Almost 100 years after it was written, Lenin’s classic Marxist theory of imperialism, principally articulated in his book Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism, remains the best framework to understand capitalism’s international political economy. Subsequent capitalist development shows the key aspects of Lenin’s thesis to be correct.
Marxism & Leninism
In Sept 2010 UN General Assembly was devoted to a discussion on ending global poverty, to the fulfilment of the socalled Millennium Goals first adopted in the year 2000. A decade after the adoption of these goals, UN agencies reported that while 830 million people lived on the brink of starvation when the goals were adopted a decade ago, this number had soared to over 1 billion and that in 2010 almost the same number were forced to live on less than a dollar a day.
Waving a copy of this book, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez told the 772 delegates assembled on November 21, 2009, for the opening session of the First Extraordinary Congress of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) that he agreed with the book’s central message, i.e., that it was necessary “to create a new revolutionary state from below that is a real mechanism for the construction of socialism of the 21st century”. Chavez recommended that the delegates read Lenin’s book as a theoretical guide for how to accomplish this task.
The chapters of this pamphlet first appeared as individual articles in the newspaper Direct Action over a period of two and a half years, beginning with the paper’s first issue, in June 2008.
The aim of each article was to present an introductory explanation of some aspect of Marxism. In nearly every case, the space available was limited to 700 words, so there was no opportunity to go into great detail. Paradoxically, perhaps, this limitation had its advantages, limiting digressions and forcing a focus on the topic at hand.
Among Vladimir Ilyich Lenin’s most outstanding contributions to the theory and practice of Marxism are his writings on nationalism and the national question.
Assembled in this volume are a comprehensive selection, presented in chronological order, of Lenin’s writings on this subject covering the period from the preparations for the second congress of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party in 1903 to the formation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in December 1922.
Whose century was the 20th, and whose century will the 21st be? As the millennium draws to a close, we should reflect on this. Capitalism is still in power across most of the globe. Capitalists in the imperialist countries have accumulated unprecedented wealth. They have previously undreamt-of military power and weapons of mass destruction at their disposal. Some think they can act with complete impunity, slaughtering millions in Iraq with bombs and brutal blockades or raining destruction on Serbia from a great height, free from retaliation.
Phil Hearse’s polemic against my pamphlet (Trotsky’s theory of Permanent Revolution: A Leninist critique, Resistance Books, Sydney, 1998) proceeds from a fundamentally false assumption, i.e., that my pamphlet “attempts [to give] a general strategic view” of revolution in “the semi-colonial and dependent semi-industrialised countries”. He alleges that my pamphlet presents Lenin’s policy of carrying out the proletarian revolution in semi-feudal Russia in two-stages (a bourgeois-democratic and then a socialist stage) “as a general schema for the ‘Third World’ today”. Nowhere in my pamphlet, however, do I make such a claim.
This book by Frederick Engels explains the origins of the modem socialist movement. It is probably the most influential work expounding the basic ideas of Marxism, other than the Communist Manifesto.
As Engels himself explains in his introduction to the first English edition, published in 1892, it was drawn from three chapters of his 1878 book Anti-Dühring, a polemic against the views of Eugen Dühring, a professor at Berlin University. In his lectures and numerous writings which flooded the book market after 1869, Dühring claimed to be the originator of a “revolution in science” which superseded Marxism.
This work was written by Vladimir Ilyich Lenin in April 1920 and published in booklet form in Russian in June 1920, and in English, French and German the following month. The manuscript of the booklet was entitled: “An Attempt to Conduct a Popular Discussion on Marxist Strategy and Tactics”. Copies of it were given to each delegate attending the 2nd Congress of the Communist International held in Petrograd (St. Petersburg) and Moscow between July 19 and August 7, 1920.
The purpose of this book is to provide the reader with a general introduction to the fundamental ideas of historical materialism – the Marxist theory of human history and society.
For Marxists the study of human history is inseparable from the study of society.