The General Characteristics of Imperialism (c. 1997-2000)
The following document was published by the Communist Party of Turkey/Marxist-Leninist and sourced from BannedThought.net. As always, reposting here is for educational and discussion purposes and does not imply endorsement, affiliation, or agreement.
With the advent of monopolies, the question of what is capitalism and what is its nature began to be discussed. While Engels was aware of the fact that capitalism was moving towards concentration, it was Lenin who, having made a detailed study of imperialism, pointed out that capitalism had moved on to its highest stage, i.e., imperialism, and that the period based on free competition had ended.
The opportunists and the revisionists, who tried to disguise the true nature of capitalism and its current stage as well as the fact that imperialism was based on the export of capital and the world had already been completely divided and capitalism was at its most reactionary stage, opposed Lenin and supported the plundering of the imperialist bourgeoisie.
The general characteristic of capitalism in the free-competition stage is manifested in the export of commodities, whereas the basic economic characteristic of capitalism in the imperialist stage is the combination of industrial and banking capital to eliminate small-scale production and the concentration of production and capital to form monopolies which dominate the world and re-divide it through the export of capital. Of course, this does not mean that imperialism has eliminated competition totally.
The competition among imperialist monopolies so sharpens as to bring about imperialist wars. Imperialism causes the intensification of contradictions as never seen before, destroys the progressive elements of capitalism, sharpens further the contradictions between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, matures the contradiction between imperialism and the oppressed peoples, and thus leads to the struggles of the oppressed people and the oppressed nations against imperialism.
Lenin points out five basic features of imperialism, which we find useful to mention here, for many movements which call themselves labour party assert that imperialism has changed its basic characters so that Lenin’s analysis of imperialism has become outdated:
“1) The concentration of production and capital has developed to such a high stage that it has created monopolies which play a decisive role in economic life;
2) the merging of bank capital with industrial capital, and the creation, on the basis of this ‘finance capital’, of a financial oligarchy;
3) the export of capital as distinguished from the export of commodities acquires exceptional importance;
4) the formation of international monopolist capitalist associations which share the world among themselves, and
5) the territorial division of the whole world among the biggest capitalist powers is completed.” (Lenin, Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, Progress Publishers, English edition, p.84)
Lenin emphasized that imperialism was decaying capitalism, that it revealed completely and sharpened the contradictions of capitalism. Contrary to Kautsky and many other revisionists and opportunists, Lenin concluded that imperialism was parasitic, exploitative and reactionary, and that it obstructed the development of national states and national capitalism.
Imperialism prevents the capitalist development of those countries that have been colonized or semi-colonized. Furthermore, it brings about an imperialist-dependent capitalism in those countries, destroys and impedes the development of any progressive thing in the countries that it penetrates, and plunders the mineral and other natural resources of such countries. He also added that imperialism tends mainly towards the export of capital rather than the export of commodities mainly associated with the free-competition stage of capitalism, and that it has a usurious character.
CURRENT FORM OF IMPERIALISM: HAS INTER-IMPERIALIST CONTRADICTION
REACHED SUCH A LEVEL AS NOT TO LEAD TO A NEW IMPERIALIST WAR?
Lenin’s views in his book, Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, written in 1916 to analyze imperialism, continue to be valid today. Of course, since then imperialism has not remained static and has undergone many changes.
However, the present-day opportunists have become so appallingly vulgar in rendering every kind of support to the imperialist bourgeoisie as to claim that the general characteristics of imperialism, i.e., the increasing concentration of production and capital, the division of the world by the imperialist monopolies and the fact that the export of capital is primary, are no longer valid today.
Today, the high concentration of imperialist production and capital and the fact that the international monopolies gradually have become multinational monopolies do not mean that imperialism will continue to dominate peacefully. Lenin’s condemnation of the anti-Marxist theory of “ultra-imperialism” and his thesis which was grounded on actual economic and political basis are sufficient to explain the situation today.
The existence of multinational monopolies does not deny the contradictions and the intense rivalries among the imperialist monopolies. On the contrary, today, just like before, the elimination of small monopolies by big monopolies, the emergence and development of multinational monopolies in addition to national monopolies, lead to the further sharpening of the rivalries among imperialist monopolies.
The fact that imperialist monopolies from time to time enter into compromise in order to exploit the underdeveloped countries does not stop the former from re-dividing the world again and again; on the contrary, it compels them to compete even more severely with each other.
Based on the fact that multinational monopolies have become more common, opportunism develops the idea that imperialism will “exploit the semi-colonies in peace and no imperialist wars can arise”.
Especially with the collapse of Soviet social-imperialism and the declaration of the “new world order” by the United States, the idea that the inter-imperialist contradiction will not bring about a new war has become more common. In fact, it was the imperialist bourgeoisie which first developed the theory behind this idea.
