Communism

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The theory of Communism may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property. ~ Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
Communism is the doctrine of the conditions of the liberation of the proletariat. ~ Friedrich Engels
The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. WORKING MEN OF ALL COUNTRIES, UNITE! ~ Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
[W]hether communism is partial or complete, political economy is no more tolerant of it than it is of monopoly, of which it is merely an extension.
Gustave de Molinari

In political and social sciences, communism (from Latin communis, "common, universal") is the philosophical, social, political, and economic ideology and movement whose ultimate goal is the establishment of the communist society, which is a socioeconomic order structured upon the common ownership of the means of production and the absence of social classes, money, and the state. Communism includes a variety of schools of thought, which broadly include Marxism, anarchism (anarchist communism), and the political ideologies grouped around both. All these share the analysis that the current order of society stems from its economic system, capitalism, that in this system, there are two major social classes: the working class—who must work to survive, and who make up the majority within society—and the capitalist class—a minority who derives profit from employing the working class, through private ownership of the means of production—and that conflict between these two classes will trigger a revolution. The revolution, in turn, will establish social ownership of the means of production, which is, according to this analysis, the primary element in the transformation of society towards communism.


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Quotes[edit]

A[edit]

C[edit]

  • When I feed the hungry, they call me a saint. When I ask why people are hungry, they call me a Communist.
    • Dom Helder Camara, Brazilian archbishop, as quoted in Peace Behind Bars : A Peacemaking Priest's Journal from Jail (1995) by John Dear, p. 65; this is a translation of "Quando dou comida aos pobres chamam-me de santo. Quando pergunto por que eles são pobres chamam-me de comunista."
    • Variant translations:
    • When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why are they poor, they call me a Communist.
    • When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a Communist.
  • While all these untoward events were taking place, amid a ceaseless chatter of well-meant platitudes on both sides of the Atlantic, a new and more terrible cause of quarrel than the Imperialism of Czars and Kaisers became apparent in Europe. The Civil War in Russia ended in the absolute victory of the Bolshevik Revolution. The Soviet armies which advanced to subjugate Poland were indeed repulsed in the Battle of Warsaw, but Germany and Italy nearly succumbed to Communist propaganda and designs, and Hungary actually fell for a while under the control of the Communist dictator Bela Kun. Although Marshal Foch wisely observed that "Bolshevism has never crossed the frontiers of victory", the foundations of European civilization trembled in the early postwar years. Fascism was the shadow or ugly child of Communism. While Corporal Hitler was making himself useful to the German office-class in Munich by arousing soldiers and workers to fierce hatred of Jews and Communists, on who he laid the blame for Germany's defeat, Benito Mussolini provided Italy with a new theme of government which, while it claimed to save the Italian people from Communism, raised itself to dictatorial power. As Fascism sprang from Communism, so Nazism developed from Fascism. Thus were set on foot all these kindred movements which were soon destined to plunge the world into even more hideous strife, which none can say has ended with their destruction.
    • Winston Churchill, The Second World War: Volume 1: The Gathering Storm: Houghton Mifflin, 1948
  • Across the world academics still clung to the words and ideas of Marx and Engels and even Lenin. Fools. There were even those who said that Communism had been tried in the wrong country; that Russia had been too far backward to make those wonderful ideas work.

E[edit]

  • What is a communist?
    One who hath yearnings
    For equal division of unequal earnings.
  • Communism is the doctrine of the conditions of the liberation of the proletariat.
  • The abolition of private property is, doubtless, the shortest and most significant way to characterize the revolution in the whole social order which has been made necessary by the development of industry – and for this reason it is rightly advanced by communists as their main demand.
  • What will be the attitude of communism to existing nationalities? The nationalities of the peoples associating themselves in accordance with the principle of community will be compelled to mingle with each other as a result of this association and thereby to dissolve themselves, just as the various estate and class distinctions must disappear through the abolition of their basis, private property.
  • Some propose mere welfare measures – while others come forward with grandiose systems of reform which, under the pretense of re-organizing society, are in fact intended to preserve the foundations, and hence the life, of existing society. Communists must unremittingly struggle against these bourgeois socialists because they work for the enemies of communists and protect the society which communists aim to overthrow.
  • Since the communists cannot enter upon the decisive struggle between themselves and the bourgeoisie until the bourgeoisie is in power, it follows that it is in the interest of the communists to help the bourgeoisie to power as soon as possible in order the sooner to be able to overthrow it.

G[edit]

  • There is not so much difference between the ideologies of capitalism and communism, you know. The difference is simple. Capitalism is the exploitation of man by man, and communism is the reverse.

