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Selected articles list
François-Noël Babeuf (23 November 1760 - 27 May 1797), known as Gracchus Babeuf (in tribute to the Roman tribunes of the people and reformers, the Gracchi brothers, and used alongside his self-designation as Tribune), was a French political agitator and journalist of the Revolutionary period. In spite of the efforts of his Jacobin friends to save him, Babeuf was arrested, tried, and convicted for his role in the Conspiracy of the Equals. Although the words "anarchist"and "communist" did not exist in Babeuf's lifetime, they have all been used to describe his ideas, by later scholars. The word "communism" was coined by Goodwyn Barmby in a conversation with those he described as the "disciples of Babeuf".
Karl Heinrich Marx (5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) was a German philosopher, political economist, historian, political theorist, sociologist, communist, and revolutionary, whose ideas are credited as the foundation of modern communism. Marx summarized his approach in the first line of chapter one of The Communist Manifesto, published in 1848: "The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles."
Marx argued that capitalism, like previous socioeconomic systems, would inevitably produce internal tensions which would lead to its destruction. Just as capitalism replaced feudalism, he believed socialism would, in its turn, replace capitalism, and lead to a stateless, classless society called pure communism. He argued that capitalism will end through the organized actions of an international working class.
While Marx remained a relatively obscure figure in his own lifetime, his ideas and the ideology of Marxism began to exert a major influence on workers' movements shortly after his death. This influence gained added impetus with the victory of the Bolsheviks in the Russian October Revolution in 1917, and few parts of the world remained significantly untouched by Marxian ideas in the course of the twentieth century. Marx is typically cited, with Émile Durkheim and Max Weber, as one of the three principal architects of modern social science.
Friedrich Engels (28 November 1820 – 5 August 1895) was a German industrialist, social scientist, author, political theorist, philosopher and father of Marxist theory alongside Karl Marx. In 1845, he published The Condition of the Working Class in England, based on personal observations and research. In 1848, he produced with Marx The Communist Manifesto (which was based on Engels' The Principles of Communism) and later supported Marx financially to do research and write Das Kapital. After Marx's death, Engels edited the second and third volumes. Additionally, Engels organized Marx's notes on the "Theories of Surplus Value" and this was later published as the "fourth volume" of Capital.
Prince Pyotr Alexeyevich Kropotkin (Russian: Пётр Алексе́евич Кропо́ткин; 9 December 1842 – 8 February 1921) was a Russian zoologist, activist, philosopher, economist, writer, scientist, evolutionary theorist, geographer and one of the world's foremost anarcho-communists. Kropotkin advocated a communist society free from central government and based on voluntary associations between workers. Because of his title of prince, he was known by some as "the Anarchist Prince". Some contemporaries saw him as leading a near perfect life, including Oscar Wilde, who described him as "a man with a soul of that beautiful white Christ which seems coming out of Russia." He wrote many books, pamphlets and articles, the most prominent being The Conquest of Bread and Fields, Factories and Workshops, and his principal scientific offering, Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution. He also contributed the article on anarchism to the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition.
Rosa Luxemburg (Rosalia Luxemburg, Polish: Róża Luksemburg; 5 March 1871, Zamość, Vistula Land, Russia – 15 January 1919, Berlin, Weimar Republic) was a Polish-Jewish-German Marxist theorist, socialist philosopher, and revolutionary for the Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania, the German SPD, the Independent Social Democratic Party and the Communist Party of Germany.
In 1914, after the SPD supported German participation in World War I, she co-founded, with Karl Liebknecht, the revolutionary Spartakusbund (Spartacist League), that on 1 January 1919 became the Communist Party of Germany (KPD). In November 1918, during the German Revolution she founded the Die Rote Fahne (The Red Flag), the central organ of the left wing revolutionaries.
She regarded the Spartacist uprising of January 1919 in Berlin as a mistake, but supported it after it had begun. When the revolt was crushed by the Freikorps (right wing militias defending the Weimar regime and composed of World War I veterans), Luxemburg, Liebknecht and hundreds of their supporters were captured, manhandled and killed. Since their deaths, Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht have achieved great symbolic status amongst both social democrats and Marxists.
Karl Liebknecht (13 August 1871, Leipzig, Saxony, Germany – 15 January 1919, Berlin, Germany) was a German socialist and a co-founder with Rosa Luxemburg of the Spartacist League and the Communist Party of Germany. He is best known for his opposition to World War I in the Reichstag and his role in the Spartacist uprising of 1919. The uprising was crushed by the social democrat government and the Freikorps (paramilitary units formed of World War I veterans) and Liebknecht and Luxemburg were killed.
After their deaths, Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg became martyrs for Marxists. According to the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, commemoration of Liebknecht and Luxemburg continues to play an important role among the German far-left.
Antonio Gramsci (22 January 1891 – 27 April 1937) was an Italian writer, politician, political philosopher, and linguist. He was a founding member and onetime leader of the Communist Party of Italy and was imprisoned by Benito Mussolini's Fascist regime. Gramsci was one of the most important Marxist thinkers in the 20th century, and his writings are heavily concerned with the analysis of culture and political leadership; he is notable as a highly original thinker within modern European thought. He is renowned for his concept of cultural hegemony as a means of maintaining the state in a capitalist society.
Gramsci wrote more than 30 notebooks and 3000 pages of history and analysis during his imprisonment. These writings, known as the Prison Notebooks, contain Gramsci's tracing of Italian history and nationalism, as well as some ideas in Marxist theory, critical theory and educational theory associated with his name.
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (22 April 1870 – 21 January 1924) was a Russian revolutionary, politician and political theorist who served as the Premier of the Soviet Union from 1922 till 1924. A Marxist, he was responsible for developing the political theory of Marxism-Leninism, and as the leader of the Bolshevik Party took a senior role in the October Revolution of 1917. Following the Bolsheviks rise to power, Lenin was instrumental in the conversion of the Russian Empire into the Soviet Union, a socialist state governed by a Communist Party.
As a politician, Lenin was a persuasive and charismatic orator. As an intellectual his extensive theoretic and philosophical developments of Marxism produced Marxism–Leninism, a pragmatic Russian application of Marxism that emphasized the critical role played by a committed and disciplined political vanguard in the revolutionary process, while defending the possibility of a socialist revolution in less advanced capitalist countries through an alliance of the proletarians with the rural peasantry.
Lenin remains a controversial and highly divisive world figure. Critics labeled him a dictator, but supporters saw him heroically as a champion of the working classes. He has had a significant influence on the Marxist-Leninist movement, which since his death had developed into a variety of schools of thought.
Leon Trotsky (7 November [O.S. 26 October] 1879 – 21 August 1940), born Lev Davidovich Bronshtein, was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and theorist, Soviet politician, and the founder and first leader of the Red Army.
Trotsky was initially a supporter of the Menshevik faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party. He joined the Bolsheviks immediately prior to the 1917 October Revolution, and eventually became a leader within the Party, second only to Vladimir Lenin. During the early days of the Soviet Union, he served first as People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs and later as the founder and commander of the Red Army, and People's Commissar of War. He was a major figure in the Bolshevik victory in the Russian Civil War (1918–20). He was also among the first members of the Politburo.
After leading a failed struggle of the Left Opposition against the policies and rise of Joseph Stalin in the 1920s and the increasing role of bureaucracy in the Soviet Union, Trotsky was successively removed from power, expelled from the Communist Party, deported from the Soviet Union and assassinated on Stalin's orders. An early advocate of Red Army intervention against European fascism, Trotsky also opposed Stalin's non-aggression pact with Adolf Hitler in the late 1930s. Trotsky's ideas form the basis of Trotskyism, a major school of Marxist thought that is opposed to the theories of Stalinism.
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin (18 December 1878 – 5 March 1953) was the first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee from 1922 until his death in 1953. In the years following Lenin's death in 1924, he rose to become the leader of the Soviet Union, which he ruled as a leader of dictatorship of proletariat .
Stalin launched a command economy, replacing the New Economic Policy of the 1920s with five-year plans and launching a period of rapid industrialization and economic collectivization. The upheaval in the agricultural sector disrupted food production, resulting in widespread famine, such as the catastrophic Soviet famine of 1932–33, known in Ukraine as the Holodomor.
