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Leninism is a current within Marxism which was formulated from the positions of V. I. Lenin after his death in 1924. Leon Trotsky coined 'Bolshevik-Leninism' to emphasise continuity between his own theories and those and Lenin. Leninism thus branched off into Marxism–Leninism (which would later develop into Stalinism by the 1970s) and "Bolshevik-Leninism" (or Trotskyism).

Leninist Theory

Lenin's political theory included the use of a vanguard party and the concepts of 'trade union consciousness', democratic centralism, and imperialism as the highest stage of capitalism.

In his unfinished The State and Revolution, Lenin popularized what Marx named 'the first phase of communism' being called 'socialism'. As its name implies, in this work, Lenin describes how a proletarian social revolution is to occur, arguing against the revisionism of Marxism by Bernstein and others, as well as how the dictatorship of the proletariat should operate, drawing on the experience of the Paris Commune.[1]

Leninism as a distinct political current

Not all leftists consider the ideas of what is now known as Leninism to be compatible with Marxism. Some Marxists consider themselves pro-Lenin but not "pro-Leninist," in that they feel that Leninism is merely a distortion of what Lenin actually stood for (which they argue was a form of orthodox Marxism shaped to the specific conditions of the Russian Revolution), based on soon-outdated texts such as What is to be Done? This work, these Marxists argue, was meant to be placed only in the context of 1905 Russia, and not to be applied to all socialist revolutions. The book that helped popularize this view was Lars T. Lih's Lenin Rediscovered: What is to be Done? In Context.[citation needed] "Leninism," therefore, did not emerge until after his death with the Trotsky-Stalin split in the party, coming into being as a doctrine with Stalin's text Foundations of Leninism.[2] However, Marxist-Leninists and Trotskyists consider Leninism merely an extension of Marxism into the age of imperialism.[3]

Main works in Leninism

Works by Vladimir Lenin

Works by Joseph Stalin

Works by Leon Trotsky

  • The Revolution Betrayed

See also

External links


  1. Lenin, Vladimir. "The State and Revolution - Chapter 3". Marxists Internet Archive. Retrieved 30 Jul 2023.
  2. Stalin, J.V. "The Foundations of Leninism". Marxists Internet Archive. Retrieved 30 Jul 2023.
  3. http://socialistappeal.org/resources/49-marxism-faq/1623-marxism-basics.html#WhatareMarxismLeninismandTrotskyism[failed verification][dead link]