A branch of Communism created by Mao Zedong. This branch differed greatly from Marxism.
For instance, Karl Marx thought that economies had stages they went through such as slavery, feudal, ect, until you get to capitalism. Marx taugt that capitalism would eventually lead way to the next stage of communism.
Mao Zedong lived in a country with a bunch of peasents. However, he thought China would do pretty well as a communist country even though he was breaking with the very basics of Marxist thought. So he got some peasents, killed people, and took over the government. From peasents to communism, only not real communism.
Marx taught that the prolaterians (see proletarian) were supposed to take over and then lead the country themselves.
Mao Zedong taught that people didn't really know what was good for them, but of course he did. He had some kind of metaphor that set up a body where he was the head, the goverment the arms, and the people the other parts. Or something like that. Basicly he wanted to be seen as God.
In short, Maoism is a lame excuse for communism that Mao Zedong used to gain power and not Marxism at all.
I was with a group of communists running away from an anti-commie hate group the other day that was trying to shoot us. We hid out in an abondonded church and eventually we found out that this one guy who was supposed to be communist really believed in Maoism, so we shot him ourselves.
Maoism is an adaptation of Marxist-Leninism. In Mao's case he adapted a theory that was originally developed within the context of a relatively advanced industrializing society, Europe of the 19th century, to a context of an almost purely aggricultural society--China of the early and mid 20th century.
Mao was a military genious, if not a political one, for his development of a protracted 'peoples war.' Whether you like him or not, and there is a lot not to like, his military theory was victorious and continues to be emulated today as well as studied by the students of West Point etc.
The Sandinista guerillas, though not self identified as Maoists, certainly practiced Maoism in their struggle against the Samoza regime in Nicaragua in the 1970s.