In political science, Marxism–Leninism was the official state ideology of the Soviet Union, of the political parties of the Communist International after Bolshevisation, and is the ideology of some contemporary Communist parties, such as the Communist Party of Cuba, and the Party for Socialism and Liberation of the U.S.[1] As Joseph Stalin's synthesis of Leninism, the political praxis of Lenin, and of Marxism, the politico-economic theories of Karl Marx, the purpose of Marxism–Leninism is the transformation of a capitalist state into a socialist state, by way of two-stage revolution, guided and led by a vanguard party of professional revolutionaries, drawn from the proletariat. To realise the two-stage transformation of the state, the vanguard party establishes the dictatorship of the proletariat, which determines policy with democratic centralism.[2][3]

Politically, the Marxist–Leninist communist party is the vanguard for the organisation of a capitalist society into a socialist society, which is the lower stage of socio-economic development and progress towards the upper-stage communist society, which is stateless and classless; yet features organised public-ownership of the means of production, accelerated industrialisation, pro-active development of the productive forces of society,[4] and nationalised natural resources.[5]

In the late 1920s, after the death of Lenin, Stalin established universal ideologic orthodoxy in the Communist Party, the USSR, and the Communist International, with his coinage Marxism–Leninism, a term which redefined theories of Lenin and Marx to establish universal Marxist–Leninist praxis for the exclusive, geopolitical benefit of the USSR.[6][7] In the late 1930s, Stalin's official textbook The History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolsheviks) (1938), made the term Marxism–Leninism common, political-science usage among communists and non-communists.[8]

Critical of the Stalinist models of socialism and government in the Soviet Union, the American Marxist Raya Dunayevskaya dismissed Marxism–Leninism as a type of state capitalism,[9] because: (i) state ownership of the means of production is a form of state capitalism;[10] (ii) the dictatorship of the proletariat is a form of democracy, therefore, single-party rule is undemocratic;[11] and (iii) Marxism–Leninism is neither Marxism nor Leninism nor a philosophic synthesis, but a personal artifice that Stalin used to determine what is communism and what is not communism among the Eastern bloc.[12] The Italian Left Communist, Amadeo Bordiga criticized Marxism–Leninism as impossibe, because of the claim that commodity production would exist under socialism.[13]


Old Bolsheviks Stalin, Lenin and Mikhail Kalinin in 1919


In 1929, within five years of the death of Lenin, Stalin was the Government of the Soviet Union, a ruler who flouted, abided, and applied the socialist principles of Lenin and Marx as political expediencies used to realise his plans for the USSR and for world socialism — most of which contradicted Lenin's plans for establishing socialism.[14] Stalin justified his régime's deviations from Lenin's practices with the book Concerning Questions of Leninism (1926), in which Stalin represented Marxism–Leninism as a separate communist ideology, which featured an omniscient leader;[7] his interpretations of Lenin and Marx — Stalinism — later became the official state ideology of the Soviet Union.[15]


As the Left Opposition to Stalin within the Communist Party and the Soviet government, Leon Trotsky and the Trotskyists argued that Stalin's Marxist–Leninist ideology contradicted Marxism and Leninism in theory and in practice, and thus was illegitimate socialist philosophy for the practical implementation of Socialism in Russia.[16] Moreover, within the Party, the Trotskyists identified their communist ideology as Bolshevik–Leninism (Trotskyism), to politically differentiate their ideology from Stalin's ideology of Socialism in One Country.

In Marxist political discourse the term Marxism–Leninism, denoting and connoting the theory and praxis of Stalinism, has two usages: (i) praise of Joseph Stalin, by Stalinists who believe Stalin successfully developed Lenin's legacy; and (ii) criticism of Stalin, by Stalinists who repudiate Stalin's political purges, social-class repressions, and bureaucratic terrorism.[17]


Consequent to the ideological Sino-Soviet split (1956–1966), the communist party of each socialist country, the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) claimed to be the sole heir-and-successor to the interpretation of Marxism–Leninism, and thus to be the ideological leader of world communism.[18] In that vein, the History of the People's Republic of China represents Maoism (urban Marxism–Leninism adapted to pre-industrial China) as Mao Zedong's fundamental up-dating of Leninism, because adaptable revolutionary praxis is primary and ideological orthodoxy is secondary;[19] thus, the Thought of Mao Zedong is the politically dynamic state ideology of the PRC.[20]

The Sino-Albanian split (1972–1978) was caused by Socialist Albania's rejection of the PRC's Realpolitik of Sino–American rapprochement, specifically the Mao–Nixon meeting (1972), which the Stalinist Albanian Labor Party perceived as an ideological betrayal of Mao's own Three Worlds Theory, which excluded such political relations of rapprochement. To the Albanians, the Chinese dealings with the U.S. were a lessening of Mao's ideologic and practical commitments to proletarian internationalism.

As revolutionary praxis, Maoism is the ideology of communist parties philosophically akin to the CPC. Since the death of Mao Zedong, in 1976, the Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso) Communist Party of Peru coined the term Marxism–Leninism–Maoism to identify the contemporary Marxism that is readily adaptable to local conditions in the countries of Third-world South America.[20]

Marxist–Leninist state

In the one-party Marxist–Leninist state, the communist party is the political vanguard who guides the working class and the proletariat in establishing the foundations (social, economic, cultural) of a socialist society, which is realised with two-stage revolutionary development: (i) from a capitalist state to a socialist state,[21] and (ii) from a socialist society to a communist society, which has no social stratification and no institutional sexism, where men and women work and consume according to their abilities and needs.[22] The socialist society is instituted and governed through the dictatorship of the proletariat to define and decide, implement and realise policy through democratic centralism;[23] and government offices are peopled by election at the local, regional, and national levels, usually direct election; however, indirect election also features in the Marxist–Leninist practices of Red China, Communist Cuba, and Socialist Yugoslavia (1943–1992).[24]


The goal of Marxist–Leninist political economy is the emancipation of men and women from the dehumanisation caused by mechanistic work that is psychologically alienating (without work–life balance), which is performed in exchange for wages that give limited financial-access to the material necessities of life (i.e. food and shelter). That personal and societal emancipation from poverty (material necessity) would maximise individual liberty, by enabling men and women to pursue their interests and innate talents (artistic, intellectual, industrial, etc.) whilst working by choice, without the economic coercion of poverty. In the communist society of upper-stage economic development, the elimination of alienating labour (mechanistic work) depends upon the developments of high technology that improve the means of production and the means of distribution.

“Strengthen working discipline in collective farms” – Uzbek, Tashkent, 1933 (Mardjani)
In 1933, Soviet propaganda encouraged peasants and farmers to strengthen working discipline in collective farms in the Azeri Soviet Socialist Republic (Azerbaijan)

To meet the material needs of a socialist society, the Marxist–Leninist state uses a planned economy to co-ordinate the means of production and of distribution to supply and deliver the goods and services required throughout society and the national economy.[25] The wages of the worker are determined according to the type of skills and the type of work he or she can perform within the national economy.[26] Moreover, the economic value of the goods and services produced is based upon their use value (as material objects) and not upon the cost of production ("value") or the exchange value (marginal utility).[27]

In the 1920s, the Bolshevik government's economic development realised the rapid industrialisation of the Soviet Union with pragmatic programs of social engineering that transplanted peasant populations to the cities, where they were educated and trained as industrial workers, and then became the workforce of the new factories and industries. Likewise, the farmer populations worked the system of collective farms to grow food to feed the industrial workers in the industrialised cities. Hence, in the 1930s, the Marxist–Leninist society of Russia featured austere social-equality, based upon asceticism, egalitarianism, and self-sacrifice — yet the Bolshevik Party recognised human nature, and semi-officially allowed some limited, small-scale capitalism to stimulate the economy of the Soviet Union.[28]

In Orthodox Marxism, the socialist society originally was equivalent to the communist society; yet, in the economic praxis of Bolshevik Russia, in defining the differences of political economy, between socialism and communism, Lenin explained their conceptual similarity to Marx's descriptions of the lower-stage and the upper-stage of economic development. That immediately after a proletarian revolution, in the socialist lower-stage society, the practical economy must be based upon the individual labour contributed by men and women;[29] that paid labour would be the basis of the communist upper-stage society that has realised the social precept of the slogan: From Each According to His Ability, to Each According to His Need.[30]


Чтобы больше иметь — надо больше производить. Чтобы больше производить — надо больше знать
A 1920 Bolshevik pro-education propaganda which reads the following: "In order to have more, it is necessary to produce more. In order to produce more, it is necessary to know more."

