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IMPERIALISM, THE HIGHEST STAGE OF CAPITALISM

 

100 Years 

1916 - 2016

One of the greatest works of Marxism-Leninism

Comment of the Comintern (SH) on April 22, 2016

 

Lenin's famous work, Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, gives a Marxist analysis of imperialism, as the final stage of capitalism, and shows that "imperialism is the eve of the socialist revolution of the proletariat". On the strength of this analysis, Lenin put forward the new theoretical proposition that initianally socialism could triumph in one single capitalist country, and could not triumph in all at once.

Stalin wrote:

Of great importance to the working class of the world was Lenin's theoretical work during the war. In the spring of 1916 Lenin wrote a book entitled 'Imperialism the Highest Stage of Capitalism'. In this book he showed that imperialism is the highest stage of capitalism, a stage at which it has already become transformed from "progressive" capitalism to parasitic capitalism, decaying capitalism, and that imperialism is moribund capitalism. This, of course, did not mean that capitalism would die away of itself, without a revolution of the proletariat, that it would just rot on the stalk. Lenin always taught that without a revolution of the working class capitalism cannot be overthrown. Therefore, while defining imperialism as moribund capitalism, Lenin at the same time showed that "imperialism is the eve of the social revolution of the proletariat."

    Lenin showed that in the era of imperialism the capitalist yoke be comes more and more oppressive, that under imperialism the revolt of the proletariat against the foundations of capitalism grows, and that the elements of a revolutionary outbreak accumulate in capitalist countries. Lenin showed that in the era of imperialism the revolutionary crisis in the colonial and dependent countries becomes more acute, that the elements of revolt against imperialism, the elements of a war of liberation from imperialism accumulate.

    Lenin showed that under imperialism the unevenness of development and the contradictions of capitalism have grown particularly acute, that the struggle for markets and fields for the export of capital, the struggle for colonies, for sources of raw material, makes periodical imperialist wars for the redivision of the world inevitable.

    Lenin showed that it is just this unevenness of development of capitalism that gives rise to imperialist wars, which undermine the strength of imperialism and make it possible to break the front of imperialism at its weakest point.

    From all this Lenin drew the conclusion that it was quite possible for the proletariat to break the imperialist front in one place or in several places, that the victory of Socialism was possible first in several countries or even in one country, taken singly, that the simultaneous victory of Socialism in all countries was impossible owing to the unevenness of development of capitalism, and that Socialism would be victorious first in one country or in several countries, while the others would remain bourgeois countries for some time longer.

    Here is the formulation of this brilliant deduction as given by Lenin in two articles written during the imperialist war:

    1) "Uneven economic and political development is an absolute law of capitalism. Hence, the victory of Socialism is possible first in several or even in one capitalist country, taken singly. The victorious proletariat of that country, having expropriated the capitalists and organized its own Socialist production, would stand up against the rest of the world, the capitalist world, attracting to its cause the oppressed classes of other countries. . . ." (From the article, „The United States of Europe Slogan“, written in August, 1915. -- Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. V, p. 141.)
2) "The development of capitalism proceeds extremely unevenly in the various countries. It cannot be otherwise under the commodity production system. From this it follows irrefutably that Socialism cannot achieve victory simultaneously in all countries. It will achieve victory first in one or several countries, while the others will remain bourgeois or pre-bourgeois for some time. This must not only create friction, but a direct striving on the part of the bourgeoisie of other countries to crush the victorious proletariat of the Socialist country. In such cases a war on our part would be a legitimate and just war. It would be a war for Socialism, for the liberation of other nations from the bourgeoisie." (From the article,“War Program of the Proletarian Revolution', written in the autumn of 1916. -- Lenin, Collected Works, Russ. ed., Vol. XIX, p. 325.)

    This was a new and complete theory of the Socialist revolution, a theory affirming the possibility of the victory of Socialism in separate countries, and indicating the conditions of this victory and its prospects, a theory whose fundamentals were outlined by Lenin as far back as 1905 in his pamphlet, „Two Tactics of Social-Democracy in the Democratic Revolution“.

    This theory fundamentally differed from the view current among the Marxists in the period of pre-imperialist capitalism, when they held that the victory of Socialism in one separate country was impossible, and that it would take place simultaneously in all the civilized countries. On the basis of the facts concerning imperialist capitalism set forth in his remarkable book, Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, Lenin displaced this view as obsolete and set forth a new theory, from which it follows that the simultaneous victory of Socialism in all countries is impossible, while the victory of Socialism in one capitalist country, taken singly, is possible.

