Thursday, April 05, 2007

Communism v. Socialism v. Marxism

What do you understand of Communism? Marxism? Socialism? How do they all compare? What aspects can you see in 1984 of these?


Blogger shaunam said...

This is cool because we talked about this for the entire period in history yesterday.

Anyways, I know that communism is the theory that everything is equal and everyone is paid the same and there is no rich people or poor people. In theory, it does sound like a good idea, but it has been proved in the past that it doesn't work.

Thu Apr 05, 09:12:00 AM  
Blogger Phillips said...

Communism is the most extreme form of Socialism. Also, true Communism is Marxism. In a communist economy the government eventually dissolves because government is only there to control the people. In true communism there is no crime, no need for a government, everybody helps each other. So they are not truly in a communist society because the government will not and does not want to go away. Also, they is no class system in a Communist society, in 1984 there is one: Inner party, outer party, and Proles. Ex.

In Marxism, Marx talked about a violent revolution which occurred to form the government in 1984.

In 1984, the party believes they are a socialist society with the word "INGSOC" which means English socialism.

Thu Apr 05, 09:24:00 AM  
Blogger danh said...

What I understand of communism vs. Marxism is what Mrs. Crosby taught us. Marx was a guy who tryed to define communism by saying that it is a society where everyone is equal. Money is distributed to the poorer, everyone shares jobs and helps out with society. It is formed when the lower class people rise up and take over the government, then they distribute the property among the people. This is what communism is supposed to be. The way we interpret communism is the Russian version, where the government controls the peoples' lives and keeps the property for themselves, basically a bad society. I'm pretty sure that socialism is like the true meaning of communism, but not as extremely "let's all be 100% equal". Sweden is a socialist country, where everyone pays taxes for everyone's services. You get free medical care up until the age of 20 because the taxes pay for it.

Thu Apr 05, 12:21:00 PM  
Blogger danh said...

Shauna: Although it has never worked in the past, it is still possible for it to work. It only succeeds when everyone in the society is willing to comply. The key to it is the fading away of the government. When the lower class citizens rebel, they are supposed to distribute the property among the people and make everyone equal, therefore diminishing the need for government. The problem is, when people are finally on top, they like the power and decide to keep the property of the country for themselves rather than share it.

Thu Apr 05, 12:37:00 PM  
Blogger BenH said...

I think what we see in 1984 is really communism, the same way it was in the Soviet Union. That is, it is not true communism. The government is essentially fascist, and controls the people. But like in Russia, it tries to maintain the facade of true equality and socialism.

Thu Apr 05, 12:39:00 PM  
Blogger maria k said...

Communism is where the poor are pulled up to a level and the rich are pulled down to the same level. It sounds reasonable and everything, but if you were a rich person and you had worked your whole life to get to that point, how would you like being pulled down? This relates to the 1984 because it seems like everyone is equal. Everyone is equally watched and those who don't seem as equal are watched more. Although it isn't exactly Communism, it is a little bit in it's own way, that no one is allowed to stand out.

Thu Apr 05, 12:40:00 PM  
Blogger tomr said...

A truly communist/Marxist society, one where everyone governs each other and works together to make absolute equality for all, is an impossibility taking human nature into account; people want to be rewarded justly for their efforts and few people are capable of such large-scale cooperation in order to run a country.

In Scandinavia, as Dan said, people pay much higher taxes in exchange for national benefits such as health care and higher education. Everyone makes a sacrifice for the good of everyone. This is not seen in 1984, because the welfare of the masses is stripped away and used to fulfil the selfish needs of the Party, an elite group of "leaders". Incidentally, this is usually what happens with so-called "Communist" societies where a dictator takes hold and has only selfish motives.

Thu Apr 05, 12:41:00 PM  
Blogger Zachf said...

This book relates to Communism because all the citizens are supposedly equal, however they are kept in the dark by their government. That relates to 1984 because their government controls them as well. The Soviet Union is similar to the society in 1984 because of the way these people are shown propaganda like Stalin did with his people.

Thu Apr 05, 12:41:00 PM  
Blogger Lane C. said...

