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Classical Marxist Imperialism Theory: Continuity, Change, and Relevance

Version 2 2024-06-02, 14:52
Version 1 2024-03-07, 22:21
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posted on 2024-06-02, 14:52 authored by Murray NoonanMurray Noonan
AbstractThe classical Marxist theories of imperialism continue to have explanatory power despite the transformations that have occurred in global capitalism and international politics since the early decades of the twentieth century. Marxist thinkers and activists such as Rudolf Hilferding, Nikolai Bukharin, Vladimir Lenin, and Rosa Luxemburg were instrumental not only in identifying changes in capitalism that occurred after Marx’s death in 1883 but also in linking those changes with contemporary geopolitical conditions that, taken together, ultimately led to the imperialist carnage of World War I. For these Marxists, imperialism was specific and systemic; it was capitalism that had reached its moribund stage where monopolies and finance capital were dominant. Imperialism was capitalist imperialism. It still is; but the classical Marxist theories of imperialism have their contradictions, oversights, and blind spots too, as well as being products of their particular era. On the other hand, there is much that is still relevant, that still resonates in the theorizing of imperialism by the classical Marxists. This chapter undertakes a critical examination of the work of the classical Marxist theorists of imperialism in order to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of their analyses of capitalist imperialism and the relevance their work has for understanding present-day imperialism.

History

Chapter number

3

Pagination

43-66

ISBN-13

9780197527085

ISBN-10

0197527086

Language

eng

Publication classification

B1 Book chapter

Extent

34

Publisher

Oxford University Press

Place of publication

Oxford, Eng.

Title of book

The Oxford Handbook of Economic Imperialism

Series

Oxford Handbooks

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