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Encyclopedia > Communist Party
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Left communism
Council communism
Religious communism
Anarchist communism
Basic concepts
Class struggle
Communist party
Historical materialism
Marxist philosophy
Proletarian internationalism
Socialist economics
Communist internationals
Communist League
First International
Fourth International
Prominent communists
Karl Marx
Friedrich Engels
Rosa Luxemburg
Vladimir Lenin
Joseph Stalin
Leon Trotsky
Mao Zedong
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Criticisms of communism
Democratic centralism
Dictatorship of the proletariat
History of communism
Left-wing politics
New Class
New Left
Primitive communism
Communism Portal
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This article deals only with the Leninist version of a Communist party. Communism is an ideology that seeks to establish a classless, stateless social organization based on common ownership of the means of production. ... Image File history File links Hammer_and_sickle. ... Marxism refers to the philosophy and social theory based on Karl Marxs work on one hand, and the political practice based on Marxist theory on the other hand (namely, parts of the First International during Marxs time, communist parties and later states). ... Vladimir Lenin in 1920 Leninism refers to various related political and economic theories elaborated by Bolshevik revolutionary leader Vladimir Lenin, and by other theorists who claim to be carrying on Lenins work. ... Left Communism is a term describing a whole range of communist viewpoints which oppose the political ideas of the Bolsheviks from a position which is asserted to be more authentically Marxist and proletarian than the views held by the Communist International after its first two Congresses. ... Council communism is a Radical Left movement originating in Germany and the Netherlands in the 1920s. ... Religious communism is a term used by some Communists that claim that before communism became associated with atheism, the word communism was mainly used by religious groups. ... Anarchist communism is a form of anarchism that advocates the abolition of the State and capitalism in favor of a horizontal network of voluntary associations through which everyone will be free to satisfy his or her needs. ... Joseph Stalin Stalinism is the political and economic system named after Joseph Stalin, who implemented it in the Soviet Union. ... Trotskyism is the theory of Marxism as advocated by Leon Trotsky. ... Titoism is a term describing political ideology named after Yugoslav leader, Josip Broz Tito, primarily used to describe the schism between the Soviet Union and Socialist Yugoslavia after the Second World War (see Cominform) when the Communist Party of Yugoslavia refused to take further dictates from Moscow. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Eurocommunism was an attempt in the 1970s by various Western European communist parties to develop a theory and practice of social transformation that was more relevant in a Western European democracy. ... Class struggle is class conflict looked at from a Marxist, libertarian socialist, or anarchist perspective. ... Historical materialism is the methodological approach to the study of society, economics and history which was first articulated by Karl Marx (1818-1883), although Marx himself never used the term. ... See also Marxian economics Marxist philosophy or Marxist theory designs work in philosophy which is strongly influenced by Karl Marxs materialist approach to theory or which is written by Marxists. ... International Socialism redirects here. ... Socialist economics is a broad, and sometimes controversial, term. ... See Communist League (disambiguation) for other groups of the same name. ... The International Workingmens Association (IWA), sometimes called the First International, was an international socialist organization which aimed at uniting a variety of different left-wing political groups and trade union organizations that were based on the working class and class struggle. ... The Comintern (Russian: Коммунистический Интернационал, Kommunisticheskiy Internatsional – Communist International, also known as the Third International) was an international Communist organization founded in March 1919, in the midst of the war communism period (1918-1921), by Vladimir Lenin and the Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik), which intended to fight by all available means, including... For other uses, see Fourth International (disambiguation). ... Karl Heinrich Marx (May 5, 1818, Trier, Germany – March 14, 1883, London) was a German philosopher, political economist, and revolutionary. ... Friedrich Engels (November 28, 1820, Wuppertal – August 5, 1895, London), a 19th-century German political philosopher, developed communist theory alongside his better-known collaborator, Karl Marx, co-authoring The Communist Manifesto (1848). ... Rosa Luxemburg Rosa Luxemburg (March 5, 1870 or 1871 – January 15, 1919, in Polish Róża Luksemburg) was a Jewish Polish-born Marxist political theorist, socialist philosopher, and revolutionary. ... Lenin redirects here. ... “Stalin” redirects here. ... This article is becoming very long. ... “Mao” redirects here. ... Anarchism is a political philosophy or group of doctrines and attitudes centered on rejection of any form of compulsory government (cf. ... An anti-capitalist poster printed by the Industrial Workers of the World in 1911. ... This does not cite its references or sources. ... This article is on criticisms of communism, a branch of socialism. ... Democratic centralism is the name given to the principles of internal organization used by Leninist political parties, and the term is sometimes used as a synonym for any Leninist policy inside a political party. ... The dictatorship of the proletariat is a term employed by Karl Marx in his 1875 Critique of the Gotha Program that refers to a transition period between capitalist and communist society in which the state can be nothing but the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat. The term refers to a... In Western thought, the history of communism, an idea of a society based on common ownership of property, can be traced back to ancient times. ... “Leftism” redirects here. ... The new class is a term to describe the privileged ruling class of bureaucrats and Communist party functionaries which typically arises in a Stalinist communist state. ... The New Left is a term used in different countries to describe left-wing movements that occurred in the 1960s and 1970s. ... Post-Communism is a name sometimes given to the period of political and economic transition in former communist states located in parts of Europe and Asia, usually transforming into a free market capitalist and globalized economy. ... Primitive communism, according to Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, is the original society of humanity. ... Socialism refers to a broad array of doctrines or political movements that envisage a socio-economic system in which property and the distribution of wealth are subject to social control. ...

