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I think it was absolutely wrong to support the Euro-Maidan movement or
to consider supporting the current reactionary regime in Kiev. Equally
socialists in the US and EU should oppose sanctions against Russia.
(Trotsky was even sharply opposed to the Western imperialist sanctions
against fascist Italy during the latters colonial war in Ethiopia in the
This however must not lead Marxists do deny the imperialist character of
Russia today! I tried to demonstrate the nature of Russian imperialism
in two essays/booklets published in the last 8 months. I think they
proof this both empirically as well as in complete accordance with
Lenin's theory of imperialism:
See: Russia as a Great Imperialist Power,
Lenin’s Theory of Imperialism and the Rise of Russia as a Great Power,
See also: The Uprising in East Ukraine and Russian Imperialism,
Russia and China as Great Imperialist Powers,
Am 07.12.2014 um 12:25 schrieb Louis Proyect via Marxism:
Comments on this article
by my good friend and comrade Reza F.
1) Those who argue that the BRICS should be supported believe that the
economic and political development of BRICS nations will ultimately
undermine the U.S., and as a result will undermine imperialism. This
is completely erroneous. Did the displacement of the British
imperialism by that of the U.S. undermine imperialism? Not at all. The
leading imperialist nation-state can change without that change in the
least bit undermining imperialism as a world system. In fact,
historians can probably make a much stronger case that with each
succession, imperialism as a system evolved to a higher stage.
By contrast, during his lifetime, Lenin *never* proposed that, for
example, the U.S. should be supported so as to undermine the British
imperialism. He supported fighting against ALL imperialists. Including
Russia, which Lenin (again, during his lifetime) designated as
imperialist; also this is why Lenin explicitly supported the right of
self-determination for Ukraine (from Russian domination).
2) How is it that Lenin, even *after* writing the ‘Imperialism as the
Highest Stage of Capitalism’ pamphlet, considered Russia an
imperialist country a hundred years ago, and some Marxists are arguing
Russia is not an imperialist country now?!!
3) Just for one example of imperialist behavior toward less powerful
nations: Russia, starting in early 1800s, tried and subjected Iran,
formalizing her dominant relation with Iran in successive wars and
treaties that followed: Treaty of Gulistan (1813), Treaty of
Turkmenchay (1828) and Treaty of Akhal (1881). These treaties included
exclusively economic/trade provisions that forced Iran into agreeing
to not interfere with any Russian businessman who chose to set up shop
in any part of Iran. Meaning, through the use of military force,
Russia was able to gain asymmetrical economic benefits it otherwise
would not have had. *That* is imperialism’s core characteristic, not
finance capital alone.
4) Finance capital alone cannot guarantee imperialist gains. In order
to achieve its goals imperialism frequently has to employ
‘extra-economic’ means (for example, unfair trade agreements gained
through political and diplomatic means, or through military means).
Case in point, Iraq. Iraq was brought to its knees not by financial
instruments, but by brute force of a military attack, after which
economic benefits were secured.
Marxists who think that purely ‘economic’ features are the key
determinants of imperialism forget that for Marx capital accumulation
was a POLITICAL-economic reality, not just purely economic. Such
Marxists also ignore the importance placed on ‘extra-economic’ means
by which ‘primitive accumulation’ was achieved during the transition
from feudalism to capitalism (see Part Eight of Capital, Vol. 1).
5) Marxists who believe economic criteria alone, and not a
relationship of dominance, determine the imperialist nature of a state
formation claim that imperialism requires the imperialist country to
have excess capital that it needs to export. Well Russia does that to
Iran. Russia has huge investments in Iran, the most famous of which is
the nuclear reactor they have built and the nuclear reactors they have
been contracted to build in the future. Getting the contract to build
nuclear reactors is akin to having the sole ticket to the lone entry
allowed to an absolute monopoly market.
Also, Russia is a great beneficiary in the nuclear deal in other ways.
They will now have a semi-monopoly over a good portion of the
enrichment of the uranium to be shipped to Iran under the terms of the
current deal on the table.
In short, Russia has been extorting the Iranian regime in different
ways for a good while.
The real problem is that when I raise these points, Russia’s western
Marxist supporters (who consider Russia as their rescuer) think Iran’s
political and economic deals with Russia amount to just bilateral
deals between two countries as two equals. They dismiss as irrelevant
the 200-year-old relationship of one-sided dominance between them
(except maybe during the Soviet period, some could argue). This is a
huge departure from historical materialism.
Imperialist countries stick it to whomever they can, and not to
everybody equally, and definitely not able to stick it to everybody
all at once and at all times. Not even the US gets its way all the
time; unless, of course, you live in the world of Global Research.
There is always agency on the other side, and there is always more
than one other side.
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