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Features Of Communism

What are the main features of the Communist form of government?

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In the Communist form of government, there is no real distinction between party and state. All the various organs of state are controlled by the party and run according to the party's overriding ideological needs. There is no sense, then, in which the institutions of state enjoy any kind of autonomy; they are completely subordinate to the dictates of the party's upper apparatus.

The party in government operates in much the same way as it did before it achieved power. It works on a top-down basis. Policy is formulated by a party elite and is then presented as a fait accompli to the rank-and-file membership, who are then expected to follow those policies and carry them out to the letter. The same applies to the bureaucracy, which becomes overtly politicized. Civil servants are no longer there to guide and advise; they are there to ensure that party policy is executed in the authorized manner. Bureaucrats are not expected to be ordinary government employees; they are expected to be party zealots dedicated to the full implementation of Communism.

This is all part of the wider Communist program to ensure that there are no independent centers of power available to challenge the party's dominance and control. To that end, not only is the distinction between party and state completely obliterated, but also that between state and civil society.

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Communism, which stemmed from the writings of Karl Marx, involves government ownership of the means of production (land, labor, and capital). In a strictly communist system, private ownership of land and businesses is not permitted and people's basic needs are provided for. There is not supposed to be a difference in living standards among people (though, in practice, government officials in communist nations such as China are generally wealthier than other people).

As practiced in the 20th century, communism involved a command economy in which the state directed the economic policies of the entire nation, such as in the former Soviet Union. However, the collapse of the Soviet Union and other economic pressures drove communist governments in China and elsewhere to allow limited private entrepreneurship and a relaxation of strict government control of the economy. In addition, communist regimes are marked by government control of the political sphere and a prohibition of expressions of disagreement with government policies. Communist regimes feature rule by one party and do not permit grassroots political activity. 

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One primary feature of Communism would be the expanded role of the government in economic matters.  The essence of any Communist government calls for a government or external body controlling the means of production.  There is little, if any, room for private enterprise or the free market, as the public realm has subsumed the private one.  Accordingly, there is a very strong and present role of government in Communist nations.  The apparatus of government is quite present in such societies and permeates many, if not all, levels of existence.  There would be little in way of opposition as the public realm controlled and represented by the government once again subsumes all.  As with most state controlled industry, economic growth and development of gross national product runs through the government's control.

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