In modern usage, the term communist party is generally used to identify any political party which has adopted communist ideology. However, the Leninist concept of a communist party includes not only ideological orientation, but also a wide set of organizational policies. The communist party is, at least according to Leninist theory, the vanguard party of the working class. Lenin's theories on the role of the communist party were developed as the Russian Social Democracy was bifurcated into Bolsheviks and Mensheviks. Lenin, who was the leader of the Bolshevik ('majority') faction argued that the revolutionary party should be a well-knit vanguardist party with a centralized political command and a strict cadre policy whereas the Menshevik ('minority') faction argued that the party should be a broad-based mass movement. The Bolshevik party, which eventually transformed into the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, took power in Russia after the October Revolution. With the creation of the Communist International, the Leninist concept of Party Building was copied by emerging communist parties worldwide. Political parties Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      A political party is a political organization that seeks to attain political power within a government, usually by participating in electoral campaigns. ... Communism is an ideology that seeks to establish a classless, stateless social organization based on common ownership of the means of production. ... Vladimir Ilyich Lenin ( Russian: Влади́мир Ильи́ч Ле́нин  listen?), original surname Ulyanov (Улья́нов) ( April 22 (April 10 ( O.S.)), 1870 – January 21, 1924), was a... Social democracy is a political ideology emerging in the late 19th and early 20th centuries from supporters of Marxism who believed that the transition to a socialist society could be achieved through democratic evolutionary rather than revolutionary means. ... Bolshevik Party Meeting. ... Leaders of the Menshevik Party at Norra Bantorget in Stockholm, Sweden, May 1917. ... The Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Russian: Коммунисти́ческая Па́ртия Сове́тского Сою́за = КПСС) was the name used by the successors of the Bolshevik faction of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party from 1952 to 1991, but the wording Communist Party was present in the partys name since 1918 when the Bolsheviks became the Russian... Red October redirects here. ... The first edition of Communist International, journal of the Comintern published in Moscow and Petrograd (now Saint Petersburg) in May 1919. ...

There currently exist hundreds, if not thousands, of communist parties, large and small, throughout the world. Their success rates vary widely: some are growing; others are in decline. In five countries (China, Cuba, DPR Korea, Laos, and Vietnam) communist parties retain dominance over the state. See the List of Communist Parties for details on the communist parties of today. North Korea, officially the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK; Korean: Chosŏn Minjujuŭi Inmin Konghwaguk; Hangul: 조선민주주의인민공화국; Hanja: 朝鮮民主主義人民共和國), is a country in eastern Asia... There are, at present, a number of communist parties active in various countries across the world, and a number who used to be active. ...


Structure of Communist parties

See: democratic centralism.

In theory, a party congress would elect a Central Committee to execute the will of the Congress between meetings. The Central Committee would elect a much smaller Politburo to elect a general secretary and handle day-to-day operations. In practice in many countries where communist parties were in government, the flow of power often became the reverse: the Politburo became self-perpetuating, and controlled the composition of the Central Committee, which in turn controlled the party congresses. Democratic centralism is the name given to the principles of internal organization used by Leninist political parties, and the term is sometimes used as a synonym for any Leninist policy inside a political party. ... A Party Congress is a general conference of a political party. ... Central Committee most commonly refers to the central executive unit of a communist party, whether ruling or non-ruling. ... Politburo is short for Political Bureau. ... The term General Secretary (alternatively First Secretary) denotes a leader of various unions, parties or associations. ...

