Socio-economic system in which private property rights are eliminated

In political and social sciences, communism (from Latin communis, "common, universal") is the philosophical, social, political and economic ideology and movement whose ultimate goal is the establishment of the communist society, which is a socioeconomic order structured upon the common ownership of the means of production and the absence of social classes, money and the state.


Along Pennsylvania Avenue, by Murray Rothbard, Faith and Freedom, Nov 1956
Discusses the Hungarian Revolution of late October-early November 1956 and the "disappointing" reactions by the U.S. government and the "shocking comment" of Walter Lippmann
"... Walter Lippmann, who often reflects high-echelon thinking in the State Department ... said that Titoism would be better for our interests than freedom in eastern Europe, for, after all, the area must be controlled by someone. It is important, wrote Lippmann, that eastern Europe enjoy 'freedom from anarchy' as well as 'freedom from despotism.' ... We might ask: how many government officials, how many Americans, are really Titoists? How many believe in 'national communism' as the best social system? How much 'anti-communism' of recent years has simply been revulsion against Stalin's crude methods and Muscovite control?"
Related Topic: Hungary
Anarchism, by Voltairine de Cleyre, Free Society, 13 Oct 1901
Examines various economic propositions for anarchism (socialist, communist, individualist and mutualist) and opines that all could be tried out
"... free Communism looks upon such a fever of exportation and importation as an unhealthy development ... It appeals to the plain sense of the workers, by proposing that they who now consider themselves helpless dependents upon the boss's ability to give them a job, shall constitute themselves independent producing groups, take the materials, do the work (they do that now), deposit the products in the warehouses, taking what they want for themselves, and letting others take the balance."
"Anticommunism" versus Capitalism, by Ludwig von Mises, The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality, 1956
Excerpt from part V
"There exists today a sham anticommunist front. ... They make an illusory distinction between communism and socialism and — paradoxically enough — look for a support of their recommendation of noncommunist socialism to the document which its authors called The Communist Manifesto. They think that they have proved their case by employing such aliases for socialism as planning or the welfare state."
Blessings of Discrimination, by F. A. Harper, In Brief, 1951
Discusses the human ability to discriminate, e.g., to feel the heat of a stove, which Buddha considered an "essential" virtue, contrasting it with the policy of nondiscrimination on employment, association and other areas
"Promoters of the communist ideals have generated chaos and class conflict by generating this phobia about discrimination and persecution. This has led to false claims of rights. Part of the same kit of communist tools is the idea that private property is the consequence of discrimination against those who do not own it. If non-owners can be made to believe this and to help pass laws to correct it, they will fight to have it corrected by 'fair ownership laws' whereby all private property is confiscated for the 'ownership of all.' This is the essence of communism itself, and it is already far advanced in the United States under devious and subtle devices."
Book Review: The Quest for Cosmic Justice, by Richard Ebeling, Future of Freedom, Dec 1999
Review of The Quest for Cosmic Justice by Thomas Sowell, 1999
"The Bolsheviks had set themselves the task to remake the world according to the Marxian vision of a classless society. But to do so required the destruction of the 'exploiting' classes, an overthrow of the existing property relationships and the remolding of 'the masses' into a 'new socialist man.' The Bolsheviks viewed themselves as a privileged elite, led by Lenin, to remake man and mankind, and all according to a compulsory master plan. ... To achieve this task, the uninhibited spilling of oceans of blood was considered an accepted price to pay for utopia."
Related Topics: Rule of Law, Society, Thomas Sowell
Boxer's Confusion about Ownership, by Tibor Machan, 4 May 2007
Explains the absurdity of California Senator Barbara Boxer's statement that public lands are "owned ... by the American people"
"The idea of collective ownership, by the way, is totally anti-American. It belongs within the political-economic framework of socialism in which, as Karl Marx and Frederick Engels made clear in their book, The Communist Manifesto, the right to private property must be abolished. In its place the incoherent idea of public or collective ownership is introduced ..."
Related Topics: John Locke, Property Rights
Conscience on the Battlefield, by Leonard Read, 1981
Pamphlet written in 1951, during the Korean War, updated with prologue in 1981; Read recalls the 1918 incident when the troopship he was on was sunk by a German submarine and wonders about his thoughts if he were dying (in 1951) on a Korean battlefield
"You do not seem to realize that the essential characteristic of communism is coercion. Communism in essence is the communalization of the product of all by force. Americans now practice communism in so many ways that the doctrine – not in name, but in substance – is rapidly becoming not only acceptable but 'respectable.'"