To develop a communist society, the Marxist–Leninist state provides for the national welfare with universal healthcare, free public education (academic, technical, professional), and the social benefits (childcare, continuing education, etc.) necessary to increase the productivity of the workers, and thus the socialist economy.[31] As part of the planned economy, the welfare state is meant to develop the proletariat's education (academic and technical) and their class consciousness (political education) to facilitate their contextual understanding of the historical development of communism, as presented in Marx's theory of history.[32]

The judicial reformation of family law eliminates patriarchy from the legal system, which facilitates the political emancipation of women from traditional social inferiority and economic exploitation.[33] The reformation of civil law made marriage secular, into a "free and voluntary union", between persons who are social-and-legal equals; facilitated divorce; legalized abortion, eliminated bastardy ("illegitimate children"); and voided the political power of the bourgeoisie and the private property-status of the means of production. The educational system imparts the social norms for a self-disciplined and self-fulfilling way of life, by which the socialist citizens establish the social order necessary for realizing a communist society.[34]

Marxist–Leninist cultural policy modernises social relations among citizens by eliminating the capitalist value system of traditionalist conservatism, by which Tsarism classified, divided, and controlled people with stratified social classes without any socio-economic mobility. The socio-cultural changes required for establishing a communist society are realised with education and agitprop (agitation and propaganda), which reinforce communal values.[35] The modernisation of educational and cultural policies eliminates the societal atomisation — anomie and social alienation — caused by cultural backwardness; thus Marxism–Leninism develops the New Soviet man, an educated and cultured citizen possessed of a proletarian class consciousness who is oriented towards the social cohesion necessary for developing a communist society.[36]


Christ saviour explosion
In establishing official atheism in the Soviet Union, Joseph Stalin ordered in 1931 the razing of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow

The Marxist–Leninist world view is atheist, wherein all human activity results from human volition, and not the will of supernatural beings (gods, goddesses, and demons) who have direct agency in the public and private affairs of human society.[37][38] The tenets of the Soviet Union's national policy of Marxist–Leninist atheism originated from the philosophies of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770–1831) and Ludwig Feuerbach (1804–1872), and of Karl Marx (1818–1883) and Lenin (1870–1924).[39]

As a basis of Marxism–Leninism, the philosophy of materialism (the physical universe exists independently of human consciousness) is applied as dialectical materialism (a philosophy of science and Nature) to examine the socio-economic relations among people and things, as parts of a dynamic, material world that is unlike the immaterial world of Metaphysics.[40][41][42] The Soviet astrophysicist Vitaly Ginzburg said that, ideologically, the "Bolshevik communists were not merely atheists, but, according to Lenin's terminology, militant atheists" in excluding religion from the social mainstream, from education, and from government.[43]

International relations

The Marxist–Leninist approach to international relations derives from the analyses (political and economic, sociological and geopolitical) that Lenin presented in the essay Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism (1917). Extrapolating from five philosophical bases of Marxism — (i) that human history is the history of class struggle, between a ruling class and an exploited class; (ii) that capitalism creates antagonistic social classes: the bourgeois exploiters and the exploited proletariat; (iii) that capitalism employs nationalist war to further private economic expansion; (iv) that socialism is an economic system that voids social classes through public ownership of the means of production, and so will eliminate the economic causes of war; and (v) that once the state (socialist or communist) withers away, so shall international relations wither away, because they are projections of national economic forces — Lenin said that the capitalists' exhaustion of domestic sources of investment profit, by way of price-fixing trusts and cartels, then prompts the same capitalists to export investment capital to undeveloped countries to finance the exploitation of natural resources and the native populations, and to create new markets. That the capitalists' control of national politics ensures the government's military safeguarding of colonial investments, and the consequent imperial competition for economic supremacy provokes international wars to protect their national interests.[44]

In the vertical perspective (social-class relations) of Marxism–Leninism, the internal and international affairs of a country are a political continuum, not separate realms of human activity, which is the philosophic opposite of the horizontal perspectives (country-to-country) of the liberal and the realist approaches to international relations. Therefore, colonial imperialism is the inevitable consequence in the course of economic relations among countries when the domestic price-fixing of monopoly capitalism has voided profitable competition in the capitalist homeland. As such, the ideology of New Imperialism — rationalised as a civilising mission — allowed the exportation of high-profit investment capital to undeveloped countries with uneducated, native populations (sources of cheap labour), plentiful raw materials for exploitation (factors for manufacture), and a colonial market to consume the surplus production, which the capitalist homeland cannot consume; the example is the European Scramble for Africa (1881–1914), which imperialism was safeguarded by the national military.[44]

To secure the colonies — foreign sources of new capital-investment-profit — the imperialist state seeks either political or military control of the limited resources (natural and human); the First World War (1914–1918) resulted from such geopolitical conflicts among the empires of Europe over colonial spheres of influence.[45] For the colonised working classes who create the wealth (goods and services), the elimination of war for natural resources (access, control, and exploitation) is resolved by overthrowing the militaristic capitalist state and establishing a socialist state, because a peaceful world economy is feasible only by proletarian revolutions that overthrow systems of political economy based upon the exploitation of labour.[44]



The philosophy of Marxism–Leninism originated as the pro-active, political praxis of the Bolshevik (Majority) faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP).[46] Lenin's leadership transformed the Bolsheviks into the party's political vanguard of professional revolutionaries, who elected leaders and determined policy by way of democratic centralism.[47] The Bolsheviks' vanguardism of pro-active, pragmatic commitment to achieving revolution was their advantage in out-manoeuvring the Liberal and Conservative political parties who advocated social democracy without a practical plan of action for the Russian society they wished to govern; thus, Leninism allowed the Bolshevik Party to assume command of the October Revolution, in 1917.[47]

February Revolution

Bundesarchiv Bild 183-H28740, St. Petersburg, Eröffnung der Parlamente
In 1906, after the failed February Revolution of 1905, Tsar Nicholas II addressed the two chambers of the Duma at the Winter Palace
The failed February Revolution (1905–1907) against Tsar Nicholas II exiled Lenin from Imperial Russia to Switzerland in March 1905

Twelve years before the October Revolution in 1917, the Bolsheviks had failed to assume control of the February Revolution of 1905, because the centres of revolutionary action were too far apart for proper political co-ordination.[48] To generate revolutionary momentum — from the Tsarist army's killings on Bloody Sunday (22 January 1905) — the Bolsheviks advocated that workers use political violence to compel the bourgeois social classes (the nobility, the gentry, the bourgeoisie) to join the proletarian revolution to overthrow the absolute monarchy of the Tsar of Russia.[49]

Despite secret-police persecution by the Okhrana (Department for Protecting the Public Security and Order), émigré Bolsheviks returned to Russia to agitate, organise and lead; and then returned to exile when revolutionary fervour failed in 1907.[50] The failure of the February Revolution (1905–1907) exiled the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks, the Socialist Revolutionaries and the Black Guard anarchists from Russia — a political defeat aggravated by Tsar Nicholas II's political reformations of imperial Russian government. In practice, the formalities of political participation — the State Duma, the political plurality of a multi-party system of elections; and the Russian Constitution of 1906 — were the Tsar's piecemeal and cosmetic concessions to social progress, which allowed public-office only the aristocracy, the gentry, and the bourgeoisie; but did not practically resolve the illiteracy, poverty, and malnutrition of the proletarian majority of Russia.[51]

