Sociology Index


Leninism refers to the ideas of Vladimir Ilich Lenin, leader of the Russian Revolution and founder of the Soviet Union. Lenin's ideas or Leninism is mainly derived from Marxism but Lenin had a distinctive view of the importance of leadership in creating a working class revolution. As an ideology devoid of left-right content, Leninism could be defined as adherence to a purely political-tactical set of principles, like "the end justifies the means", "the worse, the better", and "give them enough rope." Even these tenets do not capture the fundamental essence of Leninism.

Lenin advocated the organization of the working class by a disciplined and centralised Communist Party believing, unlike Marx, that class consciousness could only develop under the guidance and direction of party leadership. Many historians have argued Lenin's focus on the dominant role of the party and of its central leadership led directly to the establishment of Stalin's dictatorship and to millions of deaths in the attempt to establish Soviet-style communism.

WHAT LENINISM MEANS - Chad Nagle. "Marxism-Leninism," was "Marxism made concrete," and after Lenin seized power in Russia in 1917, historians frequently neglected to draw bold lines between "Communism" on the one hand, and "Leninism" on the other. Leninism represents progress, but not necessarily Marxist progress. It sees state power as a tool of progress on a global scale, as summed up by Lenin himself in the simple equation, Communism = Soviet power + electrification of the whole country, not a Marxist definition of Communism, whatever its meaning in terms of left and right.

Marxism-Leninism as a political religion - RIEGEL, KLAUS-GEORG. Stalin's invention of a sacral tradition of Marxism-Leninism qualified him as the only true disciple of Lenin. Therefore, Stalin claimed the monopoly of the infallible interpretation of the holy scriptures, summarised in his own dogmatic performances. In this sense, Stalin's Leninism became itself a religion d'etat (B. Souvarine).

A Critique of Marxism-Leninism as Theory and Praxis - Carol Pearce 
A systematic reconsideration of Marxism in theory and practice reveals the inadequacy, indeed the unacceptability, as far as democratic socialists are concerned of Marxism-Leninism. This article is, in essence, a critique of Marxism-Leninism and a plea for a less doctrinaire approach to both theory and practice. The point, is not simply that Leninism flies in the face of all that makes marxism desirable, nor simply that Leninism is immoral.

Although Leninism may be one of the logical consequences of Marxism, it contradicts the Marxist premise and the point of Marx's own work. It also considers the approaches within the Marxist-Leninist traditions which can be identified as deterministic Marxism and voluntarist Marxism neither of which is theoretically or ethically satisfactory. The general argument is related to Marxism and Marxism-Leninism in Africa. What is wrong with Leninism? Marxism in Africa.

From Leninism to Karimovism: Hegemony, Ideology, and Authoritarian Legitimation - March A.F.
Abstract: A political theorist examines the way in which President Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan has attempted to legitimate authoritarian rule since the transition from communism. A comparison is made between late-Soviet modes of authoritarian legitimation and those of the Karimov regime, and the success of the project at the conceptual level is examined. The article closes with a consideration of the implications of this study for evaluating Juan J. Linz's classical thesis on the relationship between authoritarianism and ideology and some general propositions on the structure of authoritarian legitimation.

Lenin, Gorbachev, and ‘national-statehood’: Can Leninism countenance the new Soviet federal order? 
Abstract One of the most intractable contemporary problems in the USSR is the Soviet federal dilemma. The late 1980s witnessed competing claims among the national minority groups of the USSR to rights of voice, representation, and cultural, economic, and even political sovereignty. Since the onset ofperestrojka, the principle of nationalstatehood has acquired a new legitimacy.

Unless there is a significant departure from Leninist theory, the new acknowledgement of the rights of nations in the USSR can only be a political, and thus temporary concession. Can the ideology evolve in such a way as to provide ideologically-based political legitimacy to the notion of national-statehood? Is Gorbachev''s dynamic interpretation of Leninism capable of rejecting one of Lenin''s most fundamental concepts?