Communism is a socioeconomic structure that promotes the establishment of an egalitarian, classless, stateless society based on common ownership of the means of production and property in general. Leninists have attempted to produce communist societies by setting up political parties, which in some cases have become governments. These attempts have never produced a communist society, and have frequently led to totalitarian states.

Communism is usually considered to be a branch of socialism, a broad group of social and political ideologies that draws on the various political and intellectual movements with origins in the work of theorists of the Industrial Revolution and the French Revolution, especially those of Marx and Engels. Communism attempts to offer an alternative to the problems believed to be inherent with capitalist economies and the legacy of imperialism and nationalism. The theory states that the only way to solve these problems is for the working class, or the proletariat, to replace the wealthy bourgeoisie, which is currently the ruling class, in order to establish a peaceful, free society, without classes, property, or government. The dominant forms of communism, such as Leninism, Stalinism, Maoism and Trotskyism, are based on Marxism, but non-Marxist versions of communism (such as Christian communism and anarchist communism) also exist.

Trotskyism and Leninism are generally considered by socialists to be the true idealogical successors to Marx's original theories, while Maoism and Stalinism are considered to be perversions of his theories.

Note that there is a difference between Communism and communism, namely that the Communist party is a political organization, such as the Communist Party USA, and communism is a social structure in which the people live in cooperative communes and represents the ideals of the liberation of the proletariet. Also, Communism and socialism differ, with socialism generally considered to be an intermediary stage of socialist democracy between the abolition of the state and the bourgeois and true communism.

A map of all the countries who have declared themselves socialist or communist at one point or another
A map of all the countries who have declared themselves socialist or communist at one point or another