Saturday, December 17, 2005


(Excerpt from Hassan Nasir's article "Imperialism and Awami Jamhori Forum" presented to the Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party email list. Complete text of the article is present at

Lenin says:

"If it were necessary to give the briefest possible definition of imperialism we should have to say that imperialism is the monopoly stage of capitalism. Such a definition would include what is most important, for, on the one hand, finance capital is the bank capital of a few very big monopolist banks, merged with the capital of the monopolist combines of industrialists; and, on the other, the division of the world is the transition from a colonial policy which
has extended without hindrance to territories unseized by any capitalist power, to a colonial policy of monopolistic possession of the territory of the world which has been completely divided up."

Lenin provides further clerifications:

"[A] definition of imperialism will include the following five of its basic features:
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; and 5) territorial division of the whole world among the biggest capitalist powers is completed. 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."

Therefore, Imperialism does not mean militaristic or aggressive behaviour. That can be done by any power (feudal, capitalist, religious, or fascist). Lets be very clear on this. Imperialism is
not behaviour, or a policy, or a personal habit of this or that ruler. Imperialism is a social system that has the following five characteristics:

1) monopoly
2) domination of finance capital
3) Export of capital
4) International capitalist combines (cartels)
5) Territorial division of the world

Is India a society that has reached monopoly capitalism, where the big banks dominate, that exports capital, and has divided the world within its own capitalist combines, and engaged in the territorial division of the world. Hardly.

In fact, its quite clear that India is a country that is dominated by monopoly capitalism from US and Europe, is dominated by foreign big banks, is receiving international imperialist capital (MNC's), has been captured by capitalist combines and cartels (coke, Levi's, Pepsi, Gap), and has been territorially dominated during colonial times (British Raj).

So to characterise India as an Imperialist country is not only preposterous, in fact, it only seeks to serve the interests of the Pakistani bourgeoisie. Whosoever characterizes India as an
Imperialist country will automatically come to the conclusion that war between India and Pakistan is a "National Liberation Struggle" on the part of Pakistan and that the workers should support the Pakistani bourgeoisie against the imperialist Indian bourgeoisie. This is class capitulationism and pure opportunism. It would imply that leftist rhetoric is being utilised to support the foreign policy of the Pakistani bourgeoisie over and above the international interests of the working class.

Therefore, the view that India is an Imperialist country is entirely incorrect. The correct view is that India is a neo-colonial society. This is historically and scientifically correct.

Next was the Soviet Union an "Imperialist" country.

Again I want to come back to Lenin's definition of Imperialism. Imperialism is not aggressive behaviour. Just because the Soviet Union invaded Hungary 1956, Czechoslovakia in 1968, and Afghanistan in 1980 does not imply that the USSR was an imperialist society. Although all three invasions hurt the "nationalist" sentiment of people in those countries, but the invasions in and of themselves do not prove that the Soviet Union was a society dominated by 1. monopoly capitalism, 2. finance capital, 3. the desire to export capital 4. the USSR had divided the world among its capitalist cartels, 5) Had engaged in a colonial territorial division of the world.

Bill Bland and Martin Nichalous have made a strong case in their respective books to show that the process of the restoration of capitalism had begun in 1956 and had been tremendously accelerated in 1965, but having read their books in detail, I'm still not convinced that they have been able to conclusively prove that the Soviet Union was DOMINATED BY MONOPOLY FINANCE CAPITAL. For example, even Bill Bland and Martin Nichalous have to admit that the move to fully restore private property was begun under perestroika under the advice of Leonid Abalkin. And the complete restoration of Private Property in the USSR (which occurred with Gaider's so called "shock therapy" in 1993) required the 1991 Boris Yeltsin counter-revolution as a pre-requisite. Therefore, given that private property was only fully restored in 1993 under the shock therapy reforms of Gaider, given that these reforms could not be implemented without the complete overthrow of the rule of the communist party (which had by this time
degenerated into a completely revisionist party) which occurred in 1991 under the leadership of Boris Yeltsin, how is it possible that the Soviet Union had already come to be dominated by Monopoly Capitalism, Finance Capital, Export of Capital, Cartels, and Territorial Division back in 1956 or 1965.

The answer is that it is not possible. The theory of Soviet Social Imperialism that was accepted at the 9th Congress of the Communist Party of China and also accepted by the Labour Party of Albania was a counter-revolutionary theory. The principle proponent of this theory was Lin Biao who despite his great contributions in all other respects made a serious error with respect to this particular piece of analysis. Comrade Sam Marcy has correctly stated that the theory of Soviet Social Imperialism was NOT a product not of a dispassionate scientific appraisal of the actually existing social system in the Soviet Union but a knee jerk reaction owing to the fear of a Soviet
invasion of the PRC. Furthermore, the CIA did its best to aggravate these differences by "leaking" incorrect information to the Chinese that the Soviets were preparing for a surgical strike against China's nuclear instalments. The end of the Cold War has definitively proved
that this was a piece of deliberate misinformation to worsen the Sino-Soviet split in order to weaken both the USSR and China.

Furthermore, what conclusion can we reach if we believe that the Soviet Union was indeed an imperialist system.

1) All nationalist struggles in the USSR were struggles
for "National Liberation" and should be supported.
2) All struggles for "democracy" were struggles against an
imperialist system that should be supported.

In a word, all counter-revolutionary struggles such as Sajudis in Estonia, Solidarity in Poland, Democratic Russia in Russia, the pope all over Eastern Europe were all struggles against an imperialist system. Well it later turns out that these were all struggles to restore a capitalist system. And those communists who were mislead by the slogan of Soviet Social Imperialism ended up supporting all of these struggles thereby weakening their own forces.

Conclusion, India, China, Soviet Union are not imperialist countries. USA, Britian, France, Germany, and Japan are imperialist countries (there is sufficient proof that they are dominated by monopoly finance capital etc. etc.). An imperialist country is entirely different from a socialist society that has degenerated owing to the influence of opportunism. A socialist society that has
degenerated owing to the influence of revisionism may engage in certain actions that are militaristic, chauvinist, and actions that hurt the "national sentiments" of other countries. Even this unjustified militaristic action in and of itself, however, in no way implies that that country is now an `imperialist' society.

I hope this clears up the position of the CMKP with respect to imperialism, the Soviet Union, China, India and so on.

In solidarity
Hassan Nasir

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

An excellent article. Do you have any links to other ML articles which refute the state capitalist/socimperialist theory?