During the late 1930s, Stalin launched the Great Purge (also known as the "Great Terror"), a campaign to purge the Communist Party of people accused of sabotage, terrorism, or treachery; he extended it to the military and other sectors of Soviet society. Targets were often executed, imprisoned in Gulag labor camps or exiled. In the years which followed, millions of members of ethnic minorities were also deported.
In 1939, after failed attempts to establish a collective security system in Europe, Stalin decided to enter into a non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany, followed by a Soviet invasion of Poland, Finland, the Baltics, Bessarabia and northern Bukovina. After Germany violated the pact in 1941, the Soviet Union joined the Allies to play a primary role in the Axis defeat, at the cost of the largest death toll for any country in the war (mostly due to the mass deaths of civilians on the territories occupied by Nazis). After the war Stalin installed communist governments in most of Eastern Europe, forming the Eastern Bloc, behind what was referred to as an "Iron Curtain" of Soviet rule during the long period of antagonism between the Western world and the USSR, known as the Cold War.
Mao Zedong, also transliterated as Mao Tse-tung, (26 December 1893 – 9 September 1976) was the chairman of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China from 1943 and the chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China from 1945 until his death. Under his leadership, the CCP became the ruling party of mainland China as the result of its victory in the Chinese Civil War. On 1 October 1949, Mao declared the formation of the People's Republic of China at Tiananmen Square.
Mao developed a brand of Sinified Marxism-Leninism communism known as Maoism, paralleling the political ideology known as Stalinism. While in power, he started a series of experiments aimed at speeding up China's economic development known as the Great Leap Forward. The Great Leap Forward sought to rely on labour instead of capital to help agriculture and industries succeed. Unfortunately, as a result of the Great Leap Forward, at least 20 million people starved to death. He forged, and later split, an alliance with the Soviet Union and launched the Cultural Revolution, with its stated goal of purging Chinese society of bourgeoisie elements and enforcing socialism.
Mao is widely credited for creating a mostly unified China free of foreign domination for the first time since the First and Second Opium Wars of the mid-nineteenth century. Mao has also been criticized for his inefficient response to the famine of 1958–1961 and the violence of the Cultural Revolution.
Mao Zedong is commonly referred to as Chairman Mao (毛主席). At the height of his personality cult, Mao was commonly known in China as the "Four Greats": "Great Teacher, Great Leader, Great Supreme Commander, Great Helmsman".
Hồ Chí Minh (19 May 1890 – 2 September 1969), born Nguyễn Sinh Cung, was a Vietnamese Marxist–Leninist revolutionary leader who was prime minister (1945–1955) and president (1945–1969) of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam). He was a key figure in the formation of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in 1945, as well as the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) and the Vietcong during the Vietnam War until his death in 1969.
Hồ led the Việt Minh independence movement from 1941 onward, establishing the communist-governed Democratic Republic of Vietnam in 1945 and defeating the French Union in 1954 at Điện Biên Phủ. He lost political power in 1955—when he was replaced as prime minister—but remained the highly visible figurehead of North Vietnam—through the presidency—until his death. The capital of South Vietnam, Saigon, after the Fall of Saigon, was renamed Ho Chi Minh City in his honor.
Josip Broz Tito (Cyrillic script: Јосип Броз Тито, 7 May 1892 – 4 May 1980) was a Yugoslav communist revolutionary and statesman. He was Secretary-General (later President) of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia (1939–80), and went on to lead the World War II Yugoslav anti-fascist guerrilla movement, the Yugoslav Partisans (1941–45). After the war, he was the Prime Minister from 1943 to 1963 and later President of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from 1943 until his death in 1980.
Tito was the chief architect of the "second Yugoslavia", a socialist, aspiring towards communist, federation that lasted from World War II until 1991. Despite being one of the founders of Cominform, he was also the first (and the only successful) Cominform member to defy Soviet hegemony. A backer of independent roads to socialism (sometimes referred to as "national communism" or "Titoism"), he was one of the main founders and promoters of the Non-Aligned Movement, and its first Secretary-General.
During his rule he suppressed nationalist sentiment and promoted the "brotherhood and unity" of the six Yugoslav nations. After Tito's death in 1980, tensions between the Yugoslav republics emerged and in 1991 the country disintegrated and went into a series of civil wars and unrest that lasted the rest of the decade and continue to impact most of the former Yugoslav republics to this day. He remains a controversial figure in the Balkans.
Ernesto "Che" Guevara (14 June 1928 – 9 October 1967), commonly known as El Che, was an Argentine-born Marxist revolutionary, physician, author, intellectual, diplomat, military theorist and Cuban guerrilla leader. As a young man studying medicine, Guevara traveled "rough" throughout Latin America, bringing him into direct contact with the poverty in which many people lived. Through these experiences he became convinced that only revolution could remedy the region's economic inequality, leading him to study Marxism and become involved in Guatemala's social revolution under President Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán.
Some time later, Guevara became a member of Fidel Castro's paramilitary 26th of July Movement, which seized power in Cuba in 1959. After serving in various important posts in the new government and writing a number of articles and books on the theory and practice of guerrilla warfare, Guevara left Cuba in 1965 with the intention of fomenting revolutions first in the Congo-Kinshasa (later named the Democratic Republic of the Congo) and then in Bolivia, where he was captured in a CIA/ U.S. Army Special Forces-organized military operation. Guevara died at the hands of the Bolivian Army in La Higuera near Vallegrande on 9 October 1967. Participants in, and witnesses to, the events of his final hours testify that his captors executed him without trial.
After his death, Guevara became an icon of communist revolutionary movements worldwide. An Alberto Korda photograph of him entitled Guerrillero Heroico (shown) has received wide distribution and modification. The Maryland Institute College of Art called this picture "the most famous photograph in the world and a symbol of the 20th century."
Rohana Wijeweera (14 July 1943 – 13 November 1989) was the leader of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, a prominent follower of Che Guevara and Sri Lankan revolutionary whose communist views of spreading wealth to the poorer classes earned him great popularity.
His father was an active member of Communist Party of Sri Lanka (pro-Soviet wing) and very close to Dr. S. A. Wickramasinghe. Later he was disabled after an attack of the opponent United National Party (UNP) thugs. He went to Lumumba University to study medicine. He conducted revolutionary activities and felt that the system existing in the USSR at that time was not real communism. He was expelled from Russia as a result of this. He returned to Sri Lanka and gained a large following in his beliefs in helping the poor. On 14 May 1965 he formed the JVP after a discussion in a house at Akmeemana in Galle district southern Sri Lanka.
Like Che Guevara he raised an army but the Government found out and he was not prepared; the 1971 uprising followed: a brief but violent struggle that claimed 15,000 lives. Wijeweera was imprisoned but remained a popular figure. In the 1977 elections, J. R. Jayewardene promised to release him if he was elected. This earned him many votes and when Jayawardene was elected, Wijeweera was released. The JVP was offered a chance at democratic elections and gained around 4% of the votes in the 1982 presidential election. However, civil disorder and mistreatment of the Tamil minority in Sri Lanka followed. Jayawardene blamed the JVP for this and the leaders of the JVP were captured. Wijeweera managed to escape, but in the violence that followed, Wijeweera was captured and killed.
He led of "Irkutsk Faction" and "Tuesday Faction", and "Kyongsong Communist Group" in Korean communist movement during Japan's colonial rule (1910–45). After the liberation of Korea, he participated in the formation of People's Republic of Korea in Seoul, but he strongly opposed the joint with the right-wing in South Korea. Eventually the government is dismissed. In the late 1940s, started the uprising and general strike in South Korea. In addition, he led factions involved in Jeju uprising. After returning to the failed uprising in South Korea, he go to North Korea for reunification talks, was remained in there. And his led Faction called "Domestic Faction" or "WPSK Faction" in Workers' Party of Korea. He led faction's Guerilla movements in the South continue until the Korean war. After 1955 he was not seen again, and it is widely believed that he was eliminated by Kim Il-sung's security forces.
