Two Cheers for the Nation State


by Frank Lee

NATO HQ, Brussels

The capitalist/imperialist system has dominated the world for at least two and half centuries, and perhaps even longer. This much is known and this much is clear. The system has been volatile and dynamic, transmuting into different forms with changing fundamental structures and institutions as well as different agents. It is patently evident that the imperialism which was the object of analysis of V.I.Lenin, [1] N.Bukharin, [2] R.Luxemburg, [3] as well as J.A.Hobson, [4] and Leonard Woolf, [5] is fundamentally different from the present configuration.

One of the previously salient and defining features of the former imperialism was the multi-level conflict which existed between the rival great powers: Britain, France, Germany, Japan, Spain and Portugal, and latterly the United States. The conflict had been the cause of a number of highly destructive wars. This period of inter-imperialist rivalry pretty much ended in 1945 with…

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