In Swiss exile, Lenin developed Marx's philosophy and extrapolated decolonisation, by colonial revolt, as a reinforcement of proletarian revolution in Europe.[52] In 1912, Lenin resolved a factional challenge to his ideological leadership of the RSDLP by the Forward Group in the party, by usurping the all-party congress to transform the RSDLP into the Bolshevik Party.[53]

The Great War

As promised to the Russian peoples in October 1917, the Bolsheviks quit Russia's participation in the Great War, on 3 March 1918; unlike the European socialists who chose bellicose nationalism to anti-war internationalism; the philosophic and political break was consequence of the Internationalist–defencist schism among Socialists.[54] That nationalist betrayal of socialism was denounced by a small group of socialist leaders who opposed the Great War, including Rosa Luxemburg, Karl Liebknecht, and Lenin, who said that the European socialists had failed the working classes, for preferring patriotic war to proletarian internationalism.[54] To debunk patriotism and national chauvinism, in the essay Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism (1917), Lenin explained that capitalist economic expansion leads to colonial imperialism, which then is regulated with nationalist wars — such as the Great War among the empires of Europe.[55][56]

Late in 1917 — to relieve strategic pressures from the Western Front (4 August 1914 – 11 November 1918) — Imperial Germany impelled the withdrawal of Imperial Russia from the war's Eastern Front (17 August 1914 – 3 March 1918) by sending Lenin and his Bolshevik cohort in a diplomatically-sealed train to realise socialist revolution in Russia.[57]

October Revolution and civil war

Alfred Grohs zur Revolution 1918 1919 in Berlin Große Frankfurter Straße Ecke Lebuser Straße Barrikade Kampf während der Novemberrevolution in Berlin 02 Bildseite Schaulustige
From 4 to 15 January 1919, the Spartacist uprising in the Weimar Republic featured urban warfare between the Communist Party of Germany and anti-communists, secretly aided by the Imperial German government led by the Social Democrats
Béla Kun, leader of the Hungarian Soviet Republic, speaks to supporters during the Hungarian Revolution of 1919

In March 1917, the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II led to the Russian Provisional Government (March–July 1917), who then proclaimed the Russian Republic (September–November 1917). Later, in the October Revolution, the Bolshevik's coup d'état against the Provisional Government resulted in their establishment of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (1917–1991); yet parts of Russia remained occupied by the counter-revolutionary White Movement of anti-communists who had united to form the White Army to fight the Russian Civil War (1917–1922) against the Bolshevik government. Despite the White–Red civil war, Russia remained a combatant in the Great War (1914–1918), which the Bolshevik's had quit with the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk (3 March 1918), which then provoked the Allied Intervention to the Russian Civil War (1918–1925) by the armies of seventeen countries, featuring Great Britain, France, and Italy, the United States and Imperial Japan.[58]

In 1918, the Bolsheviks consolidated government power by expelling the Mensheviks and the Socialist Revolutionaries from the soviets.[59] The Bolshevik government then established the Cheka secret police to eliminate anti–Bolshevik opposition in all the Russias. Initially, there was strong opposition to the Bolshevik régime, because they had not resolved the food shortages and material poverty of the Russian peoples, as promised in October 1917; from that social discontent, the Cheka reported 118 uprisings, including the Kronstadt rebellion (7–17 March 1921).[59]

Nationalisation and War Communism

The Bolshevik government introduced limited nationalisation of the means of production, which had been private property of the Russian aristocracy during the Tsarist monarchy.[60] To fulfil the promised redistribution of Russia's arable land, Lenin encouraged the peasantry to reclaim their farmlands from the aristocrats and so ensured the peasantry's political loyalty to the Bolshevik Party.[60] In mid-1918, to overcome the civil war's economic interruption, the War Communism policy featured a regulated market, state-control of the means of distribution and the Decree on Nationalisation of large-scale farms, which requisitioned grain to feed industrial workers in the cities and the Red Army in the field, all while fighting the White Army, who was seeking to re-establish the Romanov dynasty as absolute monarchs of Russia.[60] Politically, the forced grain-requisitions discouraged peasants from farming, which resulted in reduced-harvests and food-shortages, which in turn provoked labour strikes and food riots. With the economic chaos—caused by the Bolshevik government's voiding the monetary economy—the Russian people replaced with barter and the black market.[60]

New Economic Policy

In 1921, the New Economic Policy restored some private enterprise to animate the Russian economy. As part of Lenin's pragmatic compromise with external financial interests in 1918, Bolshevik state capitalism temporarily returned 91 per cent of industry to private ownership—until the Soviet Russians learned to operate and administrate said industries.[61][60] In that vein, Lenin explained that developing socialism in Russia would proceed according to the material and socio-economic conditions of Russia and not as described by Marx in the 19th century. Lenin's pragmatic explanation was the following: "Our poverty is so great that we cannot, at one stroke, restore full-scale factory, state, socialist production".[60] To overcome the lack of educated Russians who could operate and administrate industry, Lenin advocated the development of a technical intelligentsia who would propel the industrial development of Russia to self-sufficiency.[48]

The principal obstacles to Russian economic development and modernisation were great material poverty and the lack of modern technology, which conditions orthodox Marxism considered unfavourable to communist revolution; and that agricultural Russia was right for developing capitalism, but wrong for the development of socialism.[48][62] The 1921–1924 period was tumultuous in Russia, with the simultaneous occurrence of economic recovery, famine (1921–1922) and a financial crisis (1924).[63] By 1924, the Bolshevik government had achieved much economic progress and by 1926 the production levels of the Soviet Union's economy had risen to the production levels registered in 1913.[63]

Revolutionary consequences

Elsewhere, the successful October Revolution in Russia facilitated communist revolution in Imperial Germany and in Hungary during the 1918–1920 period. In Berlin, the German government and their Freikorps mercenaries fought and defeated the Spartacist uprising (4–5 January 1919), which began as a general strike; and in Munich, likewise fought and defeated the Bavarian Soviet Republic (April 1919). In Hungary, the workers proclaimed the Hungarian Soviet Republic (March–August 1919), which was defeated by the royal armies of the Kingdom of Romania and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and the army of Czechoslovakia. In Asia, a successful Mongolian communist revolution established the Mongolian People's Republic (1924–1992).

Stalin assumes power

Vladimir Lenin on the front page of Projector (Spotlight) issue 15 dated 15 Sep 1923
At his death on 21 January 1924, Lenin's political testament ordered the removal of Stalin as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union because of his abusive personality
Stalin-Bukharin (cropped)
To expel Leon Trotsky from the Communist Party, Stalin and Nikolai Bukharin expediently joined forces to achieve Stalin's control of the Communist Party
Voroshilov, Molotov, Stalin, with Nikolai Yezhov
The Commissar Vanishes 2
In the original photograph (top), accompanied by Kliment Voroshilov and Vyacheslav Molotov, People's Commissar for Water Transport Nikolai Yezhov escorts Stalin during his inspection of the White Sea Canal, but in the edited photograph (bottom) Yezhov has vanished into the Great Purge (1936–1938), erased from Soviet history by Stalin's disfavour
Lenin's warning

In his political testament (December 1922), Lenin ordered Stalin removed from being the General Secretary of the Russian Communist Party, and that he be replaced with "some other person who is superior to Stalin only in one respect, namely, in being more tolerant, more loyal, more polite, and more attentive to comrades."[64][65] At his death on 21 January 1924, Lenin's testament was read aloud to the Central Committee, but enough members believed that Stalin had been politically rehabilitated in 1923, and ignored Lenin's order to remove Stalin as General Secretary of the Communist Party.[64][66]

