bunk. Any difference in inherent ability, appearance, personality, etc. are all accidents of birth that the individual has no control over. It makes no sense to reward or punish someone for something which is completely beyond their control. Therefore, everyone should receive an equal share of the public wealth regardless of their contribution to society. People will continue to "excel" because the need to be useful to society is a basic requirement for human happiness. This also helps to explain why there are so many rich people that are unhappy.

By anon227813 — On Nov 06, 2011

Soviet Union or "communist" China were never truly communist in the strict sense of the term. Now if you want the problems with capitalism, they are:

1. Capitalism is unsustainable. Capitalism requires constant economic expansion in a finite world and is therefore unsustainable.

2. Capitalism is undemocratic. Wealth is a form of political power, wealth is distributed unequally in capitalism. In a democracy, political power must be distributed equally. Therefore, capitalism is undemocratic.

3. Capitalism is inhuman. Above, the author makes the argument that greed is human nature. This is ignorant of 50-plus years of research that indicates that social status is a much more powerful motivator than money. In fact, people are almost genetically programmed to be naturally altruistic. Capitalists are making a circular argument: they are looking at the behavior of individuals raised under capitalism, a system which rewards greed, and then concluding that greed is human nature!

By anon215599 — On Sep 18, 2011

what is the phrase that explains Communism in a "nutshell"?

By anon206486 — On Aug 16, 2011

Capitalism insures that we have the ability to better our lives. If we all shared property, there would not be enough to go around, and everyone in the country, except for the leaders, would have to go without. I’m poor. My family of three lives in a one-bedroom apartment and buy food with food stamps. We work extremely hard to survive, but my husband wouldn’t have a job if his boss was not rich. And even though we are poor, we have everything we need.

There is no excuse for anyone to be homeless because the homeless in America are either lazy or insane. If they are insane, they should be living in a mental hospital, and if they are not insane, they should be working, and if they are disabled, they can get on disability. If they cannot afford to feed their children, they can get food stamps, and during that time, they can be working toward a better life. We all have the opportunity to have a better life if we work for it, and maybe if we work hard enough, our children can go to college, then their children can go to a better college, and so on. It is up to every single person to better himself or ask for help. Help is available for everyone.

Some people have talents that others don’t have, for example, my husband’s boss has a talent for building a business, and he hires people who have a talent for working for his business. It doesn’t mean he’s better than his employees, it means he’s used his talent to give jobs to people who cannot create their own business, and the money earned from that job allows the employees the opportunity to get an education or whatever else they want to do.

I do, however, think people should keep their money out of the bank, for the banks are the true owners of the people, and they achieve this by “holding” your money for you, for a price, and that price is called “interest” and is created out of thin air. If we just exchanged cash instead of paying banks to “hold” our money, we would get to keep all of our money.

By anon186534 — On Jun 15, 2011

I was born in Romania, a few months before the Revolution, and you would not believe the crap that was going on in this country. We probably had it the worst of the entire communist block.

I can tell you a few things that my parents told me, from what they experienced, first-hand.

Food was rationed, and you could hardly find anything to buy in the stores, so people would spend huge amounts of money to buy stuff off the black market, like cigarettes, or coffee, which were hideously overpriced.

One adult's food ration per month consisted of one whole chicken, 10 eggs and 1 pack and a half of butter (I'm not making this up).

If you wanted to buy anything in stores, you had to get in line for it(especially milk) sometimes at 4 o'clock in the morning, to be there when the transport arrived, because there was rarely enough for everybody.

My father, who was a weapons engineer, made about one quarter of the money a tractor driver made per month.

The working class was favored, so were members of the party.

Cars were classed into "even, and uneven numbers" And one weekend, the even-numbered cars were allowed to drive, the next weekend, the others.

There was no press or television, except about the greatness of the party and the leaders, during which they lied about how great our production had been.

Heat during winter was not always guaranteed. For instance, my parents told me they would sleep in the kitchen, on the floor, to warm up from the oven, because the res of the apartment was freezing cold.

Hot water, again, didn't exist. If you wanted to bathe, you had to warm it on the stove.

If you tried to elope to a foreign country, they went after your remaining relatives(that's if they didn't manage to shoot you on the border).

Plus there was a secret police, which meant nobody could be trusted. Many people were secretly "informers" for the party, so you had to be very careful about speaking against the leader, the party, or the regime.

There were countless cases of priests who worked as under-cover informers and ratted on those who came to confession, if they spoke against the party, or plans of escape.

