Imperialism and
the growth of opportunism

The period of the rise and development of the great mass socialist parties in Europe in the last two decades of the 19th century is frequently characterized as one of peaceful growth. Lenin and other Marxists, particularly after the First World War, used the term peaceful to contrast that period to the great revolutionary epochs of 1848 and of the Paris Commune (1870-71), as well as the early years of the 20th century which saw the 1905 Russian Revolution and the tremendous revolutionary ferment it caused in Asia, the Mideast, and reaching to Africa. Most particularly however the era of peaceful growth is distinguished from the cataclysmic explosion of war in 1914 and the convulsive revolutionary developments in Russia that followed, affecting to a greater or lesser extent the working classes and oppressed peoples of most of the world.

The long stretch of historical evolution from 1871 to 1914, when there was no major revolutionary development on the continent of Europe, helped sow the illusion of a peaceful transition to socialism. This period of the peaceful development of capitalism, however, was anything but peaceful so far as the greater portion of the earth was concerned. What was happening around the world was of a most violent character, and was the direct result of the maturing of the basic contradictions of capitalism, first and foremost in Europe but also in the U.S. and Japan.

On the surface it seemed that the class forces had reached an equilibrium, imparting a certain stability to the capitalist system. But this overlooks the sharpening of the class antagonisms, which reached the surface through many struggles of the workers, many of a violent character. However, all these appeared as merely minor manifestations while by and large the growth of the productive forces of capitalism was actually reaching a higher stage of development on a peaceful basis.

Bourgeois historians interpret this period as one in which there were merely quantitative changes taking place; no qualitative transformation was occurring in the development of capitalism. It was not recognized that the development of the contradictions growing out of the class antagonisms was leading to a violent resolution, which broke out in all the fury and violence of the First World War.

The struggle over surplus value, which is what the class struggle is about, got diverted somewhat from the home front into the more lucrative struggle for profit among the imperialist powers. It was both an expression of the class struggle of the bourgeoisie against the proletariat and a further extension of this struggle beyond the national borders which had until the 1860s been sufficient for exploitation under the competitive stage of capitalism. But as the subsequent development of monopoly capitalism spurred the search for superprofits, for more surplus value, exploitation abroad acquired a qualitatively new importance.

This period was characterized by the worldwide expansion of the great European capitalist states into virtually all corners of the earth. Since this expansion roughly parallels the development of the Second International into a mighty force, it is important to at least sketch in very broad outline the nature and extent of the global expansion of the European, Japanese, and United States capitalist powers.

It is to be noted that in the period roughly from the 1880s until the Basel Conference of 1912, the European imperialists completed the carving up of virtually all of Africa. This was truly the period of the rape of Africa's resources, following on centuries of the slave trade. With unprecedented ruthlessness and wanton disregard for the natural affinities of the people, the imperialists created artificial geographical boundaries as they colonized to suit their material needs. This left a legacy of endless internal strife in Africa, which still prevails today. The imperialists still retain, if not direct political control, certainly a variety of economic and diplomatic instrumentalities that enable them to impose a new form of colonialism -- neo-colonialism.

England, France, Portugal, and Belgium all grabbed immense territories many times larger than themselves. Italy, Spain, and the formidable latecomer Germany got the least imperialist booty, but it was still enough to bring in vast profits. In addition the U.S. had control over the supposedly independent country of Liberia. Only Ethiopia was able to remain relatively independent, if we disregard commercial and economic intercourse with the imperialists.

In attempting to understand the role of the Second International in the struggle against imperialism, it must be borne in mind that, particularly after the turn of the century, the struggle of the imperialist powers was not confined to Africa. The struggle was particularly intense over Asia, where not only the European powers were involved but also Japan, Russia, and the United States. All were deeply interested and competing for imperialist advantages. It is enough to mention that Japan had earlier virtually made Korea a colony and by 1910 had fully annexed it. The U.S. and Russia were also concerned with subjugating Korea, and began to penetrate it economically as long ago as the 1880s in unsuccessful efforts to stop Japan, which had in the meantime taken over Taiwan. The three competed over the penetration of China while Russia and Japan both eyed Manchuria.

The Dutch had taken over Indonesia several centuries earlier, but had increasing difficulty with rising insurgency, leading to rebellion, which unfortunately was unsuccessful. Britain and France between them subjugated the Indian subcontinent and most of Southeast Asia.

