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In Trotskyist political theory, deformed workers' states are states where the bourgeoisie has been overthrown through social revolution, the industrial means of production have been largely nationalized bringing benefits to the working class, but where the working class has never held political power (as it did in Russia shortly after the Russian Revolution). These workers' states are deformed because their political and economic structures have been imposed from the top (or from outside), and because revolutionary working class organizations are crushed. Like a degenerated workers' state, a deformed workers' state cannot be said to be a state that is transitioning to socialism.

The concept of deformed workers' states was developed by the theorists of the Fourth International after World War II, when the Soviet Union had militarily defeated Nazi Germany and created satellite states in Eastern Europe. Taking Leon Trotsky's concept of the Soviet Union as a degenerated workers state, the 1951 Third World Congress of the International described the new regimes as deformed workers' states. Rather than advocating a social revolution, as in the capitalist countries, the Fourth International advocated political revolution to oust the Stalinist bureaucracy in the Soviet Union (which was degenerated) however its attitude to Eastern Europe was different, as in Yugoslavia where it sent greetings to the Yugoslav Communist Party and requested attendance at their conference as it thought they could become revolutionary. This approach has been defended by the Trotskyist currents that trace their political continuity through the World Congresses between 1951 and 1965, such as the reunified Fourth International and CWI. The League for the Fifth International argues that the Eastern European states were degenerate workers states, in that they were "degenerate from birth" being qualitative degenerated rather than having quantitative deformations. Therefore a political revolution would be needed, which goes against the Fourth International who sought to reform the Yugoslav Communist Party among others.

Those Trotskyist currents that split from the Fourth International before 1948 over differences with Trotsky on the Soviet Union tend to disagree with this interpretation and have adopted theories describing the post-war Stalinist states as being state capitalist or bureaucratic collectivist.

Most Trotskyists cite examples of deformed workers' states today as including Cuba, the People's Republic of China, North Korea and Vietnam. The Committee for a Workers International has also included states such as Syria or Burma at times when they have had a nationalised economy.

Some Trotskyist groups such as Socialist Action, while having some disagreements with the Cuban leadership, consider Cuba a healthy workers' state. Others, such as the Freedom Socialist Party, say that the People's Republic of China has gone too far on the road of capitalist restoration to be considered a deformed workers' state.

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