When organizations like CPUSA and RevCom exist and are clearly well funded, it’s hard not to recall that Marx and Engels discussed both socialism and communism together, and explored the various outward forms. They did not make a distinction, in large measure, between the two, other than the fact that they were on a continuum, with full blown communism as the ultimate objective. Reading chapters 2 and 3 of the Manifesto can be rather chilling when thinking about modern society – one could easily forget that it was published 169 years ago, despite the fact that the Engels-approved English translation was done in 1888, if I remember correctly. It’s truly amazing how “modern” parts of it are! In many places the language often sounds like it was lifted out of a nightly “news” broadcast of today. The two are not separate – socialism is merely the transition, if done “right” according to Marx and Engels. And there are those working very, very competently to keep the progression moving. But few understand it, and therefore even fewer “see” it. Ignorance can be (short lived) bliss, but it also constitutes one’s head in the sand while the steam roller continues its relentless journey.
One needs only to study the sub-groups within the Democrat Party to understand just how effectively Marx and Engels understood their concept, as well as society in general. Probably few remember the direct connection between prominent Congress-critters (all democrats) and the Democratic Socialist of America. One could go to their web site and actually see the list of congressmen/women who were members of that organization before someone decided they’d better take the list and direct association down and semi-hide it. Marx’s and Engels’ uncanny ability to project the plan into the 21st century is remarkable (understatement!). One can only “choose” between socialism OR communism in ignorance. It’s kind of like choosing between the rain which falls during a temperature inversion that leads to an ice storm, and the result of the ice storm itself. The rain only gives the initial illusion of safety.