Communism is an ideology that seeks to establish a classless, stateless society based on joint ownership of the means of production. It can be seen as a branch of the broader socialist movement. Marxists described the early forms of human social organizations as primitive communism. However, communism as a political goal is a presumed form of future social organization. There are many currents within the communist movement, including
anarcho-communism, and the various currents of left-wing communism as more widespread variants. However, various offshoots of Soviet (which critics call Stalinism) and Maoist interpretations of Marxism-Leninism form a special branch of communism which, unlike others, was the mainstream of communism in world politics for most of the 20th century. Trotskyism as a rival current was not so popular.
Dictatorship of the proletariat
Karl Marx believed that society could not be transformed overnight from a capitalist to a communist form of production, but that there must be a transitional period that Marx called the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat. For now, Marx's concept of a communist society that emerged from capitalism remains only a theory; in fact, Marx left very little information on what communist society would actually look like. The term "communism" was often used to denote political and economic regimes ruled by communist parties that claimed to be the embodiment of the dictatorship of the proletariat.
At the end of the 19th century, Marxist theories encouraged the emergence of socialist parties across Europe, although later their ideological platforms were much closer to the idea of "reformist" capitalism with a weakening tendency to overthrow that capitalism. The exception was the Russian Social Democratic Workers' Party. One wing of the party, commonly known as the Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, managed to win power in Russia after the overthrow of the interim government in October.