Continuity and Changes in the Super-Exploitation of the Semi-Colonial World by Monopoly Capital

Consequences for the Marxist Theory of Imperialism



Written by Michael Pröbsting

(International Secretary of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency)


Published in 2013



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List of Tables

List of Figures

List of Abbreviations





1. Lenin’s Theory of Imperialism


“…as precise and full a Definition of Imperialism as possible”


Trotsky’s View of Lenin’s Theory of Imperialism


The Division of the World into Oppressing and Oppressed Nations


The Semi-Colonial Countries: a modified Form of Imperialist Subjugation or Independent Capitalist States?


The Role of the Superstructure and its Relationship with the Economic Basis


Imperialism and the Semi-Colonial State



2. Monopolism and the increasing Role of Monopolies in the World Economy 


Imperialism as Policy or as Monopolism based on Economic Laws?


Monopolism and Monopoly Profit


The ever-increasing Grip of Monopolies in the World Economy



3. The Decline of Capitalism since the 1970s



4. Capitalist Value Production and the Working Class Move to the South


The Marxist Classics on the Industrialization of the South


Value and Price on the World Market: The Grand Distortion of the Value Creation in the South


The increasing Importance of the Proletariat in the South and the Emerging Imperialist Countries



5. Rising Exploitation, Super-Exploitation and the Lowering the Value of Labour Force


Marx and the Depressing the Wages below the Value of the Labor Force


Impoverishment and Précarisation of the World Working Class in the past Decades


The Rise in the Rate of Exploitation



6. Marxist Theory and Imperialist Super-Exploitation of the Semi-Colonial Countries 


Unequal Exchange


Capital Export


Migration and Super-Exploitation


Centrist Objections


The Role of the Foreign Market



7. Various Forms of Imperialist Super-Exploitation of the Semi-Colonial Countries and their Development in the past Decades (Part 1)


An Overview on the Financial Net Transfer


Importance of Raw Materials and Food


The Role of Imperialist Capital Export to the Semi-Colonial World


Excurse: Capital Export and Capital Export is not the same



8. Various Forms of Imperialist Super-Exploitation of the Semi-Colonial Countries and their Development in the past Decades (Part 2)


i) Extra Profits via Capital Export as Productive Investment


Underestimation of surplus value and extra-profits extracted from the South


ii) Extra profits via Capital Export as Money Capital (Loans, Currency Reserves, Speculation, etc.)


Losses from Currency Exchange


Capital Flight


iii) Value Transfer from the Semi-Colonial South to the Imperialist North: Unequal Exchange


iv) Value Transfer from the Semi-Colonial South to the Imperialist North: Migration


Dramatic effects for semi-colonies: Brain Drain and Remittances


Direct and Indirect Exploitation of Migrants


Attempt for Total Calculation of Imperialist Plundering


Excurse: The Role of the Plundering of the Colonies for the Formation of


Capitalism in Western Europe in the 16th to 18th Century



9. Revisionist Critiques of the Leninist Theory of Imperialism


The Essence of Centrism


Denial of Concept of Semi-Colonies


Did Lenin and Trotsky know of Semi-Colonies?


When did the Epoch of Imperialism begin?


“Sometimes the Creation of ‚Independent’ States leads to a Strengthening of Imperialism.” (Lenin)


Backward Countries without Industry and Proletariat?


The CWI and the “imperialist” Argentina


The Example of Argentina


The SWP/IST and the Debt Dependency


Is there still a National Question of the Semi-Colonial Countries?


The new Theory of “Sub-Imperialism”


The Example of Turkey


“Sub-Imperialism” or Advanced Semi-Colonies?


Rejection of Concept of Labor Aristocracy


LFI: A formal Defense of Lenin’s Theory which disembowels its revolutionary Content



10. China‘s Transformation into an Imperialist Power


What are the Criteria for an Imperialist State?


China’s race to a World Major Economy


China’s Monopolies


Exploitation and Super-Exploitation of the Working Class


Capital Export as Bond and Loan Capital


Capital Export as Foreign Direct Investment


A Note on Hong Kong’s Role in Foreign Direct Investment


Where is China investing abroad?


Super-exploitation of the semi-colonies


China’s Military Forces


The Struggle for Control over the South China (or East) Sea


Where should the Working Class stand in possible Wars involving US and Chinese Imperialism and South-East Asian Nations?


Why did China’s Rulers succeed in becoming imperialist where others failed?



11. The Theory of Permanent Revolution and its Program for the Working Class Struggle



12. The Struggle against Imperialist Aggressions and Wars:


The Programme of the early Communist International and the Fourth International


i) Reactionary Wars and Conflicts between Imperialist States


ii) Just Wars and Resistance of the Oppressed


For the Destruction of the Apartheid State Israel!


Excursus: Capitalism as a unity of economic, political and ideological Spheres


iii) The Struggle for Class Independence and the Anti-imperialist United Front Tactic


iv) Liberation Struggles, Imperialist Interference and the Dual Military Tactics


The Public Opinion in the Imperialist World must not be the Starting Point for developing a Position towards a War!


How to approach various Forms of imperialist Military Interventions?


Consequences for the Military Tactic 


The Marxist Classics on Contradictory Factors in Wars



13. Centrism’s Failure in the Struggle against Imperialist Wars


i) The Malvinas War in 1982


ii) The Gulf War in 1991


iii) The imperialist War on Terror since 2001


Social-Imperialist ex-Stalinists


The IST’s specific Form of Opportunism 


How to fight for anti-imperialist Position and how not to fight for it


IST policy: Give us some Posts and we stop fighting for our Principles


CWI and their Capitulation to Imperialism


Socialist Zionism a la CWI


Is Revolutionary Defeatism too much for the Working Class?


On the CWI’ and IMT’s Falsification of Lenin’s and Trotsky’s Method


CMR/IRMT: Rejection of Anti-Imperialism in ultra-left Clothes



14. Some final remarks on the Perspectives for Class Struggle


i) A world historic revolutionary period


ii) The present historic period and its consequences for the semi-colonial world


The Shift to the South


The shift to Asia


Increasing Migration and Internationalization of the working class in the North


Great Power Rivalry and increasing imperialist leverage and wars of aggression against semi-colonies


Tendency towards Colonialism or more room to maneuver for the semi-colonial bourgeoisie? 


Globalization, regionalization and protectionism


The Prospects of Revolution and the Crisis of Working Class Leadership



15. Summary