[Marxism] Lenin's definition of imperialism

Carrol Cox cbcox at ilstu.edu
Thu Oct 25 11:39:51 MDT 2007

Steve Palmer wrote:
> IMO (and I think this is the same as Lenin's argument) these DO lead to war.
> Other activities (political, diplomatic) may delay this, but cannot overcome
> these contradictions which are economic, not political. The only supersession
> of these contradictions can be brought about by the replacement of capitalism.

Imperialism is the mode of existence of capitalism, not (like
capitalism) a total social system existing over time. And while
capitalism in important senses remains capitalism over time (which is
why _Capital_ is as valid today as in 1869) imperialism (or imperialism
A as it were) does not necessarily remain imperialism over time but
becomes Imperialism B & C & D. For that reason it CANNOT be theorized as
capitalism can be, and there is no reason to assume that the imperialism
of 1890 throws all that much light on the imperialism of 1990.

Now as to War. _Abstractly_, Steve  is right; Inter-Imperialist War is
inevitable. But concretely war does not always take the same shape; in
fact it can vary so profoundly as not to be even recognized as such.

War between the U.S. on the one hand and Eurasia on the other has
already begun in Iraq. It is a war to _control_ the Persian Gulf, thus
maintaining U.S. power over Europe, Russia, China, & Japan. That war may
go on for decades without the actual parties to it ever firing a shot at
each other.

We really do need to re-theorize at a deep level contemporary


More information about the Marxism mailing list