In their article “Revisiting Marx and Liberalism,” the authors, Edward Martin and Mateo Pimentel, repeat the old myth that “socialism for Marx is the first stage of communism.”
Marx and Engels, as anyone who is familiar with their writings knows, used the terms ‘socialism’ and ‘communism’ interchangeably to describe what they stood for. They did not think of them as separate systems of society but merely as different names for a system based on the social or common ownership of the means of production.
Why they used one and then the other was explained quite clearly by Engels in one of the prefaces he wrote to the Communist Manifesto. Nevertheless the myth still persists that Socialism and Communism are two different systems of society and not alternative names for the same society.
For Marx (and Engels), Socialism/Communism referred to a wageless, moneyless, stateless society based on common ownership where the lower phase would be without free access and the higher stage would include free access.
It was Lenin who distorted this view of Marx and claimed that the lower stage, which he (Lenin) called ‘socialism’, retained the state and wage-slavery and which in reality was nothing more than State-Capitalism.
Once you realise that Lenin was not a Marxist and that the Russian social system, under the so-called Communist Party, was State Capitalism (which eventually transformed itself into full blown market Capitalism in the last few decades) then there is no difficulty in recognising, along with Marx and Engels, that Socialism and Communism are just two alternative ways of referring to a society based on genuine common ownership.