I could go on, and, on, and on. It was like a bad sci-fi novel.

By amypollick — On Jun 06, 2011

@anon183792: It really depends on the country where communism is practiced, and since none have ever instituted "pure" communism, which might be a little different, it all depended on the philosophy of the leader at the time.

In the former Soviet Union, for example, the arts were greatly encouraged, and children were selected at early ages to train for ballet and gymnastics, for example. This was to prove the superiority of the Soviets as far as physical fitness and beauty, etc., and you probably don't remember (but since I was born in the Dark Ages, I do), but the Soviets were the premier powerhouse athletes in the Olympics for probably 40 years, at least. They dominated gymnastics, couples figure skating, ice dancing and hockey, to name a few events.

China, on the other hand, had its arts severely suppressed for years under Chairman Mao and his Cultural Revolution. They have gotten away from this, and have now re-embraced the arts, including sending great gymnasts to the Olympics. Their men's team is in perpetual contention for the gold medals.

In both countries, the average citizen often had his or her job more or less chosen for him, depending on performance on aptitude tests and academic performance.

However, having a child in the Bolshoi Ballet in Russia ensured a family a better apartment and a more luxurious lifestyle, since their child was, essentially, a government employee.

I also remember how closely the Soviet athletes were guarded at the Olympics -- to keep them from defecting to the West. The famous gymnastics coach Bela Karolyi and his wife coached the powerhouse Soviet team to victory in Montreal in the 1976 summer games. They numbered the Olga Korbut and Nadia Comenici among their students. Then they defected and have a gym in Texas. Bela coached the US women's Olympic gymnastics team in the 1996 Atlanta summer games when they took home a ton of gold. Remember the big guy holding Kerri Strug after she won the gold medal in vault after injuring her ankle on her first run? That was Bela.

So, innovation and invention and the arts may be encouraged under a communist regime -- if the inventor or artist can make a case for his or her art benefiting the state. That, after all, is the ultimate aim for every worker in a 20th Century style communist state: to benefit the State, and by nebulous extension, the worker. Never is it, or has it been "ars gratia artis," though -- "Art for art's sake."

By anon183792 — On Jun 06, 2011

All I previously knew was that communism was something to do with equality and the working class, and that some people think it would work but it hasn't been put into practice in its purest form, so this has been a great help.

I do have a few questions though. What happens to inventors? Are they allowed to invent and innovate, or must they just work?

What about the arts? Are they considered produce? Can people choose their work or are they just allocated jobs?

By anon181677 — On May 30, 2011

So the communist government officials become capitalists but want the people to stay communists.

I think that the basic idea of communism itself is vague and illogical, i.e., to create a classless society. Well, there will always be people who are more talented or ambitious or gifted or loved than the others and obviously they would want their rightful and honored place in the society because they contribute to the society in ways in which it is not possible for other people to contribute.

By anon172210 — On May 03, 2011

really helped. the law of the land. the law of god is better than communism and democracy!

By anon168571 — On Apr 17, 2011

for me, as a ordinary person, both communism and democracy are good, but the best government or law of the nation is the law of God. if that low of God were implemented all over the earth, i certainly believe that there would be no war happening in different nations. make peace on earth, not war.

By anon164357 — On Mar 31, 2011

Just reading "Animal Farm" for a school project and wanted to get a better view of what communism is. I always thought that the idea of communism is good, but the greed of the human race ruins the whole idea. This would have to be a perfect world to have communism work properly. I feel sorry for the people who have to live with communism. They have no choice whatsoever.

I have always been fascinated with World War II and everything that went on. It is insanely cool. (you're allowed to think I'm a bit weird) But I am also glad that I wasn't born in that time period. The courage they must have had to do what they did. Considering that if Hitler hadn't done some of the mistakes that he had, he would have won. Kind of scary, huh?

This really helped my understanding of communism a bit better.

By anon160410 — On Mar 15, 2011

very well done. I have a better understanding of it than when it was taught to me in history class.

By anon158113 — On Mar 05, 2011

Fine, why don't we all go fascist if you all hate communism so much?

By anon154701 — On Feb 21, 2011

for those saying in a capitalist system people have a fair opportunity to achieve, then you are plain and simply wrong.

Capitalism breeds an aristocratic society where the rich can send their young to the best schools with the best educational resources and most expensive facilities. The money the rich have can buy opportunity in many forms.

I am no supporter of communism, socialism or capitalism, for that matter, but in reality and practice, I have to say the latter has proven most successful.

