What are the differences between the ideologies of Marx and Lenin ?

In spite of a large number of similarities between Marx and Lenin there existed a number of differences between the two.

(1) In comparing Lenin with Marx one is struck by the differences of temperament and outlook. Marx was above all the scholar and pole­micist, while Lenin was primarily the master organizer and practical politician and leader.”

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(2) Marx intended to change the whole world by his ideas, whereas Lenin had one fixed and more limited goal. That goal was to seize power in his own country, and reshape it on the basis of communist principles.


(3) According to G.F. Hudson, the most important difference bet­ween the two men is not to be found in explicit fundamental doctrine but in the different inarticulate and implicit premises of their times. Marx was the product of the nineteenth century. On the other hand Lenin though born in the nineteenth century, developed to maturity and stature in the twentieth century.

(4) Marx had assumed that the working class would spontaneously develop its class consciousness. Leadership for the class struggle would come from its own ranks. Lenin had very little faith in the common man, in this respect. According to Lenin party was to be formed and the elite of the-party would provide the leadership. Lenin introduced a new approach to class war and communist organisational strategy which has permanently changed the nature of Marxism.

(5) Marx believed in the primacy of economics over politics. This resulted from his economic interpretation of history. Laissez-faire was based on economics. Liberalism believed in the supremacy of right type of economic policies. Marx’s formula also was an economic formula. But Lenin believed in the primacy of politics over economics. He believed in organisation. He had supreme faith in party apparatus.

(6) Marx believed that the first communist revolutions would occur in European countries which had advanced capitalistic structures.


Every country had to pass through different stages. Then only it would be ripe for communist involution. But Lenin took a more pragmatic and political stand. He with Marx believed in the inevitability of revolu­tion. But he did not want to wait for it.

(7) Marx considered Europe to be the centre of the world. He considered the underdeveloped countries as mere colonial possessions of the great powers. But Lenin for the first time realized the revolutionary potentiality of the underdeveloped regions.

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