Tankie is an often derogatory label used to describe Marxist-Leninists or socialists. Its definition is very loose, as it has been used as a pejorative against people who merely criticize foreign policy decisions of imperial core nations and the bourgeois media's coverage of such events as well as proponents of specific kinds of anti-capitalist thought (such as Marxist-Leninists who support modern China), and its meaning often varies. Despite the term being derogatory, some Marxist-Leninists use the term ironically, and even utilise it in their names such as the Discord server Tankie Bunker.
Left-wing opponents of 'tankies' (mainly Trotskyists and ultra-leftists) denounce all examples of actually existing socialism and uncritically trust Western media. They support obscure or short-lived experiments, while so-called 'tankies' uphold the legacy of Stalin.
'Tankie' was originally used in context of the Hungarian counter-revolution of 1956, which described the pro-Soviet people living in Hungary as 'tankies', because the Soviets brought tanks into Hungary in order to stop the Nazi-led counterrevolutionaries.
Uses in Western media
In July 2023, Binghamton University published an article that used the word "tankie" over 300 times.
- Nia Frome (2020-10-31). "'Tankies'" Red Sails. Archived from the original on 2023-03-15.
- "Truth and Lies about Socialism: On the 60th anniversary of the counterrevolutionary events in Hungary 1956" (2016-10-27). In Defense of Communism. Archived from the original on 2021-10-26. Retrieved 2022-08-21.
“On the left now you see several impulses. There is an irrelevant but fascinating fringe of very online 'tankies'”
Ross Douthat (2021-10-16). "James Bond Has No Time for Chinas" New York Times. Archived from the original.
- Utkucan Balci, Michael Sirvianos, Jeremy Blackburn (2023). A Data-driven Understanding of Left-Wing Extremists on Social Media. Binghamton University, Cyprus University of Technology.