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I imagine that monarchy is quite negative in the eyes of communists. It consists of inequality by default. But I cannot find any sources claiming that indeed the communist propaganda is against the monarchy.

So. Is it?

If this is different for specific countries and eras, I am interested in the Czechoslovak communist ideology between 1968 and 1989.

I would really like some literature-based answers.

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If we follow dialectical materialism, Monarchy is part of an earlier (feudal) mode of production, one that was primarily centered on the control of land for agricultural production. While the petite bourgeoise class was able to amass a certain amount of wealth through commercial means, they could not take control of the means of production: the bulk of the population was tied to agriculture, arable land was irrevocably dominated by the aristocratic class, and mass production technologies had not advanced sufficiently to significantly impact this set of social structures.

With the onset of the age of commercial colonialism and eventual industrialism, the balance shifted. Agriculture serfdom dropped off in preference to industrial proletarianism; the feudal lord with his cadres of trained soldiers was gradually replaced by lightly-trained conscripts with firearms; the aristocracy and the monarchy largely lost their traditional reason for existence and were supplanted by parliamentarians drawn from commercial wealth. Monarchies and aristocracies hung on for a while (some even until today), but the more industrialized a region became, the more that the locus of production shifted from agriculture to industry, and the more that power shifted from feudal militaries to commercial entities.

Marxists don't talk much about monarchy or aristocracy for the same reason that adults don't talk much about acne; it's a problem of an earlier era that that doesn't have much 'bite' in the modern world.

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Marxism assumes a historical materialism and a "natural progression" how societies develop. According to Marxists, ancient societies developed first into feudalism, then into captialism, then into communism.

In großen Umrissen können asiatische, antike, feudale und modern bürgerliche Produktionsweisen als progressive Epochen der ökonomischen Gesellschaftsformation bezeichnet werden.
In broad terms, Asian, ancient, feudal and modern bourgeois modes of production can be described as progressive [successive?] epochs of economic social formation.

(Quoted here. I'm no Marxist, so I can't tell if this is the preferred edition.)

That would mean (a) feudalism is an outdated concept which has to be overcome and (b) the overcoming would be done by capitalists, not communists. The latter point caused some internal squabbles in the Communist camp -- can a feudal peasant-based society directly go to communism or do they have to develop a worker class first? One of the differences between Leninism and Marxism was the question if it takes a vanguard party to teach communism to the workers and peasants.

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  • Of course, Leninism was a "necessity" to explain communism in feudal Russia, which was indeed a theoretically impossible in Marxism. And the Tsars were definitely monarchs in the sense of this question – MSalters Dec 8 '20 at 0:47
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There are some Marxists who still talk about monarchy and aristocracy. For example, the 2020 update to the 8th edition of Britain's Road to Socialism (the Communist Party of Britain's political programme) says:

Popular sovereignty means the sovereignty of the people and their elected representatives in parliaments, governments and mass movements. This requires the abolition of all powers and institutions relating to the monarchy, including such posts as head of state and commander-in-chief of the armed forces, together with the royal prerogative, the Privy Council and similarly unaccountable offices of state.

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Here in Bulgaria, the communist propaganda had coined the term "monarcho-fascism" in order to use a general-purpouse hate speech for both at once.

(yes, it is an oxymoron for anyone more or less literate about the fascism, but back then we didn't have much of these people)

Not sure about Czechoslovakia, but all the USSR-influenced European countries used the same propaganda patterns even if they didn't exactly fit.

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If you are talking about a feudalistic monarch, then yes. As I have written before about Marxist socialism, the idea of Marxist communism is that from capitalism, some form of collective ownership (the state in the form of the dictatorship of the proletariat, a commune, labor union, co-op, etc.) owns all the means of production on behalf of the common worker and pays everyone (in personal property, not private property) according to 'each according to his contribution' until you reach the final stage of communism and give people things 'each according to their ability and need' & create a stateless society.

Therefore, humanity only ever sets itself tasks that it can solve, because if you look more closely you will always find that the task itself only arises where the material conditions for its solution are already present or at least are in the process of becoming. In broad terms, Asian, ancient, feudal and modern bourgeois modes of production can be described as progressive epochs of economic social formation. -Karl Marx

Feudalism and feudalistic monarchy are part of the old world and are outdated according to Marx, as is hereditary ownership of the means of production (which is one of the reasons why Juche & modern North Korea is considered by many to not be Marxist state socialism, since it has become more of a 'hereditary dictatorship' where only those related to the current ruler have any chance of being in charge). Different people who aren't related can work their way up the state, labor union, or co-op to have more influence over the means of production and all the means of production are owned by a collective entity and if anyone leaves this entity/community, they lose direct say in the means of production. Marxist socialism is based around the idea of historical materialism, which casts monarchies as an ancient relic of mankind:

The rising bourgeoisie came into conflict with the feudal system and with feudal rule, and as a product of its struggle set up national republics, parliamentary states, constitutional monarchies, which allowed free scope to the development of capitalism, defended the interests of the bourgeoisie, stood guard over their property, and so served to shape and consolidate the basis of capitalist society. -Historical Materialism by Maurice Cornforth

Feudalistic monarchies allowed people who swore oaths to have private property, only those related to the current monarch (or offered enough money in some circumstances) would have any say over the means of production, and serfs were slaves who had no healthcare/education provided by the collective entity. A monarchy with monarchs having absolute power would have no elections with all members of government appointed by the ruler, where even the authoritarian 'dictatorship of the proletariat' model of socialism in the USSR and Cuba allowed people to have limited say in their government by allowing them to move local members of the Communist Party from office if they got less than 50% of the vote. Any monarchy allowed in a Marxist socialist/communist system - autocratic, democratic, or otherwise - would be in name only with limitations on its power and little-to-no hereditary ties with the previous monarch for most of said monarchs successors; more of an elective monarchy of some form than an absolute one (and at that point, you may as well call the elected official a President, Premier, Head Union Representative, etc. instead of a king/queen).

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As the others have mentioned, communists are chiefly concerned with overcoming capitalism, so you won’t find a communist tract dedicated to critiquing monarchy as a political theory or refuting its philosophical underpinnings — it was considered a given.

That said, wherever a powerful monarchy existed, communists (or “social democrats” as Marxists were called before 1918) were strongly in favor of dismantling it or at least removing its powers as part of a “bourgeois-democratic” revolution. You will find plenty of references in Marx, Engels and their followers to “monarchy”, “absolutism” and “autocracy” as obstacles to be overcome on the road to socialism. Lenin considered it an urgent task to fight against the Tsarist autocracy in What is to be done? and elsewhere. I would suggest searching for the terms above on marxists.org and see what comes up.

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In the constitutional monarchy of the united kingdom, a communist will not be so concerned with the monarchy as it has already been marginalised politically through a long process dating from the Magna Carta and then the English Civil War between the roundheads (parliamentarians) and the cavaliers (royalists) and become simply a symbol of the nation representing its continuity.

What they will be concerned with is with capitalism. This is where the power now resides and this is why Marx titled his magnus opus, Capital. Hence it's quite feasible for someone to both support the monarchy in England whilst being a communist. In a sense, they can support it because the monatchy is no lobger a monarchy in its proper sense - the sole (mon) absolute ruler (archy).

Of course, in a country like the USA where there is no monarchy to speak of, the question does not even arise.

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