Marxism - The Downfall of Socialism
The history of the Marxist ideology is extremely confusing and convoluted. People first started calling themselves Marxists in the mid-to late 19th century. While most Socialists of those days understood Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels work, there were some who ended up taking Marx's theories and changing the dialect in an opportunist or reformists way.
The term Marxism was supposed to be a direct following of Marx, believing the rise of the proletariat to seize the means of production, to create a society based on the needs of humanity (not profit) under what Marx called “The Dictatorship of the Proletariat”. This would eventually create a Communist society – moneyless-leaderless-stateless-classless. Although they believe Socialism is the seizure of the state, and Communism is the society they want, Marx himself interchangeably used the words, stating Socialism was 'Lower Communism”.
Most people who advocate Marx usually classify themselves as either Socialists or Communists, Marxists, and Anarchists as they understand what Socialism means, but don't agree with how to achieve the Society. They understand only with educating the proletariat, and only by the proletariat, can Socialism be achieved. Political leadership was never advocated as a means of seizure.
Although Marx had written a 10-point plan for creating such society, including creating a central bank under 'state' control, he never once stated this 'state' would be under control of a leader, but of the proletariat themselves. And Marx later changed his stance on this plan, stating it would end up being much different. But some Marxists believed it was the 'true' way to achieve Socialism, and therefore Communism.
Marxists, over the history are the direct reason why Socialism has failed and why so many people disagree with it. Vladimir Lenin is one of the root causes of the decline of Socialist understanding, due to his manipulation of Marx's words, as Lenin was an opportunist. He rose to power through swift revolt against the Provisional Government, in the name of Communism, to enact Socialist agendas on the masses without it democratically being chosen by the people. Although he made education obtainable for all Russian people, never once did he create class-consciousness among the proletariat so that they themselves could become self emancipated. If he had, then his political regime would have been dismantled either before, during, or after Stalin’s reign. This never occurred.
Marxist (Leninist) 'Communists' are one of the most self absorbed and pretentious groups in Socialist history, believing Lenin did it best for Socialism, but cannot critique Lenin as a false “revolutionary” force. This is where their self delusion comes into play.
In my opinion, Lenin's Communist Party is no different than any other political party, stating being a 'working-class' party, but not taking into consideration that Socialism is a leaderless movement. The use of state-capitalism was only his way of reforming Capitalism, taking away power from the bourgeoisie-class in a way to make life 'better' for the Russian people, while advocating that all Russians will be taken care of, and treated equally. Not only did he force the people to work for the Communist 'state', but he forced out other revolutionary Socialists and Communists and Anarchists out of the Soviet Union after the civil war between his Red Army, and the Whites. He banished or imprisoned any dissidence (in which Stalin created the Gulags) for anyone who opposed his leadership.
If Lenin was a true Socialist, he would have never created a political dictatorship. Lenin later changed the meaning of “Dictatorship of the Proletariat” to mean “Dictatorship of the Communist State” or the vanguards, which is more proof that his Communist Party (and their vanguardist groups) were in control of all aspects of social and economic life in the Soviet Union.
From there into Stalin's leadership, it only manifested a complete undermining of all Socialist and Communist ideas. If Stalin, as many would believe, was a true Socialist and wanted Communism for the U.S.S.R, he would have never let the bureaucracies that established in the Union at the time to take hold. But he allowed Capitalism to continue, and never allowed common ownership of all land and resources to all working-class Russians. Capitalism in Russia was taking full hold over the economy and the Russian people never once thought, or acted out against this dictatorship, to seize the means of production and create actual Socialism. Either they were under the assumption that 'State' control, was Communism, or they didn't want another revolution to actually take control of their society, since they had been at war with other nations, and themselves for almost 20 years.
Marxism is not, and has never been a genuine Socialist following, but a violent 'Left' political movement to enact reformism on Capitalism. Anyone who cannot see though the complete misunderstanding of Revolutionary Socialism and be supportive of state control and state-capitalism by a political party does not support genuine Socialism. They may have their beliefs of “needing vanguard support” since the State uses force, but Marx himself never advocated vanguards. I have yet to meet a Marxist who doesn't advocate vanguardist (leadership) roles in creating a true Socialist society. I have yet to meet one that can openly critique Lenin's failures, or his 'version' of Socialism or Communism as it doesn't relate directly to Karl Marx's work, but deviates and openly dismisses some key and prominent positions Communists must take in society.
As pretentious as you might feel for me to discredit Lenin's revolution, the formation of the USSR or any other 'Socialist' or 'Communist' nation, it is as pretentious to not critique these nations and their actions. As it stands, Marxists, in my opinion, are no more Socialists than any pseudo Democratic Socialist party member.