Western imperialist bourgeois concepts claimed that Russia was the greatest impediment to world’s peace before the disintegration of Soviet social-imperialism. But since the collapse of Soviet social-imperialism, not only has world peace not come about, but regional wars and imperialist interventions have in fact increased.
The United States, acting as the imperialist gendarme of the world with the general support of the Western imperialist powers under the umbrella of the United Nations, intervene immediately to suppress either the revolutionary movements or the ruling classes of the semi-colonies opposing the interests of the imperialist powers.
It is not the first time that the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist criticism and analysis of imperialism is distorted and presented in a bourgeois-liberal way. Liberal comments and analyses of imperialism have existed in the past, too. There are not a few of those who have participated in such a chorus and have tried to deceive the oppressed peoples and the international proletariat into thinking that these are Marxist-Leninist-Maoist comments and analyses. In the past Kautsky also commented on imperialism in this way: “…Cannot the present imperialist policy be supplanted by a new, ultra-imperialist policy which will introduce the joint exploitation of the world by internationally united finance capital in place of the mutual rivalries of national finance capitals?” (Quoted by Lenin in Imperialism the Highest Stage of Capitalism, Progress Publishers, English edition, p.110)
The essence of Kautsky’s “theory” of “ultra-imperialism” is that the monopolies would exploit the world in peace, the contradictions among them would not cause a new war, and they would develop the semi-colonies and colonies. Lenin noted:
“The question has only to be presented clearly for any other than a negative answer to be impossible. This is because the only conceivable basis under capitalism for the division of spheres of influence, interests, colonies, etc., is a calculation of the strength of those participating, their general economic, financial, military strength, etc. And the strength of these participants in the division does not change to an equal degree, for the even development of different undertakings, trusts, branches of industry, or countries is impossible under capitalism. …Is it ‘conceivable’ that in ten or twenty years’ time the relative strength of the imperialist powers will have remained unchanged? It is out of the question.” (ibid. p.112)
And Lenin continues to criticize the illusion that imperialist powers can peacefully share the markets:
“Therefore, in the realities of the capitalist system,…‘inter-imperialist’ or ‘ultra-imperialist’ alliances, no matter what form they may assume, whether of one imperialist coalition against another, are inevitably nothing more than a ‘truce’ in periods between wars. Peaceful alliances prepare the ground for wars, and in their turn grow out of wars; the one conditions the other, producing alternating forms of peaceful and non-peaceful struggle on one and the same basis of imperialist connections and relations within world economics and world politics.” (ibid, p.112)
First, the opportunists of the Second International tried to deceive the proletariat and the oppressed peoples by prettifying imperialism. Then, the Khrushchevite modern revisionists raised the ‘thesis’ of “peaceful competition” and conjured up the idea that one can coexist peacefully with the imperialists.
Their purpose was very clear: “To ensure that the proletariat and oppressed peoples surrender and to stifle the cause of revolution”. Mao Zedong condemned these distortions by the modern revisionists forty years ago. However, today these theories are being revived, especially by imperialists.
Various tactics applied by the imperialist bourgeoisie and ideas defending that the character of imperialism has changed, that imperialism has given up exploitation, that it will develop all countries equally, that the benefits from the imperialist countries shall flow to the semi-colonies, etc., whet the appetite of bourgeois democrats and opportunists, and attempts are made to persuade the proletariat and oppressed peoples to give up the revolutionary struggle through such kind of ideas.
After the Second World War, imperialism began to change its colonial policy. It adopted a new colonial policy, neo-colonialism. This meant that in general it abandoned the open military occupation of its colonies. This does not mean that it completely gave up military occupation. It simply means that it gave priority to the neo-colonial policy. It is clear that when the conditions require, it would apply the former policy, too.
At the end of the Second World War, the socialist world became more powerful. One third of the world supported the proletarian world revolution and, as a result of national liberation wars, tens of countries gained their independence. Under such conditions, imperialism could not continue to pursue its former policy.
The reason was not its preference but the concrete conditions at the time. The main factor, which brought about this change, was the struggle of the proletariat, the oppressed peoples and oppressed nations. In class societies, no social transformation can be achieved without class struggle.
After the Second World War, the main purpose of the imperialists was to stop the revolution in each country where the world revolution could develop, to weaken the existing socialist countries and people’s republics through military and political oppression, and eventually to cause them to submit. In addition, the struggle among imperialist countries and monopolies continued intensely.
The imperialist bourgeoisie struggled to re-divide markets again and again on the one hand, and compromised for the common interests of imperialism, on the other. There are many examples of such a situation. The fact is that the decrease or increase in the contradiction or collusion among imperialists is closely related to the class struggle. The more intense the class struggle, the sharper the contradictions among the imperialists.
Before 1980, the existence of Soviet social-imperialism sharpened the contradictions among the imperialists (including Western Europe and Japan), particularly between US imperialism and Soviet social-imperialism. This was because the imperialists were divided into two big camps.
