Leninism vs Marxism: Definition, Facts & Differences

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Leninism is basically a political ideology developed by the Russian revolutionary leader, Vladimir Lenin. It proposes the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat led by a revolutionary vanguard party, as the political prelude to the establishment of communism. In short, Leninism seeks to impose capitalism in its doings. Marxism on the other hand is the political and economic theories of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, later developed by their followers to form the basis of communism. For more differences between Leninism and Marxism, keep reading for more.

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Differences Between Leninism and Marxism

  • Marxism was more of an ideology that Karl Marx created to point out what will happen when the social classes struggle with each other. Leninism was how Lenin changed Marxism to fit Russia.
  • When forming Marxism Marx envisaged that his theory would come into practice in more developed and advanced capitalist states because that was where the revolution he talked of could take place. However, Leninism took place in a country which was not as developed or advanced as Marx imagined. Russia at the time was not economically advanced and was populated by a large number of farmers. That is why Lenin has to change aspects of Marxism to fit Russia at that time.
  • In Leninism, economic and industrial development was a key aspect as Russia was behind in these areas. However, that is not the case with Marxism as Marxism talks of a country that is already industrialized and advanced.
  • Marxism argued that a proletariat revolution was inevitable. This was based on several assumptions. Firstly, Marxism believed that the capitalist states will not let people move toward socialism. However, Lenin did not agree with this. He argued that such capitalist states would have enough power that they will use to suppress any revolutionary feelings in the working class. Leninism says that the capitalist states will give just enough money and benefits to the working class so that they will not have revolutionary feelings. Without revolutionary feelings, there will be no revolution.
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