The U.S. in this period had mounted the most aggressive campaign of economic and political penetration in Latin America, so that by the end of the First World War it could be said by Ludwell Denny in his book, America Conquers Britain,[1] that the U.S. had won the battle not by force but by economic penetration. Its displacement of the European colonial powers extended from Latin America to Asia with the Spanish-American War of 1898, whose outcome was to establish U.S. hegemony over not only Cuba and Puerto Rico but the Philippines as well.

Bourgeois historians, in depicting this long stretch of the "peaceful" development of capitalism, invariably concentrate on the various alliances and treaties, both secret and open, and almost always make Europe the focus of all of the struggles, obscuring the basic objective of the inter-imperialist struggle, which was to carve up the rest of the world under their domination. Even as the dangers of world war seemed to become more and more imminent around the years 1911-12, bourgeois historical accounts are filled with the struggle over the Balkans. Over and over again, there pops up the cliche, "the Balkan powderkeg," with the implication that a spark from the Balkans may ignite the whole world. Others dwell on the animosities and nationalist or religious rivalries in that small portion of the earth. All the post-war wisdom of imperialist apologists is contained in the admonition to the Great Powers not to let such small countries, with their ancient, unsolvable problems draw the great imperialist powers into a world conflict.

How like today! Can one forget how during the Viet Nam war the wisdom of the liberals was to plead with the bourgeois state not to let ruthless dictators like Diem in South Viet Nam drag "us," the imperialist U.S., into a quagmire, or lay the basis for a confrontation with the USSR itself? This line of argument is still being used today, whether about the Philippines, or south Korea, or in the Middle East. Liberal columnists wrote about how U.S. Marines in Lebanon were just acting as a "proxy" for the fascist Phalange, propping up the ambitions of this faction, and so on and so forth. It's not monopoly finance capital with its lust to control the oil and vital arteries of the Middle East that is the root cause -- oh no, it's the various factions and religious sects that are dragging the U.S. into the struggle!

During the period of the rape of Africa, the attempt to partition China and to turn South and Central America into nothing but spheres of influence based on old colonial conquest, the liberal bourgeoisie and also some right-wing elements among the socialist parties, preached just about the same wisdom to the imperialists, admonishing them to have a more imaginative, clever, and less crude policy, which would really lay the basis for peace. Not so Lenin. Lenin not only understood the struggle against outright colonialism in its proper historical perspective, but he was also aware of what was then only vaguely understood in the socialist movement but was well understood by the bourgeoisie: the new phenomenon of neocolonialism. He took up this question in writings on the struggle of the Young Turks.

The Turkish Revolution of 1908-09 was commonly referred to in the West as the revolution of the Young Turks. They had founded the Unity and Progressive Party as early as 1894. They were a group of progressive and revolutionary intellectuals mostly representing the interests of the rising merchant class. In 1908, troops under the leadership of the Young Turk officers mutinied and were supported by the masses in the towns and by the peasants. The outcome was finally a Young Turk government which sought agreement with the reactionary feudal and clerical element and with the imperialist powers.

The imperialist bourgeoisie was very pleased with the Young Turk government and praised it for its moderation. Lenin on the other hand pointed out that the Turkish revolution was not really a popular revolution in that the mass of the people did not come out actively and independently with their own political demands. Lenin recognized in this generally progressive development in Turkey a form of what we would call today a neocolonialist regime. Lenin saw why the bourgeois liberals praised it to the satisfaction of the imperialists. He wrote about the struggle in Turkey in 1908 in the article "Events in the Balkans and in Persia." [2]

"Essentially," he said, "what we see going on in the Balkans, Turkey, and Persia is a counter-revolutionary coalition of the European powers against the mounting tide of democracy in Asia. ... Rivalry among the capitalist powers, anxious to bite off as big a piece as they can and extend their possessions and colonies, coupled with fear of an independent democratic movement among the nations dependent on or 'protected' by Europe -- these are two mainsprings of all European policy. The Young Turks are praised for their moderation and restraint, i.e. the Turkish revolution is being praised because it is weak, because it is not rousing the popular masses to really independent action, because it is hostile to the proletarian struggle beginning in the Ottoman Empire -- and at the same time the plunder of Turkey continues. The Young Turks are praised for making it possible to go on plundering Turkish possessions."

Looking at it in the light of the contemporary imperialist domination of oppressed nations, one can see that neocolonialism was at that time a new trend. But it was not recognized as such by many liberals and right-wing socialists. Lenin caught on to and unmasked it while other socialists passed it off and allowed the liberals to set the tone and formulate the issue for the workers. He later elaborated on this to show that the collapse of the International was not an accident of history but that revisionism and opportunism had economic and social roots in the new expansionist monopoly stage of capitalism.

