The most important thing in any discussion of Communism is to understand what we mean. There are two current definitions. One is the Centralism of the Soviet Union and Mao's China. In fact, Maoists, Leninist and Stalinists did not presume to call the systems they created "Communist". The official designation of the Soviet Union was "Democratic Centralist". But they identified *themselves* as Communists. That is, they were believers in a Marxist "end state" which they were intent on bringing about.
The Marxist definition of Communism is the "end state". The end state is a state in which the economy works on a "from everyone according to her abilities, to everyone according to her needs" basis. It is the re-establishment of the domination of the clan or family ethic over the economy. Marx described the pre-agricultural, clan-based lifestyle of human beings as "Primitive Communism". The beginning of the movie "The Gods Must Be Crazy" has a nice little description of such a state, in which state the writers imagined the Bushmen of the Kalahari might live.
Under Primitive Communism, property rights are an absurdity because people have equal access to the wood and bone to make anything they can. If she lived in an isolated, primitive clan, a person would not take her nephew's pretty feather or an amulet her uncle had given her cousin, not because of any legal consideration, but because she would upset a person she cares about and depends on. The social cohesion would be more important than the economic benefit of any given object - besides, she can get her own feather or make her own amulet.
Marx posits that there was a "secular Fall Of Man" when property - mainly land - became more economically beneficial than social cohesion.
Communists posit that a state where social cohesion is once again more important than things might be re-established. However, this positive desire led them to become extremely paternalistic and authoritarian. Communists felt they could and should create such a system through coercion, with the results we have seen.Dlaw 12:05, 20 September 2006 (UTC)
- See also: Forum:What is the best economic system?