[Marxism] Lenin’s “Imperialism” reads like it was written yesterday

Néstor Gorojovsky nmgoro at gmail.com
Sat Jul 5 10:06:09 MDT 2008

Thank you, Louis, will try to read the full article tomorrow. As for
the first paragraphs, they have traversed their own ten minutes in
flying colors, as you wrote about that film today...

Best, and as always send my regards...

2008/7/4, Louis Proyect <lnp3 at panix.com>:
> When I decided to lead
>  <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/marxism_class/>a reading group on the
>  classics of Marxism, I was partly motivated to re-examine some books
>  that I hadn't looked at in over 40 years in some cases. One of them
>  was Lenin's "Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism". As
>  somebody who has adopted a less than worshipful stance toward the
>  Marxist classics in recent years, I was ready to encounter all sorts
>  of indications of how wrong it was to use something written in 1914
>  as a guide to our current situation. Leaving aside the big question
>  of inter-imperialist wars, which does seem to be a thing of the past
>  on first blush, I was amazed at how many other observations jibe with
>  articles in the business sections of the major newspapers today
>  devoted to the ongoing financial crisis.
>  A number of these observations appear in chapter 3 and 4 of Lenin's
>  book and I expect to run into others as I work my way through it.
>  For those of you who have received a proper training in ruling class
>  ideology in freshman economics or poli sci, you will surely remember
>  how the teacher "proved" that Karl Marx's writings were obsolete on
>  the basis that capitalism has become so democratized that the term
>  "ruling class" has no meaning. This democratization is primarily
>  expressed through pension funds, mutual funds, etc. that put the
>  means of production in the hands of ordinary working people.
>  Back in 1958, when American capitalism enjoyed more of an ideological
>  hegemony than perhaps at any point since WWII, economists and
>  corporate executives spoke about a "people's capitalism" that had
>  nothing to do with the stereotype of fat cats in top hats found in
>  Marxist literature.
>  Economist Marcus Nadler wrote:
>  "The economy of the United States is rapidly assuming the character
>  of what may be termed 'People's Capitalism,' under which the
>  production facilities of the nation­notably manufacturing­have come
>  to be increasingly owned by people in the middle and lower income
>  brackets or indirectly by mutual institutions which manage their savings."
>  Roger Blough, the chairman of U.S. Steel, wrote:
>  ". . . the change that has occurred in the ownership of our larger
>  enterprises. Today fewer businesses­especially our biggest
>  businesses­are owned by a few wealthy individuals or groups, as many
>  were back in the Nineties. They are owned by millions of people in
>  all walks of life. In United States Steel, for example, the owners of
>  our business outnumber the employees by a considerable margin; and no
>  one of them holds as much as three-tenths of one per cent of the
>  outstanding stock."
>  General Electric, whose television show was hosted by Ronald Reagan,
>  ran an full-page advertisement stating:
>  "People's Capitalism: The 376,000 owners with savings invested in
>  General Electric are typical of America, where nearly every citizen
>  is a capitalist."
>  In a pamphlet distributed to its employees, Standard Oil advised them
>  that Karl Marx devised a theory in which "Ownership of the mills, as
>  with ownership of the land, was the key to the future. Ownership
>  should, therefore, be vested not in the hands of the few, but with
>  something he identified as The People." But today, Karl Marx would be
>  surprised to learn the following:
>  "Yes, the people own the tools of production. … By his own
>  definition, Karl Marx' prophecy has been realized. . . . How odd to
>  find that it is here, in the capitalism he reviled, that the promise
>  of the tools has been fulfilled."
>  full:
>  http://louisproyect.wordpress.com/2008/07/04/lenins-imperialism-reads-like-it-was-written-yesterday/
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Néstor Gorojovsky
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