It’s a mode of production that is substantively distinguished from all those that have historically existed by one crucial fact: the whole of the population is assured subsistence. Without the necessity of selling anything to get it, without any relation at all to the condition of being a property owner or not, given that what characterizes this society is resumed in the formula, “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”
Communism is the reign of abundance, the result of society having accomplished ridding itself of every and all of the servitudes linked to the private ownership of the means of production. The object of production is not profit, rather the well-being of the whole of the population. This abundance eliminates the battle over distribution and, as a consequence, the need for the State.
Capitalism being the final mercantile mode of production and communism being a mode of production not governed by trade, the central question is how one arrives at communism. The transition to communism is socialism, a mode of production that is defined precisely that way, as transitional, to the extent that on the basis that defines it,- the expropriation of capital and estates- enormous developments of the forces of production are made possible.
The development of the forces of production under capitalism has made possible the real perspective of socialism. But a capitalism pregnant with socialism does not assure the effective birth of socialism, given that this ultimately depends on the result of class warfare, which is the motor of history. In addition, that capitalist development constructs a global economy therefore implicates that socialism can only complete its “transitional historic function” on a global scale. Consequently, the creation of so-called “socialism in a single country” (put forth by Bujarin in 1924 and appropriated by Stalin in 1925) is completely unreal (and therefore foreign to Marxism and Bolshevick tradition itself).
During the transitional period that is socialism, the State continues to exist but for the first time as a State of the once exploited, as a working class State, and, as such, it holds less and less importance, until its complete disappearance with the total abolition of private ownership of the means of production and the enormous development of the forces of production that it makes possible. In communism, the absence of distributive conflict due to abundance eliminates the foundation of social classes, therefore abolishing them, which implicates a radically different superstructure than those we know today (along with the mentioned disappearance of the State, there would no longer exist, for example, limits to scientific development imposed by religious superstitions, etc.).
Communism is not only that the material living conditions of the whole of the population be completely assured but also, and above all, that the enormous possibilities for development of every kind are opened to all (spiritual, educational, artistic), in contrast to their negation to the majority under capitalism.