On Imperialism

Donal donaloc at peterquinn.com
Wed Dec 12 03:03:30 MST 2001

Lou's and John Gulick's posts although seemingly contradictory can be seen
as two halves of the unified picture. Clearly, Lenin can be criticised for
not developing his theory of 'peripheral nations' although in 1915 not too
many could do much about their state of enslavement and a world war was
playing itself out with huge implications for the struggle in Russia. As we
all know with the victorious Russian revolution and the weakness of the
European powers coming out of two wars, the colonial nations stood some
chance of getting free (and did, at least to some extent, in most cases). As
Lou says 'with the collapse of the USSR, the periphery is [now] more
vulnerable than ever' and the imperial powers are striving to reverse any
gains made. It is also clearly true that 'the USA stands like a colossus
across the third world and dwarves its European rivals as well' hence
inter-imperialist rivalries between any states and the US are likely to be
small in the short term (at least).

He finishes, 'In the meantime, what we *are* dealing with is a long, bitter
war since 1945 that pits the imperialist powers of the world against the
Calibans of the south.' This is clearly true (particularly writing at this
stage of US intervention in Afghanistan - possibly Somalia, I heard last
night) but unfortunately the cost of resistance to a peripheral nation
without any hope of support from any external source is, at present, too
great for most (hence the collapse/weakening of national-liberation
struggles around the world who are accommodating to the imperialist
system/objective realities - depending on your view). I think that John hit
the nail on the head when he said 'it is much harder for the worsening
North-South situation to translate into an viable _political_
contradiction'. His examples of the lack of inter-imperialist cooperation
and protectionism (which is certainly not confined to the US) reinforce the
underlying reality that Lenin's model of inter-imperialist rivalries is
still very applicable.

In short, we are left with Lenin's theory needing updating with a better
dealing of 'peripheral nations', the dominance of the US imperialists and
the new legalistic structures of imperialism.
Indeed, this hellish vision of asymmetric struggle throughout the periphery
should refocus you guys in the core to the immediate [difficult] tasks of
building a revolution there.

Is mise,


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