Paul Verner (26 April 1911, Chemnitz – 12 December 1986, Berlin) was a German communist politician. He joined the communist movement at a young age, and went into exile during Hitler's rule. Verner became a prominent political personality in the German Democratic Republic after the war.
In 1925 he joined the Young Communist League of Germany (KJVD). In 1929 he became a member of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD). He worked as a volunteer in the communist publishing house Kämpfer-Verlag in Chemnitz. He became a member of the regional leadership of KJVD in Saxony. In 1932 he became editor of Junge Garde ('Young Guard').
With the National Socialist takeover in Germany, Verner went into exile. Towards the end of 1933, he became a member of the Scandinavian Bureau of the Young Communist International, and edited Jugendinternationale (the German-language publication of the Young Communist International). In 1934 he shifted to Paris, where he became editor-in-chief of Junge Garde (now published in exile), a position he held until the spring of 1935. He moved to Belgium, as the KJVD reorganized. Verner fought as a volunteer in the International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War. After the Spanish Civil War, he emigrated to Sweden.
Ardeshir Ovanessian (born 1905, Rasht, d. 1990) was an Iranian communist leader of Armenian origin. After completing a pharmacist apprenticeship (the profession of his father), he became involved in radical politics. He became involved in the radical Cultural Society of Rasht. Ovanessian became a cadre of the Communist Party of Persia in 1923. In 1925, he was sent to study at KUTV. Upon his return in 1926 he organized a pharmacists' trade union. For the Communist Party Ovanessian played a key role in the organizing of the party in Azerbaijan, making frequent visits to the different towns in the region.
Ovanessian was eventually captured by the police, and would spend eleven years in Qasr prison. In prison, Ovanessian played a major role. He and other jailed communist leaders organized cultural and educational activities for other inmates. In jail, Ovanessian studied French language. Once released in 1941, he became a founding member of the Tudeh Party of Iran. He became a member of the Provisional Central Committee of the party. After his release, he published a self-biographical work of his prison ordeals.
H. N. Goshal (Burmese: သခင်ဘတင်, IPA: [θəkʰɪ̀ɴ ba̰ tɪ̀ɴ]; also known as Thakin Ba Tin, d. 1967) was a communist politician and trade union leader in Burma, of Bengali origin. Goshal was one of the foremost leaders of the Communist Party of Burma and the most prominent theoretician of the party for several years. During the height of the Cultural Revolution (which had repercussions in the Communist Party of Burma) Goshal was marginalized and killed in an inner-party purge.
Goshal graduated from Rangoon University. In August 1939, Goshal took part in the founding of the Communist Party of Burma. He was a member of the Bengali cell of the party. During the Japanese occupation, Goshal fled to India. During the early days of the Communist Party of Burma, Goshal played an important role as a liaison between the Burmese party and the Communist Party of India (through its Bengal Provincial Committee). After the death of Thakin Ba Hein, Goshal became the head of the All Burma Trade Union Congress. Goshal's activities were mainly concentrated to Rangoon, organizing the largely Indian working class there.
Narayan Man Bijukchhe (Nepali: नारायणमान बिजुक्छे, party name 'Rohit', born 9 March 1940) is a Nepalese politician. Bijukchhe is the president of the Nepal Workers and Peasants Party. Bijukchhe was born in Sukuldhoka, Nepal. He became a communist sympathizer after seeing the relief work of Communist Party of Nepal cadres during floods in Rautahat around 1954. Around 1956 he joined the Students Federation and became a Communist Party member the following year. Bijukchhe became a prominent figure in the agrarian struggles in the Dhanusa, Parsa and Rautahat districts. In 1961 he became the president of the Students Union at Bhaktapur College.
In the early 1970s, Bijukchhe became a Central Committee member of Pushpa Lal Shrestha's Communist Party of Nepal. He was put in charge of the Bagmati, Narayani and Janakpur zone. He went against the leadership of Pushpa Lal Shrestha. Bijukchhe criticized the decision of Pushpa Lal and the party to support the Indian intervention in East Pakistan, the policy of seeking cooperation with Nepali Congress and the failure of the party to condemn the Soviet Union as imperialist.
Yusuf Salman Yusuf (Syriac: ܝܘܣܦ ܣܠܡܢ ܝܘܣܦ, Arabic: يوسف سلمان يوسف) better known by his nom de guerre Fahd (Arabic: فهد), (Baghdad 1901 – 14 February 1949), was an ethnic Assyrian and Christian was one of the first Iraqi communist activists and was first secretary of the Iraqi Communist Party from 1941 until his death on the gallows in 1949. He is generally credited with a vital role in the party’s rapid organizational growth in the 1940s. For the last two years of his life he directed the party from prison.
In building up the party, Fahd was guided by his own class feelings and political distrust of the intelligentsia and students, as much as by Leninist principles. He concentrated on the workers in the foreign-owned industries, and was assisted primarily by his trusted supporters Ali Sakar, Zaki Bassim and Ahmad 'Abbas. While a large proportion of the industrial workforce was employed in small locally-owned workshops, the party paid less attention to this sector; in many cases they were working for members of their extended family, and in addition they did not have the strategic importance of the Kirkuk oilfield workers, the railwaymen, or the workers at Basra port, all of whom were in large measure won over to the party during Fahd's leadership.
Vinod Mishra (Hindi: विनोद मिश्रा, 24 March 1947, Jabalpur – 18 December 1998, Lucknow) was an Indian communist politician. Mishra served as the General Secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation between 1975 and 1998.
Vinod Mishra was born to Suryakesh Mishra. The family moved to Kanpur in 1955. Mishra studied at Adarsh Banga Vidyalaya Inter College. Later he graduated from Kanyakubja Degree College and was admitted at the Christ Church Degree College for post-graduate studies in Mathematics. He went on to study at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at the Regional Engineering College in Durgapur in 1966. Mishra became associated with a group of leftwing students, who soon developed linkages to the AICCCR. Mishra led student rallies and a campus strike. By mid-1969 he had become a party wholetimer, leading a campaign of 'red terror' at the campus.
Mishra became the secretary of the Durgapur Local Organising Committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) (formed out of the AICCCR) in the early 1970s. However, he was arrested. After having pass a period at Asansol hospital following brutal beatings by the police, he was sent to the Baharampur Central Jail. Mishra continued to conduct political activities inside the prison.
Salawati Daud was an Indonesian politician and a member of the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI). Salawati Daud was married to a government official from Maros, a guerrilla stronghold during the Indonesian War of Independence. She travelled to Jakarta, trying to convince the republican government to support the guerrilla struggle.
Salawati Daud became the first female mayor in Indonesia, being elected mayor of Makassar in 1949.> As mayor, she confronted Dutch commander Captain Raymond "Turk" Westerling. In 1955 she was elected to parliament (on a PKI list) and moved to Jakarta. Salawati Daud became a prominent leader of the women's movement Gerwani. She was one of many Gerwani leaders imprisoned after the 1965 military takeover.
V. Subbiah (7 February 1911 – 1993) was an Indian communist politician from Pondicherry (Puducherry). Subbiah was the secretary of the Communist Party of French India. He is regarded as the founder of the trade union movement in the union territory.Subbiah was one of the 97 'Tamrapatra awardees', awarded the decoration for their role in the Indian freedom struggle.
Born and raised in Pondicherry, Subbiah studied at the Calve College High School, but he was expelled from the school after organizing an agitation. The expulsion was however revoked as students and parents had protests against the decision. During the early phase of his political career, Subbiah was influenced by Mahatma Gandhi and joined the Indian National Congress. He founded the Harijan Sevak Sangh in 1933. Moreover, he launched a publication called Sutantiram ('Independence'). Soon he was recruited into the communist movement after having befriended Amir Hyder Khan and S. V. Ghate. He took part in agitations in different areas of the Madras Presidency. He was jailed both by French and British colonial authorities, and moved underground when not in jail.
Knud Jespersen (12 April 1926, Sulsted – 1 December 1977) was a Danish politician. Jespersen served as chairman of the Communist Party of Denmark between 1958 and 1977 and was a member of parliament between 1973 and 1977.
