The word ‘communism’ is of Latin origin, which means ‘common’.
Communism refers to the political and economic system, which is based on the ideas of common ownership on the factors of production. In Communism, wealth is distributed among people based on their needs. It is based on the principle of economic equality. The ultimate goal of communism is to create a society, where there will be no presence of the class, state or money, to establish a communist society.
The concept of Communism was developed from the ideas of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels and became popular amongst the working class in Russia. In Europe, Communism was built around the idea of the end of the class system that existed in society, which exploited the labour – working class. The German philosopher Karl Marx identified that the capitalist model brought about a sharp divide between the wealthiest and the poorest citizens. He felt that the system exploited the worker and, thus, he promoted the socialist model. Socialism was supposed to be a preparatory stage in the transition to a communist system of society.
In 1848, Karl Marx and Frederich Engels created one of the most influential political documents The Communist Manifesto, originally The Manifesto of the Communist Party and founded the Communist ideology, based on a classless society in which all means of production and all that is produced is owned by all members of society. The communist ultimate goal was the establishment of a common society, of a socioeconomic order based on common ownership of the means of production and the abolishment of social classes. Communism was an ideology that seemed to guarantee workers an end to hardships and a chance for political and social equality. As a form of social organisation, communism would abolish private property in the means of production, articles of consumption, or both.
From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs – Karl Marx
In its core, the Communist ideology lies on the perception of the government owning everything and distributing resources to every citizen, however:
- no private property
- no businesses or industries were owned individually
- No different social classes (no rich or poor)
- No wealth or additional resources
Ultimately, everyone is equal!
Marx had a deep understanding of Communism in which communist regimes were stages on the way to a world of harmony and abundance, a story of modernisation, in which communists were rational bureaucrats committed to developing backward countries, and a narrative of repression, in which communists imposed a totalitarian system on an unwilling population.
The totalitarian regimes ruled with a complete lack of democratic procedures applied subjected censorship and political repression over civil and human liberties. To consolidate their power, the regimes used propaganda and aimed at creating a culture of conformity. Propaganda was used as the social, cultural and artistic promotion of the regime’s ideology and as a tool to manipulate the masses. The cherished socialist principles were only on paper, the reality was quite the opposite – a limited number of people, i.e. the leadership of the ruling party, called Nomenclatura possess all the power in the country – political, economic, cultural and financial, and were in charge with the propaganda and the social engineering of the population. Propaganda was the main tool for the indoctrination of the population and the instalment of the totalitarian ideology – Communism/Bolshevik, Fascist, National-Socialist (Nazi).
The new Communist state controlled every aspect of the individual’s life, all individuals were subordinate to the state Government, and opposing political and cultural expressions were persecuted. The State maintained repressive control over the people utilising state and party police, especially the Secret police. The absolute power exercised injustice and cruelty in all aspects of public and private life. The system of concentration camps became essential for the functioning of the state and the elimination of the political opposition to the regimes. The political authority exercised absolute and centralised control also over all aspects of public life. All citizens, workers and cultural organisations were subordinate to the central Government.