There is no doubt that communism was Karl Marx’s political goal. Nonetheless, he never published a book or an article with a clear and extensive demonstration of what communism means. In the 20th century, we can find a number of different approaches that claim to articulate alternative social systems that follow from Marx’s ideas. These approaches range from central planning by a ‘socialist’ state to ‘socialist market economy’. In addition, there were also tendencies that simply refused to formulate alternative social systems, on the grounds that to do so would be utopic, or constitute an immanent contradiction to the idea of a free, self-determining society. Marx’s conception of communism was not, however, as vague as is often supposed. Although there are changes in Marx’s view of communism, we can identify some of its basic features, which are founded in his critique of political economy. Furthermore, to treat communism as a concrete political project, and not just as some kind of philosophical alternative, seems to me to be more and more a political necessity today, in a world where nationalism, xenophobia, anti-feminism and homophobia are giving rise to a kind of horrible utopia for a growing far-right movement.

Category: Communism, Marx, Marxism

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