Marxism v Socialism v Communism. What is the difference and why are they so popular in developing nations?

Here is an /r/AskHistorians thread that discusses some of what you talk about.

I'll give a brief overview and can get more specific if you have more questions.

  • Socialism is a form of economic organization where workers/laborers control the means of production. The easiest way to conceive of this is "workplace democracy." They tend to be split into two camps; statists and non-statists. Statists see the state as having a fundamental role in bringing about a socialist society, while non-statists tne dto see the state as either a hindrance to a socialist society or as not being important (worker action alone being the important component).

  • Marxism is a doctrine derived from the writings of Karl Marx that emphasizes class struggle. He felt that history was fundamentally driven by the struggle between classes. As a political and economic ideology/label, it tends to be used as a byword for socialist and communist, however, it is at times separated from them by the idea that these ideologies do not always act within a legal framework (i.e. revolution is an acceptable way to bring about change).

  • Communism is the Utopian end goal of society as envision by Karl Marx. It represents a classless, stateless society where all people have what they need to survive and flourish. Communist ideology in our time is concerned with bringing about/advancing toward a communist society. In this they tend to be somewhat "more Leftist" than socialist parties.

As far as why it is so popular in developing nations, that's an extremely broad question and it is somewhat difficult to answer.

For starters, it is important to understand that Leftist parties are and have also been popular in many 'developed' nations. Eugene V. Debbs ran for president in the United States on the Socialist Party ticket and garnered 5-6% of the vote more than once. Die Linke in Germany is currently seeing an upswing in popularity.

The reasons why many 'developing' nations look to Leftist alternatives are as varied as the countries. Common trends which can be seen in revolutions and popular movements throughout the 20th century included economic inequality, disenchantment with capitalism, colonialism, political pressure from the USSR or other ostensible Leftist states, opposition to the United States and allies, unequal distribution of resources, empowering of the populace, presence of de facto oligarchies, etc. It really depends on the specific country in question. Unfortunately, I do not know much about Sri Lanka in particular and would rather leave that for someone more well versed in the area.

/r/AskHistorians Thread