Politically, Marxism–Leninism establishes the communist party as the primary force to organise society into a socialist state, which is one stage towards the socio-economic development of a communist state — an egalitarian society without stratified social classes, which features common ownership of the means of production, concentrated development of industry, science, and technology for the continual growth of the productive forces of the people; and public control of the social institutions, the land, and the natural resources of the country.
Joseph Stalin suggested the term and applied it to narrowly define the theories and political praxis proposed by Marx and Lenin; which definition Stalin then used to establish ideologic orthodoxy among Communists. In the USSR, the term Marxism–Leninism became common, political usage after publication of The History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolsheviks) (1938), by Stalin, which became the official textbook on the subject.
Critical of the Stalinist model of communism in the USSR, the American Marxist Raya Dunayevskaya and the Italian Marxist Amadeo Bordiga criticised Marxism–Leninism as a type of state capitalism. That Karl Marx had identified state ownership of the means of production as a form of state capitalism — except under certain socio-economic conditions, which usually do not exist in Marxist–Leninist states. That the Marxist dictatorship of the proletariat is a form of democratic state; therefore, the single-party-rule of a vanguard party is undemocratic. That Marxism–Leninism is neither Marxism nor Leninism, nor a philosophic synthesis, but an artificial term that Stalin used to control ideological orthodoxy; what is Communism and what is not Communism.
Within five years of Lenin's death in 1924, Joseph Stalin was the government of the USSR; to justify his régime, Stalin had written the book Concerning Questions of Leninism (1926), his compilation of Marx and Lenin, which presented Marxism–Leninism as a separate ideology (Stalinism) which he then established as the official state ideology of the Soviet Union. In governing the Soviet Union, Stalin abided and flouted the ideological principles of Lenin and Marx as expediencies to realise plans.
Ideologically, the Trotskyite Communists believe that Stalinism contradicts authentic Marxism and Leninism, and identified their ideology as Bolshevik–Leninism, to differenciate their variety of communism from Stalin's ideology of Marxism–Leninism. Moreover, in Marxist political discourse, the term Marxism–Leninism has two usages: (i) Praise of Stalin by Stalinists (who believe Stalin successfully developed Lenin's legacy) and (ii) Criticism of Stalin by Stalinists (who repudiate Stalin's repressions), such as Nikita Khrushchev and his CPSU cohort.