Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Communism and Totalitarianism

totalitarianism_bookCommunism vs Totalitarianism

Communism and totalitarianism stands apart in their political and economic ideologies. Some people may link communism to totalitarianism but the fact is that they two are different in every aspect.

Totalitarianism is a term that means total control. But in communism there is no total control. While the society is all-powerful in communism, it is the state that is powerful in Totalitarianism.

In Totalitarianism, the state controls everything and there is no value for an individual’s thoughts or opinions. On the other hand, Communism is a political ideology that believes in a stateless or class less society.

Totalitarianism can also be termed as authoritarianism or monarchism. The individuals have no share in the decision-making. Communism thinks in terms of the society as a whole and it is the community that takes all major decisions.

In Totalitarianism, the individuals lack much freedom and they are bound by the state. On the other hand, the society has a free hand in communism. Even the people live in far at the hands of a totalitarian government.

While a totalitarian government is right wing, communist government is left wing.

Communism believes in the common ownership of everything. On the other hand, Totalitarianism is a system, which believes in the state ownership. For communists, the society or the community is the sole owner of resources or the means of production. But in Totalitarianism, it is the state that handles all resources.

Totalitarianism is a system in which the state controls everything, including the political, economic matters. Moreover, it even controls the beliefs and values of the society and also interferes in the private life of individuals. In Communism, one cannot come across such controls.

1.  In Totalitarianism, the state controls everything and there is no value for an individual’s thoughts or opinions. On the other hand, Communism is a political ideology that believes in a stateless or class less society.
2. Totalitarianism means total control. But in communism there is no total control.
3. The society is all-powerful in communism. It is the state that is powerful in Totalitarianism.
4. In Totalitarianism, the individuals have no share in the decision-making. In Communism, it is the community that takes all major decisions.
5. Communism believes in the common ownership of everything. On the other hand, Totalitarianism is a system, which believes in the state ownership.
6. In communism, the community is the sole owner of resources or the means of production. But in Totalitarianism, it is the state that handles all resources.

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  1. Every communist country was/is very much like a totalitarian society. I am not a marxist.

    • To be honest, a real communist state never really existed. These so called communist states were far from being communist.

      • Not at all, that’s just No True Scots fallacy. Marxism in of itself is inherently totalitarian.

        • totalitarian in that the main authority is the society, as a whole.

        • Marxism is totalitarian? I suggest you actually study marxism rather than blowing smoke about ideologies you know nothing about. Communism is not totalitarian. Socialism can be authoritarian but the working class has a say as opposed to rich, needlessly wealthy bureaucrats. Nowadays socialism will probably take a more libertarian approach with automation and whatnot but that’s a different story. Authoritarianism in communism may have existed but you’re leaving so much out of context that the statement while true is inherently dishonest. People were provided shelter, healthcare and education, homelessness and starvation nearly eradicated entirely, in various countries that prior were third world. Study history and stop studying propaganda.

          • Communism is inherently totalitarian, as detailed by Marx’s own 10 Planks. Or do you not believe a central state that owns and controls everything and everyone qualifies as totalitarianism?

            Maybe you should read less propaganda and read more history. Maybe even bother to actually read the totalitarian dogma you espouse, since it’s clear you have no idea what Communism is. Well, either than or you’re a liar.

          • Communism only has a bad reputation because of corrupt leaders who abused their authority and never ran the countries as ‘equality for all’ in any way, form or manner.
            Democracy has similar problems in that, once a leader is voted in the people can only hope he keeps his promises.

          • No, Communism has a bad reputation because it is an inherently genocidal and totalitarian system. All the Top Man fallacies in the world won’t change that.

          • The state is not a thinking living being. It is a tool, much like a hammer or a shovel. It has to be controlled by people. The question is what person or group controls that tool. In a totalitarian society, one person controls the state where as in communism, the proletariat controls the state. This is where your your confusion lies. When you talk about “the state” you need to visualize the whole picture. (Including control) Totalitarianism has nothing to do with communism!

          • @Ron No, totalitarianism means that the state has total control over all facets of society. It makes no difference whether that control comes from one despot, an oligarchical “vanguard” per Leninism, or outright mob rule.

