Forms of Government
- Communism is a socio-political, philosophical, and economic ideology developed by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.
- This ideology was later adapted by Lenin during the Bolshevik Revolution which allowed them to take power in Russia in 1917.
- The key feature of a communist country is the lack of private property, as all the means of production are under the control of the state.
- Another major feature of communist nations is their intolerance towards religion. Unlike the western nations who practice separation of church and state, communist nations often suppress organised religion and religious practices.
- This comes as no surprise since the founder of communist ideology, Karl Marx himself has criticised religion saying that “Religion is the opium of the people.”
- During the Cold War era, when the world became divided along ideological lines, the communist nations led by USSR became the counter to US and its allies.
- Communist countries often have a one-party ruling system with the state and party being the same entity.
- Currently few countries in the world have a communist form of government.
Various leaders adapted communist ideology to suit their own situations, hence communist form of government can be divided into;
- Soviet Union was the first communist country in the world as well as the leader of the communist world till its disintegration in 1991.
- Soviet model of communism was developed by Vladimir Lenin and was more suited towards the needs of Russia and its people.
- While Marx and Engels focused on the industrial workers and their problems in a industrialised Germany, Lenin gave equal focus on both Agricultural Labourers and Industry workers due to the semi industrialised nature of Russia in the 20th century.
- Soviet Union also gave heavy emphasis in the spread of communism throughout the world and founded the Communist International or Comintern to spread communist ideology around the world.
- Soviet Union also gave financial and military support to the various communist nations around the world with Warsaw Pact being the largest such grouping.
- The slow speed of economic development coupled with massive spending on military caused the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991
- China is the largest and most powerful communist country in the world at present, though it has a much smaller influence around the globe.
- Chinese communist ideology was developed by Mao Zedong in the latter half of the 20th century and is modified to suit the Chinese conditions.
- Chinese communism gave heavy emphasis on agriculture and land reforms while little to no concern was given to the industrial workers due to China’s lack of industries.
- Chinese communism also did not give much focus on developing communist ideology around the world and was more focused on China’s strategic requirements.
- Due to the Sino-Soviet split, China became closer to the US from the 1960s which culminated in communist China gaining the permanent seat in UN Security Council.
- China essentially left the state led economic model in the 1980s under Deng Xiaoping, which resulted in massive economic growth which propelled it to become the second largest economy in the world today.
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- Communism in Vietnam developed under Hồ Chí Minh in the 1950s and North Vietnam became a communist nation.
- The entire Vietnam was united under a communist government after the end of US-Vietnam war (1955–1975).
- They follow the Marxist-Leninist ideology of democratic Centralisation.
- The Viet Cong, an armed communist revolutionary organization in South Vietnam, are responsible for the defeat of the US forces during the Vietnam war.
- Currently Vietnam is also in the process of opening up its market to globalisation and is one of the fastest growing economies in the world.
North Korean Communism
- North Korea is popularly known as the Hermit Kingdom and as such not many things are known about its socio-political situation outside the country.
- The Korean communism is unique as it follows a philosophy known as the Juche which promotes national independence and development through the efforts of the popular masses.
- It forms a unique mix of ultra-nationalism along with autocratic subservience to their leader and state ownership of every resource including manpower.
- North Korean polity is unique amongst communist nations as they are the sole communist country which has a family serving as the de facto head of nation.
- They are also the only known Necrocracy as the Supreme Leader of the country still is Kim Il-sung who died in 1994.
- The North Korean state is all mighty within the country and controls every aspect of the citizens life, personal as well as public.
- It is known that each North Korean citizen has only a limited number of haircuts that they are allowed to have.
- They also practice conscription, and each North Korean citizen, man or women has to compulsorily serve in the armed forces.
Other Communist nations such as Cuba or Laos maintain similar political structure and they are also in various stages of opening their economy.
India also has communist parties as mainstream such as Communist Party of India and Communist Party of India (Marxist).
The Naxalite insurrection is also following communist ideology and is often said to receive funding from China.