Power struggle

Consequent to personally spiteful disputes about the praxis of Leninism, the October Revolution veterans Lev Kamenev and Grigory Zinoviev said that the true, ideological threat to the ideological integrity of the Communist Party was Trotsky — a personally charismatic political-leader; the commanding officer of the Red Army in the Russian Civil War; and revolutionary partner of the dead Lenin.[66] To thwart Trotsky's likely election to head the Communist Party, Stalin, Kamenev, and Zinoviev formed a Troika (Triumvirate) that featured Stalin as General Secretary of the Communist Party, the de facto centre of power in the party and the country.[67]

The direction of the Russian Communist Party was decided in confrontations of politics and personality — between Stalin's Troika and Trotsky — over which Marxist policy to pursue, either Trotsky's policy of permanent revolution or Stalin's policy of Socialism in One Country.[68] To politically isolate and oust Trotsky from the Party, Stalin expediently advocated socialism in one country, a policy to which he was indifferent.[68] In 1925, the 14th Communist Party Congress chose Stalin's policy, which decision defeated Trotsky as a possible leader of the Communist Party and of the Soviet Union.[68]

In the 1925–1927 period, Stalin dissolved the Troika and disowned the centrist moderates, Kamenev and Zinoviev, for an expedient alliance with the three most-right-wing opportunists from the Bolshevik period: Alexei Rykov (Premier of Russia, 1924–1929; Premier of the Soviet Union, 1924–1930),[69] Nikolai Bukharin, and Mikhail Tomsky (leader of the All-Russian Central Council of Trade Unions).[68] In 1927, the Communist Party endorsed Stalin's policy of Socialism in One Country as the Soviet Union's national policy, and expelled the leftist Trotsky and the centrists Kamenev and Zinoviev from the Politburo of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.[68]

Power consolidated

In 1929, Stalin personally and politically controlled the CPSU and the Soviet Union, by way of deception and administrative acumen.[68] In that time, Stalin's centralised, socialism-in-one-country régime had negatively associated Lenin's revolutionary Bolshevism with Stalinism — government by command-policy to realise projects, such as the rapid industrialisation of cities and the collectivisation of agriculture; such Stalinism also subordinated the interests (political, national, ideologic) of Asian and European communist parties to the geopolitical interests of the Soviet Union.[47]

In the 1929–1932 period of the first five-year plan, Stalin effected the dekulakization of the farmlands of the Soviet Union, a politically radical dispossession of the kulak class of peasant-landlords from the Tsarist social order of monarchy. As old-school Bolshevik revolutionaries, Bukharin, Rykov, and Tomsky recommended amelioration of the dekulakization, to lessen the negative social impact in the relations between the Soviet peoples and the CPSU; Stalin took umbrage, and then accused them of un-communist philosophic deviations from Lenin and Marx.[68]

That implicit accusation of ideological deviationism licenced Stalin to falsely accuse Bukharin, Rykov, and Tomsky of plotting against the CPSU; the appearance of impropriety then compelled the resignations of the Old Bolsheviks from government and from the politburo. Stalin then completed his political purging of the Communist Party by exiling Trotsky from the Soviet Union in 1929;[68] afterwards, In the political opposition to the practical régime of Stalinism was denounced as Trotskyism (Bolshevik–Leninism), a deviation from Marxism–Leninism, the state ideology of the Soviet Union.[47]

Power legalised

In the 1929–1941 period, Stalin's elimination of Bolshevik rivals ended democratic centralism in the Communist Party, replaced with his personal authority.[70] The ranks and files of the CPSU were populated with members from the trade unions and the factories, whom Stalin controlled because there were no other Bolsheviks to contradict Marxism–Leninism, Stalin's version of Communism.[70] In the late 1930s, the Soviet Union adopted the 1936 Soviet Constitution, which ended weighted-voting preferences for workers, promulgated universal suffrage for every man and woman older than 18 years of age, and organised the soviets (councils of workers) into two legislatures: (i) the Soviet of the Union (representing electoral districts) and (ii) the Soviet of Nationalities (representing the ethnic groups of the country).[70]

Dictator of the Soviet Union

Under guise of governing by the socialist principles of Lenin and Marx, Stalin's Marxist–Leninist dictatorship made a police state of the USSR, unlike Lenin's socialist state of the Bolshevik period (1917–29).[71] Extensive personal control of the men who were the Communist Party licenced Stalin to use political violence to eliminate any man or woman who might be a threat — real, potential, or imagined.[71]

As an administrator, Stalin governed the Soviet Union by controlling the formulation of national policy, but delegated implementation to subordinate functionaries. Such freedom of action allowed local communist functionaries much discretion to interpret the intent of orders from Moscow, which allowed their corruption.[71] To Stalin, the correction of such abuses of authority and economic corruption were responsibility of the secret police, the NKVD (People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs).[71] With the Great Purge (1936–1938), Stalin rid himself of internal enemies in the CPSU, and rid the Soviet Union of every counter-revolutionary, reactionary, and socially-dangerous man and woman who might offer legitimate, political opposition to Marxism–Leninism.

In the 1937–1938 period, the NKVD arrested 1.5 million people, purged from every stratum of soviet society and every rank and file of the Communist Party, of which 681,692 people were killed as enemies of the state.[72] To provide manpower (manual, intellectual, technical) to realise the construction of socialism in one country, the NKVD established the Gulag system of forced-labour camps for regular criminals and political dissidents, for culturally insubordinate artists and politically incorrect intellectuals, and for homosexual people and religious anti-communists.[70]

Socialism in one country (1929–1941)

Bundesarchiv Bild 183-R85625, Sowjetunion, Hüttenkombinat in Magnitogorsk
The metallurgical combine in Magnitogorsk in 1929 demonstrates the Soviet Union's rapid industrialisation in the 1920s and 1930s
Rapid industrialisation

Begun in 1928, Stalin's Five-year plans for the national economy of the Soviet Union achieved the rapid industrialisation (coal, iron, and steel, electricity and petroleum, etc.) and the collectivisation of agriculture,[73] which achieved 23.6 per cent collectivisation within one year (1930) and 98.0 per cent collectivisation within 12 years (1941).[74] The five-year plans were prepared in the 1920s, whilst the Bolshevik government fought the internal Russian Civil War (1917–1922) and repelled the external Allied intervention to the Russian Civil War (1918–1925). As the revolutionary vanguard, the Communist Party organised Russian society to realise rapid industrialisation programs as defence against Western interference with socialism in Bolshevik Russia.[75]

During the 1930s, the rapid industrialisation of the country accelerated the Russians' sociological transition from poverty to relative plenty; from Tsarist serfdom to Communist self-determination, when politically illiterate peasants became politically aware urban citizens.[76] The Marxist–Leninist economic régime modernised Russia from the illiterate, peasant society characteristic of monarchy to the literate, socialist society of educated farmers and industrial workers; the modernisation of Russia reduced unemployment to almost nil.[76]

Social engineering

In 1934, Stalin's development of Soviet society contradicted and then replaced, the social, cultural, and intellectual freedoms of Lenin's Bolshevik period. In education, Socialist progress was replaced with traditional Russian authoritarianism (harsh discipline, school uniforms, etc.), which suppressed pedagogic experimentation and relaxed social conduct in the education of children; mental conformity, rather than intellectual liberty.[77] Culturally, the Russian arts were subordinated to the ideological limitations of socialist realism, a form of Russian patriarchy admired by the traditionalist Stalin.[77] The official atheism of the Soviet Union excluded organised religion from the mainstream of Soviet society and repressed any religious organisation that publicly participated in politics and opposed the official atheism.[77]

International relations

In 1933, the Marxist–Leninist geopolitical perspective was that the Soviet Union was surrounded by capitalist and anti-communist enemies; thus, the election of Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party government in Germany initially caused the Soviet Union to sever diplomatic relations that had been established in the 1920s. In 1938, Stalin accommodated the Nazis and the anti-communist West by not defending Czechoslovakia, which allowed Hitler's threat of pre-emptive war for the Sudetenland to annex the land and "rescue the oppressed German peoples" living in Czecho.[78]