    The inestimable importance of Lenin's theory of Socialist revolution lies not only in the fact that it has enriched Marxism with a new theory and has advanced Marxism, but also in the fact that it opens up a revolutionary perspective for the proletarians of separate countries, that it unfetters their initiative in the onslaught on their own, national bourgeoisie, that it teaches them to take advantage of a war situation to organize this onslaught, and that it strengthens their faith in the victory of the proletarian revolution.

    Such was the theoretical and tactical stand of the Bolsheviks on the questions of war, peace and revolution.

(History of the CPSU[B] - Short Course)

This vast research was completed in June 1916 and is still regarded as one of the greatest works of Marxism-Leninism.

Marx analyzed the foundations of capitalism in his "Capital" - a book of world- historical importance. Lenin continued the "Capital" of Marx in brilliant fashion. Lenin, who mastered the dialectical method brilliantly, was the first Marxist who worked out a comprehensive Marxist analysis of imperialism, namely imperialism as the highest and last stage in the development of capitalism.Lenin uncovered the festering sores, and the conditions of inevitable decay of imperialism. He defined imperialism as moribund capitalism, as the eve of the social revolution of the proletariat.

Lenin gave us a classic definition of imperialism:

"Imperialism is capitalism in that stage of development in which the dominance of monopolies and finance capital has established itself; in which the export of capital has acquired pronounced importance; in which the division of the world among the international trusts has begun; in which the division of all territories of the globe among the biggest capitalist powers has been completed".

Lenin showed that in the political field for imperialism the turn from democracy to political reaction is characteristic. The tremendous power of finance capital, the domination of the political apparatus of the bourgeois states by finance capital, the system of lies and political fraud at the masses, the predatory and warlike character of imperialism, all this leads to the "general transition of all the propertied classes to the side of imperialism". The imperialist ideology also penetrates the working class a, demoralized the topsheet that labor aristocracy, and turns them into "labor lieutenants" of the bourgeoisie.

Lenin unmasked completely Kautsky's anti-Marxist theory of "ultra-imperialism".Kautsky claimed that a peaceful agreement between the capitalist states would be possible under imperialism, which would eliminate the war and would lay the foundation for the organized world economy.According to this "theory" it would be possible to resolve all the contradictions of capitalism by peaceful means, through reforms, thus without the proletarian revolution. Lenin explained, that this "theory" of Kautsky was a "lifeless abstraction", a "silly fairy tale," the "reactionary attempt of a frightened philistine to defy the cruel reality".

By exposing the lie of Kautsky, who insured, that the international cartels would allegedly lead to peace between peoples, Lenin emphasized that - in reality - these cartels, they themselves, cause the extreme intensification of the contradictions between the capitalist countries and the inevitability of imperialist wars.

Lenin taught us that it is impossible to defeat imperialism without the defeat of opportunism. Lenin defeated the Kautskyism of the II International, Stalin defeated the Kautskyism of the Bukharinists and Enver Hoxha defeated the Kautskyism of the modern revisionists. Today it is our task to defeat Kautskyism of the neo-revisionists.

Lenin characterized imperialism as a specific historical stage of capitalism.The imperialism emanated from the whole pre-imperialist development of capitalism.

According to Lenin, the peculiarity of the imperialist stage is that imperialism
1. monopoly capitalism,
2. parasitic or decaying capitalism and
3. moribund capitalism.
This does not mean that capitalism will die by itself, thus without proletarian revolution.

Lenin showed in his book, that all contradictions of capitalism reach the most extreme degree of intensification in the era of imperialism. Precisely therefore, Lenin was of the opinion that the imperialism is the eve of the socialist world revolution. The predatory capitalist exploitation of the masses gets stronger and at the same time grows the revolt of the proletariat against capitalism, grow the elements of a revolutionary outbreak in the capitalist countries. The brutal exploitation and inhuman oppression of hundreds of millions of people in the colonies and dependent countries is increasing, and at the same time the elements of the liberation war against imperialism increase in these countries.

The work of Lenin on imperialism is of world historical significance. It represents a new stage in the development of the economic theory of Marx. Lenin further advanced the Marxist theory and enriched it with new content, helped to review the practical questions of the proletarian revolution and to solve it in a new way.

