maandag 19 oktober 2009

Anti-imperialist united front 3

In the former article (you can read here) I made a renewed study of the book “Imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism...” of Lenin. It was a CONCRETE analyse of the ACTUAL world-situation (round 1900) He mentioned already developments of imperialism, and contradictions inside imperialism, that were then beginning but now are fully developed. I think that we can use his analyse and a lot of his conclusions to make now an ACTUAL analyse of imperialism TODAY.
Opportunism (you can speak of revisionism....) in the applying of Marxist analyse result in opportunism in the “analyse” of the then (round 1900) actual and concrete world-situation and the development of imperialism. That resulted in an opportunist formulation of the strategic and organisational conclusions by a lot of “self-declared” vanguard organisations and persons. This was also already analysed critically by Lenin.

“The questions as to whether it is possible to reform the basis of imperialism, whether to go forward to the further intensification and deepening of the antagonisms which it engenders. Or backward, towards allaying these antagonisms, are fundamental questions in the critique of imperialism. Since the specific political features of imperialism are reaction everywhere and increased national oppression due to the oppression of the financial oligarchy and the elimination of free competition, a petty-bourgeois-democratic opposition to imperialism arose at the beginning of the twentieth century in nearly all imperialist countries. Kautsky not only did not trouble to oppose, was not only unable to oppose this petty-bourgeois reformist opposition, which is really reactionary in its economic basis, but became merged with it in practice, and this is precisely where Kautsky and the broad international Kautskian trend deserted Marxism.
In the United States, the imperialist war waged against Spain in 1898 stirred up the opposition of the “anti-imperialists”, the last of the Mohicans of bourgeois democracy who declared this war to be “criminal”, regarded the annexation of foreign territories as a violation of the Constitution, declared that the treatment of Aguinaldo, leader of the Filipinos (the Americans promised him the independence of his country, but later landed troops and annexed it), was “jingo treachery”, and quoted the words of Lincoln: “When the white man governs himself, that is self-government; but when he governs himself and also governs others, it is no longer self-government; it is despotism.”[1] But as long, as all this criticism shrank from recognising the inseverable bond between imperialism and the trusts, and, therefore, between imperialism and the foundations of capitalism, while it shrank from joining the forces engendered by large-scale capitalism and its development-it remained a “pious wish”.
This is also the main attitude taken by Hobson in his critique of imperialism. Hobson anticipated Kautsky in protesting against the “inevitability of imperialism” argument, and in urging the necessity of “increasing the consuming capacity” of the people (under capitalism!). The petty-bourgeois point of view in the critique of imperialism, the omnipotence of the banks, the financial oligarchy, etc., is adopted by the authors I have often quoted, such as Agahd, A. Lansburgh, L. Eschwege, and among the French writers Victor Berard, author of a superficial book entitled England and Imperialism which appeared in 1900. All these authors, who make no claim to be Marxists, contrast imperialism with free competition and democracy, condemn the Baghdad railway scheme, which is leading to conflicts and war, utter “pious wishes” for peace, etc. This applies also to the compiler of international stock and share issue statistics, A. Neymarck, who, after calculating the thousands of millions of francs representing “international” securities, exclaimed in 1912: “Is it possible to believe that peace may be disturbed ... that, in the face of these enormous figures, anyone would risk starting a war?”[2]
Such simple-mindedness on the part of the bourgeois economists is not surprising; moreover, it is in their interest to pretend to be so naive and to talk “seriously” about peace under imperialism. But what remains of Kautsky’s Marxism, when, in 1914, 1915 and 1916, he takes up the same bourgeois-reformist point of view and affirms that “everybody is agreed” (imperialists, pseudo- socialists and social-pacifists) on the matter of peace? Instead of an analysis of imperialism and an exposure of the depths of its contradictions, we have nothing but a reformist “pious wish” to wave them aside, to evade them.
Here is a sample of Kautsky’s economic criticism of imperialism. He takes the statistics of the British export and import trade with Egypt for 1872 and 1912; it seems that this export and import trade has grown more slowly than British foreign trade as a whole. From this Kautsky concludes that “we have no reason to suppose that without military occupation the growth of British trade with Egypt would have been less, simply as a result of the mere operation of economic factors”. “The urge of capital to expand ... can be best promoted, not by the violent methods of imperialism, but by peaceful democracy.”[3]
This argument of Kautsky’s, which is repeated in every key by his Russian armour-bearer (and Russian shielder of the social-chauvinists), Mr. Spectator,[11] constitutes the basis of Kautskian critique of imperialism, and that is why we must deal with it in greater detail. We will begin with a quotation from Hilferding, whose conclusions Kautsky on many occasions, and notably in April 1915, has declared to have been “unanimously adopted by all socialist theoreticians”.
“It is not the business of the proletariat,” writes Hilferding “to contrast the more progressive capitalist policy with that of the now bygone era of free trade and of hostility towards the state.
The reply of the proletariat to the economic policy of finance capital, to imperialism, cannot be free trade, but socialism. The aim of proletarian policy cannot today be the ideal of restoring free competition—which has now become a reactionary ideal—but the complete elimination of competition by the abolition of capitalism.”[4] [5]

The book of Lenin, “Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism - A POPULAR OUTLINE.” was at the same time an answer on that opportunism as it was the base of the political strategically line of the Russian Communist Party.
In fact out of Lenins analyse followed already the conclusion of the necessity of a worldwide anti-imperialist united front, I think. To that conclusion came the Third International....
almost. In fact, I think that only the CP of the SU as the CP of China placed their revolutionary strategy ( of the national democratic -anti-imperialist – revolution into socialist revolution) that they developed IN that overall strategy of a worldwide anti-imperialist united front, that has to be developed. In the years '30 and '40 this was made very concrete in the attempt of the SUCP (under the leadership of Stalin) to build a worldwide antifascist united front. In China the development of an Anti-Japanese anti-imperialist united front was placed by Mao Zedong in its worldwide context of the struggle against fascism.
My conclusion out of this analyse of opportunism here above made by Lenin is that an “anti-imperialist resistance against the war” (in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Palestine ...and in the future war against Iran” that is NOT combined with organising the masses in tearing down imperialism in their OWN region (by “expropriating the expropriators”)..... is opportunism. (Above all, while it is formulated in “Marxist phraseology” à la Kautsky….)
I think that a self-declared “communist” or “revolutionary” organisation, “basing itself on Marxism” that is organising manifestations “
against the imperialist war”, even for a “boycott of Israel” but AT THE SAME TIME mobilising and organise the workers only for a program of “radical” reforms is making at least a serious mistake of OPPORTUNISM.
And it is getting worse if that program of reforms is basing itself on the “use the free competition” between imperialist monopolies (of which Lenin analysed that “free competition is REPLACED by monopoly”):
For a health service like in New Zealand (so-called Kiwi-model) using the free competition to organise a public tender for medical supplies
The communes had to found communal public energy enterprises so that they can use the free competition between the energy monopolies to buy the cheapest energy
These are point out of the program of the Belgian “communist” and “revolutionary” party: the Workers Party of Belgium. (,,
Now I will start with my proposals of analyse of ACTUAL imperialism.(see next article) That has to result in a CONCRETE class-analysis and the strategy for REAL anti-imperialists. (Of course as a base of discussion)

