Difference Between Socialism and Communism

The difference between socialism and communism is that socialism seeks to regulate the inherent class struggle and communism seeks the elimination of said social classes.

Socialism and communism are born from Marxism, considered an analysis of the development of political, social and economic relations that the new capitalist society would develop.

The study on the consequences of capitalism, known as Marxism in reference to its creator, the German Jewish philosopher Karl Marx (1818-1883), opened the debate on what was the best way to deal with the struggle between the capitalist class, that is, the owners of productive resources, and the proletarian or working class, which must work to survive.

As a result, the Marxist debate formed socialist and communist movements that, although they have a common root, present multiple differences in terms of their ideological approach.

What is socialism?

Socialism is a social and economic system and doctrine, which focuses on the Marxist concept of class struggle as the engine of social, political and economic change in society.

In this sense, socialism proposes the administration of State resources through collective organization and a distribution of the wealth generated according to the effort of each individual.

For some specialists, socialism is an exclusively economic doctrine, since it has the flexibility to adapt to multiple systems of political organization, such as parliamentary democracy, centralized democracy and participatory democracy.

An example of a socialist form of government is Norway, whose State is responsible for covering the basic needs of the population (education, health, housing, etc.) while maintaining a tax system that applies to all citizens. Its economic system is liberal in some respects, but the state has control of strategic areas.

See also:

  • Capitalism and socialism.
  • State Types.

What is communism?

Communism is a political, social and economic doctrine that takes the class struggle as a problem for social equality, which would be eliminated with the destruction of social classes through the suppression of private property and other measures that, once reach a high level of development, would eventually abolish the existence of the State.

Communism proposes a State that owns and manages all the means of production and an equitable distribution of wealth, regardless of the effort of each individual.

According to the communist approach, political power is agglutinated, in principle, by the State (single party), until eventually the elimination of social classes generates a system governed directly by the people. However, this idea has not materialized in any of the cases in which it has been applied.

An example of a communist form of government was the establishment of the Soviet Union (USSR) in 1922, with a Marxist-Leninist regime governed by a single party: the Communist Party. The USSR was finally dissolved on December 8, 1991.

What is the difference between socialism and communism?

Although both approaches emerged within Marxism, communism and socialism not only have fundamental differences, but each has also changed over time.

Communism today is identified as a political ideology represented by the communist parties in the world. On the other hand, socialism today is often identified as a reformist but moderate left political trend .

These are some of the most prominent differences between socialism and communism.

Socialism and communism with respect to the class struggle

Socialism proposes a regulation of the class struggle that leads to a healthy social coexistence. Communism promotes the elimination of social classes until there is a society made up of the working class.

Socialism and communism with respect to the role of the State

For socialism, the State is a regulatory entity of the political and economic system, including the means of production. For communism, the State is the one that has political control through the single party and economic control by taking charge of the means of production.

Socialism and communism regarding private property

Socialism promotes the idea of ​​a state that regulates the strategic means of production, while the rest can fall to private enterprise. Communism, for its part, proposes total control of the economic system.

Socialism and communism with respect to political participation

In socialism it is possible for different political tendencies to coexist and there is an opening to citizen participation at multiple levels (referendum, vote, etc.). In communism, political power is concentrated in a single party, which leaves little room for political participation and dissidence.

Socialism and communism with respect to capitalism

Socialism, especially in recent decades, has made a moderate turn towards the free market, without relinquishing control of its strategic areas. Communism, on the other hand, promotes the elimination of capitalism (and with it, private property) in exchange for an economic system controlled only by the State, which would also be responsible for an equitable distribution of wealth.

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