Difference between Leninism and M-L

I'm starting to suspect that the distinction between what's called "Marxism-Leninism" and what's just called "Leninism" was made up decades after the Russian revolution, by (probably) some academics who felt that the true principles of Lenin had been betrayed by the Stalinists/M-L's.

Some posters on Holla Forums claim that Stalin invented M-L and that Leninism is something else, but the book Stalin wrote is called "Foundations of Leninism", and through out he calls it only Leninism. Are there actually any historical non-ML Leninist movements (of any significance)? "Foundations of Leninism" was written the same year Lenin died, and I doubt the label "Leninism" was used much before Lenin's death. So based on my limited knowledge of the history of the term, it seems like Leninism (which is the same thing as M-L) is an ideology that was formalized in the USSR after Lenin's death, mainly by Stalin, and all other Leninist/ML movements (Vietnamese communists, Chinese communists, etc.) have been part of this same tradition. I can't think of any significant movements that have been "Leninist but not Marxist-Leninist".

I know Trotsky used to call himself a "Bolshevik-Leninist" or something like that but it never stuck. It has pretty much always been called "Trotskyism" by everyone else.

Obviously, you can use any word you like to refer to any set of ideas (so if you wanna call yourself a non-ML Leninist because you "believe in the true ideas of Lenin which were betrayed by Stalin and the USSR", that's fine), but I'm trying to think about these terms in their historical context, and there no actual distinction between Leninism and M-L exists, right?

The "true ideas" of Lenin were betrayed by Lenin.

Kinda off topic, but ok. Nice opinion!

My point is the effective difference between Leninism and ML is that one has been put into practice and the other has not. Lenin's program could be argued to be different in spirit but it's ultimately part of the same legacy and differed from his stated intentions and theory. In my experience, most Leninists adhere to his theory, not his actual program.

Leninism is it's own thing, but it's closer to Marxism-Leninism than self-proclaimed Leninists would like to admit, and it's more different than Marxism-Leninism than self-proclaimed Marxist-Leninists would like to admit.

And what's the reasoning behind this statement of yours?


The things Leninism and Marxism-Leninism have in common are the way the vanguard party works, democratic centralism, and (this is where many self-proclaimed Leninists will sperg out) socialism in one country. Those aren't small similarities by any means, but once you get past those similarity Leninism is closer to being a more centralized and authoritarian version of DeLeonism than it is an analogue to Marxism-Leninism.

Yes. So far I've never seen any cohesive argumentation for "betrayal" of Lenin's ideas by Stalin - as outright anti-Communists (RDWolff) like to claim.

By academicians who got paid to find some dirt on Soviets. Or just invent something. Not unlike "anti-revisionists" like Bland, who peddled betrayal of Communist ideas by Khrushchev-Brezhnev (which was true) and concluded that this made USSR worse than UK (which was not).

AFAIK, term "Marxism-Leninism" is simply shortened version of "Marxism and Leninism" people were using in 20s. Somewhere around late 20s Soviets gradually begun using "Marxism-Leninism", but it took some years, before they switched.

Except the question remains: what is Leninism? How was it different from ML of the 1930s?

Marxism-Leninism is the stratification of Leninism. While Lenin was the first who actually created a Marxist ideology (Marxism itself is not an ideology), he was concerned about revolutionary theory and the scientific analysis as how to bring about a dictatorship of the proletariat.

Marxism-Leninism is identical with Leninism, but Leninism isn't identical with Marxism-Leninism, if that makes any sense: Marxism-Leninism has a more specific agenda as to how to build a socialist society which occured after Lenin's death, which is: Collectivization and industrialization. If someone just calls himself "Leninist" only it is usually an individual who agrees with Lenin's approach but has no idea what to do after a DotP is established and thinks Stalin is scary. But they barely exist (because it's retarded not to go all the way through), Trots sometimes try to co-op the term ("Bolshevik-Leninism") but are usually unsuccessful.

Who gives a fuck

How butchered is the Trot understanding of Lenin?

With Leninism, every action the party takes is taken to further the revolution, and these actions are taken through democratic centralism. The Leninist thought process is very big-picture and pragmatic, and the revolutionary ends usually justify the means. That's not all that different than what ML claims to be on paper.

