Notebook “δ”

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Author(s) Lenin
Written 1916

Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1976, Moscow, Volume 39, pages 257-271.



World War and Imperialism.... Source references. French Capital Investments, etc. 1914 and 1915 (on imperialism, war, and Social-Democracy): 12. Die Neue Zeit, 1897–98. N.B. Ischchanian, Foreign Elements in the Russian National Economy. “State Expenditure and Imperialism” Die Neue Zeit XXVI—I—on immigration.



Gustaf F. Steffen, World War and Imperialism. Socio-Psychological Documents and Observations of the World War 1914–15, Jena, 1915. (Translated from the Swedish.)

(p. 3): “Imperialism is as old as the history of the world”....

|| &arrow; “In its most general features, imperialism is an endeavour to build a great world state by conquest or colonisation or the peaceful political | ↓ !!? ha-ha!! union of already existing states, or by a combination of these methods; to build a world power which embraces the whole of mankind or which divides mankind between itself and some other world states” (4).... The concept of “the whole world” depends on the given people’s || “knowledge” of the earth, etc. “Imperialism is a purely psychical factor” (4).

[DITTO:] || “Social fantasy is the mother of imperialism” (5).

Imperialism has its history. “There is primitive imperialism and higher, more mature imperialism” (6).

Caesar,—Napoleon, etc., etc. ||| Present-day “imperialism of partition” (partition of the world) in contrast to ancient “mono-imperialism” (a single monarchy)—(p. 15)....

On p. 14 the author promises to examine the “special” features of “present-day” “European imperialism”....

The world is divided among ten empires ... (p. 15) and fifty other independent states....

1.Russia}}with mono-imperialist

“dreams of the future”....



2.Great Britain
(their characteristic feature being vast possessions

outside Europe).

3.France—likewise of “somewhat lower imperialist rank” (16)....
(“empires with extra-European orientation”).
5.Turkey—a weak empire.
6.China—a “dormant empire” (17) ... “Chinese imperialism” will still have to be reckoned with in the future (17)....
—the war centres on her “imperialist position and power”....
9.Italy (“an imperialist newcomer”, 18)....
10.United States.

What part of the world is “imperialised”?

Σ of these ten empires = 96.66 million square kilometres = 66% of the world. South America = 18.6 million sq. kilometres = 13% of the world (p. 18).

The author gives (Hübner’s) totals (sq. km. and population) of all these states. Σ = 96.662 million sq. km. and 1,399,689,000 population.

The whole world (145,918,000 sq. km.) (1,657,097,000 population).

The Entente (68,031,000 sq. km.) (777,060,000 population)


+ Austria

+ Turkey 5,921,000 ” ” 150,199,000 ”

It is all clearly a matter of “psychical” (25) factors!! | well said! ...“The world is now almost completely ‘divided up’. But world history teaches us that empires tend to divide up each other after they have more or less divided among themselves the ‘no-master’ areas in all parts of the globe” (37).

(a detailed paraphrase of Seeley....)

Present-day British and French imperialism—like that of Spain, Holland, Portugal, France and Great Britain in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries—is “West-European imperialism based on overseas colonisation” (43).

Russia is different. Russia is more an Asiatic country. It is in the interest of all Europe to seal itself off from Asia. | Germanophile!! The Great Russians=a mixture with Asiatics; the frontier of Europe=the frontier of the Great Russians (p. 50). The alliance of France and Great Britain with Russia is an alliance against “the general vital interests of all Europe” (51).

Incidentally: p. 46, remarks that ||| “Swedish” imperialism Sweden is “a former Great Power, dethroned by Russia herself”. || favours. German imperialism Nothing could be more legitimate than the foundation (1871) of the German Empire. Great Britain, France and Russia consider it their “right” to dismember and enfeeble Germany!! (56).

imperialism = a law of history! || “Imperialism is a universal [sic!] political stage of development, through which every [!!] great people with large internal forces and a momentous mission must pass” (56–57).

