Communist state

A communist state, also known as a Marxist–Leninist state, is a one-party state that is administered and governed by a communist party guided by Marxism–Leninism. Marxism–Leninism was the state ideology of the Soviet Union, the Comintern after Bolshevisation and the communist states within the Comecon, the Eastern Bloc and the Warsaw Pact.[1] Marxism–Leninism remains the ideology of several communist states around the world and the official ideology of the ruling parties of China, Cuba, Laos and Vietnam.[2]

Communist states are typically administered through democratic centralism by a single centralised communist party apparatus. These parties are usually Marxist–Leninist or some national variation thereof such as Maoism or Titoism, with the official aim of achieving socialism and progressing toward a communist society. There have been several instances of communist states with functioning political participation processes involving several other non-party organisations such as direct democratic participation, factory committees and trade unions, although the communist party remained the centre of power.[3][4][5][6][7]

As a term, communist state is used by Western historians, political scientists and media to refer to these countries. However, these states do not describe themselves as communist nor do they claim to have achieved communism—they refer to themselves as socialist states that are in the process of constructing socialism.[8][9][10][11] Terms used by communist states include national-democratic, people's democratic, socialist-oriented and workers and peasants' states.[12] Academics, political commentators and other scholars tend to distinguish between communist states and democratic socialist states, with the first representing the Eastern Bloc and the latter representing Western Bloc countries which have been democratically governed by socialist parties such as Britain, France, Sweden and Western social-democracies in general, among others.[13][14][15][16]