Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels on Communism

Paresh Chattopadhyay

in The Oxford Handbook of the History of Communism

Published in print January 2014 | ISBN: 9780199602056
Published online May 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels on Communism

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Communism, envisaged as a society of free and equal individuals succeeding capitalism, arises from the latter’s contradictions and is the outcome of the workers’ self-emancipatory revolution, which starts with their gaining political power as the first step in an ongoing process of revolutionary transformation up to the appearance of the new society. The latter is classless, hence stateless, and its mode of production is marked by the absence of private ownership in the means of production, of commodity production, including money, and of wage labour. The new mode of appropriation is collective and the labour of the individual is directly social. As regards the mode of distribution, society itself takes charge of allocating total labour time—dead and living—across the economy and of dividing the total product between production and consumption needs, and of determining the share of personal consumption in proportion to the individual’s share in common labour.

Keywords: revolution; communism; free society; collective appropriation

Article.  8011 words. 

Subjects: History ; Social and Cultural History

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