J[edit]

  • Communism was a very defective answer to some very good questions. In throwing out the bad answer, we have forgotten the good questions. I want to put the good questions back on the table.
    • Tony Judt, quoted in Evan R. Goldstein, "The Trials of Tony Judt", The Chronicle of Higher Education (January 06, 2010)

K[edit]

  • The Communists are determined to destroy us, and regardless of what hand of friendship we may hold out or what arguments we may put up, the only thing that will make that decisive difference is the strength of the United States.
    • John F. Kennedy, Speech by Senator John F. Kennedy, Democratic Rally, George Washington High School Stadium, Alexandria, VA, August 24, 1960. - The American Presidency Project.
  • There are many people in the world who really don't understand, or say they don't, what is the great issue between the free world and the Communist world. Let them come to Berlin. There are some who say that communism is the wave of the future. Let them come to Berlin. And there are some who say in Europe and elsewhere we can work with the Communists. Let them come to Berlin. And there are even a few who say that it is true that communism is an evil system, but it permits us to make economic progress. Lass' sie nach Berlin kommen. Let them come to Berlin.
  • Communism has sometimes succeeded as a scavenger, but never as a leader. It has never come to power in a country that was not disrupted by war or corruption, or both.
  • In the social equation, the value of a single life is nil; in the cosmic equation, it is infinite... Not only communism, but any political movement which implicitly relies on purely utilitarian ethics, must become a victim to the same fatal error. It is a fallacy as naïve as a mathematical teaser, and yet its consequences lead straight to Goya's Disasters, to the reign of the guillotine, the torture chambers of the Inquisition, or the cellars of the Lubianka.
  • In Russia, all you have to do to get a house is to be born in the Soviet Union. You are entitled to housing. In America, if you don't have a dollar you have a right to choose between sleeping in a house or on the pavement. Yet you say we are the slave to communism.

L[edit]

  • As a result of this failure of communist ideology to comprehend the nature of man, Stalin decided to alter the Russian constitution. No longer would economic rewards be distributed on the basis of ‘need’; rather, the new concept was to be ‘to each according to his work.’
    • Quote from The Fundamentals of Liberty by Robert LeFevre, Santa Ana: CA, Rampart Institute, 1988, p. 402.

M[edit]

  • The tragedy of Korea is further heightened by the fact that its military action is confined to its territorial limits. It condemns that nation, which it is our purpose to save, to suffer the devastating impact of full naval and air bombardment while the enemy's sanctuaries are fully protected from such attack and devastation. Of the nations of the world, Korea alone, up to now, is the sole one which has risked its all against communism. The magnificence of the courage and fortitude of the Korean people defies description. They have chosen to risk death rather than slavery. Their last words to me were: 'Don't scuttle the Pacific!'
  • Communism is for us not a state of affairs which is to be established, an ideal to which reality [will] have to adjust itself. We call communism the real movement which abolishes the present state of things. The conditions of this movement result from the premises now in existence.
  • Communism differs from all previous movements in that it overturns the basis of all earlier relations of production and intercourse, and for the first time consciously treats all natural premises as the creatures of hitherto existing men, strips them of their natural character and subjugates them to the power of the united individuals. Its organisation is, therefore, essentially economic, the material production of the conditions of this unity; it turns existing conditions into conditions of unity. The reality, which communism is creating, is precisely the true basis for rendering it impossible that anything should exist independently of individuals, insofar as reality is only a product of the preceding intercourse of individuals themselves.
  • Communism deprives no man of the power to appropriate the products of society; all that it does is to deprive him of the power to subjugate the labour of others by means of such appropriation.
  • The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win.
    WORKING MEN OF ALL COUNTRIES, UNITE!
  • But to make the comparison applicable, we must compare Communism at its best, with the regime of individual property, not as it is, but as it might be made... The laws of property have never yet conformed to the principles on which the justification of private property rests.
    • J. S. Mill, Principles of Political Economy p. 14
  • If the roused and insurgent consumers secure the means of production of the salt industry, in all probability they will confiscate this industry for their own profit, and their first thought will be, not to relegate it to free competition, but rather to exploit it, in common, for their own account.  They will then name a director or a directive committee to operate the saltworks, to whom they will allocate the funds necessary to defray the costs of salt production.  Then, since the experience of the past will have made them suspicious and distrustful, since they will be afraid that the director named by them will seize production for his own benefit, and simply reconstitute by open or hidden means the old monopoly for his own profit, they will elect delegates, representatives entrusted with appropriating the funds necessary for production, with watching over their use, and with making sure that the salt produced is equally distributed to those entitled to it.  The production of salt will be organized in this manner.

    This form of the organization of production has been named communism.

    When this organization is applied to a single commodity, the communism is said to be partial.

    When it is applied to all commodities, the communism is said to be complete.

    But whether communism is partial or complete, political economy is no more tolerant of it than it is of monopoly, of which it is merely an extension.