[1]              J. Patouillet, L’impérialisme américain, Dijon, 1904, p. 272. —Lenin
[2]              Bulletin de l’Institut International de Statistique, T. XIX, Lvr. II, p. 225. —Lenin
[3]              Kautsky, Nationalstaat, imperialistischer Staat und Staatenbund, Nürnberg, 1915, S. 72, 70. —Lenin
[4]              Finance Capital, p. 567. —Lenin

[5]              Out of “IX. CRITIQUE OF IMPERIALISM”, in “Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism - A POPULAR OUTLINE”, Written: January-June, 1916. First published in mid-1917 in pamphlet form, Petrograd. Published according to the manuscript and verified with the text of the pamphlet. Source: Lenin’s Selected Works, Progress Publishers, 1963, Moscow, Volume 1, pp. 667–766. Transcription\Markup: Tim Delaney & Kevin Goins (2008) Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive 2005. You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

vrijdag 16 oktober 2009

Anti-imperialist united front 2

Here I reproduce significant parts of “Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism - A POPULAR OUTLINE”, by Vladimir Ilyich Lenin,[1] It is my choice, but I stimulate to read the WHOLE book, to judge if my comments are correct. It would be IDEALISM when I use just limited chosen quotes to prove my analysis. So I give the big parts of the texts where the quotes come out of, so the reader can judge if my analyse is correct.(I highlight in italic fat quotes that I used for my own conclusions...That is to say, my attempt to make an actual analyse of imperialism as a base for an anti imperialist strategy, I wrote about in my former article.( you can read it here)
“In another advanced country of modern capitalism, the United States of America, the growth of the concentration of production is still greater. Here statistics single out industry in the narrow sense of the word and classify enterprises according to the value of their annual output. In 1904 large-scale enterprises with an output valued at one million dollars and over, numbered 1,900 (out of 216,180, i.e., 0.9 per cent). These employed 1,400,000 workers (out of 5,500,000, i.e., 25.6 per cent) and the value of their output amounted to $5,600,000,000 (out of $14,800,000,000, i.e., 38 per cent). Five years later, in 1909, the corresponding figures were: 3,060 enterprises (out of 268,491, i.e., 1.1 per cent) employing 2,000,000 workers (out of 6,600,000, i.e., 30.5 per cent) with an output valued at $9,000,000,000 (out of $20,700,000,000, i.e., 43.8 per cent).[2]
Almost half the total production of all the enterprises of the country was carried on by one-hundredth part of these enterprises! These 3,000 giant enterprises embrace 258 branches of industry. From this it can be seen that at a certain stage of its development concentration itself, as it were, leads straight to monopoly, for a score or so of giant enterprises can easily arrive at an agreement, and on the other hand, the hindrance to competition, the tendency towards monopoly, arises from the huge size of the enterprises. This transformation of competition into monopoly is one of the most important—if not the most important—phenomena of modern capitalist economy, and we must deal with it in greater detail. But first we must clear up one possible misunderstanding.
American statistics speak of 3,000 giant enterprises in 250 branches of industry, as if there were only a dozen enterprises of the largest scale for each branch of industry.
But this is not the case. Not in every branch of industry are there large-scale enterprises; and moreover, a very important feature of capitalism in its highest stage of development is so-called combination of production, that is to say, the grouping in a single enterprise of different branches of industry, which either represent the consecutive stages in the processing of raw materials (for example, the smelting of iron ore into pig-iron, the conversion of pig-iron into steel, and then, perhaps, the manufacture of steel goods)—or are auxiliary to one another (for example, the utilisation of scrap, or of by-products, the manufacture of packing materials, etc.).
“Combination,” writes Hilferding, “levels out the fluctuations of trade and therefore assures to the combined enterprises a more stable rate of profit. Secondly, combination has the effect of eliminating trade. Thirdly, it has the effect of rendering possible technical improvements, and, consequently, the acquisition of super-profits over and above those obtained by the ‘pure’ (i.e., non-combined) enterprises. Fourthly, it strengthens the position of the combined enterprises relative to the ‘pure’ enterprises, strengthens them in the competitive struggle in periods of serious depression, when the fall in prices of raw materials does not keep pace with the fall in prices of manufactured goods.”[3]
The German bourgeois economist, Heymann, who has written a book especially on “mixed”, that is, combined, enterprises in the German iron industry, says: “Pure enterprises perish, they are crushed between the high price of raw material and the low price of the finished product.” Thus we get the following picture: “There remain, on the one hand, the big coal companies, producing millions of tons yearly, strongly organised in their coal syndicate, and on the other, the big steel plants, closely allied to the coal mines, having their own steel syndicate. These giant enterprises, producing 400,000 tons of steel per annum, with a tremendous output of ore and coal and producing finished steel goods, employing 10,000 workers quartered in company houses, and sometimes owning their own railways and ports, are the typical representatives of the German iron and steel industry. And concentration goes on further and further. Individual enterprises are becoming larger and larger. An ever-increasing number of enterprises in one, or in several different industries, join together in giant enterprises, backed up and directed by half a dozen big Berlin banks. In relation to the German mining industry, the truth of the teachings of Karl Marx on concentration is definitely proved; true, this applies to a country where industry is protected by tariffs and freight rates. The German mining industry is ripe for expropriation.”[4][5]

You can read here that the monopolies that Lenin described where not only bigger “fusioned” enterprises of where at the end there exist only several big enterprises that produce the products that were earlier produced by many smaller enterprises. The forming of monopolies meant also an integration of enterprises producing raw materials, or refining ram materials or producing intermediary products (stream upward) and logistic enterprises with the end-product producing enterprises. In fact Lenin uses the word “monopoly”, NOT to describe a bigger form of enterprise but in the way that “competition is transformed into monopoly”
So originally the enterprise sell raw materials to enterprises that produce intermediary products, which itself sell those to the enterprise that used those intermediary products as resources for the production of the end-product. The prises of those raw material sold, intermediary products sold and the end-product sold reflected the value of those respective products (the work-time used for its production). Because then the theoretical TOTAL “free competition” was more approached than competition is in the stage of imperialism.
In a monopoly where those different production-lines are integrated in one “combination” those prises disappear. They become (mostly decided based on speculation) fixed prises, in fact the registration of the income of one “department” and as a cost for the next “department”. Or as Lenin quoted Hilferding: “Combination has the effect of eliminating trade.”
So the commodity-production that existed between the different enterprises that produced commodities in the different stage of the end-commodity disappears IN the combination that is integrating these enterprises in ONE monopoly. So such a monopoly is “ripe for expropriation”...; as socialist plan-economy will also be no longer commodity-production. (Capitalism – of which imperialism is the highest possible stage - is the highest possible development of commodity-production)

