Difference Wiki

Marxism vs. Maoism: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Published on January 21, 2024
Marxism is a socio-economic theory advocating for a classless society and the abolition of private property, while Maoism is an adaptation of Marxism, emphasizing peasant-based revolution and continuous class struggle.

Key Differences

Marxism, developed by Karl Marx, is a political and economic ideology that argues for a society without class divisions. Maoism, a form of Marxism adapted by Mao Zedong, centers around the concept of a continuous revolution led by the peasantry.
Marxism focuses on the proletariat (working class) revolution in industrialized societies, advocating for the end of capitalism and private property. Maoism emphasizes the role of the rural peasantry as a revolutionary force, particularly in agrarian societies.
Marxism envisions a proletarian revolution overthrowing the bourgeoisie, while Maoism adapts this concept to agrarian contexts, asserting that the peasant class can lead a successful revolution.
Marxism is rooted in dialectical materialism and aims for a classless, stateless society post-revolution. Maoism adds the concept of "continuous revolution" to prevent the restoration of bourgeois elements.
Marxism has been a foundation for various socialist and communist movements worldwide. Maoism, while initially specific to China, influenced communist movements in other countries, particularly in Asia.

Comparison Chart


Developed by Karl Marx
Adaptation by Mao Zedong in China

Key Focus

Proletariat revolution in industrial societies
Peasant-based revolution in agrarian societies

Class Emphasis

Working class (proletariat)
Rural peasantry

Conceptual Additions

Dialectical materialism, classless society
Continuous revolution, cultural revolution

Global Impact

Influence on global socialist movements
Impact on communist movements, especially in Asia

Marxism and Maoism Definitions


A theory advocating for a classless society.
Marxism proposes the elimination of class hierarchies.


Advocates for continuous class struggle.
Maoism emphasizes the need for ongoing revolutionary spirit.


Based on dialectical materialism.
Marxism analyzes historical changes through material conditions.


A variant of Marxism focusing on peasant revolution.
Maoism played a key role in China's communist revolution.


A foundation for communist and socialist ideologies.
Many socialist policies are inspired by Marxism.


Adaptation of Marxism to Chinese socio-economic conditions.
Maoism reshaped Marxist ideas to fit China's context.


Emphasizes the struggle between proletariat and bourgeoisie.
Marxism views class struggle as a driver of social change.


Influenced communist movements in Asia.
Maoism has had a significant impact on Asian communist parties.


Calls for the abolition of private property.
Under Marxism, resources would be communally owned.


Stresses the importance of a cultural revolution.
Maoism led to China's Cultural Revolution in the 1960s.


The political and economic philosophy of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in which the concept of class struggle plays a central role in understanding society's allegedly inevitable development from bourgeois oppression under capitalism to a socialist and ultimately classless society.


The form of Marxism-Leninism developed in China chiefly by Mao Zedong.


Alternative case form of Marxism


A form of communism developed in China by Mao Zedong.


A system of economic and political thought, originated by Karl Marx, and elaborated by others. It holds that the state has been the a device for suppression of the masses, allowing exploitation by a dominant (capitalistic) class; that historical change occurs through class struggle; and that the capitalist system will inevitably wither away to be superseded by a classless society.


A form of communism developed in China by Mao Zedong


The economic and political theories of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels that hold that human actions and institutions are economically determined and that class struggle is needed to create historical change and that capitalism will untimately be superseded by communism


What's a key feature of Maoism?

Emphasis on the revolutionary potential of the peasantry.

What is Maoism?

An adaptation of Marxism, focusing on peasant revolution and continuous class struggle.

Did Marxism advocate for global revolution?

Yes, it envisioned a worldwide proletarian revolution.

How does Marxism view class struggle?

As a conflict between proletariat and bourgeoisie driving societal change.

What's the concept of continuous revolution in Maoism?

Ongoing class struggle to prevent the rise of new elites.

What role did Maoism assign to culture?

A key role, advocating for cultural change to support revolution.

How did Maoism influence China?

It was the guiding ideology behind China's communist revolution.

What is Marxism?

A socio-economic theory for a classless society and ending private property.

Who developed Marxism?

Karl Marx, along with contributions from Friedrich Engels.

Was Maoism exclusive to China?

Initially, but it later influenced other communist movements, especially in Asia.

How did Maoism differ from Soviet communism?

It placed more emphasis on peasant rather than proletarian revolution.

Is Marxism still relevant today?

Its principles continue to influence various political and social movements.

Did Maoism change over time in China?

Yes, it evolved, especially during and after Mao Zedong's leadership.

What does Marxism say about private property?

It advocates for its abolition in favor of communal ownership.

What's the legacy of Maoism in modern politics?

It remains influential in some communist parties and revolutionary movements.

How does Marxism view the state?

As an instrument of class oppression to be eventually dissolved.

What's the Marxist view on capitalism?

As a system to be overthrown through revolution.

How does Marxism address economic inequality?

By proposing a society where production is communally controlled.

Does Marxism focus on urban or rural workers?

Primarily urban, focusing on industrial workers.

How did Maoism view industrial development?

It saw industrial development as secondary to peasant-led revolution.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons