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The essential framework of European capitalism ideology was defined by the European

philosphy of the Enlightenment. This philosophy is based on a tradition of mechanistic

materliasm which postulates a series of chains of specific causal determination. The chief of
these is that science and techology by their autonomous progress determine every sphere of
social life, transforming social relations in the process. The class struggle is expelled from
history and replaced by a mechanical determiation imposing itse;f as an external force, like a law
of nature. This primitive materialism, which is often regarded as oposse to idealism, is in fact its
twin brother> they are two sides of the same coin.-91
-marxism is not just the most modern materialism. Because it combines materialism with
dialectics, its stands outside the terrain of the classical materialism debate and transcends both by
demystifying them. i.e..by revealing their function in the class struggle.-91
-Historical materialism for the fisrt time analyzes history in nonideological terms, provides the
methods for understanding the nature of social alienation and thus breaksradically with the
tradition of Eupean philosophy-92
-the formation of capitalist ideology, in fact, went through different stages. The first was the
adaptation of Christianity(especially with the rise of Protestantism), but that was only a fisrt
stage, confined to certain areas of European cultural sphere. Being master of the real world, the
English burgeoisie did not feel the need to develop philosophy, it could be satisfied with an
empiricism which corresponded to primitive materialism and which was sufficient to ensure the
development of the productive forces.-96
-the non-European sphere of developed capitalism is virtually limited to Japan. Japan is
frequently the subject of contradictory comments: it is said to have lost its national culture and
retained only an empty shell; or on the contrary, japan supposedly juxtaposes or even integrates
its own system of value. In fact, Japan acceded directly to the read-made ideology of capitalism,
in its mature form of commodity alienation. -98
-The Europeansphere of underdeveloped capitalism-in practice, LAtin America-presents a
specific contradiction. Since it is underdeveloped, Latin America cannot accede to the model of
mature central capitalism, owing to the very fact of imperialist domination. There is, however, a

very strong danger that large sectors of these societies may continue to cherish the illusion of a
possible evolution toward an American or a Soviet model.-99
-The se working-class masses are in the very large majority, not only in the rural areas, but also
in the towns. (The acceleration of migration to the urban centers has changed their character
which, not very long ago, was essentially colonial, i.e. ., Spanish.) This opposition is expressed
primarily by the refusal of the masses to participate in the debates concerning "modernization.
At the other pole, the ruling classesin the widest sensehave no doubt of their
"Europeanness , which, however, is cultural more than ethnic, since the renewal of these classes
side by side with the development of capitalism was sometimes effected by the absorption of
popular elements. The gulf between these ruling classes and the people is therefore widened by
this double unintegrated cultural heritage. In Mexico, for instance, the contemporary
revolutionary movement (urban dweller, worker, and student) has no roots in the peasant (and
therefore Indian) revolution of 1910. In Bolivia, Trotskyism, the dominant factor in the labor
movement, ignores the (Indian) peasantry which continues to proclaim its hatred of colonial
Spain in its songs.-100
- It is therefore essential not to confuse expansionism, the general characteristic of capitalism,
with imperialism, which constitutes its contemporary stage. This question must not be studied in
terms of the "economic laws of the capitalist mode, but by going back to the global plan of
historical materialism, that of the class struggle, and placing this struggle once again in its true
worldwide context. It is only thus that t we will avoid the linear and mechanistic vision which the
West-centered outlook necessarily involves. This point of view assumes that one is familiar with
the principal arguments in Unequal Development concerning: (1) the fundamental concepts
relative to modes of production, social formations, and the relationships between the economic
base and the ideological and political superstructure s;3 (2) the characteristics (generalized
commodity alienation) and the fundamental laws of the capitalist mode of production, especially
those concerning a ccumulation:4 the dynamics of extended reproduction, the active role of
credit and money in the dynamic equilibrium,5 the dialectics of the business cycle and smaller
economic fluctuations; 6 (3) the international link between national capitalist formations and the
international monetary system;7 (4) the concept of domination by the capitalist mode over other
production modes, the formal subordination of labor to capital, the interconnection between

