Lenin argued that “the most deep-rooted economic foundation of imperialism is monopoly” and that imperialism could be briefly defined as “the monopoly stage of capitalism” (Imperialism, 1916). Under capitalism, cyclical economic crises, combined with the advantages of scale held by large companies over small- and medium-sized businesses, lead inevitably to the annexation of smaller companies by larger enterprises.
The history of imperialism can be roughly divided into three phases.
The first phase of imperialism, up until 1945, was characterised by inter-imperialist rivalry and the drive to divide and re-divide the world into spheres of influence of the dominant capitalist countries. It is important to note that this was a global, not national or regional, process and that imperialism has always been a global system.
One of the key features of capitalism is the recurrence of periodic, systemic crises. These crises are either denied by capitalist economists, attributed to specific circumstances (and thereby taken as an exception rather than a rule) or it is claimed that, actually, the cause of the crisis was state intervention and attempts at planning which have thwarted the logic of the market and deformed an otherwise perfect system.
Capitalism, once a progressive force in both social and productive terms, becomes more parasitic and moribund throughout its development. More and more, the social relations of production, crystallised in a social and legal system based on protection of private property, begin to hold back the development of society’s productive forces. More and more, labour is wasted in socially-useless production or financial speculation. Capitalism daily fails the majority of people, impoverishing them in order to make the rich richer.
You were the first I calved, And I did so to the letter. I brought you out to this world, And so felt better. When the fence came down, you ran, And left me a fretter. Back when you were a calf, And I knew no better. I watched you grow, From calf to cowContinue reading “Poetry Corner: I Knew No Better.”
One of the main accusations thrown at Marxists over the years, particularly in bourgeois academic circles, is that Marxism is determinist – a crude form of mechanistic materialism which neglects to take into account individual human beings.
Socialist, or Marxist, feminism is feminism with a class analysis – feminism explored through the angle of class as the primary, and arguably strongest, oppressor. To go back to its very basics, Marxism is the intrinsic knowledge that societies are built on a hierarchy and are unequal – capitalism depends on this inequality. The capitalContinue reading “What is socialist feminism?”
The effects of climate change remain a common discussion point in today’s society, as all forms of broadcasting continually highlight that we must be mindful that our current routines are ruining the planet as we know it. This is something the left should celebrate; forcing climate change deniers to retreat into sectarian cluster groups that bear little relevance or influence upon society is a victory that should not be taken lightly and positively celebrated.
Capitalism distorts our understanding of social relations. Class structured societies, by their very nature, deform these relations. Marx developed and looked at the theme of alienation, from the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts in 1844 to Capital in 1867.
Marx said that commodity production captures human labour within capitalist production. The relationships between people get caught up in the relationship between things.
By trade, I am a composer and conductor, and cynicism of the EU is very hard to find in a profession that has come to depend on the freedom of movement to make work a possibility. If anyone observes the activities of my trade union, they would know they actively campaigned for the, now, unsuccessfulContinue reading “What are musicians to do now we have finally left the EU?”