“.... instead of being a transitory phenomenon, the cartels have become one of the foundations of economic life. They are winning one field of industry after another, primarily, the raw materials industry. At the beginning of the nineties the cartel system had already acquired-in the organisation of the coke syndicate on the model of which the coal syndicate was later formed—a cartel technique which has hardly been improved on. For the first time the great boom at the close of the nineteenth century and the crisis of 1900-03 occurred entirely—in the mining and iron industries at least—under the aegis of the cartels. And while at that time it appeared to be something novel, now the general public takes it for granted that large spheres of economic life have been, as a general rule, removed from the realm of free competition.”[6]
Thus, the principal stages in the history of monopolies are the following: (1) 1860-70, the highest stage, the apex of development of free competition; monopoly is in the barely discernible, embryonic stage. (2) After the crisis of 1873, a lengthy period of development of cartels; but they are still the exception. They are not yet durable. They are still a transitory phenomenon. (3) The boom at the end of the nineteenth century and the crisis of 1900-03. Cartels become one of the foundations of the whole of economic life. Capitalism has been transformed into imperialism.
Cartels come to an agreement on the terms of sale, dates of payment, etc. They divide the markets among themselves. They fix the quantity of goods to be produced. They fix prices. They divide the profits among the various enterprises, etc.”[7]

It was the free competition that made that the prises reflected the values of the products (in theoretical total free competition the value of the product IS the price). This is an important characteristic of commodity-production. So when free competition is vanishing in imperialism, imperialism is no longer real commodity-production and the monopoly-prices are no longer a reflection of the value of the product (at least IN a integrated and globalised production-chain of « linked monopolies » - what Lenin called « combination ») ....and imperialism is becoming ripe for socialism. The prices used along the whole production-line are often the result of speculation or as a measure to distribute (in advance) already the surplus-value over the group of capitalist controlling (so “owning”) collectively the whole production-line (or “combination” or “cartel”)

“Competition becomes transformed into monopoly. The result is immense progress in the socialisation of production. In particular, the process of technical invention and improvement becomes socialised.
This is something quite different from the old free competition between manufacturers, scattered and out of touch with one another, and producing for an unknown market. Concentration has reached the point at which it is possible to make an approximate estimate of all sources of raw materials (for example, the iron ore deposits) of a country and even, as we shall see, of several countries, or of the whole world. Not only are such estimates made, but these sources are captured by gigantic monopolist associations. An approximate estimate of the capacity of markets is also made, and the associations “divide” them up amongst themselves by agreement. Skilled labour is monopolised, the best engineers are engaged; the means of transport are captured—railways in America, shipping companies in Europe and America. Capitalism in its imperialist stage leads directly to the most comprehensive socialisation of production; it, so to speak, drags the capitalists, against their will and consciousness, into some sort of a new social order, a transitional one from complete free competition to complete socialisation.
Production becomes social, but appropriation remains private. The social means of production remain the private property of a few. The general framework of formally recognised free competition remains, and the yoke of a few monopolists on the rest of the population becomes a hundred times heavier, more burdensome and intolerable.
The German economist, Kestner, has written a book especially devoted to “the struggle between the cartels and outsiders”, i.e., the capitalists outside the cartels. He entitled his work Compulsory Organisation, although, in order to present capitalism in its true light, he should, of course, have written about compulsory submission to monopolist associations. It is instructive to glance at least at the list of the methods the monopolist associations resort to in the present-day, the latest, the civilised struggle for “organisation”: (1) stopping supplies of raw materials ... “one of the most important methods of compelling adherence to the cartel”); (2) stopping the supply of labour by means of “alliances” (i.e., of agreements between the capitalists and the trade unions by which the latter permit their members to work only in cartelised enterprises); (3) stopping deliveries; (4) closing trade outlets; (5) agreements with the buyers, by which the latter undertake to trade only with the cartels; (6) systematic price cutting (to ruin “outside” firms, i.e., those which refuse to submit to the monopolists. Millions are spent in order to sell goods for a certain time below their cost price; there were instances when the price of petrol was thus reduced from 40 to 22 marks, i.e., almost by half!); (7) stopping credits; (8) boycott.
Here we no longer have competition between small and large, between technically developed and backward enterprises. We see here the monopolists throttling those who do not submit to them, to their yoke, to their dictation. This is how this process is reflected in the mind of a bourgeois economist:
“Even in the purely economic sphere,” writes Kestner, “a certain change is taking place from commercial activity in the old sense of the word towards organisational-speculative activity. The greatest success no longer goes to the merchant whose technical and commercial experience enables him best of all to estimate the needs of the buyer, and who is able to discover and, so to speak, ‘awaken’ a latent demand; it goes to the speculative genius [?!] who knows how to estimate, or even only to sense in advance, the organisational development and the possibilities of certain connections between individual enterprises and the banks. . . .”
Translated into ordinary human language this means that the development of capitalism has arrived at a stage when, although commodity production still “reigns” and continues to be regarded as the basis of economic life, it has in reality been undermined and the bulk of the profits go to the “geniuses” of financial manipulation. At the basis of these manipulations and swindles lies socialised production; but the immense progress of mankind, which achieved this socialisation, goes to benefit . . . the speculators. We shall see later how “on these grounds” reactionary, petty-bourgeois critics of capitalist imperialism dream of going back to “free”, “peaceful”, and “honest” competition.
“The prolonged raising of prices which results from the formation of cartels,” says Kestner, “has hitherto been observed only in respect of the most important means of production, particularly coal, iron and potassium, but never in respect of manufactured goods. Similarly, the increase in profits resulting from this raising of prices has been limited only to the industries which produce means of production. To this observation we must add that the industries which process raw materials (and not semi-manufactures) not only secure advantages from the cartel formation in the shape of high profits, to the detriment of the finished goods industry, but have also secured a dominating position over the latter, which did not exist under free competition.”[8][9]

Free competition for the fixing of the prices is replaced by.... speculation, something we see by the evolution of the prices of agricultural products or natural resources (oil, al kind of metals, minerals, etc). As capitalism is the highest form of commodity-production, imperialism is still commodity-production. But INSIDE a cartel, a combination, an integrated and globalised production-line (collectively owned by a group of capitalist by the way of banks and holdings) you can almost speak no more of “commodity-production”; the working of the law of value is diminishing.

“The statement that cartels can abolish crises is a fable spread by bourgeois economists who at all costs desire to place capitalism in a favourable light. On the contrary, the monopoly created in certain branches of industry increases and intensifies the anarchy inherent in capitalist production as a whole. The disparity between the development of agriculture and that of industry, which is characteristic of capitalism in general, is increased. The privileged position of the most highly cartelised, so-called heavy industry, especially coal and iron, causes “a still greater lack of co-ordination” in other branches of industry—as Jeidels, the author of one of the best works on “the relationship of the German big banks to industry”, admits.[10]
“The more developed an economic system is,” writes Liefmann, an unblushing apologist of capitalism, “the more it resorts to risky enterprises, or enterprises in other countries, to those which need a great deal of time to develop, or finally, to those which are only of local importance.”[11]The increased risk is connected in the long run with a prodigious increase of capital, which, as it were, overflows the brim, flows abroad, etc. At the same time the extremely rapid rate of technical progress gives rise to increasing elements of disparity between the various spheres of national economy, to anarchy and crises.” “[12]

As a whole imperialism is still the highest form of commodity-production and the prices of the end-product sold to a purchase powered demand are a reflection of the value of that end-product being the sum of all incorporated peaces of labour-time along the integrated and globalised production-line (the socialisation of the production). When the end-product is finally sold the surplus-value is realised (although that surplus-value was already advanced along the total production-line by « price-fixing » and price-forming by speculation.
Although the free competition is disappearing, capitalist competition remains and is each moment reappearing (between departments in one monopoly, or between monopolies) the competition has often the form of how to organise the highest possible exploitation level and so to realise (or rather “advance”) the highest possible surplus-value than the other department IN the same monopoly.
The chaotic character of capitalist production is neither “disappearing” in the imperialist stage of capitalism and neither are crises, Lenin states here. That chaotic character of the production and so economic crises can only be finished by installing socialist plan-economy that is no more commodity-production but production in function of the real NEEDS.

