In many ways, communist and fascist movements had opposing ideologies but both ended up being repressive political systems based on the control of a single leader. While communism is based around a theory of economic equality, fascism is based around the glory of the state and strength displayed through violence and conquest. Both communism and fascism originated in Europe and gained popularity in the early to mid 20th century.
|Philosophy||From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs. Free-access to the articles of consumption is made possible by advances in technology that allow for super-abundance.||The state must gain glory through constant conquest, aka war. Belief that the past was glorious, and that the State can be renewed. Philosophies varied by country.|
|Economic System||The means of production are held in common, negating the concept of ownership in capital goods. Production is organized to provide for human needs directly without any use for money. Communism is predicated upon a condition of material abundance.||Autarky (national self-sufficiency). Keynesian (mostly). large public works, deficit spending. Anti trade union and syndicalism. Strongly against international financial markets and usury.|
|Religion||Abolished - all religious and metaphysics is rejected.||Fascism is a civic religion - citizens worship the state through nationalism. The state only supports religious organizations that are nationally/historically tied to that state; e.g. the Iron Guard in Romania supported the Romanian Orthodox church.|
|Political System||Usually takes the form of totalitarianism as Marx described in The Communist Manifesto. Cronyism common.||One charismatic leader has absolute authority. Often the symbol of the state. Advisers to Government are generally picked by merit rather than election. Cronyism common.|
|Definition||International theory or system of social organization based on the holding of all property in common, with actual ownership ascribed to the community or state. Rejection of free markets and extreme distrust of Capitalism in any form.||An extremely nationalistic, authoritarian state usually led by one person at the head of one party. No democratic election of representatives and the Government has direct control of the press and all other media. No real free market.|
|Ideas||All people are the same and therefore classes make no sense. The government should own all means of production and land and also everything else. People should work for the government and the collective output should be redistributed equally.||Union between businesses and the State, with the state telling the business what to do, with private ownership. Corporatism in Italy, National Socialism in Germany. Central planning of National economy. Redistribution of wealth (Nazi).|
|Key Proponents||Karl Marx, Fredrich Engels, Vladimir Lenin, Leon Trotsky.||Benito Mussolini, Adolf Hitler|
|Social Structure||All class distinctions are eliminated.||Strict class structure believed necessary to prevent chaos (Italian Fascist). All Class distinctions are eliminated (German Nazi). Nazism believes in a “superior” race. Italian Fascism was not racist in doctrine originally.|
|Private Property||Abolished. The concept of property is negated and replaced with the concept of commons and ownership with "usership".||Permitted. Contingent upon service, obedience or usefulness to the State.|
|Economic coordination||Economic planning coordinates all decisions regarding investment, production and resource allocation. Planning is done in terms of physical units instead of money.||Businesses are privately owned but the state dictates outputs and investments. Planning is based on projected labor output rather than money.|
|Free Choice||Either the collective "vote" or the state's rulers make economic and political decisions for everyone else.||The individual is considered meaningless; they must submit to the decisions of the leadership. Traditional gender roles are upheld and/or exaggerated.|
|Political movements||Leninism, Trotskyism, Marxism-Leninism, Maoism, Left-Communism, Stalinism.||National Socialism, Falangism, Nazism, Strasserism, Neo-Nazism, Neo-Fascism, National-Bolshevism|
|Key elements||Centralized government, planned economy, dictatorship of the "proletariat", common ownership of the tools of production, no private property. equality between genders and all people, international focus. anti-democratic. One party system.||Actual idealism, centralized government, social Darwinism, planned economy, anti-democratic, meritocratic, extreme Nationalism, militarism, racism (Nazism). Traditional and/or exaggerated gender roles. One party system.|
|Discrimination||In theory, all members of the state are considered equal.||Belief in one superior race (Nazism). Belief in a superior nation (Fascism & Nazism). Gender (F & N). Mental or physical handicaps. Mental illness. Alcoholics. Homosexuals. Roma. Jews (Nazi). Ideological and political opposition, trade unions (F&N).|
|Way of Change||Government in a Communist-state is the agent of change rather than any market or desire on the part of consumers. Change by government can be swift or slow, depending on change in ideology or even whim.||Government in a Fascist state is the agent of change rather than any market or desire on the part of consumers. Change by government can be swift or slow, depending on a change in labor output or even at the whim of the Dictator.|
|Ownership structure||The means of production are commonly-owned, meaning no entity or individual owns productive property. Importance is ascribed to "usership" over "ownership".||The means of production are privately owned but directed by the state. Private ownership of business is contingent upon submission to the direction and interests of the State.|
|View of the world||Communism is an international movement; Communists in one country see themselves in solidarity with Communists in other countries. Communists distrust Nationalistic nations and leaders. Communists strongly distrust "big business."||Fascists are ultra-nationalists who identify strongly with other Nationalistic nations and leaders. Fascists distrust internationalism and rarely abide by international agreements. Fascists do not believe in the concept of international law|
|Examples||Ideally, there is no leader; the people govern directly. This has never been actually practiced, and has just used a one-party system. Examples 0f Communist states are the erstwhile Soviet Union, Cuba and North Korea.||Fascist Governments are generally headed by one person. A dictator. This is not an aberration of doctrine, in fact it is an important component of it.|
|Earliest Remnants||Theorized by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels in the mid-19th century as an alternative to capitalism and feudalism, communism was not tried out until after the revolution in Russia in the early 1910s.||The Roman Empire which could be argued was a Fascist entity. The earliest Fascist theories were based on examples left behind by the Roman Empire.|
|Means of control||Rallies, force, propaganda etc.||Force, propaganda, rallies etc.|
Contents: Communism vs Fascism
What is Communism and Fascism?
