25 May 2020

Ben Lewis

Kautsky on Colonialism | buy

The approach of the majority of the left on imperialism is drawn from Lenin’s ‘Imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism’ and the conclusions drawn from this by the Communist International: ie unequivocal hostility to imperialist wars and critical support for nationalism in the subordinated countries, even where this takes unattractive forms, like Ba’athism or Islamism. A small minority has criticised this line as anti-democratic or even pro-fascist, arguing either for support for the “War on terror” or for non-opposition to it. Both sides of this argument rest on a myth: that in the past there was a non-imperialist capitalism. The origins of this myth can be traced back to Karl Kautsky’s 1898 articles on colonialism. This book publishes these with an introduction exploring the articles and their legacy. The aim is to expose the rotten foundations of the myth and to help the left escape from the political traps of both pro-nationalist “anti-imperialism” and Yankee-philiac “anti-anti-imperialism”.

Head to Head in Halle | buy

“We are on the field of battle. The audience in the hall is divided in two sections: it is as if a knife has cut them sharply in two. Two parties are present.” Grigory Zinoviev’s description of the Halle congress of the Independent Social Democrats (USPD) in October 1920. Would the USDP and its 700,000 members opt for the Third International or attempt to stay a halfway house floating uneasily between communism and official social democracy? The Halle congress would decide.