Dizionario di Politica

Authors: Bobbio, Matteucci, Pasquino
Summary: This 4,800-word entry summarizes the various meanings the term has had in pre-modern and modern times, though it gives no explicit definition of the term.
The entry cites Plato as the first thinker to advocate any form of communism. In his Republic he proposed the abolition of the private ownership in order to eliminate every conflict between private and public interests. Historically, the first universally-applied communist ideals are found in early Christianity.
The second part of the entry describes modern conceptions of communism. The Utopia of Thomas More (1478-1535) describes an ideal democratic state in which private ownership and money are abolished. In La Citt… del Sole (The City of the Sun), Thomas Campanella (1568-1639) describes a community based on a communist order, in which the production and the distribution of goods are regulated by the State. Historically, communist ideals are associated with the French Revolution. Babeauf (1760-1797), in particular, introduced two important ideas to the communist tradition: the institution of direct democracy and the rule of an enlightened minority. With Saint-Simon and especially Marx (1818-1883), communist ideas came to refer to the industrial organization of modern world. According to Marx, capitalism, during its ascent, progressively annihilates the middle class and turns most of its members into proletarians, until at the height of capitalist development there would be only two social classes: the bourgeoisie and the proletariat.
The final part of the entry describes Kautsky's project to establish the political power of the proletariat by means of representative democracy.