Democratic centralism is a practice in which political decisions reached by voting processes are binding upon all members of the political party. It is mainly associated with Leninism, wherein the party's political vanguard of professional revolutionaries practised democratic centralism to elect leaders and officers, determine policy through free discussion, and decisively realise it through united action. Democratic centralism has also been practised by social democratic and democratic socialist parties as well. Scholars have disputed whether democratic centralism was implemented in practice in the Soviet Union and China, pointing to violent power struggles, backhanded political maneuvering, historical antagonisms and the politics of personal prestige in those regimes.
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