Some contemporary communist parties still hold to the democratic centralist tradition. Others have abandoned democratic centralism, often accompanied by a renouncing of Marxism-Leninism overall. Vladimir Lenin in 1920 Leninism is a political and economic theory which builds upon Marxism; it is a branch of Marxism (and it has been the dominant branch of Marxism in the world since the 1920s). ...

Mass organizations

As the membership of the communist party itself was to be limited to active cadres, there was a need for networks of separate organizations to mobilize mass support for the party. Typically communist parties have built up various front organizations, whose membership is often open to non-communists. In many countries the single most important front organization of the communist parties has been its youth wing. During the time of the Communist International the youth leagues were explicit communist organizations, using the name 'Young Communist League'. Later the youth league concept was broadened in many countries, and names like 'Democratic Youth League' were adopted.

Other organizations often connected to communist parties includes trade unions, student, women's, peasant's and cultural organizations. Traditionally these mass organizations were politically subordinated to the political leadership of the party. However, in many contemporary cases mass organizations founded by communists have acquired a certain degree of independence. In some cases mass organizations have outlived the communist parties in question. A trade union or labor union is a continuous association of wage-earners for the purpose of maintaining or improving the conditions of their employment. ...

At the international level, the Communist International organized various international front organizations (linking national mass organizations with each other), such as the Young Communist International, Profintern, Krestintern, International Red Aid, Sportintern, etc.. These organizations were dissolved in the process of deconstruction of the Communist International. After the Second World War new international coordination bodies were created, such as the World Federation of Democratic Youth, International Union of Students, World Federation of Trade Unions, Womens International Democratic Federation and World Peace Council. YCI symbol, French-Portuguese-Spanish version YCI pin Young Communist International was the youth wing of the Communist International. ... The trade union international of early Soviet Russia. ... Red Peasant International, generally called by its Russian abbreviation Krestintern, was an international peasants organization formed by the Communist International in October 1923. ... International Red Aid (in Spanish, Socorro Rojo Internacional or SRI) was a Spanish Soviet organization affiliated with the Comintern, making its first appearance in Spain as a charity organization during the workers’ revolt of October 1934 in Asturias. ... Mushroom cloud from the nuclear explosion over Nagasaki rising 18 km into the air. ... WFDY symbol The World Federation of Democratic Youth is a youth organization, recognized by the United Nations as an international youth non-governmental organization. ... The World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) was established in the wake of the Second World War to bring together trade unions across the world in a single international organization, much like the United Nations. ... The World Peace Council (or World Council of Peace) was formed in 1949 in order to promote peaceful coexistence and nuclear disarmament. ...


A uniform naming scheme of the communist parties was adopted by the Communist International. All parties were required to use the name 'Communist Party of (name of country)'. Today, there are plenty of cases were the old sections of the Communist International have retained those names. In other cases names have been changed. Common causes for the shift in naming were either moves to avoid state repression[1] or as measures to indicate a broader political appeal. A typical example of the latter was the renamings of various East European communist parties after the Second World War, as staged 'mergers' of the local Social Democratic parties occurred.[2] New names in the post-war era included 'Socialist Party', 'Socialist Unity Party', 'Popular Party', 'Workers Party' and 'Party of Labour'. Regions of Europe as delineated by the United Nations[1] (UN definition of Eastern Europe marked salmon):  Northern Europe  Western Europe  Eastern Europe  Southern Europe Pre-1989 division between the West (grey) and Eastern Bloc (orange) superimposed on current national boundaries: Russia (dark orange), other countries of the former USSR...

The naming conventions of communist parties became more diverse as the international communist movement was fragmented due to the Sino-Soviet split in the 1960s. Those who sided with China and/or Albania in their criticism of the Soviet leadership, often added words like 'Revolutionary' or 'Marxist-Leninist' to distinguish themselves from the pro-Soviet parties. The Sino-Soviet split was a major diplomatic conflict between the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), beginning in the late 1950s, reaching a peak in 1969 and continuing in various ways until the late 1980s. ...

See also

There are, at present, a number of communist parties active in various countries across the world, and a number who used to be active. ...


  1. ^ One such example is the Swiss Party of Labour, which was founded in 1944 to substitute the illegalized Communist Party of Switzerland.
  2. ^ Such mergers occurred in East Germany (Socialist Unity Party of Germany), Hungary (Hungarian Workers Party), Poland (Polish United Workers Party) and Romania (Romanian Workers Party).

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