Communism (from the Latin communis = common, general) is a notion that an optimal economic, political and social order in society can be programmed and applied in practice based on a common ownership of production means and the redistribution of achieved revenue, supposedly leading to the attainment of a class-less, egalitarian and prosperous society. In the theoretical sphere it leans on the teachings of marx-leninism in which the key role is played by so-called class struggle.
The regime of the Communist party, optimally instated by means of a revolution, is founded on a strong position of the leader of the Communist party ( the first or general secretary), often leading to a almost non-critical admiration of this person (so-called personality cult). The Communist party also very quickly subjugates the mechanisms of state power, it permeates them and becomes a state-party. Its interests become the main interests of the entire society. To promote them, the Communist regime, supported by a bureaucratic repressive apparatus, is prepared to liquidate its opponents, be it even potential ones.
The authors of the Black book of Communism stated absolutely clearly in their introduction: „The Communist regimes overcame the individual crime, the clearly directed and occasional massacres, turning mass crime into a true system of government.“
The totalitarian Communist system refuses the parliamentary system. The Communist party pervades all spheres of social life, paralysing their normal functions and in the end stage, it fully controls them. Truly democratic systems are absent. Elections exist for instance, but they only have a formal character. The position of the party apparatus is fundamental in society, although the Communist form its minority. An elimination of non-Communist parties takes place; they are either taken over and further controlled or they are liquidated. Opposing viewpoints are not tolerated; critics of the regime are persecuted harshly and without compromise. The regime does not observe even its own laws, such as civic and human rights written in the constitution. There is a massive use of repressions, violence and terror aimed at liquidating be it potential enemies. To this end, a repressive apparatus is created. The citizens of the state are systematically intimidated (everybody knows someone who was persecuted by the regime). The state-party also attempts to gain maximum control of the life of society as a whole. The Communist regime changes the system of protection of the state borders; free travel is not possible, everything is subject to control. In combination with censorship interventions the Communist regime creates its own propaganda in which it explains to its citizens what they are supposed to think. The regime deliberately eliminates and attacks the positions of the church in society. An “equalisation“ of culture and art takes place; instead of a variety of artistic forms, a one and only admissible socialist realism is created.
The Communist regime in Czechoslovakia eliminated private property. In the field of agriculture it promoted a collective form of ownership (state farms, united agricultural cooperatives). The economic development of society happened in a centralised, planned manner under surveillance by the Communist party in the form of two-year, five-year or seven-year plans. In reality however only a redistribution of financial flows took place. Financial collapses were solved by means of a so-called monetary reform (Czechoslovakia in 1953). The production directed by the Communist party severed contacts with Western democracies, it failed to maintain the quality of production and eventually could not compete with the market environment. The regime subsidised non-competitive enterprises. An important phenomenon were also the so-called “shortage goods“ and queues for anything (from hygiene articles to fruits and vegetables to electronics and cars).
Upon relaxation of the total control by the Communist party over society a crisis of the regime sets in. A reform of Communism initiated from within the Communist party itself is not possible (see the events in Hungary and Poland in 1956, Poland at the beginning of the 1980s, Gorbachov’s perestroyka and glasnost policies).
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