            Your mistake lies in the belief that mob rule justifies anything, and that Absolute Power won’t corrupt your system, because it’s YOUR system.

            Communism IS totalitarianism.

          • “People were provided shelter, healthcare and education, homelessness and starvation nearly eradicated entirely, in various countries that prior were third world.”

            Gulags, mass genocide, and forced famines like the Holodomor.

            It’s very clear who here is “inherently dishonest” and judging history based off the propaganda of history’s greatest mass murderers.

          • Good informative response, but you need to drop the attitude because it makes you sound like a bit of a bell end.

          • Socialist, communist, fascist, nazi (national socialist), all peas in the same pod. Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Chavez, Fidel, all of them, pied pipers to the totalitarian state. All doomed to collapse and all the enemy of free people and free republics. Spout all the propaganda “dialectic” you want, history speaks for itself.

          • In reality, the dogma of communism/marxism requires a totalitarian mechanism as a “society” (state) without some central authority has no power. A society w/out a central structure to enforce dogma would be anarchy.
            How can a society provide to each based on need without the power to confiscate wealth and property, unless that society is comprised of only automatons, as opposed to human beings? The answer is, it cannot without total power over each person (i.e. Totalitarianism).
            At least in the US today (political definitions can be subjective), the right represents individual freedom and a small central government with very limited (specifically enumerated) powers. To say, then, that “far right” philosophy is Totalitarianism is nonsensical.

          • Jim I like your explanation, it makes a lot of sense. So I just wonder how would you’
            Define the Chinese government as everyone calls China government communist but it looks like maybe totalitarian? I see semantics make things confusing on this subject. Your thoughts please.

          • For those who follow Biblical prophecy, God will establish a Totalitarian government upon His return to rule in the new kingdom. However, only He is able and has the authority, to make it work.

      • Communism is an ideology that can’t exist. So there can’t be a true communistic country. Also, America isn’t a true democratic government system as there are differences so saying current communistic countries aren’t communists is saying America isn’t democratic.

        • And yet it’s existed in primitive societies all over the world and with current technologies it can wholly exist. Thing is capitalism gives people the notion it can’t with its highly embellished misinformation. Communism will eventually be the norm if we manage to become a Type 1 civilization but with capitalism that will prove impossible.

    • Communism was never in form. From the start of the philosophy of communism, it lacked many ideal shapes as there were no rules of how to set leaders = utopian society. A utopian society can’t exist but the philosophers tried. Communist countries are in form of dictatorship as a true communist country wouldn’t have a leader/government.

      • Communism is a philosophy not a political system or economic model.

        • Communism is a totalitarian political system which decrees the government monopolize the economy, not a philosophy.

          You really need to actually learn what you’re talking about.

          • I am relieved that there are individuals such as yourself that are knowledgeable of communism and willing to take the time to help inform those whom have been misguided regarding the nature of communist regimes and how they operate. As for the article, it is blatantly wrong and I suspect that that’s because the author has a very cursory understanding of communism. The author appears to have produced a massive amount of content across a very wide range of topics for this website; he’s not an expert on any of these topics, but most certainly not communism.

            To whom it applies:
            Communism doesn’t require a totalitarian state only in your sad liddle Antifa dreams, future adjunct professor of liberal arts. The totalitarian state would forever remain – it would never “cease to be relevant” nor would it “dissolve organically as the proletariat become the helm of power.” These are fantasies.

    • Amen! Whoever wrote this piece is a Tankie/Stalin-sympathizer without a doubt. I distrust those types almost as much as neonazis. The kids nowadays claiming to be “communist” are a bunch of snakes pretending to give a rip about other humans, but they always have some hidden self-serving purpose for it all. Not to mention the fact that many of them come from very privileged backgrounds. True members of the working class are too damn busy to read a thousand pages of praxis & don’t have the time for Snakes selling their bull****!

  2. To ask the difference between communism and totalitarianism is not a valid question: communism is a specific ideology, totalitarianism is a type of ideology.

    And in any case, communism is, in fact, a totalitarian ideology: it claims absolute truth and that it has the ultimate answers to all of society’s problems; it espouses an official, exclusive, totalistic ideology that is intended to transform man and society; and it entails an elite vanguard party that is intertwined with the state.

