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Communist glossary

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Quiz show presenter: Now Karl has elected to answer questions on the workers' control of factories so here we go with question number one. Are you nervous? The development of the industrial proletariat is conditioned by what other development?
Karl Marx: The development of the industrial bourgeoisie.
Presenter: Yes, yes, it is indeed. You're on your way to the lounge suite, Karl. Question number two. The struggle of class against class is a what struggle? A what struggle?
Karl: A political struggle.
Presenter: Yes, yes! One final question Karl and the beautiful lounge suite will be yours... Are you going to have a go? (Karl nods) You're a brave man. Karl Marx, your final question, who won the Cup Final in 1949?
Karl: The workers' control of the means of production? The struggle of the urban proletariat?

Presenter: No. It was in fact, Wolverhampton Wanderers who beat Leicester 3-1.
Monty Python[1]

This is a glossary of the main concepts, terms, and neologisms used by communists and their leftist ilk. This is not an endorsement of the ideology, but rather a page rendering the basic definitions of the various theories, historical terms, ideologies, and slang associated with the political and economic movement of communism.

Terms[edit]

Absolute surplus value[edit]

Absolute surplus value refers to the taking of more profits via extending the workday, such as extending it from 8 to 12 hours.[2]

Agitprop[edit]

Agitprop refers to communist propaganda promoting communist ideas, and might evoke an emotional response (to literally agitate the viewer, thus making it agitative propaganda).

Alienation[edit]

Alienation is the process by which proletarians become alienated from the commodities they make with their labor-power; rather than see commodities as objects created by labor-power, by themselves, as workers, they see commodities as something completely detached from the worker who produced it. This is thought to be a major consequence of the privatization of the means of production, exploitation (via the extraction of surplus value), and competition forced between the workers.[3]

Anarchy of production[edit]

Anarchy of production, a Marxist theory, is essentially overproduction of commodities. The bourgeoisie force proletarians to make an absurd amount of commodities for a market that suddenly collapses and rebounds continuously. It is a chaotic relationship, thus, a state of anarchy (no, not that kind of anarchy).

Antagonistic contradiction[edit]

An antagonistic contradiction is a contradiction which is incapable of peaceful resolution, such as the contradiction between the colonized and the colonizer. One has to come out over the other.

Anti-imperialism[edit]

Anti-imperialism is as simple as it sounds; the opposition against imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism, and against all the processes involved in it.

Anti-imperialism poster published by OSPAAALWikipedia in Cuba, 1967

Armchair socialist[edit]

An armchair socialist is any communist, active in and loud about the communist movement online or in a personal setting, capable of putting their knowledge into practice (i.g., joining a communist party, educating fellow proletarians, etc).

Note: this is somewhat of a problematic term; communists struggle and practice, but some disabled communists cannot partake in many forms of practice. There needs to be an exception for disability.

Base and superstructure[edit]

The base and superstructure is a theory that states the economy; the base; the dominant forces, shapes and maintain the ideological forces, such as the arts, cultures, philosophy, family structures, pedagogies, education, sciences, laws, politics, spiritualities, etc; the superstructure. These ideological forces serve to normalize the base, which enforces the superstructure, which enforces the base, etc., etc., a reciprocal relationship.

Bolshevik[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Bolshevik

(Historical) A bolshevik was a follower of Vladimir Lenin and his ideas during the October revolution and the early days of the Soviet Union. Their fellow-communist opponents were known as the Mensheviks. The term originates from the Russian большинство (bolshinstvo), meaning "majority".

Bolshevik leaders in Tomsk, Siberia

Bootlicker[edit]

Bootlicker is similar to "class traitor" below: a working-class person advocating against their own interests, one who suffers from false consciousness. However, unlike a class traitor, bootlickers don't usually have the agency to directly harm other working-class people, the way that police, bosses, and other state/corporate enforcers do; rather, they may defend these enforcers' legitimacy without having a real stake in it.[4]

Bourgeois[edit]

Bourgeois is those of or relating to the class of people that own the means of production (farmland, factories, corporations, rented land/buildings/residences, etc.). The people themselves are referred to as the bourgeoisie. This Marxist meaning originated with Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels' Communist Manifesto, the term in English previously had broader meaning to include the whole middle class.[5]

Bourgeois pseudoscience[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Bourgeois pseudoscience

Bourgeois pseudoscience is a loaded term used in the Soviet Union to repress any form of science that was contrary to Bolshevik orthodoxy and/or Marxism-Leninism.

During the Great Terror of 1936-1938, many prominent Soviet geneticists were purged, often by execution, for promoting the 'bourgeois pseudoscience' of genetics.[6]:61

Bourgeois revolution[edit]

A bourgeois revolution entails a revolution overthrowing feudalism in order to establish capitalism. Contrary to common belief, communists reckon bourgeois revolutions were necessary. Communists believe socialism can develop only after the destruction of feudalism and the establishment of capitalism. Bourgeoisie revolutions established how proletarian revolutions should work by industrializing the economy and establishing the contradiction between the communal environment in the workplaces vs. the individualist of those workplaces and the instruments of production within them. After capitalism develops, then communists want to overthrow that economic system in favor of socialism and its final stage of communism. This belief in the progression of societal systems is a type of historical determinism.