Percentage and per capita expenditure on the army and navy is less in Germany than in France and Great Britain (58). The “legend” (59) of Germany’s excessive “militarisation”! || “This cause [of the 1914–15 world catastrophe], it seems to me, lies in the relative weakness rather than the relative strength of Germany” (60).... From the standpoint of Russia + Great Britain + France, a “preventive war” was necessary”....

“True, modern economic imperialism and imperialist expansion are possible to a certain extent even without the direct acquisition of territories in other parts of the world, which we call ‘colonisation’. Capital, traders and entrepreneurs are dispatched, railways and canals are constructed, huge regions in all parts of the world are made accessible to modern capitalist development, and in this way, spheres of economic influence, or spheres of domination, in other parts of the world are acquired without direct seizure of territory or political conquest.

aha! | “Undoubtedly, German imperialism has hitherto, employed, to a considerable extent, these more peaceful methods of expansion. This could be, but might not be, merely preparation for colonial acquisitions in the previous sense” (62).

It has been aimed chiefly at Asia Minor and Mesopotamia—areas not belonging to the British Empire.

Great Britain seeks to deprive Germany of just that development which she herself extensively enjoys + France + Russia (62–63).

“The world war of 1914–15 is therefore really a world war—a war to give the new German Empire a share in ruling the world, a war in which the leading role is played by the mistress of the world, Great Britain, while the two next most powerful world powers—Russia and France—are interested participants” (63).

Great Britain + France + Russia = 46% of the earth and 43% of its population; + the U.S.A. + Germany = 55% and 53% (p. 68).... “In other words, the world is actually divided between some few states” (69)....

Seeley—1883 (The Expansion...)....

Charles Dilke—1890 (Problems of Greater Britain).

There should be three empires: Great Britain + the United States + Russia.

France and Germany “pygmies” (!!) (p. 71).

James Anthony Froude—1885 (Oceania or England and Her Colonies).

The Empire and the Century, 1905 (a symposium of 50 authors).

The following is from the introductory article by W. F. Monnypenny “The Imperial Ideal”:

“Today the words ‘Empire’ and ‘Imperialism’ fill the place in everyday speech that was once filled by ‘Nation’ and ‘Nationality’... the national ideal has given place to the Imperial” (72)....

Imperialism (Rome!) is older than “nationalism” (72–73). But “modern” imperialism is based “to a very large extent” on nationalism (73)....

J. A. Cramb, Germany and England, 1913.... (“Germany is our worst enemy”....) For a standing army.... “All England’s wars for the past five hundred years have been fought for empire”. (79).... Alliance with Russia is “unnatural” (80).... | true! “Bluntly stated, what it amounts to is that, in her general development, Germany is now vastly superior to France, Russia and Japan, and she alone can in the future present a real threat to Britain’s world domination, and especially to her command of the seas. Hence an agreement between Britain and the three Great Powers mentioned was incomparably easier than one with Germany” (85).

Endless prattle—quotations from Trubetskoi—the German Chancellor is more moral than Lloyd George, etc., etc. Chauvinist blather! Pithy quotations from George Bernard Shaw on British hypocrisy (120–23), etc. ||| But Shaw, he says, !!! ||| has written a host of articles [inter alia in The New Statesman] on the need to “smash up” Germany (p. 128).

One of the causes is failure to “understand” one another (136);—education in a spirit of “national prejudices” (137).

— — — Peace requires the shedding of national “independence” (138) (= the right to make war), etc., etc.

Quotations from Bernhardi ... he accuses his nation of lacking bellicosity (!!) ... and from Rohrbach (he, too, is “moderate”! (p. 150), Rohrbach’s “humane (!!!) guiding impulses”). — — What a banal type, this Steffen!... ! ||| German imperialism is “defensive rather than aggressive” (157).

ha-ha!! || Germany is waging a “defensive” war (158)—it is “ludicrous” to think that she would have chosen for an attack “such a wildly unfavourable situation as the present one”, etc., etc. German imperialism is “profoundly cultural, socially constructive”, etc. (163).

