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Encyclopedia > Democratic centralism
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Democratic centralism is the name given to the principles of internal organization used by Leninist political parties, and the term is sometimes used as a synonym for any Leninist policy inside a political party. The democratic aspect of this organizational method describes the freedom of members of the political party to discuss and debate matters of policy and direction, but once the decision of the party is made by majority vote, all members are expected to uphold that decision. This latter aspect represents the centralism. As Lenin described it, democratic centralism consisted of "freedom of discussion, unity of action".[1] Communism is an ideology that seeks to establish a classless, stateless social organization, based upon common ownershipmovement]]. Early forms of human social organization have been described as primitive communism by Marxists. ... Image File history File links Hammer_and_sickle. ... Marxism refers to the philosophy and social theory based on Karl Marxs work on one hand, and to the political practice based on Marxist theory on the other hand (namely, parts of the First International during Marxs time, communist parties and later states). ... Vladimir Lenin in 1920 Leninism refers to various related political and economic theories elaborated by Bolshevik revolutionary leader Vladimir Lenin, and by other theorists who claim to be carrying on Lenins work. ... Left Communism is a term describing a whole range of communist viewpoints which oppose the political ideas of the Bolsheviks from a position which is asserted to be more authentically Marxist and proletarian than the views held by the Communist International after its first two Congresses. ... Council communism is a Radical Left movement originating in Germany and the Netherlands in the 1920s. ... Anarchist communism is a form of anarchism that advocates the abolition of the State and capitalism in favor of a horizontal network of voluntary associations through which everyone will be free to satisfy his or her needs. ... Joseph Stalin. ... Trotskyism is the theory of Marxism as advocated by Leon Trotsky. ... Titoism is a term describing political ideology named after Yugoslav leader, Josip Broz Tito, primarily used to describe the schism between the Soviet Union and Socialist Yugoslavia after the Second World War (see Cominform) when the Communist Party of Yugoslavia refused to take further dictates from Moscow. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Eurocommunism was an attempt in the 1970s by various Western European communist parties to develop a theory and practice of social transformation that was more relevant in a Western European democracy. ... Class struggle is class conflict looked at from a Marxist, libertarian socialist, or anarchist perspective. ... In modern usage, the term communist party is generally used to identify any political party which has adopted communist ideology. ... Historical materialism is the methodological approach to the study of society, economics and history which was first articulated by Karl Marx (1818-1883), although Marx himself never used the term. ... See also Marxian economics Marxist philosophy or Marxist theory designs work in philosophy which is strongly influenced by Karl Marxs materialist approach to theory or which is written by Marxists. ... International Socialism redirects here. ... This box:      Socialist economics is a broad, and sometimes controversial, term. ... See Communist League (disambiguation) for other groups of the same name. ... The International Workingmens Association, sometimes called the First International, was an international organization which aimed at uniting a variety of different left-wing political groups and trade union organizations which were based on the working class. ... The Comintern (Russian: Коммунистический Интернационал, Kommunisticheskiy Internatsional – Communist International, also known as the Third International) was an international Communist organization founded in March 1919, in the midst of the war communism period (1918-1921), by Vladimir Lenin and the Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik), which intended to fight by all available means, including... The Fourth International (FI) is Trotskyisms international organization. ... Karl Heinrich Marx (May 5, 1818, Trier, Germany – March 14, 1883, London) was a German philosopher, political economist, and revolutionary. ... Friedrich Engels (November 28, 1820, Wuppertal – August 5, 1895, London), a 19th-century German political philosopher, developed communist theory alongside his better-known collaborator, Karl Marx, co-authoring The Communist Manifesto (1848). ... Rosa Luxemburg Rosa Luxemburg (March 5, 1870 or 1871 – January 15, 1919, in Polish Róża Luksemburg) was a Polish-born German Marxist political theorist, socialist philosopher, and revolutionary. ... Lenin redirects here. ... The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view. ... Note: This page is very long. ... This article does not cite its references or sources. ... Anarchism is a political philosophy or group of doctrines and attitudes centered on rejection of any form of compulsory government (cf. ... This does not cite its references or sources. ... This article is on criticisms of communism, a branch of socialism. ... The dictatorship of the proletariat is a term employed by Karl Marx in his 1875 Critique of the Gotha Program that refers to a transition period between capitalist and communist society in which the state can be nothing but the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat. The term refers to a... In Western thought, the history of communism, an idea of a society based on common ownership of property, can be traced back to ancient times. ... The New Left is a term used to refer to radical left-wing movements from the 1960s onwards. ... Post-Communism is a name sometimes given to the period of political and economic transition in former communist states located in parts of Europe and Asia, usually transforming into a free market capitalist and globalized economy. ... Primitive communism, according to Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, is the original society of humanity. ... Socialism refers to a broad array of doctrines or political movements that envisage a socio-economic system in which property and the distribution of wealth are subject to social control. ... Vladimir Lenin in 1920 Leninism refers to various related political and economic theories elaborated by Bolshevik revolutionary leader Vladimir Lenin, and by other theorists who claim to be carrying on Lenins work. ... Democracy is a form of government under which the power to alter the laws and structures of government lies, ultimately, with the citizenry. ... Majoritarianism (often also called majority rule) is a political philosophy or agenda which asserts that a majority (sometimes categorized by religion, language or some other identifying factor) of the population is entitled to a certain degree of primacy in society, and has the right to make decisions that affect the... Centralization is the process by which the activities of an organization, particularly those regarding decision-making, become concentrated within a particular location and/or group. ...

