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Marxism–Leninism–Maoism (MLM) is a political philosophy that synthesizes and builds upon Marxism–Leninism and the thought of Mao Zedong (aka. Mao Zedong Thought, or MZT). Marxism–Leninism–Maoism was first formalized by the Shining Path in 1982.[1]

The synthesis of Marxism–Leninism–Maoism did not occur during the life of Mao Zedong. From the 1960s, groups that called themselves Maoist or which upheld Maoism were not unified around a common understanding of Maoism and had instead their own particular interpretations of the political, philosophical, economical and military works of Mao; these disorganized ideological trends comprised, and still comprise, Mao Zedong Thought. Adherents of Marxism–Leninism–Maoism claim it to be a unified, coherent higher stage of Marxism and that it was not synthesized until the 1980s through the experience of the people's war waged by the Shining Path in Peru. This led the Shining Path to posit Marxism–Leninism–Maoism as the newest development of Marxism.[1]

Marxism–Leninism–Maoism has grown and developed significantly, serving as an animating force of revolutionary movements in countries such as Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, India, Nepal and the Philippines. It has also led to efforts being undertaken towards the constitution or reconstitution of communist parties in countries such as Austria, France, Germany, Sweden and the United States.[clarification needed] There are several non-party Maoist organizations in many countries, such as Tjen Folket in Norway and the Red Guards in the United States.


New Democracy[edit]

The theory of New Democracy holds that the national-bourgeois in semi-feudal and semi-colonial countries has a dual character in that although it is an exploitative capitalist force, it can also but not always side with the proletariat against colonialism, imperialism and the comprador-bourgeoisie (whose existence is due to imperialism).

Much like the New Economic Policy in Russia, New Democracy is conceived of as a necessary (but temporary) stage for the long-term development of socialism, or in this case for the construction and consolidation of socialism in the first place. It holds that the national-bourgeois in the New Democratic stage must always be firmly under the command of the proletariat and they must be firmly dispensed with as soon as the national situation allows (in other words, when the contradiction between feudalism and the masses is no longer the primary contradiction of the nation, or when the bourgeois-democratic revolution is at a sufficiently advanced stage) for an outright dictatorship of the proletariat.

Mass line[edit]

Building on the theory of the vanguard party[2] by Vladimir Lenin, the theory of the mass line outlines a strategy for the revolutionary leadership of the masses, consolidation of the dictatorship of the proletariat and strengthening of the party and for the building of socialism. The mass line can be summarized by the phrase "from the masses, to the masses". It has three components or stages:[3]

  1. Gathering the diverse ideas of the masses.
  2. Processing or concentrating these ideas from the perspective of revolutionary Marxism, in light of the long-term, ultimate interests of the masses (which the masses themselves may sometimes only dimly perceive) and in light of a scientific analysis of the objective situation.
  3. Returning these concentrated ideas to the masses in the form of a political line which will actually advance the mass struggle toward revolution.

These three steps should be applied over and over again, reiteratively uplifting practice and knowledge to higher and higher stages.

Law of contradiction[edit]

Marxist–Leninist–Maoists uphold Mao Zedong's philosophical works, particularly his work on dialectics in On Contradiction and on epistemology in On Practice.

Protracted people's war[edit]

People's war is strategy for revolution which holds the following tenets:

  • Any attempt to begin fighting with the bourgeoisie on its own terms, using the same tactics and strategies as they do would be crushed (Marxist–Leninist–Maoists cite that apart from the October Revolution every single revolutionary attempt that immediately used conventional warfare was crushed by the bourgeoisie).
  • It cannot be predicted when the objective conditions for revolution will exist. Thus the subjective conditions—i.e. class consciousness—must be built long in advance.
  • Seizure of state power generally does not happen in one fell swoop. A situation of dual power through the course of protracted people's war arises when the proletarian vanguard controls sections of the country at the same time as the bourgeoisie.
  • The party cannot possibly hope to lead the proletariat in a seizure of power if it itself has no military experience. Thus military experience—i.e. experience gained through actually fighting, even if on a limited scale—must be gained long in advance of a seizure of power. In addition to being a necessary development towards the dictatorship of the proletariat, dual power is invaluable in providing this military experience (along with civil knowledge, fuel for propaganda efforts, material aid for the party and the expansion and improvement of the mass line).

