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VLADIMIR I. LENIN On Imperialism

It does not. In the epoch of imperialism, certain branches of industry, certain strata of bourgeoisie and certain countries betray, to a greater or lesser degree, now one and now another of those tendencies. On the whole, capitalism is growing far more rapidly than before; but this growth is not only becoming more and more uneven in general, its unevenness also manifests itself, in particular, in the decay of the countries which are richest in capital (England).

Lenin was no fool. He understood that for any socialist revolution to occur, he needed the support of the proletariat. He was able to achieve this by postponing any kind of socialist solution to agrarian reform which kept the land hungry peasants temporarily acquiescent while he began to build socialized industrial production. Lenin argued that a socialist revolution must be brought to the proletariat from without, by socialist intellectuals. Without such influence, the people were inert or incapable of thinking for themselves. This is where Lenin was in conflict with Marx, though he often found ways of supporting his beliefs by quoting Marx. For example, Marx found that only industry would create a proletariat whose familiarity with it would inspire revolution. However, Lenin argued working class people are not much inclined to revolution and that they have very little means or incentive to try to improve their place in society. Thus, while Lenin argued he was building a proletariat party and revolution, he did not really seem to trust the proletariat. Lenin’s plan in short was to harness the enormous drive of social mass discontent and action through the construction of a bureaucracy. These views are from the same man who stated in Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism, that “Production becomes social, but appropriation remains private” and “Rome, founded on slavery, pursued a colonial policy and achieved imperialism.” Of course, both of these charge...

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