    Totalitarianism isn’t about total control, it’s about a vision that is totalistic, all-encompassing.

  3. The definition of communism in the initial post is idealized. By the mid 1920s, Stalinism became the standard of communism in the U.S.S.R. Under Stalinism, the state sought the control of most everything in Soviet life, defining the nature of totalitarianism. Even after Stalin, the entrenched bureaucracies of the communist party ran the state, commanding the populace. Gorbachev’s later democratic reforms undermined the party control of state bureaucracies, causing the Soviet Union to fall apart in 1991 …

    • People voted for Stalin as he was a strong leader and without him we’d all be speaking German right now.. Although with so many crypto-fascists and neo-Nazis working within the American system, it seems to be the preferable option nowadays.. fascism in its most horrific and degenerate form. Anyways, I digress. Yes, the state collectivized private property (despite the NEP which was an economy within an economy but that private sector was rightfully dismantled), but people still owned their own homes, cars and personal belongings. The people were provided through the state healthcare, education, food and cheap shelter in hopes to eradicate homelessness. The people voted for these egalitarian policies that gave everyone an equal opportunity whether or not they held a job. They weren’t doomed to starve in the streets if they were laid off like in America. So yeah, the state controlled quite a bit, and the people used democratic means to control the state. Sound familiar? Just because the state runs things doesn’t automatically it means an evil dictatorship or complete totalitarianism like the media tries to tell you. As for Gorbachev, he was a social democrat seemingly follow the foot steps of Khrushchev, both of whom were revisionists that quite literally destroyed their country with their anti-Stalin propaganda and introduction of western ideals which included the likes of liberalizing the economy. They were disastrous to everything the USSR was and it’s no wonder the country collapsed. The amount of suffering after Gorbachev sold public property cheaply to private investors is horrendous and people like you who praise the suffering of the proletariat are twisted.

  4. Communism is totalitarianism masked as “socialist democracy” meaning mob rule. But when the mob rules it has a totalitarian leader. The OWS folks are pretending to want a socialist democracy utopia, but don’t realize they will simply enslave themselves.

    • Well I would agree with if you took a leninism path with the development of a vanguard it can often lead t that but if you stay true to the marxist ideals remembering that this is the “peoples revolution” and the more involvement of people the less likely the concentration of power to develop a totalitarian leader will occur especially a very productive people.

  5. Communism is A totalitarian state. The writer of this article is wrong in trying to make the case that communism is not totalitarian. Intellectual dishonesty like this is shamefull. Ask a North Korean whether or not communism is totalitarian.

    • Actually North Korea is not a communist society but rather an absolute monarch system since power is pass hereditary. In the economic sense, its a planned economy where mean and mode production is controlled by state enterprise so in essence its a state capitalist regime.

      • “In the economic sense, its a planned economy where mean and mode production is controlled by state enterprise so in essence its a state capitalist regime.”

        “State capitalism”??? Do you know what capitalism actually means?
        North Korea lacks private ownership, markets. Even the price system is nonexistent. Not a single implication of capitalism in North Korea except for the black market that I suppose it exists in this society where there is not any legitimate allocation of resources according to the price system.

        • “State Capitalism” is just a catch-all euphemism which apologists of Communism fall back on in a bid to scapegoat the failures, totalitarianism and atrocities inherent in that system onto Capitalism. It’s usually used in conjunction with “No True Commie” fallacy.

        • State capitalism is a term referring to a system in which the state has taken control of the means of production, and is profiting from the proletariat. It is called ‘capitalism’ because it mirrors the capitalist system (as viewed by Marx) in which the bourgeoisie control the means of production, and are profiting disproportionately from the proletariat. This is varies from the (Marxist) communist system, in which the proletariat themselves assume control of the means of production.

          • Good job proving his point, Isaac. What you try to scapegoat on Capitalism is de facto Communism/Socialism.

    • You read the article and despite this, you dismiss it out of hand because it doesn’t suit your political position. Save yourself the burden of reading future articles.

