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 ideologists of this model of thought.Together they wrote and published in the year 1848 the Communist Manifesto . Marx deepened his views in his masterpiece, The Capital , published in 1867. From their approaches, different Marxist schools of thought have emerged and various political regimes of a communist nature have been generated, such as those of the former USSR, Cuba, China and North Korea, among others.
2. It is born as a criticism of capitalism
Communism is born as a critique of liberal capitalism developed in Europe since the industrial revolution, which had meant the transformation of modes of production and, consequently, of the social order. Among these changes are: the consolidation of the upper bourgeoisie as the ruling 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 superstructurecorresponds 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 in the principle of class struggle
Communism is justified by the existence of class struggle and the need to achieve socio-economic equality. If the upper bourgeoisie is the owner of the means of production, the proletariat is the work force and is subordinated to the power of the first.
Communism states that in capitalism the proletariat has no control over the means of production, over the products it produces or over the profits generated by its work.This results in exploitation, oppression and alienation. Therefore, there is a tension inherent in the system that must be released through the 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 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 the social conscience.
6. Proposes the elimination of private property
To make class equality possible and the end of exploitation, communism aims to eliminate private ownership of the means of production, which translates into the control of workers over these through the union and grassroots collective organizations . In the absence of owners, there can be neither exploitation nor inequality.
7. It is anti-individualistic
Communism is contrary to individualism, because 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 genuine representation of the “people” and the common good. In this sense, social self-promotion and individual economic freedom are not well seen.
8. Combat the bourgeoisie
Communism sees the bourgeoisie as the enemy to fight. This is not limited only to the high 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 the theoretical point of view, communism proposes that society learn, eventually, to regulate itself without 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 terms proposed. The communist regimes intend to act, then, as the conscience of the people, the only valid interpreter of their needs and the sole administrator of their goods (sole distributor of wealth).
11. Promotes unipartidism
For communism, an egalitarian society goes through a unitary political culture, justification for rejecting ideological diversity and promoting unipartidism.However, since communist regimes promote themselves as popular and democratic systems, the one-party system may not lead to the outlawing of opposition parties, but it may lead to demoralization, persecution and corneredness.
12. Tend 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. Therefore, there is a tendency for communism to derive in a state capitalism, which acts as a monopolizing entity.
13. Tend to totalitarianism
Communist regimes tend to penetrate all areas 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 on the family, the one-party system, political persecution, the prohibition of religion, the nationalization of the means of production, the nationalization of banking and the financial system and the perpetuation of the ruling elite in power.