Yes, this means the bourgeoisie used to be revolutionary, but are not anymore; after all, feudalism is dead.

Petit bourgeois[edit]

Petit bourgeois refers to either a person "judged to have conventional or conservative political and social attitudes" or the lower middle class. The meaning of the term predates Marx.[7]

Bourgeoisie[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Ruling class

The bourgeoisie is the Marxist term for the ruling class under capitalism (not aristocrats or feudal lords -- these were the ruling class under feudalism), the landowners, and the capitalists, who overthrew feudal society. Marxists claim that the middle class disappeared with the smashing of fuedalism, therefore, there are only two classes, one of which is the bourgeoisie, the class opposing communism because it is an economic system that brings about their demise. Under capitalism, the bourgeoisie own businesses and control the means of production, and communists consider them exploiters of the proletariat.[8]

Petit bourgeoisie[edit]

The petit bourgeoisie are the small bourgeoisie, such as small business owners and artisans. This derives from the word "petit", meaning small.

Bourgeois ideologist[edit]

Bourgeois ideologists are intellectuals who either outright disagree with communism or attempt to frame the rejection of fundamental communist beliefs as mere "critique", so these ideologists are usually part of the proletarian intelligentsia closely collaborating with the bourgeoisie or outright bourgeoisie intelligentsia.[9] An example of a bourgeois ideologist is Karl Kautsky later in his life.

Cadre[edit]

First course for female cadres in Chuvashia, Russia (1925)

A cadre refers to a group of communists or a single communist affiliated with a communist group.[10] Cadres abide by party discipline, much like a club. They also engage in communist activities, such as group study and volunteer work. The point is to develop a small but organized communist group.

Capital[edit]

"Death to capital--or death under the heel of capital!"
See the main article on this topic: Capital

Capital, to put it simply, is anything usable for the production of a commodity in order to make more money.

Capitalist[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Capitalism

A capitalist is a person who owns capital; anyone who is the bourgeoisie. They own the means of production, and thus, capital. Contrary to popular belief, communists do not consider any proletarians to be capitalists, for they do not own capital. Only those who own capital can be capitalists. Proletarians may support capitalism, but that support does not make them capitalists.

Capitalist pig[edit]

"Kulak and Priest"

A capitalist pig, in communist parlance, is a derogatory word used to refer to the capitalist bourgeoisie, which explicitly expresses discontent for the bourgeoisie capitalist class and the economic and political systems of capitalism.

Central committee[edit]

A central committee is the main governmental body of a socialist government consisting of one or more communist parties.

Character mask[edit]

A character mask is a social role that conceals class contradictions. The term was first used by Karl Marx[11]:126 and later by Friedrich Engels.[12]

Class consciousness[edit]

The condition in which a proletarian is aware of their class distinctions from the bourgeoisie, of their exploitation, and consequently, fights for socialism and its final stage of communism. This means they hold interests in favor of their class interests.[13]

Class struggle[edit]

Class struggle is a occurs when there is a conflict of interests between the various social classes.[14]

Class traitor[edit]

Class traitor is the term used to define working-class people who are perceived as actively working against the interests of their class. Some often-used examples include police officers, union-busters, and soldiers. The term has sometimes been applied to members of the bourgeoisie, e.g., Friedrich Engels (son of a factory owner) and Pyotr Kropotkin (who was born into nobility) for whom which the term seemingly doesn’t apply.[15]

Classless society[edit]

A classless society is literally a communist society, one in which there are no longer any classes, no proletariat or bourgeoisie.

C-M-C[edit]

C-M-C stands for Commodities transformed into Money for Commodities. Basically, to sell commodities in order to acquire money to buy more commodities.[16]

Cosmonaut[edit]

A cosmonaut is the term used to describe a Russian astronaut, but since Russia was socialist for more than seventy years, "cosmonaut" is vaguely part of communist parlance.

Collective leadership[edit]

Collective leadership is the distribution of power across the various government rankings of the dictatorship of the proletariat/socialist state or of communist society.

Collectivized agriculture[edit]

"We'll engage hundreds of thousands of working women in socialist production in collective farms, state farms and machine tractor stations. Women of the collective farms, master automobile, tractor and rail technology! Learn auto mechanics!"

Collectivized agriculture or collectivized farming is a farm jointly operated by several different farmers under a socialist or communist economy.

Collectivism[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Collectivism

Collectivism refers to the idea that all land and means of production should be owned by the people as a group, not individually. This is a basic precept of communism. Sometimes, socialist states, attempting to achieve communism, collectivize via seizing all private property and the means of production and keeping it in state hands.

Colour revolution[edit]

In communist parlance, a colour revolution refers to any counter-revolutionary (since they are anti-communist, and thus, against communist revolution) uprising against a socialist government that is purportedly either created, influenced, or heavily covered by capitalist countries in the imperialist stage.[17] Examples include: Czechoslovakia (1989), Yugoslavian rump state (2000), Georgia (2003), and Ukraine 2004.

