Sundays starting April 16th at 11 AM PDT / 12 PM MDT / 1 PM CDT / 2 PM EDT

The purpose of this course is to enable participants to develop a firm grasp of the Marxist understanding of imperialism and closely related topics, such as finance capital and monopoly capital. We will begin by briefly brushing up on some basics of Marx’s economic theory of capitalist society before moving on to consider important developments of the Marxian theory on the topic of imperialism up to the contemporary situation. 

All readings will be made available. All are welcome to attend. The only requirement is that every participant prepare and engage in earnest and open-minded discussion and debate. Participants who would simply like to attend and listen but cannot always finish all of the reading etc. are nevertheless more than welcome.

If you are interested in participating, please register online HERE and you will be notified when this course will begin. (It is recommended to have a Google account to register. Please be sure to be logged in to your Google account before clicking on the link above, and choose “Request to join group”.)

All readings listed will be discussed. John Milios’s essay “Classical Theories of Imperialism” is recommended.


1. Introduction: Crash Course Marx & Marxism

2. Early Non-Marxist Views:

  • Charles A. Conant, “The Economic Basis of ‘Imperialism’” (1898)
  • H.S. Foxwell, “The Nature of the Industrial Struggle” (1917)
  • H.S. Foxwell, “The Financing of Industry and Trade” (1917)
  • John Gallagher and Ronald Robinson, “The Imperialism of Free Trade” (1953)

3. Classical Theories I: J.A. Hobson & Rosa Luxemburg

  • Hobson, Imperialism: A Study [Chapter 6]
  • Luxemburg, “Anti-Critique” [chapters 1 & 6]
  • Luxemburg, Accumulation of Capital [Introduction, Ch. 26]

4. Classical Theories II: Rudolf Hilferding I

  • “German Imperialism and Domestic Politics” (1907)
  • “Organized Capitalism” (1927)

5. Classical Theories II: Rudolf Hilferding II

  • Finance Capital (1910)
    • Preface
    • Part V: the economic policy of finance capital

6. Classical Theories III: Karl Kautsky & Nicolai Bukharin

  • Karl Kautsky, “[Ultra]Imperialism” (1914)
  • Nicolai Bukharin
    • “Imperialism and Communism” (1936)
    • Imperialism and World Economy (1929)
      • 1. World Economy Defined
      • 3. Organisation Forms of World Economy
      • 4. Inner Structure of ‘National’ Economies and the Tarriff Policy
      • 8. World Economy and the ‘National’ State
      • 9. Imperialism as a Historic Category
      • [OPTIONAL] 10. Reproduction of the Process of Concentration and Centralisation of Capital on a Wold Scale
      • [OPTIONAL] 11. Means of Competitive Struggle, and State Power

7. Political Synthesis of the Classical Theories: V.I. Lenin

8. World System and Underdevelopment: Oliver C. Cox, Walter Rodney, and Michał Kalecki

  • Oliver C. Cox, Capitalism as a System (1962)
    • 1. The Structure of the System
    • [OPTIONAL] 2. The Social Matrix
    • [OPTIONAL] 3. The Primary Force
    • 9. Imperialism
    • 10. Can Imperialism Be Abolished?
  • Walter Rodney, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa (1972)
    • 1. Some Questions on Development
  • Michał Kalecki, “Observations on Social and Economic Aspects of ‘Intermediate Regimes’” (1964)
  • Handout on the Concept of the “Comprador” Class (Mao, Trotsky, Nkrumeh, Rodney)

9. Monopoly Capital and Financialization: Paul Sweezy & Co.

  • “On the Theory of Monopoly Capitalism” (Monthly Review, Vol. 23, No. 11, April 1972) 
  • Monopoly Capital After Twenty-Five Years” (Monthly Review, Vol. 43, No. 7, December 1991)
  • “Monopoly Capitalism” (Monthly Review, 2004, Vol. 56, No. 05, October, 2004)
  • “Production and Finance” (Monthly Review, Vol. 35, No. 1, May 1983), with Harry Magdoff
  • “The Triumph of Financial Capital” (Monthly Review, Vol. 46, No. 2, June 1994)
  • “More (or less) on Globalization” (Monthly Review, Vol. 49, No. 4, September 1997)
  • The Financialization of Capitalism”, Costas Lapavitsas
  • [OPTIONAL] “Imperialism” (in The Theory of Capitalist Development, 307-28)
  • [OPTIONAL] “Competition and Monopoly” (Monthly Review, Vol. 33, No. 1, May 1981)

10. More Recent Reflections on the “New Imperialism”, David Harvey

  • The New Imperialism (2003)
    • 1. All About Oil
    • 2. How America’s Power Grew
    • 4. Accumulation by Disposession

11. Dollar Hegemony: Michael Hudson I

  • Super-Imperialism: The Origin and Fundamentals of U.S. World Dominance
    • Preface
    • Introduction
    • Chapter 16: Monetary Imperialism in the Twenty-First Century

12. Dollar Hegemony: Michael Hudson II

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