Empire on Lenin

Donal donaloc at peterquinn.com
Thu Dec 6 05:17:01 MST 2001


Greg:
>Below is a quote from Empire which I do not believe can be easily
dismissed (Part 3, Chapter 3.1, p231):
>
>"Lenin agreed with Kautsky's basic thesis that there is a trend in
capitalist development toward the international cooperation of the various
national finance capitals and possibly toward the construction of a single
world trust. What he objected to so strongly was the fact that Kautsky used
this vision of a peaceful future to negate the dynamics of the present
reality; Lenin thus dnounced his ``profoundy reactionary dsire to blunt the
contradctions'' of the present situation. Rather than waiting for some
peaceful ultraý imperialism to arrive in the future, revolutionaries should
act now on the contradctions posed by capital's present imperialist
organization. Thus, while generally adpting these authors' analytical
propoýsitions, Lenin rejected their political positions."<

I just read Imperialism by Lenin and his blistering attack on Kautsky and I
can't believe that this has been written. It is riddled with errors.

Lenin did not agree with Kautsky's thesis as they stated. If anything he
disagreed with it - basically his argument went, "Kautsky's thesis is likely
to be nonsense, but even if his reading of the future was true, he is guilty
of calling for acquiescence now because he has some wonderful theory of the
future. No, we must analyse facts as they stand today, not about something
we have no understanding of or evidence for in the future." I think his line
is brilliant here - back to the old 'concrete analysis of concrete
conditions'. Kautsky's theory was merely an excuse for cowardice and
class-collaborationism. Lenin basically allowed for the possibility that
Kautsky's theory may be true at some stage in the future (as they couldn't
tell at that time - and more importantly it wasn't important). These
scumbags who wrote this piece merely wish to adopt the Kautskian formulation
on Imperialism and want to avoid the Leninist critique.

Furthermore, the Kautskian argument would not have led to a 'Peaceful
future' as it still entailed the existence of a worldwide class of
blood-suckers. No peace could exist in such circumstances for the exploited
peoples or classes. I even think that Kautsky made this clear and this was
his justification for the argument - that we should wait until it becomes
really clear who the enemies are (when they won't fight each other and our
involvement could be seen as taking sides).

I think that Louis Proyect has the correct understanding of this issue,
although I had previously thought he hadn't (Sorry Louis, my
misunderstanding clearly). I don't believe that the US has complete
Imperialist hegemony yet, as posts here have indicated Russia seems to
retain the capacity to act in its own interests still, as does France, I'm
sure even lapdog UK can act in their own interests now and again. Yes, the
US is dominant but there still exist inter-imperialist rivalries, simply
because there still exists National Bourgeoisie interests.

What underlines this argument on the adoption of the Kautskian model is the
'Liberal' consensus that somehow Globalisation has eradicated National
Economic Interests - through worldwide share ownership, etc. What is not
recognised here is that, fundamentally, Grand Bourgeois interests are
intertwined with various governments through the world and that there are
interest groups within the Imperialist states who subvert and orientate
National policies around their business interests. More fundamental still is
that share-ownership is not evenly distributed in imperialist countries and
that these distributions go nowhere in terms of delivering true
accountability. As such, the Kautskian model of imperialism will come about
only with the achievement of true and perfect state Bourgeois Economic
Democracy (the worldwide shareholder society - Imperialist countries only),
minus any corruption of government structures. As this is a pipedream so is
the Kautskian model.

Is mise,

Domhnall.



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