Economic Update: What Is Communism?

[S12 E34] What is Communism?

This program covers the origins, evolution, and current significance of "communism." After a brief history of communism as a utopian ideal of community, we treat Marx's presentation in the Communist Manifesto, and then communism's subordination to "socialism" to World War 1. That War changed everything. It split socialists everywhere into a Socialist Party and a Communist Party with key differences but also commonalities. When most European communist parties collapsed, socialism once again became the only major systemic left position. Yet the utopian longings expressed by communism left many on the left dissatisfied with modern socialisms. They searched for a possible solution, a new kind of communism located in workplaces organized as democratic, worker co-op.

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“Marxism always was the critical shadow of capitalism. Their interactions changed them both. Now Marxism is once again stepping into the light as capitalism shakes from its own excesses and confronts decline.”

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1. The Communist Manifesto: https://www.google.com/books/edition/The_Communist_Manifesto/3hoZEAAAQBAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&pg=PT2&printsec=frontcover
2. World War I casualties: http://www.centre-robert-schuman.org/userfiles/files/REPERES%20%E2%80%93%20module%201-1-1%20-%20explanatory%20notes%20%E2%80%93%20World%20War%20I%20casualties%20%E2%80%93%20EN.pdf
3. Communism: https://www.routledge.com/Class-Theory-and-History-Capitalism-and-Communism-in-the-USSR/Resnick-Wolff/p/book/9780415933186
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