Commodities[edit]

Commodities are possessions manufactured for a specific purpose. Commodities have use-values (literally the usefulness of the object) and exchange-values (for how many commodities or monies one can exchange on the market).

Commodity fetishism[edit]

Commodity fetishism describes a phenomenon under capitalism in which proletarians purchasing commodities cannot perceive the labor-power put into commodities in capitalist markets. Think of a paperback book. How is it made? A worker got the materials, and another worker took those materials and made paper out of them. Another worker got the materials used to make staples. Another worker turned on a machine that used those materials in order to make a book. Another worker transported the book to the store. And what about the workers who made the machines and mined the materials that created that machines? And the workers who made the factory? And the workers who made the tools used to obtain the materials? The process is literally indefinite. But commodity fetishism involves not thinking about any of this, and instead seeing commodities as objects alienated from labor.

The meaning of the term has evolved over time, with its original usage in Marx's Das Kapital (Fetischcharakter der Ware), meaning that commodities have an autonomous existence with an intrinsic value, with later meaning as placing excessive value on material goods.[18]

Communism[edit]

Communism is the final stage of socialism in which the means of production, exchange, and trade belong to all the workers in a stateless, classless, moneyless, borderless society based upon the principle "to each according to their ability, to each according to their need."

Comrade[edit]

Comrade was originally used to refer to a friend or close companion, from the French camarade.[19] Among communists (and sometimes socialists), it is a gender-neutral synonym for "ally" or "friend", habitually used by communists to refer to other communists.[20] When reading communist works, the reader may frequently encounter the word (i.g., "comrade Mao", "comrade Lenin", "comrade Stalin").

Concrete capital[edit]

Concrete capital consists of non-human parts of production; the raw materials, and machinery used for the production of commodities.[21]:239

Contradiction[edit]

Contradictions are two phenomena with opposing values or functionalities, such as between bourgeoisie and proletariat,[22] or colonized and colonizer.[23]

Copyright abolitionism[edit]

Copyright abolitionism is the belief that copyright needs abolition. Since intellectual property is technically a form of private property, literally property owned by the bourgeoisie in order to make profit, it should follow that copyright abolitionism is a basic principle of communists, but that is not always necessarily the case.

Cultural hegemony[edit]

The Marxist theory of cultural hegemony states that the bourgeoisie manipulate and control the cultural beliefs of the proletariat, the rest of society. This might occur via, for example, the media, through which political ideologies and beliefs supporting capitalism, those beliefs of the bourgeoisie, become normalized. This manifestation of hegemony differs from other hegemonies because, technically, there is no force involved; the only force involved is meeting societal norms (i.e., rejecting communism, revolution, etc), lest one alienate oneself from everyone else by holding socially deviant views.

Cultural revolution[edit]

Tibetan Buddhist leader Samding Dorje Phagmo and her parents being denouced[24]

A cultural revolution seeks to change attitudes in society, such as augmenting support for socialism and communism via extirpating purportedly falsely conscious ideas. The term was specifically used in the Chinese Cultural Revolution (1966-1976).

In practice, this was used justify the Orwellian censorship and destruction of cultural heritage, history, media, art, and any field of academia that was felt to contradict the philosophy of Marxism-Leninism or glorified anyone other than the dictator and his personality cult, as well as any state sanctioned personality cults. This was done so that future generations would have no memory or evidence of philosophies beyond the <state’s official ideology. It is quintessentially post-truth by nature.[citation needed] See also: Burning the evidence

Cyclical crisis of capitalism[edit]

The cyclical crisis of capitalism is a perpetual crisis under capitalism under which boom and bust cycles and economic crashes continuously occur, one after the other, causing mass devastation repetitively.[25] This is one of the contradictions that are to cause the end of capitalism; there is a need for mass production, but that mass production (under private control) requires overproduction, causing sudden economic crashes, such as, historically, the Great Depression.

Democratic centralism[edit]

Democratic centralism is a state in which political decisions decided by a majority of a communist party are binding on all members of that party. The term was originally used by Lenin.[26] In Practice, the general Secretary or chairman of the party becomes the de facto leader or paramount leader (e.g., Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, Kim Il-sung, Xi Jinping).

Dengist[edit]

A Dengist supporter of the economic policies of Deng Xiaoping (as he made many compromises with capitalism, albeit without outright ending socialism in China). Dengism is sometimes known as Deng Xiaoping Theory, and is usually considered heterodox to Marxism-Leninism,[27] hence not considered a "theory" by Marxists. The term 'dengist' is often used to refer to supporters of the modern People's Republic of China.[28]

Dialectics/Dialectical materialism[edit]

See the main articles on this topic: Dialectics and Dialectical materialism

In Marxist theory, dialectical materialism is the idea that material reality shapes socioeconomic conditions and societal problems are caused by distinctions between people, i.e., contradictions. This might manifest as exploitation and lack of political or economic rights for proletarians. Historically, during feudalism, the feudal lord vs. the serf was this precise dialectic. To apply dialectical materialism to history is thus historical materialism.

