People's Republic


People's Republic

People's Republic (rarely Popular Republic) is a title that is often used by Marxist-Leninist governments to describe their state. The motivation for using this term lies in the claim that Marxist-Leninists govern in accordance with the interests of the vast majority of the people, and, as such, a Marxist-Leninist republic is a "people's" republic. Many of these countries also called themselves socialist states in their constitutions; Albania, for instance, used both terms, "socialist" and "people's," in its official name from 1976 to 1991. Opponents of Marxism-Leninism argue that the name "people's republic" is merely used for propaganda purposes.

In the West, countries governed by Marxist-Leninists are referred to as "Communist states," though they never actually used this name for themselves and used the term countries of people's democracy (see the main article on communist states for more information).

In the 1990s, many of the self-styled "People's Republics" of Eastern Europe (Poland, Hungary, and Bulgaria) and Mongolia dropped the term and became known simply as "Republics" as they adopted democratic systems of government — the term "People's Republic" being associated with the former Communist regimes.

Media and scholars may sometimes use just The People's Republic to refer to the PRC. When media cover news which is reporting about Cross-Strait relations, they may sometimes use just The People's Republic to differentiate between the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the People's Republic of China (Mainland China).

Two other current Marxist-Leninist states include the words People's Republic in their full names:
*North Korea (Democratic "People's Republic" of Korea)
*Laos (Lao "People's" Democratic "Republic")

Historical examples include:
*People's Republic of Albania (1946–1976)
**Socialist People's Republic of Albania (1976–1992)
*People's Republic of Angola (1975–1992)
*People's Republic of Benin (1975–1990)
*People's Republic of Bukhara (1920–1924)
*People's Republic of Bulgaria (1946–1990)
*People's Republic of the Congo (1970–1992)
*Hungarian People's Republic (1949–1989)
*People's Republic of Kampuchea (1979–1989)
*People's Republic of Macedonia (1944–1991)
*Mongolian People's Republic (1924–1992)
*People's Republic of Mozambique (1975–1990)
*People's Republic of Poland (1952–1989)
*Romanian People's Republic (1947–1965)
** Socialist Republic of Romania
*Tuvinian People's Republic (1921–1944)
*Ukrainian People's Republic (1917–1919)
*People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (South Yemen) (1967–1970)
*Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia (1946-1963)
**Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (1963-1992)

Other titles commonly used by Marxist-Leninist states are Democratic Republic (e.g. the German Democratic Republic or the Democratic Federal Yugoslavia between 1943 and 1946), and "Socialist Republic" (e.g. the Socialist Republic of Vietnam).

However, neither of the two titles mentioned above, nor the term "People's Republic" itself, are "unique" to Marxist-Leninists. All three of them have also been used by a number of countries which are/were not Marxist-Leninist. The reason for this is the rather generic nature of the titles in question. Marxist-Leninists are by no means alone in claiming to be democratic, socialist or popular. Thus, at the present time, there are three People's Republics which do not subscribe to Marxism-Leninism:
*Algeria ("People's Democratic Republic of Algeria")
*Bangladesh ("People's Republic of Bangladesh")
*Libya ("Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya")

The addition of the attribute “people’s” before the term republic is redundant since republic itself means public or people’s thing ("res publica") in Latin. Thus a possible translation of “popular/people’s republic” would be “people’s popular dominion”. In the case of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), it would be "People’s People-ruling Popular Dominion of Korea".

Jocular use

The term "People's Republic" is frequently used colloquially to denote a particularly left-leaning area, both as a derogatory label by opponents and proudly or ironically by inhabitants of the place. For example, Sheffield in the 1980s under the rather leftist Labour administration of David Blunkett was termed the "People's Republic of South Yorkshire" by Conservative MP Irvine Patnick, but the term was frequently used by Labour supporters. Similarly Berkeley, California, Santa Monica, California and Cambridge, Massachusetts in the United States are known as "The People's Republic."


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