To challenge Nazi Germany's bid for European empire and hegemony, Stalin promoted anti-fascist front organisations to encourage European socialists and democrats to join the Russian Communists to fight throughout Nazi-occupied Europe.[78] After Germany bluffed Britain into the Munich Agreement (29 September 1938), which then allowed the German occupation of Czechoslovakia (1938–1945), Stalin adopted pro-German policies for the Soviet Union's dealings with Nazi Germany.[78] In 1939, the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany agreed to the Treaty of Non-aggression between Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, 23 August 1939) and to jointly invade and partition Poland, by way of which Nazi Germany started the Second World War (1 September 1939).[79]

Great Patriotic War (1941–1945)

A Chinese Communist Party cadre-leader addresses survivors of the 1934–1935 Long March
Yalta Conference (Churchill, Roosevelt, Stalin) (B&W)
At the Yalta Conference (4–11 February 1945), Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Stalin established the post-war order of the world with geopolitical spheres of influence under their hegemony

In the 1941–1942 period of the Great Patriotic War, the German invasion of the Soviet Union (Operation Barbarossa, 22 June 1941) was ineffectively opposed by the Red Army, who were poorly led, ill-trained, and under-equipped; hence fought poorly and suffered great losses of soldiers (killed, wounded, and captured). The weakness of the Red Army was consequence of the Great Purge (1936–1938) of senior officers and career soldiers whom Stalin considered politically unreliable.[80] Strategically, the Wehrmacht's extensive and effective attack threatened the territorial integrity of the Soviet Union, and the political integrity of Stalin's model of a Marxist–Leninist state, when the Nazis were initially welcomed as liberators by the anti-communist and nationalist populations in the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic, and the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.

The anti-soviet nationalists' collaboration with the Nazi's lasted until the SS and the Einsatzgruppen began their Lebensraum killings of the Jewish populations, the local communists, the civil and community leaders — the Holocaust meant to realise the Nazi German colonisation of Bolshevik Russia. In response, Stalin ordered the Red Army to fight a total war against the Germanic invaders who would exterminate Slavic Russia. Hitler's attack against the Soviet Union (Nazi Germany's erstwhile ally) realigned Stalin's political priorities, from the repression of internal enemies to the existential defence against external attack. The pragmatic Stalin then entered the Soviet Union to the Grand Alliance, in common front against the Axis Powers — Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Imperial Japan.

In the continental European countries occupied by the Axis powers, the native communist party usually led the armed resistance (guerrilla warfare and urban guerrilla warfare) against fascist military occupation. In Mediterranean Europe, the Communist Yugoslav Partisans, led by Tito (Josip Broz), effectively resisted the Nazi and Fascist occupation. In the 1943–1944 period, Tito's Partisans liberated territories with Red Army assistance and established the Communist political authority that became the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. In continental Asia, to end the Imperial Japanese occupation of China, Stalin ordered Mao Zedong and the Communist Party of China (CPC) to temporarily cease the Chinese Civil War (1927–1949) against Chiang Kai-shek and the anti-communist Kuomintang (KMT), as the Second United Front, in the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945).

Communist victory

In 1943, the Red Army began to repel the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, especially at the Battle of Stalingrad (23 August 1942 – 2 February 1943) and at the Battle of Kursk (5 July – 23 August 1943). Then repelled the Nazi and Fascist occupation armies from Eastern Europe until the Red Army decisively defeated Nazi Germany, in the Berlin Strategic Offensive Operation (16 April–2 May 1945).[81] On concluding the Great Patriotic War (1941–1945), the Soviet Union was a military superpower with a say in determining the geopolitical order of the world.[81] In accordance with the three-power Yalta Agreement (4–11 February 1945), the Soviet Union purged native fascist collaborators from the Eastern European countries occupied by the Axis Powers, and installed native Communist governments to establish a geographic buffer-zone of satellite states to protect the borders of the USSR.

Cold War (1945–1991)

Mao proclaiming the establishment of the PRC in 1949
The Chinese Communist Revolution concluded when Mao Zedong declared the establishment of the People's Republic of China on 1 October 1949.
John Kennedy, Nikita Khrushchev 1961
The Sino–Soviet split facilitated Russian and Chinese rapprochement with the United States and expanded East–West geopolitics into a tri-polar Cold War which for instance saw Nikita Khrushchev meeing with President John F. Kennedy in June 1961

Upon Allied victory concluding the Second World War (1939–1945), the members of the Grand Alliance resumed their expediently suppressed, pre-war geopolitical rivalries and ideological tensions, which disunity broke their anti-fascist wartime alliance into the anti–Communist Western Bloc and the Communist Eastern Bloc. The renewed competition for geopolitical hegemony resulted in the bi-polar Cold War (1945–1991), a protracted state of tension (military and diplomatic) between the US and the USSR, which often threatened a Russo–American nuclear war, but usually featured proxy wars in the Third World.[82]

The events that precipitated the Cold War in Europe were the Soviet and Yugoslav, Bulgarian and Albanian military interventions to the Greek Civil War (1944–1949), in behalf of the Greek Communists;[83] and the Berlin Blockade (1948–1949) by the Soviet Union. The event that precipitated the Cold War in continental Asia was the resumption of the Chinese Civil War (1927–1949) fought between the anti-communist Kuomintang (KMT) and the Communist Party of China (CPC); after military defeat exiled Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek and his KMT nationalist government to Formosa island (Taiwan), Mao Zedong established the People's Republic of China, on 1 October 1949.[84]

In Eastern Asia, the Cold War produced the Korean War (1950–1953), the first proxy war between the Eastern Bloc and the Western Bloc, resulted from dual origins: (i) the nationalist Koreans' post-war resumption of their Korean Civil War; and (ii) an imperial war for regional hegemony, sponsored by the US and the USSR.[85] The international response to the North Korean invasion of South Korea was realised by the United Nations Security Council who voted for war — despite the absent Soviet Union — and authorised an international military expedition to intervene and expel the northern invaders from the south of Korea; and thus restore the geopolitical status quo ante of the Soviet and American division of Korea at the 38th Parallel of global latitude. Consequent to Chinese military intervention in behalf of Communist North Korea, the magnitude of the infantry warfare reached operational and geographic stalemate (July 1951 – July 1953); afterwards, the shooting war was ended with the Korean Armistice Agreement (27 July 1953); and the superpower Cold War in Asia then resumed as the Korean Demilitarized Zone.


Josip Broz Tito uniform portrait
In 1948, Josip Broz Tito's rejection of Soviet hegemony upon the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia provoked Stalin to expel the Yugoslav leader and Yugoslavia from the Eastern Bloc


The geopolitics of the Eastern bloc countries under the hegemony of Stalinist Russia featured an official-and-personal style of socialist diplomacy that failed Stalin and Tito, and led to the Tito–Stalin Split, when Tito said "No." to subordinating Yugoslavia to Russia. Circumstance and cultural personality aggravated the matter into an official diplomatic break, the Yugoslav–Soviet Split in 1948. The break between the Marxist–Leninist communists, Tito and Stalin, resulted from Tito's rejection of Stalin's political demand that he subordinate Socialist Yugoslavia to the geopolitical agenda (economic and military) of the Soviet Union, i.e. Tito at Stalin's disposal.[86]

Stalin punished Tito's refusal by denouncing the Yugoslav Communist leader as an ideological revisionist of Marxism–Leninism; by denouncing Socialist Yugoslavia's practice of Titoism as socialism deviated from the cause of world communism; and by expelling the Yugoslav communists from the Communist Information Bureau (Cominform). The break from Eastern-bloc Stalinism allowed the development of Titoism, the Yugoslav variety of Marxism–Leninism that allowed doing business with the capitalist West to develop the socialist economy, and the establishment of Socialist Yugoslavia's diplomatic and commercial relations with countries of the Eastern and Western blocs; international relations that matured into the Non-Aligned Movement (1961) of countries without political allegiance to any power bloc.[87]

