This article will help you to differentiate between socialism and communism.
In the first place, socialism coming out of the womb of capitalism bears the birthmarks of capitalism. The superstructure of socialist society will have some vestiges of capitalism.
It is not possible for socialism at the outset of its emergence to eliminate everything of capitalist society. But through an intensive and continuous struggle these elements are to be removed and communism will be free from all these defects. In the Critique of the Gotha Programme Marx writes, “These defects are inevitable in the first phase of communist society.”
The principles of socialism and communism are not same. The principle of the first stage is “From each according to his ability to each according to his deeds.” This is the socialist principle of distribution. But it is a defective one. Another principle of socialism is he who does not work neither shall he eat. These principles are realized in a socialist society.
In such a society bourgeois right also exists. Lenin says that this is not communism. The principle of communism is “From each according to his ability to each according to his needs”.
This is the supreme objective of the communist society. Communism admits that ability and intellect of everyone cannot be same, but needs cannot be differentiated. Needs of every individual must be met.
There is a difference between the two in respect of production relations. Socialism eliminates private ownership over means of production, but the relations of production do not everywhere correspond to that.
It has been said that socialism introduces production relations corresponding to the character of the productive forces developed under capitalism. Because of the correspondence of production relations to the capitalist productive forces a gap between demand and supply remains in socialism. The communist society removes this gap by freeing production from capitalist grip and raising it to the adequate level of development. Only communism meets all the requirements of people.
In socialism, the worker is emancipated. He no longer sells his labour power. He is an indispensable part of the social production and social progress. Enough time is left for him whom he can utilize for recreation purposes. The greatest shortcoming of socialism is he does not get what he requires.
Communism solves this. Each receives all he needs. As a result of this, new attitude of labour must have been generated. Then “labour has become not only a means of life, but life’s prime want”.
People contribute according to ability, not as a necessity to obtain the means of life but because to take part in social production is life’s prime want. Productive labour becomes a means to the emancipation.
“In communism, whole of people’s time is restored to them; the whole of their life is their own.” We can say the emancipation of the worker starts with the arrival of socialism and finds its apex embodiment in communism.
Individuals have various faculties. In capitalism they do not get proper opportunities for the development of all the faculties. This is due to the fact that they are subject to the strict and monotonous division of labour and predominance of machine.
In socialism division of labour, may be in a miniature form, exists. This retards the growth of individual’s faculties. Communism is completely free from this drawback.
In our analysis of transition from socialism to communism we have seen that continuous training and re-training makes the worker conscious of his position and objective to be attained. Communism, therefore, is absolutely conducive to the proper blossoming of the individual’s personality.
How communism differs from capitalism and partly from socialism may be stated in Marx’s and Engel’s own words.
In the Manifesto they have said, “communism abolishes eternal truths, it abolishes all religion and all morality, instead of constituting them on a new basis; it, therefore, acts in contradiction to all past historical experience. In place of the old bourgeois society with its classes and class antagonisms, we shall have an association, in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all.”