Following the disintegration of Soviet social-imperialism, this polarisation continued, though seemingly having ceased to exist. What happened was the partial reduction in the polarisation. This does not mean that it will not increase in the future. For example, as Germany approaches Iran, the United States pushes Iran either to compromise with it or be eliminated. In the same manner, (there is) the inter-imperialist struggle in Africa, the struggle to seize markets in Eastern Europe, having been vacated by Russian imperialism, and the struggles to eliminate US domination of in the Middle East… (There is) the disintegration of Yugoslavia and the scramble to make maximum profit from such an affair… Even though all these are not carried out as openly and publicly as before the Second World War, ignoring the intense rivalries means to ignore the economic-political character of imperialism.
Have the imperialists given up their exploitative nature? Of course not! Even when the imperialist powers abandoned classical colonialism, they opted for the way of colonization through the export of capital. However, it will also apply the former when the required conditions arise.
At present, the US-led imperialists occupy many countries in the name of “democracy and peace” or intervene militarily. It was not long ago that the United States occupied Vietnam and Soviet social-imperialism occupied Afghanistan. However, they had to withdraw because they suffered heavy blows. In short, nothing is changed in the aggressive and war-mongering character of imperialism.
“NEW WORLD ORDER” POLICY, HIGHEST LEVEL OF DECAY OF IMPERIALISM
The imperialist bourgeoisie began to spread the idea that “peace” and “welfare” came to the world with the disintegration of Soviet social-imperialism in order to disguise its colonialist and plundering character. All opportunists and revisionists participated in this chorus. They expected a change in the colonialist and plundering policy of imperialism and tried to promote false hopes in the ranks of the proletariat and the oppressed peoples.
But imperialism prepared an ideological basis to eliminate the impediments on its path and counselled that workers and bosses should live in brotherhood. They continued to spread the lie that the more the monopolist bourgeoisie develops, the more the social, political and legal impediments on its way are eliminated, the more the share of labourers will be from monopoly capital. However, it is very clear that it is not and cannot be true, as it runs contrary to the structure of imperialist economy which is marked by unevenness and anarchy of production.
The imperialist bourgeoisie attempts to apply various tactics to eliminate its increasingly deepening crisis. In order to overcome its crisis, it causes imperialist wars, or spreads regional wars, or intensifies the level of exploitation in the semi-colonies.
The bourgeoisie, using Keynes’ imperialist economic policy to overcome the imperialist crisis after the Second World War, could not overcome its crisis through this policy and could not prevent society from entering a new and a bigger crisis. Keynes shifted the major role in the economy to the state.
In semi-colonies, a major role in the economy was shifted to the state and an import-substitution policy was pursued. The fact is that the adoption of the Keynesian policy after the war gave the imperialist bourgeoisie a breathing space after the destruction of capitalism during the war.
Another aspect in this period was the existence of socialist countries and the accumulation of strength of the oppressed nations and oppressed peoples, which forced the imperialist powers to act cautiously. The main reason for state intervention in the economy in imperialist countries — which was to slow down the decrease of the purchasing power of the people and to implement the so-called “social state” or “welfare state” policy until the 1980s — was the development of the struggles of the oppressed peoples in addition to the existence of socialist countries.
It is the revolutionary struggles that have neutralised and can counteract imperialist aggression. They will either push imperialism to be more aggressive, causing it to reach its end more rapidly and to be eliminated, or will force it to take steps backward.
Such was the policy of state intervention imposed in the semi-colonies. In other words, what was imposed was state intervention in industrialisation, employment, income distribution, regulatory taxation policies and state control over the major industries, etc.
After the Second World War, particularly in the 1960s, an improvement occurred in the capitalist economy. Apart from the increase in labour efficiency, the markets of imperialists widened further and the rates of profit increased. Due to this improvement in the economy, the imperialist monopolies did not object so much to the rise in the real wages, with the stipulation that workers’ wages would be below the level of efficiency.
With concentrated imperialist exploitation and plundering, finance capital amassed great wealth. The monopolist bourgeoisie, undergoing a rapid growth and expansion, obtained this wealth by exploiting the dependent peoples. This huge imperialist exploitation brought about a significant imbalance throughout the world.
To ignore the effect of this situation on the policies followed by imperialists during the period after the Second World War until the 1980s is to underestimate the significance of the struggles of the proletariat and the oppressed peoples. Most importantly, it is to deny that the motor of progressive transformation is the class struggle. Apart from these reasons, it is important to see that the existence of Soviet social-imperialism was an important factor on the policy pursued by the Western imperialists.
It is impossible to talk about the elimination of imperialist polarisation consisting of two main poles, i.e., the United States-Western Europe and Soviet social-imperialism, as well as such other poles as USA-Europe, USA-Japan, Japan-Europe during the new period – the so-called “new world order” or “globalization”— after the decomposition of Soviet social-imperialism.
