Wikipedia describes democratic centralism as follows:

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."

When defined as such, is this limited to Leninism? As a principle, I see no fundamental reason why it cannot be applied by groups with very different political convictions. Is democratic centralism limited to Leninism, or are there any significant examples of wholly different groups applying "freedom of discussion, unity of action"?

P.S. I am not after a discussion about the Leninist system in theory vs. the Leninist system in practice.


Cabinet collective responsibility seems to be an analog in some parliamentary systems.

It also brings responsibilities as a ‘collective’. Through the Ministerial Code, decisions made by the Cabinet are binding on all members of the Government. This means that even if you disagreed with a course of action privately in the meeting you must follow the decision made by the majority, and do so publicly, or otherwise resign.

The Hastert rule seems to work as an analog for the Republican party in the US House of Representatives.

The unwritten Hastert Rule states that the Speaker will only bring a bill to the floor “if the majority of the majority” supports it.

There are significant differences of course. Democratic centralism is meant to apply in a one party system, with the party being highly integrated into military, governmental, and economic organs of state; political officers would always be present to insure party orthodoxy. The examples above only apply to parties in power, but unlike democratic centralism, the party in question can obviously fall out of power, and the level of control enjoyed by the ruling party is also limited by the system of government.

In general cohesion is pretty important to political parties, otherwise they wouldn't really function as a coherent party.

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