What is socialism? What is communism?

What is socialism? What is communism?


[Over the past few years, we have refined our definition and our understanding of socialism. In this sense, the following article is somewhat outdated. The core of our advanced definition is that a simple dichotomy of capitalism and socialism is unscientific and dogmatic, and actually hinders our understanding of important aspects in the history of our movement. The revisionist Soviet Union didn’t function like a capitalist state, but it was at the same time regressing towards capitalism. For this reason, we opened up a new category of analysis, static socialism, as opposed to dynamic socialism. For a more detailed explanation, see this article. – Klaus Markstein, 29 October 2023]

Fundamental questions. What is socialism? What is communism? Sometimes we forget that not everyone knows the basics. Revisionism has so muddied the water. Let’s unmuddy it.

Let’s first dispense with the obvious misconceptions. Despite all the yapping of the paranoid fascists, Obama is not a socialist nor a communist. Also, European social democracies are not socialist nor communist. Those who claim that Sweden, France or Obama are socialist or communist simply do not know what they are talking about.

In reality, there are no socialist societies today. Cuba is not socialist. Venezuela is not socialist. Iran is not socialist. Vietnam is not socialist. China is not socialist. Libya is not socialist. North Korea is not socialist. These societies may share certain qualities that real socialism shared, but that does not, of itself, make them socialist. There simply are no socialist societies today. And it goes without saying that there are no communist societies today. In fact, most so-called socialists and communist organizations are fake; they are revisionist. They raise the red flag to oppose the red flag. The only real communists today are Leading Light Communists.

One of the most common misconceptions out there is that socialism should be understood simply as a mode of production characterized by a large state sector, nationalization of industry or large welfare programs. All of these characteristics have been part of socialism in the past, but they are not exclusive to socialism. Fascist states, European social democracy, the liberal welfare state in the United States, the state capitalism of the revisionist-era Soviet Union and China, bourgeois nationalist states of Venezuela, Libya, Cuba, the Islamic Republic of Iran have shared these characteristics to one degree or another, but they are not truly socialist. Socialism must be understood through the lenses of power, of class struggle. Socialism must be understood as a transition to communism. Socialism is after the proletariat has seized control of society. The proletariat plays a leading role. The proletariat has taken and built state power. In other words, socialism is when society has been reorganized to serve the long-term interests of the proletariat. This means that society has been reorganized to advance to communism, the end of all oppression. Socialism means we have not arrived at the final goal of communism. Socialism is a transitional stage where class struggle still needs to be waged by the proletariat against reactionary classes. Socialism is when there are still class enemies that need to be defeated. There still are antagonistic contradictions that need to be resolved even though the proletariat has seized state power. Socialism can exist in one country, communism must be worldwide. The North Korean and Cuban states are not socialist for the same reason that Obama’s regime and Sweden are not. None of these regimes are headed for communism. None of them are out to radically reorganize society in order to eliminate all oppression. Socialism can only be understood as a transition to communism — to be advancing toward communism is what it means for society to be organized around the most farsighted and long-term interests of the proletariat.

Communism is the final goal of our revolution. The end of all oppression. The end of exploitation. No rich. No poor. No racism. No national oppression. No sexism. No gender oppression. No more oppression of the youth. Communism is total liberation. No groups have power over others. As Marx and Lenin taught, the state is a weapon for one group to oppress another. Since no group has power over another, there is no need for a state in communism. Communism is equality. A society organized around human need. No greed. No individualism. No longer will people see themselves merely as individuals under communism. Communism is collectivism. The common good. Sharing. Private property is eliminated under communism. Communism is altruism. As Marx said, “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” The ethic of “serve the people” will govern all human interactions. The people will be one under communism. No more me, me, me. Communism is sustainability. No longer will people destroy the earth, our common home. We have an obligation to future generations. Antagonistic contradictions no longer exist under communism. Communism is peace. Under communism, the revolution is self-perpetuating. Total communism has never existed, although there have been various indigenous societies that have shared many aspects with communism. Some have called some tribal societies “primitive communism.”

There have been two main breakthroughs, two main waves of revolution that have advanced humanity into socialism toward communism. The first wave of revolution was initiated in 1917, the Bolshevik revolution led by Lenin. Although this revolution was irredeemably reversed and capitalism restored by the 1950s, we learned much from the Soviet experience. We learned much from Lenin and Stalin eras, which we uphold in a critical, general, and non-dogmatic way. The second wave of revolutions were the social revolutions that occurred after World War 2 as part of the struggle against colonialism. The best representative and most important of these is the Chinese revolution led by Mao. A quarter of humanity stood up and tried to build a better future. Of all our attempts into socialism and toward communism, the furthest advance was the Chinese Cultural Revolution, which began in 1966 and ended in the 1970s. The Cultural Revolution was an attempt to take us even further into socialism toward communism. The Maoists understood that if we did not continue to go forward toward communism, the revolution would degenerate. A new bourgeoisie would form within the Party and state. The Cultural Revolution was launched in 1966 to stop the new bourgeoisie and to advance us further toward communism. It peaked from 1967 to 1971. It was a time of class struggle, mass movements, radical social experiment, communization, and advanced social and cultural practices. Culture, society’s program, was radically changed. Maoists sought to replace bureaucratic control with cultural programming of social motion, thus setting the basis for elimination of the state and reaching communism. Egalitarianism and altruism were promoted. It was a time when we began to experiment with new forms social direction, new forms of power. The traditional state was de-emphasized for a time, new power and practices emerged. Collectivism advanced. Individualism weakened. It was during the Cultural Revolution, even with all its flaws, that our sights were raised even higher. We got a peek at what another world, a communist world, might look like.

Was the Cultural Revolution perfect? Of course not. It was defeated. Capitalism was restored in China in the 1970s by the revisionists, by a new bourgeoisie. Mao said that it would take many Cultural Revolutions to reach communism. However, the Cultural Revolution was the furthest advance into socialism toward communism. Next time, when we have power again, we will go even further toward communism. Revolutionary history is a great scientific experiment. We must learn from the past, from our failures and our successes. We will continue to make revolution until we reach communism. Now, we have the new breakthrough of Leading Light Communism. We have the plan. We have the leadership. We have the organization, the Leading Light Communist Organization — a vanguard of a new type to help us initiate the next great wave.

These are hard and difficult times. There are no socialist states. There are so few real communists. There are very few Leading Lights in the sky. It is in these dark times that we see who is for real and who isn’t. As our movement grows, it will be more difficult to tell whose heart is true. Look around. Now. These are the Leading Lights. These are the ones who are going to lead us into the future. These are the ones who are walking the shining path to communism. There is nothing more beautiful or glorious than communism. It is a hard road. It is a dangerous, long march. We will lose comrades. We will make mistakes. There will be twists and turns. There will be hard times when we want to give up. We have to remember we will get to communism, it just takes time. The struggle for communism is a protracted struggle. Small steps and great leaps. There is nothing more creative, nothing more beautiful, more daring than the struggle for communism. This is a great adventure we are on. We are going to make history. We must live for communism. We must die for communism. There is no greater goal.

Red Salute!
Follow the Leading Lights to communism!
Long Live the Leading Lights!

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