Soviet Union

At the death of Stalin in 1953, Nikita Khrushchev became leader of the Soviet Union and of the CPSU (Communist Party of the Soviet Union), and then consolidated an anti-Stalinist government. Three years later, in a secret meeting at the 20th congress of the CPSU, Khruschev denounced Stalin and Stalinism in the speech On the Cult of Personality and its Consequences (25 February 1956) in which he specified and condemned Stalin's dictatorial excesses and abuses of power, such as the Great purge (1936–38) and the cult of personality. Khrushchev thus introduced the de-Stalinisation of the Party and of the Soviet Union, which he realised with the dismantling of the Gulag archipelago of forced-labour camps and freeing the prisoners; allowing Soviet civil society greater political freedom of expression, especially for public intellectuals of the Intelligentsia, such as the novelist Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, whose literature obliquely criticised Stalin and the Stalinist police state. De-Stalinization also ended Stalin's national-purpose policy of socialism in one country, which was replaced with proletarian internationalism, by way of which Khrushchev re-committed the Soviet Union to permanent revolution to realise world communism. In that geopolitical vein, Khrushchev presented de-Stalinization as the restoration of Leninism as the official state ideology of the Soviet Union.[88]


In the 1950s, the de-Stalinisation of the Soviet Union was ideological bad news for the PRC, because Russian interpretations and applications of Leninism and Orthodox Marxism contradicted the Sinified Marxism–Leninism of Mao Zedong — his Chinese adaptations of Stalinist interpretation and praxis for establishing socialism in China. To realise that leap of Marxist faith in the development of Chinese socialism, the Communist Party of China developed Maoism (the Thought of Mao Zedong) as the official state ideology of the People's Republic of China. As the specifically Chinese development of Marxism–Leninism, Maoism illuminated the cultural differences between the European-Russian and the Asian-Chinese interpretations and practical applications of Leninism and Orthodox Marxism in each country. The political differences then provoked geopolitical, ideological, and nationalist tensions, which derived from the different stages of development, between the urban society of the industrialised USSR and the agricultural society of the pre-industrial PRC. The theory-vs-praxis arguments escalated to theoretic disputes about Marxist revisionism, and provoked the Sino-Soviet split (1956–1966), and the PRC and the USSR broke their international relations (diplomatic and political, cultural and economic).[18]

Consequent to the Sino-Soviet split, the pragmatic PRC established politics of détente with the US, in effort to publicly challenge the USSR for leadership of the international communist movement. Mao's pragmatism permitted geopolitical rapprochement and facilitated US President Richard Nixon's 1972 visit to China, which subsequently ended the US policy of the existence to "two Chinas", when the United States sponsored the People's Republic of China to replace the Republic of China (Taiwan) as the representative of the Chinese people at the United Nations; in the due course of Sino-American rapprochement, the PRC also assumed membership in the Security Council of the UN.[18] In the post–Mao period of Sino-American détente, the Deng Xiaoping government (1982–1987) effected policies of economic liberalisation that allowed continual growth for the Chinese economy. The ideological justification is socialism with Chinese characteristics, the Chinese adaption of Marxism–Leninism.[89]

Marxist–Leninist revolution

Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, leader of the Republic of Cuba from 1959 to 2008, successfully led to victory the Cuban Revolution in 1959
Viet Cong guerillas during the Vietnam War
Latin America

The Cuban Revolution (1956–59), led by Fidel Castro and Ché Guevara, deposed the régime (1952–1959) of Fulgencio Batista, and established the Republic of Cuba, a socialist state formally recognised by the Soviet Union.[90] In response, the United States launched a coup d'état against the Castro government; in 1961, the CIA's unsuccessful Bay of Pigs invasion (17 April 1961), by anti-communist Cuban exiles, which attack impelled the Republic of Cuba to side with the USSR; and, in 1962, there occurred the Cuban missile crisis (22–28 October 1962), about US opposition to Socialist Cuba being armed with Soviet nuclear missiles. The US and the USSR jointly resolved the nuclear-missile crisis by respectively removing American nuclear-armed missiles from Turkey and Italy, and Soviet missiles from Cuba.[91]

In 1979, the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), led by Daniel Ortega, won the civil war against the government of Anastasio Somoza Debayle (1 December 1974 – 17 July 1979); within months, the US government of Ronald Reagan sponsored the secret war of the counter-revolutionary Contras (1979–1990) against Nicaragua. In 1983, the US Invasion of Grenada (25–29 October 1983 ) thwarted the assumption of power by the elected government of the New Jewel Movement (1973–1983), a vanguard party led by Maurice Bishop. The Salvadoran Civil War (1979–1992) featured the popularly supported Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front, an organisation of left-wing parties fighting against the right-wing military government of El Salvador.

North America

In 1970, there occurred the October Crisis in Canada, a brief revolution in the province of Québec, where the actions of the separatist Front de libération du Québec (FLQ; Front for the Liberation of Québec) featured the kidnap of James Cross, the British Trade Commissioner in Canada, and the killing of Pierre Laporte, the Quebec government minister. The political manifesto of the FLQ condemned English-Canadian imperialism in French Québec, and called for a separate Québecois socialist state. The Canadian government's harsh response included the suspension of civil liberties in Quebec, which compelled the FLQ leaders' flight to Socialist Cuba.

East Asia

The Vietnam War (1945–1975) was the second East–West war that occurred in Asia during the Cold War. After the Vietnamese Communists led by Ho Chi Minh defeated the French re-establishment of European colonialism in Viet Nam, the United States replaced France as the Western support of the client-state Republic of Vietnam (1955–1975). Despite military superiority, the United States failed to safeguard South Vietnam from the Viet Cong, the guerrilla army sponsored by North Vietnam. In 1968, North Vietnam launched the Tet Offensive. Although a military failure, the attack was successful psychological warfare that decisively turned international public opinion against the United States intervention to the Vietnamese civil war and five years later eventual United States withdrawal from the war in 1973 and the subsequent Fall of Saigon to the Vietnamese Communists forces in 1975.

Consequent to the Cambodian Civil War and in coalition with Prince Norodom Sihanouk, the native Cambodian Communists, the Maoist Khmer Rouge (1951–1999) led by Pol Pot, established Democratic Kampuchea (1975–1982), a Marxist–Leninist state that featured class warfare to restructure the society of old Cambodia; to be effected and realised with the abolishment of money and private property, the outlawing of religion, the killing of the intelligentsia and compulsory manual labour for the middle classes by way of death-squad state terrorism.[92]

To eliminate Western cultural influence, Kampuchea expelled all foreigners and effected the destruction of the urban bourgeoisie of old Cambodia, first by displacing the population of the capital city, Phnom Penh; and then by displacing the national populace to work farmlands to increase food supplies. Meanwhile, the Khmer Rouge purged Kampuchea of internal enemies (social class and political, cultural and ethnic) at the killing fields, the scope of which became crimes against humanity, which destroyed 2, 700, 000 people by mass murder and genocide.[93][94] That social restructuring of Cambodia included attacks against the Vietnamese ethnic minority in Kampuchea, which aggravated the historical, ethnic rivalries between the Viet and the Khmer peoples. Beginning in September 1977, Kampuchea and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam continually engaged in border clashes. In 1978, Vietnam invaded Kampuchea and captured Phnom Penh in January 1979, deposed the Maoist Khmer Rouge from government and established the Cambodian Liberation Front for National Renewal as the government of Cambodia.[94]