I have never uderstood the differences between all of these different forms of government. To me it seems that whatever system a country claims it is really the ism of whoever the leader is (Stalinism, Smithism, Boothism, I'mawesomeism, etc.). 1984 is truly BigBrotherism. It shows similarities with the idea of socialism and communism in its basic fundamentles but whatever the party decided to do next would be what happened. If the party decided to change Christmas to BB day people would do it. If the party decided to make all men dance around in tutus they would do it. It isn't really any of those forms of governments it is whateverthepartysaysitisism.

Thu Apr 05, 12:41:00 PM  
Blogger erinl said...

I don't really understand all the aspects of communism but I do know that everything is shared among everyone. The easiest way for me to remember it is that if two people are working at the same job and one person does a good job and works really hard and the other guy doesn't they still get the same pay. I don't know anything about Marxism and not very much about socialism.

Thu Apr 05, 12:44:00 PM  
Blogger sarahc said...

Dan and Shauna,
There is a form of communism that does work, with a leader, and only if everyone complies. I do not know if there is an official name for it, but it has the exact same gaol as communism: equality. But it has a different definition of equality: no want. I this system, something like stewardship, has only been seen, to my knowledge, in a religious society. This system is based on the idea that everything on Earth belongs to God, and that we are only here to be stewards over it. Because of this, the leader of the community is given everything, and then he divides it out to the people ACCORDING TO THEIR NEEDS. This means that a family of two will have less than a family of 6, but both families will not have any needs. I is a different form of communism, but it's goal is the same.

Thu Apr 05, 12:44:00 PM  
Blogger TyC said...

In my history class we have been talking a lot about communism and the Cold War. From what I understand, un a communist government, the people are for the government. This is the opposite of a Democratic government, where the government is for the people. This sounds excatly like the government system in 1984. "Big Brother" has complete control over his citizens. They do not have any private life.

Thu Apr 05, 12:46:00 PM  
Blogger EmilyL said...

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Thu Apr 05, 12:47:00 PM  
Blogger EmilyL said...

My understanding of three is thus:

Socialism is a system that helps those who can't help themselves, like the elderly, it provides services for them. Communism in theory is where every one is equal. Marxism in theory is the end result of capitalism. They are all similar in that they all have some form of trying to make sure everyone has a fair chance at life. I think all three show up in 1984 in the fact that the party tries to make sure all party members have at least something to eat and a place to stay.

Thu Apr 05, 12:48:00 PM  
Blogger sarahc said...

What exactly is Marxism? Is it the end result of capitalism, where the working class rises up and forms their own government?

Thu Apr 05, 12:53:00 PM  
Blogger karib said...

Like Lane, I don't understand the difference between Communism and Marxism, although the difference between them and capitalism is fairly clear. In capitalism, things are privately owned and in the others they are owned by the state. That is my very superficial explanation to their differences. I also know that Communism/ Marxism/ Socalism work on paper but not in real life because it is almost impossible to suppress the competitive spirit that people have. I think the concept of equality is especially present in 1984. All of the common people are completely equal, in everything from their clothes to their food. However, they are not even close to being equal to the upper party members, which makes it not a good example of real Socialism.

Thu Apr 05, 12:55:00 PM  
Blogger Shelby B. said...

I do not know if I am right about any of these, but this is my understanding. Communism is the idea of Utopia and that everyone is the same, everyone gets the same educations, money, belongings, and so forth. Marxism and socialism I do not really have a definition for, but I think it is just another type of communism. I think that they all revolve around communism. Communism I can see really relates to 1984 because they are supposed to be learning, thinking, working and doing everything the same as everyone else. My definition of communism makes it equal to 1984.

Thu Apr 05, 02:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is often hard for me to understand how these three forms of government are different. They seem similar on multiple levels.

I looked up the definitions of the three systems to help me further understand: I found that Marxism seems to be the understanding that the peoples' struggles are to help them move into a socialist and classless society and that all means of production are commonly owned.

Socialism would be collective ownership of property by the whole community.

And communism is producing and distributing goods collectively and by the government that often plans to have control over the economy.

It seems that all three basically hold the same ideas. They all involve the sharing and equal distribution of productions. In all of them these systems all seem to be very good ideas that would appear to result in happy prosperity for all people. I think these systems are all directly applicable to the governing system in 1984. All of the people, excluding the proles, appear to work towards pleasing of Big Brother, and the overall prosperity of all the people in the society. I think that the people in 1984 are all under the impression that everything they are going through is for the better of Big Brother, and themselves (just as in Marxism). And just as in Socialism and Communism, the economy is controlled by the central government and is supposed to evenly distributed, when in reality, the government is selfish and keeps most of the production for itself, while leading the community to believe that they are still prospering greatly.