This polarisation remains the same in essence, though its appearance has changed after the collapse of Soviet social-imperialism. Distortions such as the assertion that the polarisation between the USA and Europe, the USA and Japan, Europe and Japan as well as the imperialist competition were “eliminated” after multinational monopolies became common, etc., ignores the polarising nature of imperialism and the desire of imperialist monopolies to take over each other and to dominate the world alone, and is a liberal distortion of the structure of imperialism.
Inter-imperialist rivalry is still at a high level, and it continues severely with sharpening contradictions between them. At present they are able to solve the contradictions between them peacefully. However, asserting that they will go on with the same “peaceful” solutions is to ignore the character of the imperialist economy.
In short, it can be said that imperialism owes its stability over the past quarter century to the implementation of Keynesian policy. Of course, that policy could not and did not enable imperialism to remain stable for long.
However, in the 1970s the imperialist crisis was knocking on the door again, and this time it was even more severe. The increase of petroleum prices by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) further deepened the imperialist crisis. The imperialist bourgeoisie pointed to the semi-colonial petroleum producers as the cause of the crisis in order to disguise the real reasons behind it.
However, the oil crisis was caused by the inevitable crisis of capitalism and the over-concentration of production and capital. On the other hand, the efficiency of labour decreased and, with the decrease in the profit of monopolist bourgeoisie, the imperialist market contracted.
At that stage, in the beginning of the 1970s, imperialism shifted the burden of the crisis to the semi-colonies again. It wanted the semi-colonies to replace the policy of import substitution with that of “production for export” or “growth through export-oriented production”. Of course, these “rescue” prescriptions for all the semi-colonies were written by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (WB). The imperialists directed and oriented all their semi-colonies in this way to overcome their crisis.
The domination of capital has developed to such a degree as to make it impossible for semi-colonies to act independent of imperialism. The “national” policies of semi-colonies, which became part of the imperialist system and cannot act independent of it, are directed by imperialism. It cannot be otherwise.
However, the ruling classes in the semi-colonies, who are servitors of imperialism, never gave up nationalism in this period. On the one hand, they provoked nationalism and chauvinism to deceive the people, and on the other hand, on the basis of such lies as “in the interests of the development of our country and the national welfare,” they granted lucrative opportunities to imperialist capital, which they called “foreign capital”, and thus they proved to be sworn servitors of imperialism.
Capital is owned by increasingly less people in the world, the poverty of the peoples of semi-colonial countries increases, and the dominant classes of such countries can not repay their debts to the imperialists. The income of 101 people in the world is more than that of one and a half billion people.
At the end of the 1980s, the income of the semi-colonies, comprising four billion of the world’s population, was only 5.4% of the world’s total. This was equal to the income of France for the same year. The debts of the semi-colonial countries to the IMF increased from 685 billion in 1980 to 1,770 billion dollars in 1993.
While industrial production in the imperialist countries increased rapidly between 1950 and 1970, it has begun to decrease since 1975. The following table gives the industrial production of five big imperialist countries for two periods:
* First six months.
This reduction in the imperialist countries was not of course limited to industrial production only. Accordingly, it was reflected in the other components. During this period, the reduction in almost all imperialist countries was 50 percent. Unemployment increased two- to three-fold. In the 1980s, profit rates in manufacture decreased to a negative. Accordingly, there was reduction only in the fixed capital investments at fifty percent. Furthermore, the imperialists could not take back the loans they granted to their semi-colonies.
In other words, a cough in the imperialist countries turned into an earthquake in the semi-colonies. The stagnation and the crisis that occurred at the beginning of the 1970s caused an overgrowth of capital exported to markets, eventually going beyond the capacity to repay. Then, this resulted in the scarcity of resources for the international banks and financial institutions and to the weakening of controls.
The imperialist monopolies suffering from lack of resources began to implement the so-called “Reaganism-Thatcherism” or “export-oriented production” policies. These necessitated the tightening of belts for the people, including wage cuts or wage freezes, restrictions on social benefits and complete privatization by reducing the responsibilities of state.
Particularly in the semi-colonial countries, the implementation of such policies meant the imposition of further starvation and more unemployment on the people, driving them further into destitution. Of course, in many countries, such policies could not be implemented under parliamentary regimes.
The outrage of the masses was immense, for which Turkey was an example. It was obligatory that military regimes under US direction should rule. In the countries of Central America and Asia, this method was implemented heavily.
The aim of the imperialists was to ensure that the debts, having been unpaid until then, had to be repaid, and to cut the social spending by the state in order that such funds can flow to the coffers of imperialist monopolies rather than to the people. This was in order to raise financial resources for the monopolies, etc. Of course, all poverty and difficulties were and are suffered by the people of the semi-colonies.
Imperialists implement a new method when a crisis occurs. However, the policy implemented to overcome a crisis brings about a bigger crisis. When the so-called “Asian tigers” — countries which were promoted and presented as showpieces of capitalist development — collapsed one after another in 1997, (which is the direct result of the policies behind the terms “economy based on free competition”, “export-oriented production”, “privatization”, “globalization”, etc which were introduced through ideological brainwashing), it revealed that this imperialist policy had became outdated and could hardly continue to exist.
