After reading this essay you will learn about the definition and features of communist society.
Definition of Communist Society:
Communism is a movement in the sense that what principles will be adopted for a future society that has to be decided. Society is always dynamic and also communism. The principles of the future society may be called communism. Hence there is a question of revolution.
The establishment of socialism through a proletarian revolution is not the end, rather it is the beginning. This revolution will be followed by other subsequent revolutions.
In a communist society there will be no necessity of a revolution in its strictest sense. But the working class will remain vigilant so that the counter-revolutionary forces would not get any scope of comeback. This alertness was essential.
In The German Ideology Marx and Engels have further observed that communism differs from all previous movements in that it overturns the basis of all earlier relations of production and intercourse and for the first time consciously treats all naturally evolved premises as the creations of hitherto existing men, strips them of their natural character and subjugates them to the power of the united individuals.
Its organisation is, therefore, essentially economic, the material production of the conditions of this unity. The reality which communism creates is precisely the true basis for rendering it impossible that anything should exist independently of individuals, in so far as reality is, nevertheless only a product of the preceding intercourse of individuals.
In the Critique of the Gotha Programme Marx has explained the nature of communist society in the following words:
In a higher phase of communist society after the enslaving subordination of the individual to the division of labour and therewith also the antithesis between mental and physical labour, has vanished; after labour has become not only a means of life, but life’s prime want; after the productive forces also increased with the all-round development of the individual, and all the springs of cooperative wealth flow more abundantly only then can the narrow horizon of bourgeois right be crossed in its entirety and society inscribed on its banners from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.
Emancipation of individual from all sorts of slavery is the primary as well as sole objective of communism. In the opinion of Kolakowski it was never the purpose of Marx to lift the individual from abject poverty, but to stop the dehumanisation from which individual was suffering.
Abolition of the division labour promises to bring about an end to moral and intellectual degradation If dehumanisation is stopped and abundant amount of wealth is produced all-round development of individual will automatically emerge.
In the 1844-Manuscripts Marx says:
“Communism is the positive abolition of private property and thus of human self-alienation and therefore, the real re-appropriation of the human essence by and for man. This is communism as the complete and conscious return of man conserving all the riches of previous development for mans himself as a social, i.e., human being.”
A communist society regulates the general production and nobody will have any exclusive sphere of action. All will get adequate opportunities for the full and proper development of all faculties. In the bourgeois society the elites were the determiners of everything economics, politics and culture.
The workers had no place in the social structure they were simply wage labourers and in exchange of labour they got a paltry amount of wage which was absolutely insufficient for comfortable living. Communism, by abolishing the property and predominance of a group, will free the individual from this bondage.
Explaining nature of communism Marx in his 1844 Manuscripts has said it represents the positive in the form of the negation of the negation and thus a phase of human emancipation and rehabilitation.
Communism is the necessary form and dynamic principle of the immediate future, but communism is not as such the goal of human development, the form of human society.
Features of Communist Society:
According to Lenin’s definition communist societies is a society in which all things the land, factories are owned in common and the people work in common. Not only the means of production in a communist society are common, but also all the commodities produced are to be distributed according to the needs of the members of the communist society.
Thus, both production and distribution being free from private management will benefit equally all men. Discrimination is the first thing to be banished by communism.
It is a basic feature of communist society that every individual must perform his duties according to his ability. This is a very important feature of communist society. Every individual must perform some sort of duty. There is no compulsion that every person must do definite duty. He will do useful work and again it is according to his ability.
A man who cannot do any work has no right to claim bread. It is the dictum of communism that he who does not work shall not eat. Communist society wants to abolish the leisure class and the system of unearned income.
Work is compulsory does not mean that men will be forced to work. Lenin has said “We give the name communism to the system under which people from the habit of performing their duties without any special apparatus of coercion.” Communism rules out any possibility of coercive method and emphasizes on spontaneity. People will do their social duties voluntarily. Here lies the difference between capitalism and communism.
Communism is the manifestation of moral and mental upliftment as well as the highest form of consciousness. People disfavour to live without work. They love and like work.
A communist society proclaims each according to his ability to each according to his need. This requires elaboration. Marxism admits that differences in intellectual capacity do not imply any differences whatsoever in the nature of the stomach and physical needs.
The conditions of the communist society lead to the flowering of all the abilities of man and thereby make labour performed to the full measure of his ability much more productive. Furthermore, communist society promises that each person will get, irrespective of his position, what he needs.
This is due to the fact that man’s needs do not depend upon his position or intellectual attainment. So to do work and to get what he needs in exchange of his labour is a basic principle of communist society. The multiplication of demand and flowering of intellectual capacity both will proceed hand in hand.
The fullest development of all the inherent qualities of the individual is ensured by communism. Marx and Engels have repeatedly said that man is full of immense potentialities. He is not a slave to machine and the circumstances.
It is the purpose of communist society to discover the potentialities and translate them into reality. In capitalist system the worker is faced with contradiction between mental labour and physical labour.
Communist society, by shortening of working hour and introducing new and higher machinery, will free the individual from drudgery of work. Worker will get ample scope for recreation and the development of finer qualities.
The charge of the bourgeois theoreticians in communist society individual is neglected is motivated and malicious. These persons do not know the nature and working of the communist society.
Rather, communism gives the highest importance to the individual. It is to be stated here that in a communist society the progress of science and technology is channelled to the greatest possible development of individual’s intellect and not to the swelling of profit and interest of few persons.
Communist culture is different from capitalist culture. Brotherhood, friendship and proper development of finer qualities constitute the communist culture. Freed from monotony and drudgery of day-to-day labour man will devote his time and energy to the development of culture and aesthetic qualities.
Again, ideology is a part of communist culture. Communism teaches man to think of world culture and to inculcate universal attitude. One need not be confined to his own country or environment.
It is commonly said that a communist society does not approve morality. System of property is destroyed. Some men are illegally and forcibly deprived of their due share. Thus it can be said that communism is the negation of morality and ethics. But Marx and his followers do not subscribe to this baseless idea.
It has been said about communist morality that it is a manifestation of ideological, political and moral unity and of its advance towards social homogeneity. Without moral values man’s sincerity and sense of duties cannot develop at all.
In a communist society, observes Cornforth a new and enhanced role is played by human consciousness. For, the development of society is guided and controlled by people’s consciousness of their own requirements.
In every sphere of communist society consciousness of man has a definite role to play. It is so important that the very existence of communist society will face critical position without it.
What would be the exact nature of political organization of communist society has already been elaborated in our analysis of the withering away of state. For the sake of convenience it is to be noted here that since communism envisages classless society there will not be any necessity of state.
It will ultimately wither away. All the bourgeois elements will be fully redundant. Man will form his own social organization according to his own need, will and choice. Force or coercion will permanently take leave from society. Man’s subordination to higher authority is destroyed.
Communist society promises full liberty and proper democracy. Only in a communist society individual can enjoy the taste of real democracy. Class and coercion are not conducive to democracy and liberty.
In capitalist system state imposes numerous restrictions on the behaviour of individuals. Spontaneous participation in the activities of state is a rare incident.
In capitalism, only men of ruling class have freedom, whereas, in communism, all people enjoy freedom to the fullest satisfaction. Good relation and brotherhood dominate all aspects of social life. Communist society makes no distinction between town and country. Not only this, all artificial differences are removed from communist society.
The state is an integrated and united whole. Difference of culture, language, race and religion will exist in communist society, but they will not assume ugly shapes and hinder the growth of society. All the individuals will get adequate and equal opportunities for self-development.