Personally, my political stance is to be decided as there is no form of political ideology I currently 100 percent agree with and believe aspects of all ideologies have their merits.

Until someone comes up with a new ideology that incorporates the best ideas of each system in a way that will show to be successful, then I denounce my democratic privilege as I currently believe there is no one solution to the vastly different classes, cultures and ideologies of our species.

If anyone out there has devoted their lives to this cause then you have my support as long as you remain pure and fair to everyone who deserves it and never seek personal gain then you have my full support and I would be glad to evaluate your conclusions somehow. (the catch 22 is that on the other side of the greedy you have the downright lazy and opportunistic welfare bums who would do anything to swindle a free living).

By anon154125 — On Feb 19, 2011

communism would work in its purest form if people were mere machines.

By anon150979 — On Feb 09, 2011

Great job! Thanks!

By anon149654 — On Feb 05, 2011

Perhaps if the majority of humanity can see that their greed of the materialistic world is the No. 1 enemy, then maybe a non-communist ideal for the sustainable resource management of mother earth may become apparent. Wake up, educate yourself and join hands with your fellow humans!

By anon148545 — On Feb 01, 2011

My boyfriend loves the idea of communism, and I can't stand it. I prefer a compassionate capitalism. Communism can't work because people have different talents and skills, thus people can't all be equal, or classless. Also, if the government controls the people, isn't that a class there? A class of officials/administrators? See? Communism contradicts.

The idea of communism is everybody works for the whole. It's the perfect idea (according to my boyfriend), but it can't work. And I still don't understand why people still support it! It's impossible to achieve because of humanity's greed.

Communism strips the power of the people; there is no freedom as all the media is censored, which in turn limits freedom of expression. Communism has too much power in one place (the government), and that power is easily corrupted. It is a weakness.

If anybody can vouch for communism, I will listen, but I probably still won't agree.

By anon146053 — On Jan 25, 2011

your definition is great. i like this.

By anon143278 — On Jan 15, 2011

Its all the same! It's just branded differently.

Capitalism and communism operate on the same principles; it just looks different as a brand.

coke zero or pepsi max?

one highlights the "zero" factor and the other the "max" factor, but in the end of the day they are exactly the same claiming to have less calories, so is it zero or mas? Doesn't matter. You'll end up choosing one or the other, and still have bad health.

By anon142496 — On Jan 13, 2011

good article.

By anon137424 — On Dec 27, 2010

This article was good until it transformed into an editorial.

By amypollick — On Dec 09, 2010

@anon133089: I hate to burst your bubble, but the reason Lenin, Stalin and Mao governed as they did was not because they knew people were greedy. It's because *they* were greedy! Stalin and Mao, in particular, were responsible for millions of deaths of innocent people, who were only suspected of disagreeing with the government, or of being of the wrong race or ethnic group. Hundreds of thousands more were sent to prison for being "dissenters" and for "re-education." Religious freedom was unknown, and people in China are still struggling for it.

As the article says, Communism in practice is, unfortunately, rarely the ideal it seems to be. It looks good on the outside, but it's too easy for despot rulers like Mao and Stalin to get to power. Ask the Russian and Chinese citizens how they'd like to have either of those two back in power and I can guarantee you (because I have Russian and Chinese friends) they are not in favor of the idea.

Also, neither Russia nor China ever achieved a "classless community." There was the ruling class and the proletariat, or the working class. The ruling class had big houses, cars and country homes. The workers had two-room apartments and had to stand in line to buy groceries. I remember that world before the Iron Curtain came down. It wasn't good.

By anon133089 — On Dec 09, 2010

Lenin, Stalin and Mao practiced communism in harsh ways because they knew that people are greedy, so strong hand is needed there to settle people down and make classless community! But, I think if we can make people to work and share equally we can make so much difference, and then the best ideology in the world will be on the scene - communism!

By anon132797 — On Dec 08, 2010

Your definition was great. You gave me what I needed to understand why Americans would join the Communist Party in the early 1900's. --Boo the Q

By anon131268 — On Dec 01, 2010

i am trying to do a paper and i was wondering, what type of political system is communism? Thanks.

By anon130473 — On Nov 28, 2010

Can someone help me? I am in college, and I need to do a research paper. It is going to be about Communism. Can somebody give me some ideas?

By anon129195 — On Nov 22, 2010

I think communism in its purest ideology would make for a great government. This is only my admittedly naive opinion of what I see it as being, socialism.