Dictatorship of the bourgeoisie[edit]

A dictatorship of the bourgeoisie is the capitalist state in which the bourgeoisie hold absolute power.[29]:67[30]

Dictatorship of the proletariat[edit]

A dictatorship of the proletariat is a transitional state between capitalism and communism in which the proletariat hold absolute power.[31]

Economist[edit]

An economist was what Lenin described as a purported communist who refused to combine the political and economic struggles (for he saw the two as equally important in the struggle for socialism). Economists followed economism, seeing struggles from a strictly economic but not also political point of view.

Exchange value[edit]

The exchange value of a commodity is how many other commodities for which it sells on the market.

Exploitation[edit]

When communists refer to exploitation, they mean the extraction of surplus value from the proletariat. Thus, exploitation and oppression are two completely different affairs. They are not interchangeable terms.

Extra surplus-value[edit]

See Superprofits.

False consciousness[edit]

See the main article on this topic: False consciousness

False consciousness merely refers to holding interests not favorable to the proletariat, denying exploitation, and supporting capitalism, such as reckoning one needs to "work harder" in order to receive a better wage. (Whereas, the class-conscious worker, on the other hand, reckons that surplus value, literally profits, are taken from their wages by the bourgeoisie capitalist).

Friedrich Engels first described this concept in an 1893 letter to Franz Mehring:[32]

Ideology is a process accomplished by the so-called thinker consciously, indeed, but with a false consciousness. The real motives impelling him remain unknown to him, otherwise it would not be an ideological process at all.

Free association[edit]

Free association is the state of affairs in which there is moneylessness, classlessness, statelessness, etc; no hierarchy of workers, essentially. Therefore, this term refers to relations between people in a communist society.[33]

Historical materialism[edit]

Historical materialism is dialectical materialism applied to history, the term was first used by Friedrich Engels.[34] This does not inherently involve denying parts of history, but rather seeing them as the results of conflicts between groups of people. All historical events occurred due to conflict between people of different social classes and intersectional factors, essentially.

Historical materialism does not assume that history is a linear process or that it is pre-determined.

The term first appeared in Friedrich Engels' 1892 book Socialism: Utopian and Scientific[35]:ix,xviii-xix[36]

The history of all hitherto existing societies is the history of class struggles.[edit]

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels famously wrote in the Communist Manifesto, "the history of all hitherto existing societies is the history of class struggles.",[37]:28 meaning all of history (barring primitive communism) involved conflicts between groups of people according to their material conditions; enslaver vs. enslaved, feudal lord vs. serf, bourgeoisie vs. proletariat, and after the writing of the manifesto, as various capitalist economies began to develop into the imperialist stage, colonizer vs. colonized.

Identity politics[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Identity politics

Politics through the lens of race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, disability, etc. intersectionality, essentially. Communists ultimately believe class is the main division of society, and some go to the extent of saying it is the only division of society (class reductionism). Although there is no general consensus on identity politics, some communists do support identity politics as secondary factors to take into account on top of class or completely reject and abhor identity politics.[38] There is no international agreement on the identity politics question.

Imperialism[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Imperialism

In communist theory, imperialism is an advanced stage of capitalism in which there is the immense concentration of production and competition bringing about monopolies, the combination of bank capital and industrial capital into finance capital, the exportation of capital, the formation of massive international monopolies (such as those, in the contemporary era, resulting from globalization), and the massive division of the entire world (i.g., splitting apart the continent of Africa territorially). The communist theory of imperialism comes from Vladimir Lenin's book, Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism.[39] Communists, essentially, see imperialism as more than merely stealing and occupying land, but doing all that for the purpose of maintaining capitalism. Imperialism is thus as economical as it is political. It involves the occupation and division of territory, but also mass concentration, export, and development of capital and large international monopolies.

Imperialist running dog[edit]

An imperialist running dog was the terminology that Mao Zedong used to refer to troops in counter-revolutionary or imperialist armies,[40][41] but nowadays, it is communist slang for anyone in line with (what communists consider) imperialist policies (e.g. supporting sanctions, wishing war against other countries (especially poorer or Communist ones), apologetics for military coups, supporting the occupation of Palestine, etc.).

Intelligensia[edit]

The label intelligensia refers to well-educated constituents of a society, most of which are proletarian by virtue of not owning the means of production. For instance, most scientists do not control and collectively operate their workplaces, be they laboratories, observatories, research stations, etc., etc. Communists support most members of the intelligentsia in consequence, as a select few are bourgeoisie. Moreover, the intelligensia usually perform mental labor, such as writing academic papers or teaching, for they are, as mentioned previously, well-educated. Communists want to remove barriers between intelligensia and the rest of the proletariat; between mental labor, and menial labor; and render intelligensia and non-intelligensia alike capable of both mental and menial labor.

