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MarxismvSocialismvCommunism.Whatisthedifferenceandwhyaretheysopopularindevelopingnations?:AskHistorians

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Marxism v Socialism v
Communism. What is the
difference and why are
they so popular in
developing nations?

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submitted1yearagobyRJeevC

I'mcurrentlyresearchingforamajor
workinmylastyearinhighschool.
I'vebeenlookingatSriLanka
recentlyandhavenoticeda
popularityinthepoliticalspherewith
Communist/Marxistpartiesamong
bothethnicgroups(tamil/sinhala).I
wasjustwonderingwhythatmight
bethecaseandwhatarethespecific
outlinesofeachideology?
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[] ainrialai TheLeftin20thc.LatinAmerica 7
points1yearago

Socialismisaneconomyinwhich
productiveproperty(factories,farms,
workshops)iscontrolledsocially.This
canmeandirectworkers'control,or
communityownership,orstate
controlonbehalfofthepeople.There
areagreatdealofsocialist
ideologies.Broadcategoriesinclude

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democraticsocialism,Marxism,and
anarchism.
Communismisaclassless,stateless
societyinwhichproductiveproperty
iscommonlyownedandeconomic
distributionisoperatedonthe
principleof"fromeachaccordingto
hisability,toeachaccordingtohis
need."Italsoreferstoagroupof
ideologieswhichholdthisformof
socialorganizationastheirendgoal.
Themostsignificantformof
communismisMarxism,andthe
20thcenturywascharacterizedbya
numberofMarxistLeniniststates.
Anarchistcommunismisalso
historicallysignificant,thoughhas
notbeennearlyaspopularasthe
variousformsofMarxistcommunism
sincethelate19thandearly20th
centuries,exceptinselectcountries
orlocalities.
MARXIST
SOCIALISM/COMMUNISM
Marxismisananalyticalframework
basedonthewritingsof19th
centuryGermanphilosopher,
economist,andsociologistKarlMarx
andpoliticalphilosopherandsocial
scientistFriedrichEngels.Itholds
thathumansocietyisbuiltprimarily
oneconomicrelationsbetween
classesandthatpoliticalandsocial
structuresarebuiltaroundthese
relations.One'sclassisdefinedby
one'srelationshiptoproductionwho
ownscapital,whoworksitfora
wage?Marxismanalyzessocial
changesanddevelopmentsasthe
productofconflictingclasses
changingthestructureofthe
economy.Moderncapitalismasthe
resultofthebourgeoisie,thecurrent
capitalowningclass,havingwrested
controloftheeconomyawayfrom
thearistocracy,orthefeudalowning
class.Bourgeoisdemocracyfollowsas
politicalstructuresadapt.The

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MarxismvSocialismvCommunism.Whatisthedifferenceandwhyaretheysopopularindevelopingnations?:AskHistorians

primaryclassconflictincapitalismis
betweenthecapitalowningclass
(thebourgeoisie)andtheworking
class(theproletariat).Marxargued
thattheproletariatwouldseize
controloftheeconomyandsociety,
inastagehedescribedassocialism.
InMarxistanalysis,everystateisthe
"dictatorship"oftheeconomically
dominantclass.Thesocialiststageis
thereforethe"dictatorshipofthe
proletariat,"inwhichtheworkerswill
reorganizetheeconomyuntilthere
arenolongeranyclasses.Withouta
classthatneedstoenforceits
dominanceoverothers,Marxists
believethatthestatewillwither
awayandthefinalstage,
communism,willbereached.These
socialistrevolutionswillhappenwhen
capitalismreachesitsfinalstagesof
developmentandbecomesconsumed
byitsowncontradictions.There'sa
greatdealofindepththeoryhere
thisisjustthebarestsummary.
MarxismLeninismisatermcoined
byJosephStalintodescribethe
ideologyoftheSovietUnionduring
histime,thoughLeninismalso
refersmorebroadlytotheideasof
VladimirLenin.Thebolshevikfaction
oftheRussianRevolution,leadby
VladimirLenin,establishedthe
SovietUnionandhadhugeinfluence
onthegloballeft.Leninmade
theoreticaladditionsandalterations
toMarxism.Forinstance,Marx
arguedthattrulysuccessfulsocialist
revolutionscouldonlyoccurinfully
industrializedeconomiesinthehigh
stagesofcapitalism.Lenin,however,
claimedthatrevolutionwouldoccur
wherecapitalismwasweak,likein
semifeudalRussiawhichwasin
earlierstagesofcapitalismthan
GermanyorBritain.Marx's
conceptionofthedictatorshipofthe
proletariatwaspurposefullyvague,