During his teenage years Jespersen joined the resistance movement against the German occupation of Denmark. Both his mother and stepfather were members of the Communist Party. Following the 'police action' against the Communist Party on 22 June 1941, the entire household joined the underground resistance. In 1942, Jespersen himself became a member of the Communist Party. Both Jespersen and his stepfather were arrested and held in concentration camps. His stepfather, Christian Andersen, was arrested by the Gestapo in a raid on the family residence in December 1943. He died in the Neuengamme concentration camp a year later. Jespersen arrested on 27 March 1945 and was detained at the Frøslev Prison Camp. Jespersen was scheduled to be transferred to Germany, but was released after the Liberation on 5 May 1945.
After the war Jespersen became a trade union activist. Following his release he began to work as a casual labourer. He was elected local union chairman of warehouse workers in Aalborg in 1953. During the strike movements of the spring of 1956, he became known as an agitator.
Johann Zénon Bernard (13 February 1893 in Kahler – 25 June 1942 in Kassel, Germany) was a Luxembourgian communist politician. He led the Communist Party of Luxembourg during its first two decades of existence, and was the first communist elected to the parliament of Luxembourg. He died in German captivity during the Second World War.
Bernard was a metal worker by profession. He joined the socialist movement when the First World War broke out. He became a leading figure in the leftwing faction of the Socialist Party, advocating affiliation to the Communist International. In January 1921, he took part in the founding of the Communist Party of Luxembourg and became the secretary of the Central Committee of the party. In May 1921, he became the party chairman.
Bernard was elected to parliament in the 1934 national election. He was the first Luxembourgian communist elected to parliament. He was, however, barred from occupying his seat by the centre-right majority, on the pretext that as a revolutionary Bernard could not swear on the Constitution.
Nahuel Moreno (real name Hugo Miguel Bressano Capacete) (24 April 1924 – 25 January 1987) was a Trotskyist leader from Argentina. Moreno was active in the Trotskyist movement from before World War II until his death.
During the 1953–1963 split in the Fourth International he backed the International Committee faction led by the Socialist Workers Party (USA). For much of this time he published a journal called Palabra Obrera, and organised a group which sought to act as the left wing of the Peronist movement.
Prior to the reunification of the two factions in 1963, the International Secretariat's best-known leader in Latin America, J. Posadas, left to form his own Fourth International (Posadist). After Posadas' departure, Moreno became the central leader of the International's Latin American Bureau. When the Fourth International was reunified in 1963, his current helped to found the Revolutionary Workers Party in Argentina.
Nuon Chea (Khmer: នួន ជា), also known as Long Bunruot (Khmer: ឡុង ប៊ុនរត្ន), (born 7 July 1926) is a Cambodian former communist politician and former chief ideologist of Khmer Rouge. He was commonly known as "Brother Number Two" second in command to Pol Pot who was leader during the Cambodian genocide 1975–1979. Nuon Chea is in detention awaiting a United Nations trial for crimes against humanity for his role in the genocide.
Nuon Chea was born as Lau Ben Kon (Chinese: 劉平坤), at Voat Kor, Battambang, in 1926. Nuon's father, Lao Liv, worked as a trader as well as a corn farmer, while his mother, Dos Peanh, was a tailor. Lao Liv was of Chinese ethnicity while his mother was the daughter of a Chinese immigrant from Shantou and his Khmer wife. As a child, Nuon Chea was raised in both Chinese and Khmer customs. The family prayed at a Theravada Buddhist temple, but observed Chinese religious customs during the Lunar New Year and Qingming festival. Nuon Chea started school at seven, and was educated in Thai, French and Khmer.
Todor Khristov Zhivkov (Bulgarian: То̀дор Хрѝстов Жѝвков, tr. Todor Christov Živkov; IPA: [ˈtɔdɔr ˈxristɔf ˈʒifkɔf]; 7 September 1911 – 5 August 1998), was the communist head of state of the People's Republic of Bulgaria (PRB) from 4 March 1954 until 10 November 1989.
He became First Secretary of the Bulgarian Communist Party in 1954 and remained on this position for 35 years, until 1989, thus becoming the longest-serving leader of any Eastern Bloc nation, and one of the longest ruling non-royal leaders in history. His rule marked a period of unprecedented political and economic stability for Bulgaria, marked both by complete submission of Bulgaria to Soviet rule and a desire for expanding ties with the West. His rule remained unchallenged until the deterioration of East-West relations in the 1980s, when a stagnating economic situation, a worsening international image and growing careerism and corruption in the BCP weakened his positions. He resigned on 10 November 1989, under pressure by senior BCP members due to his refusal to recognize problems and deal with public protests. Within a month of Zhivkov's ouster, Communist rule in Bulgaria had effectively ended, and within another month the People's Republic of Bulgaria had formally ceased to exist.
Gustáv Husák (Slovak pronunciation: [ˈgustau̯ ˈɦusaːk]; 10 January 1913 – 18 November 1991) was a Slovak politician, president of Czechoslovakia and a long-term Communist leader of Czechoslovakia and of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (1969–1987). His rule is known as the period of the so-called "Normalization" after the Prague Spring.
Gustáv Husák was born as a son of an unemployed worker in Pozsonyhidegkút, Kingdom of Hungary, Austria-Hungary (now part of Bratislava, Slovakia as Dúbravka). He joined the Communist Youth Union at the age of sixteen while studying at the grammar school in Bratislava. In 1933, when he started his studies at the Law Faculty of the Comenius University in Bratislava, he joined the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KSČ) which was banned from 1938 to 1945. During World War II he was periodically jailed by the Jozef Tiso government for illegal Communist activities, and he was one of the leaders of the 1944 Slovak National Uprising against Nazi Germany and Tiso. Husák was a member of the Presidium of the Slovak National Council from 1 September to 5 September 1944.
Georges René Louis Marchais (7 June 1920, La Hoguette in Calvados – 16 November 1997, Paris) was the head of the French Communist Party (PCF) from 1972 to 1994, and a candidate in the French presidential elections of 1981—in which he managed to garner only 15.34% of the vote, which was considered at the time a major setback for the party.
He entered the Party in 1947. In 1956, he was appointed a member of the extended Central Committee and lead the South-Seine PCF local federation, in the bastion of Maurice Thorez, the historical leader of the Party. Three years later, he became a full member of the Central Committee and of the Politburo. His lightning promotion was explained by his professional origins and his devotion to Thorez. Indeed, he was part of the young guard of the General Secretary which participated to the strengthening of Maurice Thorez's leadership, which was covertly disputed by some members of the Politburo (Laurent Casanova and Marcel Servin). In 1961, after the ousting of these, he was nominated secretary for organization. Then, he supported the new General Secretary Waldeck Rochet and in his policy of conciliation with the other left-wing parties.
Erich Honecker (German: [ˈeːʁɪç ˈhɔnɛkɐ]; 25 August 1912 – 29 May 1994) was a German communist politician who, as the General Secretary of the Socialist Unity Party, led East Germany from 1971 until the weeks preceding the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. From 1976 onward he was also the country's official Head of State as Chairman of the State Council following Willi Stoph's relinquishment of the post.
Honecker's political career began in the 1930s when he became an official of the Communist Party of Germany, a position for which he was imprisoned during the Nazi era. Following World War II, he was freed and soon relaunched his political activity, founding the youth organisation the Free German Youth in 1946 and serving as the group's chairman until 1955. As the Security Secretary of the Party’s Central Committee in the new East German state, he was the prime organiser of the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961 and, in this function, bore responsibility for the "order to fire" along the Inner German border.
In 1971, he initiated a political power struggle that led, with Soviet support, to his replacing Walter Ulbricht as First Secretary of the Central Committee and as chairman of the state's National Defense Council. Under his command, the country adopted a programme of "consumer socialism" and moved toward the international community by normalising relations with West Germany and also becoming a full member of the UN, in what is considered one of his greatest political successes.
As Cold War tensions eased in the late 1980s under the liberalising reforms of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, Honecker refused all but cosmetic changes to the East German political system and was consequently forced to resign by his party in October 1989 and ousted from power as the regime sought to retain its power, thus ending Honecker's eighteen years (effectively) at the helm of the soon-to-cease state.