Imperialist history on the period we are covering rarely if ever touches upon the anti-militarist struggle put up by the working class, especially the youth. Typical of such treatment is the highly touted book The Guns of August, [3] by Barbara W. Tuchman, a darling of imperialist statesmen. It deals with the period leading to the outbreak of the First World War and is considered a major historical study by bourgeois reviewers. The book doesn't mention the Socialist International, the struggle of the working class parties, or even any anti-imperialist demonstrations.

Lenin paid close attention to the anti-militarist struggle in Europe. The intense interimperialist rivalries had indeed provoked tremendous anti-militarist struggles on the part of the European workers, especially the youth. In Bellicose Militarism and the Anti-Militarist Tactics of Social Democracy,fn 4> Lenin wrote,

"The more menacingly the governments rattle their sabers one against the other, the more ruthlessly do they crush the anti-militarist movement at home." [You wouldn't know the movement existed if you only read the bourgeois press of the time, or the works of today's imperialist historians!]

"The persecutions of anti-militarists are growing extensively and intensively. The 'Radical-Socialist' Ministry of Clemenceau-Briand acts no less violently than the Junker-Conservative Ministry of Bulow. Bourgeois public opinion these days has been taught to believe that the peaceful development of capitalism in Europe included a peaceful attitude toward the anti-war movement by the civilized educated democratic governments of France and Germany!

"The dissolution of the 'youth organizations' throughout Germany, following the introduction of the new law on unions and assemblies, which prohibits persons under the age of 20 from attending political meetings has made anti-militarist agitation in Germany extremely difficult."

Such was the pre-war democracy of Germany and also of France.

"Special anti-militarist propaganda," Lenin explains later on, "has behind it not only the evidence of principle but also extensive historical experience. Belgium is ahead of other countries in this respect. The Belgian Labor Party, apart from its general propaganda of anti-militarist ideas, has organized groups of socialist youth. ... Groups in one and the same area constitute an Area Federation, and all the Area Federations in turn form a National Federation. The newspapers of the youth circulate in tens of thousands of copies. The strongest is the Walloon Federation, which has 62 local groups with 10,000 members. ...

"Outside the town halls, in the open air, socialist speakers explain to the (army) recruits the meaning of militarism. ...

A complaints committee from the Youth Council gathers information, says Lenin, about all acts of injustice committed in the barracks.

"This information under the heading 'From the Army' is daily published in Le Peuple, the central organ of the party. Anti-militarist propaganda does not halt at the threshold of the barracks and socialist soldiers form propaganda groups within the army. At the present time there are about 15 such groups ('soldiers' unions')."

During the Viet Nam war, only one such group was formed in this country which had a somewhat similar program and was oriented toward the working class. It was the American Servicemen's Union, founded by Andy Stapp. [5]

The Belgian example, says Lenin, was followed in France, Austria, Switzerland, and other countries. Lenin was obliged to recall all this in polemicizing against two right-wing, that is, revisionist representatives in the Second International who were basically opposed to anti-militarist activity. First they argued that it would endanger the existence of the Socialist Party, but the basic reason for their opposition was their stand on the colonial question, which after all was the basis for the developing imperialist struggle.

Both the growing danger of imperialist war, and the colonial question were therefore fundamental issues at each of the congresses of the Socialist International. Formed originally in 1889, the International had by the time of the Stuttgart Congress already held congresses in Brussels (1891); Zurich, (1893); London, (1896); Paris, (1900); and Amsterdam (1904). The Russo-Japanese War gave the Second International an opportunity to roundly condemn the war in a way which illustrated at the time the strength of the anti-war current in the working class movement, as expressed by the delegations at the 1904 Amsterdam Congress. Julius Braunthal in his History of the International,[6] relates how the Second International took the occasion of the Russo-Japanese War "to demonstrate to the world the solidarity of the Russian and Japanese workers [by electing Sen] Katayama and [George] Plekhanov as its joint Presidents. ... It was a memorable moment when, to the immense joy of the delegates, these representatives of the working class of two warring [imperialist] countries demonstratively clasped hands on the platform."

It was certainly a high point in the International's attempt to rally working class internationalism against capitalist imperialism.

About Plekhanov, it should be noted that at that time he was still representing the Russian Social-Democratic Party as a whole. Shortly thereafter, however, the Bolsheviks under Lenin would elect their own representatives to the International Socialist Bureau.