These simple figures show perhaps better than lengthy disquisitions how the concentration of capital and the growth of bank turnover are radically changing the significance of the banks. Scattered capitalists are transformed into a single collective capitalist. When carrying the current accounts of a few capitalists, a bank, as it were, transacts a purely technical and exclusively auxiliary operation. When, however, this operation grows to enormous dimensions we find that a handful of monopolists subordinate to their will all the operations, both commercial and industrial, of the whole of capitalist society; for they are enabled-by means of their banking connections, their current accounts and other financial operations—first, to ascertain exactly the financial position of the various capitalists, then to control them, to influence them by restricting or enlarging, facilitating or hindering credits, and finally to entirely determine their fate, determine their income, deprive them of capital, or permit them to increase their capital rapidly and to enormous dimensions, etc. (...)

The banking system “possesses, indeed, the form of universal book-keeping and distribution of means of production on a social scale, but solely the form”, wrote Marx in Capital half a century ago (Russ. trans., Vol. III, part II, p. 144). The figures we have quoted on the growth of bank capital, on the increase in the number of the branches and offices of the biggest banks, the increase in the number of their accounts, etc., present a concrete picture of this “universal book-keeping” of the whole capitalist class; and not only of the capitalists, for the banks collect, even though temporarily, all kinds of money revenues—of small businessmen, office clerks, and of a tiny upper stratum of the working class. “Universal distribution of means of production”—that, from the formal aspect, is what grows out of the modern banks, which, numbering some three to six of the biggest in France, and six to eight in Germany, control millions and millions. In substance, however, the distribution of means of production is not at all “universal”, but private, i.e., it conforms to the interests of big capital, and primarily, of huge, monopoly capital, which operates under conditions in which the masses live in want, in which the whole development of agriculture hopelessly lags behind the development of industry, while within industry itself the “heavy industries” exact tribute from all other branches of industry. (...)

The boundaries between the banks and the savings-banks “become more and more obliterated”. The Chambers of Commerce of Bochum and Erfurt, for example, demand that savings-banks be “prohibited” from engaging in “purely” banking business, such as discounting bills; they demand the limitation of the “banking” operations of the post-office.[13] The banking magnates seem to be afraid that state monopoly will steal upon them from an unexpected quarter. It goes without saying, however, that this fear is no more than an expression of the rivalry, so to speak, between two department managers in the same office; for, on the one hand, the millions entrusted to the savings-banks are in the final analysis actually controlled by these very same bank capital magnates, while, on the other hand, state monopoly in capitalist society is merely a means of increasing and guaranteeing the income of millionaires in some branch of industry who are on the verge of bankruptcy. (...)”[14]

The ownership over the means of production centralised in those monopolies and combination of monopolies is more and more becoming “collective”. So a group of capitalists with their capitals in banks and holdings has the ownership (in relative importance of the capital invested) of the monopolies and combination of monopolies. Earlier capitalists were individual persons, little groups of persons or families. They had only the ownership of a part of a production-line, were the production is now integrated from raw material to the distribution (and selling) of the end-product.

Paramount importance attaches to the “holding system”, already briefly referred to above. The German economist, Heymann, probably the first to call attention to this matter, describes the essence of it in this way:
“The head of the concern controls the principal company (literally: the “mother company”); the latter reigns over the subsidiary companies (“daughter companies”) which in their turn control still other subsidiaries (“grandchild companies”), etc. In this way, it is possible with a comparatively small capital to dominate immense spheres of production. Indeed, if holding 50 per cent of the capital is always sufficient to control a company, the head of the concern needs only one million to control eight million in the second subsidiaries. And if this ‘interlocking’ is extended, it is possible with one million to control sixteen million, thirty-two million, etc.”[15]
As a matter of fact, experience shows that it is sufficient to own 40 per cent of the shares of a company in order to direct its affairs,[16] since in practice a certain number of small, scattered shareholders find it impossible to attend general meetings, etc. The “democratisation” of the ownership of shares, from which the bourgeois sophists and opportunist so-called “Social-Democrats” expect (or say that they expect) the “democratisation of capital”, the strengthening of the role and significance of small scale production, etc., is, in fact, one of the ways of increasing the power of the financial oligarchy. Incidentally, this is why, in the more advanced, or in the older and more “experienced” capitalist countries, the law allows the issue of shares of smaller denomination. .(... )
But the “holding system” not only serves enormously to increase the power of the monopolists; it also enables them to resort with impunity to all sorts of shady and dirty tricks to cheat the public, because formally the directors of the “mother company” are not legally responsible for the “daughter company”, which is supposed to be “independent”, and through the medium of which they can “pull off” anything. “ “[17]

So here is analysed how that more collective ownership of the means of productions is organised.

“This typical example of balance-sheet jugglery, quite common in joint-stock companies, explains why their Boards of Directors are willing to undertake risky transactions with a far lighter heart than individual businessmen. Modern methods of drawing up balance-sheets not only make it possible to conceal doubtful undertakings from the ordinary shareholder, but also allow the people most concerned to escape the consequence of unsuccessful speculation by selling their shares in time when the individual businessman risks his own skin in everything he does.(... )
“The balance-sheets of many joint-stock companies put us in mind of the palimpsests of the Middle Ages from which the visible inscription had first to be erased in order to discover beneath it another inscription giving the real meaning of the document.
[Palimpsests are parchment documents from which the original inscription has been erased and another inscription imposed.]
“The simplest and, therefore, most common procedure for making balance-sheets indecipherable is to divide a single business into several parts by setting up ‘daughter companies’—or by annexing them. The advantages of this system for various purposes—legal and illegal—are so evident that big companies which do not employ it are quite the exception.”[18]
As an example of a huge monopolist company that extensively employs this system, the author quotes the famous General Electric Company (the A.E.G., to which I shall refer again later on). In 1912, it was calculated that this company held shares in 175 to 200 other companies, dominating them, of course, and thus controlling a total capital of about 1,500 million marks.[19][20]

So where “official” a combination is “divided” in different (monopoly-)enterprises with a “divided” ownership, in the reality the ownership over a combination of monopolies (following to each other in the course of the production) is “collective” by a group of capitalist instead of individual capitalists.


