A communist party is a political party that advocates the application of the social and economic principles of communism through state policy. The name originates from the 1848 tract Manifesto of the Communist Party by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. According to Leninist theory, a communist party is the vanguard party of the working class (proletariat), whether ruling or non-ruling, but when such a party is in power in a specific country, the party is said to be the highest authority of the dictatorship of the proletariat.
Often, a Communist Party can be distinguished from other political party models not only by it's ideology but by it's internal organisation and bureacracy. Most Communist Parties, especially those founded on the principles of Marxism-Leninism, will organise themselves according to the principle of Democratic Centralism - the idea that the collective membership of the Party has the full right to propose, develop and draft Party policy but that once an idea has been adopted by the movement through a majority vote, all Party members must put their own personal views aside and adhere to that idea to preserve Party unity. As an extension of this principle most major Communist Parties have a complex hierarchy of national and local organs, the membership of which is traditionally elected by the organ immediately subordinate to it. Typically, the senior leadership of the movement is embodied by a Central Committee, Political Bureau, Executive Committee or similar organisation with a limited membership - this organisation is almost always elected by a Party Conference that meets regularly to revise the Party's programme.
It is common for membership in a Communist political party to be limited to those with Proletarian, working class and/or agricultural backgrounds in order to prevent individuals the Party considers to be it's class enemies from joining. In parties where there are no such provisions, it is still relatively common for new members to undergo field work to familiarise themselves with the lifestyle of the poorest people in the nation - both of these systems were notably advocated by the Chinese Communist Party from approximately 1960-1980. Promotion through the ranks of the Party is usually periodic, with candidates being promoted en masse in time with the Party's conference to ensure smooth transitions of power and influence. Despite such common characteristics, it is possible for two Communist Parties to have two completely different organisational systems and political platforms.
Communist Parties Micronationally
At different points in micronational history, Communist movements have been both exceptionally common and exceptionally rare, reflecting a change in the political makeup of the micronational community as new individuals join and older micronationalists "retire". It seems somewhat uncommon for democratic Communist Parties to form within multi-party democracies, most Communist leaders electing to found their own Socialist Republic instead of trying to work within the democratic system to pursue a Socialist political platform. Sometimes, Communists come to power through a popular revolution lead by such a Communist Party, although this also is uncommon. Currently, the MicroWiki Community has an usually high number of Communist States and Communist Parties active in its ranks, with the oldest of these movements having continously existed for well over a year.
List of micronational communist parties