What’s the Difference Between Fascism vs Communism?

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Have you ever wondered what the difference is between fascism and communism?

Reading your 20th century history textbook, it may not be particularly obvious. In part, this is because the difference between fascism and communism is theoretical, whereas in practice, both are quite similar. Here is the breakdown of fascism vs. communism according to various criteria including central philosophy and political and social structure.

Philosophy and Operating Principles
In theory, communism’s operating principle is this: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” A perfect communistic system would therefore have it that everyone would receive equal resources. Each would give according to his or her gifts, and receive whatever resources were needed for survival. Everyone would receive fair pay, and nobody would want for food, shelter, medicine, or other basic life needs.

Fascism’s operating tenants are a bit less clear, but tend to include tenets of nationalistic romanticism, and an attempt to revive the past glory of bygone epochs. The majority of fascistic nations have been actively imperialistic, though some have kept to themselves. Fascism is totalitarian, meaning that within the fascist state, no value can be defined outside of the state, and therefore the state becomes godlike in its relationship to its citizens. Gender roles, religion, race, and other individual aspects of human identity are regulated and controlled within the fascist state.

Political and Social Structure

Benito Mussolini, leader of Italy's National Facist Party from 1922-1943 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Benito Mussolini, leader of Italy’s National Facist Party from 1922-1943 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In a fascist state, there is generally a single leader with total authority, whereas in socialism—in theory—there should be no leader, and the people themselves should be calling all the shots.

In socialism, there should be no class distinctions, because everyone’s needs should be served equally, whereas in fascism there are strict social-class separations and those perceived as “inferior” may be outright eliminated. Economically, a mix of public and private production are essential to fascist states. Socialism supports wealth redistribution so that everyone can get what they need. Socialism abolishes the concept of personal property and religion.

Reality: Not So DifferentWhile the theoretical divergences are massive, what are the real life differences in communism vs. fascism? Not too much. Why? Because no socialist system in real life has ever actually resembled socialism as it exists in theory. There has never been a socialist government without either a solitary leader with total power or a small oligarchy of rulers. The social classes were never eliminated. The resources did not properly distribute. People went hungry.

Karl Marx

Karl Marx, author of “The Communist Manifesto” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Furthermore, the theory behind socialism does not recognize the full concept of what “need” is to the majority of human beings. One thing that many human beings need is autonomy and freedom. Whereas in theory, no social classes would mean that people could make their own choices, in real “socialistic” states, people have been educated according to what the state considered their gifts and been placed in jobs accordingly, whether or not it was what they wanted or truly excelled at.

Furthermore, the abolition of religion and property is a restriction of individual expression, in line with fascistic ideals—though in a fascist economy, the two would simply be regulated.

This is why it is impossible to distinguish a real life difference between countries like Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Both operated most closely in line with fascist ideals and political structures, despite the fact that the Soviet Union went under the label of socialist and bitterly opposed its competing fascist state, Nazi Germany.

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  • IReaddoyou?

    They are very different actually, not to mention communism is a much broader term that can describe many ideologies while fascism is a less broad term.

    Americans are fed these lies about how the left is only statist, then we wonder how we get people like Trump.

  • chris

    Communism and Fascism are only the same when it comes to having zero political and individual rights, and they are similar but not the same in term of economy (Fascism at least allows for private property and business). However their core philosophies are completely the polar opposites. One is based on secular science, the other on divine or estoric laws, one is internationalist, the other is ultra-nationalist, one believes in absolute equality, the other institutionalized inequality.

    • David Wisham

      But if the government controls what you do with your property then it is not private property so it’s exactly the same thing they just let you think you own it

  • Michael

    Socialism and Communism are synonyms. At one time they referred to the same thing. Only now do they mean different things. The core beliefs are the same. The difference is too slight to bring up for the purposes of this article. If you knew your shit you wouldn’t press the issue.

  • Krista

    Fascism is more opposite of socialism minus the communism, look at what happened in Europe lately as an example, the EU had become a socialist structure and fascists are trying to dismantle it.

  • Paige

    by the way, communism and socialism are different things

    • yo momma

      t(._.t)

    • yo momma

      t(._.t) betcchhhh

  • Paige

    I can’t believe more people don’t read things like this. we need to know what these things are so we can defend our country from them and Obama.

    • John-RAOK

      Exactly what is it that you think Obama is trying to do to this country…?……except to some how try his flawed best to defend it from terrorism, dig our economy out of a recession, and some how appease a liberal agenda set on abandoning this country’s Christian values.

      • Edgar B.

        …AND don’t forget being “forced” in a manner of speaking, to appease the socialists and fascists who are hell-bent on taking “common sense” measures to dismantle our constitution and bill of rights… one amendment at a time!
        Many of these “Einsteins” who continue to blame Obama for anything they can think of, are at the same time very busy supporting far left candidates who are all but guaranteed to s-l-o-w-l-y do away with our constitution, which, by the way is on-going as I speak.
        People, we had better wake-up!

        • Matthew V. Brown

          I rather blame Obama for returning the U.S. to a political divisiveness that hasn’t been seen since the McCarthy Era (BTW, McCarthy was right). And during my forty-six years that I have been able to vote, I have NEVER supported a leftist candidate. Even in Junior High School (or Middle School, as people refer to it now…probably because they do not think people can understand the word “intermediate”), I was a staunch supporter of Barry Goldwater.

  • Aeolanyira

    Socialism and communism ARE NOT INTERCHANGABLE TERMS. They are not the same thing and if you actually knew what you were talking about you wouldn’t use them as though the are.

    • AFF

      The two always lead to the same end. Killing people who refuse to go along a sheep. That has be shown over and over again. So the to are the same enslavement to a Fascist state.

      • truthsayer

        As if the US doesn’t kill people who disagree with us? Just ask people from the middle east what its like knowing the drones will blow their houses to kingdom come in the middle of the night. How many political prisoners do we have in secret camps now? Don’t know? That’s cuz its a secret…but it still happens.

        The above article is a terrible description of Communism vs. Fascism, very poorly researched, factually wrong in some places, and reflects the bias of the author, whoever “editorial staff” is. If you really need to learn about this topic, go to a more in-depth source like Wikipedia. Or, just look up the words in a dictionary. This site is totally amature.

    • Matthew V. Brown

      It might be more accurately said that communism (Marxism) and Naziism are both subsets of socialism.

  • keyword2

    Hmm, I never thought of that. Good point!