Our government is not ran for or by the people it is run by greed, that's the only reason it works. Take greed out of people and this government fails for a more socialist aspect of governing. And the greedy can be shipped to antarctica for all I care!

Richest country in the world and the majority of our wealth is held by only a small fraction of the people in it. No reason wealth couldn't be redistributed to better serve our society. No reason people need to sleep on the street or go hungry in this country.

If we actually had a government of the people, by the people, for the people we would truly have a socialist government. The simple fact that it's so hated and despised shows how we have a government of tyrants holding the rest of the country below them instead of trying to pick them up to their equal level.

By anon126787 — On Nov 13, 2010

Communism is the loss of freedom, free will, personal choice.

By anon124816 — On Nov 07, 2010

wow this helped a lot. Thanks! Oh and does anyone know if communism is still practiced today?

By anon122314 — On Oct 27, 2010

What is a phrase that explains communism in a "nutshell"?

By anon117120 — On Oct 09, 2010

The system is not the problem. the problem is always on the leaders who uses the power.

By anon109530 — On Sep 08, 2010

Communism is not a bad idea. In a world without greed, Communism would be even better than capitalism. However, as the article said, communism sadly fails in real life.

By anon100527 — On Jul 30, 2010

Excuse me if you want to research Communism further I suggest a number of books, Marx's and Lenin's being of no value whatsoever.

Start with Orwells 'Animal Farm.' it's quite short and a very easy read.

Then read Ayn Rand "We The Living"

"Doctor Zhivago" (the movie) will also help you.

That should get you well on your way to understanding communism.

For more advanced study look to Friedrich August Hayek, Milton Friedman and other works by Rand, particularly "Atlas Shrugged".

You might also want to read the Constitution of the United States of America.

By anon92022 — On Jun 25, 2010

i am so interested in history. i want extra lessons. where can i get them from? i think Im a history junkie.

By makerofcarts — On Jun 25, 2010

This article isn't a description of Communism so much as a discussion on why you think Communism is a bad idea.

By anon89125 — On Jun 08, 2010

Anon75961 said: "Oh yes, communism is so "positive". How many died under the rule of Chairman Mao? Millions - more than in the concentration camps. What about the 25,000 that were starved daily in the Ukraine under Stalin? A forced starvation where people were going insane and eating their own children! What is the matter with people in the world today? If you like communism so much don't live in the US!"

Did you not read the article? It clearly stated that communism in practice is unfortunately not true to the pure definition of communism. It even mentioned Chairman Mao.

By anon85042 — On May 18, 2010

has anyone read the book "Animal Farm"? It's about communism and stalin and hitler, etc. The dictators are disguised as animals and their corruption takes place on a farm.

By anon84013 — On May 13, 2010

No one government is good or bad, that is a description that fits in with morality and point of view.

It is good for those if they have nothing (in the pure from) but in used forms that's too much. It is centrally planned so it can complete most of the goals it sets out to do, but what constantly comes back is at what cost.

In truth, it is easy to have everybody be equal. Just take everything away and put the profits into the army.

By anon83629 — On May 11, 2010

This really helped. Easy to understand and more, but I have one question is communism good or bad? to me, I don't know. It has pros and cons.

By anon83453 — On May 11, 2010

But isn't it weird? as in they don't allow classing but they don't allow people to own private property. But people have private property just because they earned it the hard way not because of unfairness of their high class. Right? I am studying communism for history but i still don't get what it means.

By anon81580 — On May 02, 2010

whats the difference between socialism and communism?

By anon81059 — On Apr 29, 2010

Wow! Thanks. Dictionaries can't be dictionaries if they don't have all the words!

By anon79781 — On Apr 24, 2010

Wow! I actually found something that gave me examples to reason with. Thanks!

By anon76137 — On Apr 09, 2010

How do you explain the phrase that explains communism in a "nutshell"?

By anon75961 — On Apr 08, 2010

Oh yes, communism is so "positive". How many died under the rule of Chairman Mao? Millions - more than in the concentration camps. What about the 25,000 that were starved daily in the Ukraine under Stalin? A forced starvation where people were going insane and eating their own children! What is the matter with people in the world today? If you like communism so much don't live in the US!

By anon73339 — On Mar 26, 2010

It's so refreshing to see Communism stated accurately and positively.

Ask a US citizen what Communism is and you'll get a slightly different answer. And by 'slightly' I mean the complete opposite.

By anon68691 — On Mar 03, 2010

Thanks, this really helped me with my project.

By anon67145 — On Feb 23, 2010

I still have a lot of questions about communism.