It was not too long after this conference that Plekhanov, following the defeat of the Russian Revolution of 1905, proclaimed, "They should not have taken up arms." He thereby clarified for many, at least in the Russian working class movement, the deep and profound significance of the split that had taken place in 1903 in the Russian Social-Democratic Party, in which Plekhanov had emerged as leader of the Menshevik faction and Lenin as leader of the Bolsheviks. Few in the European movement at the time had seen in this schism more than a difference in organizational tactics and personalities. But it really reflected deep political differences on a whole range of national and international questions.

On the question of czarist expansionism and the struggle for colonies among the European, Japanese and U.S. imperialists, both the Mensheviks and Bolsheviks seemed to have a more or less identical view. In 1907, in his article analyzing the International Socialist Congress in Stuttgart, Lenin took special note that it was "gratifying" to see that the Russian delegation all voted against a colonialist position put forward by a revisionist, right-wing grouping in the International. However, the Mensheviks not only took an imperialist (defensist) position during the First World War, but after the February 1917 Revolution supported the Kerensky regime on the colonial question insofar as czarist Russia's annexationist designs were involved.

Lenin's insight on the colonial question has interested many progressive writers, but most have concentrated on the period after the October Revolution. A reading of Lenin's earlier writings, however, explains why he would fight against the imperialist war with such fervor and passion; his anti-war stand grew out of his clarity and depth of understanding of the processes at work in the European labor movement in general and in the socialist movement in particular.

For instance, in an article on the Stuttgart congress [7] he reveals a theme that he was to hammer on and expand at great length during the war years.

"On the colonial question an opportunist majority was formed in the Commission, and the following monstrous phrase appeared in the draft resolution: 'The Congress does not in principle and for all time reject all colonial policy, which, under a socialist regime may have a civilizing effect.

In reality this proposition was tantamount to a direct retreat towards bourgeois policy and a bourgeois world outlook that justifies colonial wars and atrocities. It was a retreat towards [Theodore] Roosevelt, said one of the American delegates. The attempts to justify this retreat by the tasks of a socialist colonial policy and of constructive reform work in the colonies were unfortunate in the extreme Socialism has never refused to advocate reforms in the colonies as well; but this can have nothing in common with weakening our stand in principle against conquests, subjugation of other nations, violence, and plunder, which constitute 'colonial policy.' The minimum program of all the socialist parties applies both to the home countries and the colonies. The very concept 'socialist colonial policy' is a hopeless muddle. The Congress quite rightly deleted the above-quoted words from the resolution and substituted for them a condemnation of colonial policy that was sharper than that contained in former resolutions."

In another article on this subject,[8] Lenin further related the issue of the colonial question to opportunism in the European workers' movement:

"This vote on the colonial question is of very great importance. First, it strikingly showed up socialist opportunism, which succumbs to bourgeois blandishments. Secondly, it revealed a negative feature in the European labor movement, one that can do no little harm to the proletarian cause, and for that reason should receive serious attention. Marx frequently quoted a very significant saying of Sismondi: The proletarians of the ancient world, this saying runs, lived at the expense of society; modern society lives at the expense of the proletarians.

"The non-propertied, but non-working, class is incapable of overthrowing the exploiters. Only the proletarian class, which maintains the whole of society, can bring about the social revolution. However, as a result of the extensive colonial policy, the European proletarian partly finds himself in a position when it is not his labor, but the labor of the practically enslaved natives in the colonies, that maintains the whole of society. The British bourgeoisie, for example, derives more profit from the many millions of the population of India and other colonies than from the British workers. In certain countries this provides the material and economic basis for infecting the proletariat with colonial chauvinism. Of course, this may be only a temporary phenomenon, but the evil must nonetheless be clearly realized and its causes understood in order to be able to rally the proletariat of all countries for the struggle against such opportunism. This struggle is bound to be victorious, since the 'privileged' nations are a diminishing faction of the capitalist nations."

This then is how a section of the proletariat became influenced by imperialism and its superprofits. This explains to a large extent why the chauvinists and opportunists gained the upper hand eventually over the more progressive elements, formidable as they were but unorganized, in the Second International.

Lenin saw that what was happening in the European movement had manifested itself in the Russian Social-Democratic Party as well, although in different form. Even though the question of colonies and the expansionist policy of the regime did not divide the Russian working class movement as it did in Europe opportunism and revisionism had taken root there. It was Lenin's great contribution that he consistently and resolutely fought it from the beginning of his revolutionary career.

