What is Leninism in simple terms?

Vladimir I. Lenin expounded the principles of Leninism, based on the political ideas of Marxism. Just like Marx and other communists, Lenin felt the necessity of the unification of and thereby a socialist revolution by the proletariat or the working class. He was aware of the fact that for the revolution to be successful, strong leadership was needed. He conceptualized of a revolutionary party for this purpose which was required to be organized along democratic centralist lines. Democratic centralism, or the idea of the vanguard party, is a Leninist democratic practice whereby policies are decided centrally and are binding on all the members. Therefore, he wanted disciplined communist political parties in all the countries to lead the revolution and give it a proper direction.

So, Leninism can be explained as the political theory that works towards the organization of a vanguard party which is revolutionary and achieves to attain dictatorship of the proletariat in order to establish socialism. This vanguard party’s aim was supposed to provide the proletariat consciousness about their class in order to destroy capitalism in Imperial Russia. He knew that imperialism was caused by capitalism and it was the exorbitant point of capitalism. Communism is a higher form than that of capitalism, it was proposed that the revolution by the proletariat had to occur first in the economically and industrially advanced countries.

According to Lenin, the Communist party consisted of a scientific understanding of the history and of a society guided by the Marxist principles. They were deeply committed to ending capitalism and replacing it with socialism. They believed that this was only possible with the acquisition of political power. The aim of achieving this political power made them do anything that was possible, be it violence or revolution if required. Lenin argued that the workers or proletariats alone could acquire revolutionary and class consciousness that was needed. Deep within he was afraid that the proletariats would become easily content with smaller gains in their living as well as working conditions acquired through the various trade union activities. He feared that the proletariats would be diverted easily in their motive to dethrone capitalism. This was the point where Leninism differed from Marxism. For the Marxists, material conditions were enough to facilitate the workers to realize their need for revolting.

Leninism was more practical in the sense that it was aware of the need for proper means and methods of acquiring political power and was opportunistic in the policies it developed. At the time of need, it had also made compromises to maintain their control overpower.

Some of the unprecedented results of Leninism were that its pursuit of creating a socialist society led to the creation of a totalitarian state instead of in the Soviet Union where all the social, economic, cultural, aspects of life were being controlled by the Communist party. Marxism and Leninism predicted the victory of the proletariat; it resulted instead in the increased power of the state.


  1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leninism
  2. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Leninism
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