In order to overcome this crisis and, as always, to transfer the burden of the crisis onto the peoples of semi-colonies, the imperialists give more leeway and freedom to their monopolies, so much so that they can continue with their activities without encountering any political, legal, taxation or social difficulty. They call this the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI).
In this way, the imperialists will dominate the semi-colonies completely, control their mineral and other natural resources, determine the political and social life, tax codes, labour wages and social aid, whereas the state in the semi-colonies shall carry out oppression to suppress the struggle of the people. Imperialist monopolies will neither be responsible for any damage caused by this policy nor incur any loss, otherwise such loss will be paid for by the people of the semi-colonies.
The imperialist bourgeoisie opted for colonization through export of capital rather than military occupation. This is the current stage of imperialism. This will not have a long life either, for the oppressed peoples of the world will struggle against imperialism and their local servitors.
Naturally, these policies, called “globalization” by the imperialists, will increase the dissatisfaction and discontentment among the peoples in the semi-colonies. The increase in poverty and unemployment and the total elimination of social and democratic rights will bring about the rising of the masses in spite of severe suppression. These social and economic realities give us reason to say that the twenty-first century will be the century of socialism, the century of revolutionary struggles and the century of the destruction of imperialism.
Many statistics can be cited in this respect. However, due to space limitation, our purpose is to deal with the matter of imperialism in a general way. Today, any one who wants to deal with the issue of imperialism can obtain a lot of statistical data from bourgeois authors. However, statistics are not enough to describe the suffering and misery of the people. This is another aspect of the matter.
CRITICISM OF “CHANGE” IN THE CHARACTER OF IMPERIALISM
The institutions of the imperialist system have encountered such a clogging up that they hardly function. The order established by finance capital continuing for a century has worn out like a hundred-year-old plane-tree. Unemployment is no longer a problem of the semi-colonies only, and the most developed imperialist countries are facing the same problem.
Imperialist countries had to resort to the deception of the “social state” to overcome the crisis. The imperialist monopolies are encountering a lack of resources and a deceleration in capital accumulation. Although new imperialist policies necessitate the transfer of resources, those found are not always stable.
The resources found lead to breaks in production and to the deceleration and contraction in capital accumulation. Therefore, crises occur one after another. The reasons for all this should be sought in the depths of the imperialist system and in the economic-political foundation on which the system has been set up.
The bourgeoisie always tries to disguise the fact that its system leads to crisis and tries to show that the reasons lie elsewhere. The bourgeoisie attempts to overestimate its system and to show that it is able to do anything other than criticising its own system, which is not to be expected from it. In the words Engels, “They take the tempest in the sea for a tempest in a glass of water.”
The dynamics of production in the composition of capital are expressed as constant capital as means of production and variable capital as the forces of production. Pursuant to the rule of capitalism, the volume of capitalism grows in all normal and stable production. The dynamics of such growth are inversely proportional to itself, and constant capital grows faster than variable capital.
This inversely proportional growth in the organic composition of capital causes the tendency for the profit rate of capitalism to fall historically. Here the rate of profit is taken in relation to the total capital.
In line with the structure of capitalism, a great part of the surplus value is invested as constant capital, means of production, and a small part is reserved for variable capital. This inversely proportional growth of capital accumulation causes an inversely proportional growth in the organic structure of capital. In the words of Marx, this happens in “gradually decreasing proportions”. The fact that capitalism can enjoy stability for a period does not eliminate this basic tendency.
In order for surplus value, generated by each expanded reproduction, to make its organic structure grow, there must be a realization of the produced commodities, i.e., they have to be consumed in the market. If surplus value cannot be realized, no capital accumulation can occur. In this context, the growth in capital accumulation is identical to the transfer of surplus value to capital.
As for the current situation of the imperialists, there is a decrease in capital accumulation, deceleration in the economic growth, and retrogression to the levels of old times. These can be seen in the statistics of the IMF and WB. The more technology develops, the more the organic structure and poles of surplus value and capital are narrowed, and the developed technology leads to an increase in the productive capacity of the means of production, and the level of supply exceeds demand.
As it is impossible to produce more than the demand and movements between production and market decelerate, the surplus product cannot transform surplus value into money-capital and cannot increase the accumulation. Today, production exceeds demand, so that funds gained from the products demanded can pay only the costs of products of accumulated labour.
Surplus value or profit is inside the product.
However, when this surplus portion is not consumed, surplus value cannot be realized. The roots of such contradictions of capitalism lie in the fact that there is an inverse proportion in the dynamics of production and that this inverse proportion grows
The relation of imperialism with semi-colonies are another reason for this situation. Loans granted by monopolies to markets also clog up. The semi-colonies, exploited for decades, face a situation in which they can not pay their debts back, thus completely tying up the resources of imperialism.
