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Vanguard of the RevolutionThe Global Idea of the Communist Party$
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A. James McAdams

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691196428

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691196428.001.0001

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The Party Vanishes

The Party Vanishes

(p.475) Chapter 13 The Party Vanishes
Vanguard of the Revolution

A. James McAdams

Princeton University Press

This chapter considers three of prominent socialist states that were not directly affected by the revolutions of 1989–1991—North Korea, China, and Cuba. At the time, these states had recognized that they, too, were no longer living in the world of Marx and Lenin. In different ways, each of these states drifted away from the different conceptions of single-party rule. In North Korea, the break was complete. Under successive despots, Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il, and Kim Jong-un, the party's leading role was fully supplanted by the institution of dynastic rule. In China, the shift was gradual and less conspicuous. A new generation of leaders, represented by Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao, and Xi Jinping, routinely invoked the principle of party rule to justify their policies. But they did not necessarily practice it. Indeed, by the 2000s, one was hard-pressed to say what specifically made the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) communist. Only Fidel Castro showed any consistency, but in a way that did not serve the party idea. Although he had two options to institutionalize his vision, the party and the military, he evidently remained convinced until his final days that he was the epicenter of his country's revolution.

Keywords:   China, North Korea, Cuba, socialist states, single-party rule, dynastic rule, Chinese Communist Party, Fidel Castro

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