Marxism and Imperialism

Xxxx Xxxxx Xxxxxx xxxxxxxx at
Tue Nov 7 09:42:23 MST 2000

Philip Ferguson wrote:

> Anthony writes:
> >
> >I think that Lenin would agree with me on this, rather than with Phil. The
> >first paragraph chapter VII of his famous pamphlet, "Imperialism, the
> >highest stage of capitalism" reads:
> >
> >"We must now try to sum up, to draw together the threads of what has been
> >said above on the subject of imperialism. Imperialism emerged as the
> >development and direct continuation of the fundamental characteristics of
> >capitalism in general. But capitalism only became capitalist imperialism at
> >a definite and very high stage of its development, when certain of its
> >fundamental characteristics began to change into their opposites, when the
> >features of the epoch of transition from capitalism to a higher social and
> >economic system had taken shape and revealed themselves in all spheres..."

Phil wrote:

> >Er, Anthony I would say this clearly backs up my >point.  As lenin says:
> >"Imperialism emerged as the development and >direct continuation of the
> >fundamental characteristics of capitalism in >general. But capitalism only
> >became capitalist imperialism at a definite and very >high stage of its
> >development..."
> >Imperialism is, in other words (and as the title of >the pamphlet put it),
> >the highest stage of *capitalism*.

Phil, one more parenthesis to definition of imperialism here.  In addition to
being a highest stage of capitalism, imperialism *assumes* an international and
hierarchical division of labor among the countries of the world economy, but the
relation is not of "mutually beneficial comparative advantage". Rather,  it is
one of  "exploitation". Theory of  imperialism assumes *assymetrical relation of
power* between the states,  not convergence with the West. Since imperialism
does *not* bring progress to the imperialized countries except plundering their
resources and labor power,  the question is "how can we break this asymmetry" in
the final analysis?

I think we can apply Lenin's analysis of imperialism to situation of
"dependency" in the capitalist word economy.  Dependency relations between
states are maintained through transitional class coalitions linking capitalist
elites  in industrially developed countries  to their counter parts (comprador)
in the South (periphery). Comprador _aids_ in the exploitation of its own
society. This explains how transnational ties _within_ the capitalist class work
to the disadvantage of workers and peasants in the imperialized countries to the
benefit of bourgeoisie and labor aristocracy in the core.



Peter Evan's book is informative here. _Dependent Development: The Alliance of
Multinationals. State and Local Capital in Brazil _ (Princeton University Press,




Xxxx Xxxxx Xxxxxx
PhD Student
Department of Political Science
SUNY at Albany
Nelson A. Rockefeller College
135 Western Ave.; Milne 102
Albany, NY 12222

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