Despite this, communist regimes have at various times subjected intellectuals to purges usually for alleged disloyalty: Soviet Union (1936-1938),[42] China (1950-1953),[43] and Khmer Rouge (1975).[44]

Kulak[edit]

(Historical) A kulak was the term used to identify rich peasants in the Soviet Union. They owned a large sum of land and grain, which communists seized from them. In 1929 during the Holodomor, Stalin ordered a dekulakization campaign, purging kulaks as a class, killing large numbers, exiling others to Siberia, and putting others into forced-labor camps.[45]:120-122,127,156 The term derives from the Russian кулак (kulák), meaning 'fist' and implying a tight-fisted person.[46]

Kulaks deserved it[edit]

A shitty meme made by tankies to justify atrocities like the Holodomor. They usually deny it instead.[47][48][49] Sometimes, they do both!

Kulaks deserved worse[edit]

An even shittier version of Kulaks deserved it.[50][51][52]

Labor aristocracy[edit]

There are multiple definitions, but covering the one most apt for this glossary, the labor aristocracy are proletarians who by virtue of their class face oppression but are more well-off than their colonized proletarian counterpoints by virtue of imperialism and neoimperialism.[39]

Labor-power[edit]

Labor-power is the ability of the proletarian to work/labor.

Liquidationism[edit]

Liquidationism is the abandonment of the policies established by the vanguard in a proletarian communist party,[53] so generally, communists see it as an issue.

Market abolitionism[edit]

Market abolitionism is the support for the eventual abolition of all markets once communism develops. This is an essential pipe dream principle for any communist

Marxist feminism[edit]

Marxist feminism, also known as socialist feminism or communist feminism, is the ideology combining Marxism and feminism, seeing the oppression of women as the result of capitalism (i.g., seeing patriarchy, a system that predates capitalism, becoming an inherent part of it; seeing gender roles as ones serving the interests of the bourgeoisie; seeing the dependence of all genders other than man on men as a result of capitalism, etc).

Mass line[edit]

The mass line is the connection between the socialist government, the vanguard of the proletariat, and the masses — the vanguard goes to the proletarians, consults them, and then interprets their criticisms and wants accordingly. This existed under Maoist China.

M-C-M[edit]

See C-M-C.

Menshevik[edit]

Menshevik Party leaders in Sweden (1917)

(Historical) A Menshevik referred to an opponent of Vladimir Lenin and the October revolution (the Bolsheviks). The dominant strain of communism (Marxist-Leninism) does not consider that Mensheviks were earnest communists. The word derives directly from the Russian меньшевик ('minority member').[54]

Money-form[edit]

The money-form is literally just money; what society uses to exchange commodities under capitalism. Communists want a moneyless society, eventually.

Moneylessness[edit]

Moneylessness only exists under communism, after a long period of development, in which monies no longer exist. People receive what they need and produce what they can collectively without needing money for payment.

National liberation[edit]

National liberation is the process in which colonized people free themselves from colonialist, imperialist rule.

New Soviet man[edit]

The new Soviet man (although more aptly the new Soviet person; this was a male-centric term) referred to the perceived changes in the proletarians under socialism (the transitional period to communism) in the USSR, but this technically extends to the perceived changes in the proletarians of all socialist countries.

No war but the class war[edit]

Banner in Bulgaria, days after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022

The phrase "no war but the class war! is a common communist saying that rejects all preexisting wars, instead advocating for international revolutions in every country at different times.

Opportunism[edit]

Opportunism describes the sacrifice of fundamental communist principles and theories for a short-term gain that in the long-term negatively affects the socialist government and economic system.[55]

Party purges[edit]

Party purges are not necessarily deadly, although they were under the rule of Joseph Stalin. Party purges, conceptually, involve the removal of members from a political party, and in the case of the communists, the removal of members from the communist political party if they fail to adhere to party discipline (as the communist party goes by democratic centralism).

Politburo[edit]

Politburo of the Soviet Union in 1934; Stalin (center), V. I. Molotov (immediately to the right)

In communist parties in control of socialist governments, the politburo is the executive committee that basically leads the state.

Primitive communism[edit]

Primitive communism refers to the economic system that Marx and Engels claimed existed for most of human existence, before the development of societies,[56]:72[57][58] during which most people worked together in clans for the mutual benefit of all involved, without hierarchies; completely without class, markets, money, borders, and states.

In communist ideology, primitive communism shall not, nevertheless, return, and nor shall future communism be in any way primitive communism.

The Marxist idea of primitive communism drew from Jean-Jacques Rousseau's stereotype of the "noble savage", and more so from the social evolution theory of early anthropologist Lewis Henry Morgan'sWikipedia studies of Native Americans.[59]

While the Marxist view of Morgan has remained static over time, but Morgan as one of the pioneers of anthropology has come under substantial scrutiny by fellow anthropologists. Anthropologists have proven that Morgan was wrong about social evolution.[60]:272-273[61]

Personal property[edit]

Personal property are any commodities. These do not produce surplus value/profits, and one cannot labor with them for wages. Thus, no, communists do not want to seize personal property. A toothbrush is irrelevant to communists.

