Communism and Socialism

Communism and Socialism

Communism and socialism differ philosophically, politically and economically.  Communism is a political orientation that attempts to constitute common ownership of the resources by which goods and services are created under an egalitarian social establishment.  Philosophically, it is a political theory that, it is the state that should benefit from individual’s action and not the individual.  It is sometimes called Marxism-Leninism because it is associated with the revolutionary doctrines of Marxism and Lenin, a radical collectivism (Saint-Andre).

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Socialism, on the other hand, is an encompassing range of philosophies or political efforts to increase social and economic equality through a system of control.  It conceives of a system where property and wealth distribution are controlled by the community.  It is also a kind of collectivism less crouched than communism, characterized by hyponymy of the individual to the community (Saint-Andre).  Socialism connoted Nazism, short for National Socialism under Adolf Hitler of Germany during the Post-World War I era

Hitler called himself a socialist. He looked at capitalist society as cruel and unfair, thus, defended the rights of workers and searched for a third system between communism and capitalism. He aspired at establishing a kind of socialism which averted inefficiencies that blighted the Soviet diversity.  Hitler expressed strong disfavor on selfish individualism as he saw it as endemical to modern Western society and treasured to supplant it with a moral principle of selflessness.

Hitler, however, was to a greater extent, similar to his communist precursors. The Russian Bolshevist maneuvers of grabbing power have been simulated by the Nazis. Hitler embraced the one party system and the favored role of the Communist party members in public life, the secret police and the imprisonment and execution of enemies and the use of public funds to finance sabotage and espionage and other know-hows of propaganda.  In this regard, German’s socialism and Russian communism is similar.

Nevertheless, admirers of Hitler argued that under the Nazis, there was initiative and free enterprise. However, no deviation from the orders issued by the government was allowed in the conduct of business operations. The Nazis did not divest the entrepreneurs and capitalists overtly and the principle of income inequality which the Russians conjoined in the first years of Soviet rule was not adopted.  All the same, the Nazis removed the bourgeois or capitalists entirely from control. They remained in their stead in the economic social system but almost salaried public servants compelled to comply with the orders of the Reich and Nazi party. The Nazi did not advocate public ownership of the means of production, contrary to the Marxists.  Marxist notions of class struggle were in fact rejected by Hitler.  He wanted Germany to be one interconnected totally under him.  He wanted that the Nazi Party will be called a labor party, not a communist party.  Hitler, as he rose to power, rebuffed the unlimited nationalization of industry as excessively Marxist (Ray).

Since the 19th century, opposing doctrines and movements referred to as socialist, have not agreed on a common doctrine. Social democracy, a political ideology emerged during this period urged by the social democrats.  Modern socialists purport to democratize capitalism through state regulated organizations and programs aimed at getting rid of inequities brought down by capitalism. Unlike socialism which aspires to control the dominance of capitalist market system, and Marxism which designs to supplant it completely, modern socialist democracy aimed at reformation and amelioration of the existing injustices of capitalism (Ray).

Marxist theories motivated socialist parties across Europe in the late 19th century.  Their policies later developed into reforming capitalism rather than subverting it, except the Bolsheviks a party headed by Vladimir Lenin who succeeded to control Russia in l917.

The party called Russian Social Democratic Labour Party changed its name to Communist Party in 1918.  From then on, Socialism and communism were often used as complementary terms. Lenin and Marx regarded socialism as the first stage of communism and  used the term, communism as the higher phase of communism, thus established the modern-day distinction between communism and socialism (Walters).

            Socialism and communism are both systems of creating goods and services founded on the working class ownership of the resources for production.  Socialism is the first level of a new system that develops directly from capitalism.  Further development of socialism is communism which is the ultimate stage.  Socialism therefore, is the necessary stage for the shift from capitalism to communism.

Distribution of wealth according to deeds is the underlying principle of socialism, whereas, for communism, the distribution is according to the needs.  The former is forthwith achievable but the latter is not immediately possible. For the reason that the only immediate option of capitalism is socialism, socialists as well as communists advocates sustain as their destination, the institution of socialism.

The difference lies on the fact that communism is out to destroy totally the capitalist class by changing the character of the state, from capitalist dictatorship to working class dictatorship.  While socialism believes that there is no need to change the previous capitalist government machinery and put up a new one but rather to make use of the said old system and rise gradually within a democratic capitalist framework.

Economists of the 20th century criticized socialism as a failure; that a socialist economy will never succeed because allocation of resources is dependent on market prices information.  As to the Soviet regime, the only definitely known reality, according to them, is the living standard of the Russian common people that is very much inferior compared to that of America which is the embodiment of capitalism

Work Cited

Ray, J. John. (2007, August).  Hitler was a socialist.  Retrieved on October 20, 2007 from


Saint-Andre, P. Political thought from “The ISM Book”.  Retrieved on October 20, 2007

from <>

Walters, David. (2001, December). So. MIA: Encyclopedia of Marxism: Glossary of Org.

.           Retrieved on October 20, 2007


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