The below, I believe is the most important theoretical issue in the communist movement today:
The fact is that most people see Communism and Stalinism as synonomous, without ever fully understanding the meaning of either.
Those who call themselves Marxist-Leninists (we call them Stalinists, for they are nether Marxist nor Leninist), conceive of communism/socialism as a one-party state with a centralised economy - this somehow meaning that the wealth is now in the hands of 'the people'.
We see it different, communism being the movement whereby the global proletariat organises itself to overthrow the existing state, to abolish private property, wage relations and frontiers and bring about a global society of common 'ownership'.
The problem is, nowadays those who have any sort of familiarity with communism fall into the following groups:
Group 1. Communism=Stalinism - This group is probably the majority, they see the former Soviet Union and it's offspring which limp on to this day as 'Communist' states, inherently evil, despotic, militaristic etc...
Group 2. Another variant of this idea are the Stalinists themselves, from outright unapologetics, to various degrees of sympathisers who admit 'mistakes were made', or disavow the one-party state in favour of working in a parliamentary framework. Also within this group are the various Trotskyist/Leftist groups who say 'oh yeah, were marxists, but not like them', and yet they can never fully convince anyone that they don't secretely want to send dissenters to the gulag, and have no meaningful response to the 'no true scotsman' fallacy... (do WE though?)
Of all the people in the world who call themselves 'communists', how many of them actually ever hold the same conception of this idea that we do? It took me a long time to come to a Left Com perspective having belonged to various iterations of the groupings above. When dealing with Group 1, it is such an unbelievably long conversation to explain the conditions which brought about Stalinism that by the end of the conversation people like us have either bored them to death or appear completely delusional. Isn't the danger, that if ever the 'communist' idea ever saw a meaningful renaissance then the vast majority of 'sympathisers' would just be variants of Group 2?
Is there any hope of escaping this conundrum?