agriculture and industry in the accumulation of capital, and the transformation of ground rent;8
(5) the theory of international values and that of unequal exchange;9 and (6) the problems of
unequal social development with which both capitalism and its socialist successor are involved.104
- Mercantilist expansionism typifies the class struggle of the period of transition from European
feudalism to capitalism. It was the product of the struggle between the developing bourgeoisie
still merchant and not industrialand the landowners. The first periphery was thus organized
in close relationship with primitive accumulation: the accumulation of money wealth which
became capital at one pole, and the deterioration of feudal relations of production which released
the labor power that was to become the proletariat at the other pole. The transformation f ground
rent and landed property, which became capitalist rent and capitalist landed property, was part of
this deterioration. There is no economic law which can account for these decisive
transformations in the transition from feudalism to capitalism. Physiocracy merely expresses in
ideological terms the demands of the agrarian and merchant bourgeoisies; it gives a rational
image of their behavior. Nor did the commercial expansionism of nineteenth century
premonopoly capitalism follow from an implacable economic necessity. The internal markets
for the new manufactured products were insufficient because the rate of surplus value was very
high, owing to the weakness of the working class. A theoretical equilibrium without external
markets would have been possible at a higher level of real wages.-105

- This division of labor fostered acceleration of accumulation in the center, in spite of the very
low level of wages. At the same time, it enabled the industrial bourgeoisie to reduce the
extraction of the profits of ground rent, it was not economic laws but class relations between
the bourgeoisie, the proletariat, and landed property that determined he pace and structure of
- The concepts of center and periphery are related to the expansionism of capital in general. They
are definitely not attenuated synonyms of imperialist countries and colonial or dependent
countries. These concepts are essential for those who, from the very beginning, have a vision of

capitalism which is neither West-centered nor economistic. It is not by accident that those who
reject these concepts inevitably fall into the revisionist trap, even when they state their
criticisms in leftist or ultra-leftist terms (Trotskyism, pseudo-Maoism, anarchism, etc.); in the
final analysis they remain the objective allies of social democracy. If Imperialism, the Highest S
tage of Capitalism remains the fundamental revolutionary work which still defines the essentials
of the contemporary system, this is because Lenin established the objective connection between
monopolies and revisionism (that of the Second International of his time). The growing
centralization of capital introduced the era of monopolies at the end of last century, but this did
not simply transform the conditions of competition at the center. Nor were the conditions simply
created for the transformation of values into prices by giving to the monopolist sector of
capitalism the hegemonic role, and appropriating for it a growing share of the surplus value
generated in the other sectors. The essential point is that the extension of this hegemonic role of
m monopolies on the world scale, and the division of the working class at the center, which
accepted the revisionist hegemony, o occurred simultaneously.-107
- With imperialism, the principal contradiction of the capitalist system tends to be between
monopoly capital and the over exploited masses of the periphery; the center of gravity of the
struggles against capital tends to shift from the center of the system toward its periphery. Lenin
expressed this admirably when he proposed the new formula "Workers of the world, oppressed
peoples, unite. The essence of revisionism is precisely to deny this principal contradiction: to
deny that the division of the working class at the center has objective bases, and to attribute it to
the subjective factor (" betrayal by the leaders, e tc .); to deny that the working class at the
periphery can become the essential force of a liberation which, from being national at the
beginning, becomes social in the end; and to deny that this possibility also has objective bases
(imperialist exploitation).-108
- The debate on the question of unequal exchange appears to have brought out first, the tendency
of world values to prevail over national values, resulting from the increasingly worldwide nature
of the production process, and second, the tendency toward increasing divergence between
exploitation rates of labor at the center and at the periphery. Taken together, these two
characteristics reflect the intensification of the imperialist system

since Lenins time and make possible the correction of Bukharins error concerning the so called
tendency toward worldwide equalization of wages.-111
-Thus a bridge was gradually built between the theory of imperialism and that of
"underdevelopment. Imperialist formulations concerning this phenomenon (analyzed in terms
of " backwardness ) were followed by bourgeois and petty-bourgeois nationalist formulations
which first expressed the theory of dependencefirst economistic, mechanistic, and even
Keynesian, and then structuralist. -111