I was reading about the term tankie on Wikipedia and it lead me to other terms such as red fascism and left communism. The Wikipedia articles on Left Communism and Left Communists (Weimar Republic) suggest that the primary critics of Stalinism and Maoism were Left Communists and criticized Stalinism and Maoism as red fascism.

It seems that a tankie is usually thought of as a Stalinist or hardline supporter of the Soviet Union in general, but especially under Stalin's rule.

The Wiki on Left Communism describes the movement as being opposed to parliamentarianism and social democracy, but if the group was opposed to those kinds of political arrangements, then how were they different from anarcho-communists, who were also opposed to those kinds of political structures? Is left communism the same thing as anarcho-communism and if so, why are there separate Wikipedia pages for left communism and anarcho-communism?

What system of governance or social structure did Left Communists prefer and how was this social system different from the one advocated for by anarcho-communists such as Peter Kropotkin who wrote the Conquest of Bread?

  • 1
    Surely the distinction is that anarcho-communists are opposed to all political structures, and not just the ones that left communists are opposed to? That's what the "anarcho-" part means.
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Aug 1, 2023 at 13:22
  • 1
    Anarchists are not opposed to political structures necessarily, but unjust hierarchies.
    – DannyH
    Commented Aug 4, 2023 at 11:23
  • Anarchists normally allow voluntary political structures.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Aug 4, 2023 at 11:54

1 Answer 1


As I have described before, communism is considered to be a process with different ways to achieve it. As socialist thinker Philip Gasper puts it: "Marx and Engels never speculated on the detailed organization of a future socialist or communist society. The key task for them was building a movement to overthrow capitalism. If and when that movement was successful, it would be up to the members of the new society to decide democratically how it was to be organized, in the concrete historical circumstances in which they found themselves".

Left communism is about using alternatives to Marxist-Lenninism or social democracy as an intermediate state for society before advancing to create the final stage of communism, using the state as a temporary way to defend people and educate them before achieving the final stage of communism and a stateless moneyless society.

Left communists might create a form of council democracy with elections from the people directly or an autonomist society instead of something related to authoritarian socialism or representative democracy. It still might include a state with a monopoly on violence (though not necessarily), but they work towards a direct/semi-direct form of democracy for the common worker from the start.

Anarchocommunism is the idea of starting a commune and abolishing the state (or reducing it to a nightwatchman state without a monopoly on violence) without any intermediate step to achieve communism.

tldr: Left communism might use a state to achieve the final stage of communism, but will strive to be directly democratic instead of authoritarian or representative. Anarchocommunism wishes to abolish the state from the very start.

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