During the 20th century, the Marxism-Leninism movement was the major communist movement in the world. Leninism is an ideology of communism and the term is often used interchangeably with Marxism, however there are some significant differences between the two.
Trotskyists believed that Stalinism contradicted authentic Marxism and Leninism
Throughout the history of the Bolshevik Party, Trotskyists have believed that Stalinism contradicted the authentic Marxism and Leninism of Lenin. This has been attributed to the fact that the USSR bureaucracy renounced revolutionary objectives and sought alliances with imperialist democracies after Hitler’s victory. The Soviet press has published photos of Trotsky as Red Army leader.
While the Fourth International does indeed focus on mobilizing the working class for a world socialist revolution, it does not attempt to replace or subsume Leninism. Instead, it seeks to combine historically developed objective conditions with subjective consciousness of the working class.
The Fourth International program is based on the scientific revolutionary program espoused by the great Russian Communist Leonid Trotsky. It promotes the formation of a petty bourgeois agrarian radical class that will promote national bourgeoisie in backward countries. This is akin to the adventist line of the early 1900s. However, the Fourth International has never said that the Soviet bureaucracy is no longer imperialist.
The nebula of Marxism-Leninism has gone up in smoke
Throughout the course of history, Marxism-Leninism has undergone a series of ruptures with the past. These have led to qualitative leaps in its development. However, serious revolutionaries must break away from bourgeois ideology masquerading as Marxism. Often, these “Marxists” are from petty-bourgeois backgrounds. Nevertheless, they still want to claim that they are the foundation of the “Marxist” theory.
One of the most prominent characteristics of Marxism-Leninism is that it promised a “rational” society. It promised to bring about a radical liberation of human being. It also claimed that the party had scientific validity. It promised to establish a rational, science-based society.
But, in fact, the “science” of Capital has become a strange alchemy, combining economic science with a rationalist metaphysics of history and eschatology. It responds to a thirst for certainty by introducing pseudo-religious elements into the workers’ movement. It also imports a monstrous notion of orthodoxy. Ultimately, it combines secular eschatology with a religious faith in the force of history.
Alternatives to Marxism-Leninism
During the last century, there have been a number of alternative theories to Marxism-Leninism. The main alternative was council communism, which was developed during the 1920s in Germany and in the Netherlands. It is a political theory that argues that the working class must be a part of the revolutionary process. It also rejects the Leninist party form of organization.
Council communism is based on theories drawn from experiences in the early Weimar Republic and the 1918 German Revolution. It posits that the proletariat must lead national liberation struggles in order to achieve socialism. It is a distinct alternative to Leninism because it rejects the Leninist party form.
One of the most important ideas in Third World Marxism-Leninism is that the struggle for democracy in the third world should be linked to the struggle for democracy in the industrialized world. This will allow the working class to gain a greater measure of power. The workers in the industrialized world will demand better pay, better working conditions, and a fair share of the spoils.