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 the 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 wrote 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. Born as a critique of capitalism
Communism was born as a critique of liberal capitalism developed in Europe since the industrial revolution, which had led to the transformation of the modes of production and, consequently, of the social order. These changes include: the consolidation of the upper bourgeoisie as the dominant class, the emergence 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, a structure and a superstructure can be distinguished in capitalist society. 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 labor force and is subordinate to the power of the former.
Communism argues that under 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 leads to 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 maintains that alienation is a social problem and not strictly individual. 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 proletariat not becoming aware of its condition, which favors the perpetuation of the capitalist system. Therefore, the revolution aims to awaken social conscience.
- Characteristics of anarchism.
6. Proposes the elimination of private property
In order for class equality and the end of exploitation to be possible, communism proposes eliminating private ownership of the means of production, which translates into workers' control over them through the union and collective grassroots organizations. . Since there are no owners, neither exploitation nor inequality can exist.
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 as a genuine representation of the "people" and the common good. In this sense, social self-promotion and individual economic freedom are frowned upon.
See also Characteristics of capitalism.
8. Fight the bourgeoisie
Communism sees the bourgeoisie as the enemy to fight. This is not limited only to the upper bourgeoisie, owner of the means of production, but also to the medium and small bourgeoisie that normally occupies the state, academic, professional, cultural and religious institutions, responsible for the ideological formation (superstructure).
9. Proposes an autonomous society
From a theoretical point of view, communism proposes that society eventually learn 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 self-promote as people's conscience
Since becoming an autonomous society is a long process, it is up to the revolutionary state to guarantee the distribution of wealth in the proposed terms. Communist regimes seek to act, therefore, 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 a one-party system
For communism, an egalitarian society passes through a unitary political culture, justification for rejecting ideological diversity and promoting one-partyism. However, since communist regimes promote themselves as popular and democratic systems, one-partyism may not result in the outlawing of opposition parties, but rather in their demoralization, persecution and cornering.
- One-party system.
- Characteristics of the dictatorship.
12. Tends to state capitalism
In some communist models, the expropriated means of production remain under the tutelage of the state, which, in turn, controls the unions. For this reason, there is a tendency for communism to derive into state capitalism, which acts as a monopolizing entity.
13. Tends to totalitarianism
Communist regimes tend to penetrate all areas of social life by virtue of their anti-individualistic principles. Thus, in communist regimes it is common to observe the control and censorship of the communication media and educational systems, the interference of the State on the family, one-party system, political persecution, the prohibition of religion, the nationalization of the media. production, the nationalization of the banking and financial system and the perpetuation of the ruling elite in power.