My understanding of communism: lack of personal ownership. Means of production being owned by everyone equally. Some form of regulating income or food that insures equality. Initial purge of ownership, ie: everyone losses their land and businesses to the state.
So maybe I've mis-characterized communism. Let me know if you think I have. To me anything less would be some form of socialism.
What's wrong with it:
lack of freedom. In this system you must produce something of value. I don't think it can work if you let everyone seek their dreams and still get the rashen of money/food, so that means you have to deal with whatever work the government is okay with you doing.
Lack of financial hierarchy. Oh man, isn't that the point though? Well yeah, hierarchy sucks in some ways, but it's kind of integral to human sociaty. Without it, you will have some other form of hierarchy. But here's the big thing, the interesting things throughout history have usually been created by rich people who could spend their time on art. Without a upper class, everyone needs to spend their time working. This also creates a sociaty that would be fundementally non diverse. As everyone would be living a similar lifestyle.
Lack of progress. For the individual, progressing in life and seeking self actualization is the journey. I believe a lack of feeling of progress to our lives would leave us depressed.
For me to feel as though my view is changed, I need to be convinced that the system can work as a whole, not just that I'm wrong about one of my issues with it. Change my view, not just my understanding of how it works.
Typically speaking communism recognizes two forms of property. Personal and private. Private is defined as the property owned by the bourgeoisie, the class of people that own the shops, the (sometimes) large farms, factories, and so on. Personal property is just that: personal, this is your house, your car, your clothes, your computer, your clothes, your toothbrush. The communal toothbrush meme is used to deride and make fun of people who haven't heard of this distinction.
The collectivization of private property - the factory - is considered as the next historical step in the rearrangement of property as carried out by the necessary bourgeoisie revolutions of the American War of Independence and the French Revolution in Europe because they illustrated and underscored the process and possibility to rearranging property and the rules of it to meet a broader ownership of said property. In these cases it was seizing the property formally held by noble aristocrats such as dukes and kings and re-consolidating it, often closer to being held by middle-class owners. The final conclusion in the Marxist purview is to fulfill the notions exposed by these revolution by further distributing the land and the property.
Of course no one person in 1860 could have their own personal factory to make all the necessary commodities for their life and comfort, so in the mid-19th century and through he 20th the notion is to give the factories to the workers who work it. Here we have a fundamental split in Communist doctrine that runs through not just the two practiced methodologies of Communism in the 20th century, but all sectarian branches of socialist thought. Predominately Marxist-Leninism exposed by the Soviet State and Titoism in Yugoslavia. This is when we can get into some colorful characteristics fit for essays and probably better explained by those people who get really into the literature, but the basic principle moving on is/was: M-L's think the state gets to run the show, Titoists think the workers can manage it just fine.
Per the point on freedoms: this again may depend on interpretation of communism. If you're going for a strong-state and centralized system under Stalinism then yes you only do what you're told to do because it's found necessary. Council Communism as practiced in Hungary for a while though focuses more on the principle that you do what you can do in your local community, you and your neighbors own what's around you and the unions for the broader systems - like the nation rail service - own that. And for the few months they were permitted to last in 1956 before the Soviets restored order this worked very well. But this is beyond the point really.
What's really hammered on about today in the post-Soviet left is the notion of freedom of access. You're not entitled to operate in one field if you don't want to. But if you want something produced in it then you have all the right or expectation to enter into it to learn how to do it so you can make your own commodity or product there. Peter Kropotkin as well extends the notion that the individual in society goes to do what needs to be done in society to earn what he needs by providing the labor that will produce for society (for four hours a day mind you, he was very interested in and in tune with automation processes in the post-Marx world), and after you may devote what additional time you want for personal endeavors including working in a field you are fascinated with and are happy to work under on your own volition form which you will earn the education and resources necessary to advance one's capability in that particular field; whether it be writing books (he proposes writers should learn to work the presses to print their own books, pointing to the coming invention of the type-writer which was rumored to be coming at the time, today we have computerized printers to make this even easier), art, cooking, astronomy, or any other field of science; it's interesting to note further he was writing in continuation of Ben Franklin's proposal of the five-hour work day.
