Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism: A Popular Outline

Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism: A Popular Outline

Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism: A Popular Outline

Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism: A Popular Outline

Excerpt

As was indicated in the preface to the Russian edition, this pamphlet was written in 1916, with an eye to the tsarist censorship. I am unable to revise the whole text at the present time, nor, perhaps, is this advisable, since the main purpose of the book was and remains: to present, on the basis of the summarised returns of irrefutable bourgeois statistics, and the admissions of bourgeois scholars of all countries, a general picture of the world capitalist system in its international relationships at the beginning of the twentieth century--on the eve of the first world imperialist war.

To a certain extent it will be useful for many Communists in advanced capitalist countries to convince themselves by the example of this pamphlet, legal, from the standpoint of the tsarist censor, of the possibility--and necessity--of making use of even the slight remnants of legality which still remain at the disposal of the Communists, say, in contemporary America or France, after the recent wholesale arrests of Communists, in order to explain the utter falsity of social-pacifist views and hopes for "world democracy." The most essential of what should be added to this censored pamphlet I shall try to present in this preface.

II

In the pamphlet I proved that the war of 1914-18 was imperialistic (that is, an annexationist, predatory, plunderous war) on the part of both sides; it was a war for the division of the world, for the partition and repartition of colonies, "spheres of influence" of finance capital, etc.

Proof of what was the true social, or rather, the true class character of the war is naturally to be found, not in the diplomatic history of the war, but in an analysis of the objective position of the ruling classes in all belligerent countries. In order to depict this objective position one must not take examples or isolated data . . .

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