In a joint document released in 1998, several Marxist–Leninist–Maoist communist parties affirmed the difference between the specific strategic line of protracted people's war and the more general and universally applicable people's war. Protracted people's war is identified as being a specific application of the concept of people's war to countries with a large population or majority of peasantry and involving encircling the cities from base areas of communist control in the countryside.[4][5]

The issue of applying people's war to fully industrialized first world nations is the subject of much debate. Many Marxist–Leninist–Maoist organizations such as the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement have put forward that much of a hypothetical people's war in the First World would take place in urban areas.[5]

Cultural Revolution[edit]

Marxist–Leninist–Maoists draw heavily from the experiences and lessons of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution which sought to eradicate the bourgeois that arose within the vanguard party itself and to transform all aspects of the social superstructure. The catchphrase "class struggle continues, and is intensified, under socialism" is frequently used.[citation needed]

Marxist–Leninist–Maoists hold the primacy of the relations of production over the productive forces, criticize Joseph Stalin's line that bourgeois influence under an advanced stage of socialism is primarily due to external forces (to the almost complete exclusion of internal forces) and strongly reaffirm the base-superstructure dialectic (that the conscious transformation of the base on its own is not enough, but the superstructure must also be consciously transformed).

Differences from Mao Zedong Thought[edit]

The three most notable differences between Marxism–Leninism–Maoism and Mao Zedong Thought are the following:[6][7][8]

  1. Marxism–Leninism–Maoism is considered to be a higher stage of Marxism–Leninism by its followers, much like Marxism–Leninism is considered a higher stage of Marxism. However, Mao Zedong Thought is considered to just be Marxism–Leninism applied to the particularities of the Chinese Revolution.
  2. Marxism–Leninism–Maoism is considered to be universally applicable whilst aspects of Mao Zedong Thought are generally not.
  3. Marxism–Leninism–Maoism completely rejects the Three Worlds Theory of Mao Zedong Thought, considering it part of the right-wards turn in the Communist Party of China led by Deng Xiaoping near the end of Chairman Mao's life and a deviation from Marxist–Leninist theories of imperialism.[9] Marxism–Leninism–Maoism–Gonzalo Thought only rejects Deng's application.[10]

International influence[edit]

Perhaps the most notable international was the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM). RIM was founded in 1984 and included such organizations as the Shining Path and the then-Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), eventually known as the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist). Today, the RIM appears to be defunct or near defunct. The magazine associated with the RIM, A World to Win, has not published an issue since 2006, though A World to Win News Service still publishes regularly on the Internet.[11] In addition, many of the one-time RIM organizations have become increasingly critical of each other and this has resulted in many public splits.


The Communist Party of India (Maoist) is a Marxist–Leninist–Maoist political party which aims to overthrow the government of India.[12] It was founded on 21 September 2004 through the merger of the Communist Party of India (Marxist–Leninist) People's War and the Maoist Communist Centre of India. The merger was announced to the public on 14 October the same year. In the merger, a provisional central committee was constituted, with the erstwhile people's war leader Muppala Lakshmana Rao (alias Ganapathi) as the general secretary. It is currently proscribed as a terrorist organization by the Indian government.