But, this logic can be applied as well to the capitalist system and even turned on its head. Under the assumption that we must work a set amount of hours a day to earn a wage that basically sets the limits on our standard of living, and thus limiting our freedom to pursue freedom of want and activity, while also setting prohibitive costs on certain commodities set by non-working owners: then are we any more or less free than the sewage worker forced to keep the sewers working in 1950's Moscow? Sure, we have the freedom to accept or decline the position of a sewer worker and the conditions implied as compensated by a set hourly wage; but there's not much choice if it's ultimately work or die.
Similarly: if the mantra of the day is "do what you want, you'll find happiness" then does this too crash the system? When we're told from the moment we can conceive a future to set a goal for adult hood and all of us want to be doctors and computer programmers then who is left to work in the factories and the other essential and not-so-glamorous fields necessary to keep society functioning? If we're judging capitalism as the ultimate freedom of choice in profession and we should all be doctors then the system is as vulnerable to failure as communism in that a misappropriation of roles can lead to its collapse, and like in Stalinist Russia we too have our population of despondent lawyer hopefuls finding themselves working at McDonalds or unrelated, perceived menial fields that was not part of the rose-colored rainbow future we were told to pursue.
At least in this regard Kropotkin recognizes there's shit we gotta do and we should do it, but we're not burdened with it all waking hours of the day. And when it turns out the community is teetering on the brink of collapse because too few or no one is doing what needs to be done, the presumed freedom of movement between necessary functions will get them there. In this regard in The Conquest of Bread he writes about Paris and the region around it cutting ties with the rest of France to become self-sustaining and critics charging that the city would collapse; to which he said let it, so they know they will need to adjust and accommodate.
The notion of going from A to B and all about can bleed into the progress bit. Progress for who or what? Society or the individual? If for society, then the trend of open source programs and projects where individuals can drift in and out making contributions as they see fit really dots the i that progress in advancing technology or a field can be made without the directing influence of a single head of project. And if the community all has a share of or free access to the material they need to produce their own commodities or technology for the whole to make their life easier than the financial burdens of having to be financially supported by a larger parent company are thrown out the window and everyone has the capability to make, or help make something for more in advance than what presently exists or even to modify what presently exists.
If personal progress, this really comes around to what is considered success in the present system and whether or not this is good or bad. While being a high-earning doctor or lawyer or something in any field could be called success in that they are out-ranking their peers, but they are also not happy, is this success? Conversely, people who are happy in their field and are happy to wake up every day to do it irregardless of conditions in that field can be called successful and that there is or may be a marked improvement between their quality of life at a given point in the past, and the present then. And if progress is measured as having a marked material improvement between a point in the past and that point in the present, then it would surely be argued that the freedom of access to material and means to improve the quality of their personal property is a mark of forward change.
You could of course make a point in saying that judging personal progress through a change of and improvement in material condition is the sort of materialist mind-set that capitalism makes sure is enforced, because capitalism now-a-days exists to sell shit like fidget spinners. And like-wise the notion that success and personal progress is through a marked increase in personal wealth is too a factor created by capitalism to enforce itself. Why say this? Because for as long as western materialist society has shared a border with a culture that does not share these traits people have consistently moved towards the other, and never - if not very rarely - in the opposite direction. This is the long trial the US faced in its centuries of conflict with the Native Americans; despite all of the west's material, scientific, and supposed cultural superiority people still walked off into the woods to join the Indians, because there was more purpose, more equability, and a greater sense the individual belongs to something. They were happier.
By this notion progress in the present sense is full of shit. Likewise a functioning society doesn't need hierarchy or a very tall hierarchy even. If the issue is lack of oversight in day-to-day duties or even in specialized areas then in the case of Titoism or some fields of Libertarian-Socialism there's options of community appointed or elected individuals to manage these affairs on behalf of the masses. And even in near-total absence of hierarchical functionaries a society can still advance beyond itself prior; as was the case in Revolutionary Catalonia where Anarcho-Communists and Anarcho-Syndicalists seized control of that quarter of Spain and in many areas managed to increase production by fifty percent or even double through self-management and an open adoption of new principles. Both I might add shoot for the same goal of Marx, but just in more immediate circumstances.
Stalin though fucked them over and the convoluted politics of Republican Spain. But before the Soviet advisers in the area could ruin them by blaming everything that was ever wrong ever on them and Trotskyites they did very well by all accounts.
By financial oversight is also not only wrong and unnecessary, since the end goal is to abolish all money all together. There's no need to oversee what doesn't exist. Getting there though is the question of praxis.