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On Imperialism & Opportunism

On Imperialism & Opportunism

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This collection of texts by V.I. Lenin was originally compiled by the Communist Working Circle, a Danish anti-­imperialist group. In the late 1960s, the CWC developed the so-­called “parasite state” theory linking the imperialist exploitation and oppression of the proletariat in the Global “South” with the establishment of states in the Global “North” in which the working class lives in relative prosperity. In connection with studies of this division of the world, CWC published these texts by Lenin with the title “On Imperialism and Opportunism.”

What is the relevance of these texts today? Firstly, the connection that Lenin posits between imperialism and opportunism—that is, the sacrifice of long-­term socialist goals for short-­term or sectional gains—is more pronounced than ever. Second, imperialism may, in many respects, have changed its economic mechanisms and its political form, but its content is fundamentally the same, namely, a transfer of value from the Global South to the Global North, with the political outcome being that the working class is divided into a highly-­exploited proletariat in the South and a working class in the North which lives in relative prosperity. Lenin referred to this better-­off section of the working class as a “labor aristocracy.”

With an introduction by former CWC member Torkil Lauesen.

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