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.
Capitalism is commodity production at its highest stage of development, when labour-power itself becomes a commodity. The growth of internal exchange, and, particularly, of international exchange, is a characteristic feature of capitalism. The uneven and spasmodic development of individual enterprises, individual branches of industry and individual countries is inevitable under the capitalist system. England became a capitalist country before any other, and by the middle of the nineteenth century, having adopted free trade, claimed to be the “workshop of the world”, the supplier of manufactured goods to all countries, which in exchange were to keep her provided with raw materials. But in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, this monopoly was already undermined; for other countries, sheltering themselves with “protective” tariffs, developed into independent capitalist states. On the threshold of the twentieth century we see the formation of a new type of monopoly: firstly, monopolist associations of capitalists in all capitalistically developed countries; secondly, the monopolist position of a few very rich countries, in which the accumulation of capital has reached gigantic proportions. An enormous “surplus of capital” has arisen in the advanced countries.
It goes without saying that if capitalism could develop agriculture, which today is everywhere lagging terribly behind industry, if it could raise the living standards of the masses, who in spite of the amazing technical progress are everywhere still half-starved and poverty-stricken, there could be no question of a surplus of capital. This “argument” is very often advanced by the petty-bourgeois critics of capitalism. But if capitalism did these things it would not be capitalism; for both uneven development and a semi-starvation level of existence of the masses are fundamental and inevitable conditions and constitute premises of this mode of production. As long as capitalism remains what it is, surplus capital will be utilised not for the purpose of raising the standard of living of the masses in a given country, for this would mean a decline in profits for the capitalists, but for the purpose of increasing profits by exporting capital abroad to the backward countries. In these backward countries profits are usually high, for capital is scarce, the price of land is relatively low, wages are low, raw materials are cheap. The export of capital is made possible by a number of backward countries having already been drawn into world capitalist intercourse; main railways have either been or are being built in those countries, elementary conditions for industrial development have been created, etc. The need to export capital arises from the fact that in a few countries capitalism has become “overripe” and (owing to the backward state of agriculture and the poverty of the masses) capital cannot find a field for “profitable” investment. “[21]

So the export of capital, a characteristic of imperialism is also a characteristic of its chaotic character.

Monopolist capitalist associations, cartels, syndicates and trusts first divided the home market among themselves and obtained more or less complete possession of the industry of their own country. But under capitalism the home market is inevitably bound up with the foreign market. Capitalism long ago created a world market. As the export of capital increased, and as the foreign and colonial connections and “spheres of influence” of the big monopolist associations expanded in all ways, things “naturally” gravitated towards an international agreement among these associations, and towards the formation of international cartels.
This is a new stage of world concentration of capital and production, incomparably higher than the preceding stages. (...)
The difficulty of competing against this trust, actually a single world-wide trust controlling a capital of several thousand million, with “branches”, agencies, representatives, connections, etc., in every corner of the world, is self-evident. But the division of the world between two powerful trusts does not preclude redivision if the relation of forces changes as a result of uneven development, war, bankruptcy, etc.
An instructive example of an attempt at such a redivision, of the struggle for redivision, is provided by the oil industry.
“The world oil market,” wrote Jeidels in 1905, “is even today still divided between two great financial groups—Rockefeller’s American Standard Oil Co., and Rothschild and Nobel, the controlling interests of the Russian oilfields in Baku. The two groups are closely connected. But for several years five enemies have been threatening their monopoly”[22] : (1) the exhaustion of the American oilfields; (2) the competition of the firm of Mantashev of Baku; (3) the Austrian oilfields; (4) the Rumanian oilfields; (5) the overseas oilfields, particularly in the Dutch colonies (the extremely rich firms, Samuel, and Shell, also connected with British capital). The three last groups are connected with the big German banks, headed by the huge Deutsche Bank. These banks independently and systematically developed the oil industry in Rumania, for example, in order to have a foothold of their “own”. In 1907, the foreign capital invested in the Rumanian oil industry was estimated at 185 million francs, of which 74 million was German capital.[23]
A struggle began for the “division of the world”, as, in fact, it is called in economic literature. On the one hand, the Rockefeller “oil trust” wanted to lay its hands on everything; it formed a “daughter company” right in Holland, and bought up oilfields in the Dutch Indies, in order to strike at its principal enemy, the Anglo-Dutch Shell trust. On the other hand, the Deutsche Bank and the other German banks aimed at “retaining” Rumania “for themselves” and at uniting her with Russia against Rockefeller. The latter possessed far more capital and an excellent system of oil transportation and distribution. The struggle had to end, and did end in 1907, with the utter defeat of the Deutsche Bank, which was confronted with the alternative: either to liquidate its “oil interests” and lose millions, or submit. It chose to submit, and concluded a very disadvantageous agreement with the “oil trust”. The Deutsche Bank agreed “not to attempt anything which might injure American interests”. Provision was made, however, for the annulment of the agreement in the event of Germany establishing a state oil monopoly.

Then the “comedy of oil” began. One of the German finance kings, von Gwinner, a director of the Deutsche Bank, through his private secretary, Stauss, launched a campaign for a state oil monopoly. The gigantic machine of the huge German bank and all its wide “connections” were set in motion. The press bubbled over with “patriotic” indignation against the “yoke” of the American trust, and, on March 15, 1911, the Reichstag, by an almost unanimous vote, adopted a motion asking the government to introduce a bill for the establishment of an oil monopoly. The government seized upon this “popular” idea, and the game of the Deutsche Bank, which hoped to cheat its American counterpart and improve its business by a state monopoly, appeared to have been won. The German oil magnates already saw visions of enormous profits, which would not be less than those of the Russian sugar refiners.... But, firstly, the big German banks quarrelled among themselves over the division of the spoils. The Disconto-Gesellschaft exposed the covetous aims of the Deutsche Bank; secondly, the government took fright at the prospect of a struggle with Rockefeller, for it was very doubtful whether Germany could be sure of obtaining oil from other sources (the Rumanian output was small); thirdly, just at that time the 1913 credits of a thousand million marks were voted for Germany’s war preparations. The oil monopoly project was postponed. The Rockefeller “oil trust” came out of the struggle, for the time being, victorious.

The Berlin review, Die Bank, wrote in this connection that Germany could fight the oil trust only by establishing an electricity monopoly and by converting water-power into cheap electricity. “But,” the author added, “the electricity monopoly will come when the producers need it, that is to say, when the next great crash in the electrical industry is imminent, and when the gigantic, expensive power stations now being put up at great cost everywhere by private electrical concerns, which are already obtaining certain franchises from towns, from states, etc., can no longer work at a profit. Water-power will then have to be used. But it will be impossible to convert it into cheap electricity at state expense; it will also have to be handed over to a ‘private monopoly controlled by the state’, because private industry has already concluded a number of contracts and has stipulated for heavy compensation.... So it was with the nitrate monopoly, so it is with the oil monopoly, so it will be with the electric power monopoly. It is time our state socialists, who allow themselves to be blinded by a beautiful principle, understood, at last, that in Germany the monopolies have never pursued the aim, nor have they had the result, of benefiting the consumer, or even of handing over to the state part of the promoter’s profits; they have served only to facilitate, at the expense of the state, the recovery of private industries which were on the verge of bankruptcy.[24]
Such are the valuable admissions which the German bourgeois economists are forced to make. We see plainly here how private and state monopolies are interwoven in the epoch of finance capital; how both are but separate links in the imperialist struggle between the big monopolists for the division of the world. (..).
Extremely instructive also is the story of the formation of the International Rail Cartel. The first attempt of the British, Belgian and German rail manufacturers to form such a cartel was made as early as 1884, during a severe industrial depression. The manufacturers agreed not to compete with one another in the home markets of the countries involved, and they divided the foreign markets in the following quotas: Great Britain, 66 per cent; Germany, 27 per cent; Belgium, 7 per cent. India was reserved entirely for Great Britain. Joint war was declared against a British firm which remained outside the cartel, the cost of which was met by a percentage levy on all sales. But in 1886 the cartel collapsed when two British firms retired from it. It is characteristic that agreement could not be achieved during subsequent boom periods.
At the beginning of 1904, the German steel syndicate was formed. In November 1904, the International Rail Cartel was revived, with the following quotas: Britain, 53.5 per cent; Germany, 28.83 per cent; Belgium, 17.67 per cent. France came in later and received 4.8 per cent, 5.8 per cent and 6.4 per cent in the first, second and third year respectively, over and above the 100 per cent limit, i.e., out of a total of 104.8 per cent, etc. In 1905, the United States Steel Corporation entered the cartel; then Austria and Spain. “At the present time,” wrote Vogelstein in 1910, “the division of the world is complete, and the big consumers, primarily the state railways—since the world has been parcelled out without consideration for their interests—can now dwell like the poet in the heavens of Jupiter.”[25]