By studying imperialism Lenin discovered the law of uneven economic and political development of capitalism.
He showed that the unevenness of development and the contradictions of capitalism exacerbate under the conditions of imperialism.
The development of capitalism assumes an extremely uneven, erratic, conflict-laden character. The furious fight between the imperialist robbers at the world markets, the struggle for colonies and sources of raw material sharpens, which makes imperialist wars inevitable for the redistribution of the world. The imperialist wars weaken the forces of imperialism. They provide an opportunity to break the front of imperialism at its weakest chain link. From this Lenin concluded that the old formula of Marx Engels, namely the necessary simultaneous revolution in all countries, did no longer correspond with the new historical conditions. Lenin was the creator of the formula of the possibility of the victory of socialism in one country.

That was the most important discovery of our epoch and became the guiding principle for the entire additional work of Lenin, for all further activities of the Bolshevik Party. Stalin developed further Leninism and created the socialist camp as a powerful basis for spreading socialism all over the world. The imperialists were afraid of Stalinism, because it was the most powerful ideology of the grave-diggers of world imperialism.

After the death of Stalin, world imperialism survived with support of the modern revisionists at power.

* * *

In his famous book "Imperialism and Revolution", comrade Enver Hoxha defended the teachings of Lenin on imperialism and developed further the lessons of Marxism-Leninism. (THE STRATEGY OF IMPERIALISM AND MODERN REVISIONISM; THE THEORY OF "THREE WORLDS" A COUNTER-REVOLUTIONARY CHAUVINIST THEORY)

Enver Hoxha unmasked the modern revisionists who followed the traces of Kautsky und Bernstein, beginning with Browder and Tito, continued by Khrushchev and the "Euro-Communists", up to the Maoists with their infamous "Three-World-Theory". Enver Hoxha rejected all the opportunist theses and views on the present period of the world historical processes, namely to defense of capitalist exploitation and denial of the socialist revolution. In his book "Imperialism and Revolution", Enver Hoxha confirmed that the lessons of Lenin are still valid, in contrast to diverse "theories" of the imperialists which tried to prove that Lenin's theory of imperialism would be allegedly "outdated". Moreover, Enver Hoxha unmasked tghe true nature of social imperialism: Social imperialism is "socialism" in words and imperialism in deeds.

Hoxhaism is the ideology of the struggle against the two imperialist superpowers, USA and Soviet Union, against the emerging Chinese superpower, against all the other imperialists and reactionary forces of the whole imperialist-revisionist world.Enver Hoxha proved that the theory of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin is always young and that it is a reliable compass for all future victories over world imperialism.

In Chapter II, "THE LENINIST THEORY ON IMPERIALISM RETAINS ITS FULL VALIDITY" Enver Hoxha analyzed convincingly the present world imperialism on the basis of the Leninist theory of imperialism.

Enver Hoxha had studied the brilliant work of Lenin thoroughly and realized that the revisionists, including Chinese revisionists leaders, had falsified Lenin's lessons of imperialism:

"If we study this work of Lenin's carefully and faithfully adhere to his analysis and conclusions of genius, we shall see that imperialism in our days fully retains those same characteristics that Lenin described, that the Leninist definition of our epoch as the epoch of imperialism and proletarian revolutions remains unshaken, and that the triumph of the revolution is inevitable."

Enver Hoxha defined the world's situation as follows: "Today we are living in the period of the decay of capitalism, of the weakening, disintegration and bankruptcy this system, this degenerate society". Today's crisis-ridden world capital proves fully the accuracy of this definition.

Our Marxist-Leninist theory teaches us that the deepening of crises within the capitalist world is the beginning of the death agony and coma of this world. Therefore, world capital is making desparate efforts to escape from this terrible grip which has it by the throat and is strangling it. But escape is impossible, because it is the capitalist system itself which gives birth to the crisis, which fosters it and intensifies it to the higher degree. The temporary or relatively long-term treaties and agreements between imperialists are only palliatives, they are built on sand” (Enver Hoxha, “The Superpowers”, page 542.543,English edition).

Enver Hoxha emphasized:

"The trend towards the weakening of capitalism and imperialism is the main trend of world history today. Marx and Lenin argued this on the basis of concrete facts, historical events, and materialistic dialectics."

"Our epoch, as Lenin teaches us, is the epoch of imperialism and proletarian revolutions. We Marxist-Leninists must understand from this that we have to combat world imperialism, any imperialism, any capitalist power, which exploits the proletariat and the peoples, with the greatest severity. We stress the Leninist thesis that the revolution is now on the order of the day. The world is going to advance towards a new society which will be the socialist society. World capitalism, imperialism and social-imperialism will become even more decayed and will come to an end through the revolution."

