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[ex-ussr-left] Workers World - Çíàé ñâîåãî âðàãà! ×òî òàêîå èìïåðèàëèçì!!

----- Original Message ----- 
From: WW <wwnews@wwpublish.com>
Sent: Tuesday, April 23, 2002 3:35 AM
Subject: [WW] Know your enemy: What is imperialism?

> -------------------------
> Via Workers World News Service
> Reprinted from the April 25, 2002
> issue of Workers World newspaper
> -------------------------
> By Greg Butterfield
> The word imperialism is used a lot by people in the 
> progressive and revolutionary movement. What does it mean?
> Some people think imperialism is just a cuss word radicals 
> use to put down rotten government policies. But it's more 
> than that.
> Imperialism is rooted in a particular economic system, 
> capitalism, and benefits a particular class, which Marxists 
> call the bourgeoisie or ruling class. The bourgeoisie is the 
> super-wealthy class of corporate owners, bankers and big 
> landlords.
> Progressives know that the United States acts in an 
> imperialist way. The U.S. government, which represents the 
> ruling class, imposes its will on other countries by 
> economic, political and military means.
> But imperialism is not a government policy put forth by one 
> administration or political party. It's the economic system 
> underlying all U.S. government policies, liberal or 
> conservative, Democratic or Republican.
> Most people are taught that imperialism simply means a big 
> country bullying a small country. Sometimes that's true, but 
> it's not a complete definition. In the wrong hands, this 
> common-sense definition can be dangerously misleading.
> The U.S. government often accuses other governments of 
> "imperialist" behavior. Washington takes advantage of the 
> common, but incomplete, idea of bigger country vs. smaller 
> country to turn public opinion against socialist and 
> progressive nationalist countries trying to maintain their 
> independence.
> For example, when Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, George Bush 
> the First called the Iraqi government imperialist. Bush 
> neglected to mention that Iraq was responding to 
> provocations from the U.S.-controlled Kuwaiti monarchy, 
> which was stealing Iraqi oil.
> He didn't explain how Kuwait had been arbitrarily carved off 
> from Iraq under British colonial rule, or how the Iraqi 
> people made a revolution in 1958 to be independent of 
> U.S./British domination.
> Not every capitalist country is imperialist. In fact, most 
> of the world's people live in poor, underdeveloped 
> capitalist countries like Iraq that are exploited by the 
> imperialist powers of the United States, Canada, Western 
> Europe, Australia and Japan.
> Capitalism developed first and reached its most advanced 
> stage in those countries. Imperialism exists by keeping the 
> rest of the world enslaved and dependent on its 
> institutions, including the World Bank and International 
> Monetary Fund.
> V.I. Lenin, the Russian revolutionary leader of the early 
> 20th century, gave the most complete, scientific definition 
> of imperialism in his 1916 booklet, "Imperialism: The 
> Highest Stage of Capitalism."
> He wrote: "If it were necessary to give the briefest 
> definition of imperialism, we should have to say that 
> imperialism is the monopoly stage of capitalism."
> Using economic statistics and historical facts, Lenin showed 
> how capitalism's early, free-market phase led to the 
> creation of giant industrial and banking monopolies.
> Cutthroat competition constantly bankrupted businesses. More 
> successful rivals gobbled these businesses up, until two, 
> three, four, or even a single monopoly dominated whole 
> industries.
> This process of concentration into monopolies continues 
> today on a much bigger scale. Now giant monopolies absorb 
> other giant monopolies. Some recent examples are AOL Time 
> Warner, Walt Disney/ABC, ExxonMobil, DaimlerChrysler and JP 
> Morgan Chase.
> As industrial monopolies grew, so did their hunger for 
> profits. They fought monopolies from the other imperialist 
> powers for the right to dominate poorer countries.
> Rather than just exporting goods to these underdeveloped 
> countries, the monopolies started to export capital-that is, 
> they built factories, hired local labor, and began to 
> produce goods at much lower cost and higher profit than in 
> their "home" countries.
> Bosses tossed extra crumbs to some workers in the 
> imperialist countries to keep class peace at home, while 
> promoting racism and national chauvinism to stop workers 
> from uniting across borders.
> The big banks came to dominate the expansion process. Banks 
> control the flow of money to the monopolies. Their 
> representatives sit on the boards of most big industrial 
> corporations and exert decisive influence over business 
> decisions.
> Lenin said these five characteristics define imperialism, or 
> monopoly capitalism:
> "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 
> combines which share the world among themselves;
> "5) the territorial division of the whole world among the 
> biggest capitalist powers is completed."
> Epoch of war and revolution
> This territorial division of the world among the 
> imperialists inevitably leads to war.
> As the fortunes of each imperialist country rises or falls, 
> those with the most power want to expand the proportion of 
> the globe they control. Those whose grip is weakening hold 
> on for dear life.
> Rather than eliminating competition, monopoly capitalism 
> raises it to a higher and deadlier level.
> Sometimes the imperialists fight each other directly. That 
> was the case during World War I, when Lenin wrote his 
> booklet on imperialism, and World War II.
> At other times they fight for domination through local 
> proxies, like the U.S./German rivalry that tore apart 
> Yugoslavia. But both imperialist powers united to destroy 
> the Milosevic regime when it resisted their plans.
> Finally, there are the wars of conquest fought to control 
> strategic countries like Afghanistan, or against governments 
> and popular movements that resist imperialist domination, 
> like Iraq or Colombia's FARC-EP.
> But just as inevitably, the concentration of wealth and 
> political power into fewer hands leads to rebellions and 
> revolutions. Imperialism contains within itself the seeds of 
> its own demise.
> By expanding capitalist production all over the globe, 
> imperialism has created a huge working class with nothing to 
> lose and everything to gain by fighting for power.
> Imperialism has made production social. That means thousands 
> of workers, often from dozens of countries, are involved in 
> the production, distribution and exchange of a single 
> product or service.
> Yet the fruits of this collective labor are robbed from the 
> workers. The bosses, who own the factories, stores, etc., 
> take it for themselves in the form of profit. Wages paid to 
> the workers often don't cover the basic necessities of life. 
> Others just get by, while millions go jobless.
> But as Lenin pointed out, the monopolies are ripe for the 
> workers to take over and run themselves-to create social 
> ownership in harmony with social production.
> Ultimately, that's how imperialism can be defeated: by 
> targeting the diseased economic system, not just its 
> political symptoms.
> It's not enough to change a government policy or the party 
> in power. The whole system must be overturned and replaced 
> by one that puts people's needs first.
> - END -
> (Copyright Workers World Service: Everyone is permitted to 
> copy and distribute verbatim copies of this document, but 
> changing it is not allowed. For more information contact 
> Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., NY, NY 10011; via e-mail: 
> ww@wwpublish.com. Subscribe wwnews-on@wwpublish.com. 
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