The Kangleipak Communist Party has claimed that Manipur was annexed by the Union of India under the guise of Manipur Merger Agreement of 1949. According to this Marxist–Leninist–Maoist group, the merger of Manipur with the Union of India was in blatant contradiction of relevant international law as the then king of Manipur no longer had the authority to sign the agreement following the establishment of a democratically elected government. According to the group's chairman Ibungo Ngangom, "the then king signed the merger instrument only under duress, or more precisely, at gunpoint and so the so-called Manipur merger agreement was null and void from the very beginning". The group is currently at war with the government India and its express primary goal is not only to have Manipur secede from India, but also to bring about a communist state in Manipur through the scientific socialism of Karl Marx.

Latin America[edit]

Many significant Marxist–Leninist–Maoist groups exist across Latin America, including the Communist Party of Brazil (Red Fraction), the Communist Party of Chile (Red Fraction), the Communist Party of Ecuador–Red Sun, the Maoist Organization for the Reconstitution of the Communist Party of Colombia and the Revolutionary Nucleus for the Reconstitution of the Communist Party of Mexico.[13][14][15]


Graffito at Tsinghua University promoting Marxism–Leninism–Maoism: it translates as "Long live Chairman Mao! Long live Chairman Gonzalo! Protracted People's War!"

The Shining Path is a guerrilla insurgent organization in Peru. It was founded in 1968 by Abimael Guzmán.[16] The Shining Path suffered a setback after the capture of Guzmán and much of the party leadership in 1992 as well as a takeover of the Main Regional Committee, the greater part of the People's Liberation Army and the liquidation of the main Base Areas.[17] Nonetheless, the Shining Path continues to exist in the VRAEM area of Peru[18] and continues to carry out military actions.[19] This party is not to be confused with Militarized Communist Party of Peru, or the Peruvian Communist Party; of which it is unaffiliated.[citation needed][dubious ]


The Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), a national communist party with a revolutionary background, is a follower of Marxism–Leninism–Maoism. However, the party has also developed its own guiding thought known as Marxism–Leninism–Maoism–Prachanda Path which was developed taking Nepal's political, sociological and geographical constraints into consideration.[20]

The Communist Party of Nepal is another Marxist–Leninist–Maoist party in Nepal. It claims that the UCPN(M) is a revisionist organization and is continuing the people's war against the UCPN(M) government.


In the Philippines, the Communist Party of the Philippines and its New People's Army has been raging since 1968. Its strength peaked during the dictatorial rule of Ferdinand Marcos and was the main bulk to overthrow the dictatorship due to its killings. However, it only resurfaced during the Second Great Rectification Movement. It maintains nearly 100 active guerrilla fronts throughout the Philippines today and is considered by the military as the main threat to national security.

United States[edit]

The Revolutionary Communist Party, USA (RCP) was previously a Marxist–Leninist–Maoist political party in the United States.[21] The RCP participated in the founding conference of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement on 12 March 1984. The RCP signed the "Declaration of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement"[22] and supported the RIM's declaration "Long Live Marxism–Leninism–Maoism!" on 26 December 1993 which recognized "Marxism–Leninism–Maoism as the new, third and higher stage of Marxism". However, today the RCP uses the "New Synthesis of Communism" to describe its ideology, although they still call themselves Maoists.[23] Because of this, the RCP has been accused of revisionism by several Marxist–Leninist–Maoist groups such as the Communist Party of India (Maoist)[24] and the Revolutionary Communist Party of Canada.[25]

The Red Guards was a Marxist–Leninist–Maoist collective of community organizers and mass workers founded in 2015.[26]


