“Pure communism” in the Marxian sense refers to a classless, stateless and oppression-free society…” Wikipedia
According to this definition not one nation or society has experienced what is commonly known as the state of communism. Communism as method has failed to be adequately implemented thoroughly in any present or past society. This is not to say that elements of communism have not been implemented in so called communist states, but on a whole it has not happened. The visions of Marx and Engels have completely crashed, along with the Berlin Wall, the former Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact states. From the era of Marx in the 19th century to the present 21st century, communism has not become reality as predicted by so many. I would say the closest that man has come to seeing the stage of communism with his own eyes was the period of some decades after the conclusion of World War 2, when the Soviet Union expanded far outside of its borders in its occupations of previous fascist controlled territories. All hope was in vain ultimately, as the U.S.S.R and its satellite states failed to come close to that promise land; the final plateau.
Despite the moniker “Communist” being placed on governments that still holds Marxism as it governing principle; no nation has been able to move on from the transitional stage known as “socialism.” Thus, according to the scientific definition, there never was in history any nation that could truly be considered “communist.” Why has communism never been realized? Can communism ever be achieved? Marxism is an ever changing, shifting political philosophy that is and must be subject to scrutiny, analyses and much thought. This is absolutely necessary for its survival in this new century and world. In this context, these questions must be answered. Socialists cannot be like Christians who are hesitant to question inconsistencies in their belief structure for fear that their very faith might crumble. Socialists must be the first to tackle the hard questions and not turn from truth with the goal being a strengthened and renewed Marxism, full of vigor and life.
The failure to achieve the stage of communism depends on a number of variable factors. First, socialism has to maintain competitiveness with capitalism. For example, communist states have not had the reputation of containing within its society the best standards of living at least when compared with capitalistic societies. As long as this was the case, the mounting temptations of the capitalist way of life with all of its emptiness created outside pressures for the inhabitants of the socialist states who after time yearned for the goods and services of capitalism. The socialist standard of living must compete or the selfish nature of man will be exploited and lured by neighboring capitalist countries. Second, communism is too high of an ideal for humanity. In this sense it is very utopian. Man has never achieved a utopian society in the course of history; the institution of government has never fully disappeared and man has never experienced times of complete peace with one another. Even applications of utopian visions have led to disasters for humanity.
Man, in all of his imperfections, cannot create a wholly perfect society as required by communism. This is why communism, again, in the scientific sense, has never been realized and never will. Governments will always be present, divisions will always exist and social ills will continue as long as humanity exists. A classless, stateless society is an abstract notion; an impossibility. Communism is not a practical goal for mankind. This is why nations that have attempted to establish the stage of communism in society have never left the stage of socialism, as Marxist theory states “socialism” comes before “communism.” No matter the amount of planning, governmental mandates and strategizing, the highest that could be achieved was not communism, but a workable form of socialism. Man’s goal of communism has never resulted in full communism but only socialism; not just the “stage” of socialism but a permanent state of socialism. History has taught us that the most realistic option for mankind is socialism – not the state, one party, and bureaucratic controlled socialism of previous nations but a radical, energetic socialism that gives precedence to the people. As socialists, we need to realize the truth and devote ourselves to this more realistic option. Socialism has been tried and shown, with the proper adjustments, can work as a real alternative to capitalism. Communism has been theorized on but never successfully put into practice. Socialism, unlike communism, is not just a utopian dream but on a scientific level is a political, revolutionary reality. This may sound like heresy to the orthodox, but truth is truth; it cannot be changed or altered. If we wait for communism to be fully established then we will be waiting for an eternity. Time and time again, man has displayed that socialism is not just a period of transition but the end result of revolution. We have at our disposal the tools, resources and industry to create a fully workable, developed socialism. As Engels rightly commented regarding reactionary socialists in his “Principles of Communism,” they “strive for something which is entirely impossible.” The same can be said for communism.