April 23, 2021

Confusion on the difference between Socialism and Communism

Subject of the last book endauver for which I have been working on over two years. 

Based on the selected articles on the subject by Marx, Engels Lenin and Stalin I will be elaborating on all the subject stated on the the schematic picture titled "Entire Transformation Period from Capitalism to Communism."

In summary; 

Socialism sets the foundation for communism, prepares not only the economy but the "minds", "habits" "morals", "ethics" of people for the transformation to the second phase- for the communist society. For this reason, to deny the possibility of socialism in one country, and thus not to wage struggle for it, is tantamount to denying communist society – thus, it is an anti-communist argument in disguise.

Socialism and communism are often used interchangeably in some settings, and thus are oftentimes confused. Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, and others - unless they specifically speaking of “communist society” in its scientific meaning - use the term “communism" in the sense of "socialist society", the first, lower phase of communism, a society which sets the foundation for "communist society”- second, higher phase of communism. They use the terms "socialism" and "communism" interchangeably not because they are the same type of society, but because, unlike the other type of societies which requires the use of force to transform from one to other, transition from socialism to communist society is voluntary and spontaneous, meaning that communism is born out of socialist society, not from top bottom but from bottom up. ..thus, one can call socialism as communism, but they are in no way same type of society. 

Lenin specifically warns on the subject of the use of term   and says: `the scientific distinction between socialism and communism is clear…. “communism” is applicable and acceptable providing we do not forget that this is not complete communism, "- communist society…. “in the first phase of communist society (usually called socialism)”.

Through the use of force, Proletarian dictatorship is the precondition for building socialism in any given country - meaning the defeat of capitalists in particular, in any given country or countries.

Defeating capitalists in particular (meaning in one or in group of countries) is the victory of socialism in particular. Communist Society requires the defeat of capitalists in general- victory of socialism in world scale.

The victory of socialist states in general - meaning that the defeat of capitalism in a world scale - is the precondition for the long but not by force, voluntary transformation to communist society.

That is the connection between communism and socialism, that is the dialectic of Marxism. Proletarian Dictatorship - meaning socialism, is to set the foundation for the communism, Transition is and will be the agenda of socialists of a world where the capitalists are defeated on a world scale. State- the proletarian dictatorship will remain till its existence no more necessary. When state withers away, that is the second phase, the communist society.

Socialist society is the elementary stage of communist society and it just “emerges from capitalist society; which is thus in every respect, economically, morally and intellectually, still stamped with the birth marks of the old society from whose womb it emerges.”

Communist society passes through two phases of development: the lower phase. known as Socialism, and the higher phase known as Communism.

Characteristic of both phases of communist society is the absence of exploiting classes and of the exploitation of man by man, of national and racial oppression. The purpose of production, in both society, is the maximum satisfaction of material and cultural requirements of the whole of society.

The higher phase of communism, however, differs in important particulars from the lower phase, due to its economic and cultural maturity.

Only by going through socialism will the world’s people be able to establish a classless, communist society.

One cannot speak of a "Communist society" in its scientific meaning as long as the last bourgeois institution-state- exists in any form. And as long as capitalism and capitalist states exist, socialist state must exist.

For Marxist Leninists, the terms socialism and communism have very definite, scientific meanings. Marx, in Critique of the Gotha Program says;

""Between capitalist and communist society there lies the period of the revolutionary transformation of the one into the other. Corresponding to this is also a political transition period in which the state can be nothing but the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat.""

Lenin states;

"the transition from capitalist society--which is developing towards communism-- communist society is impossible without a "political transition period", and the state in this period can only be the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat."" Lenin, The Transition from Capitalism to Communism

People tend to confuse (and abuse) the term " construction of Communism"  with the "communist society"to which the transition is completed. "Construction" take place within socialist society - at the first phase of communism. Regardless of the degree of the success in "construction of communism", it is still a socialist society in transformation stage as long as the "state" in any form exists.

STALIN in his speech at the 16th Congress states;

We are for the withering away of the State (transition to communism EA). And yet we also believe in the proletarian dictatorship, which represents the strongest and mightiest form of State power that has existed up to now. To keep on developing State power IN ORDER TO PREPARE THE CONDITIONS for the withering away of State power – that is the Marxist formula. It is ‘contradictory’? Yes, ‘contradictory.’ But the contradiction is vital, and wholly reflects Marxian dialectic...

Whoever has not understood this feature of the contradictions belonging to our transitional time, whoever has not understood this dialectic of historical processes, that person is DEAD to Marxism.”

A society under the dictatorship of proletariat before "withering away of state" is a socialist society, where all the production and relations of production is regulated by the "state" -regardless of how much it is developed and how much it is ready for "communist society". As long as capitalism exists, state will have to exist. Where there is "state”, we cannot speak of "communist society" but only of the degrees of socialist development in relation to that society.

One fundamental difference should be kept in mind. State and communist society are contradictory two terms. Existence of state makes that society socialist at any stage of transition to communist society.