Harpal Brar: Lenin is still key to understanding imperialism and war

Claims that the world is no longer characterised by the contradiction between oppressed and oppressor nations are patently absurd.

In this interview for the podcast of Germany’s Kommunistische Organisation, Comrade Harpal Brar discusses VI Lenin‘s theory of imperialism, Nato‘s current aggression, and the tasks and demands of anti-imperialist politics today.

Global capitalism is once again in deep crisis and the imperialist powers are driving towards war, but the question of imperialism is revealing another deep crisis – one within the communist movement itself.

This question has driven a deep wedge between opposing sides during the year since Russia launched its special military operation in Ukraine, as was reflected by the two very different resolutions (here and here) on the war that were discussed at the meeting of communist and workers’ parties in Havana last October.

Some parties (led by the KKE of Greece) now argue that the old division into dependent and imperialist states is no longer relevant, claiming that all capitalist countries in the modern era are at some level of imperialist development within a world imperialist system.

Comrade Harpal’s analysis, on the other hand, has consistently upheld the theory of imperialism worked out in 1916 by Lenin, demonstrating that it remains the best guide to understanding our world today. In this interview, he points out that anyone with eyes to see must continue to recognise the division of the world’s nations into two fundamentally opposing groups: exploiting imperialist nations on the one hand and oppressed nations on the other.

Imperialist countries use the huge power of their historically-accumulated stores of finance capital to exploit weaker countries by both economic and military means, and they conduct regime-change operations against any country that tries to follow its own independent path, free from the shackles of finance capital. Debt slavery, technological subservience, economic sanctions, military threats … these are just some of the tools the imperialist powers, led by US imperialism, use to reinforce their dominance over the world.

This is why, even though old colonial powers of Europe were forced to retreat in the face of the wave of national liberation that followed WW2, the majority of nominally independent countries remain in a neocolonial subordinated state both financially and politically.

Harpal talks about why it is that the imperialists are so concerned with the independent stance taken by Russia and China in particular, and why they should feel so threatened by China’s steady development and rising prosperity. And about why it is that so many oppressed nations are welcoming trade and cooperation with China as a route to developing their economies and boosting their own technological levels and infrastructure development.

Comrade Harpal also discusses the founding of the World Anti-imperialist Platform and its role in working towards theoretical clarity and practical unity in the anti-imperialist and communist movements – work that is essential if we are successfuly to oppose and defeat the Nato war machine worldwide.