It has nothing to with being a collective, you could have a collective state that was still a free market economy where no central body decides on what or how much of any single good is being produced, the level of ownership of those goods is an entirely seperate issue.
And you can have democraies that are planned economies, for instance "After America entered the War, a part of the automotive industry was diverted to aircraft production." http://histclo.com/essay/war/ww2/cou/us/aod/arms/air/aodwa-air.html and who was it that did the diverting?
I'll give you a small clue it was the Federal Government, they instructed companies to stop making cars and start making aircraft. The same thing happened in the UK, carpenters were told to stop making chairs & tables and instead start produce parts for the Mosquito. And although the UK didn't exert 100% control over production it still directed sizeable chucks of production into the 50's as part of post-war reconstruction.
Top-down centrally-directed production is... directly counter to the principle of collective action. It seems that there is some confusion here - what you're speaking of sounds more like "policies enacted by states that claimed to be communist" than anything that actually lines up with any definition of communism you care to name.
"The parties choose who you get to vote for" ignores the concept of independent candidates. "Differences between the parties are so small they're effectively the same"... well, that's certainly not my
experience in a Western, democratic nation - our major parties include big-business hard-right cut-all-the-taxes types (what would qualify as 'centrist' in the US), up-from-the-grassroots union-driven hard-left high-tax-high-spending-high-service types, and break-up-the-country-because-Reasons types. Those... are just a little
different in action.
The US for the most part has open primaries so anyone can stand and anyone can vote for who gets to represent a particular party. It's more common for the process to be closed only party members can vote and bodies within the party decide who can stand.[/quote]It's also common to allow for independent candidates.
I agree. Candidate A believes in policy X, Candidate B also believes in policy X where's the choice? Does it matter that candidates A & B are from the same party or different parties? So where is the difference? Most communist states are democracies it's just the lack of choice is sometimes a little more obvious.[/quote]
This is not an argument for "Soviet-style states are democracies", this is an argument for "certain nominally-democratic states are not in fact democratic".
No US couldn't be a communist economy because it doesn't exist; you could have a planned economy, an unplanned economy or a mixed economy those are your choices.
Implicit in this statement, there appears to be an assumption that all planning must come from a hierarchical governing body. Once again, I strongly suggest you look at Spain ca. 1936. "Nobody has ever had a functioning decentralized communal nation" is an annoying historical myth.