FBI Free to Ambush our Bill of Rights, by Nat Hentoff, 23 May 2012
Discusses the Guidelines for Domestic FBI Operations changed and expanded by Attorney General Michael Mukasey in late 2008 and retained by the Obama administration
"When I was a kid, I read ... a book about Josef Stalin's Russia that turned me into a fiercely unyielding anti-Communist for the rest of my life. During the so-called Great Depression, I remember arguing with Communists in my Boston neighborhood about Stalin keeping an eye on law-abiding Russians. When I became a reporter years later, ... I was startled by the extent to which J. Edgar Hoover's FBI had secretly infiltrated so many entirely lawful organizations with informants and instigators of illegal actions, insatiably searching for Communists, fellow travelers and other suspicious 'persons of interest.'"
Karl Marx and the Close of His System, by Eugen Böhm von Bawerk, 1896
Contents: The Theory of Value and Surplus Value - The Theory of the Average Rate of Profit and of the Price of Production - The Question of the Contradiction - The Error in the Marxian System — Its Origin and Ramifications - Werner Sombart's Apology
Least We Forget, by Paul Craig Roberts, 25 Feb 2006
"Stalin had turned the unaccountable power that Lenin had embodied in the Communist Party against the party itself. ... Stalin ... made violence the mediator between the Party and its members. Consequently, no one was safe. The situation was intolerable for all, and Nikita Krushchev brought it to an end."
Related Topic: George W. Bush
Les Economistes Libertaires, by Carl Watner, Reason, Jan 1977
Discusses the French economists of the 19th century and in particular Gustave de Molinari and his thoughts on the provision of security and defense services by private agencies
"The alternatives are the production of security by a monopoly or by the community (communism). Under communistic or monopolistic organization, the interests of the producers dominate, rather than the interests of the consumers. In such cases, Molinari saw that the price for services would rise while quality would deteriorate through lack of competition. Furthermore, Molinari demanded to know why communism or monopoly should not be applicable to other areas of the market if they are suitable to the production of security."
Middle-of-the-Road Policy Leads to Socialism, by Ludwig von Mises, 18 Apr 1950
Speech to the University Club of New York; argues that the middle of the road policies of interventionism, such as price controls and progressive taxation, eventually lead to socialism via central planning
"What we must realize is that the antagonism between the interventionists and the communists is a manifestation of the conflict between the two doctrines of the early Marxism and of the late Marxism. It is the conflict between the Marx of 1848, the author of the Communist Manifesto, and the Marx of 1867, the author of Das Capital. And it is paradoxical indeed that the document in which Marx endorsed the policies of the present-day self-styled anti-communists is called the Communist Manifesto."
Morals and the Welfare State, by F. A. Harper, 1951
Examines five moral principles by which the idea of the Welfare State (described in more detail in an appendix) can be judged; extension of talk given 13 June 1951; later published as "Morals and Liberty" (see The Freeman, Sep 1971)
"The belief that good ends are attainable through evil means is one of the most vicious concepts of the ages. ... for the past century it has been part and parcel of the kit of tools used by the Marxian communist-socialists to mislead people. ... The moral right to private prop­erty ... is consistent with the moral codes of all the great religious beliefs. ... two of history's leading ex­ponents of the Welfare State con­cept found it necessary to de­nounce this moral code completely. Marx said: 'Religion is the opium of the people.' And Lenin said: 'Any religious idea, any idea of a 'good God'... is an abominably nasty thing.'"
The Death Wish of the Anarcho-Communists, by Murray Rothbard, The Libertarian Forum, 1 Jan 1970
Critique of anarcho-communism, examining its presumed non-coercive nature, and its philosophical and economics orientation
"The only good thing that one might say about anarcho-communism is that, in contrast to Stalinism, its form of communism would, supposedly, be voluntary. Presumably, no one would be forced to join the communes, and those who would continue to live individually, and to engage in market activities, would remain unmolested. Or would they?"
The Humanitarian with the Guillotine, by Isabel Paterson, The Freeman, Sep 1955
Reprinted from The God of the Machine, 1943; analyses the negative consequences of "humanitarians" (or professional philanthropists) and politicians act to provide relief to the needy
"The Communist regime in Russia gained control by promising the peasants land, in terms the promisers knew to be a lie as understood. Having gained power, the Communists took from the peasants the land they already owned; and exterminated those who resisted. This was done by plan and intention; and the lie was praised as 'social engineering,' by socialist admirers in America."