The trends he saw reflecting revisionism in all its varieties in the Russian movement were merely variations of the same international trend that had become far more visible on the European continent.

Lenin expanded on the theme of the colonial struggle later in his definitive exposition on imperialism. [9] Picking up on what seemed like loose threads but in reality were links in his theoretical armor, he explained that opportunism was a product of the transformation of so-called peaceful competitive capitalism into predatory monopolist imperialism.

Lenin's study of imperialism was not the only one written by a Marxist. Rosa Luxemburg and Rudolf Hilferding, among others, also analyzed some of the most important features of imperialism, particularly in Hilferding's work Finance Capital. [10] But what Hilferding did not do in his book, which Lenin did, was to link up the basic characteristics of imperialism with the practice of opportunism in the struggle against the bourgeoisie in general and chauvinism in particular.

Toward the end of his analysis of imperialism, Lenin showed that "monopoly has grown out of colonial policy." He showed that there was a difference between the old colonial policy and the new one.

"To the numerous 'old' motives of colonial policy," said Lenin, "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." [11]

Yes, the struggle had become one for "economic territory." And this, if anything, is even more true today than it was in Lenin's time. A striking example pertains to one of the fundamental characteristics of imperialism, the export of capital. The export of capital to conquer new economic territory has become more outrageously significant than ever before. It has brought in a whole series of cunning variations on how it is done. Capital is not only exported but re-exported to the underdeveloped and oppressed countries. This process with its multitude of both hidden and open devices, is called "recycling" by the bourgeois economists. For example a tremendous amount of capital, some 1 trillion, was supposed to have flowed into the members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries between 1972 and 1982, the decade after the big price increase in oil. But one New York Times analyst wrote that "it is not entirely clear where all that money is now and who controls it."

It is in the imperialist banks, of course! Chase Manhattan, Morgan Guaranty, Manufacturers Trust, and BankAmerica are the four biggest holding so-called petrodollars. These imperialist banks, among others, control virtually all that capital. Only a modest, superficial amount has been used to any extent for modernization in the oppressed countries. Much of it has been spent on military hardware pushed by imperialist arms merchants, so that Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries have become arsenals for the U.S. and wholly dependent on the Pentagon for spare parts, training, etc.

The transformation of early competitive capitalism into imperialism, and the effect this had in cultivating an opportunist element in the working class of the developed capitalist countries, has been the source of pessimism to many who in this period have abandoned revolutionary Marxism. But not to Lenin. He analyzed this phenomenon most meticulously, and saw it as only transitional to the proletarian revolution.

"The receipt of high monopoly profits by the capitalists ... 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. ..." But, adds Lenin, "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. ...

"From all that has been said in this book on the economic essence of imperialism," he concludes, "it follows that we must define it as capitalism in transition, or more precisely, as moribund capitalism." [12]

Writing almost three years after the victorious Bolshevik revolution in Russia, Lenin in a preface to Imperialism again reinforced the political conclusions to be drawn from this new stage of capitalist development: "Imperialism," he concluded, "is the eve of the social revolution of the proletariat." [13] The so-called "peaceful" period of imperialist development had been one in which the revolutionists prepared for the great opportunities to come. And they were not long in coming.

Even as far back as 1908, in his writings on Turkey and the counter-revolutionary coalition of the Western "democracies" against the rising revolution in Asia, Lenin had predicted that: "Only the world proletarian revolution can overthrow this combined power of the crowned bandits and international capital." [14] The opportunism that Lenin fought so hard against, and which was the product of the new imperialist plundering of the world, would be overcome.

Cynics would look at the failure of subsequent proletarian revolutions in Europe as a refutation of Lenin. But the fact is that the growth of imperialism, with its fierce exploitation and ferocious oppression as well as its revolutionizing of the means of production, has brought socialist revolution to many countries since Lenin's day.

The long period of "peaceful" development from the days of the Paris Commune to 1914 was in fact a time when the contradictions of capitalism were maturing to the point where they were no longer capable of containment. This is what led to the explosion of world war in 1914 and ushered in the first series of proletarian revolutions. In many ways, contemporary world capitalism has gone through a similar period since World War II. "Peaceful" development in the imperialist countries themselves -- that is, a period relatively free of acute class struggles -- has been possible only because of the intensification of imperialist exploitation, wholesale robbery, and military intervention in a whole host of underdeveloped and oppressed countries. Of course one should not forget the magnificent revolutionary struggle of the French proletariat in 1968, [15] which unfortunately was sidetracked into a swamp of bourgeois social-reformism in which a few significant advantages to the working class were bought at the price of once again subordinating the workers to the rule of finance capital.