Let me also mention the International Zinc Syndicate which was established in 1909 and which precisely apportioned output among five groups of factories: German, Belgian, French, Spanish and British; and also the International Dynamite Trust, which, Liefmann says, is “quite a modern, close alliance of all the German explosives manufacturers who, with the French and American dynamite manufacturers, organised in a similar manner, have divided the whole world among themselves, so to speak”.[26] (...).

The epoch of the latest stage of capitalism shows us that certain relations between capitalist associations grow up, based on the economic division of the world; while parallel to and in connection with it, certain relations grow up between political alliances, between states, on the basis of the territorial division of the world, of the struggle for colonies, of the “struggle for spheres of influence”. “[27]

So here is explained that it is misleading to speak about “national “capitalism, and about capitalists that have a nationality.(capitalism and capitalists in the stage of imperialism)
Also is explained the way that nationalisation and privatisation followed on each other, but never change something to capitalist ownership of means of productions.

...... Even the capitalist colonial policy of previous stages of capitalism is essentially different from the colonial policy of finance capital.
The principal feature of the latest stage of capitalism is the domination of monopolist associations of big employers. These monopolies are most firmly established when all the sources of raw materials are captured by one group, and we have seen with what zeal the international capitalist associations exert every effort to deprive their rivals of all opportunity of competing, to buy up, for example, ironfields, oilfields, etc. Colonial possession alone gives the monopolies complete guarantee against all contingencies in the struggle against competitors, including the case of the adversary wanting to be protected by a law establishing a state monopoly. The more capitalism is developed, the more strongly the shortage of raw materials is felt, the more intense the competition and the hunt for sources of raw materials throughout the whole world, the more desperate the struggle for the acquisition of colonies
Finance capital is interested not only in the already discovered sources of raw materials but also in potential sources, because present-day technical development is extremely rapid, and land which is useless today may be improved tomorrow if new methods are devised (to this end a big bank can equip a special expedition of engineers, agricultural experts, etc.), and if large amounts of capital are invested. This also applies to prospecting for minerals, to new methods of processing up and utilising raw materials, etc., etc. Hence, the inevitable striving of finance capital to enlarge its spheres of influence and even its actual territory. In the same way that the trusts capitalise their property at two or three times its value, taking into account its “potential” (and not actual) profits and the further results of monopoly, so finance capital in general strives to seize the largest possible amount of land of all kinds in all places, and by every means, taking into account potential sources of raw materials and fearing to be left behind in the fierce struggle for the last remnants of independent territory, or for the repartition of those territories that have been already divided. (..).
The interests pursued in exporting capital also give an impetus to the conquest of colonies, for in the colonial market it is easier to employ monopoly methods (and sometimes they are the only methods that can be employed) to eliminate competition, to ensure supplies, to secure the necessary “connections”, etc.
The non-economic superstructure which grows up on the basis of finance capital, its politics and its ideology, stimulates the striving for colonial conquest. “Finance capital does not want liberty, it wants domination,” as Hilferding very truly says. And a French bourgeois writer, developing and supplementing, as it were, the ideas of Cecil Rhodes quoted above[28], writes that social causes should be added to the economic causes of modern colonial policy: “Owing to the growing complexities of life and the difficulties which weigh not only on the masses of the workers, but also on the middle classes, ‘impatience, irritation and hatred are accumulating in all the countries of the old civilisation and are becoming a menace to public order; the energy which is being hurled out of the definite class channel must be given employment abroad in order to avert an explosion at home’.”[29]

Since we are speaking of colonial policy in the epoch of capitalist imperialism, it must be observed that finance capital and its foreign policy, which is the struggle of the great powers for the economic and political division of the world, give rise to a number of transitional forms of state dependence. Not only are the two main groups of countries, those owning colonies, and the colonies themselves, but also the diverse forms of dependent countries which, politically, are formally independent, but in fact, are enmeshed in the net of financial and diplomatic dependence, typical of this epoch. We have already referred to one form of dependence—the semi-colony. An example of another is provided by Argentina.

“South America, and especially Argentina,” writes Schulze-Gaevernitz in his work on British imperialism, “is so dependent financially on London that it ought to be described as almost a British commercial colony.”[30] Basing himself on the reports of the Austro-Hungarian Consul at Buenos Aires for 1909, Schilder estimated the amount of British capital invested in Argentina at 8,750 million francs. It is not difficult to imagine what strong connections British finance capital (and its faithful “friend”, diplomacy) thereby acquires with the Argentine bourgeoisie, with the circles that control the whole of that country’s economic and political life.

A somewhat different form of financial and diplomatic dependence, accompanied by political independence, is presented by Portugal. Portugal is an independent sovereign state, but actually, for more than two hundred years, since the war of the Spanish Succession (1701-14), it has been a British protectorate. Great Britain has protected Portugal and her colonies in order to fortify her own positions in the fight against her rivals, Spain and France. In return Great Britain has received commercial privileges, preferential conditions for importing goods and especially capital into Portugal and the Portuguese colonies, the right to use the ports and islands of Portugal, her telegraph cables, etc., etc.[31] Relations of this kind have always existed between big and little states, but in the epoch of capitalist imperialism they become a general system, they form part of the sum total of “divide the world” relations and become links in the chain of operations of world finance capital. (....)”[32]

Colonialism is not disappearing but still used by imperialism. Whole regions in the world with its population are placed under colonial production-relations. Contradictions are increasing in the imperialist centres. War is used to control those contradictions, war is used as a form of competition and for renewed division of the world, and war is used to impose colonial production-relations.


