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.

Summary:
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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24 Comments

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

  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 …

  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.

    • 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.

  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.

  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.

    • You’re the only fool twisting and turning facts to fit a solipsistic, preconceived notion.

      It’s clear you’ve not ever actually bothered to READ Marx. His Ten Pillars amount to Totalitarianism For Beginners.

  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.

  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

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

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