Politics in Minutes (2016)

Communist totalitarianism

In Marxist theory, socialism is seen as a transitional stage between capitalism and the establishment of true communism. Sometimes described as ‘the dictatorship of the proletariat’, this stage was interpreted by some as implying a totalitarian rule to consolidate the system against opposition. In Soviet Russia, Joseph Stalin used state violence to intimidate and eradicate opposition, installing himself as the dictatorial leader of a totalitarian communist state. Similarly, Mao Zedong (pictured) implemented Marxist/Leninist policies with a greater degree of nationalism to establish a Chinese totalitarian state, and Fidel Castro established a one-party socialist state in Cuba. North Korea is arguably one of the most repressive of all communist totalitarian states. On gaining independence from the Soviet Union in 1948, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was modelled on Stalin’s authoritarian communism. The dictatorship is now dynastic, with the title of Supreme Leader passing from Kim Il-sung to his son Kim Jong-il and then his grandson Kim Jong-un.