The New Communism, by Lew Rockwell, Mises Daily, 13 Aug 2001
"From 1916 through 1918, the Bolsheviks engaged in active protest against the Russian war on Germany. They were the party with one unnegotiable demand: peace. The Communists were wrong on everything but that one issue, yet it was the most important to the general Russian population."
The Political Economy of Soviet Socialism: The Formative Years, 1918-1928, by Peter Boettke, 1990
Partial contents: The Meaning of the First Decade of Soviet Socialism - The Political Economy of Utopia: Communism in Soviet Russia, 1918-1921 - The Political Economy of NEP: Market Relations and Interventionism in Soviet Russia, 1921-1928
Related Topic: Socialism
The Politics of Étienne de La Boétie, by Murray Rothbard, 1975
Introduction to the 1975 edition of The Politics of Obedience: The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, translated by Harry Kurz; summarises the key insights of La Boétie's work
"Notice, for example, how many anti-Communists write about Communist rule as if it were solely terror imposed from above on the angry and discontented masses. Many of the errors of American foreign policy have stemmed from the idea that the majority of the population of a country can never accept and believe in Communist ideas, which must therefore be imposed by either a small clique or by outside agents from existing Communist countries."
The Production of Security, by Gustave de Molinari, Journal des économistes, Feb 1849
Questions whether the provision of security to citizens should be an exception to the economic principle of free competition, delving into arguments favoring monopolistic and communistic government and concluding with a hypothetical free market example
"If the roused and insurgent consumers secure the means of production of the salt industry, in all probability they will confiscate this industry for their own profit, and their first thought will be, not to relegate it to free competition, but rather to exploit it, in common, for their own account. ... This form of the organization of production has been named communism."
Related Topics: Democracy, Government, Monopoly, Society
The War On Drugs Is Lost, by William F. Buckley Jr., Steven B. Duke, Joseph D. McNamara, Ethan A. Nadelmann, Kurt Schmoke, Robert W. Sweet, Thomas Szasz, National Review, 12 Feb 1996
Symposium with essays from William F. Buckley Jr., drug policy researcher Ethan A. Nadelmann, Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke, former chief of police Joseph D. McNamara, judge Robert W. Sweet, psychiatrist Thomas Szasz and law professor Steven B. Duke
"The Communists' war on private property dramatized their unwavering devotion to the ideal of a society free of economic exploitation. ... The Soviet Union was the embodiment of the principle that private property is evil. To protect people from dangerous capitalists, the USSR criminalized leaving the country without permission. The Russians are now paying the price of their anti-capitalist mentality."
War, the God That Failed, by Lew Rockwell, 15 May 2004
Contrasts the general reaction to the Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse vs. the mass deaths caused by the 2003 Iraq War, and the rationalizations made about the war with the excuses made by early Bolsheviks
"The way to think about their efforts is by analogy to the early supporters of the Bolsheviks, during the period of war communism. The revolution had gone badly, as evidenced by starvation, misery, death, and no obvious way out apart from backing away from core doctrine. This is what Lenin ultimately did, but in the meantime, the backers of the Bolsheviks had to provide an explanation for why history's great leap forward was straight into the abyss. The trick is to do it without giving up the core ideological conviction."
Related Topics: Iraq War (2003), Terrorism, War


Calculation and Coordination: Essays on Socialism and Transitional Political Economy
    by Peter Boettke, 2001
Partial contents: Why are there no Austrian Socialists? - Economic calculation: the Austrian contribution to political economy - Hayek's The Road to Serfdom revisited: government failure in the argument against Socialism
Related Topic: Socialism
Communism: A History
    by Richard Pipes, 2001
The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression
    by Stéphane Courtois (editor), 1999
The Exploitation Theory of Socialism-Communism: The Idea That All Unearned Income (Rent, Interest and Profit) Involves Economic Injustice
    by Eugen Böhm von Bawerk, 1975
Extract from Volume I, Chapter XII, of Capital and Interest; partial contents: Historical Survey of Exploitation Theory - His General and Astounding Error - Marxian Doctrine as Interpreted by His Successors

The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "Communism" as of 21 Nov 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.