chapter  2
43 Pages

The anti-imperialist reaction and the Marxist pre-emption of economic-imperialism theory

The history of nineteenth-century European economic and military expansion and conquest has an in crescendo quality that is not easy to reconcile with Little-England and other theories about respites in the advance of colonialism. It is this observable fact that makes Lenin’s claim concerning Marx’s and Engels’ relative ignorance of imperialism seem rather feeble, apart, of course, from the overwhelming textual evidence that, far from not being aware of European expansionism, they used this tendency as a recurrent motif in their writings on politics and on history. It was in fact inescapable even in Marx’s cold sober economic analyses, such as those in Capital, a work in which colonial issues from the start of colonialism and onwards come up time and again to illustrate technical arguments.