[DOUBLE BOX ENDS:] [[ This book, which promised something in the beginning, degenerates into the most vulgar Germanophile chauvinism! N.B. ]]

The diplomatic documents are extremely confused—in all countries there were (some) diplomats for war,—the military, too, intervened (powerfully).... “The causes of the 1914–15 world war can be established only by studying world history” (180)....

And further, right to the end (p. 254), Germanophile quotations from well-known “books”... Nil! Nil! Not worth the trouble reading this “Dreck”!


Dr. Felix Baron von Oppenheimer, British Imperialism, Vienna, 1905.

(a pamphlet of 64 pp. Nil, except the familiar talk about Chamberlain and “his” movement. Nil!)


Hans Henger, French Capital Investments in Securities, Stuttgart, 1913 (Munich Economic Studies, No. 125).

Contains very little. Repeats Neymarck’s figures on total value of securities.

[BOX:] [[ 815,000 million; without duplications, 600,000 million francs, of which 106,000–110,000 million in France. ]]

The total amount of the 4 per cent coupon tax (the tax on interest and dividends) increased

from 70.4 million francs in 1891

to 102.5 ” ” ” 1910 (p. 1).

The total amount of securities (in French ownership):
(according to Edmond Théry)1891—77,100 million francs
1907—98,600 ” ”
(according to the author)1891–95—79,000 ” ”
1906–10—110,400 ” ”
Annual investment in joint-stock companies
France...566,2 million francs
Germany...1,080.5 ” ”
French economic progress:
Wheat harvest117 mill. hectolitres126
Oat ”94 ” ”117
Iron output3.5 mill. tons.16.6(1911)
Merchant shipping0.9 ” ”1.4(1909)
Steam engines in industry55,967 (1891)81,335
In h.p. units916,0002,759,350
Wealth of France

(according to inheritance tax)

243,000 mill. francs (1892)287,000(1908)
Coal consumption28.96 mill. tons (1885)56.4(1911)
(in Germany)67.1205.7(1908))
French special (foreign) trade
per head of population7,692 mill. francs12,020 +56.2%
200.4 francs304.7+52%
Figures for Germany:7,117 mill. marks15,197+113.5%
per head of population141.5 marks238.6+68.6%
{238.6 marks=294.5 francs. Less than in France!}

N.B. In the mining industry of France, the workers are, “in great part”, foreigners: Poles, Italians and Spaniards.[1]

“If the French produce less, if industry and trade in France do not develop as fast as in Germany, that, of course, is not an indication that France is in danger of becoming a rentier state” (78) ... the development (of industry and trade) is going ahead, though more slowly than in Germany.

N.B. He quotes: Annuaire statistique de la France, 1910 (economic and social indices).


K. Kautsky, “Imperialism”, Die Neue Zeit, 1914, 2 (32nd year), p. 908 et seq. No. 21 (September 11, 1914).

((A note to the article says it was written before the war, for the Congress, and has been slightly altered.))

? It is not uncommon now to “identify with imperialism all the phenomena of present-day capitalism—cartels, protection, the domination of the financiers, and colonial policy” (908). In that case we have “the flattest tautology”, in that case “imperialism is naturally a vital necessity for capitalism”[2] (908).

The term, he says, must be taken “not in this generalised sense, but in its historical determination” (909), as in Britain, i.e., “as a special kind of political strivings”. ? Hobson! || “The British understand” (909) by imperialism the striving, on the one hand, to unite all parts of the empire with the metropolis, and, on the other, to extend the empire....

“Imperialism is a product of highly developed industrial capitalism. It consists in the striving | no good at all of every industrial capitalist nation to bring under its control or to annex ever bigger areas of agrarian [Kautsky’s italics] territory, irrespective of what nations inhabit them”[3] (909)....

Further, he discusses the “production proportion” (heading of § 1) between agriculture and industry, between means of production and means of consumption.

§ 2: “Simple commodity production” (blather, old stuff).

§ 3: “Capitalist production”: capitalist industry requires that “the agricultural area serving it as supplier and purchaser” should “constantly expand” ((slipshod!)).