  • When ecclesiastic love waned, when waves of capitalistic greed surged across Christian Europe, when starving masses cried out bitterly in the slums, the promise of their salvation came not from heaven but from the earth. Its name was communism. Christianity, though it professed the love of God, had degenerated into a dead body of clergy trailing empty slogans. It was then only natural that a banner of rebellion would be raised, arguing that a merciless God who would allow such suffering could not exist. Hence, modern materialism was born. Western society became a hotbed of materialism; it was the fertile soil in which communism flourished.
  • Nonetheless, one final and inescapable conflict remains before us, the war between democracy and communism. Although each side has equipped itself with fearsome weapons and is pitted against the other in readiness for battle, the core of their conflict is internal and ideological. Which side will triumph in this final ideological conflict? Anyone who believes in the reality of God will surely answer that democracy will win.
  • After 7,000 biblical years — 6,000 years of restoration history plus the millennium, the time of completion — communism will fall in its 70th year. Here is the meaning of the year 1978. Communism, begun in 1917, could maintain itself approximately 60 years and reach its peak. So 1978 is the border line and afterward communism will decline; in the 70th year it will be altogether ruined. This is true. Therefore, now is the time for people who are studying communism to abandon it.
  • Governments and Parties which have relied on the normal instruments of government ... have fallen easy and ignoble victims to the forces of anarchy. If, therefore, such a situation arises in Britain, we shall prepare to meet the anarchy of Communism with the organised force of Fascism.
    • Oswald Mosley, The Greater Britain, 1932. Quoted in John Stevenson and Chris Cook, The Slump : Britain in the Great Depression New York : Pearson Longman, 2010.
  • What is Communism? It is that when you have eaten enough food for your hunger and still food is left — it belongs to another man.

N[edit]

  • America continues to aid us; then we continue to fight the communists.
    • Nguyễn Văn Thiệu, as quoted in Vietnam, the Ten Thousand Day War (1984), by Michael MacLear.
    • Original Vietnamese quote: Mỹ còn viện trợ, thì chúng tôi còn chống cộng!

P[edit]

  • I think that communism was a major force for violence for more than 100 years, because it was built into its ideology—that progress comes through class struggle, often violent. It led to the widespread belief that the only way to achieve justice was to hurry this dialectical process along, and allow the oppressed working classes to carry out their struggle against their bourgeois oppressors.

R[edit]

  • I have one question for those rulers: If communism is the wave of the future, why do you still need walls to keep people in and armies of secret police to keep them quiet?
  • [Cold war demonology] is a color word, and I probably should not have used it. It means just sort of interpreting everything in terms of a great communist conspiracy and in terms of communists being supermen who somehow can overcome the great problems of differences between national units, and so on. They are not supermen at all. They are men with feet of clay which extend almost all the way up to their brains.
    • Edwin O. Reischauer, former U.S. ambassador to Japan, testimony at hearing, January 31, 1967. Asia, the Pacific, and the United States, hearing before the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, 90th Congress, 1st session, p. 19 (1967).
  • The hopes which inspire communism are, in the main, as admirable as those instilled by the Sermon on the Mount, but they are held as fanatically and are as likely to do as much harm.
    • Bertrand Russell, The Practice and Theory of Bolshevism (1920), Part I, The Present Condition of Russia, Ch. 1: What Is Hoped From Bolshevism.
  • The way to combat Communism is not war. What is needed in addition to such armaments as will deter Communists from attacking the West, is a diminution of the grounds for discontent in the less prosperous parts of the non-communist world. ...Communism is a doctrine bred of poverty, hatred and strife. Its spread can only be arrested by diminishing the area of poverty and hatred.
  • I think all the great religions of the world - Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Islam and Communism – both untrue and harmful.
    • Bertrand Russell, My Religious Reminiscences (1957) reprinted in The Basic Writings of Bertrand Russell
  • I dislike Communism because it is undemocratic, and capitalism because it favors exploitation.

W[edit]

  • It was in prison that we found the hope of salvation for the Communists. It was there that we developed a sense of responsibility toward them. It was in being tortured by them that we learned to love them.
  • Some tell me "Preach the pure gospel!" This reminds me that the Communist secret police also told me to preach Christ, but not to mention communism. Is it really so, that those who are for what is called "a pure gospel" are inspired by the same spirit as those of the Communist secret police?

Z[edit]

  • We communists are like seeds and the people are the soil. Wherever we go, we must unite with the people, take root and blossom among them.
    • Mao Zedong, Quotations from Chairman Mao Zedong (The Little Red Book) (1964).
  • [T]he perversion of Stalinist Communism consists in the fact that the view by means of which the Party looks at history coincides immediately with history's gaze upon itself. To use good old Stalinist jargon, today already half-forgotten, Communists act immediately in the name of "objective laws of historical progress"; it is history itself, its necessity, that speaks through their mouths.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

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