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  A body of ideas united by a common ideological tradition which, in modern form, can be traced back to the works of Karl Marx, and which takes as its point of reference the principle of communal ownership of all property. Marx identified two such classless societies (see class): primitive communism, usually associated with tribal societies, in which basic economic resources (land and simple technology) were communally owned; and full communism, based on common ownership of the means of production, which could only come about in fully industrialized societies where goods were no longer scarce. According to Marx and his followers, such an end-stage society is preceded by a transitional period of socialism, characterized by the so-called \'dictatorship of the [industrial] proletariat\'. With full communism, the state will \'wither away\', while differences between town and country, between mental and physical labour, between nationality grouping (cf. nationalism), and between state and collective property will disappear, and social relations will be regulated by the principle \'from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs\'. However, not all nineteenth-century Marxists agreed with the necessity of a socialist stage. For instance, the Russian anarchist (see anarchism) and geographer, Peter Kropotkin, saw the driving forces of history in terms of competition and cooperation, and believed them to be analogous to laws of nature; he saw no need for any post-revolutionary state, regardless of its purpose or social composition, for he argued that, whatever the mode of production, the state would always be a primary source of exploitation. These views aside, historically, state socialist countries have derived their support and legitimation from the claim that they are implementing communist ideas. (GES)

Suggested Reading Breibart, M. 1981: Peter Kropotkin, the anarchist geographer. In D.R. Stoddart, ed, Geography, ideology and social concern. Oxford: Blackwell; New York: Barnes and Noble, 134-53. Evans, M. 1975: Karl Marx. London: Allen and Unwin; Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Wright, T 1996: Socialism: old and new. London: Routledge.



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