Does the government control all means of production and are there no privately owned businesses? If so, do the farmers work on land owned by the government?

If all production is government owned, is the revenue from such production distributed evenly amongst the people to sustain equality?

Is it practically possible to have a classless society with no inequality of income especially if demographics differ from household to household and also the level of skill and experience would differ for each job.

Although most communist parties have taken control through a revolution, is it possible in theory for a communist party to have traits of a democracy such as voting for a bill or electing a new government?

Also how would any capitalist society possibly undergo socialism?

By anon65690 — On Feb 15, 2010

In keeping it short -- The machinist who thinks because he works hard, he should make as much as the CEO of a company. When in school did he work hard to obtain the degrees necessary to be a CEO? The beauty of capitalism is that all have the "opportunity". All bloggers take a look at Obamacare and you can define socialism as too much power in the federal government by virtue of wanting to tax some for not buying insurance. That's not constitutional.

Look at the fact that with all said and done, these people pushing this bill have not covered everyone as they purport (there will still be millions not covered).

Look at the journalists who don't follow the rule of government in Russia and remember the mysterious deaths of those who tried to talk out of line with the government.

So, before you embrace socialism and communism, look at the facts. Don't try to be too smart and sage in your theories and evaluations. Just keep it simple, because it is.

By anon54657 — On Dec 01, 2009

thanks for helping me with my history project. these facts rock jumbo!

By anon50585 — On Oct 29, 2009

Wow, I'm am definitely getting an A+ on my project. Keep up the good work.

By xathos — On Oct 13, 2009

It's really quite ironic: the Communist Party isn't Communist! The same is true of American capitalism at the moment, however. What people need to understand is that there is idealistic communism, and then there is the reality: corrupt dictatorships posing as communism, which is in fact the opposite of the idealistic people's rule (which, surprisingly, resembles democracy). The really sad thing is when ignorant people get these two confused, or, worse, blindly follow propaganda. If you want to see what problems the latter can cause, look no further than the American people!

By anon48007 — On Oct 08, 2009

what type of political system does communism advocate?

By anon45878 — On Sep 21, 2009

Well you must have awesome social lives all of you. Thanks for the help on my gcse coursework =P Peace out!

By anon43689 — On Aug 31, 2009

Very astute observations, Crodserve and Malena. Of course I doubt that you will ever hear an honest analysis of scientific socialist theory and what actually happened in Russia, China and Cuba for example.

According the definition of communism by the man who coined the phrase, communism *is* stateless and classless. Socialism is the transitional period between capitalism and communism. All the nations deemed "communist" have never even progressed out of the infant stage of socialism.

For more information research Marxism.

By anon39754 — On Aug 04, 2009

Im a college graduate and still didn't understand Communism. This site was very helpful!

By anon33301 — On Jun 04, 2009

good explanation and easy to understand. Most of people outside really scared of communism will go into the people mind and try to get rid of it. for me it's really work to those countries which having large no of people (china) and countries with many races and ethnics.

By anon26819 — On Feb 19, 2009

What is a phrase that explains communism in a "nutshell"?

By rainbowstars — On Jan 15, 2009

this is a good website and really gave me a good insight into communism.

By anon22811 — On Dec 10, 2008

This is my first time using this website and i must say it was very useful....

By anon21978 — On Nov 25, 2008

thank you so much! this is a really interesting discussion!

By anon21298 — On Nov 13, 2008

How does communist know

what stability is

By anon21297 — On Nov 13, 2008

How does communist bear know what apples is

By anon19842 — On Oct 20, 2008

how does a communist government find its leaders?

By anon18635 — On Sep 26, 2008

You know, I looked everywhere for common explanations to terms such as communism and capitalism for a school paper. This site helped tremendously because all the while I couldn't grasp those ideals and now I do! Thank you very much.

By crodserve — On Aug 22, 2008

Yes Malena, that's what I believe that is what the article is saying because I'm coming to the same conclusion as you...that the manifestation of communism in the Soviet Union was not pure in the form they used it.

By anon16552 — On Aug 08, 2008

hi i was doing a project on governments and i found this site very helpful in what i needed to find.

By anon11075 — On Apr 08, 2008

I found this interesting and somewhat a reality, under the New Labour Dictatorship! UK

By malena — On Jan 20, 2008

So the manifestation of communism in the Soviet Union is not "communism" in the pure or political science sense of the term, right?

Amy Pollick
Amy Pollick
Amy Pollick, a talented content writer and editor, brings her diverse writing background to her work at Historical Index...
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