Even though imperialism has managed to transfer new resources to itself through intensive export of capital, there is no stopping the crisis caused by the export of capital because a great part of the new resources are not in production, i.e., based on rents.
The transactions in funds, bonds and stocks during the period between the first and the second imperialist world wars were two-fold of the transactions in the export of commodities. This proportion reached fifty-fold and the anarchic character of capital exposed itself, with the coupons issued in financial capital reaching a record level.
Let us cite a brief statistical data of imperialist usury. The volume of transaction in bonds and stocks between 1980 and 1990, in comparison to gross national income, accelerated from 9% to 93% in the United States, from 8% to 85% in Germany, from 7.4% to 19% in Japan, from 386% to 690% in 1985 in England. (Source: The Economist, Sept. 19,1992)
Such data only mathematically exemplifies how the imperialist financial system has degenerated and has become primitive and usurious. Their social exemplification is deeper. Rent-based imperialism has so decayed that a considerable volume of the capital in circulation is removed from production by means of the exchange-market trap.
A series of economic-financial policies, which the bourgeoisie has introduced as “globalization,” consist of restructuring the system all over the world in accordance with the imperialist bourgeoisie. This is implemented with a heavier exploitation of the peoples of the world. The deeper exploitation gets, the more the gap between the bourgeoisie and the people grows.
The system has been rearranged in accordance with the ruling classes as the new imperialist policy — introduced by the imperialist bourgeoisie and their hacks paid in marks and dollars as being “beyond capitalism”, “integrated” almost beyond class, “beyond-nation”, and “globalization” — is implemented step by step.
In this context, such new arrangements are not an alternative to the system but, on the contrary, are a rearrangement of the exploitative and oppressive world. It is important for Marxist-Leninist-Maoists to follow, analyze, question and judge all economic, political and other quantitative evolution of the inner structure of the system.
However, we should never allow this understanding to degenerate in an opportunist manner, to ignore the principles of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism by introducing bourgeois analyses and solutions.
We cannot ignore the fact that the bourgeois ideologues and their supporters, the so-called “democrats”, try to show the new policy of imperialism i.e., “globalization”, as if it were something other than imperialism, that they try to deceive the masses about the period of the “welfare state”, and that they maintain that the “nation-states” have disappeared.
Neither nations, borders and states have disappeared, nor everything is perfect, nor the contradiction and polarisation between imperialists has been eliminated. By disguising the fact that the imperialist system has been decaying faster and that the exploitation has further concentrated, the spokesmen of the bourgeoisie are repeating old theories as if they are “new”. However, the realities of the world are far from such perverted and deceptive theories.
The theory of “the end of the nation-state” is the ideological thesis of “globalization” as a patented economic line. Their thesis is based on the claim that the multinational monopolies have developed, that capital has lost its national character, that the national economies have dissolved, and that regional economic unions such as the Atlantic Treaty (AT), North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Asia-Pacific Economic Council (APEC) have been formed.
It is nonsense to assert that capital has lost its national character. The world’s economy is under the domination of imperialism. Therefore, the export of capital had entered all markets even at the dawn of imperialism. However, each export of capital, each imperialist bank, each imperialist monopoly has its national identity today as yesterday. The fact that monopolies and financial institutions penetrate many countries does not change this reality.
If finance capital and its economies, companies, banks, etc. have reached a point “beyond nation”, how will the supporter of this idea explain the “American Dollar”, the “Japanese market”, the “German companies”, the “French economy” and the “English gross national income”? The imperialist system has been the system of the world for centuries.
Nevertheless, each economy differs from others with national designations. It must not be forgotten that the biggest world wars occurred in accordance with such a status quo. In today’s imperialist world, imperialist polarisation takes shape in accordance with this status quo. Imperialist monopolies have national economic structures.
The fact that imperialist monopolies have market agents in an international system where all markets have been shared does not change this reality. The centres of the respective imperialist monopolies are concentrated in their countries though they are called multinational monopolies.
The production of the world’s biggest 200 monopolies has 31.2% of the world’s gross income. However, the same monopolies employ only 0.9% of the world’s total employment. These multinational monopolies are concentrated in their own countries. Their situation is contrary to the “point beyond nation” as some people, particularly petty-bourgeois intellectuals, claim. In other words, the multinational monopolies keep their national identities. The distribution of these 200 multinational monopolies are as follows: 62 from Japan, 53 from USA, 23 from Germany, 19 from France, 11 from England, 8 from Switzerland, and 6 from South Korea.
All these show that the “end of the nation-state” and the assertion that “the imperialists resolve the contradictions among themselves and these contradictions shall not bring about an imperialist war”, etc., are only lies to deceive the people.
The myth of “peaceful” imperialism cannot hide the fact that imperialists try to overcome the crisis through regional wars, that no semi-colony has good relations with its neighbours and they threaten each other with war and so they purchase arms in high levels, and that they allocate a considerable part of their budgets to the purchase of arms, etc.
