Communist state

Map of countries that declared themselves or were declared to be Communist states under the Marxist–Leninist or Maoist definition at some point in their history (note that not all of these countries were Marxist–Leninist or Maoist at the same time)

A Communist state (sometimes referred to as Marxist–Leninist state or workers' state) is a state that is administered and governed by a single party, guided by Marxist–Leninist philosophy.

There have been several instances of Communist states with functioning political participation processes involving several other non-party organisations, such as trade unions, factory committees and direct democratic participation.[1][2][3][4][5] The term "Communist state" is used by Western historians, political scientists and media to refer to these countries. However, contrary to Western usage, these states do not describe themselves as "communist" nor do they claim to have achieved communism—they refer to themselves as Socialist or Workers' states that are in the process of constructing socialism.[6][7][8][9]

Communist states are typically administered by a single, centralised party apparatus, although some provide the impression of multiple political parties but these are all solely in control by that centralised party. These parties usually are Marxist–Leninist or some variation thereof (including Maoism in China), with the official aim of achieving socialism and progressing toward a communist society.

Development of Communist states

During the 20th century, the world's first constitutionally socialist state was in Russia in 1917. In 1922, it joined other former territories of the empire to become the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). After World War II, the Soviet Army occupied much of Eastern Europe and thus helped establish Communist states in these countries. Most Communist states in Eastern Europe were allied with the Soviet Union, except for Yugoslavia which declared itself non-aligned. In 1949, after a war against Japanese occupation and a civil war resulting in a Communist victory, the People's Republic of China (PRC) was established. Communist states were also established in Cambodia, Cuba, Laos and Vietnam. A Communist state was established in North Korea, although it later adopted its own ideology called Juche. In 1989, the Communist states in Eastern Europe collapsed under public pressure during a wave of non-violent movements which led to the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. Today, the existing Communist states in the world are in China, Cuba, Laos and Vietnam.

These Communist states often do not claim to have achieved socialism or communism in their countries—rather, they claim to be building and working toward the establishment of socialism in their countries. For example, the preamble to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam's Constitution states that Vietnam only entered a transition stage between capitalism and socialism after the country was re-unified under the Communist Party in 1976[10] and the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Cuba states that the role of the Communist Party is to "guide the common effort toward the goals and construction of socialism".[11]