Stalinism is what we revolutionary socialists call an ideology that claims to support communist thinking, when in reality they oppress workers and rule in a top down bureaucratic way. Stalinist parties all model their governments on the Soviet government of Joseph Stalin or his successors. In the late 1980’s many moved away from Marxist socialism and the idea of a planned economy. Today the ideas of Marx and Lenin play little to no role in the governments of China, Vietnam and Laos. In North Korea all references to communism were removed in 2009 by the Workers Party of Korea, which embraces a isolationist militaristic ideology!
The Communist Party of China (or Chinese Communist Party) is a neoliberal nationalist party ruling the People’s Republic of China since 1949. Founded in 1921 the CCP moved away from genuine Marxist socialism and embraced maoism in the 1930’s. After the party won the Chinese civil war Mao Zedong ruled with a dogmatic and iron fist. With the beginning of the Cultural Revolution in 1966 the party was in chaos for years. It was Deng Xiaoping who reinforced CCP control over Chinese society. By 1983 his government started with capitalist experiments. Xiaoping’s experiments led to the rise of a new capitalist class. China has more millionaires and billionaires then the USA. They are even allowed to become party members. The CCP today promotes Chinese nationalism!
The Communist Party of Vietnam has also embraced state-capitalism. This party started as the Communist Party of Indochina and led the Vietnamese struggle for national independence from France. The liberation war ended in 1954 with the birth of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam under Ho Chi Minh. After the war against the American puppet regime in the south, North Vietnam reunified the nation as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. But in 1986 the Communist Party of Vietnam moved away from Stalinist economics and embraced a market economy. Today Vietnam is a very unequal society with a new class of capitalists enjoying wealth and power, at the expense of workers. Meanwhile the ruling communist party is fully focusing on Vietnamese nationalism which led to conflicts with China over some islands!
The Workers Party of Korea is the ruling nationalist-militarist party of North Korea. Since its 6th party congress in 1980 the WPK is fully subjugated to one family: the Kim dynasty. It was Kim Il Sung who renounced classic stalinism and replaced it with his isolationist ideology called Juche. He created a massive cult around himself which grew into a state-religion. After he died in 1994 his son Kim Jong Il was the new ”Great Leader”. Jong Il introduced the militaristic policy known as ”Military First” or Sungon. The Workers Party of Korea then removed all references to Marxist communism in 2009, turning the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in a fully Juche-Songun state. With Kim Jong Il’s death in late 2011 the ”throne” went to his youngest son Kim Jong Un!
The Lao People’s Revolutionary Party is the ruling state-capitalist party in Laos. The Laotian stalinists fought a brutal battle against monarchists and western imperialist powers. In 1975 the Kingdom of Laos was defeated and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic established. Eleven years later the party started with capitalist reforms as demonstrated by Vietnam’s Doi Moi program. With the Laotian state abandoning Stalinist economics, the LPRP embraced ethnic nationalism as their last means to keep absolute political control. In 1991 the government removed the famous red star with hammer & sickle from the Laotian national emblem. Today Laos tries to attract foreign capitalists and has joined most international trade organisations, who promote neoliberal economics. The working class remains oppressed as criticism of the party and its leadership remains banned!
The Communist Party of Cuba was not the leading party of the Cuban revolution in 1959. Fidel Castro and his guerrilla group were the true force behind the revolution. It would take almost five years before he fused all supporting political parties and groups into one communist party. The first congress was held in 1975 it was then that Castro centralized political power in the party. Unlike the Asian communist parties, the Communist Party of Cuba remains idealistic and committed towards what they see is socialism, this is a rarity among Stalinist parties. Still it does not hide the fact that Raúl Castro has moved the party to the right, by allowing American capitalists to build and own a tractor factory. It signals a move towards accepting a market economy!
The Communist Party of the Russian Federation is the spiritual successor to the Communist Party of the Soviet-Union, although there are differences between the old Soviet party and this new one. The CPSU for example was state-atheist and rejected religion while the CPRF is supportive of religion and the Russian Orthodox Church. Also the Communist Party of the Russian Federation is nationalist and supports Russian chauvinism. They often ally themselves with the reactionary Kremlin bureaucracy. This makes the CPRF not a party for a socialist revolution in Russia. Still many elderly support this pseudo-communist party out of nostalgia. Since dictator Vladimir Putin started to glorify the second world war Joseph Stalin has become a popular icon again. However the party has little support among workers and almost no support among the youth!