Definition of communism in US English:


(also Communism)


  • A political theory derived from Karl Marx, advocating class war and leading to a society in which all property is publicly owned and each person works and is paid according to their abilities and needs.

    The most familiar form of communism is that established by the Bolsheviks after the Russian Revolution of 1917, and it has generally been understood in terms of the system practiced by the former Soviet Union and its allies in eastern Europe, in China since 1949, and in some developing countries such as Cuba, Vietnam, and North Korea. Communism embraced a revolutionary ideology in which the state would wither away after the overthrow of the capitalist system. In practice, however, the state grew to control all aspects of communist society. Communism in eastern Europe collapsed in the late 1980s and early 1990s against a background of failure to meet people's economic expectations, a shift to more democracy in political life, and increasing nationalism such as that which led to the breakup of the Soviet Union

    See also Marxism
    • ‘I returned to Japan in 1948, and I found the red flags of communism everywhere.’
    • ‘Without him, it might not have been feasible to negotiate the transition from communism to democracy.’
    • ‘Men dominated the occupational system during communism, and this has not changed.’
    • ‘One of the themes of her book is China's change from old communism to new capitalism.’
    • ‘True communism has no government and people own and operate everything communally.’
    • ‘The chief cause of the end of the cold war was the collapse of communism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.’
    • ‘You don't seem to know the difference between capitalism, communism and socialism.’
    • ‘In Eastern Europe it was abolished with the fall of communism and adoption of democracy.’
    • ‘Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union until the collapse of communism a decade ago.’
    • ‘Under socialism or communism, producers of profit and receivers of profit are the same people.’
    • ‘One might expect that Marx would go on to explain in some detail what communism would be like.’
    • ‘First, it has to be remembered that the collapse of communism came quickly and was not anticipated.’
    • ‘Yesterday's is the fifth fully free parliamentary election since the transition from communism to multiparty democracy in 1989.’
    • ‘Capitalism and communism diminish the status of the individual, both as a citizen and as a human being.’
    • ‘These led to the dismantling and collapse of communism throughout Eastern and Central Europe.’
    • ‘The Poles' victory at Warsaw was seen at the time as the salvation of European democracy in the face of communism.’
    collectivism, state ownership, socialism, radical socialism
    View synonyms


Mid 19th century: from French communisme, from commun (see common).