Charilaos Florakis (also Harilaos Florakis; Greek: Χαρίλαος Φλωράκης; 20 July 1914 – 22 May 2005) was a leader of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE). Florakis was born on 20 July 1914 in the village of Paliozoglopi, located near Agrafa in the Itamos municipality, prefecture of Karditsa, Greece. He joined KKE, in 1941. An ELAS partisan during the resistance to the Nazi occupation in World War II, Florakis was on the losing side of the Greek Civil War that followed the liberation of the country, and subsequently left the country.
On his return to Greece in 1954 he was arrested. During his life he spent 18 years in detention or jail - including being put in internal exile by the Greek colonels in the beginning of the 1967-74 military dictatorship. First elected to parliament in 1974, Florakis led KKE as its general secretary from 1972 until 1989, when, though still fit for the job, he announced his decision to step down from the party's top post and proposed Grigoris Farakos as his successor.
János Kádár [ˈjaːnoʃ ˈkaːdaːr] (26 May 1912 – 6 July 1989) was a Hungarian communist leader and the General Secretary of the Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party, presiding over the country from 1956 until his retirement in 1988. His thirty-two year term as General Secretary covered most of the period the People's Republic of Hungary existed. Kádár's regime continued until Mikhail Gorbachev became General Secretary. Due to Kádár's age and his declining health, he retired as Secretary-General of the party in 1988, and a younger generation consisting mostly of reformers took over.
Kádár was born in Fiume to a poor family, his father left his mother and him when he was very young, and he never met his father. After living in the countryside for some years, Kádár and his mother moved to Budapest. After quitting school, Kádár joined the Communist Party of Hungary's youth organisation, KIMSZ. Kádár would go on to become a prominent figure in the pre-World War II communist party, even becoming First Secretary. As leader he dissolved the party, and reorganised it as the Peace Party. This new party failed to win any popular support for the communist cause, and he would later be accused, of dissolving the Hungarian communist party. With the German invasion of Hungary, the Peace Party tried again to win support from the Hungarian populace, but failed. At the time of the Soviet occupation, the communists led by Kádár were very small in size.
As leader of Hungary, Kádár was a team player, and took care to consult his colleagues before acting or making decisions, and his tenure saw an attempt at liberalising the economic system to put greater effort to build up industries aimed at consumers. His rule was marked by what later became known as 'Goulash Communism'. A significant increase in consumer expenditures because of the New Economic Mechanism (NEM), a major economic reform, reintroduced certain market mechanisms into Hungary. As a result of the relatively high standard of living, and more relaxed travel restrictions than those present in other Eastern Bloc countries, Hungary was generally considered the best country to live in Central and Eastern Europe during the Cold War, also expressed in the informal term "the happiest barrack". On 6 July 1989, an ill Kádár died, after having been forced to retire.
Michael O'Riordan (Irish: Mícheál Ó Ríordáin, 12 November 1917 – 18 May 2006) was a leader of the Communist Party of Ireland and also fought with the Connolly Column in the International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War.
O'Riordan was born at 37 Pope's Quay, Cork City, on 11 November 1917. He was the youngest of five children. His parents came from the West Cork Gaeltacht of Ballingeary-Gougane Barra. Despite his parents being native speakers of the Irish language, it was not until O'Riordan was interned in the Curragh camp during the Second World War that he learnt Irish, being taught by fellow internee Máirtín Ó Cadhain who went on to lecture in Trinity College, Dublin.
As a teenager, he joined the republican youth movement, Fianna Éireann, and then the Irish Republican Army. The IRA at the time was inclined towards left wing politics and socialism. Much of its activity at the time concerned street fighting with the quasi-fascist Blueshirt movement and O'Riordan fought Blueshirt fascism on the streets of Cork City in 1933–34. O'Riordan was friends with left-wing inclined republicans such as Peadar O'Donnell and Frank Ryan, and in 1934, he followed them into the Republican Congress – a short-lived socialist republican party.
O'Riordan joined the Communist Party of Ireland in 1935 while still in the IRA and worked on the communist newspaper Socialist Voice. In 1937, following the urgings of Peadar O'Donnell, several hundred Irishmen, mostly IRA or ex-IRA men, went to fight for the Spanish Republic in the Spanish Civil War with the XVth International Brigade. They were motivated in part by enmity towards the 800 or so Blueshirts, led by Eoin O'Duffy who went to Spain to fight on the "nationalist" side in the Irish Brigade. O'Riordan accompanied a party led by Frank Ryan. In the Republic's final offensive of 25 July 1938, O'Riordan carried the flag of Catalonia across the River Ebro. On 1 August, he was severely injured by shrapnel on the Ebro front. He was repatriated to Ireland the following month, after the International Brigades were disbanded.
Enrico Berlinguer (Italian pronunciation: [enˈriko berliŋˈɡwɛr]) (25 May 1922 – 11 June 1984) was an Italian politician; he was national secretary of the Italian Communist Party (Partito Comunista Italiano or PCI) from 1972 until his death. The son of Mario Berlinguer and Maria Loriga, Enrico Berlinguer was born in Sassari to a noble Sardinian family, in a notable cultural context, with family ties and political contacts that would heavily influence his life and career. His surname is of Catalan origin, a reminder of the period when Sardinia was part of the dominions of the Crown of Aragon.
He was a cousin of Francesco Cossiga (who was a leader of the Italian Christian Democrats and later became a President of the Italian Republic), and both were relatives of Antonio Segni, another Christian Democrat leader and President of the Republic. Enrico's grandfather, Enrico Berlinguer Sr., was the founder of the Sardinian newspaper La Nuova Sardegna, and a personal friend of Giuseppe Garibaldi and Giuseppe Mazzini, whom he had helped in his attempts through his parliamentary work to improve the sad conditions on the island.
In 1937 Berlinguer had his first contacts with Sardinian anti-Fascists, and in 1943 formally entered the Italian Communist Party, soon becoming the secretary of the Sassari section. The following year a riot exploded in the town; he was involved in the disorders and was arrested, but was discharged after three months of prison.
Immediately after his detention ended, his father brought him to Salerno, the town in which the Royal family and the government had taken refuge after the armistice between Italy and the Allies. In Salerno his father introduced him to Palmiro Togliatti, the most important leader of the Communist Party.
Togliatti sent Berlinguer back to Sardinia to prepare for his political career. At the end of 1944, Togliatti appointed him to the national secretariat of the Communist Organisation for Youth (FGCI); as a secretary of the FGCI, Berlinguer at one point presented Maria Goretti as an example for activists; he was soon sent to Milan, and in 1945 he was appointed to the Central Committee as a member.
Edward Gierek (Polish pronunciation: [ˈɛdvart ˈɡʲɛrɛk]; 6 January 1913 – 29 July 2001) was a Polish communist politician. Gierek was born in Porąbka, outside of Sosnowiec. He lost his father to a mining accident in a pit at the age of four. His mother married again and emigrated to northern France, where he was raised. He joined the French Communist Party in 1931 and was later deported to Poland for organizing a strike. After his military service in Stryj, Galicia, Gierek went to Belgium in 1934, where he joined the Communist Party of Belgium while working in the coal mines of Waterschei. During World War II, he remained activist of the Communist Party of Belgium. He returned to Poland in 1948 and rose through the party ranks to become by 1957 a member of the Polish parliament. As first secretary of the Katowice voivodship party organization (1957–70), Gierek created a personal power base and became the recognized leader of the young technocrat faction of the party. When rioting over economic conditions broke out in late 1970, Gierek replaced Władysław Gomułka as party first secretary. Gierek promised economic reform and instituted a program to modernize industry and increase the availability of consumer goods, doing so mostly through foreign loans. His good relations with Western politicians, especially France's Valéry Giscard d'Estaing and West Germany's Helmut Schmidt, were a catalyst for his receiving Western aid and loans.
Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev (Russian: Леони́д Ильи́ч Бре́жнев, IPA: [lʲɪɐˈnʲid ɪlʲˈjitɕ ˈbrʲeʐnʲɪf] ( listen); Ukrainian: Леоні́д Іллі́ч Бре́жнєв, 19 December 1906 (O.S. 6 December) – 10 November 1982) was the General Secretary of the Central Committee (CC) of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), presiding over the country from 1964 until his death in 1982. His eighteen-year term as General Secretary was second only to that of Joseph Stalin in duration. During Brezhnev's rule, the global influence of the Soviet Union grew dramatically, in part because of the expansion of the Soviet military during this time. However, his tenure as leader has often been criticized for marking the beginning of an era of economic and social stagnation that eventually led to the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Brezhnev was born in Kamenskoe into a Russian worker's family. After graduating from the Dniprodzerzhynsk Metallurgical Technicum, he became a metallurgical engineer in the iron and steel industry, in Ukraine. He joined Komsomol in 1923, and in 1929 became an active member of the Communist Party. He was drafted into immediate military service during World War II and left the army in 1946 with the rank of Major General. In 1952 Brezhnev became a member of the Central Committee, and in 1964, Brezhnev succeeded Nikita Khrushchev as First Secretary. Alexei Kosygin succeeded Khrushchev in his post as Chairman of the Council of Ministers.
Santiago José Carrillo Solares (18 January 1915 – 18 September 2012) was a Spanish politician who served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of Spain (PCE) from 1960 to 1982. Born in Gijón, Asturias province, Carrillo was the son of the prominent Socialist leader Wenceslao Carrillo and wife María Rosalía Solares Martínez. When he was six years old, his family moved to Madrid. After attending school, he began to work in El Socialista, the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) newspaper at the age of 13. At the same time, he joined the Socialist Union, the Workers' General Union and the Socialist Youth.
In 1932, he joined the Executive Commission of the Socialist Youth and became editor of its newspaper, Renovación. Carrillo was on the left wing of the organisation. In 1933, as the Socialist Youth was becoming more radical, Carrillo was elected as General Secretary. From October 1934 to February 1936 he was jailed, due to his participation in the failed 1934 leftist coup (Carrillo was a member of the National Revolutionary Committee).
Álvaro Barreirinhas Cunhal, who used the name Álvaro Cunhal (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈaɫvɐɾu kuˈɲaɫ]; Sé Nova, Coimbra, 10 November 1913 – Lisbon, 13 June 2005), was a Portuguese politician. He was one of the major opponents of the dictatorial regime of Estado Novo. He served as secretary-general of the Portuguese Communist Party (PCP) from 1961 to 1992. He was one of the most pro-Soviet of all western Europe communist leaders, often supporting Soviet Union world policies, including the intervention in Czechoslovakia in 1968.
Cunhal was born in Coimbra, the third child of Avelino Henriques da Costa Cunhal (Seia, Seia, 28 October 1887 Coimbra, Sé Nova, 19 December 1966) and wife (m. Coimbra, Sé Nova, 22 August 1908) Mercedes Simões Ferreira Barreirinhas (Coimbra, Sé Nova, 5 May 1888 – Lisbon, 12 September 1971). His father was a lawyer in Coimbra and Seia, and later on in Lisbon, and came from a family of rural bourgeoisie, related to a rich and more aristocratic family, the Cunhal Patrício. His mother was a devout Catholic who wished her son had also become one. He also studied Law at the University of Lisbon, where he joined the PCP, then an illegal organization, in 1931. The deaths of his younger sister Maria Mansueta Barrerinhas Cunhal (Coimbra – Seia, 13 January 1921) and of his older brother António José Barreirinhas Cunhal (Coimbra, 1910 – Lisbon, 1932) struck the grief of both his parents and brothers, but specially of his mother and Álvaro, of whom they had always been close. He visited the Soviet Union for the first time in 1935 to attend the Seventh World Congress of the Comintern in Moscow. He joined the Central Committee of the PCP in 1936 at the age of 24. His first arrest occurred in 1937.
Xi Jinping (pinyin: Xí Jìnpíng, pronounced [ɕǐ tɕînpʰǐŋ], born 15 June 1953) is the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, the President of the People's Republic of China, and the Chairman of the Central Military Commission. As General Secretary, he is also an ex officio member of the CPC Politburo Standing Committee, China's de facto top decision-making body.
Son of communist veteran Xi Zhongxun, Xi Jinping rose through the ranks politically in China's coastal provinces. He served as the Governor of Fujian between 1999 and 2002, then as Governor and CPC party chief of the neighboring Zhejiang between 2002 and 2007. Following the dismissal of Chen Liangyu, Xi was transferred to Shanghai as the party secretary for a brief period in 2007. Xi was promoted to the central leadership in October 2007 and was groomed to become Hu Jintao's successor.
Xi is now the leader of the People's Republic's fifth generation of leadership. He has called for a renewed campaign against corruption, continued market economic reforms, an open approach to governance, and a comprehensive national renewal under the neologism "Chinese Dream".
Li Dazhao (29 October 1888 – 28 April 1927) was a Chinese intellectual who co-founded the Communist Party of China with Chen Duxiu in 1921. Li was born in Laoting (a county of Tangshan), Hebei province to a peasant family. He began his high school education at Tangshan Number 1 High School in 1905. From 1913 to 1917 Li studied political economy at Waseda University in Japan before returning to China in 1918.
As a leading intellectual in the New Culture Movement, Li was recruited by Cai Yuanpei to head the library at Peking University. In this position he influenced a number of students in the May Fourth Movement, including Mao Zedong, who worked in the library's reading room. Li was among the first of the Chinese intellectuals to look to China's villages as a basis for a political movement and was among the earliest to explore the Bolshevik government in the Soviet Union as a possible model for China's reform. Even as late as 1921, however, he still maintained warm relations with other New Culture figures such as Hu Shi.
By many accounts, Li was a nationalist and believed that the peasantry in China were to play an important role in China's revolution. As with many intellectuals of his time, the roots of Li's revolutionary thinking were actually mostly in Kropotkin's communist anarchism, but after the events of the May Fourth Movement and the failures of the anarchistic experiments of many intellectuals, like his compatriots, he turned more towards Marxism. Of course, the success of the Bolshevik Revolution was a major factor in the changing of his views. In later years, Li combined both his original nationalist and newly acquired Marxist views in order to contribute a strong political view to China.
Zhu De (Wade–Giles: Chu Teh; pronounced [ʈʂú tɤ̌]; 1 December 1886 – 6 July 1976) was a Chinese general, politician, revolutionary, and one of the pioneers of the Chinese Communist Party. After the founding of the People's Republic of China, in 1955 Zhu became one of the Ten Marshals of the People's Liberation Army, of which he is regarded as a principal founder.
Zhu was born on 18 December 1886 to a poor tenant farmer's family in Hung, a town in Yilong County, a hilly and isolated part of northern Sichuan province. His family relocated to Sichuan during the migration from Hunan province and Guangdong province. Despite their poverty, Zhu was sent to a classic private school in 1892. At age nine, Zhu was adopted by his prosperous uncle, whose political influence allowed him to gain access to Yunnan Military Academy later on. Before the repeal of imperial examinations in 1906, he attained the rank of Xiucai, which allowed him to qualify as a civil servant. Enrolling in Sichuan high school around 1907, upon graduating in 1908 he returned to Yilong high primary school as a gym instructor. An advocate of modern science and political teaching, rather than the strict classical education afforded by schools, he was dismissed from his post and entered the Yunnan Military Academy in Kunming. There, he joined the Beiyang Army and the Tongmenghui secret political society (the forerunner of Kuomintang).
Deng Xiaoping (Pinyin: Dèng Xiǎopíng, [tɤŋ˥˩ ɕjɑʊ˩ pʰiŋ˧˥] ( listen); 22 August 1904 – 19 February 1997) was a politician and reformist leader of the Communist Party of China who, after Mao's death led his country towards a market economy. While Deng never held office as the head of state, head of government or General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (the highest position in Communist China), he nonetheless served as the "paramount leader" of the People's Republic of China from 1978 to 1992. As the core of the second generation leaders Deng shared his power with several powerful older politicians commonly known as the Eight Elders.