Leninist organizations' constitutions have typically defined the following key principles of democratic centralism:

  1. Election of all party organs from bottom to top and systematic renewal of their composition, if needed.
  2. Responsibility of party structures to both lower and upper structures.
  3. Strict and conscious discipline in the party—the minority must obey the majority until such time as the policy is changed.
  4. Decisions of upper structures are mandatory for the lower structures.
  5. Cooperation of all party organs in a collective manner at all times, and correspondingly, personal responsibility of party members for the assignments given to them and for the assignments they themselves create.

The text What Is to Be Done? from 1902 [1] is popularly seen as the founding text of democratic centralism. At this time, democratic centralism was generally viewed as a set of principles for the organising of a revolutionary workers' party. Lenin's model for such a party, which he repeatedly discussed as being "democratic centralist", was the German Social Democratic Party. What Is to Be Done? (Russian: ) was a political pamphlet, written by Vladimir Lenin at the end of 1901 and early 1902. ... SPD redirects here. ...

The doctrine of democratic centralism served as one of the sources of the split between the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks. The Mensheviks supported a looser party discipline within the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party in 1903, as did Leon Trotsky, in Our Political Tasks, although Trotsky joined ranks with the Bolsheviks in 1917. Bolshevik Party Meeting. ... Leaders of the Menshevik Party at Norra Bantorget in Stockholm, Sweden, May 1917. ... Party discipline is the ability of a political party to get its members to support the policies of the party leadership. ... The Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, or RSDLP (Росси́йская Социа́л-Демократи́ческая Рабо́ча&#1103... Note: This page is very long. ...

Democratic centralism was also described in the 1977 Soviet Constitution as a principle for organizing the state: "The Soviet state is organised and functions on the principle of democratic centralism, namely the electiveness of all bodies of state authority from the lowest to the highest, their accountability to the people, and the obligation of lower bodies to observe the decisions of higher ones. Democratic centralism combines central leadership with local initiative and creative activity and with the responsibility of the each state body and official for the work entrusted to them." At the Seventh (Special) Session of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR Ninth Convocation on October 7, 1977, the fourth and last Soviet Constitution, also known as the Brezhnev Constitution, was unanimously adopted. ...

After the successful consolidation of power by the Communist Party following the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the Russian Civil War, the Bolshevik leadership, including Lenin, instituted an ostensibly "temporary" ban on factions within the party in 1921. According to critics, this made the democratic procedures an empty formality and in reality, superiors prohibited criticisms and appointed those who nominally elected them to their positions and told them what decisions to make (see Nomenklatura).[2] The Russian Revolution of 1917 was a series of political and social upheavals in Russia, involving first the overthrow of the tsarist autocracy, and then the overthrow of the liberal and moderate-socialist Provisional Government, resulting in the establishment of Soviet power under the control of the Bolshevik party. ... Combatants Red Army (Bolsheviks) White Army (Monarchists, SRs, Anti-Communists) Green Army (Peasants and Nationalists) Black Army (Anarchists) Commanders Leon Trotsky Mikhail Tukhachevsky Semyon Budyonny Lavr Kornilov, Alexander Kolchak, Anton Denikin, Pyotr Wrangel Alexander Antonov, Nikifor Grigoriev Nestor Makhno Strength 5,427,273 (peak) +1,000,000 Casualties 939,755... Year 1921 (MCMXXI) was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for full calendar). ... The nomenklatura were a small, élite subset of the general population of Party members in the Soviet Union, having more authority and claiming higher privileges as precisely the same kind of ruling class which Communist doctrine denounced in the Capitalist West. ...


  1. ^ Lenin, V. (1906), Report on the Unity Congress of the R.S.D.L.P.
  2. ^ A Country Study: Soviet Union (Former).. Retrieved on December 15, 2006.Chapter 7 - The Communist Party. Democratic Centralism

December 15 is the 349th day of the year (350th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... For the Manfred Mann album, see 2006 (album). ...

See also

The Twenty-one Conditions refer to the conditions given by Lenin to the adhesion of the socialists to the Third International (Comintern) created in 1919 after the 1917 October Revolution. ... The term Third International has two well-established meanings: For the unabridged dictionary, see Websters Third New International Dictionary. ... Spontaneism is a tendency exhibited by certain ultra-left political factions, the belief that revolution occurs spontaneously from below and cannot be brought about by the actions of individuals or parties who attempt to foment revolution. ... Look up oxymoron in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

External links

  Results from FactBites:
Democratic Centralism (631 words)
At a unity conference held in 1906, the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks voted for a resolution that stated: "All party organizations are built on the principles of democratic centralism".
For example, Luxemburg writes, "Lenin’s thesis is that the party Central Committee should have the privilege of naming all the local committees of the party." Whatever else might say about this, it is not what we think of ordinarily when we hear the term democratic centralism.
Instead it is mainly an opportunity for the secondary leadership of the party to salute the central leadership for the brilliance of the line resolutions presented to the convention.
Glossary of Terms: De (4414 words)
Lenin elaborated the principles of Democratic Centralism in relation to a working class Political Party operating under conditions of illegality, and consequently insisted on a very clear criterion of membership – agreement with the Party’s program and the obligation to work under the direction of one of its organisations.
Once “democratic centralism” had been transformed into an official doctrine, not only in the Soviet Union and the Comintern, but also in the Fourth International, its meaning became associated with the organisational methods of on the one hand, Stalinism, and on the other hand, Trotskyism.
Within the Trotskyist movement, “democratic centralism” came to be associated in particular with the obligation upon members of a party to present only the party line outside the ranks of the party.
  More results at FactBites »



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