The assertions and degeneration of bourgeois demagogues and petty-bourgeois opportunists who are influenced by the former that “the character of imperialism has changed” may have some negative affects on the proletarian revolution for a certain time, but they cannot change the truth that the future will be shaped by the proletarian revolutions.
The claim that parts of labour-intensive industries have been transferred to the semi-colonies by the monopolies to avail of the cheap labour force and to be free from social obligations, that labour-intensive production has developed the semi-colonies, that semi-colonies have reached the level of developed capitalist states or the gap between the semicolonial and developed imperialist countries is increasingly closing, and that imperialism has played a progressive role in this way, etc., is nothing but an imperialist bourgeois conception.
This is some petty-bourgeoisie conception claiming that, based on the “internalisation of capitalist production”, an advanced capitalist system of production is in place throughout the world, and this includes the semi-colonies.
The purpose of the above is to assert that “international revolution“ is on the agenda. In other words, a world revolution is on the agenda, and imperialism has brought about these conditions. These are pure revisionist notions of Trotskyite origin which negate the proletarian revolution. In fact this kind of view has always been around.
They are not new. Their origin goes back to Kautsky. Such petty-bourgeois systematic thinking seems to be affected by the “beyond-the-nation” theory of the imperialist bourgeoisie. However, even in 1915 when Kautsky raised the notion of “ultra-imperialism”, it was condemned by Lenin as a “social imperialist” theory.
They claim that the unevenness among the countries has been eliminated and a world revolution can be realised, and they try to direct the national liberation movements towards the way of the opportunists of the Second International.
Kautsky, Trotsky and Khrushchev were not alone in attributing a progressive character to imperialism, Enver Hoxha also pursued the same road. Of course it is not a coincidence that these liberal theses which Lenin condemned even in 1916 are once again raised as if they were “new“.
The revisionist Enver Hoxha developed the revisionist-Trotskyite ideas in his book, Imperialism and Revolution, rendering support to the above distortions which were criticised by Lenin.
Here are some words on the “progressive“ character of imperialism: “The main form used by the imperialist bourgeoisie to exploit the oppressed peoples is the capital investment. However, the imperialist states also prefer to grant loans to disguise the exportation of capital.” (Imperialism and Revolution , p. 65)“… and this leads to an ‘oligarchic monopolist big bourgeoisie’ in the imperialist-dependent countries. Even though it is degenerated, unilateral, producer of one single product, it makes capitalism dominant.“
According to Enver Hoxha, the natural result of all this is that the capitalist bourgeoisie is in power in all colonies and semi-colonies generally.
According to Enver Hoxha, imperialists have completed the bourgeois democratic revolution in colonies and semi-colonies in the era of imperialism and proletariat revolution, and partial feudal remnants in such countries are so minor that they do not necessitate a bourgeois democratic revolution… Therefore, the main task of the proletariat in these countries is the socialist revolution!!!
Hoxhaite revisionism attributes a progressive character to imperialism and asserts that imperialism eliminated feudalism. The bourgeois ideologues share the same ideas with Enver Hoxha.
They also say under the title of “globalization” that no developed or underdeveloped country remains in the world and that all of countries have reached the same level…
Where is the difference between them?
Hoxha, carrying the tattered flag of modern revisionism after Khrushchev, continues to glorify the “progressive” character of imperialism.
According to Hoxha, US monopolies and cartels penetrated the monopolies and cartels of England, France, etc. to overcome the latter and made such countries dependent on US imperialism.“ (Imperialism and Revolution, p.256)
Although Enver Hoxha seems to be opposed to the so-called “three-worlds theory”, he continues to follow it. Poor English, German and French monopolies are oppressed under the claws of US imperialism!… Isn’t this is the logic of the “three-worlds theory”?
“…the current crisis of capitalism which is increasingly deepening leads us to the following conclusion: Revolutionary situation has surrounded or is surrounding most of the capitalist and revisionist countries. Therefore, this situation puts revolution on the agenda”. (Imperialism and Revolution, p.10)
We can cite many other extracts relating to the subject. However, these are enough to realise what kind of revisionist Enver Hoxha is. Today the same understanding is trying to penetrate the national liberation movement.
No more immature understanding can exist than saying that imperialism created a “combined capitalism” under the title of “globalization” and that there is a revolutionary situation in imperialist countries. There was no such situation also in the period of Enver Hoxha in Europe or revisionist countries.
Another opinion, expressed by the “Third World Forum” supporters led by Samir Amin and the circles around the magazine “Free University Forum” in Turkey, claim that the purpose of imperialist policy called “globalization” by the imperialists was to make the bourgeoisie of semi-colonies collaborators again.
In other words, imperialism had given up making them collaborators after the Second World War, and the rulers of semicolonies became “independent“, and they will now be made collaborators again… This is another liberal comment of imperialism from another approach.