§ 4: “Accumulation and imperialism.”

The contradiction between industry and agriculture finds dual expression (917):

(1) over-production (in industry)....

(2) high costs (of raw materials and staple products)....

Imperialism was preceded by the “form” (striving for expansion) of free trade: “half-a-century ago it, too, was considered the last word in capitalism, as imperialism is today” (917)....

Free trade helped develop other countries (the United States + Europe); their protectionist policy: in place of the division of labour between British industry and the agriculture of all other countries, “they” (the other countries) “divided up the still free agrarian regions of the world among the big |||| N.B. industrial countries, because these regions were incapable of resistance. Britain reacted to this. That was the beginning of imperialism.

|| ? “It was especially assisted by the system, which arose simultaneously with it, of export of capital to the agrarian regions” (918)....

Railways in the new countries—the development of trade—their protection by the state—the striving for annexations (+ preventing the development of industry in them)....

“These are the most important roots of imperialism which replaced free trade”....

“Does it constitute the last possible form of capitalist world policy, or is some other form still possible?”

One “aspect of imperialism”, that is “a vital necessity for capitalism”, viz.: domination over and subjugation of agricultural regions, the construction of railways, can be overcome “only through socialism” (920)....

There is, however, another aspect of imperialism: the struggle waged by states, armaments, war, the resistance of India, Islam and Eastern Asia, the resistance of the proletariat—all this impels “the capitalists of all countries to unite” (920)....

|| ultra-imperialism[4] “From the purely economic point of view, therefore, it is not impossible that capitalism will yet go through a new phase, that of the ha-ha ||| extension of the policy of the cartels to foreign policy, the phase of ultra-imperialism, against which, of course, we would have to fight as vigorously as against imperialism, although it will bring dangers in another direction, not in that of an armaments race and threats to world peace” (921)....

This was written before the war. !! ||| Austria’s conflict with Serbia “did not arise exclusively from imperialist tendencies” (922)—it has “just as much (ebenso) a nationalist” “as an imperialist root” (922). ha-ha! [DITTO: ||| ] True, he says, there are “contradictions”, which imperialism created “between the other Great Powers”. Armaments might be increased and peace (after this war) will be only a truce.

“From the purely economic point of view, nothing any longer prevents this huge discharge of tension from || finally resulting in the abolition of imperialism through a holy alliance of the imperialists” (922).... The more prolonged the war and the exhaustion ..., the nearer we shall be to this solution....

[RIGHT BOX END:] Ibidem, p. 981—in the article on “Effects of the War”—internationalism “does not exclude” “national feeling” and defence of the fatherland, but requires their recognition “for each nation”; “in this sense” (sic!) the Germans and French voted the war credits. ]]

p. 975—ibidem—“our comrades” voted the war credits both to defend the fatherland and “liberate Russia from tsarism” (!!)....

|| ha—ha! p. 974—“there should be an appeal to the statesmen of the victorious countries to exercise moderation” (thrice).

p. 846 (August 21, 1914)—an article “The War” (dated August 8, 1914)—ends with an appeal for “trust”, but not for “criticism”—“discipline in the Party”....

“Two Articles for Re-study” (1915, 2) § d: “The concept of imperialism.”

Opposing Cunow, he asserts that (Hilferding’s) “conclusions” about finance capital have been “unanimously [K. Kautsky’s italics] adopted by all socialist theoreticians”[5] (p. 107) (April 23, 1915).

Cunow equates imperialism with “modern capitalism” (109).

Kautsky rejects this. In Britain in the 1890s (110), imperialism meant the striving for a great Britain (110), for empire, “a special kind of imperial policy” (110. K. Kautsky’s italics)—colonies, protectionist policy.

|| ? “It [“this new policy”] was termed imperialism by everyone” (N.B.) (ibidem).

|||| N.B. Die Neue Zeit, 1897–98, XVIth year, Vol. I I was the “first” (he says) to study the “new imperialism” (Die Neue Zeit, 1897–98 (16, 1), “Old and New Colonial Policy”) and to point to the export of capital, to the role of the financial top stratum. Hilferding in 1910 did not call this new phase of capitalism “imperialism” (110–11). “He [Hilferding], too, || evasion, arguing over words uses the term ‘imperialism’ to mean a special kind of policy, and not a ‘phase of economy’. Imperialism for him [= Hilferding] is a policy preferred by finance capital” (111)....

