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Communism is a type of social hierarchy based on support for only two real classes, the proletariat and bourgeoisie, or workers and employers. It is a political and social theory of class struggle popularized as a natural expression of socialism and made into doctrine largely by Karl Marx with help from Friedrich Engels, which both compiled this ideology into a book called the Communist Manifesto during the middle period of the 19th century.[1] The doctrine further states that in order for this unavoidable process to continue revolution is a necessity. Revolution in its correct path manifests communism. A common approach to life as federated communities, rather then a society based on individuals which is conservatism or the control of core agents of industrial wealth production within communism which is socialism.[2]

A church demolished under communist Russia in 1931
The distinguishing feature of Communism is not the abolition of property generally, but the abolition of bourgeois property. But modern bourgeois private property is the final and most complete expression of the system of producing and appropriating products, that is based on class antagonisms, on the exploitation of the many by the few.

In this sense, the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property. [3]

However, there are non-Marxist variants of communism such as Christian communism, and anarcho-communism, though these ideas are not at all as prevalent as Marxist brands of communism.


In bourgeois society, therefore, the past dominates the present; in Communist society, the present dominates the past. In bourgeois society capital is independent and has individuality, while the living person is dependent and has no individuality.

And the abolition of this state of things is called by the bourgeois, abolition of individuality and freedom! And rightly so. The abolition of bourgeois individuality, bourgeois independence, and bourgeois freedom is undoubtedly aimed at.

By freedom is meant, under the present bourgeois conditions of production, free trade, free selling and buying. [4]

Economic Characteristics

The main proposals of the Communists who follow the Manifesto (the majority do) are the previous promises of Marx like abolition of private property. The term private property is left ambiguous as to the exact definition, if it refers to private property or specifically means factories, businesses or just wealth as some Communists believe. Community ownership is advocated[5] over individual management with forced labor armies and heavy progressive tax burdens that redistributes wealth coinciding with violation of what is natural rights. What could be said as Marx's first error is his marginalization of the entire middle-class who neither labor as much as the proletariat or own production as do the bourgeoisie. Marx did attend university in Bonn and in Berlin, claiming understanding of history, economics, and sociology. Karl Marx's worldview saw years of social development toward injustice and income disparity which creates poverty, highlighting the only solution of ridding property rights from man.

The theoretical conclusions of the Communists are in no way based on ideas or principles that have been invented, or discovered, by this or that would-be universal reformer.

They merely express, in general terms, actual relations springing from an existing class struggle, from a historical movement going on under our very eyes. The abolition of existing property relations is not at all a distinctive feature of communism.[6]

The Communist Manifesto when read calls for the altering of education as a means to disintegrate the family structure;

The bourgeois family will vanish as a matter of course when its complement vanishes, and both will vanish with the vanishing of capital. Do you charge us with wanting to stop the exploitation of children by their parents? To this crime we plead guilty. But, you say, we destroy the most hallowed of relations, when we replace home education by social.

And your education! Is not that also social, and determined by the social conditions under which you educate, by the intervention direct or indirect, of society, by means of schools, &c.? The Communists have not invented the intervention of society in education; they do but seek to alter the character of that intervention, and to rescue education from the influence of the ruling class.

The bourgeois clap-trap about the family and education, about the hallowed co-relation of parents and child, becomes all the more disgusting, the more, by the action of Modern Industry, all the family ties among the proletarians are torn asunder, and their children transformed into simple articles of commerce and instruments of labour.[7]

Command and Control

Very few countries today claim or implement communism as a way of life, let alone socialist economic policies to their fullest extent. Largely because of the types of social unrest and anarchism inherent in the systems. It is based in a totalitarian type government favoring State commanded and thus planned economics. The communal grouping of citizens and socialism inherently rejects individuality when interacting with the government. Ultimately when in full effect, representative and especially economic power is lost through taxation. Taxation inherently limits individual power by limiting the ability to keep more of what was earned and thus what can be invested into private property. In order to redistribute economic power to others socialism is embodied and executed from within the State apparatus as it deals with revenue gained from taxation.

Over the 20th century many nations have been influenced by communistic thinking in one way or another. China for example is still a practicing communist nation in many ways by lacking appropriate checks and balances on power and appropriate representative power. The social or societal approach that demands dealings with poor societies and mentally ill are shown to present common authoritarian or communistic approaches.[8] China has also, however adopted reforms of which embrace liberalized trade markets within the past 50 years, opening up their domestic markets for foreign investments.[9][10][11] A trend that develops domestic politics and a foreign policy with two-faces. One being atrocious internal policies for complete national control, and secondly adoption of Western elements such as economic globalization for relevance in the international community.

Land and Capital

While nations like America do in fact have government-owned lands, and protected national wildlife parks communist nations own all land with no concept of private ownership. Without land ownership rights citizens are unable to decide their own business policy because the land and the actual entity that is the business (meaning its capital or wealth) itself would be State-owned. All income is the property of the State funneling the majority for their purposes of continuing in power through redistribution.

Redistribution of Wealth

One of the most well-known concepts of Communist theory, and a fundamental tenet of socialism, is celebrated by this saying;

From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs![12]

Popularized by Karl Marx, it essentially means that each member of a commune within a communist society must produce what he/she can and then gets back what only fulfills his/her needs. That is as far as the individual identity is carried, because what is needed by he or she is not decided by the particular individual. Issues of individual liberty are central as the State endorses certain classes of society which it deems necessary to increase in status (distribute wealth to) while the people from which that wealth (private property) is taken have their status decreased. A societal process after revolution summed up within Marx' slogan demands that when applied, redistribution of wealth be controlled explicitly by the State government. Appropriations are entertained if they increase the might of the centralized authorities in control. State enforced equality by way of money appropriations facilitates revolution within Communism.

A clear opposite of the communism/socialist model would be a democracy with capitalism fostering personal responsibility of a good or service that has prices based on the many individuals within the free market of a specific nation. Individuals attain this involvement in the free market by having equal access to honest financial opportunity and equal protection under the law based on individual character.

Social Characteristics


Although Communism has a very complex relationship with religion, it is generally the most anti-religious (and therefore atheist) ideologies. Lenin said:

Atheism is a natural and inseparable part of Marxism[13]... Religion is the opium of the people.[14]

Similar sentiments have been voiced throughout history by such prominent Communist figures as Karl Marx[15] and Josef Stalin (who brutally banned religion). This is indicative of the overall trend within the Communist movement against religion, and it is one of the defining social stances of the Left.


Communist education, particularly under Josef Stalin, was typically geared around indoctrinating children in Communist ideology. Evidence of this practice can still be found in China and southeast asia.

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See Also