wdrb at siva.bris.ac.uk
wdrb at siva.bris.ac.uk
Tue Aug 15 13:24:55 MDT 1995
Chris Bailey says with ref to Lenin's 'Imperealism...'
< It seems
to me that Lenin's rather simplistic attempt to explain the changes
that had taken place in the world economy after Marx proved to be an
unmitigated disaster for socialism in the long run. Far from providing
a "platform for understanding" I would contend his position seriously
disorientated the Marxist movement for most of this century.>
I'm no expert, but I think 'Imperealism...wasn't a bad
stab at what was going on in 1917. It identified the drive to
national monopoly, the competition to carve up the
non-industrialised world into colonies by the great powers
and the increasing influence of banks over
industrial capital. Ihave seen it said that
Lenin's account of banks control of
industrial trusts borrowed heavily on
work on the German economy (Hilferding?)
and that the other great powers
(the USA and Britain) didn't display
the same forms to such a degree.
Where I think Lenin's analysis was
disastrous was his emphatic assertion
that what he described was the
'highest form'. I guess he had to say
this to give theoretical justification to
a revolution in backward Russia. But
I think his tyrade against Kautsky
(who no doubt Lenin had grounds to
dislike) was all the more hysterical
because Lenin didn't have any good
theoretical reason for saying that
in terms of Marx's fundamental model
of capitalism, there was no reason
that capital couldn't transcend the nation state into
a higher form.
Lenin's assertion would be self-fulfilling...
either the russian revolution would lead
to world communism and therefor the
form of capitalism described in 1917
would be the highest form, or the
revolution would ultimately fail
in which case I guess he thought
no theory would matter.
Trotsky and Stalin and their
supporters then competed to claim
loyalty to the true tradition of
Lenin. If he said 'Imperealism...'
was the highest stage in 1917
then who was going to stand accused
of revisionism by saying perhaps
he was wrong?
I'm not saying that Lenin and
the Bolsheviks were wrong to
try the revolution...just
that its left a dogmatic
theoretcal legacy. I also
think that Marx never adequately
theorised the economic place of the
nation state in his model of capitalism...
or at least not that I've ever understood.
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