Thu Apr 05, 03:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

benh, I disagree with your comment that 1984's government is communist. The people are not all equal, and probably not all paid the same. For instance, the proles are treated as lesser beings, and the inner party the greater ones. The inner party is probably paid more, while the proles are probably paid little or not at all.
The Party does ditinguish between the groups. Since communism means everyone i treated the same with the same pay no matter what, it contradicts the Party's policies.

Thu Apr 05, 03:34:00 PM  
Blogger paigen said...

Like a lot of other people have said, my history class has talked about these theories a lot but I don't really understand them in depth (with the exception of communism but everyone knows what that is). I think we should talk about it a little in class.

Thu Apr 05, 03:40:00 PM  
Blogger alexd said...

Socialism is a principle in which all people are equal. Communism is an expantion of Socialism. I do not know that Marxism is. I see the totalarist secret police of Chinise Comunism.

Thu Apr 05, 03:49:00 PM  
Blogger Rileys said...

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Thu Apr 05, 05:25:00 PM  
Blogger Rileys said...

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Thu Apr 05, 05:26:00 PM  
Blogger rsin_notfire said...

from what i understand, communism is like most people said, the theory that everyone is equal and shoud be treated so, while socialism is an idea that the minorities such as elderly or poor people get taken care of. While i think i understand those two, i have no idea what marxism is at all, and i would thank everyone who would be happy to define it for me. Though i have no idea what marxism is, i'm willing to bet that it is another theory to strive to create everyone in a certain place equal, and i would appreciate it if someone would tell me wether or not that is correct.

Thu Apr 05, 05:28:00 PM  
Blogger christa s said...

I really was not truly sure about which was which, since communism, socialism, and Marxism all seem very similar to me, so I looked up their meanings on

Socialism-Any of various theories or systems of social organization in which the means of producing and distributing goods is owned collectively or by a centralized government that often plans and controls the economy.

Communism-A system of government in which the state plans and controls the economy and a single, often authoritarian party holds power, claiming to make progress toward a higher social order in which all goods are equally shared by the people.

Marxism-The political and economic philosophy of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in which the concept of class struggle plays a central role in understanding society's allegedly inevitable development from bourgeois oppression under capitalism to a socialist and ultimately classless society

I think that the society in 1984 seems most like a Communist or a Socialist society. The government controls the economy and its production as well as the rationing of goods and the people are ruled by the Party, a powerful authoritarian government. It is not really Marxist because Marxism is more about creating a classless society, and the society in 1984 is definitely not classless. The highest rank of society is the Inner Party members, then the Outer Party members, and then the proles, and the government does not seem to be trying to eliminate the differences between the different levels of the social ladder.

Thu Apr 05, 06:42:00 PM  
Blogger alexm said...

There isn't much more to say on the subject, but I have to try anyways.

Communism is one of the best things on paper/theory. Humans and their stubborn "I'm better than this" attitude simply won't permit it. It depends on the idea that if goods are shared, everyone will be happy to an extent. This doesn't, of course, apply to the leading party members. Usually, in history, there aren't enough goods to go evenly around, and the nation becomes impoverished as a whole, instead of doing the smart thing: letting the poor fend for themselves. No sense in sending money to them, when they'll die soon anyways, and thus taking food and supplies from who might be able to use it.

Socialism is what communism is based off of. A central government that controls the economic reserves of the nation in question. Lenin and Stalin just made the idea their own.

Marxism, from what little I understand, it relies on the working class to creating their own governing body. But that might be me making something up.

Lane- your theory about the ...isms seemed really narrow-minded and not very well thought out to me. We call ourselves the greatest nation on earth. Do we string those words together and then add an ism? No. We're capitalists.

Just my thoughts....

Thu Apr 05, 07:42:00 PM  
Blogger briang said...

