us-imperialism-latuff-latin-america-racism

IMPERIALISM, THE HIGHEST STAGE OF CAPITALISM: Class 1

 

READING

A.   Anti-imperialist Struggle is Key to Liberation, Leon Trotsky

B. Lenin, Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, Sections I- VII [66 pages]

 

DISCUSSION POINTS

  1. Why does capitalist competition inevitably lead to the formation of monopolies? What does Lenin mean when he says that capitalist monopolies are “in permanent and insoluble contradiction” with their environment? (Lenin; b, 100)
  2. What is the role of banks under monopoly capitalism? How does this role develop out of the function of banks in the previous, free competition, stage of capitalism?
  3. What is finance capital? What impact does its emergence have on the capitalist economy?
  4. What contradictions are involved in the formation of cartels?
  5. “Typical of the old capitalism, when free competition held undivided sway, was the export of goods. Typical of the latest stage of capitalism, when monopolies rule, is the export of capital.(Lenin; b, 70) Why does the domination of monopolies in the industrialised countries lead to the export of capital?
  6. Why did the export of capital from the industrialised countries lead to the partitioning of the nonindustrialised world into colonial empires?
  7. What was Kautskys definition of imperialism? How did it differ from Lenin’s? What was Lenin’s criticism of Kautsky’ s definition of imperialism?
  8. What impact does imperialism have on the development and rate of growth of the world capitalist economy?

 

IMPERIALISM, THE HIGHEST STAGE OF CAPITALISM: Class 2

READING

A. Lenin, Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, Preface to the French and German Editions, Sections VIII-X [29 pages]

B. Lenin, Imperialism and the Split in Socialism“, in Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism [13 pages]

C. Lenin, The Revolutionary Proletariat and the Right of Nations to SelfDetermination, Collected Works, Vol. 21 [8 pages]

D. Lenin, Report of the Commission on the National and the Colonial Questions [to the Second Congress of the Communist International]”, Collected Works, Vol. 31[6 pages]

DISCUSSION POINTS

  1. Why does Lenin describe imperialist capitalism as “parasitic” and decaying?
  2. What does Lenin mean when he defines imperialism as “capitalism in transition, or, more precisely, as moribund capitalism”? 
  3. What was Kautsky’s theory of “ultra-imperialism”? What was Lenin’s criticism of it?
  4. “Imperialism has the tendency to create privileged sections … among the workers, and to detach them from the broad masses of the proletariat.(Lenin; b, 105) Why and how does this occur?
  5.  Why is the labour aristocracy the “principal prop of the Second International, and in our days, the principal social (not military) prop of the bourgeoisie”? (Lenin; b,31)
  6.     Why does Lenin say that “a ‘bourgeois labour party’ is inevitable and typical in all imperialist countries“? (Lenin; c, 132133) In the U.S., which lacks a Labor Party, what role does the Democratic Party play in regard to imperialism?
  7. Why does the emergence of imperialism mean that socialists “must link the revolutionary struggle for socialism with a revolutionary program on the national question? (Lenin; d, 408)
  8. What does the right of nations to self-determination mean? Why do Marxists defend this right?
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