Communism is a system in which there is no private property and goods are owned in common by all members of the society. Communism exists in various forms, but all are defined by collective living and the good of the group as more important than the prosperity of any specific individual. Communism exists in the United States today among several different sectors of society.
Secular Communism in the USA
Communal living was practiced in the United States during the 1960s and 1970s. Disenchanted within mainstream capitalistic American society, many young men and women moved to rural areas and began to live collectively. According to the Fellowship for Intentional Community, more than 1,500 communes operate in United States, scattered across the nation. Rules of living and conduct vary according to the specific guidelines of each commune, but generally residents own the land and buildings collectively and work towards the common good of the community. Many of these communities also produce organic produce or other sustainable goods that help meet the financial needs of the community.
Spiritual Communism in the USA
Many of the Christian monastic systems that developed in Europe in the Middle Ages are communistic in nature, and derive their mandate from the life of the first Christians who "had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need, according to Acts 2:44. Monastic orders such as the Franciscans, the Jesuits and the Benedictines still live in these collective societies in which monks and nuns own no personal property. The rise of Buddhism and other Asian spiritual movements in the U.S. in has also led to the construction of monasteries that function in very similar communal styles, even if the outer belief systems are different.
The Communist Party in the U.S.
Founded in 1919, the Communist Party of the USA has been involved in many of the country's social movements. They organized early American labor unions, advocated for unemployment insurance and fought for the establishment of Social Security. With the slogan of "People and Nature over Profits" the Communist Party seeks to change the United States from a capitalist society to a socialist one, in which individuals are not allowed to accrue vast amounts of wealth to the detriment of the environment and society at large. They organize through regional and city-wide clubs in which members get together to support community issues like workers' rights and social justice. Every four years, delegates, who are elected from each club, get together at the Communist Party national convention.
Communism in Mainstream American Society
Governmental social programs are often labeled "communist" by advocates of free market politics and right-wing politicians. For example, Fox News talk show host Bill O'Reilly called President Barack Obama's health insurance law, the Affordable Care Act, a "form of Communism" in October of 2013. Communism was only seen as a "superior" form of government over capitalism by 11 percent of respondents in a 2011 Rasmussen Poll.
- Fellowship for Intentional Community: Directory: USA
- Communist Party USA: History
- Communist Party USA: FAQs: How Does the Communist Party Work?
- Bible Gateway: Acts 2
- Mount Abbey Monastery: Life in a Medeival Monastery
- Fox News: O'REILLY: 'OBAMACARE IS PART OF THE SOCIALIST VISION FOR AMERICA'
- Rasmussen Reports: Eleven Percent Say Communism Better than U.S. System of Politics and Economics
- Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images