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Daily Archives: November 15th, 2009





The next of The Commune’s London public forums is on the subject of the social role, degeneration and future course of the Labour Party. The meeting takes place from 7pm on Monday 23rd November at the Lucas Arms, Grays Inn Road, near King’s Cross.

The discussion will be led off by Chris Ford from The Commune, Andrew Fisher from the Labour Representation Committee and David Bailey, Department of Political Science and International Studies, University of Birmingham, and author of ‘The Transition to ‘New’ Social Democracy: the role of capitalism, representation, and (hampered) contestation’.

The Commune London Public Forum on the Labour Party:

The Commune:

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Neil Southwell



It’s Christmas Time!

Neil Southwell has updated his music website for Christmas! He has written two new Christmas songs: one for the pre-Christmas period and another one for the post-Christmas timeframe. There is also the snow song from when we had the unusually large amounts of snow last February – which is a bit Christmassy too! One of the Christmas songs can be downloaded, and, obviously, you can listen to the others.

See Neil Southwell’s band website at:

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Rethinking Imperialism

Rethinking Imperialism



Rethinking Imperialism: A Study of Capitalist RulePalgrave-Macmillan 2009


By John Milios, and Dimitris P. Sotiropoulos

For over a century, “imperialism” has been a key concept in Left theory and politics, connoting both the aggressiveness and the characteristics of modern capitalism. This book aims at presenting and assessing imperialism as a theoretical concept. Since a variety of different definitions are assigned to the concept of imperialism, it is necessary to put to the test the rigour of these definitions. The authors of this volume provide a comprehensive evaluation, focusing especially on the tension between Marx’s theoretical system of the Critique of Political Economy and the theories of capitalist expansion and domination that emerge out of the various discourses on imperialism.

The book critically reviews all major (classical and contemporary) theories of imperialism. The authors embark on a critical interrogation of all innovations introduced into theoretical Marxism by theories of imperialism (for example those concerning the stages of historical evolution of capitalism, the capitalist state, internationalization of capital, crises etc.). They show that most of these theories deviate from the theoretical system formulated by Marx, especially in Capital and his other mature economic writings.

Furthermore, these theories seem to poorly interpret historical development. Is there a theory of the capitalist state to justify the thesis that the collapse of colonialism after World War II is so insignificant to the periodization of international capitalist relations (or “global capitalism”) that the “final stage” of capitalism commencing in the last decades of the 19th century is arguably still continuing? To pose the same question differently: on what theoretical grounds can the “early” colonialism, as opposed to the late colonial era (from the late 19th century to World War II), be bracketed off as a distinct period in the history of capitalism? On grounds of Marx’s theory of the CMP this period now has to be revisited. Why does the second colonial period have more affinities with the present-day non-colonial post-World War II era than with the era of early colonialism? Last but not least, is there a tendency towards expansionism that is innate in every form of capitalist domination, i.e. also in the less developed capitalist states that are not to be classified as being in the supposedly “ripe” or “monopoly capitalist” stage?

The authors propose a conceptualization of the international level which comes into a striking contrast with the majority of contemporary approaches of globalization or “new imperialism”. Their interpretation perceives the international level as a complex interlinkage of different (national-state) economic and social structures, each of which evolves at a different and unequal rate as a result primarily of the different class and political correlation of forces that have crystallized within it.

The book addresses the contemporary contradictions and trends of development of the “international capitalist system” and the evolving global economic crisis, formulating a fundamental reinterpretation of imperialism. Important in this line of reasoning remains the notion of imperialist chain, which is formulated in accordance with Marx’s concept of social capital and his theory of the capitalist mode of production. It thus defends the thesis that internal-national relationships and processes always have priority over international relations.

It is precisely the fundamental discovery of Marxism that the class struggle (which is at the same time economic, political and ideological and is thus consummated within each national-state entity) is the driving force of history. It is through these class correlations and relations of domination that international relations, with all the concomitant interdependence on other social formations, take effect. If imperialism is a permanent possibility emerging out of the structures of the capitalist mode of production, the historical form it will ultimately acquire for a particular social formation depends on the way in which the “external” situation (that is to say the international correlation of forces) over-determines but also constrains the practices that emerge out of the evolution of the internal class correlations.

* Classical Theories of Imperialism: A New Interpretation of Capitalist Rule, Expansionism, Capital Export, the Periodization and the “Decline” of Capitalism.
* Post World-War II “Metropolis-Periphery” Theories of Imperialism.
* Theories of Imperialism as Alternatives to Classical and Metropolis-Periphery Approaches.
* The State as a Vehicle of both Capitalist Expansionism and Decolonization: Historical Evidence and Theoretical Questions.
*Capitalist Mode of Production and Social Formation: Conclusions Concerning the Organization of Capitalist Power.
* Capitalist Mode of Production and Monopolies.
* Is Imperialism the Latest Stage of Capitalism? Reflections on the Question of Periodization of Capitalism and Stages of Capitalist Development.
* Internationalisation of Capital.
* Financialization: Market Discipline or Capital Discipline?
* The “Global” Level and the Concept of Imperialist Chain.
Epilogue: Rethinking Imperialism and Capitalist Rule.

John Milios, is Professor of Political Economy and the History of Economic Thought at the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), Greece. He has authored more than two hundred (200) papers published or forthcoming in refereed journals (in Greek, English, German, French, Spanish, Italian and Turkish), and has participated as invited speaker in numerous international conferences. He has also authored or co-authored some eleven scholarly books. He is director of the quarterly journal of economic theory Thesseis (published since 1982 in Greek) and serves on the Editorial Boards of several scholarly journals.

Dimitris P. Sotiropoulos is Visiting Lecturer of Political Economy at the Department of Sociology, University of the Aegean, Greece. He has published papers in refereed journals (in Greek, English and German). His research interests include: theories of Political Economy, theories of Imperialism, theory of Value and Money. He is also a member of the Editorial Board of the quarterly journal of economic and political theory Thesseis (published since 1982 in Greek).

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Americam Empire

American Empire


Organised by the Department of Development Studies

School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)

University of London

Convenor: Professor Gilbert Achcar


This event is co-sponsored by Historical Materialism Conference 2009 (27-29 November)


Wednesday 25 November, 6:30pm, SOAS, Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre, London WC1

Alex Callinicos was born in Zimbabwe. After teaching political philosophy for many years at the University of York, he is now Professor of European Studies at King’s College London. His most recent books are The Resources of Critique and Imperialism and Global Political Economy. His next book Bonfire of Illusions: The Twin Crises of the Liberal World will appear early next year.

Leo Panitch is the Senior Canada Research Chair in Comparative Political Economy and Distinguished Research Professor of Political Science at York University, Toronto, and the co-editor of The Socialist Register. His most recent books are American Empire and the Political Economy of Global Finance, and Renewing Socialism: Transforming Democracy, Strategy and Imagination.

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