We must draw this distinction: imperialism is not a “phase of economy”, but a special policy, like Manchesterism.[6] We must distinguish between finance capital and imperialism—“its policy” (111).

“Imperialism is a special kind of capitalist policy, as was also Manchesterism, well, that’s it! || which it replaced. The latter, too, did not denote a definite ‘phase of economy’, although it was necessarily connected with such a phase” (111).[7]

[[DOUBLE BOX ENDS:]] [[ Imperialism is the policy of the “economic phase” of finance capital!! Is that what you wanted? Pettyfogger and sophist, trickster,[8] twister—that’s what you are! You evade the essence of the matter. ]]

§ e) “the necessity of imperialism” (112 et seq.)

“That imperialism was inevitable and || therefore necessary—no one will deny.... The debatable question is whether it is necessary in the future”... (113).

And, further, the passages quoted by me in Kommunist[9] (pp. 144–45 and others[10] )....

(ultra-imperialism is also possible ... etc. See Kommunist....)

Inter alia:

Kautsky: “Kiao-chow”, Die Neue Zeit XVI, 2(1898)—(No. 27, March 1898)—inter alia that the “policy of conquest” in China, etc.,

{{2 sic!! || “is not a progressive, but a reactionary policy, not a modern bourgeois policy, but part of a newly revived feudal-absolutist policy ... a reaction against Manchesterism.... {{ N.B. ||| Even from a more advanced bourgeois standpoint, it must be combated, just as we combat taxes on consumer goods, bonuses, narrow departmentalism, restrictions on freedom of movement”, etc. (p. 25)....

N.B. Die Neue Zeit XV, 1 (1897). Lafargue, “Economic Functions of the Stock Exchange”.

N.B. 1915, 2 (33rd year), article on Gerhart Güttler’s book, The British Labour Party (Jena, 1914).


Dr. of Philosophy B. Ischchanian, Foreign Elements In the Russian National Economy. Foreigners in Russia—Their History, Distribution, Classification by Occupation, Interests and Economic and Cultural Importance, Berlin, 1913 (Siemenroth). 7 marks.

Reviewed by Alexinsky in Die Neue Zeit, 1913–14, 32, 1, p. 435 et seq.

N.B. The following table is from Ischchanian (p. 438):



In general


In Russia



of last



France has40,00040,000 francs14,000 francs(X) 27.5
Belgium ”2,715 ”634 ”23.4
Germany ”32,50026,000 marks4,000 marks15.38
Britain ”78,70063,000 ”775 ”1.20
Other countries have500 ”
__ ____ __ ____

(my total)

[BOX:] [[

United States??

10,000?? minimum>44,500 mill. marks

(x) 14,582 mill. marks, of

which 83.76% in state loans....
160,000 mill. francs ]]
[BOX:] [[

(x) My calculation: 14,634 fr. X8== 11,707 marks + 5,275 = 16,982 marks and

not 14,582?? ]]


Ant. Pannekoek, “State Expenditure and Imperialism” (Die Neue Zeit, 1913–14, 32, 1, No. 4, October 24, 1913, p. 110 et seq.).

(x) “In my opinion, the contradiction between principled and reformist tactics is that the latter ? || is too strongly determined by immediate interests, by easily attainable and apparent results, and sacrifices to them the inner strength of the proletariat. Principled, Marxist tactics aim primarily at increasing the power of the proletariat, thereby securing the highest positive results; for these results, being concessions made by the ruling classes, depend primarily on the power of the proletariat” (p. 111).