  1. ^ a b "On Marxism-Leninism-Maoism". MLM Library. Communist Party of Peru. 1982. Archived from the original on 28 July 2020. Retrieved 20 January 2020.
  2. ^ Lenin, Vladimir (1961) [1902]. "What Is To Be Done". Lenin's Collected Works. Vol. 5. Translated by Fineberg, Joe; Hanna, George. Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House. pp. 347–530.
  3. ^ "Short Definitions of the 'Mass Line' and a 'Mass Perspective'". Retrieved 15 June 2014.
  4. ^ "General Declaration on Mao and People's War" (PDF). Red Flag - Journal of the Communist Party of Aotearoa. Red Flag. February 1999. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  5. ^ a b "Protracted people's war is the only way to make revolution". Socialisme Maintenant!. Revolutionary Communist Party (Organizing Committees). Spring 2002. Archived from the original on 20 December 2016. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  6. ^ "The five main contributions of Maoism to communist thought". Nuovo PCI. Nuovo Partito Comunista Italiano. 18 October 2007. Retrieved 6 December 2019.
  7. ^ Brown, Nikolai (5 August 2011). "What is Maoism?". Anti-imperialism. Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Movement. Archived from the original on 15 June 2014. Retrieved 6 December 2019.
  8. ^ "Marxism-Leninism-Maoism Basic Course". Massalijn. Communist Party of India (Maoist). 11 June 2014. Retrieved 6 December 2019.
  9. ^ Seltzer, Robert; Silber, Irwin (July–August 1980). "Chairman Mao's (or Deng Xiaoping's) Theory of the Three Worlds is a Major Deviation from Marxism-Leninism". Line of March. 1 (2). Retrieved 25 January 2020 – via Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line.
  10. ^ Central Committee of the Communist Party of Peru. "International Line". Communist Party of Peru. Retrieved 20 January 2020.
  11. ^ ""Honour killings" – Who's to blame? A look at Iraqi Kurdistan". 15 May 2007. Archived from the original on 25 July 2011. Retrieved 10 November 2011 – via A World to Win News Service.
  12. ^ "Maoists looking at armed overthrow of state by 2050". The Times of India. 6 March 2010. Archived from the original on 26 October 2012. Retrieved 6 March 2010.
  13. ^ "International May Day Statement 2019". Dem Volke Dienen. 30 April 2019. Archived from the original on 21 January 2021.
  14. ^ "International May Day Report 2019". Dem Volke Dienen. 7 May 2019. Archived from the original on 18 May 2021.
  15. ^ "25th of March: 97th anniversary of the foundation of the Communist Party of Brazil". A Nova Democracia (in Portuguese). No. 207. 25 March 2019. Archived from the original on 15 January 2021. Partido Comunista do Brasil na clandestinidade, desenvolve há 20 anos, liderado por sua Fração Vermelha, por meio de duras lutas de duas linhas, o processo de sua reconstituição enquanto verdadeiro e autêntico partido comunista marxista-leninista-maoista, partido comunista militarizado. [The Communist Party of Brazil in hiding, has been developing for 20 years, led by its Red Fraction, through tough two-line struggles, the process of its reconstitution as a true and authentic Marxist-Leninist-Maoist communist party, a militarized communist party.]
  16. ^ "Interview With Chairman Gonzalo". El Diario. Archived from the original on 5 February 2020. Retrieved 20 April 2019. This whole process takes us to the second period, that of the Reconstitution of the Party. This is, in sum, a struggle against revisionism. It is a period that we can clearly see beginning to unfold with a certain intensity in the beginning of the '60s. This process leads the members of the Party to unite against the revisionist leadership and, as I have said before, to expel them in the IVth Conference of January 1964. The process of reconstitution continues to unfold in the Party until 1978–1979, when it ends and a third period begins, the period of Leading the People's War, which is the one we are living in now.
