Well basically to start this off, it is unknown who started akatsuki. Itachi says that madara did and pein says that he did.
however, that isn't my question. My real question is who did they follow?
Pein Believed that he wanted to make a super weapon with the beasts and make a monopoly on weapons and such. Madara though obviously has different plans that are different than this although he also seems to need all of the beasts. I had assumed because of how their meetings went and of how they thought tobi was trash that they followed pein and pein thought himself the leader. but yet there is this
it talks about who thay had to lose that were I assume following their cause. SO who did they really believe they were following pein or madara?