About the text:
From: V.I. Lenin: On Imperialism and Opportunism, Futura 1974, 103 p., pp. 78-79.
Written October 6-8 1917,
published in October 1917
in the journal “Prosvesh-
cheniye No. 1-2.
Having thus concluded our analysis of Comrade Sokolnikov’s draft, we must note one very valuable addition which he proposes and which in my opinion should be adopted and even developed. To the paragraph which deals with technical progress and the greater employment of female and child labour, he proposes to add the phrase “as well as the labour of unskilled foreign workers imported from backward countries”. This addition is valuable and necessary. The exploitation of worse paid labour from backward countries is particularly characteristic of imperialism. On this exploitation rests, to a certain degree, the parasitism of rich imperialist countries which bribe a part of their workers with higher wages while shamelessly and unrestrainedly exploiting the labour of “cheap” foreign workers. The words “worse paid” should be added and also the words “and frequently deprived of rights”; for the exploiters in “civilised” countries always take advantage of the fact that the imported foreign workers have no rights. This is often to be seen in Germany in respect of workers imported from Russia; in Switzerland, of Italians; in France, of Spaniards and Italians, etc.
It would be expedient, perhaps, to emphasise more strongly and to express more vividly in our programme the prominence of the handful of the richest imperialist countries which prosper parasitically by robbing colonies and weaker nations. This is an extremely important feature of imperialism. To a certain extent it facilitates the rise of powerful revolutionary movements in countries that are subjected to imperialist plunder, and are in danger of being crushed and partitioned by the giant imperialists (such as Russia), and on the other hand, tends to a certain extent to prevent the rise of profound revolutionary movements in the countries that plunder, by imperialist methods, many colonies and foreign lands, and thus make a very large (comparatively) portion of their population participants in the division of the imperialist loot.
I would therefore suggest that the point on this exploitation of a number of weak countries by the richest should be inserted in that section of my draft where social-chauvinism is described (page 22 of the pamphlet). The relevant passage in the draft would then assume the following form (the additions are in italics):
“Such a perversion is, on the one hand, the social-chauvinist trend, socialism in word and chauvinism in deed, the use of the ‘defence of the fatherland’ slogan to hide the predatory interests ‘their own’ national bourgeoisie pursues in an imperialist war and to maintain the privileged position of citizens of rich nations which make enormous profits by pillaging colonies and weak nations. Another such perversion, on the other hand, is the equally wide and international movement of the ‘Centre’, etc.”
LCW Vol. 26, p. 168-169.
 LCW vol. 24, p. 470.
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