Communism (from Latin communis – common, universal) is a socioeconomic system structured upon common ownership of the means of production and characterized by the absence of social classes, money, and the state; as well as a social, political and economic ideology and movement that aims to establish this social order. The movement to develop communism, in its Marxist–Leninist interpretations, significantly influenced the history of the 20th century, which saw intense rivalry between the states which followed this ideology and those who didn't.
Communism was first developed into a scientific theory by German philosopher and social scientist Karl Marx, and the collective understanding of this scientific approach is today commonly referred to as Marxism. According to Marxism, capitalism is a historically necessary stage of society, which has led to the concentration of social classes into two major groups: proletariat - who must work to survive, and make up a majority of society - and bourgeoisie - a minority who derive profit from private ownership of the means of production. The political, social, and economical conflict between both groups (class struggle), each attempting to push their interests to their logical extreme, will lead into the capture of political power by the proletariat. Public ownership and management of the means of production by society will be established - this is known as socialism. As scarcity disappears from the development of the productive forces, goods are made available on the basis of free access. This results in the disappearance of social classes and money. Eventually, as social organizations take over the tasks performed by the state, the state (and thus, the government) disappears. The result is communism: a stateless, classless and moneyless society, structured upon common ownership of the means of production.
The October Revolution, led by Lenin, consisted in the capture of political power in Russia by a Marxist party, resulting in the creation of the Soviet Union, with the aim of developing socialism and eventually communism. Leninism refers to the organizational principle of the vanguard party as a revolutionary strategy both to achieve revolution and to secure political power after the revolution in the interests of the working class. Lenin never claimed that the Soviet Union had achieved socialism; in fact, Lenin openly admitted that the economic policy which was in use at the time of his death was a form of capitalism (specifically, state capitalism), but also stated that socialism was eventually going to be developed.
Lenin's death led to a struggle for power between opposed factions, eventually resulting in the victory of Stalin, whose rule saw the elimination of any opposition. Stalin created Marxism-Leninism, an ideology which is not the mere union of both, but rather is a term created to describe the political ideology Stalin implemented in the CPSU and Comintern, which also sets deviations from both Marxism and Leninism (such as the acceptance of socialism in one country). There is no definite agreement between historians of about whether Stalin actually followed the principles of Marx and Lenin. Marxism-Leninism is based on the creation of a single-party state which has full control of the economy. According to Marxism-Leninism, the Soviet Union had achieved socialism and was on the way to communism; other communist tendencies disagree, some (of which some are Marxist, some others not) claiming that it had in fact established state capitalism: management of capitalism by the state, additionally neither by nor in the interests of the proletariat, and that socialism was not being developed but rather that its development was halted since the come to power of Stalin. They conclude that Marxism-Leninism is neither Marxism, Leninism, nor the union of both; but rather an artificial term created to justify what they consider is Stalin's ideological distortion, forced upon the CPSU and Comintern. In fact, in the Soviet Union, the struggle against Marxism-Leninism was led by Trotskyism, which described itself as a Marxist and Leninist tendency.
Marxism-Leninism was made into the official ideology of the Comintern, and exported to other countries. This body of thought formed the basis for the most clearly visible communist movement in the 20th century and, as such, in the Western world, the term "communism" came to refer to social movements and states associated with the Comintern. However, these states did not develop communism, and the degree to which they had achieved socialism is debated.
Communism is based upon the theory of an economic Utopia, where all wealth is shared and distributed equally, with no personal ownership. The theory, devised by Karl Marx, espouses that human greed can be eliminated by changing human nature, which can be accomplished by changing the environment of economic inequality. The fatal flaw in the theory is the belief that external conditions can actually change basic human nature. In the communist system, the corporate elite is replaced by a ruling (government) elite, which, in theory, is supposed to be a benevolent authority with the best interest of the people in mind. Human nature being what it is, this is quite impossible, as the communist ruling elite succumbs to the same greed it claims to be able to extinguish. Human nature cannot be altered.
Communism also squashes the competition which leads to excellence, because it removes all incentive for human beings to excel. Think of it this way....two basketball teams play each other. One team works harder, plays better, and wins the game by 40 points. In the communist model, there is no winner and no loser, so the losing team has no incentive to improve, and the winning team has no incentive to keep winning. Since competition leads to invention, this is not a good thing for the human race.
Communism is a philosophical idea, based on the following underlying principle: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need. This is the concept of the community where people do not have self-interest. The first well known communist was Jesus Christ. Another well known example of communism is Pilgrims, whose social contract was based on the same principles.
Communism is often confused with the government structure or an economic state. Socialist countries such as USSR and China are incorrectly called communist. There is no country that had achieved communism to date. It’s a utopia, because of “human nature” or a “sin”. The only difference between Christianity and Communism, is that Christianity offers a mechanism of redemption, and Communism doesn't. Thus to achieve Communism, you have to suppress human nature of self-interest.