Imperialism and geopolitical disorder 2021

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Ecosocialist School 2021

Imperialism and global geopolitical disorder (Ana Cristina)

I. Introduction

Global inequality and the theory of imperialism, versus other comprehensions.


II. Imperialism in the XX Century (and before).

a) The foundations of the Leninist synthesis (J.A. Hobson, Hilferding, Kautsky, Rosa and Bukharin)

b) Imperialism in the two Great Wars

c) Cold War imperialism and the struggles for national liberation.


III. Neoliberal globalization, or financial mondialisation (from the 1980s onwards)

a) Financial globalization (Chesnais, Husson), globalization of the chains of production and accumulation by dispossession (David Harvey)

b) Imperialism and global inequality (Claudio Katz)

c) The characteristics according to Lenin are still valid today?

d) New characteristics of the system? (Dardot and Laval)

IV. The world system in the transition to the 21st century (from the 90's)

a) A new historical epoch - Daniel Bensaïd, 1995

b) Armed globalization: the "war on terror" and drugs; intervention in the Middle East and fundamentalisms. The passing dream of an imperialism/unipolar system.

c) The rise of China: trade and technological war, on the one hand; new geopolitical role in the East (Hong Kong, Taiwan, South China Sea).

d) Anti-imperialist waves: the "Pink Tide" in Latin America and the Arab Spring.

e) Russia's transformism - the war in Syria as a sign of new developments, and the intervention in the US elections.

V. Since 2008 (financial crisis): changes in the world situation

a) Brexit, Trump and the new global extreme right. Bolsonaro, Duterte, Modi, Duda, Orban - what do they mean?

b) The nature of the current situation: pandemic, convergence of crises (economic-social, climate and geopolitical).

c) Imperial strategy under Biden.

d) The weakness of the reformist and anti-capitalist left, opening opportunities for the anti-capitalist left?


VI. The Marxist debate today: is the notion of imperialism valid or not?

a) The origin of most of the controversies is how to understand from a global point of view the dynamics of (economic) accumulation and how to articulate them with the relationship between states.

b) Influenced directly by the theorists of hegemonic transitions (Arrighi), Harvey says abertly that the notion of imperialism is insufficient, that the North-South contradiction has been replaced by the East-West one.

c) There have been several answers/oppositions to that question (a) for an explanation.

a) But both Harvey and all those who answer him (including Roberts and Katz) do not consider China as mperialist, at least not yet (neither does Russia).


Basic texts:

[Capitalist globalisation, imperialisms, geopolitical chaos and its implications; Parts I, II, IV and IX (document of the IV World Congress 2018)]


[Report on International Situation, Introduction, IV, V and VI, 2021]


Dardot and Laval, Anatomy of the New Neoliberalism, 2019, [1]


David Harvey - The 'New' Imperialism: Accumulation by Dispossession 2004 (Excerpt 2021)


Claudio Katz, "Imperialism in 21st Century", (Excerpts) 2002


Katz, Claudio “América Latina desde la teoría de la dependencia", subtitle on sub-imperialism [2]

Excerpts of Lenin’s Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism – a popular outline 1916


Rousset, Pierre. Chinese ambitions. An imperialism in formation, excerpt: part I only, June 2014 [3]


____________, "China, a new imperialism emerges" [4]


On the current Marxist polemic:

Smith, John. David Harvey denies the imperialism [5]


Harvey, David. Realities on the ground: David Harvey replies John Smith [6]


Patrick Bond, Towards a broader theory of imperialism. [7]


Suggested readings:

Callinicos, Alex, “Brexit: a world-historical turn”, International Socialism 151, 27 June 2016.

Chesnais, François, The globalization of capital, Paris: Syros Editions, 1994 (first edition) and 1997 (revised edition)

Dardot, Pierre and Laval, Christian. The new way of the world - on neoliberalism, Verso Books, 2017

Harvey, David. The new imperialism, Oxford University Press, 2004.

Harvey, David. The limits to capital, London, Verso Books, 2007. (Chapter 13, on imperialism).

Katz, Claudio. La teoría de la dependencia 50 años después. Batalla de ideas, Buenos Aires, 2019.

Lenin, V.I. Imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism, 1916. [8]

Wood, Ellen Meiksins, The Empire of Capital, Verso Books, 2003. [9]