We must now try to sum up, to draw together the threads of what has been said above on the subject of imperialism. Imperialism emerged as the development and direct continuation of the fundamental characteristics of capitalism in general. But capitalism only became capitalist imperialism at a definite and very high stage of its development, when certain of its fundamental characteristics began to change into their opposites, when the features of the epoch of transition from capitalism to a higher social and economic system had taken shape and revealed themselves in all spheres. Economically, the main thing in this process is the displacement of capitalist free competition by capitalist monopoly. Free competition is the basic feature of capitalism, and of commodity production generally; monopoly is the exact opposite of free competition, but we have seen the latter being transformed into monopoly before our eyes, creating large-scale industry and forcing out small industry, replacing large-scale by still larger-scale industry, and carrying concentration of production and capital to the point where out of it has grown and is growing monopoly: cartels, syndicates and trusts, and merging with them, the capital of a dozen or so banks, which manipulate thousands of millions. At the same time the monopolies, which have grown out of free competition, do not eliminate the latter, but exist above it and alongside it, and thereby give rise to a number of very acute, intense antagonisms, frictions and conflicts. Monopoly is the transition from capitalism to a higher system.
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 associations of industrialists; and, on the other hand, 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 monopolist possession of the territory of the world, which has been completely divided up. (...)”[33]

There is no higher form of capitalism possible as imperialism. Imperialism is the ultimate stage of capitalism.

We have seen that in its economic essence imperialism is monopoly capitalism. This in itself determines its place in history, for monopoly that grows out of the soil of free competition, and precisely out of free competition, is the transition from the capitalist system to a higher socio-economic order. We must take special note of the four principal types of monopoly, or principal manifestations of monopoly capitalism, which are characteristic of the epoch we are examining.
Firstly, monopoly arose out of the concentration of production at a very high stage. This refers to the monopolist capitalist associations, cartels, syndicatess, and trusts. We have seen the important part these play in present-day economic life. At the beginning of the twentieth century, monopolies had acquired complete supremacy in the advanced countries, and although the first steps towards the formation of the cartels were taken by countries enjoying the protection of high tariffs (Germany, America), Great Britain, with her system of free trade, revealed the same basic phenomenon, only a little later, namely, the birth of monopoly out of the concentration of production.
Secondly, monopolies have stimulated the seizure of the most important sources of raw materials, especially for the basic and most highly cartelised industries in capitalist society: the coal and iron industries. The monopoly of the most important sources of raw materials has enormously increased the power of big capital, and has sharpened the antagonism between cartelised and non-cartelised industry.
Thirdly, monopoly has sprung from the banks. The banks have developed from modest middleman enterprises into the monopolists of finance capital. Some three to five of the biggest banks in each of the foremost capitalist countries have achieved the “personal link-up” between industrial and bank capital, and have concentrated in their hands the control of thousands upon thousands of millions which form the greater part of the capital and income of entire countries. A financial oligarchy, which throws a close network of dependence relationships over all the economic and political institutions of present-day bourgeois society without exception—such is the most striking manifestation of this monopoly.
Fourthly, monopoly has grown out of colonial policy. To the numerous “old” motives of colonial policy, finance capital has added the struggle for the sources of raw materials, for the export of capital, for spheres of influence, i.e., for spheres for profitable deals, concessions, monopoly profits and so on, economic territory in general. When the colonies of the European powers,for instance, comprised only one-tenth of the territory of Africa(as was the case in 1876), colonial policy was able to develop—by methods other than those of monopoly—by the “free grabbing” of territories, so to speak. But when nine-tenths of Africa had been seized (by 1900), when the whole world had been divided up,there was inevitably ushered in the era of monopoly possession of colonies and, consequently, of particularly intense struggle for the division and the redivision of the world.
The extent to which monopolist capital has intensified all the contradictions of capitalism is generally known. It is sufficient to mention the high cost of living and the tyranny of the cartels. This intensification of contradictions constitutes the most powerful driving force of the transitional period of history, which began from the time of the final victory of world finance capital.
Monopolies, oligarchy, the striving for domination and not for freedom, the exploitation of an increasing number of small or weak nations by a handful of the richest or most powerful nations—all these have given birth to those distinctive characteristics of imperialism which compel us to define it as parasitic or decaying capitalism. More and more prominently there emerges, as one of the tendencies of imperialism, the creation of the “rentier state”, the usurer state, in which the bourgeoisie to an ever-increasing degree lives on the proceeds of capital exports and by “clipping coupons”. It would be a mistake to believe that this tendency to decay precludes the rapid growth of capitalism. It does not. In the epoch of imperialism, certain branches of industry, certain strata of the bourgeoisie and certain countries betray, to a greater or lesser degree, now one and now another of these tendencies. On the whole, capitalism is growing far more rapidly than before; but this growth is not only becoming more and more uneven in general, its unevenness also manifests itself, in particular, in the decay of the countries which are richest in capital (Britain).
In regard to the rapidity of Germany’s economic development, Riesser, the author of the book on the big German banks, states: “The progress of the preceding period (1848-70), which had not been exactly slow, compares with the rapidity with which the whole of Germany’s national economy, and with it German banking, progressed during this period (1870-1905) in about the same way as the speed of the mail coach in the good old days compares with the speed of the present-day automobile ... which is whizzing past so fast that it endangers not only innocent pedestrians in its path, but also the occupants of the car.” In its turn, this finance capital which has grown with such extraordinary rapidity is not unwilling, precisely because it has grown so quickly, to pass on to a more “tranquil” possession of colonies which have to be seized—and not only by peaceful methods—from richer nations. In the United States, economic development in the last decades has been even more rapid than in Germany, and for this very reason, the parasitic features of modern American capitalism have stood out with particular prominence. On the other hand, a comparison of, say, the republican American bourgeoisie with the monarchist Japanese or German bourgeoisie shows that the most pronounced political distinction diminishes to an extreme degree in the epoch of imperialism—not because it is unimportant in general, but because in all these cases we are talking about a bourgeoisie which has definite features of parasitism.
The receipt of high monopoly profits by the capitalists in one of the numerous branches of industry, in one of the numerous countries, etc., makes it economically possible for them to bribe certain sections of the workers, and for a time a fairly considerable minority of them, and win them to the side of the bourgeoisie of a given industry or given nation against all the others. The intensification of antagonisms between imperialist nations for the division of the world increases this urge. And so there is created that bond between imperialism and opportunism, which revealed itself first and most clearly in Great Britain, owing to the fact that certain features of imperialist development were observable there much earlier than in other countries. Some writers, L. Martov, for example, are prone to wave aside the connection between imperialism and opportunism in the working-class movement—a particularly glaring fact at the present time—by resorting to “official optimism” (à la Kautsky and Huysmans) like the following: the cause of the opponents of capitalism would be hopeless if it were progressive capitalism that led to the increase of opportunism, or, if it were the best-paid workers who were inclined towards opportunism, etc. We must have no illusions about “optimism” of this kind. It is optimism in respect of opportunism; it is optimism which serves to conceal opportunism. As a matter of fact the extraordinary rapidity and the particularly revolting character of the development of opportunism is by no means a guarantee that its victory will be durable: the rapid growth of a painful abscess on a healthy body can only cause it to burst more quickly and thus relieve the body of it. The most dangerous of all in this respect are those who do not wish to understand that the fight against imperialism is a sham and humbug unless it is inseparably bound up with the fight against opportunism.
From all that has been said in this book on the economic essence of imperialism, it follows that we must define it as capitalism in transition, or, more precisely, as moribund capitalism. It is very instructive in this respect to note that bourgeois economists, in describing modern capitalism, frequently employ catchwords and phrases like “interlocking”, “absence of isolation”, etc.; “in conformity with their functions and course of development”, banks are “not purely private business enterprises: they are more and more outgrowing the sphere of purely private business regulation”. And this very Riesser, whose words I have just quoted, declares with all seriousness that the “prophecy” of the Marxists concerning “socialisation” has “not come true”!
What then does this catchword “interlocking” express? It merely expresses the most striking feature of the process going on before our eyes. It shows that the observer counts the separate trees, but cannot see the wood. It slavishly copies the superficial, the fortuitous, the chaotic. It reveals the observer as one who is overwhelmed by the mass of raw material and is utterly incapable of appreciating its meaning and importance. Ownership of shares, the relations between owners of private property “interlock in a haphazard way”. But underlying this interlocking, its very base, are the changing social relations of production. When a big enterprise assumes gigantic proportions, and, on the basis of an exact computation of mass data, organises according to plan the supply of primary raw materials to the extent of two-thirds, or three-fourths, of all that is necessary for tens of millions of people; when the raw materials are transported in a systematic and organised manner to the most suitable places of production, sometimes situated hundreds or thousands of miles from each other; when a single centre directs all the consecutive stages of processing the material right up to the manufacture of numerous varieties of finished articles; when these products are distributed according to a single plan among tens and hundreds of millions of consumers (the marketing of oil in America and Germany by the American oil trust)—then it becomes evident that we have socialisation of production, and not mere “interlocking”, that private economic and private property relations constitute a shell which no longer fits its contents, a shell which must inevitably decay if its removal is artificially delayed, a shell which may remain in a state of decay for a fairly long period (if, at the worst, the cure of the opportunist abscess is protracted), but which will inevitably be removed.
The enthusiastic admirer of German imperialism, Schulze-Gaevernitz, exclaims:

