Jim Heartfield: Progressive imperialism? I have often been criticised for insisting on the persistence of progressive trends within capitalism, such as the (intermittent) development of productivity, but it would not have occurred to me to insist on the progressive aspect of imperialism.

As I read it Lenin's characterisation of imperialism was not simply a euphemism for military intervention, but precisely the predomination of capitalism's reactionary side over its progressive. Lenin proposes as an
example of the progressive side, the application of science to production, with large monopolies. But the struggle for the division and re-division of the world by the decadent nations, he counts as reactionary, and I tend to agree with him.
George Pennefather : It is not, as Jim suggests, a quantitative undialectical matter of "the predomination of capitalism's reactionary side over its progressive". Capitalism today is essentially reactionary in character. Any features which Jim may describe as progressive have in fact a reactionary essence whose source is located in the dialectical. What Jim describes as the progressive features of capitalism today are merely devices to perpetuate capitalism as a reactionary system and are thereby correspondingly reactionary. Capitalism today is a reactionary  system which means that the bits that Jim labels as progressive constitute component parts of the overall system which means that their essence is determined by their existence as constituents in the overall system. Since the system, as a whole, is reactionary so to are its parts. Capitalism must be conceived systemically. Jim pedestrianally mistakes  appearance for essence. Capitalism must be conceived and analysed as a dialectical unity whereby the essence of the parts are determined by the essence of the whole --internal relations as opposed to external relations.
Warm regards
George Pennefather
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