Private property[edit]

In communist parlance, "private property" refers to property owned and profited from by someone who doesn't labor with it or otherwise make personal use of it. Think of railways, factories, farmland, workshops, and large swaths of land. Private property is distinct from personal property; failure to recognize this distinction leads people to think commies are coming for their toothbrush.

Proletarian internationalism[edit]

Proletarian internationalism (or international socialism) is the doctrine that reckons all proletarians belong to one united group, despite borders, cultures, religions, demographics, etc. It is internationalism with radical and revolutionary characteristics.[62]:636

Proletariat[edit]

The proletariat are those who don't own the means of production under capitalism, whose labor-power is the source of bourgeois wealth. Sometimes called "the working class" or "workers" for simplicity.[63]

Lumpenproletariat[edit]

The lumpenproletariat are the poorest, most oppressed strata of the proletariat almost completely devoid of class consciousness. This includes sex workers, homeless people, criminals (e.g., shoplifters), etc. Marx believed they could not partake in a proletarian revolution (although reasonably they could, for they are still proletarian). The term was coined by Karl Marx from Lumpen ("rag") + proletariat.[64][65]

Radlib[edit]

In communist parlance, a radlib is a strong adherent to liberalism; to capitalism.[66][67]

Rate of exploitation[edit]

The rate of exploitation is the ratio of unpaid, stolen labor-power (surplus value) to paid labor-power. This ratio can fluctuate over time, depending on the circumstances.[68]

Relative surplus value[edit]

Relative surplus value refers to the taking of profits via extending the amount of time during the workday a proletarian engages in surplus labor time, such as spending seven hours, instead of six hours, of an eight-hour work day on giving the capitalist bourgeoisie profits.[2]

Revisionism[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Historical revisionism

Revisionism refers to, somewhat vaguely, the revising of Marxist beliefs in favor of bourgeois beliefs. A revisionist is a person who practices revisionism against Marxism, rather than adding to the body of Marxist works as with "theory".

Revolution[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Revolution

A revolution involves the overthrowing of a capitalist government and the capitalist economic system, and thereafter, the establishment of a socialist government and economic system.

Revolutionary defeatism[edit]

Revolutionary defeatism is not as edgy as it sounds. This theory reckons that no proletarians of any nation can win capitalist-imperialist wars (so, for instance, communists do not reckon any proletarians won during World War One, the Gulf War, the Afghanistan War, etc). The true enemies, in this case, are the bourgeoisie who throw proletarians into battle. The theory also recommends manipulating a capitalist-imperialist in order to wage a communist, proletarian revolution in each country involved in that war.

Revolution is not a dinner party[edit]

Mao Zedong famously said "revolution is not a dinner party."[69] This is an important term for communists, as it refers to one of their basic principles; a proletarian communist revolution is not a clean or pretty event. It involves mass struggle, liberation, determination, and fighting for independence, rather than a utopia in which communism, the final stage of socialism, suddenly appears out of nowhere.

Revolutionary phrase-mongering[edit]

In communist parlance, revolutionary phrase-mongering purportedly refers to the tendency for opportunists to create slogans seemingly revolutionary but in actuality non-revolutionary or even anti-revolutionary. This term was first used by Karl Marx[70] and later by Vladimir Lenin in his book Two Tactics of Social-Democracy in the Democratic Revolution.

Revolutionary situation[edit]

"Workers of the world, unite! For a worldwide October!"

A revolutionary situation is a condition in which revolution becomes possible. A previous example of a revolutionary situation was the 2020 George Floyd protests, there were mass uprisings against the United States government, and although the spontaneity of those protests prevented communist proletarian revolution (communists reject the claim that spontaneous protests cause communist proletarian revolutions), it caused a mass sum of the populace to lose trust in the United States capitalist police force, perhaps giving the communists an opportunity to radicalize those workers into eventually starting a revolution. Another example of a revolutionary situation is a war, as the mass raising of class consciousness might render the workers of all countries at war the ability to sabotage those wars and initiate revolutions instead.

Rootless cosmopolitans[edit]

A poster in Yiddish from the early years of Stalin's rule (1926), inviting Jews to come to the Soviet Union to farm[71]

Rootless cosmopolitans is a Stalinist antisemitic slur for Jews. The term did not initially have an antisemitic connotation, but was coined by 19th century Russian literary critic Vissarion Belinsky to refer to writers who lacked national character.[72]:494 During the early years of the Soviet Union, Jews occupied many positions of research and authority. In 1931, Stalin officially opposed antisemitism.[73] During the Great Terror of 1936-1938, many Jews were purged usually believed to be from perceived deviation from Marxist-Leninist orthodoxy or Bourgeois pseudoscience.[74]:562 but some have posited an antisemitic motivation for the purges.[75][76] Beginning in 1940 many Soviet Jewish literary, educational and artistic organizations were surreptitiously closed.[77]:23

From 1946 onward, the Soviet Union became increasingly nationalistic in rejecting Western culture.[78] By 1949, 'cosmopolitanism' and 'rootless cosmopolitans' became explicitly connected with Jews and with Zionism[77]:23-24[79] (following the declaration of Israel as a nation in 1948).