In Africa, during the 1968–1980 period, Angola, Benin, and the Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Somalia and Zimbabwe became Marxist–Leninist states governed by their respective native peoples; Marxist–Leninist guerrillas fought the Portuguese Colonial War in three countries, Angola, Guinea-Bissau, and Mozambique; overthrew of the monarchy of Haile Selassie and established the Derg government (1974–1987) of the Coordinating Committee of the Armed Forces, Police and Territorial Army in Ethiopia; Robert Mugabe led the successful civil war to overthrow white-minority rule in Rhodesia (1965–1979) and established Zimbabwe. In South Africa, the anti-communist, white-minority government—based upon the official racist policy of apartheid — caused much geopolitical tension between the US and the USSR. In 1976, anti-communism became morally untenable for the West when the South African government killed 176 people (students and adults) in suppressing the Soweto uprising (June 1976), which protested Afrikaner cultural imperialism, the imposition of Afrikaans (a European Germanic language) as the language for teaching school and as the language that black South Africans must speak to white people; and the police assassination of Steven Biko (September 1977), a leader of the internal resistance to apartheid in South Africa.[95]

See also



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External links

Abimael Guzmán

Manuel Rubén Abimael Guzmán Reynoso (; American Spanish: [maˈnwel ruˈβen aβimaˈel ɡuzˈman reiˈnoso]; born 3 December 1934), also known by the nom de guerre Chairman Gonzalo (Spanish: Presidente Gonzalo), is the former leader of the Shining Path during the Maoist insurgency known as the internal conflict in Peru. He was captured by the Peruvian government in 1992 and sentenced to life imprisonment for terrorism and treason.

In the 1960s and 1970s Guzmán was a professor of philosophy active in left-wing politics and strongly influenced by Marxism and Maoism. He developed an ideology of armed struggle stressing the empowerment of the indigenous people. He went underground in the mid 1970s to become the sometimes idolized and mythical leader of the Shining Path movement, which began what it called "the armed struggle" on 17 May 1980.

While the activity of the insurgency increased shortly after Guzmán's capture, it has declined in the years following. The movement has been criticized for its violence against peasants, trade union organizers, and elected officials, which were deemed by the group to be collaborating with the Peruvian state. Shining Path is on the U.S. Department of State's "Designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations" list. The European Union and Peru likewise describe Shining Path as a terrorist group and it prohibits its citizens from providing funds or other forms of financial support to the group.


Anti-revisionism is a position within Marxism–Leninism which emerged in the 1950s in opposition to the reforms of Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. Where Khrushchev pursued an interpretation of Leninism that differed from his predecessor Joseph Stalin, the anti-revisionists within the international communist movement remained dedicated to Stalin's ideological legacy and criticized the Soviet Union under Khrushchev and his successors as state capitalist and social imperialist due largely to its hopes of achieving peace with the United States. The term "Stalinism" is also used to describe these positions, but it is often not used by its supporters who opine that Stalin simply synthesized and practiced Leninism.

Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union

The Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was the executive leadership of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, acting between sessions of Congress. According to own party statutes, the committee directed all party and governmental activities. Its members were elected by the Party Congress.

During Vladimir Lenin's leadership of the Communist Party, the Central Committee functioned as the highest party authority between Congresses. However, the 8th Party Congress (held in 1919) established the Political Bureau (Politburo) to respond to questions needing immediate responses. Some delegates objected to the establishment of the Politburo, and in response, the Politburo became responsible to the Central Committee, and Central Committee members could participate in Politburo sessions with a consultative voice, but could not vote unless they were members. Following Lenin's death in January 1924, Joseph Stalin gradually increased his power in the Communist Party through the office of General Secretary of the Central Committee, the leading Secretary of the Secretariat. With Stalin's takeover, the role of the Central Committee was eclipsed by the Politburo, which consisted of a small clique of loyal Stalinists.

By the time of Stalin's death in 1953, the Central Committee had become largely a symbolic organ that was responsible to the Politburo, and not the other way around. The death of Stalin revitalised the Central Committee, and it became an important institution during the power struggle to succeed Stalin. Following Nikita Khrushchev's accession to power, the Central Committee still played a leading role; it overturned the Politburo's decision to remove Khrushchev from office in 1957. In 1964 the Central Committee ousted Khrushchev from power and elected Leonid Brezhnev as First Secretary. The Central Committee was an important organ in the beginning of Brezhnev's rule, but lost effective power to the Politburo. From then on, until the era of Mikhail Gorbachev (General Secretary from 1985 to 1991), the Central Committee played a minor role in the running of the party and state – the Politburo operated as the highest political organ in the Soviet Union.


In political and social sciences, communism (from Latin communis, "common, universal") is the philosophical, social, political, and economic ideology and movement whose ultimate goal is the establishment of the communist society, which is a socioeconomic order structured upon the common ownership of the means of production and the absence of social classes, money, and the state.Communism includes a variety of schools of thought, which broadly include Marxism and anarchism (anarcho-communism), as well as the political ideologies grouped around both. All of these share the analysis that the current order of society stems from its economic system, capitalism; that in this system there are two major social classes; that conflict between these two classes is the root of all problems in society; and that this situation will ultimately be resolved through a social revolution.

The two classes are the working class—who must work to survive and who make up the majority within society—and the capitalist class—a minority who derives profit from employing the working class through private ownership of the means of production.

The revolution will put the working class in power and in turn establish social ownership of the means of production, which according to this analysis is the primary element in the transformation of society towards communism.

Critics of communism can be roughly divided into those concerning themselves with the practical aspects of 20th century communist states and those concerning themselves with communist principles and theory.Marxism-Leninism and social democracy were the two dominant forms of socialism in the 20th century; social democracy advocates economic reform through gradual democratic legislative action rather than through revolution.

Communist Party of Azerbaijan (2011)

The Communist Party of Azerbaijan is a communist party that was founded on 31 October 2011 by the merger of the Azerbaijan Communist Party (on Platform of Marxism–Leninism) (ACP-PM-L) and the Communist Party of Azerbaijan headed by Alasgar Khalilov. At the unification congress Telman Nurullayev, the former head of the (AKP-PML), was elected the party's First Secretary and was also elected to the Politburo. Representatives from fraternal communist parties, such as the Socialist Party of Latvia and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, were presented at the congress.

Fundamentals of Marxism–Leninism

The book Fundamentals of Marxism–Leninism is considered one of the fundamental works on dialectical materialism and on Leninist communism. The book remains important in understanding the philosophy and politics of the Soviet Union; it consolidates the work of important contributions to Marxist theory.


Guevarism is a theory of communist revolution and a military strategy of guerilla warfare associated with Marxist revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara, a leading figure of the Cuban Revolution who believed in the idea of Marxism–Leninism and embraced its principles.

Left-wing terrorism

Left-wing terrorism (sometimes called Marxist–Leninist terrorism or revolutionary/left-wing terrorism) is terrorism meant to overthrow conservative or capitalist systems and replace them with Marxist–Leninist, socialist, or liberal societies. Left-wing terrorism also occurs within already socialist states as activism against the current ruling government. It has taken vivid manifestations across the world and presented diverging dynamics and relationships with national governments and political economies.

List of anti-capitalist and communist parties with national parliamentary representation

The following is a list of communist and anti-capitalist parties with representation in national parliaments. This list does not contain communist and anti-capitalist parties previously represented in parliament. This list includes only those parties who officially call themselves communist or anti-capitalist (or socialist parties who are declared anti-capitalist) ideologically. 115 communist and anti-capitalist parties have been elected worldwide to parliament in 56 different countries in both recognised and non-recognised states. Of the 66 states listed here, 9 of them are republics ruled by a socialist, communist or anticapitalist party, five of them are official socialist states ruled by a communist party, of them four of them espouse Marxism–Leninism (China, Cuba, Laos, and Vietnam) while the fifth (North Korea) espouses Juche.