And before the above passage:

(**) not the right word; not so ||2 “The essence of the socialist class struggle is inseparable unity of the struggle for socialism (**) and representation of all the immediate interests of the proletariat. Only the Party’s fight for the current interests of the working class makes it the party of the proletariat, true! ||2 the party of the masses, and enables it to win victory” (x).

[BOX:] [[ N.B. Pannekoek’s formulation of the question of reformism is wrong. ]]

N.B. [DOUBLE LEFT-TOP-RIGHT BOX END:] Pannekoek has here posed a question of prime importance, but has answered it badly—or, at least, inaccurately. “The unity of the struggle for socialism and for reforms” or “and for the immediate interests of the workers”? But what is the struggle for socialism? In Pannekoek’s formula, the distinction between the Left and the “Centre” is blurred, wiped out, has disappeared. Even Kautsky (who, incidentally, made no rejoinder to this article of Pannekoek’s) would subscribe to Pannekoek’s formula (the one given here). This formula is wrong. || The struggle for socialism lies in the unity of the struggle for the immediate interests of the workers (including reforms) and the revolutionary struggle for power, for expropriation of the bourgeoisie, for the overthrow of the bourgeois government and the bourgeoisie.

What have to be combined are not the struggle for reforms + phrases about socialism, the struggle “for socialism”, but two forms of struggle.

For example:

1. Voting for reforms + revolutionary action by the masses....

2. Parliamentarism + demonstrations....

3. The demand for reforms + the (concrete) demand for revolution....

Economic struggle together with the unorganised, with the masses, and not only on behalf of the organised workers....

4. Literature for the advanced + free, mass literature for the more backward, for the unorganised, for the “lower masses”....

5. Legal literature + illegal....

{cf. same volume of Die Neue Zeit, p. 591, on “unskilled” workers in America}

  1. See present edition, Vol. 22, p. 283.—Ed.
  2. Ibid , pp. 267–68.—Ed.
  3. Ibid., p. 268.—Ed.
  4. See present edition, Vol. 22, p. 271.—Ed.
  5. Ibid., p. 289.—Ed.
  6. Manchesterism (Free Trade)—a trend of bourgeois economic policy which advocated freedom of trade and non-interference by the state in private economic activity. It arose in England at the end of the eighteenth century; in the thirties and forties of the nineteenth century the main support of Free Trade came from the industrial bourgeoisie of Manchester; hence the Free Traders were also called Manchesterites. The Manchester school was headed by Cobden and Bright. Free Trade tendencies in the era prior to monopoly capitalism also struck root in Germany, France, Russia and other capitalist countries. Free Trade was theoretically substantiated in the works of Adam Smith and David Ricardo. p. 288
  7. See present edition, Vol. 22, p. 267.—Ed.
  8. Lenin calls Kautsky a sophist and trickster for distorting the true nature of imperialism, evading the issue and using sophistries and spurious theoretical arguments to gloss over the deep-seated contradictions of imperialism and justify unity with the apologists of capitalism, the avowed social-chauvinists. p. 268
  9. Kommunist—a magazine founded by Lenin and published by the editorial board of the newspaper Sotsial-Demokrat jointly with G. L. Pyatakov and Yevgenia Bosh, who financed its publication. N. I. Bukharin was also a member of the editorial board. The only (double) issue, which appeared in September 1915, contained three articles by Lenin: “The Collapse of the Second International”, “The Voice of an Honest French Socialist” and “Imperialism and Socialism in Italy” (see present edition, Vol. 21, pp. 205–59, 349–56, 357–66).
    Lenin drew up the plan for the magazine in the spring of 1915. He intended to make Kommunist an international organ of the Left Social-Democrats. However, serious disagreements soon arose between the editors of Sotsial-Demokrat and Bukharin, Pyatakov and Bosh, and became more acute after the first issue was published. In view of the anti-Party attitude of this group, the Sotsial-Demokrat editorial board, on Lenin’s proposal, decided that It was impossible to continue the magazine. p. 268
  10. Ibid., Vol. 21, pp. 223–24.—Ed.