What I understand about communism is that its main idea is to create a society where every person is equal. That is, they hope to establish a classless society where there is no private ownership and everyone is essentially equal in status. Socialism to my understanding is related to communism in that communism is simply an extreme form of socialism. I was confused as to what Marxism was so I did some research myself but it still seemed rather confusing. What I think it is, is that as the society struggles, it eventually moves into a more classless society that is socialist. I don't know if that makes sense to anyone or even myself but that is my understanding of Marxism.

All three of these ideological forms of government seem to focus around the idea of equality for all and that there is no class in society. I would not call the society in 1984 communist, socialist, or Marxist, but rather a combination of the three. The people, excluding the proles, seem to be working for Big Brother and, like Madisonm said earlier, the prosperity of the society. They also work to better themselves, like in Marxism. But like in comunism or even socialism, the central government controls the economy and strives for equal distribution and equality.

Thu Apr 05, 07:51:00 PM  
Blogger saram said...

I know that communism is the theory that everyone and everything can be equal. Of course it sounds like a good idea, but there is always the one person who disagrees and tries the challenge the system, like we have seen in 1984 with Winston and F451 with Montag. I have never heard of marxism and I know little about socialism so it's hard to compare.

Thu Apr 05, 08:46:00 PM  
Blogger endsleye said...

I agree with sara and shauna and everything about what they said about Communism. Im not going to lie and thats about the extent of my knowledge. Im not sure what Marxism is and I only know a little about Socialism. But Communism can best be compared with Harrison Bergeron. They wanted everything and everyone the same so they put handicaps on people to make them like everyone else. No one could be better then the next.

Thu Apr 05, 09:25:00 PM  
Blogger BenH said...

sarahechurchill: That is not what I meant, but I did not do a great job of explaining. I agree that it is not communist. What I meant is it is like Russian communism, in the sense that although it is called communism, it really is not, for just the reasons you said.

Thu Apr 05, 09:27:00 PM  
Blogger chelseah said...

I know very little about the government in general, so therefore i have pretty much no idea about Communism, Socialism, and Marxism. A few things that i do know are that communism is an extremely strict form of government, and socialism (i think) is similar, just less strict. I also think that Marxism is a very strict form of government.

Since my knowledge on these forms of government is so little, it would be hard for me to compare the three any more, and also to 1984.

Thu Apr 05, 09:29:00 PM  
Blogger hannahs said...

Communism is when the government controls all property and anything related to the economy. Marxism is the same idea; however, it differs because at some point the government is suppose to fade away, and everyone is equal. Socialism is when everyone pays for public amenities. If you are not wealthy, you pay less but get the same programs as wealthier people. I think 1984 is seems like a mix of socialism and communism. The government has complete control over every aspect of the citizen's lives, which links the book to Communism. Also, 1984 is an example of socialism because the general public is treated equally and all receive the same benefits, despite how wealthy they are.

Thu Apr 05, 09:58:00 PM  
Blogger KathrynT said...

All of these try to create a perfect society. Technically, 1984 is a Socialist government, because that is what they call it (English Socialism, or INGSOC) but other than that, my knowledge of what socialism is limited and so I cannot give reasons as to why it is a socialist government. Like communism, though, 1984 has one totalitarian leader and the people don't have much control over their own lives. In the book, it is not obvious whether or not the people choose for themselves where they live and what they do for a living; it would seem that they do not have much of a choice and so it is at least similar to communism in this way. Marxism, i beleive, may be a utopian society, but I honestly do not know.

Thu Apr 05, 10:04:00 PM  
Blogger kimmy c said...

Recently in our history class, we have been discussing communism. It only makes partial sense to me, but I think that 1984 is an example of a partial version of what we consider communism today. It really is like Soviet communism more than the real communism. The fact that the government still exists is a sure sign that it isn't Marxism. I really think that it is a version of communism that effects the rationing of items they get. Examples are: the clothing they recieve, the food they can get, and the different necessities that are sometimes denied to them.

Thu Apr 05, 11:25:00 PM  
Blogger HannahJ said...

Communism is a government where everyone is equal in money, property, etc. No one owns their own business, everything is owned by the government.

I can see Communism is 1984 because they try to make everything equal for everyone, and if you speak out against the government, you are killed or arrested.

Fri Apr 06, 08:36:00 AM  
Blogger ADRIANA G said...

