Definitions of Imperialism?

Howie Chodos howie at magi.com
Wed Jul 26 23:02:54 MDT 1995


One reason I can't muster much enthusiasm for a rehash of WWI vs WWII, is
not that this is an unimportant question, but that it seems to me that there
are more fundamental questions to clarify, of which one is how we propose to
analyse imperialism itself. For starters, how has Lenin's theory held up?

Two comments. First, the identification of imperialism with a phase of
capitalism that is moribund seems to me to be hard to sustain. Much of
Lenin's argument concerning the expansionist, aggressive character of
imperialism was built around this idea. Which isn't to say that imperialism
isn't aggressive and expansionist. It's just that it isn't dying, it isn't
technologically stagnant.

Second, would it be fair to say on the other hand that we are witnessing the
dominance of a certain form of finance capital, which Lenin also argued?
This isn't to say that it has come about in exactly the way that Lenin
thought it would, nor that this dominance is necessarily complete or
unchallenged, but simply that global financial transactions assume an
inordinate significance in the contemporary world. I think, as one example,
of Soros' role in Eastern Europe in this regard.

Howie Chodos



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