Born into a peasant background in Guang'an, Sichuan, Deng studied and worked in France in the 1920s, where he was influenced by Marxism-Leninism. He joined the Communist Party of China in 1923. Upon his return to China he worked as a political commissar in rural regions and was considered a "revolutionary veteran" of the Long March. Following the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, Deng worked in Tibet and other southwestern regions to consolidate Communist control.
Deng was instrumental in China's economic reconstruction following the Great Leap Forward in the early 1960s. His economic policies, however, were at odds with the political ideologies of Chairman Mao Zedong. As a result, he was purged twice during the Cultural Revolution, but regained prominence in 1978 by outmaneuvering Mao's chosen successor, Hua Guofeng.
Jiang Zemin (born 17 August 1926) is a retired Chinese politician who served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of China from 1989 to 2002, as President of the People's Republic of China from 1993 to 2003, and as Chairman of the Central Military Commission from 1989 to 2004. His long career and political prominence have led to him being described as the "core of the third generation" of Communist Party leaders.
Jiang Zemin came to power following the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, replacing Zhao Ziyang as General Secretary of the Communist Party of China. With the waning influence of Deng Xiaoping and the other members of Eight Elders due to old age — and with the help of old and powerful party and state leaders, elder Chen Yun and former President Li Xiannian — Jiang effectively became the "Paramount Leader" in the 1990s.
Under his leadership, China experienced substantial developmental growth with reforms, saw the peaceful return of Hong Kong from the United Kingdom and Macau from Portugal, and improved its relations with the outside world while the Communist Party maintained its tight control over the government. Jiang has been criticized for being too concerned about his personal image at home, and too conciliatory towards Russia and the United States abroad.
Lin Biao (pinyin: Lín Biāo; IPA: [lǐn pjáu]; 5 December 1907 – 13 September 1971) was a major Chinese Communist military leader who was pivotal in the communist victory in the Chinese Civil War, especially in Northeastern China. Lin was the general who commanded the decisive Liaoshen Campaign and Pingjin Campaign, co-led the Manchurian Field Army of the People's Liberation Army into Beijing, and crossed the Yangtze River in 1949. He ranked third among the Ten Marshals. Zhu De and Peng Dehuai were considered senior to Lin, and Lin ranked directly ahead of He Long and Liu Bocheng.
Lin abstained from taking an active role in politics after the civil war, but became instrumental in creating the foundations for Mao Zedong's cult of personality in the early 1960s. Lin was rewarded for his service to Mao by being named Mao's designated successor during the Cultural Revolution, from 1966 until his death.
Lin died in September 1971 when his plane crashed in Mongolia, following what appeared to be a failed coup to oust Mao. Because little inside information is available to the public on what has been dubbed as the "Lin Biao incident", the exact events preceding Lin's death have been a source of speculation ever since. Following Lin's death, he was officially condemned as a traitor by the Communist Party of China. He and Jiang Qing are still considered to be the two "major Counter-revolutionary cliques" blamed for the excesses of the Cultural Revolution.
Blas Roca Calderio (24 July 1908 – 25 April 1987) was the First President of the National Assembly of People's Power in Cuba, leader of the Communist Party of Cuba, editor of the communist newspaper 'Hoy', and influential member of Castro's government. Blas Roca, a leading theoretician of the Cuban Revolution who led Cuba's prerevolutionary Communist Party, left school at the age of 11 and began shining shoes to help support his poor family. He changed his name to Roca, meaning 'rock', after he joined the Communist Party in 1929.
1929, was elected Secretary General of the Union of Shoemakers of Manzanillo. In August 1931 he was co-opted to the Central Committee of the Communist Party and head of his organization in Oriente Province. During this stage displayed a wide journalistic activity in the labour press and led the popular protests that culminated in the historic general strike of August 1933, which overthrew the Machado dictatorship.
Kaysone Phomvihane (ໄກສອນ ພົມວິຫານ) (13 December 1920 – 21 November 1992) was the leader of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party from 1955, though Souphanouvong served in a figurehead role. He served as the first Prime Minister of the Lao People's Democratic Republic from 1975 to 1991 and then as President from 1991 until his death a year later, in 1992.
Phomvihane attended law school at Hanoi University in Hanoi, Vietnam, with Nouhak Phoumsavan. He dropped out of law school to fight the French colonialists who were in Vietnam. Later, he joined Lao nation, which was also fighting the French colonialists.
He became an active revolutionary while studying in the Indochinese capital of Hanoi during the 1940s. Lao People's Liberation Army (LPLA) was established by Kaysone Phomvihane on 20 January 1949. He was Minister of Defence of Resistance Government (of the Neo Lao Issara) the from 1950. In 1955 he was instrumental in setting up the LPRP at Sam Neua in northern Laos, and subsequently served as the Pathet Lao leader, with Souphanouvong as its figurehead. In the years which followed, he led communist forces against the Kingdom of Laos and U.S. forces. After their victory he served as Prime Minister from the founding of the Lao PDR in 1975 until 1991. He married Thongvinh Phomvihane.
Võ Nguyên Giáp (born 25 August 1911) is a retired General of the Vietnam People's Army and a politician. Giáp was a principal commander in two wars: the First Indochina War (1946–54) and the Vietnam War (1960–75). He participated in the following historically significant battles: Lạng Sơn (1950); Hòa Bình (1951–52); Điện Biên Phủ (1954); the Tết Offensive (1968); the Easter Offensive (1972); and the final Hồ Chí Minh Campaign (1975).
Giáp was also a journalist, an interior minister in President Hồ Chí Minh's Việt Minh government, the military commander of the Việt Minh, the commander of the Vietnam People’s Army (PAVN), and defense minister. He also served as a member of the Politburo of the Vietnam Workers' Party, which in 1976 became the Communist Party of Vietnam.
He was the most prominent military commander, beside Ho Chi Minh, during the Vietnam war and was responsible for major operations and leadership until the war ended.
Rashed Khan Menon (b. 18 May 1943, Faridpur) is a Bangladeshi politician. He is the chairman of Workers Party of Bangladesh and a member of Jatiyo Sangsad, the parliament of Bangladesh. As of 2009, Menon served as the chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee of the Ministry of Education.
Menon studied at Dhaka Collegiate School, finish in 1958. In 1960 he passed intermediate in arts group from Dhaka College. He graduated from Dhaka University in 1963 with a degree in Economics. In 1964 he achieved his master's degree.
In the late 1960s, Menon the president of the East Pakistan Students Union faction linked to the National Awami Party of Maulana Bhasani. However, Menon differed with Maulana Bhasani when the latter accepted participation in elections in January 1970. Menon's East Pakistan Student Union launched a campaign against elections, stating that they would be merely a facade of democracy, that fair elections could not be held under martial law and that the situation was ripe for revolution. Menon built a revolutionary Maoist organisation along with Kazi Zafar Ahmed. The Menon-Zafar group built a base in Khulna (in Begerhat), amongst workers near Dacca and had a student group named Revolutionary Students Union.
Menon contested the 1973 Bangladeshi parliamentary election as a NAP(Bhasani) candidate. He did not win any seat, and afterward he complained that the Awami League government had used unfair methods to win the election.
Prestes, also known as the "Knight of Hope", helped organize the failed tenente revolts of 1922, an uprising of the largely middle class officer corps and poor conscripted servicemen against the agrarian oligarchies that dominated Brazil's Old Republic (1889–1930). Prestes was sick with typhoid fever and was unable to fight on the day of the revolt. From 1924, Prestes was one of the leaders of the insurrectionist movement, leading the Coluna Prestes (Prestes' Column) on a 25,000 km (15,534 mi) march through the Brazilian countryside. The march did not aim to defeat the enemy forces of the Federal government, but rather to ensure the column's survival and to continue threatening the enemy.
Pushpa Kamal Dahal (Nepali: पुष्पकमल दाहाल; born Chhabilal Dahal on 11 December 1954, simply known as Prachanda (Nepali: प्रचण्ड [pɾətsəɳɖə])) is a former guerrilla leader and chairman of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (UCPNM). Prachanda led the CPN (M) as it launched an insurgency on 13 February 1996. In 2008 the ensuing civil war culminated in the overthrow of the Shah dynasty in favour of a communist leadership.