List of communist ideologies

Self-identified communists hold a variety of views, including Marxism, Dengism, Trotskyism, Stalinism, council communism, Luxemburgism, anarcho-communism, Christian communism, Islamic socialism and various currents of left communism. The offshoots of the Leninism (Marxism–Leninism) are the most well-known of these and have been a driving force in international relations during most of the 20th century.This list includes ideologies which are or were

communist in the sense of maintaining the ideal of common ownership and control of at least the means of production (and possibly of other property) regardless whether the word "communism" is used by the adherents of the ideology or not; and,

notable enough to be either mentioned in a non-trivial way in more than one scholarly work about history of communism, or to be an official ideology of a party at least represented in a parliament of a country with more than 1,000,000 citizens.Besides the principal communist ideologies (like Marxism or anarcho-communism), the list may contain also branches limited in their theoretical scope (e.g., Lysenkoism) or in their regional extent (e.g., Kádárism), provided they fulfill the above conditions.

List of communist parties

There are a number of communist parties active in various countries across the world, and a number that used to be active. They differ not only in method, but also in strict ideology and interpretation. The formation of communist parties in various countries was first initiated by the formation of the communist Third International by the Russian Bolsheviks. Undoubtedly the most important of these parties were those of the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China: the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the Communist Party of China, respectively.

Some communist parties have names such as Workers' Party, Socialist Party, Progressive Party, etc. Most, but not all, of the parties on this list are those that were aligned with either Moscow, Beijing or Tirana during the Cold War and their offshoots. Groups currently and exclusively participating in the Trotskyist or the Left communist tradition are not included in the listing, see List of Trotskyist organisations by country and List of Left communist organisations by country.

Groups currently participating in non-Marxist movements related to communism, such as Anarcho-communism and Juche, are included in the listing as a variant of communism as they are communist in origin and participate in world communist conventions. All consider themselves to be the vanguard governing party of their respective land.

List of left-wing rebel groups

This is a list of left-wing rebel groups around the world. These groups are seeking change through armed conflict or illegal protest in opposition to an established government. This list does not contain those legal armed forces in communist states.


Marxism–Leninism–Maoism (M–L–M or MLM), formerly known as Marxism–Leninism–Mao Zedong Thought, is a political philosophy that builds upon Marxism–Leninism and some aspects of Mao Zedong Thought which was first formalised in 1993 by the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement.

Marxism–Leninism–Maoism–Prachanda Path

Marxism–Leninism–Maoism–Prachanda Path (Nepali: मालेमावाद र प्रचण्डपथ Mālemāvād ra Prachaṇḍapath, sometimes shortened to Prachanda Path) refers to the ideological line of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), also known as the UCPN(M). It is considered a development of Marxism–Leninism–Maoism (MLM) and named after the leader of the UCPN(M), Pushpa Kamal Dahal, commonly known as Prachanda. Prachanda Path was proclaimed in 2001. The ideology was partially inspired by the example of the Communist Party of Peru (Shining Path), which refers to its ideological line as "Marxism–Leninism–Maoism–Gonzalo Thought".Prachanda Path does not claim to make an ideological break with Marxism, Leninism or Maoism, but rather to be an extension of these ideologies based on the politics of Nepal. The doctrine came into existence after the party determined that the ideologies of Marxism, Leninism and Maoism could no longer be practiced completely as they been in the past. The party adopted Prachanda Path as they felt it was a suitable ideology based on the reality of Nepalese politics. Militarily and in the context of the 1996–2006 armed conflict in Nepal, central to the ideology was the achievement of revolution through the control of rural areas and the encirclement of urban settlements.Today, Prachanda's positions are seen by some Marxist–Leninist–Maoists around the world as "revisionist" and are criticized by revolutionary organizations within Nepal. These criticisms focus on the entry of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) into mainstream party politics in Nepal. These criticisms have also drawn on the cooperation between UCPN-M under Pushpa Kamal Dahal and the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist–Leninist).

Marxist–Leninist atheism

In the philosophy of Marxism, Marxist–Leninist atheism (also Marxist–Leninist scientific atheism) is the irreligious and anti-clerical element of Marxism–Leninism, the official state ideology of the Soviet Union. Based upon a dialectical-materialist understanding of humanity's place in Nature, Marxist–Leninist atheism proposes that religion is the opium of the people, meant to promote a person's passive acceptance of his and her poverty and exploitation as the normal way of human life on Earth in the hope of a spiritual reward after death; thus, Marxism–Leninism advocates atheism, rather than religious belief.To support those ideological premises, Marxist–Leninist atheism explains the origin of religion and explains methods for the scientific criticism of religion. The philosophic roots of materialist atheism are in the works of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770–1831) and of Ludwig Feuerbach (1804–1872), of Karl Marx (1818–1883) and of Vladimir Lenin (1870–1924).Unlike Soviet Marxism, other varieties of Marxist philosophy are not anti-religious, such as the Liberation theology developed by Latin American Marxists.

Marx–Engels–Lenin Institute

The Marx–Engels–Lenin Institute, established in Moscow in 1919 as the Marx–Engels Institute (Russian: Институт К. Маркса и Ф. Энгельса), was a Soviet library and archive attached to the Communist Academy. The institute was later attached to the governing Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and served as a research center and publishing house for officially published works of Marxist doctrine.

The Marx–Engels Institute gathered unpublished manuscripts by Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Vladimir Lenin and other leading Marxist theoreticians as well as collecting books, pamphlets and periodicals related to the socialist and organized labor movements. By 1930, the facility's holdings included more than 400,000 books and journals and more than 55,000 original and photocopy documents by Marx and Engels alone, making it one of the largest holdings of socialist-related material in the world.

In February 1931, director of the Marx–Engels Institute David Riazanov and others on the staff were purged for ideological reasons. In November of that same year, the Marx–Engels Institute was merged with the larger and less scholarly Lenin Institute (established in 1923) to form the Marx–Engels–Lenin Institute.

The institute was the coordinating authority for the systematic organization of documents released in the multi-volume works Marx-Engels-Gesamtausgabe (Marx-Engels Collected Works), Lenin's Polnoe sobranie sochineniia (Complete Collected Works), Joseph Stalin's Sochineniia (Works) and numerous other official publications. The institute was officially terminated in November 1991, with the bulk of its archival holdings now residing with a successor organization, the Russian State Archive of Socio-Political History (RGASPI).

People's democracy (Marxism–Leninism)

People's democracy was a theoretical concept within Marxism–Leninism (and a form of government in communist states) which developed after World War II, which allowed in theory for a multi-class, multi-party democracy on the pathway to socialism. Prior to the rise of Fascism, communist parties had called for Soviet Republics to be implemented throughout the world, such as the Chinese Soviet Republic or William Z. Foster's book Towards Soviet America. However, after the rise of fascism, and the creation of the popular front governments in France and Spain, the Comintern under Bulgarian Communist leader Georgi Dimitrov began to advocate for a broad multi-class united front as opposed to the pure proletarian dictatorship of the Soviets. The possibility of a trans-class democracy was first put forward during the popular front period against Fascism.

Revolutionary Internationalist Movement

The Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM) was an international Communist organization founded in France in March 1984 by 17 various Maoist organisations around the world. It sought to "struggle for the formation of a Communist International of a new type, based on Marxism–Leninism–Maoism". The RIM appears to be defunct as are many of the founding organisations and many changed their names over the years, or have dropped active armed struggle.

Workers' Institute of Marxism–Leninism–Mao Zedong Thought

The Workers' Institute of Marxism–Leninism–Mao Zedong Thought (spelled Tsetung until 1979) was a small Maoist political party based in Brixton, London. It was formed by Aravindan Balakrishnan in 1974 after his expulsion from the Communist Party of England (Marxist-Leninist). Many of its members lived in a commune originally based at its headquarters. In the early 1980s, after a police raid, Balakrishnan decided to move the group’s activities underground.

Balakrishnan's control over his followers intensified and the commune moved between several addresses. The group ended in 2013 with the arrest of Balakrishnan and his wife, Chandra, under the suspicion of multiple charges including rape, false imprisonment, and domestic abuse. The three remaining members were taken to safety, including Katy Morgan-Davies who was born into the sect.

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