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Communism

The Idea
Originally, a political philosophy of collective economic ownership,
equality of outcome and directly self-governing communities in a stateless
society; a pre twentieth century philosophy of communal ownership as
distinct from state-owned and controlled, one party dictatorships.

Development of the Idea


Communism is based upon the view that all human beings are essentially social,
altruistic and cooperative, and that the selfish and competitive traits of human
behavior are the products of pervasive socialization in an intensely aggressive
and selfish capitalist environment.
Communism, in the sense of the prohibition of private property, predates Marx
the most renowned theorist of communism by more than two thousand years.
Plato argued in his Republic for the prohibition of private ownership and even of
the possessive relationship of marriage by the ruling Guardians, on the grounds
that they could not take disinterested decisions if they had vested property
interests. Early Christians preached and practiced communal ownership of
possessions a lifestyle resurrected by the medieval monasteries. Thomas More
again advanced the case for communal ownership in his Utopia (1516). The
seventeenth century Levellers and the more radical Diggers were early English
agrarian communards primitive communists who quoted the biblical
assertion that men should enjoy the world in common, and equated private
property with the original sin. They are widely seen as the first significant
emergence of the people as a political force in England. (Their labels were
originally terms of abuse applied to radical left-wing collectivists whose ideas
were seen by the ruling elites as unacceptably egalitarian, both economically
and politically.)
The utopian socialists of the eighteenth century and nineteenth century often
sought to prove the merits of communal living by demonstrating it in action.
French philosopher Claude Henri, Comte de Saint-Simon (1760-1825) constructed
the new, ideal system of government comprising three separate legislative
chambers of invention, examination and deputies. In Britain, factory owner
Robert Owen developed his humanitarian experiment at his New Lanark mill
trough a series of communes in which all wealth and material possessions were
communally owned, people worked at what they enjoyed most and did best and
received a comfortable lifestyle in return.
Revolutionary socialists regarded the utopians as fools and dreamers who
expected the world to be changed by example without the ruling classes acting -