Fascism is a system where the government is led by a dictator. The dictator has complete authority and forcibly oppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism.
Communists believe that a utopian (perfect) society can be achieved if, and only if, the proletariat (or working classes) overthrow the capitalist system in a social-revolution, usually using armed rebellion. Communism is an extreme form of socialism.
Fascism is based around the glory of the nation state. Fascists believe that constant conquest of other nations is necessary to uphold this glory. Fascist parties and movements in various countries differed significantly from each other. But they also had many characteristics in common, including extreme militaristic nationalism, opposition to parliamentary democracy, conservative economic policy that favored the wealthy, contempt for political and cultural liberalism, a belief in natural social hierarchy and the rule of elites, and the desire to create a Volksgemeinschaft (German: “people’s community”), in which individual interests would be subordinated to the good of the nation.
Social Structure and Class Hierarchies
Communists inspired by Karl Marx believe class hierarchies must be abolished by the state seizing control of private property and industry, thereby abolishing the capitalist class. Oh the other hand, fascists believed in a rigid class hierarchy, especially rule by an elite, and were opposed to socialist movements. Fascism upholds a strict class structure, ensuring that every member of society has a specific, unchangeable role. Often in fascist societies a certain racial group is considered superior and national and ethnic unity is encouraged at the expense of individuality. For example, Hitler's fascist regime glorified the Aryan race and called for the extermination of Jews during World War II.
Both fascism and communism are against the democratic process but with some differences. Fascism looks down upon parliamentary democracy. Fascist leaders like Hitler and Mussolini participated in electoral politics before coming to power. But after seizing power, fascist leaders tended to abolish political parties, oppose universal suffrage and became dictators and rulers for life.
In a communist system, there is rule -- in theory -- by a single party. Democracy was to be practiced only within the party, constrained by the policy of democratic centralism i.e. full and vigorous debate would lead to a decision that would determine the party’s “line” on an issue, whereupon the party’s central leadership would close off debate and require adherence to the party line. In short, the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat had to be a dictatorship of the communist party in the name of the proletariat.
Communism is based on the equal distribution of wealth. The tenet of Marxian communism was "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need." Everyone in society receives an equal share of the benefits derived from labor, e.g. food and money. In order to ensure that everyone receives an equal amount, all means of production are controlled by the state.
Fascism allows for private enterprise, but its economic system is focused entirely on strengthening and glorifying the state. Both Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany aimed for self-sufficiency, so that each country could survive entirely without trade with other nations. See Fascist corporatism
In both communism and fascism, individual choice or preference matter less than society as a whole. In communism, religion and private property are both abolished, the government controls all labor and wealth, and individual choices such as job or education are dictated by the government. While private property is permitted in fascism, most other choices are also controlled to increase the strength of the State.
Videos explaining the difference
History of Fascism and Communism
Communism can be traced back to Thomas More, who wrote about a society based around common ownership of property in Utopia in 1516. Communism is most commonly associated with Karl Marx and his 1848 book The Communist Manifesto. Marx was a critic of the Industrial Revolution who disagreed with how capitalism took advantage of the working classes. He imagined that a utopia would be formed when all people were economically equal.
The first real-world example of Marxist Communism was in Russia in 1917, when the Bolshevik Party seized control in the October Revolution. This was the beginning of many communist revolutions in the 20th century, including in China, Cuba, North Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Angola and Mozambique.
Modern Fascism originated in Italy in the 1920s, when Mussolini gained control and coined the term “fascism” to describe his form of government. Fascism then spread throughout Europe, including to Germany beginning in 1933 with the Nazis, and Portugal in 1934.
Communism is still practiced in Cuba and North Korea. Communism is also nominally the system of government in China, but China’s current economic system is far more capitalist in nature than traditional communism.
No countries are currently ruled by fascism, but neo-fascists (or neo-Nazis) exist in many countries, including the US. The bombing in Oklahoma City in 1995 was caused by neo-fascists.