Everybody's already defined the three types pretty well. I think that communism as we know it is very different from Marxism as it was intended. Marx had wanted the government to eventually fade away. Instead, in Soviet style communism, the government remained and took total control. Marxism involves getting rid of private property and having total equality.

Fri Apr 06, 08:37:00 AM  
Blogger adamb said...

Communism is an economic strategy, socialism is also an economic strategy also, but Marxism is a value as opposed to a political structure.

Fri Apr 06, 08:57:00 AM  
Blogger elyseh said...

I understand Communism pretty well, and socialism a little worse but i still sort of understand it. I have absolutely no idea what Marxism is though. They are all dictatorships though, much like 1984 with BB being the "dictator". Communism is also a government with total control over the people, 1984 has almost total control over their people. They watch everyone through the telescreens and they punish them for things they don't like. It seems like Orwell was greatly relating the government in 1984 to that of the governments and extreme leaders of his time. Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini were all leaders at the time the book was written, right after WWII. So I think Orwell was trying to warn everyone about extreme governments and how someday they could completely take over.(my internet server was down last night so I couldn't blog last night)

Fri Apr 06, 08:59:00 AM  
Blogger agarties said...

ok. I have been having some blogger trouble, sometimes it lets me log on w/my google account, sometimes not.

Anyway, I think that a combination of socailism and capitalism seems like a great idea. I think someone mentioned this already, but the U.S. has some socialist ideas. If I'm understanding it correctly, it seems like the aim of socialism is to create equality by making the rich and middle class help the poor. We have social security, which helps older people in the country. In Norway, I think it was (can anyone in Crosby's class confirm that?), there are similar programs. Taxes are higher, but a lot of the money goes to things like healthcare. For example, everyone in a certain age range can go to the dentist every year, and it is all paid for by the taxes. Since I haven't heard about any major rebellion or totalitarian action there, I can only assume it's working out pretty well.

Sat Apr 07, 04:31:00 PM  
Blogger Kjerstinl said...

After reading all of these comments, I do have some idea of Marxism, Communism, and Socialism. I'm just going to say what I understood before reading everything. Marxism is a extreme form of communism. Communism is an extreme form of socialism. I don't understand what socialism is though. Plus, I know that they are all totalitartian governments.

Sun Apr 08, 11:00:00 AM  
Blogger Aylar said...

OK, I know that this Is a bit late but bloger would not let me log on.... My google account or otherwise so here goes, Kjerstinl I know what your feeling I honestly don't know much about Socialism either but I do know that Communist and Socialism as well as Marxism are all extreme governments, they all use fear to control there people and that is of course exactly what we have seen in 1984. The government uses the threat of the thought Police, and others to place its subjects into fear oriented obedience. This tactics is seemly working in 1984 but Winston is secretly defying others, If this man thought his government was askew then other probably did as well. Com, Marx, and Soc did not benift the people and many places with that form of government experienced rebellion of its people. I think that Orvel is trying to show us that just as government in our world get out of control so does the gov. in 1984

Mon Apr 09, 08:41:00 PM  
Blogger Alexander1191 said...

Firstly, communism is NOT based on fear. Ideally, the government is based on the assumption that society is conscious enough to make decisions of their own without posing a threat to others or the interference of a government. Ideally, communism stands for an ultimate equality among citizens. This has never been achieved. Your understanding that communism is based on fear is most likely built on your knowledge of the Soviet Union. While it is true that soviets did use fear to manipulate populace, the Soviet Union can hardly be called a communist. If you care to research life in eastern Europe during the cold war, you would find giant economic 'gulfs' between the rich an poor.

Secondly, 1984 is NOT about communism. It is about the hypocrisy of a government that calls itself socialist, while it promotes ultimate capitalist ideals. Ingsoc promotes warfare and a class system in order to maintain a hierarchy within society. By maintaining this hierarchy, Ingsoc takes systematically oppresses all classes that belong to the system. By depleting society of thought, they maintain complete control, and eliminate the chance of a revolution. 1984 is a warning. It was written to wake people up to their disposal by capitalism. George Orwell controversially states that humanity stomped progressing, and that eventually a corrupt government such as ingsoc could force humanity into an unconscious state in which life is analogous to living like a machine. Be aware. Simply because Ingsoc stands for the English Socialist Party, it does NOT represent socialist ideas.

Mon Dec 26, 10:48:00 AM  

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