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195points78comments

SergeyLavrovsayspostNapoleonic
internationalsystemwasstableandjust.It
ensuredpeaceinEuropeandwasdestroyed
byWestEuropeanattackingRussiain

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3/10/2016

MarxismvSocialismvCommunism.Whatisthedifferenceandwhyaretheysopopularindevelopingnations?:AskHistorians

thoughinhislifehedidpointtothe
ParisCommuneasanexample.
Leninismintroducesthevanguard
party,whichisanorganizationofa
particularlyclassconscioussectorof
theworkingclass(thoughsome
bolshevikleaderslikeLenin,Trotsky,
andStalinwerenotworkingclass)
whichseizescontrolofthestateand
guidestherestoftheworkingclass
tosocialism.AfterLenin'sdeath,
Stalin'scodifiedMarxismLeninism
alsoincludedtheideaofSocialismin
OneCountry:thataMarxist
revolutiondidn'tnecessarilyhaveto
engulfalltheworldatonceandthat
MarxistLeniniststatesshouldfocus
onstrengtheningthemselvesand
buildingsocialisminternally.
TrotskyismisaMarxistandLeninist
(butnotexactly"MarxistLeninist")
ideologybasedonthetheoriesof
RussianrevolutionaryLeonTrotsky.
TheleaderoftheRedArmyduring
therevolutionandcivilwar,Trotsky
wasanopponentofStalinduringa
1920spowerstruggleandtherefore
Trotskyismdoesn'tgrowoutofthe
exactideologyof"MarxismLeninism"
coinedbyStalinsomuchasfromthe
Leninismoftherevolutionaryand
earlySovietyears.Ithassimilar
ideasofavanguardparty,though
criticizedtheSovietUnionasa
degeneratedworkers'stateinwhich
thestatewasnolongerworker
controlledbutinsteadcontrolledby
Stalin'sbureaucracy.Trotskyalsohad
thetheoryofpermanentrevolution,
inwhichaworkers'revolutioninan
economywhichhadnotyet
experiencedacompletebourgeois
capitalistrevolutioncouldcarryout
thenecessarydevelopmentsofthe
bourgeoisrevolutionanditsown
revolution.Thisrevolutioncouldnot
survivelongunderassaultfrom
outsidecapitalists,andsoTrotsky
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MarxismvSocialismvCommunism.Whatisthedifferenceandwhyaretheysopopularindevelopingnations?:AskHistorians

arguedthatitmustbeconstantly
expansive,ratherthanfocusedon
buildingsocialisminonecountry.
Expandingtherevolutionto
Germany,forexample,wouldnot
onlyputclassenemiesontherun
butalsoallowGermany'smore
advancedindustrialbasethe
productofamorecomplete
bourgeoisrevolutiontospeed
Russia'sjourneytosocialism.
Personally,Trotskysawhimselfasa
Leninist.
Maoismisadevelopmentof
MarxismLeninismbasedonthework
ofChineserevolutionaryMao
Zedong,andissometimescalled
MarxismLeninismMaoism.Itis
"antirevisionist,"meaningthatitis
basedinStalin'sconceptionof
MarxismLeninismandcritiquesthe
postStalinreformsofNikita
KhrushchevandotherSovietleaders
asabandoningtherevolution.
Maoismdrawslessonsfromthe
Chineserevolutionaryexperienceand
atheoreticalbasefromMao's
additionstoandadaptationsof
MarxismLeninism.Itfocusesmore
onthepeasantrywhichMaosawas
proletarianizingasarevolutionary
classandputsmoreofanemphasis
onagrariancommunitiesasthe
centerofsocialismandthesiteof
futureindustrialization.In
comparison,classicalMarxismwas
morefocusedonurban,industrial
centers.ThirdWorldcountries,the
victimsofimperialism,aretheplaces
whereMaoistrevolutionswillbegin
becausecapitalismhasnotmadethe
kindofappeasementtoworkers
thereasithasinwealthiercountries.
MaoismalsoaddsideasliketheMass
Linetothevanguardparty,inorder
toconstantlyincorporatetheideasof
themassesintopartypolicy.Mao
arguedthatbourgeoisideologydoes
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MarxismvSocialismvCommunism.Whatisthedifferenceandwhyaretheysopopularindevelopingnations?:AskHistorians