Equally important was the unfortunate revolutionary struggle in 1974 and 1975 of the Portuguese working class and peasants, [16] where U.S. imperialist subversion, with the actual financing of counter-revolution, was the basic cause in derailing what was in broad outline a working class revolution.

It was no accident that these revolutionary possibilities came in France and in Portugal. Their imperialist empires were unraveling. The French had lost Algeria and Southeast Asia, Portugal was losing its African colonies to the national liberation movements.

Thus this long stretch from 1945 to the 1980s has features strikingly similar to the so-called peaceful period of imperialism from the days of the Paris Commune to 1914. There are however fundamental differences. The contemporary period is characterized not only by a heightening struggle among the imperialist powers for spheres of influence, economic territory, and the export and re-export of capital, etc. The contemporary epoch is also characterized by the transformation of the world class struggle into a struggle of the world working class, the oppressed countries, and the socialist countries against the imperialist bourgeoisie. The struggle of the Western proletariat, as well as the Japanese proletariat, must be viewed in this perspective.

The period ahead has no less revolutionary potential, not only for the oppressed people but for the proletariat in the imperialist countries, than did the earlier period of so-called peaceful development.


1. Ludwell Denny, America Conquers Britain (New York: A.A. Knopf, 1930). [return]

2. V.I. Lenin, "Events in the Balkans and in Persia," in his Collected Works (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1963), Vol. 15, pp. 220-230. [return]

3. Barbara Tuchman, The Guns of August (New York: Macmillan, 1962). [return]

4. V.I. Lenin, "Bellicose Militarism and the Anti-Militarist Tactics of Social Democracy," op. cit., Vol. 15, pp. 191-201. [return]

6. American Servicemen's Union: The American Servicemen's Union (ASU) was formed in 1968 by active-duty GIs who opposed the Viet Nam War and oppression within the military. At its height it had 160 chapters on bases in the U.S. and overseas on 50 U.S. Navy ships. In 1971, its newspaper The Bond was mailed to 20,000 service people and reached thousands more as it was passed hand to hand. Its programmatic demands included the election of officers by the ranks; no use of troops against strikers, anti-war demonstrators, or the oppressed communities; an end to racism and sexism in the military and the right to collective bargaining. The ASU was the subject of an Esquire magazine article in August 1968 entitled "The Plot to Unionize the Army." [return]

6. Julius Braunthal, History of the International (New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1967), Vol. 1, p. 242. [return]

7. V.I. Lenin, "The International Socialist Congress in Stuttgart," in his Collected Works (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1962), Vol. 13, pp. 86-87. [return]

8. Ibid., pp. 76-77. [return]

9. V.I. Lenin, "Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism," op. cit., Vol. 22, pp. 185-304. [return]

10. Rudolf Hilferding, Finance Capital -- A Study of the Latest Phase of Capitalist Development (Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1981). Originally published in German in 1910. [return]

11. V.I. Lenin, op, cit., p. 299. [return]

12. Ibid., pp. 301-302. [return]

13. Ibid., p. 194. [return]

14. V.I. Lenin, "Events in the Balkans and in Persia," in his Collected Works (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1963) Vol. 15, p. 227. [return]

15. The French struggle of 1968: In May 1968, what began as a struggle of French students for reform of the university system quickly turned into huge street battles with the police. As the state escalated its violence, the struggle was taken up by the workers, who began political strikes and the occupation of plants and offices throughout France. In less than two weeks, over six million workers were on general strike, over the protests of their official leaders who had been taken by surprise by the workers' militancy. The French economy ground to a halt for another two full weeks as the workers showed their great power and defied capitalist rule. [return]

16. The unfortunate revolutionary struggle in Portugal: In April 1974, the encrusted fascist regime in Portugal, weakened by the growing liberation struggles in its African colonies, was overthrown by the military. This was the beginning of a revolutionary crisis that lasted over a year. Strong anti-imperialist sentiment surfaced in the army rank-and-file, who fraternized with increasingly militant mobilizations of workers and poor peasants. The workers' parties, however, while able to mobilize the masses to prevent the return of fascist rule allowed the petty-bourgeois officers of the Armed Forces Movement to wield political leadership of the revolution. Under pressure of the NATO imperialists, the left retreated and Portuguese capitalism stabilized itself through the auspices of a "Socialist" government headed by Mario Soares. [return]

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