“Once the supreme management of the German banks has been entrusted to the hands of a dozen persons, their activity is even today more significant for the public good than that of the majority of the Ministers of State. .. . (The “interlocking” of bankers, ministers, magnates of industry and rentiers is here conveniently forgotten.) If we imagine the development of those tendencies we have noted carried to their logical conclusion we will have: the money capital of the nation united in the banks; the banks themselves combined into cartels; the investment capital of the nation cast in the shape of securities. Then the forecast of that genius Saint-Simon will be fulfilled: ‘The present anarchy of production, which corresponds to the fact that economic relations are developing without uniform regulation, must make way for organisation in production. Production will no longer be directed by isolated manufacturers, independent of each other and ignorant of man’s economic needs; that will be done by a certain public institution. A central committee of management, being able to survey the large field of social economy from a more elevated point of view, will regulate it for the benefit of the whole of society, will put the means of production into suitable hands, and above all will take care that there be constant harmony between production and consumption. Institutions already exist which have assumed as part of their functions a certain organisation of economic labour, the banks.’ We are still a long way from the fulfilment of Saint-Simon’s forecast, but we are on the way towards it: Marxism, different from what Marx imagined, but different only in form.”[34]
A crushing “refutation” of Marx indeed, which retreats a step from Marx’s precise, scientific analysis to Saint-Simon’s guess-work, the guess-work of a genius, but guess-work all the same.”[35]

Before I will try to make, or where I suggest an actual analyse of imperialism, I first will make some remarks on the last point of Lenin: “The most dangerous of all in this respect are those who do not wish to understand that the fight against imperialism is a sham and humbug unless it is inseparably bound up with the fight against opportunism.” (I do this in the next article)

[1]. Written: January-June, 1916. First published in mid-1917 in pamphlet form, Petrograd. Published according to the manuscript and verified with the text of the pamphlet. Source: Lenins Selected Works, Progress Publishers, 1963, Moscow, Volume 1, pp. 667766. Transcription\Markup: Tim Delaney & Kevin Goins (2008) Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive 2005, “Marxists Internet Archive”.
[2]. Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1912, p. 202 —Lenin
[3]. Finance Capital, Russ. ed., pp. 286-87 —Lenin
[4]. Hans Gideon Heymann, Die gemischten Werke im deutschen Grosseiseugewerbe, Stuttgart, 1904, (S. 256, 278). —Lenin
[5]. Out of “Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism - A POPULAR OUTLINE”, by Vladimir Ilyich Lenin.
[6].Th. Vogelstein, “Die finanzielle Organisation der kapitalistischen Industrie und die Monopolbildungen” in Grundriss der Sozialökonomik, VI. Abt., Tubingen, 1914. Cf., also by the same author: Organisationsformen der Eisenindustrie und Textilindustrie in England und Amerika, Bd. 1, Lpz., 1910. —Lenin
[7]. Out of ““Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism....”
[8]. Dr. Fritz Kestner, Der Organisationszwang. Eine Untersuchung über die Kämpfe zwischen Kartellen und Aussenseitern, Berlin, 1912, S. 254 —Lenin
[9]. Out of “Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism....”
[10]. Jeidels, Das Verhältnis der deutschen Grossbanken zur Industrie mit besonderer Berüchsichtigung der Eisenindustrie, Leipzig, 1905, S. 271 —Lenin
[11]. Liefmann, Beteiligungs- und Finanzierungsgesellschaften, S, 434. —Lenin
[12]. Out of “Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism....”
[13]. Statistics of the National Monetary Commission, quotedin Die Bank, 1913, S 811. —Lenin
[14]. Out of “Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism....”
[15]. Hans Gideon Fleymann, Die gemischten Werke im deutschen Grosseisengewerbe Stuttgart, 1904, S. 268-69. —Lenin
[16]. Liefmann, Beteiligungsgesellschaften, etc., S. 258 of the first edition. —Lenin
[17]. Out of “Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism....”
[18]. L. Eschwege, “Tochtergesellschaften” in Die Bank, 1914, S.545 —Lenin
[19]. Kurt Heinig, “Der Weg des Elecktrotrusts” in Die Neue Zeit, 1912, 30. S. 484 —Lenin
[20]. Out of “Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism....”
[21]. Out of “Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism....”
[22]. Jeidels, op. cit., S. 192-93. —Lenin
[23]. Diouritch, op. cit., pp. 245-46. —Lenin
[24]. Die Bank, 1912, 1, S. 1036; 1912, 2, S. 629; 1913, 1, S. 388. —Lenin
[25]. Vogelstein, Organisationsformen, S. 100. —Lenin
[26]. Liefmann, Kartelle und Trusts, 2. A., S. 161. —Lenin
[27]. Out of “Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism....”
[28]. See pp. 256–57 of this volume.—Ed
[29]. Wahl, La France aux colonies quoted by Henri Russier, Le Partage de l’Océanie, Paris, 1905, p. 165. —Lenin
[30]. Schulze-Gaevernitz, Britischer Imperialismus und englischer Freihandel zu Beginn des 20-ten Jahrhunderts, Leipzig, 1906, S. 318. Sartorius v. Waltershausen says the same in Das volkswirtschaftliche System der Kapitalanlage im Auslande, Berlin, 1907, S. 46. —Lenin
[31]. Schilder, op. cit., Vol. I, S. 160-61. —Lenin
[32]. Out of “Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism....”
[33]. Out of “Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism....”
[34]. Grundriss der Sozialökonomik, S. 146. —Lenin
[35]. Out of “Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism....”