Countries such as the "USSR and the "PRC were criticized by Western authors and organisations on the basis of a lack of "multi-party "Western democracy, in addition to several other areas where "socialist society and "Western societies differed. For instance, socialist societies were commonly characterised by "state ownership or "social ownership of the "means of production either through "administration through "party organisations, democratically elected "councils and "communes and "co-operative structures - in opposition to the "liberal democratic capitalist "free-market paradigm of management, ownership, and control by corporations and private individuals. Communist states have also been criticised for the "influence and outreach of their respective "ruling parties on "society, in addition to lack of recognition for some Western "legal rights and "liberties  such as the right to ownership of private property, and the restriction of the "right to free speech.
Soviet advocates and socialists responded to these criticisms by highlighting the ideological differences in the concept of "freedom". McFarland and Ageyev noted that "Marxist-Leninist norms disparaged laissez-faire individualism (as when housing is determined by one's ability to pay), also [condemning] wide variations in personal wealth as the West has not. Instead, Soviet ideals emphasized equality—free education and medical care, little disparity in housing or salaries, and so forth." When asked to comment on the claim that former citizens of Communist states enjoy increased freedoms, "Heinz Kessler, former East German defense minister replied that “Millions of people in Eastern Europe are now free from employment, free from safe streets, free from health care, free from social security.” The early economic development policies of Communist states have been criticised for focusing primarily on the development of "heavy industry.
In his critique of states run under Marxist–Leninist ideology, economist "Michael Ellman of the "University of Amsterdam notes that such states compared favorably with Western states in some health indicators such as infant mortality and life expectancy. Similarly, "Amartya Sen's own analysis of international comparisons of life expectancy found that several Marxist–Leninist states made significant gains, and commented "one thought that is bound to occur is that communism is good for poverty removal." The "dissolution of the Soviet Union was followed by a rapid increase in poverty, crime, corruption, unemployment, homelessness, rates of disease, and income inequality, along with decreases in calorie intake, life expectancy, adult literacy, and income.
List of current states described as communist
The following countries are one-party states in which the institutions of the ruling communist party and the state have become intertwined. They are generally adherents of Marxism–Leninism in particular. They are listed here together with the year of their founding and their respective ruling parties:
|Country||Local name||Since||Ruling party|
|"China, People's Republic of||In "Chinese; 中华人民共和国
In "Pinyin; Zhōnghuá Rénmín Gònghéguó
|1 October 1949||"Communist Party of China|
|"Cuba, Republic of||In "Spanish; República de Cuba||1 July 1961||"Communist Party of Cuba|
|"Lao People's Democratic Republic||In "Lao; Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao||2 December 1975||"Lao People's Revolutionary Party|
|"Vietnam, Socialist Republic of||In "Vietnamese; Cộng hòa xã hội chủ nghĩa Việt Nam||2 September 1945 ("in the north)
30 April 1975 ("in the south)
|"Communist Party of Vietnam|
|Country||Local name||Since||Ruling party||Note|
|"Korea, Democratic People's Republic of||In "Korean; 조선민주주의인민공화국
In "Revised Romanization; Chosŏn Minjujuŭi Inmin Konghwaguk
|9 September 1948||"Workers' Party of Korea||Socialist state although the government's official ideology is now the "Juche part of "Kimilsungism–Kimjongilism policy of "Kim Il-sung, as opposed to traditional "Marxism–Leninism. In 2009, the "constitution of the DPRK was quietly amended so that not only did it disavow all Marxist–Leninist references present in the first draft, but it also dropped all reference to 'Communism'.|
Multi-party states with governing communist parties
There are multi-party states with Communist parties leading the government. Such states are not considered to be Communist states as the countries themselves allow for multiple parties, and do not provide a constitutional role for their communist parties.
- "Nepal The "Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist–Leninist) is the leading party in the government coalition.
"Cyprus, "Moldova and "Guyana have also recently had officially Marxist–Leninist ruling parties.
- "Capitalist state
- "Communist society
- "Criticisms of communist party rule
- "List of anti-capitalist and communist parties with national parliamentary representation
- "List of communist parties
- "List of socialist states, which includes a list of current and former socialist states.
- "People's democracy (Marxism–Leninism)
- "Socialist state
- "Socialism in One Country
|""||Wikimedia Commons has media related to Communist countries.|
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In a modern sense of the word, communism refers to the ideology of Marxism-Leninism.
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Contrary to Western usage, these countries describe themselves as ‘Socialist’ (not ‘Communist’). The second stage (Marx’s ‘higher phase’), or ‘Communism’ is to be marked by an age of plenty, distribution according to needs (not work), the absence of money and the market mechanism, the disappearance of the last vestiges of capitalism and the ultimate ‘whithering away of the state.
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Among Western journalists the term ‘Communist’ came to refer exclusively to regimes and movements associated with the Communist International and its offspring: regimes which insisted that they were not communist but socialist, and movements which were barely communist in any sense at all.
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Ironically, the ideological father of communism, Karl Marx, claimed that communism entailed the withering away of the state. The dictatorship of the proletariat was to be a strictly temporary phenomenon. Well aware of this, the Soviet Communists never claimed to have achieved communism, always labeling their own system socialist rather than communist and viewing their system as in transition to communism.
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The decisive distinction between socialist and communist, as in one sense these terms are now ordinarily used, came with the renaming, in 1918, of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party (Bolsheviks) as the All-Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks). From that time on, a distinction of socialist from communist, often with supporting definitions such as social democrat or democratic socialist, became widely current, although it is significant that all communist parties, in line with earlier usage, continued to describe themselves as socialist and dedicated to socialism.
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