What is Communism?
By: P. Rodrigues
Communism vs. Ideology:
As we have already discussed about the definition and meaning of what an ideology is (this can be found in the ‘What is Capitalism?’ article, published last month), it doesn’t make sense on going over that again. Even though communism has grown and established many different ideas throughout the globe, some prefer to say that this isn’t an ideology at all. Let us get something clear before we begin; it is. However, this article will argue against that statement - so we can discuss the conflict between capitalism and communism as a whole, in a more efficient way.
See that castle over there? Well, imagine that such castle represents Capitalism. And as everything else, it is built on a foundation; Capitalism is built over the idea that people are entitled to private property. Even though there is an impenetrable castle on top, there is also a vulnerable foundation below. Communism is constructed around the idea that there should be no private property.
The way in which we think about our money, our social lives, our decisions regarding politics, and almost everything else has this same foundation. We roam around the world knowing basic stuff; two plus two is four, the sun shines for about 12 hours a day, and I can buy that house and have it be mine… Obviously these subconscious, yet real, things influence the way we do things. It wouldn’t make much sense to use sun glasses when the sun is not shining, right? What I am trying to say is that Capitalism is an ideology that currently dominates any other because it makes sense and is natural for us; and what is natural for us today, may not be tomorrow. The circumstances do matter.
Capitalism works and makes sense because the circumstance in place for this is us having private property.
What Karl Marx tried to explain is that to have a free and liberal society, we should destroy this foundation. Hence, or otherwise, Communism is the idea of having a society with no private property, and no state (government).
How do we get there?
Unlike Capitalism, Communism requires some steps before being plausible. But before we get into that, I would like to mention that there are many different views, and interpretations regarding communism’s true meaning and definition. However, I’ll focus on what Karl Marx, the creator of such ideology, said.
He said that before having a stateless nation, it was required to have a strong state. Ironic, right? This is one of the main criticisms to communism, but I’ll get into that in just a moment… He said, that before Communism, we would require Socialism. Socialism would mean that there is a strong entity, the government, that would control absolutely everything; industry, law, and businesses. People would give up private property to the government, after that…. Well, after that, Karl Marx died; meaning he couldn’t finish his ‘master piece’.
So, what’s the catch?
I think it is fairly obvious. How do we move from Socialism to Communism? The truth is that we don’t. Don’t trust me? Think about this then: Is it realistic to give all of the political, social and economical power to one entity, and hope that it will give that all away for nothing afterwards? I don’t think so.
This is why I think of communism more like a criticism, and not ideology. The fact that it is unrealistic, at least with today’s social context, makes me wonder if it deserves to be seen as a different method for a society to live by. Instead, I think of it as a reminder. A reminder of all the negatives consequences caused by Capitalism.
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