* * *

The general-line of the Comintern (SH) is based on the lessons of the 5 Classics of Marxism-Leninism.

We base the teachings of the world revolution especially on Leninism as can be studied in Chapter II of our general-line:

World revolution and Lenin 's teachings on the imperialism as the highest stage of capitalism

 

And in the Program of the Comintern (1928) can be read (Chapter: 4. IMPERIALISM AND THE DOWNFALL OF CAPITALISM):

"Hence, international proletarian revolution logically emerges out of the conditions of development of capitalism generally, and out of its imperialist phase in particular. The capitalist system as a whole is approaching its final collapse. The dictatorship of finance capital is perishing to give way to the dictatorship of the proletariat."

* * *

The Comintern (SH) applied correctly to the lessons of Lenin on imperialism. In our Theoretical Organ we published the article: "

Why is Brazil an imperialist country?

In this article we base on the 5 typical features of imperialism which were worked out by Lenin:

I) 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 combines which share the world among themselves, and

5) the territorial division of the whole world among the biggest capitalist powers is completed.

Our article on imperialism in Brazil is an important contribution to the theory on the new imperialist "emerging countries". These "emerging countries" increase the contradictions among the imperialist "great"-powers, and the struggle between the old and new imperialist countries weakens the world imperialist system in a whole and simultaneously strenthens the anti-imperialist forces.

The Comintern (SH) has also analysed Chinese imperialism which strives for domination of the world as the dangerous newcomer among the superpowers.

We also made some important contributions to the phenomenon of imperialist globalization in our "Platform" (2009).

Globalization led to a new quality of the imperialist world system through the gigantic centralization and concentration of world capital. However, the exploitive nature of imperialism has not changed in the least. On the contrary: In the course of the globalization the oppression, exploitation and impoverishment of the world proletariat and the peoples of the world accelerated much faster than in the whole previous history of imperialism. The globalized contradiction between labour and capital determines the global solution of this contradictions by the socialist world revolution. The gigantic centralization and concentration of world capital determines unavoidably the gigantic centralization and concentration of the grave-diggers of globalized world imperialism.

In our general-line, we wrote:

"Every moment of further decay of imperialism is simultaneously a moment for the further prospering of the proletarian world revolution. This trend means that our epoch reaches the stage of world socialism by means of the socialist world revolution. The trend of imperialism's decay is connected indivisibly with the trend of the restoration of socialism. Word socialism is the highest stage of socialism, is - in view of world history - the replacement of the epoch of imperialism by the epoch of socialism".

* * *

"The world economic law is the law of the global relations of production in harmony with the global character of productive forces. The current world capitalist crises is characterized by the deepest disharmony of this world economic law. Today, the globalized capitalist private property at the means of global production is violating the social character of the global process of production to such degree that this brings about unavoidably the world revolution which destroys globally the current global capitalist relations of production. The world economic law teaches us that only socialist relations of world production are able to harmonize with the social character of the developing global productive forces."

* * *

"The world bourgeoisie is unable to master the economic law of the world because of her striving for profits – that's the reason for the dying imperialism. In the hands of the world proletariat, however, the economic law can be far more developed than by the proletariat of a single country (under conditions of pre-dominant world capitalism). The economic law comes to full power by the maximum of centralization of the global world production in accordance with the global socialization of the world's property at the means of production ( as the highest and last stage of property - at all)".

* * *

"The inequality of the development of capitalism in different countries determines unavoidably the inequality of the degenerating process and of the dying process of capitalism in different countries. This different development of imperialism is essentially for the different development of the world revolution in different countries. The increasing inequality of degeneration of imperialist powers accelerates the dying process of the whole world imperialism."

* * *

"Imperialism dies a horrible painful death under conditions of the hardest global class-struggle in history of mankind. Capitalism will not die only in a hail of bullets in the world revolution, but goes through - before and after the world revolution - a long process of dying, which lasts over the entire period of world socialism. Dying capitalism is a contradictory global process of the struggle of opposites in different countries, a struggle to the global death in every country of the world".