The Constituent Assembly elected Prachanda Prime Minister of Nepal on 16 August 2008. He was sworn in as Prime Minister on 18 August 2008. Prachanda resigned from the post on 4 May 2009 after his attempt to sack the army chief, General Rookmangud Katawal, was opposed by President Ram Baran Yadav. Prachanda remained in office until 23 May 2009, when his successor was elected.
Dr. Baburam Bhattarai (Nepali:बाबुराम भट्टराई) is a Nepali politician who was the 36th Prime Minister of Nepal from August 2011 to March 2013. As a way out of the political deadlock since the dissolution of the first Nepalese Constituent Assembly in May 2012, he was then replaced by Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi to head an interim government that should hold elections by 21 June 2013. He is a senior Standing Committee Member and vice chairperson of Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist). His party started a revolutionary People's War in Nepal in 1996 that ultimately led to the change of the political system in Nepal. The decade long civil war transformed Nepal from a monarchy into a republic. He was elected to the Constituent Assembly from Gorkha in 2008 and became Finance Minister in the cabinet formed after the election.
José Carlos Mariátegui La Chira (14 June 1894 – 16 April 1930) was a Peruvian journalist, political philosopher, and activist. A prolific writer before his early death at age 35, he is considered one of the most influential Latin American socialists of the 20th century. Mariátegui's most famous work, Seven Interpretive Essays on Peruvian Reality (1928), is still widely read in South America. An avowed, self-taught Marxist, he insisted that a socialist revolution should evolve organically in Latin America on the basis of local conditions and practices, not the result of mechanically applying a European formula.
Mariátegui was born in Moquegua. His father, Francisco Javier Mariátegui Requejo, abandoned his family when José Carlos was young. To support her children, José Carlos' mother, María Amalia La Chira Ballejos, moved first to Lima, then to Huacho, where she had more relatives who helped her make a living. José Carlos had a brother and a sister: Julio César and Guillermina. In 1902, as a young schoolboy, he badly injured his left leg, and was moved to a hospital in Lima. Despite a four-year-long convalescence, his leg remained fragile and he was unable to continue his studies. The injury led to severe health problems later in life.
Though he hoped to become a Roman Catholic priest, at the age of fourteen he started working at a newspaper, first as an errand boy, then as a linotypist, then eventually as a writer. He worked in daily journalism for La Prensa and also for the magazine Mundo Limeño. In 1916, he left his first employer to join a new daily, El Tiempo, which had a more leftist orientation. Two years later he launched his own magazine, only to find that the owners of El Tiempo refused to print it. This led him to break with El Tiempo and launch a newspaper called La Razón, which became his first major venture in left wing journalism. In 1918, "nauseated by Creole politics," he wrote in an autobiographical note, "I turned resolutely toward socialism."
Joe Slovo (23 May 1926 – 6 January 1995) was a South African politician, long-time leader of the South African Communist Party (SACP), and leading member of the African National Congress.
Slovo was born in Obeliai, Lithuania to a Jewish family who emigrated to South Africa when he was eight. His full name was Yossel Mashel Slovo. His father worked as a truck driver in Johannesburg. Although his family were religious, he became an atheist who retained respect for "the positive aspects of Jewish culture". Slovo left school in 1941 and found work as a dispatch clerk. He joined the National Union of Distributive Workers and, as a shop steward, was involved in organising a strike.
Slovo joined the South African Communist Party in 1942. Inspired by the Red Army's battles against the Nazis on the Eastern Front of World War II, Slovo volunteered to fight in the war, afterwards joining the Springbok Legion, a multiracial radical ex-servicemen's organization, upon his return.
Between 1946 and 1950 he completed a law degree at Wits University and was a student activist. He was in the same class as Nelson Mandela and Harry Schwarz. In 1949 he married Ruth First, another prominent Jewish anti-apartheid activist and the daughter of SACP treasurer Julius First. They had three daughters, Shawn, Gillian and Robyn. First was assassinated in 1982 by order of Craig Williamson, a major in the Apartheid security police.
Chris Hani, born Martin Thembisile Hani (28 June 1942 – 10 April 1993) was the leader of the South African Communist Party and chief of staff of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing of the African National Congress (ANC). He was a fierce opponent of the apartheid government. He was assassinated on 10 April 1993.
Hani was born on 28 June 1942 in the small town of Cofimvaba in a rural village called kuSabalele Transkei. He was the fifth of six children. He attended Lovedale school and later studied modern and classical literature at the University of Fort Hare.
At age 15 Hani joined the ANC Youth League. As a student he was active in protests against the Bantu Education Act. Following his graduation, he joined Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), the armed wing of the ANC. Following his arrest under the Suppression of Communism Act, he went into exile in Lesotho in 1963.
He received military training in the Soviet Union and served in campaigns in the Rhodesian Bush War in what is now Zimbabwe. Though the combined operations of MK and ZIPRA in the late 1960s were a military failure, they consolidated Hani's reputation as a brave soldier of the first black army to take the field against apartheid, despite the fact that the Rhodesian Government did not endorse apartheid. His role as a fighter from the earliest days of MK's exile (following the arrest of Nelson Mandela and the other internal MK leaders at Rivonia) was an important part in the fierce loyalty Hani enjoyed in some quarters later as MK's commander. In 1969 he produced and signed, with six others, the 'Hani Memorandum' which was strongly critical of the leadership of Joe Modise.
Khalid Bakdash (1912–1995; occasionally spelled Khalid Bagdash, Arabic: خالد بكداش) was the leader of the Syrian Communist Party (SCP) from 1936 until his death. In 1954 Bakdash became the first member of a communist party to be elected to an Arab parliament. He has since been called the "dean of Arab communism."
Bakdash was a Damascus native of Kurdish origin. He was first recruited to the communist cause at the age of 18, while a student at Damascus University. He was subsequently active in student agitation against the French occupation of Syria, and came to the attention of the police. In 1933 the party judged it best that he leave the country, and in 1934 he enrolled in the Communist University of the Toilers of the East in Moscow.
Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz (American Spanish: [fiˈðel aleˈhandɾo ˈkastɾo ˈrus] August 13, 1926 – November 25, 2016) was a Cuban communist revolutionary and politician who governed the Republic of Cuba as Prime Minister from 1959 to 1976 and then as President from 1976 to 2008. Politically a Marxist–Leninist and Cuban nationalist, Castro also served as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from 1961 until 2011. Under his administration, Cuba became a one-party communist state, while industry and business were nationalized and state socialist reforms were implemented throughout society.
Born in Birán, Oriente as the son of a wealthy Spanish farmer, Castro adopted leftist anti-imperialist politics while studying law at the University of Havana. After participating in rebellions against right-wing governments in the Dominican Republic and Colombia, he planned the overthrow of Cuban President Fulgencio Batista, launching a failed attack on the Moncada Barracks in 1953. After a year's imprisonment, Castro traveled to Mexico where he formed a revolutionary group, the 26th of July Movement, with his brother Raúl Castro and Che Guevara. Returning to Cuba, Castro took a key role in the Cuban Revolution by leading the Movement in a guerrilla war against Batista's forces from the Sierra Maestra. After Batista's overthrow in 1959, Castro assumed military and political power as Cuba's Prime Minister. The United States came to oppose Castro's government and unsuccessfully attempted to remove him by assassination, economic blockade and counter-revolution, including the Bay of Pigs Invasion of 1961. Countering these threats, Castro formed an alliance with the Soviet Union and allowed the Soviets to place nuclear weapons in Cuba, sparking the Cuban Missile Crisis—a defining incident of the Cold War—in 1962.
The longest-serving non-royal head of state in the 20th and 21st centuries, Castro polarized world opinion. His supporters view him as a champion of socialism and anti-imperialism whose revolutionary regime advanced economic and social justice while securing Cuba's independence from American imperialism. Critics view him as a dictator whose administration oversaw human-rights abuses, the exodus of a large number of Cubans and the impoverishment of the country's economy. Castro was decorated with various international awards and significantly influenced various individuals and groups across the world.
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