The differences come in how Leninists look at dialectical materialism and how Leninists work the state. Let's start with the dialectic. Leninism revives Hegel to an extent while M-L goes 100% materialist. Leninist is still materialist, in fact it might even be more materialist than M-L is, but it was very important for Lenin when he looked at the dialectics which brought Marx to his materialism rather than looking at the materialism itself like M-L does (I'm not saying all M-Ls ignore the dialectic, I'm just talking about theory). Leninism does not see in the world one bit of material reality that cannot be transformed by the workers and the party to fit the revolution. For instance, Lenin and Stalin both came to the conclusion that socialism in one country was the way to go for Russia. Stalin came to that conclusion because the ML view is that you have to work around material conditions to reach your goals, but the Leninist view is that you can dialectically change material conditions to best fit your goals. Lenin became a god-tier theorist once he stopped disregarding Hegel. Seriously guys, fucking read Hegel.

The state is one of the larger differences between Leninism and Marxism-Leninism. Anarchists talk a big game about how Lenin did a 180 regarding All Power to the Soviets, but that's not quite so. The Leninist view is that soviets are a revolutionary weapon to build a revolutionary state, and during prior to the establishment of that state, the soviets will be as democratic as possible. After the revolution starts and we have a DotP, soviets are an apparatus of the state, but there cannot be "true" democracy among the soviets because that would imply individuals ruling as individuals rather than as the proletarian collective. I'm not saying that's right or wrong, but that's the Leninist view and never did Lenin contradict it. I get that some anarchists feel Lenin is a traitor because he sometimes spoke in vaguely anarchist terms regarding the state, but Lenin never was an anarchist and your anarchist movement was never his to betray. Get over it. Sorry about the tangent, but the key difference between Leninism and M-L regarding the issue of the state is that M-L sees the worker's state as the victory of the revolution, that after the revolution, the state will guide the workers through socialism. This is not the Leninist view; Lenin saw the worker's state as the revolution itself, in fact, the actions of the worker's state as more more important revolutionary acts than the actual overthrowing of the bourgeois state. This is why Lenin is so defensive in Left-Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder.

You guys should read Lenin.

Real trots or liberal trots? The liberal trots don't have any real understanding of Lenin. Fort them, Lenin is le revolution man who was betrayed. The real trots have a butchered view of Lenin, but it's only slightly more butchered than the Marxist-Leninist understanding of Lenin. That is to say, they actually understand Lenin eight time out of ten, but they neglect what Lenin learned from Hegel.

I.e. we have to trust you personal opinion on this?

> [wordsoup]
Do you have actual facts? Quotes? Anything? Because all I see is bold claims and incoherent ranting.

I was thinking more of the red trots, though I kinda wonder how much Trotsky himself is butchered by Trots.


Trotsky himself was quite an opportunist and was not the best source of Marxism, but at least he had some idea of what Marxism was. Most of his postmortem followers did not. There are a few exceptions that are passable, but Trotskyism in general is haunted by Trotsky's greatest fuck-up about "Stalinist bureaucracy" - and is doomed to deviate from Marxism until it will become indistinguishable from Anarchists.

is socialism in one country really a fundamental aspect of ML? Like i'm pretty sure if a successful revolution popped off and there was obvious potential for extending it to other nations an ML wouldn't just be like, oh sorry party doctrine.

I think you misunderstand the meaning of SiOC.

The question is if you should attempt to switch to Planned Economy before World Revolution ends. That's what discussion in 1920s was about.

What's the point of asking questions if you won't accept an attempt to answer them?

What the point of "answers" that do not provide any useful information?

oh ok

If you're going to take the easy way out by asking leftypol for answers, don't expect to get as much out of the information. If you want to understand Lenin, then put in the effort to fucking read him. The most you can get out of leftypol legroom is the cliffsnotes version, so don't get someone gives you the cliffsnotes version.

I want Holla Forums to prove me wrong. That's one of the best things it could do.

Which already persuaded me that anti-Stalinists "Leninists" are hypocrites, liars, and/or retards.

You claim that there is some sort of proof, but don't present anything tangible. I don't even think you've read Lenin.

Ask a specific question then. I've given general answers to general questions, and I went the extra mile by adding a few key similarities and key differences between Leninism and Marxism-Leninism, and then you say:

What specifically do you want answered about Leninism and Marxism-Leninism?

What is the proof of some difference between those two? Can you point me to some specific aspect that I can take a look at and declare: yes! this is the point where they diverge!

I've already shown you how they diverge with respect to dialectical materialism and what they believe the role of the state to be. You seem to think I want them to be totally different from each other, that I'm an avid anti-stalinist. That's not so. The point is that they come to a lot of the same conclusions, but they get there in different ways, and Marxism-Leninism goes farther because Leninism just puts these ideas on top of orthodox Marxism whereas M-Ls try building a new puzzle all together. To oversimplify it grossly, Leninism is what Marx says plus what Lenin says, and Marxism-Leninism is that minus many of the dialectical explanations of their policies plus a bunch of new policies.