  17. ^ Peruvian New Democratic Association (October 2011). For the General Reorganization of the Communist Party of Peru As Part of the Development of the People's War to Conquer Power in the Whole Country. Germany. A third ROL that have structured within the Party over years, in the Central Committee itself, and that have usurped, among other apparatuses, the Main Regional Committee (MRC) of the Party, the greater part of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and have liquidated the main Base Areas .... Jose, Raul and Alipio and their cronies, we know that on the 14th of July, 1999, they made a counterrevolutionary coup against the Party leadership handing over of the head of the Party and other leaders of the Central Committee to the CIA and the Armed Forces of the old genocidal state. Revisionism, with the help of the CIA and the Peruvian reaction, carried out this counterrevolutionary coup to decapitate the Party and, with this counterrevolutionary action they usurped it. Then they split it up among them in feudal domains, specifically they divided the usurped party apparatus, between the rats of the two broods; VRAE and MRC for the rat Jose and his brood and the Huallaga Regional Committee for the rat Julio, which aligned himself with the brood of the other rats, Miriam, Morote, Pantoja, Cox, etc.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  18. ^ (Peruvian) New Democracy Association (26 April 2012). We Are Partisas of the Theory of the Theory of the Omnipotence of Revolutionary Warǃ (in Spanish). Germany. Archived from the original on 22 July 2019. A modo de ser lo más claros posibles, para facilitar la comprensión, hay que decir con claridad que "las múltiples fracciones", sobre las cuales el imperialismo, la reacción y sus lacayos revisionistas siempre insisten, no existen como tales. Lo que existe en el Perú es: – La segunda LOD, revisionista y capitulacionista, de la patraña del "acuerdo de paz", es decir, Modavef con Julio (es decir, el traidor de Huallaga que se presenta como Artemio). Estas ratas desde hace mucho tiempo están fuera del Partido, incluso está linea fue estrucuturado fuera del Partido. – La tercera LOD, tambien de carácter revisionista y capitulacionista, lo que la reacción presenta como "la fracción del VRAE", encabezada por la rata José y su camada. Esta linea se ha estructurado en el Partido desde finales de la decada de los 90. – Comités, células de diverso nivel partidario, y en su entorno, concéntricamente, unidades del EPL y los organismos del nuevo Poder/Frente, dispersos que actúan hasta ahora sin dirección nacional centralizada pero firmemente sujetos a la Jefatura, nuestra ideología – el marxismo-leninismo-maoísmo, pensamiento gonzalo, principalmente pensamiento gonzalo – y la BUP, quienes bregan por la reorganización general del Partido en medio de la guerra popular. Esto es así, que no quepa duda. [In order to be as clear as possible, to facilitate understanding, it must be said clearly that "the multiple factions", on which imperialism, reaction and their revisionist lackeys always insist, do not exist as such. What exists in Peru is: - The second ROL, revisionist and capitulationist, of the hoax of the "peace agreement", that is, Modavef with Julio (that is, the traitor of Huallaga who presents himself as Artemio). These rats have been out of the Party for a long time, even this line was structured out of the Party. - The third ROL, also of a revisionist and capitulationist nature, which the reaction presents as "the fraction of the VRAE", headed by the rat José and his litter. This line has been structured in the Party since the end of the 90s. - Committees, cells of different party levels, and in their surroundings, concentrically, units of the PLA and the organisms of the new Power / Front, dispersed that act until now Without centralized national leadership but firmly attached to the Headquarters, our ideology - Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, Gonzalo Thought, mainly Gonzalo Thought - and the BUP, who fight for the general reorganization of the Party in the midst of the People's War. This is so, make no mistake about it.]{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  19. ^ Movimiento Popular Perú – Peru People's Movement (Reorganization Committee) (17 March 2017). Conversaciones con la camarada Laura en las bases de las montañas vizcatan [Conversations with Comrade Laura at the foothills of the vizcatan mountains] (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 22 October 2017. Este mismo día 08-11-2009, página 10, en La República, se pronunció el ex ministro del Interior Fernando Rospigliosi, comentando acerca del Plan excelencia: "SL EN OFENSIVA, MILITARES A LA DEFENSIVA". "Los resultados están a la vista: -Más de medio centenar de muertos del lado de las fuerzas del orden y decenas de heridos; -Un helicóptero derribado; -Ni un solo cabecilla terrorista capturado o abatido según versiones