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How many countries are communist?

How many communist countries are there in the world? Well we will get into the whole labyrinth of what counts as a communist country later, but in shirt there are 5 communist states left in the world.

So, which countries are communist? Namely China, North Korea, Vietnam, Laos and Cuba. Simple enough right?

What is a communist country?

Well this is where things get all heated!For our list of 5 we have gone down the route of any country ruled by a “vanguard party”, AKA a communist one party state (kinda) that has references to Marxism-Leninism in the constitution. The exception here is North Korea, which has Juche in place of Marxism-Leninism, but the is a whole other bag of vegetables!

But this is where you will find Tankies, anti-Americans, Trotskyites and all other many of the reds argue the toss about things. The reason for this os from the 1980’s most of these countries started to open their economies and some might argue are not all that red anymore. China has a Starbucks in the Forbidden city and more billionaires than you can shake a hammer and sickle at!

Officially at least they are sort of doing a variation of Lenin’s NEP, or New Economic Policy, whereby you allow a little bt capitalism before you start building communism. One might argue that if you have got to a level of capitalism whereby oligarchs can buy Premier League Football Clubs, you might have gone too far.

Who are the most communist countries?

Again this depends very much on your definition, but I would personally rank the 5 states as follows.

The communist country league table!

North Korea – Almost all of the economy is still state run, although some private markets and indeed special economic zones that experiment with varying degrees of capitalism exist.

Cuba – Again almost all of the economy is still in state hands, but following the reforms implemented by Raul Castro there is a strong private sector, which has led very much to the haves and have nots. Still pretty communist though.

Laos – Laos is the least developed of the communist block in some respects, but they have very much opened to investment and there is lots of private enterprise.

Vietnam – Officially called Doi Moi, Vietnam is very much open for business and has a booming economy. Still led by the communists and has a strong state sector.

China – Aside from being ruled by a communist party China’s booming economy is down to the private sector. The state sector is still very big, but they are run very much as profit making enterprises. Oh and you have to pay for hospitals in China.

Other communist countries

The other notable exception to these is the country of Nepal! Nepal is run by a coalition of communist parties, Maoist none the less! Although Nepal really is not all the communist.

You can read about the Maoists of Nepal here.

Communist insurgencies in the world

New Peoples Army of the Philippines

An officially Maoist organization that are trying their own brand of Peoples Protracted War. They are present in large swaths of the Philippines, but do not control any land large enough to be considered almost state like.

National Liberation Army (ELN) of Colombia

The FARC (revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) may have given up the ghost and gone all civilian, but the ELN are still out kicking it in the jungle. With a fighting force of around 3000 they have stepped into a lot of former FARC territory and control small parts of Colombia still.

To read an n depth analysis on the Colombian Civil War click here.

Naxalite-Maoist insurgency in India

This si the biggest communist insurgency in the world and yet almost no one had heard of it, their support was key to helping the Maoists take over in Nepal, although that obviously hasn’t exactly gone to plan either. Have a fighting force of over 8000 and are present in a w hole heap of Indian states. They have an approval rating as high as 60% in some states. Not bad for a rebel army!

Socialist Countries

So, which countries are socialist? Again we can get really nerdy on this one. In communist thought socialism is the road towards communism, and no country has every achieved communism. Therefore these 5 communist countries, are also socialist, by their own definition.

But of course there are other definitions of socialism, even in America where it is largely a dirty word!A hell of a lot of the world are thus run by parties txt would consider themselves leftist, from Social-Democrats to Greens. We won’t go into that whole bit, as it would frankly be boring! We will therefore look at other states that have slightly more interesting socialist governments!


Officially the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela that was formerly ran by the maverick socialist Hugo Chavez, he’s all dead now and his successor Mr Maduro has had a bit of a tough time of late. They still hold elections, but overall the country is a bit of mess.

Arab Socialism/Baathism in Syria

Despite kind of having elections during the Syrian Civil War, the country is ran by the National Progressive Front, which includes a number of communist and leftist parties, but is led by the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party,

Baathism and Arab Socialism aim to mix socialism with a little bit of Islamic theory. The Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party are kind of an offshoot, splinter group of a party formerly ran by a Saddam Hussein in Iraq. Technically at least Syria is now a Semi-Presidential Democracy, but kinda isn’t!.

Are there any Anarchist-Communist states in the world?

Anarch-Communism is a whole other beast. It’s like communism, but without a state or central control. Are there any anarchist states in the world? There no anarchist states in the world, but there is rebel part of Syria called Rojava that deserves a bit of a special mention.

What’s the story with Rojava?

The Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (NES), also known as Rojava, whilst not recognized by any international body is an autonomous region of Syria. It is based on direct democracy, anarchism and libertarian socialist principles. Quite how well all of this functions  is open to debate, but it has generally been received well by the eclectic anarchist community.

To read a super in depth article about Rojava click here.

And that is the skinny on Socialist Countries, Communist Countries and just how well the left is faring these days.

And no, Joe Biden, or Obama are not socialists……

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