Communism 2.0: China, capitalism and the growth of new world socialism

The seismic shift from Soviet-style communism 1.0, based on heavy industry, to China’s AI-supported communism 2.0 can be observed to different degrees across seven communist states, writes Tomasz Kamusella

Saturday 20 November 2021 21:30
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<p>Beijing has been proudly communist since 1949 </p>

Beijing has been proudly communist since 1949

After the 1989 fall of communism in the Soviet bloc, five self-declared communist states remain today: China, Cuba, Laos, North Korea and Vietnam. Belarus and Venezuela can also be added to the mix as they fulfil the criteria of a communist state – even though they do not officially invoke the ideology. So, at present, the number stands at seven. The question is, now that capitalism is the engine of China’s economy, what is communism today? And if the number of communist states is poised to grow in the near future, as some predict, what does this prospect mean for democracy?

My interest in communism goes beyond my work as a historian – it’s personal. I was born and raised in communist Poland in the 1970s and 1980s. It was a grey country where people seemed to have lost all hope. All essentials, including shoes and coffee, were rationed. But rationing cards did not mean you would get what you wanted, or even needed. Queueing for hours – sometimes even days – to buy anything that had just been delivered to a shop was a regular occurrence.

I have no doubt that my upbringing shaped my life and inspired my career. My research has examined modern central and eastern Europe, nationalism, and the politics of language – particularly in the region’s totalitarian and authoritarian regimes during the past two centuries.

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