Below is a short essay on changes in the global working class. We are providing the following definition of imperialism from Lenin’s Imperialism, The Highest Stage of Capitalism. Contrary to what some of our ultraleft friends assert, imperialism is not US foreign policy — US foreign policy is a product of the imperialist nature of the US economy.
“we must give a definition of imperialism that will include the following five of its basic features:
- 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;
- the merging of bank capital with industrial capital, and the creation, on the basis of this “finance capital”, of a financial oligarchy;
- the export of capital as distinguished from the export of commodities acquires exceptional importance;
- the formation of international monopolist capitalist associations which share the world among themselves, and
- the territorial division of the whole world among the biggest capitalist powers is completed. Imperialism is capitalism at that stage of development at which the dominance of monopolies and finance capital is established; 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.”
A reader rightly points out that this essay does not prescribe a way forward. The implications from an activist and anti-capitalist standpoint are fairly clear. Workers need to be organized for their own liberation from imperialism– We need working class parties independent of the bourgeois parties, we need a unified, worldwide fightback against capitalist austerity, we need a revolutionary International capable of uniting these struggles and we need an unrelenting fight against imperialist war. Finally, we need a socialist reconstruction of society on the basis of workers democracy.
Global Working Class
by Tony Norfield
source: Economics of Imperialism
towards the poorer countries. Now we have a situation where most products consumed in rich countries are made in poor countries, by super-exploited labour. Any working class movement in the rich countries fighting against austerity measures imposed on them needs to confront this cardinal fact, both in order to be taken seriously as opposing capitalism, and to be in a stronger position to oppose imperialism and the role their own states play in the global system of exploitation.