13 characteristics of communism

Communism is an ideological, political, economic and social doctrine that proposes the equality of social classes through the suppression of private property, the administration of the means of production by workers and the equitable distribution of wealth. Among the main characteristics of communism, both ideological and pragmatic, we can point out the following:

1. It is based on Marxist doctrine

Carl Marx and Friedrich Engels are the ideologues of this model of thought. Together they drafted and published in 1848 the Communist Manifesto . Marx deepened his approaches in his masterpiece, Capital , published in 1867. From his approaches, different currents of Marxist thought have emerged and various communist-type political regimes have been generated, such as those of the former USSR, Cuba, China and North Korea, among others.

2. It was born as a critique of capitalism

Communism was born as a critique of liberal capitalism developed in Europe since the industrial revolution, which had meant the transformation of the modes of production and, consequently, of the social order. Among these changes are: the consolidation of the upper bourgeoisie as the dominant class, the appearance of the working class or proletariat, the massification of society, the absolutization of capital as a social value and the deepening of social inequalities.

3. Introduces the concepts of structure and superstructure

According to Marx and Engels, in capitalist society one can distinguish a structure and a superstructure. The structure would be made up of society and the productive apparatus. The superstructure would correspond to the institutions that control the social imaginary (culture) and justify inequality, such as the State (capitalist), the educational system, academic institutions, religion, etc.

4. It is justified on the principle of class struggle

Communism is justified by the existence of the class struggle and the need to achieve socioeconomic equality. If the upper bourgeoisie is the owner of the means of production, the proletariat is the workforce and is subordinated to the power of the former.

Communism states that in capitalism the proletariat has no control over the means of production, over the products it produces or over the profits that its work generates. This results in exploitation, oppression and alienation. Therefore, there is an inherent tension in the system that must be released through revolution and the establishment of a new order.

5. Conceives alienation as a social problem

Communism holds that alienation is a social problem and not a strictly individual one. He conceives it as the naturalization and ideological justification of social inequality, exploitation and oppression. Alienation, according to communism, is promoted by the dominant culture and is responsible for the fact that the proletariat does not become aware of its condition, which favors the perpetuation of the capitalist system. Therefore, the revolution aims to awaken social consciousness..

6. Proposes the elimination of private property

In order for class equality and the end of exploitation to be possible, communism proposes to eliminate private ownership of the means of production, which translates into workers’ control over them through the union and grassroots collective organizations. . As there are no owners, there can be neither exploitation nor inequality.

7. It is anti-individualistic

Communism is contrary to individualism, since it makes class consciousness a fundamental principle and interprets individualism as a capitalist trait. Therefore, every individual is seen as an expression of his class, and only the proletarian class is considered a genuine representation of the “people” and the common good. In this sense, social self-promotion and individual economic freedom are not well regarded.

8. Fight the bourgeoisie

Communism sees the bourgeoisie as the enemy to fight. This is not limited only to the upper bourgeoisie, which owns the means of production, but also to the middle and petty bourgeoisie that normally occupies the state, academic, professional, cultural and religious institutions, responsible for ideological formation (superstructure).

9. Proposes an autonomous company

From a theoretical point of view, communism proposes that society learn, eventually, to regulate itself without the need for the intervention of the State or a ruling elite. No historical experience of communism has reached this level.

10. Communist regimes promote themselves as the conscience of the people

Since becoming an autonomous society is a long process, it is up to the revolutionary state to guarantee the distribution of wealth on the proposed terms. The communist regimes intend to act, then, as the conscience of the people, the only valid interpreter of their needs and the only administrator of their assets (sole distributor of wealth).

11. Promotes one party

For communism, an egalitarian society goes through a unitary political culture, a justification for rejecting ideological diversity and promoting one-party system. However, since communist regimes promote themselves as popular and democratic systems, one party may not lead to the outlawing of opposition parties, but to their demoralization, persecution and cornering.

12. Tends to state capitalism

In some communist models, the expropriated means of production remain under the control of the State, which, in turn, controls the unions. For this reason, there is a tendency for communism to drift into state capitalism, which acts as a monopolizing entity.

13. Tends to totalitarianism

Communist regimes tend to penetrate all spheres of social life by virtue of their anti-individualist principles. Thus, in communist regimes it is common to observe the control and censorship of the media and educational systems, the interference of the State in the family, one-party system, political persecution, the prohibition of religion, the nationalization of the media production, the nationalization of the banks and the financial system and the perpetuation of the ruling elite in power.

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