Self-criticism[edit]

East German factory wall in 1951 describing criticism and self-criticism in the 5-year plan

Self-criticism is a critique a communist makes about themselves or their political party. Communists reckon there is a necessity for self-criticism in order to improve their political ideology and acknowledge mistakes. A form of contemporary self-criticism might entail, for instance, contemporary communists critiquing the large presence of transphobia, homophobia, biphobia, aphobia, interphobia, lesbophobia, panphobia, nbphobia, and queerphobia in previous and current communist movements and in previous and current socialist governments.

Self-criticism originated in Soviet Union in the 1930s under Stalinism as a way to publicly interrogate (and humiliate[80]) intellectuals.[81]:144 It would later be implemented in China as "struggle sessions" in which people would be publicly humiliated, beaten, tortured by people they were close to.[81]:368

Self-determination[edit]

Self-determination is the right of people to decide their fate as, collectively, a nation; be it independence, autonomy, etc. An example of self-determination in practice was with Finland. After the October revolution, the Bolsheviks supported independence for Finland (which had been part of the Russian Empire), recognizing the right of self-determination for the Finnish people.[82]

Social fascism[edit]

Social Fascism was a loaded term promoted by the Communist International (Comintern) in the early 1930s that held that social democracy was a variant of fascism because it stood in the way of the dictatorship of the proletariat.[83] See red fascism for its opposite. The term has been attributed to Soviet politician Grigory ZinovievWikipedia who expressed similar ideas, but no citation has been found for his use of the term.[84]

Social murder[edit]

Social murder, a term coined by Friedrich Engels, refers to any unnatural death under capitalism that is completely preventable.[85] Examples include death by starvation, death by a lack of clean, chlorinated water, death by inadequate healthcare access, death by a lack of transgender healthcare access, death by vaccine-preventable diseases, death by homelessness, death by an inability to acquire insulin, death by war, death by landmines, death by cluster munitions, death by vacuum bombs, death by incendiary bombs, death by police, death by imprisonment and solitary confinement, etc.

Socialist emulation[edit]

"1973 Socialist competition winner" medal

Socialist emulation (or socialist competition) was a concept used in the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc that was intended to be the opposite of capitalist competition. The idea was first advanced by Lenin.[86]:147 In capitalist competition, workplaces compete against each other hostilely in order for one to come out on top and beat the rest; whereas socialist emulation in theory involves friendly competition between workplaces not for the purpose of eradication of the rest but for the mutual benefit and improvement of all parties involved, such as speeding up production whilst retaining good and humane working conditions. Socialist competition awarded workers and teams of workers for their enthusiasm in producing more than was demanded. Such workers were known as "shock-workers" (ударни = udarnik, meaning 'shock') and the methodology as "shock-working".[86]:147-148 Starting in 1935, under Stalin, an even more exceptional type of worker began to be known as a Stakhanov worker, named after a coal miner who allegedly mined 14 times over his quota.[86]:148-149 Such recognition created a hierarchy within the working class, both in terms of fame and salaries.[86]:149 Such multiple-times-over production would seem to be preposterous, and in reality did require the collusion of management.[86]:149

Socially necessary labor time[edit]

The socially necessary labor time is how much time it takes for a proletarian to satisfy their own needs (in the form of wages). Thus, communists do not believe proletarians spend the entire workday involved in socially necessary labor time.

Soviet[edit]

A soviet is a type of worker’s council. The term сове́т (sovyét) literally means "council". A famous example of a government involving soviets was, quite literally, the Soviet Union.

Soviet democracy[edit]

A soviet democracy is a political system constituted by soviets. Soviet democracy however disappeared almost as soon as it started, shortly after the 1917 October Revolution due to autocratic tendencies within the Soviet leadership.[87][88]

Soviet power[edit]

Soviet power is the power of regular people to ascend to soviets via elections under socialism and communism.[89]

Stagism[edit]

See Two-stage theory.

Superprofits[edit]

Superprofits or extra surplus-value are simply excess surplus value. The latter term was first described in Karl Marx's Das Kapital.[90]

Surplus labor time[edit]

The surplus labor time is the part of the workday during which a proletarian does not work for wages, but rather for the capitalist to gain surplus value. Capitalists need to continuously gain wealth, they may not plateau and not gain or lose, so they require workers to spend a massive sum of the workday working solely to their benefit in order to constantly gain more surplus value, and thus, a higher ranking in a capitalist market.

Surplus product[edit]

Surplus products are commodities made despite a community not needing them. They are extra products that almost always go to waste. This is an inevitable result of the anarchy of production (overproduction).

Surplus value[edit]

Surplus value is what is commonly known as profits. Communists reckon these profits come from unpaid labor-power. The bourgeoisie capitalists cannot give the proletariat the full value of their labor-power because they would not gain any profits; their enterprises would falter and collapse accordingly. Capitalism requires bourgeoisie capitalists to dominate markets, thus, the bourgeoisie capitalists keep most of the value of labor-power for themselves in order to invest it in upgrades, security guards, worker training, or literally anything else.

