Strategy for Revolution in 21st Century
Gandhi on Communism,
Its relation to a Culture of Peace for the 21st Century


Marx and Engels:
Communist Manifesto

Civil War in France


Theory of History

Marx and Engels:
On Human Nature


Violence and the Origin of the State

Socialism: Utopian and Scientific

Marx, Engels, Lenin:
On Dialectics

What is to be done?


The State and Revolution

Lenin: War Communism

The Cultural Revolution

Left-Wing Communism

The American Revolutions

The French Revolutions

On Workers Control

On Religion

On the Arms Race

Militarization of Labor

Russian Revolution

The Women's Question

Role of Communist Party

On Violence

On the Army

On Women

Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution

Mao and Fidel:
Fall of the American Empire

Man and Socialism in Cuba

Hall and Winston:
Fighting Racism

National Liberation and Culture

Cabral: National Liberation and Culture

Nkrumah: Neo-Colonialism

Gandhi was an advocate for socialism and communism, but warned that it was not the same as that imagined by the Europeans and Americans. Writing in the English Daily Amrita Bazar Patrika on August 2-3, 1934, he said, "Socialism and communism of the West are based on certain conception which are fundamentally different from ours. One such conception is their belief in essential selfishness of human nature. I do not subscribe to it for I know that the former can respond to the call of the spirit in him, can rise superior to the passions that he owns in common with the brute and, therefore, superior to selfishness and violence, which belong to the brute nature and not to the immortal spirit of man ... Our socialism or communism should, therefore, be based on nonviolence and on harmonious co-operation of labour and capital, landlord and tenant."

Gandhi categorically rejected class war as being incompatible with nonviolence: "The idea of class war does not appeal to me. In India a class war is not inevitable, but it is avoidable if we have understood the message of nonviolence. Those who talk about class war as being inevitable, have not understood the implications of nonviolence or have understood them only skin-deep."

He believed that communism could be built without abolishing the class-structure of society. He thought it possible to convince capitalist and worker to cooperate instead of being in conflict: "I am working for the co-operation and co-ordination of capital and labour, of landlord and tenant ... I have always told mill owners that they are not exclusive owners of mills and workmen are equal sharers in ownership. In the same way, I would tell you that ownership of your land belongs as much to the ryots as to you, and you may not squander your gains in luxurious or extravagant living, but must use them for the well-being of ryots. Once you make your ryots experience a sense of kinship with you and a sense of security that their interests as members of a family will never suffer at your hands, you may be sure that there cannot be a clash between you and them and no class war."

At the same time Gandhi believed in struggling against exploitation: "I never said that there should be co-operation between the exploiter and the exploited so long as exploitation and the will to exploit persists. Only I do not believe that the capitalists and the landlords are all exploiters by an inherent necessity or that there is a basic or irreconcilable antagonism between their interests and those of the masses. All exploitation is based on co-operation, willing or forced, of the exploited. However much we may detest admitting it, the fact remains that there would be no exploitation if people refuse to obey the exploiter." For Gandhi struggle should be conducted through nonviolence, and he warned that one must never be passive in the face of evil; that violence was better than cowardice.

Gandhi foresaw a socialist India achieved through nonviolence. As he wrote in Harijan in 1940 (quoted in My View of Trusteeship, "Antagonism between the classes will be removed. I do not envisage a dead and artificial level among the people. There will be a variety among them as there is among the leaves of a tree. There will certainly be no have-nots, no unemployment, and no disparity between classes and masses such as we see to-day. I have no doubt whatsoever that if non-violence in its full measure becomes the policy of the State, we shall reach essential equality without strife."

Gandhi's analysis was paradoxical. On the one hand he rejected class struggle and foresaw cooperation between the classes. On the other hand, he called for perpetual struggle against exploitation and foresaw the day when there would be no more social classes. In the end it would seem that his strategic vision was a classless society not unlike that foreseen in the Communist Manifesto but that the means for arriving there was through nonviolence rather than violence.

To take part in a discussion about this page, go to the Discussion Board Forum on the writings of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr:

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Revolutionary socialist culture of peace

Culture of War

Internal Culture of War

Culture of Peace

Education for nonviolence and democracy

Sustainable development for all

Human rights vs exploitation

Women's equality vs patriarchy

Democratic participation vs authoritarianism

Tolerance and solidarity vs enemy images

Transparency vs secrecy

Disarmament vs armament

Revolutionary leadership

Revolutionary organization

Proletarian Internationalism

National Liberation

Guerrilla Warfare


Agent Provocateurs

Communication systems

Psychology for revolutionaries

Capitalist culture of war

Socialist culture of war

Winning Conflict by Nonviolence

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More Sources

South African
Peace Process

Soviet Union
Disarmament Proposals

Soviet Collapse

Has Socialism Failed?

Pedagogy of the Oppressed

Ecology in Cuba

On Religion

Human Rights in South Africa

on Nonviolence

on Nonviolence

on Communism

Cuba's revolutionary medicine

People-power revolution in the Philippines