[Marxism] Lenin's definition of imperialism

Einde O'Callaghan einde at gmx.de
Sun Nov 4 14:14:07 MST 2007

Steve Palmer schrieb:
> Sorry Einde, I only just saw this.
> Yes, I like Bukharin's Imperialism and World Economy. It's a more 'technical'
> work.
> Lenin's Imperialism is, I think, best understood as a political, rather than
> economic work. (Though the 'economics' are, I maintain, in their essentials, as
> true today as they were then). As he makes clear in the preface, it was written
> especially with an eye on the censor, with an eye to demonstrating the economic
> underpinnings and the political significance of the labour aristocracy, "the
> principal social ... prop of the bourgeoisie". Kidron does not discuss this at
> all.
Sorry about the tardy response - I've been awqy and isolated from 
Internet contact over the weekend.

I agree about the lacunae in Kidron's analysis in this article. However, 
this sin't the only place where IMHO Kidron made some pertinent 
criticisms. Also Cliff had earlier pointed out a major problem with the 
empirical basis for Lenin's analysis of the labour aristocracy in a 1956 
article on "The Economic Roots of Reformism".

I think there is also another problem with the equation of highly-paid 
skilled workers with the labour aristocracy because it was precisely 
this group that provided the leadership (if not necessarioly the 
immediate trigger) for the working class revolt both in Russia in 1917 
and at the end of World War I in at least Britain, Germany and Italy - I 
don't know enough about the history of the revolutionary movement in 
other countries to say if this was a more generalised phenomenon.

I'm afraid that pressures of work and my political responsibilities in 
the outside world are preventing me from making a deeper analysis at the 
present time - so I'm afraid I'll have to restrict myself with making 
the occasional brief comment on this question for the time being.


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