      • No, he dismissed it because it’s false. You clearly are predisposed to accept your totalitarian system as utopia, regardless of what historical reality says.

  6. The author says that under communism there is common ownership of everything, while under totalitarianism there is state ownership of everything. The only way to effect “common” ownership is through state ownership. Communism = Totalitarianism.

    • I would disagree if its process through a local community based style with certain tactics to prevent consolidation of power from individuals it could remain to be a true communal style society. Beside, if following the marxist process the advancement of the productive force would be intelligent enough to not allow such foolishness to take place.

      • In other words, you seek to trade the traditional individual dictatorship for some sort of mob rule based oligarchy.

  7. This is the worst article I have ever read. Communism = Totalitarianism.
    This is Political Science 101.

    • No you’re wrong. Logically X can only equal Y if it’s numerically identical. But it’s not. Fascism and absolute monarchism are totalitarian regimes. Therefore, communism does not equal totalitarianism. What you are probably thinking is that totalitarian communism is totalitarianism. But duh! That’s in the name silly person. I laugh at you for being so so silly. Do you go out in public with this kind of limited intellect? I would hope not. I don’t even know you and am embarrassed for you.

      Communism originally is a stage of society that is classless and stateless. Communism in its truest sense is absolute democracy, what the U.S. Constitution was written to protect against. You see, most of the founders of The United States of Whatthefuckisthisplace were filthy rich. They wanted to ensure that the ‘commoners’ could not touch their money for such things as universal healthcare and Social Security. Our forefathers were greedy bastards that believed each individual should care only for their individual lives and not the life of the community, of the entire world with all of its species.

      • No, Ryan, you’re wrong. Per Marx himself, Communism is an all-controlling central state. That is THE definition of totalitarianism.

  8. Well, technically, when you look at the beliefs and ideology of communism, it is not the same as totalitarianism. It is simply often confused with totalitarianism regime due Stalin and the policies he used. He effectively sold the idea of communism, while in reality forming a totalitarian state. He employed spies in the communist parties of other countries to ensure they were pro-Stalin and pro-Soviet. Political scientist actually classify the Soviet Union and North-Korea as a fascist or totalitarian regime, rather than communist.

    In reality, Stalin’s ideas and policies were different and often in opposition to those of Lenin and Marx, he simply claimed to be perfectly adhere to their ideas.

    Totalitarianism is often to used to refer to a totalitarian rule, not a totalistic vision. So no, communism isn’t a totalitarian ideology.

    I swear to god, sometimes people just like to twist and turn stuff to fit their mindset in order not to call themselves wrong.

  9. This is an article written by someone ignorant of political science or intent on deceiving as many as possible. What determines left or right is the government system itself. NOT why they want it, NOT what they do with the power, NOT by who wields the power. Large, powerful government with great control over the individual and minimal to no individual rights is ALWAYS left and the moreso it is, the more left extremism it is. That means ALL forms of fascism, nazism, totalitarianism, communism, dictatorships and socialism are LEFTWING EXTREMISM. The opposite of one totalitarian state is NOT another one. Right wing extremism is no government control of the individual. But that doesn’t exist because it creates a power void and leftists quickly step in to grab power, forcibly or not. The creation of the US was at that time an experimental system of government of limited and decentralized power with a federal system that had little control over the individual and specific individual rights were claimed by the people. In addition our system was set up specifically as a contract -whereby the people AGREE to be governed as long as government abides by the specific rules as set out in the Constitution and retain the right to withdraw that consent if government violates or abandons their end of this contract.

    Stalin once claimed Nazism was the opposite of communism and leftists have been repeating that lie ever since because if the left can convince people both sides seek massive, powerful government with great control of the individual, they can pretend the only debate is pretending communists want it for touchy-feely reasons and the right wants it to gas people in ovens. In reality nazis and communists agreed very well on the system of government and only had what in the grand scheme of things is just a minor disagreement about who wields all that state power. Communism IS a totalitarian state that forbids disversity of thought, diversity of political opinions and allowing people only a “right” to elect from among those the one party system has cleared as “acceptable” were they to win. Only leftist governments have “political prisoners” because only in leftist governments is having any other political opinion but that of the rulers considered a “crime”. The USSR routinely imprisoned political prisoners, sent them to Siberia, work prison and even to mental institutions and forced them to undergo electrick shock therapy and chemical fugues -on the premise only a crazy person would reject the unicorns and rainbows communism brings to the people.