All these show that opinions such as those asserting that the analysis of Lenin has become “old” are views of the imperialist bourgeoisie trying to justify itself and to deceive the people.
If we follow Lenin, we should condemn those asserting that imperialism has changed its character and those asserting that the “globalization” policy of imperialism has made all countries closer to each other under the title of “internalisation of capitalism”.
“Imperialism is the era of finance capital, and monopolies take not freedom but hegemony everywhere.” (Lenin)
TASKS OF THE PROLETARIAT
The new and more intensified and aggressive policy of imperialism is “globalization”, its economic policy being “neo-liberalism”, and its political policy, the “new world order”. As for its military policy, it is in harmony with the other policies, which we have mentioned in other sections of this article.
It is only natural that the imperialist bourgeoisie carries out intensive ideological attacks against the ideology of proletariat, Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. It is natural for it to claim that the revolutions waged by the vanguard of proletariat are “no longer valid” and for it to want to sow ideological uncertainty in the ranks of the proletariat.
This is a big offensive of the bourgeoisie against the working class and its allies. The proletariat has important tasks to counter such attacks of the bourgeoisie.
The most important tasks are to defend the science of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, not to give any concessions, to wage revolutionary struggle under these principles so as to enlighten the masses in order to overcome the counter-revolutionary propaganda of the imperialist bourgeoisie and, to make these more realistic and efficient, to accelerate revolutions, which is the main and inevitable duty imposed on it by the class struggle, and organize the masses accordingly. For this purpose, it must integrate with the masses who have an interest in the revolution and try to get the support of the international proletariat.
Even though the proletarian revolution may pause temporarily, the struggle of the proletariat and oppressed peoples against the bourgeoisie and imperialism have not ceased at all. Especially in semi-colonies, the struggle of the oppressed peoples and proletariat have continued and made significant accomplishments in many places.
The storm centres of the revolution are still Asia, Africa and Latin America.
The basic contradiction in the world has not changed. This is the contradiction between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat and expresses itself in the contradiction between labour and capital. And the contradiction between imperialism and the oppressed peoples of the world is the primary contradiction.
It is difficult for the proletariat to rise and advance the revolutions before imperialism is repelled from the semi-colonies through revolutions by the vanguard of proletariat. The reason is that imperialism can offer, as hush-money, a very small share of the amount it has taken from the semi-colonies. Additionally, the contradictions can become more severe only after the peoples of semi-colonies have struck blows against the influence of the imperialists.
In a considerable part of the semi-colonies, the bourgeois democratic revolution is still required. In semi-colonies, imperialism does not develop capitalism; on the contrary, it allies with the most reactionary forces and protects the latter. It tries to maintain the most primitive relations of production. The capitalism developed there is dependent capitalism.
Imperialism prevents national capitalism from developing there. On the one hand it continues to maintain the feudal and semi-feudal relations, and on the other hand it develops the dependent or comprador capitalism. The one-century history of imperialism has shown that imperialism does not take the advanced relations of production and machinery to the countries it exploits. It merely sends assembly lines to these countries.
Today again, the fact that the most advanced consumer goods are available in the least developed countries does not mean that imperialism is developing its capitalist dynamics there. In some metropolitan cities of semi-colonies, one can find all the consumer goods and degenerated relations of imperialist countries in addition to the darkness of the medieval era.
Imperialism brings labour-intensive production machinery to these countries and also prevents such machinery from being produced there. Imperialism protects rather than eliminates feudal relations in these countries. Today the only class which can eliminate feudalism is the proletariat.
The proletariat must complete the bourgeois democratic revolution and pass on to socialism uninterruptedly in these countries. In these countries communist parties, the vanguard parties of proletariat, are banned. In the overwhelming majority of these countries, the path of revolution is people’s war. Of course, each country must develop its own methods of struggle in view of its peculiar characteristics and accelerate the revolutionary struggle to advance the national liberation movement.
The tasks of the proletariat in countries where the bourgeois democratic revolution has not been realised or completed are very clear. It must ally with the peasants and gain the support of the urban petty bourgeoisie and the national bourgeoisie oppressed by imperialism. It is not possible for the proletariat to advance the revolution without gaining the support of the peasantry and the urban petty bourgeoisie and getting them to accept the proletarian leadership.
Revolution is still the main trend in the world. The fact that the proletarian dictatorships were defeated one by one and that the revolutionary struggles have suffered setbacks does not change the reality that the revolutions by the vanguard of proletariat form the main trend. This is because what is developing and must develop is the proletariat revolutions.
Imperialism is parasitic and decaying capitalism, and it has no future. In this respect, the main trend in the world is revolution. This scientific truth of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is still valid today. The 1963 polemics, the theories of Mao against the Khrushchev’s modern revisionism, which are considered to be the Second Manifesto of the national liberation movements, are still valid and continue to guide the proletariat and the oppressed peoples.