oficiales, sin confirmación, algunos atacantes caídos); -Fortalecimiento de Sendero Luminoso que ha incrementado su arsenal aproximadamente en un 40 % con las armas robadas al ejército; -Crecimiento del número de las columnas senderistas, cosa que no ocurría hace muchos años, producto del atractivo de las continuas victorias y ninguna derrota de los terroristas; -Moral alta de los senderistas y muy baja de las fuerzas del orden, que ahora están totalmente a la defensiva, ya no patrullan y se encierran en sus bases a esperar el próximo ataque". Rospigliosi, también comentó sobre el asesor israelí Baruch Ziv. Así las cosas, La llamada derrota del Partido y la Revolución, que tanto cacarean los oportunistas, sólo existe en la negra pus que llevan por cerebro. Hasta los reaccionarios reconocen el triunfo de la Guerra Popular. Les proporcionamos algunas vistas de las acciones del Ejército Popular de Liberación, como prueba palpable de lo que es la guerra popular en el Perú. Estas vistas están en los documentos que hemos publicado y que es de pleno conocimiento de las Fuerzas Armadas y las fuerzas policiales, pues ellas son las que han traído los armamentos que hoy poseemos. Están cumpliendo de manera gradual, su papel de burriel. La mayor parte de las armas que posee el Ejército Popular de Liberación, procede de las fuerzas armadas y las fuerzas policiales. La otra parte las confeccionamos y, por cierto, no hemos llegado a adquirirlas en el mercado por su alto costo. [On the same day 11-08-2009, page 10, in La República, the former Interior Minister Fernando Rospigliosi spoke, commenting on the Excellence Plan: "SL IN OFFENSIVE, MILITARY ONES DEFENSIVE". “The results are in sight: -More than fifty deaths on the side of the forces of order and dozens of injured; -A helicopter shot down; -Not a single terrorist leader captured or killed according to official versions, without confirmation, some fallen attackers); -Strengthening of the Shining Path, which has increased its arsenal by approximately 40% with weapons stolen from the army; -Growth in the number of Senderista columns, something that did not happen many years ago, as a result of the attractiveness of the continuous victories and no defeats of the terrorists; -High moral of the senderistas and very low of the forces of order, who are now totally on the defensive, no longer patrol and lock themselves in their bases to wait for the next attack. Rospigliosi, also commented on Israeli adviser Baruch Ziv. This being the case, the so-called defeat of the Party and the Revolution, which the opportunists cackle so much, exists only in the black pus they carry for their brains. Even the reactionaries recognize the triumph of the People's War. We provide you with some views of the actions of the People's Liberation Army, as tangible proof of what the People's War is in Peru. These views are in the documents that we have published and that are fully known to the Armed Forces and the police forces, since they are the ones that have brought the weapons that we have today. They are gradually fulfilling their role as burriel. Most of the weapons owned by the People's Liberation Army come from the armed forces and the police forces. We make the other part and, by the way, we have not been able to acquire them in the market because of their high cost.]
  20. ^ Concerning Gonzalo Thought. Communist Party of Peru. Archived from the original on 22 October 2021.
  21. ^ Avakian, Bob. "Our Ideology is Marxism-Leninism-Maoism". Archived from the original on 15 November 2021.
  22. ^ "Declaration of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement" (PDF). March 1984.
  23. ^ "What is Bob Avakian's New Synthesis?". Revolution: The voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA. No. 129. 18 May 2008. Archived from the original on 21 March 2009.
  24. ^ "Against Avakianism" (PDF). NAXALBARI. No. 4. July 2013. pp. 6–78. Archived (PDF) from the original on 3 October 2021.
  25. ^ Revolutionary Communist Party (Canada) (30 April 2016). "Proletarians of all countries, unite! Long live the 50th anniversary of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution! Long live the Proletarian World Revolution! Long live Maoism!". Archived from the original on 7 May 2016.
  26. ^ Caterine, Joseph (17 February 2017). "Red Guards and the Modern Face of Protest". Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 4 February 2020.

Further reading[edit]