communism & Communism


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Lower-case “communism” and upper-case “Communism.” Yea, the names are pretty similar, but the two are pretty damn different, seriously. Lower-C communism entails only the following:

Abolition of currency, class, and the state.

If you roll that in your head for a while, you might realize that, based purely on this defintion, communism has worked outside of some week-long stints in recent history– for thousands of years, humans operated under “primitive communism.” That is, the hunter-gatherer tribes were very egalitarian and generally had none of the inequality that’s plauged every economic system since. They met the definition of communism.

Now, what about recent history. The Soviet Union? Mao’s China? Korea? Aren’t they also communist? Nope, and here’s where the distinction between communism and Communism comes in. All of these states were, to varying degrees, planned economies in authoritarian governments with the stated goal of eventually transitioning to communism. That is the defintion of captial-C Communism. None of them were truly lower-C communist– they all had currency, class, and state.

All of the Communist states stagnated, stuck in botched implementations of the stage precursing communism– socialism. None of them even truly counted as socialist, since socialism entails:

Worker control of the means of production and cooperative control of the economy.

… which none of them achieved. Trying to force the development of communism is likely impossible, but certainly so if the socialist stage hasn’t been reached!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m no communist. I think stateless societies are probably impossible on large scales, at least for today– and I’m not a huge fan of communes (but not adverse). I’m no Communist, either– communism can’t be forced, if it’s even possible.
Capital-C Communism means the failed authoritarian parties trying to achieve communism. Lower-C communism means actual communism, a state-less, classless, moneyless society.