* * *

"The world revolution shortens the dying process of imperialism and therein lies its strength and its vested mission for the proletariat in all countries. The dialectics of the development process of world revolution is based on the acceleration of the dying process of imperialism. Without Marxist-Leninist analysis of the dying process of world imperialism - no victory of the socialist world revolution. The Leninist teachings on decaying, parasitic and dying process of imperialism is in direct proportion to the Leninist teachings of the world revolutionary development of the world proletariat and thus – later on - related to the teachings of the continuation of the world-socialist processes. It follows that the victory of socialism is not only possible in a single country under world-imperialist conditions, but that global socialism is also possible in the present period of globalized imperialism".

* * *

"The possibility of socialism 'in one country' was created as a result of the first World War and realized by the October Revolution of the Russian proletariat. That was the time of dying capitalism in one country. In the Second World War we have a further development of the dying process in other countries, thus world socialism was possible thanks to the socialist world-camp of comrade Stalin. This possibility was deprived of revisionist betrayal. Today, when the dying-process runs through the entire globalized capitalism, we must speak of the possibility of socialism on a world scale."

The epoch of world imperialism will be transformed into / superseded by the epoch of world socialism. This is the iron law of the future development of the world society.

As Lenin put it:

"From all that has been said in this book on the economic essence of imperialism, it follows that we must define it as capitalism in transition":

Capitalism in its imperialist stage leads directly to the most comprehensive socialisation of production; it, so to speak, drags the capitalists, against their will and consciousness, into some sort of a new social order, a transitional one from complete free competition to complete socialisation” (Lenin, Collected Works, Volume 22, page 205, “Imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism”).

 


 

 

in 25 languages

 

 

in English language 

IMPERIALISM, THE HIGHEST STAGE OF CAPITALISM

 

 

 

in Arabic language

الإمبريالية - وهو أعلى مراحل الرأسمالية

مقتطفات

1916 كتبت في عام

 

 

in Catalan language

L’imperialisme, fase superior del capitalisme

1916

 

 

 

 

in Chinese language

帝国主义是资本主义的最高阶段

1916年1-6月

 

 

in Czech language

Imperialismus jako nejvyšší stadium kapitalismu

1916

 

 

in Danish language

Imperialismen som kapitalismens højeste stadium

(1916)

bd. s. 66, gi. udg. bd. 6 s. 48

 

BIND 6

 

 

 

in Dutch language

Het imperialisme als hoogste stadium van het kapitalisme

1916

 

 

 

in Esperanto language

Imperiismo, kiel la plej alta stadio de kapitalismo 

 

 

in Farsi language

امپرياليسم بمثابه بالاترين مرحلۀ سرمايه داری

1916

 

 

in French language

L'IMPERIALISME, STADE SUPREME DU CAPITALISME

 

in German language

Der Imperialismus

als höchstes Stadium des Kapitalismus

 

in German language

(Introduction)

EINFÜHRUNG

(1983)

 

 

in Greek language

Ο Ιμπεριαλισμός,

Ανώτατο Στάδιο του Καπιταλισμού

1916

 

 

 

in Indonesian language

Bab ke VIII dari "Imperialisme, Tahapan Tertinggi Kapitalisme"

 

V.I. Lenin (1916)

 

 

in Italian language

L'imperialismo

Fase suprema del capitalismo

1916

 

in Japanese language

資本主義の最高の段階としての帝国主義

(一般向け概説)

1916

 

 

 

in Latvian language

IMPERIĀLISMS
KĀ KAPITĀLISMA AUGSTĀKA
STADIJA

1916

 

 

 

in Lithuanian language

Imperalizmas – aukščiausia kapitalizmo stadija

 

 in Polish language

Imperializm jako najwyższe stadium kapitalizmu.

styczeń — czerwiec 1916 roku

 

 

in Portuguese language

 

 

Imperialismo, fase superior do capitalismo

 

 

 

in Romanian language 

Imperialismul, stadiul cel mai înalt al capitalismului

1916

 

 

 

 

in Russian language

ИМПЕРИАЛИЗМ, КАК ВЫСШАЯ СТАДИЯ КАПИТАЛИЗМА

1916

 

 

in Serbocroat language 

IMPERIJALIZAM KAO NAJVIŠI STADIJ
KAPITALIZMA

 

 

in Spanish language 

EL IMPERIALISMO, FASE SUPERIOR DEL CAPITALISMO

 

in Swedish language

Imperialismen som kapitalismens högsta stadium

1916

 

 

 

 

in Turkish language

Emperyalizm
Kapitalizmin En Yüksek Aþamasý

1916

 

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Imperialism

The Highest Stage of Capitalism

 

 

 

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