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On Today's Application of Lenin's Thesis on the Emergence of New Imperialist Countries

Monika Gärtner-Engel, Responsible Person for Internationalism in the MLPD, Article No. A09 for the "International Internet Discussion on the importance of the 100th October Revolution", 29 August 2017


  1. Lenin's theoretical and practical scientific curiosity was always directed to that which was new and significant for future class battles. In his studies on the development of imperialism he especially examined the newly emerging imperialist powers.

  2. In the debate with the Swiss comrade Greulich he emphasizes the necessary generalization that: Capitalism, which in Switzerland, as in all civilised countries, has become imperialist capitalism.” (Lenin, “Twelve Brief Theses on H. Greulich's Defence of Fatherland Defence”, January 1917, Collected Works, Vol. 23, p. 256; emphasis MGE) In this connection he criticizes Greulich's failure to recognize the division in the revolutionary world movement: “He ignores the fact that the socialists of the whole world are split into social-patriots and revolutionary internationalists.” (ibid, p. 258)

  3. The successful October Revolution in 1917 was thus not based alone on Lenin's fundamental analysis of the general essence and character of imperialism, as some of the dogmatists in the international Marxist-Leninist and working-class movement claim. His bold strategy and tactics were also based especially on the always accurate evaluation of the changes in the imperialist world system resulting mainly from the emergence of new imperialist countries.

  4. In the spirit of this dialectical-materialist guidance through Lenin, the MLPD issued a contribution to the discussion in July 2017 written by Stefan Engel, the head of the theoretical organ Revolutionärer Weg, intended to promote the international debate. The brochure is entitled, On the Emergence of the New-Imperialist Countries. It contains not only the writing itself, but also a compilation of 41 important quotations of V. I. Lenin on the topic “new-imperialist countries”, as well as bibliographical references. It is being translated into six languages.

  5. It states that since the 1980s at least 14 new-imperialist countries have emerged, four of which – China, Russia, India and Turkey – are analyzed as examples. Further countries are in transition. That means that in the meantime at least 65.5 percent of all human beings live in imperialist countries, i.e. in the highest and last stage of capitalism as the direct pre-stage to socialism.

  6. The 14 new-imperialist countries' share of worldwide industrial value-added doubled from 19.7 percent in the year 2000 to 40.2 percent in 2014. Their growing economic role corresponds to the extension of the G7 to the internationally now more significant imperialist body of the G20.

  7. With this development of imperialist bipolarity to a pronounced multipolarity, the imperialist system is not growing stronger. Instead, its previous structure is dramatically being called into question; its instability is increasing and imperialism's general proneness to crisis is deepening.

  8. This multipolar imperialist world is no monolithic block. It is rather composed of imperialist groups of varying quality with regard to the economic, political and military potential of the respective countries. The USA remains the sole superpower and the main threat to world peace.

  9. The main economic starting point for the development of a whole range of new-imperialist countries is the emergence of domestic monopolies in neocolonially dependent countries, especially in connection with the reorganization of international production since the 1990s. The politics of neoliberalism, especially the privatization of formerly state-owned enterprises, subjugated the countries to the rule of solely-ruling international finance capital on the one hand, but at the same time also promoted the formation of domestic monopolies. In 1969 there were 7,300 international monopolies with 27,300 subsidiaries. Today 114,000 international monopolies with about 900,000 subsidiaries, and of these monopolies about 500 international supermonopolies as the leading strata of solely ruling international finance capital, shape the face of the world economy.

  10. The law-based striving of monopolies to expand can only lead to an imperialist power in connection with state-monopoly structures. The prerequisites for this were especially given in countries which were dominated by bureaucratic-capitalist structures or military governments.

  11. The special feature of these state-monopoly structures in the former neocolonially dependent countries is the subjugation of the state to the interests of domestic monopolies as well as to those of international finance capital. The IMF, World Bank and WTO became transnational imperialist actors in this process.

  12. During the world economic and financial crisis of 2008–2014, as part of their crisis management the international supermonopolies exported their chronically over-accumulated masses of capital outside of the old imperialist metropolises, because it could no longer be invested in their own countries with maximum profits. That became a motor for the further emergence and rapid development of new-imperialist countries. From 2007 to 2014 the new-imperialist countries' share of worldwide capital export tripled from 10.2 percent to 30.9 percent.

  13. On the basis of the intensified competition for markets and spheres of influence the imperialist governments of the new-imperialist countries politically have carried out a further shift to the right, advanced the fascization of the state apparatuses and promoted nationalist and reactionary currents. The increased search for a societal alternative, a beginning progressive change of mood in the working class and among the broad masses of people, the struggles of the international industrial proletariat, mass struggles for freedom and democracy are being brutally suppressed. At the spearhead are the election and taking of office of Donald Trump in the USA.

  14. Ideologically seen, the extension of imperialist powers creates a greater foundation for the advance of opportunism and its transition to social-chauvinism. The material basis is the emergence of privileged strata in the petty-bourgeoisie and among the industrial workers. Revisionist forces ennoble Russia and China as forces of peace and so carry out the transition from opportunism to social-chauvinism and social-imperialism. The EU is often claimed to be the “more pleasant” imperialism and an alternative to the openly aggressive US government under Trump. However, giving preference to one or the other imperialist is open social-chauvinism and, in a political situation of a dramatically increasing threat of war in the world, unavoidably leads to a policy of civic truce.

  15. Whereas dogmatism denies qualitative changes in the imperialist world system, the worship of spontaneity falsely assumes that there is absolutely no way out in the face of the growing instability of the imperialist world system. In contrast, the revolutionaries of the world must concentrate on strengthening the subjective factor on the basis of correctly qualifying the objective development. That means concentrating on building up and considerably strengthening revolutionary parties in more and more countries, on building up an international anti-imperialist and anti-fascist united front and on strengthening and further developing ICOR.



Monika Gärtner-Engel, Responsible Person for Internationalism in the MLPD

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