The dictatorships and single-parties that called themselves socialists

The historical reasons why 'socialist' should sound as bad as saying 'fascist'

Nowadays, the word "fascist" has widespread negative connotations, being used as a synonym for anti-democrat.

From tyrants to social democrats: costumes of the communism in the old Marxist Europe
The impressive numbers of German communists who joined the Nazi Party

There were only four single-parties self-described as 'fascist'

What few know is that there have been more single parties of dictatorships that have called themselves "socialist" than "fascist". Since the emergence of fascism as a political movement in 1921, there have only been four single parties that called themselves fascist (I indicate in parentheses the years in which they were in power):

  • National Fascist Party(1922-1943). Kingdom of Italy.
  • Republican Fascist Party(1943-1945). Italian Social Republic. Successor of the previous one.
  • Sanmarinense Fascist Party(1922-1944). San Marino.
  • Albanian Fascist Party(1939-1943). Albania, under Italian military occupation.

There have been nine single-parties self-described as 'socialist'

However, there have been nine single-parties that have called themselves socialist in their official name (I indicate in parentheses the years in which they were in power):

  • National-Socialist German Workers Party (1933-1945). Germany. It was the official name of the commonly known Nazi Party of Adolf Hitler.
  • National-Socialist Movement in the Netherlands (1940-1945). Netherlands, under German occupation.
  • Hellenic Socialist Patriotic Organization (1941-1942). Greece, under German occupation.
  • Unified Socialist Party of Germany (1946-1989). East Germany. It changed its name to the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS).
  • Hungarian Socialist Workers Party (1956-1989). Hungary. It changed its name to the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP).
  • Burma Socialist Program Party (1962-1988). It was the sole party of the Socialist Republic of the Union of Burma.
  • Somali Revolutionary Socialist Party (1969-1991). It was the official name of the single party of the communist dictatorship established by Muhammad Haji Ibrahim Egal.
  • Yemen Socialist Party (1978-1990). South Yemen. It was the official name of the single party created by that communist dictatorship, which in 1990 was unified with North Yemen.
  • United Socialist Party of Venezuela (2008-present). Venezuela. It is the only party of the socialist dictatorship established by Hugo Chávez and continued today by Nicolás Maduro.

There have been ten self-proclaimed 'socialist' dictatorships

Furthermore, no State officially used the term "fascist" in its names, but several totalitarian States have used the term "socialist" in their official names:

  • cRussian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (1918-1922). Established by Lenin's dictatorship, it became part of the USSR in 1922.
  • Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (1922-1991). It was the longest dictatorship of the 20th century and one of the ones that killed the most people, especially under the rule of the genocidal Stalin.
  • Socialist Republic of Chile (1932). Chili. It was a brief dictatorship established by the socialist Carlos Gregorio Dávila Espinoza on June 4, 1932 and dissolved on September 13 of that same year.
  • Czechoslovak Socialist Republic (1960-1990). Czechoslovakia. This communist dictatorship, established by the Soviets, began to be called the Czechoslovak Republic in 1948.
  • Socialist Republic of the Union of Burma (1962-1988). It was a totalitarian regime established through a coup d'état.
  • Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (1963-1992). Yugoslavia It was the official name of the communist dictatorship established by Josip Broz Tito, formerly called the People's Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
  • Socialist Republic of Romania (1965-1989). Romania. This communist dictatorship called itself the People's Republic of Romania between 1947 and 1965. It changed its name under the brutal dictatorship of Nicolae Ceauşescu.
  • People's Socialist Republic of Albania (1976-1991). Albarnia. It was the name adopted by the former People's Republic of Albania. It was the most secretive communist dictatorship in Europe under the rule of Enver Hoxha.
  • Socialist Republic of Vietnam (1976-present). It is the name adopted by the communist dictatorship of North Vietnam after completing its invasion of South Vietnam. That communist dictatorship still exists today.
  • Great Socialist Popular Libyan Arab Yamahiriya (1977-2011). Libya. It was the official name of the socialist dictatorship of Muammar Gaddafi during the aforementioned years.

Certainly, there are good reasons for the word "communist" to sound as bad as the word "nazi", considering that these two totalitarian movements committed crimes of genocide with many millions of victims. Similarly, the word "socialist" should have as negative connotations as the word "fascist", given the number of antidemocratic parties and regimes that have used it to define their ideological position. So, lessons of democracy from the socialists, not one.


Image: "Lebensraum", caricature of Hitler and Stalin by the Polish Jewish cartoonist Arthur Szyk (1894-1951), drawn in London in 1939, after the German-Soviet pact of that year, which led to the invasion of Poland.

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