notgoawayaftertherevolution,and
mustbedefeatedthroughcultural
revolution,astrugglethatcontinues
undersocialism.
NONMARXIST
SOCIALISM/COMMUNISM
Democraticsocialismbroadly
describesanysocialisteconomy
whichisaccompaniedbya
democraticpoliticalsystemand
thuscanincludeformsofMarxism
andanarchism.Thetermisalsoused
morespecificallytorefertosocialism
eitherachievedthroughtheliberal
democraticstateatacticsometimes
called"socialdemocracy"depending
onwhichdefinitionofthatterm
you'reusingorwithapolitical
systemsomewhatbasedonmodern
liberaldemocracy.Thismorespecific
definitionwouldbecritiquedby
Marxistsfortryingtochangean
economicsystemthroughthe
structuresbuilttosustainthat
system.However,democratic
socialistsandMarxistshave
sometimesmadecommoncause.
Democraticsocialistsvarywidely
withoutamajorunifyingideological
figureorbodyofwork,andcan
representstatecontrolofthe
economyorasmallgovernment
overseeingcommunity,market,or
collectivistformsofsocialism.
Anarchismisabroadcollectionof
statelesssocialistsystems.Whilethe
word"anarchy"isusedcolloquiallyto
meanchaosorlawlessness,
anarchistsmaintainthatnon
hierarchicalsocialequalitycreatesa
moreorderedsociety.Anarchism,as
asocialistideology,critiques
capitalism.Themosthistorically
significantformsanarchist
communismandanarcho
syndicalism,whicharecompatible
dosoinawaysimilartoMarxism.
However,anarchistcommunists
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MarxismvSocialismvCommunism.Whatisthedifferenceandwhyaretheysopopularindevelopingnations?:AskHistorians

believethatthestate,which
concentratespower,cannotbeused
toabolishclasssocietyandwillnot
witherawayonitsown.Syndicalist
revolutions,asin1936Spain,
attempttodirectlyseizeand
reorganizetheeconomythrough
democraticallyrunindustriallabor
unions,ratherthanthroughthe
state.Ananarchistsocietyistypically
governedthroughcommunity
democracyandtemporarydelegate
systems,ratherthanthroughfixed
representativesinapermanentstate
structure.Marketformsofanarchism
likemutualismexist,but
anarchistcommunismwouldbea
decentralizedplannedeconomy
basedonprinciplesofmutualaidand
organizedgloballybetween
communitiesandindustrywide
workers'syndicates.There'smuch
moretosayhere,butanarchism
doesn'tseemveryrelevanttowhat
you'restudying,soI'llleaveoffit.
whyaretheysopopularin
developingnations?
Well,Ican'tsayforsure,butifyou
lookatwhatsocialismpromises
workers'control,economicequality,
prosperitythenit'shardly
surprisingthatitwouldtakeoffin
areaswithhighratesofpovertyand
economicinsecurityamongthe
workingclasses.Realitiesandresults
haveofcoursevariedwidely
dependingonthecharacteristicsof
individualmovements.
Ican'tspeakmuchtoSriLanka,but
Ianticipateyou'llbelookinginto
MarxistLeninistgroups.I'mnotan
expertineverytopicI'vecovered
here,butletmeknowifyouhave
anymorequestions.
permalink
[] Samuel_I
NapoleonicEurope|MedievalMilitaryHistory
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2points1yearago

I'vedeletedmycommentas
yoursisabetteranswertothe
question.However,Iwillpaste
partofmyanswerheretoadd
toyourexplanations.
Forstarters,itisimportant
tounderstandthatLeftist
partiesareandhavealso
beenpopularinmany
'developed'nations.Eugene
V.Debbsranforpresidentin
theUnitedStatesonthe
SocialistPartyticketand
garnered56%ofthevote
morethanonce.DieLinkein
Germanyiscurrentlyseeing
anupswinginpopularity.
Thereasonswhymany
'developing'nationslookto
Leftistalternativesareas
variedasthecountries.
Commontrendswhichcan
beseeninrevolutionsand
popularmovements
throughoutthe20thcentury
includedeconomicinequality,
disenchantmentwith
capitalism,colonialism,
politicalpressurefromthe
USSRorotherostensible
Leftiststates,oppositionto
theUnitedStatesandallies,
unequaldistributionof
resources,empoweringof
thepopulace,presenceofde
factooligarchies,etc.It
reallydependsonthe
specificcountryinquestion.
Unfortunately,Idonotknow
muchaboutSriLankain
particularandwouldrather
leavethatforsomeonemore
wellversedinthearea.
Ialwaysfeelit'simportantto
pointoutthatthereoncewasa
verystrongLeftistmovement
(thoughoftendisjointed)inthe
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MarxismvSocialismvCommunism.Whatisthedifferenceandwhyaretheysopopularindevelopingnations?:AskHistorians

UnitedStates.Inmy
experience,manyAmericansare
surprisedtolearnaboutDebbs.
Inaddition,Leftistpartiestend
tohaveatleastsomepolitical
capitalinotherWesternstates.
permalink

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