    • That’s not what the left/right struggle is about.

      The right is all about traditional values.

      The left is about radicalism.

      Only in societies where respecting individual rights is traditional is respecting those rights “right” wing.

      • Politely speaking, I have to disagree with you. In the United States, the meaning of left and right is far different from left and right overseas. What the United States considers conservative (right wing) in this country is liberal and leftist in other states. What is considered left in the United States is considered right overseas. For example, the U.S. believes in a limited Government, which is a traditional and constitutional belief. Therefore, it is right wing. However, fascism, totalitarianism, dictatorship, monarchism, absolutism, etc and etc is considered to be part of the right wing overseas. Over here in America, this is considered left wing. Total Government control in America means left while total Government control overseas is right wing (or in some cases far right). I tend to rely on the international definition of right and left instead of the American definition. However, I respect and value your opinion and you are entitled to it. Thank God for free speech 🙂

      • Left is about radicalism and right isn’t? Yeah, I guess fascism and nazism are totally a-ok and not radical. Nothing says “respect” like pushing governmental policies to discriminate against homosexuals, hispanics, muslims and even women.

        • This coming from the genocidal nut who claims Stalin was “elected”, and that Communism solved homelessness by killing everyone.

  10. Stalin lead USSR was totalitarian. Marx probably was “rolling in his grave” so to speaking. Today the US is becoming totalitarian and is fascist for its killing of nearly 30 million people across the globe post ww2. what has to be remembered is that we are dealing with separate words with separate meanings. So lets not get emotional when we here about democracy, communism, socialism, etc. any state can be a combination and i believe the US is today in 2015

    • The USSR was everything Marx envisionsioned, and the US has killed nowhere near that number. You have no idea what you’re talking about, and are thus making it up as you go along.

  11. What a ludicrous and uneducated comparison.
    Too much wrong with it to bother point-by-point refutation.

  12. False dichotomy between outright state control of the means of production, and wishy-washy “communal” control of the means of production via the state.

    Even for Communist apologism, this is desperate, grasping and disingenuous.

  13. Communism and totalitarianism are one in the same, because the majority will never go willingly into such a system. Put it to a vote in any country around the world and see. They are always coerced into it. It is against human nature. And by the way, the labor theory of value is complete rubbish.

  14. This page is propaganda or completely confused. Totalitarianism is not right wing nor is it left wing. A totalitarian regime could be left or right. It would be on the axis of authoritarianism and liberalism.

    As many commenters have said, communist regimes have been totalitarian. The state takes control on behalf of the collective “society”. Common ownership really means state ownership. Those who don’t voluntarily give up ownership are forced to.

  15. Let us read true history and understand it properly. Propaganda masked as history makes so many people anti-communist and it has been actinh on our society in a toxic way .

  16. This is absolutely the biggest crock of shit I have ever read! Communism is no control? Lol. You might want to ask people who are living under a Communist regime like the Chinese. You could ask the few brave Chinese human rights activists that dared speak up by asking for basic humane treatment from the “no control” regime you so dangerously mis-labeled. But, you can’t ask them because they were murdered like the 45 million people who were murdered during the reign (1966-1976) of Communist Leader of the people General Mao. You’re narrative is the exact opposite of the reality of Communism. Whatever Lib-tard University you attended lied to you. This is why common sense is so important but oddly absent in so many “educated” individuals. IF COMMUNISM IS ABOUT COMMUNITY, BY THE PEOPLE FOR THE PEOPLE WHY IS LITERALLY NOBODY ATTEMPTING TO GAIN CITIZENSHIP IN COMMUNIST COUNTRIES INSTEAD THEY RISK THEIR LIVES TO ESCAPE THEIR COMMUNIST COUNTRY TO COME TO AMERICA and free countries? I WILL TELL YOU WHY BECAUSE COMMUNISM IS HELL ON Your half-wit hippie dippie ideology makes for a lovely story but has no trace of reality.


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