There are many misconceptions about socialism/communism. For 98 years, communism has been identified with Russia. Not only is this an error but it is also wrong to call the Soviet-Union, a ”communist” country. Neither Soviet Russia under Lenin, nor the USSR under Stalin were in fact ”communist”. Lenin himself noted this after the civil war, that there were many bureaucratic deformations, harming the development of socialism. Unfortunate for him, these deformations grew into the cancer that became stalinism!
The Cold War ( 1945-1991 ) was not a conflict between western democracy and eastern communism, as the history books ( written by bourgeois-historians ) tell. Not all western nations were democratic and none of the eastern nations were socialist. What was created in Eastern Europe were nations between capitalism and socialism. Deformed ”people’s republics” that lacked democratic control of workers and peasants over their economies. Although the capitalist class was removed, a caste of state-bureaucrats ruled with iron fist over the workers!
The Western World called themselves ”democratic and free”. But this was only partly true. As European countries like Spain and Portugal, only became democracies after 1975. Many Latin American nations were brutal anticommunist dictatorships, fully supported by European and U.S governments. Labour parties in Western Europe were not supportive of revolutionary socialism. They were led by the ideology of social democracy. A state-capitalist idea that mixed the market economy with government regulations. Social democracy was introduced in Scandinavia, which raised the living standards. Both Denmark, Norway and Sweden belonged to the richest nations of Europe in therms of wealth distribution. But this changed after 1990 as social democrats turned to the right and fully embraced the god of capitalism!
Social democracy used to be a state-capitalist ideology, but it this changed after stalinism collapsed in 1991. Social democratic leaders moved their labour parties to the right-wing and embraced the idea of privatizations and social cuts. Tony Blair is a famous right-wing social democrat, who participated in imperialist wars and caused not only the death of 200.000 Iraqi’s and Afghans, but at home carried out austerity cuts and politics good for big business!
Socialism is not more government or the nationalization of your home, car, computer or iPhone. Socialism does not want to limit your freedom of speech, it wants to give you more freedom to participate in society. Under capitalism this participation is limited to two options. Either you become a capitalist yourself or you sell your labour. Since very few people have the business mentality, most are forced to sell themselves to get an income. Socialism wants to take away power from the minority that rules us today and give it to the majorty of people. This is why the Bolshevik Party called itself the party of the majority, ”bolshevik” is Russian for ”majority”!
Communism is the next step in evolution after socialism is reached. Under communism the state dies and political control with be in the hands of self-managing communities of co-operating workers and citizens. Working hours will be reduced as work is no longer a duty, but a universal condition. This is however not what the capitalist media tries to portray of communism. They are very happy that Joseph Stalin and his successors created a complete distorted image of what genuine communism is about!
The picture below is a quick reference guide, to what is possible under a socialist/communist system. It also shows what the capitalist system is and how a future socialist/communist society, look in relation to work, politics and democracy!