Tankie[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Stalin apologetics § Tankies

A tankie is a vague slang term used to describe a communist with purported authoritarian characteristics. It is typically used, for instance, to insult a communist who supports a totalitarian regime and/or is apologetic to Stalin, Mao, Xi Jinping, Shining Path, The Kim Dynasty, etc.

The term was named after the Hungarian revolution of 1956 when the Soviet Union had a "friendly disagreement" of how the country should be run, and again during the Czechoslovakian Prague Spring of 1968.[91]:154 During these years, European communists split between tankies supporting Soviet repression and 'eurocommunists' supporting democratic socialist politics.[91]:154

Following the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, the term tankie has been extended to those on left who support Vladimir Putin's invasion[92] — though Putin ceased being a communist after fall of the Soviet Union,[93] the Communist Party of the Russian Federation does support the invasion.[94]

Theory[edit]

Theory consists of educational communist works; they are the texts that outline basic communist ideas. The most well-known communist theories comes from Rosa Luxemburg,Wikipedia Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, Friedrich Engels, Nadezhda Krupskaya,Wikipedia Joseph Stalin, Trotskyism (based on Marxism-Leninism), Mao Zedong, Ho Chi Minh,Wikipedia Kim Il-sung (Juche, not a theory strictly speaking, since it deviates from Marxism), Alexandra Kollontai,Wikipedia Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, Clara Zetkin,Wikipedia Kwame Nkrumah,Wikipedia Thomas Sankara, Frantz Fanon,Wikipedia and others.

Since the time of Marx, when a theory adds an army, it often gains an -ism: Marxism-Leninism, Stalinism (or Marxism-Leninism-Stalinism), Marxism-Leninism-Stalinism-Maoism,[95] Hoxhaism, Castroism,[96] Marxism-Leninism-Maoism-Gonzalo Thought (Shining Path),[97] Marxism–Leninism–Maoism–Prachanda PathWikipedia (Nepal, named for Pushpa Kamal Dahal'sWikipedia nom de guerre).

Tovarish[edit]

See Comrade. Tovarish from the Russian Товариш (továrishch), also several variant spelllings, is mostly used in Russian-spekaing countries as a synonym of 'comrade'.[98]

Two-stage theory[edit]

The two-stage theory or stagism states that in order for socialism to develop, capitalism must first develop whilst feudalism dies. There is a bourgeois revolution that establishes capitalism, and then a proletarian revolution that establishes socialism.[99] The idea of stagism is opposed by most Trotskyites. This belief in the progression of societal systems, such as this, is a type of historical determinism.

United front[edit]

A united front is a coalition of entities opposing a common enemy, which might include a communist party of some sort.

Use-value[edit]

The use-value of a commodity is simply how useful it is; what needs it satisfies.

Vanguard of the proletariat[edit]

The vanguard of the proletariat, in communist parlance, describes the proletarian leadership of a communist proletarian revolution in some place or country; those proletarians who are well versed with communism. This includes those who are the most class-conscious and revolutionary. Examples include Vladimir Lenin, Fidel Castro, Mao Zedong, and Kim Il-sung. This is arguably a communist form of great man theory.

Variable capital[edit]

Variable capital is simply the labor-power that produces commodities for the bourgeoisie to sell on the market.

Wage slavery[edit]

Wage slavery, in communist parlance, refers to what most know as "wage labor"; it is, obviously, not the same as de jure slavery, and communists know and accept that, but in their view, "wage labor" functions as a quasi-slavery, as proletarians are completely dependent upon the market and the capitalist bourgeoisie boss who hires and pays them a pittance for a specific period of time (the workday), and thus "wage labor" is wage slavery.

Western media[edit]

In communist parlance (but not merely in communist parlance), western media refers to any media (i.g., news channels, newspapers, music, movies, TV shows, etc) made in the western world, more aptly the imperialist core (Western Europe, Northern America, Australia, Aotearoa, and occupied Palestine). Communists might consider western-owned media unreliable due to how much of it is owned by powerful imperialist capitalists, and express concern about the sentiments expressed in them accordingly.[citation needed]

Workers' bomb[edit]

The workers' nuclear missile
Then raise the workers’ bomb on high,

Beneath its cloud we’ll gladly die,
For though it sends us all to hell,
It kills the ruling class as well.[100][note 1]

A bomb made in a communist regime.[100] "This degenerated workers’ state [Soviet Union] must be defended against imperialist powers. The Russian hydrogen bomb is a necessary instrument for this defence. Therefore it must be defended too. It is the workers’ bomb." — Duncan Hallas[100]

World revolution[edit]

Soviet poster from 1920, "Comrade Lenin cleans the Earth from scum"

World revolution refers to proletarian communist revolutions taking place in every country, led by the class-conscious vanguard of the proletariat, in each country. These do not occur simultaneously or spontaneously, but rather over a period of time due to extensive agitation, radicalization, and re-education of the masses into class consciousness.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. These lyrics are a parody of the song "The Red Flag".Wikipedia Both songs use the melody of "Oh Christmas Tree"

References[edit]

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