Super-imperialism

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Super-imperialism is a Marxist term with two possible meanings. It refers either to the hegemony of an imperialist great power over its weaker rivals, who then are called sub-imperialisms, or to a comprehensive supra-structure above a set of (theoretically) equal-righted imperialist states. – The latter meaning is the older one and had become rare by the middle of 20th century.

Origin of the term[edit]

The expression super-imperialism first appeared in November 1914 as an (inaccurate) translation of the newly coined German term Ultra-Imperialismus. William E. Bohn, the translator of Karl Kautsky’s article "Der Imperialismus",[1] (= "The Imperialism") seemed to believe, that the terms Kartell and Ultra-Imperialismus were not reasonable for the audience of the "International socialist review" – an American Marxist journal.[2] Bohn faced a double problem: Cartels were much less familiar in the USA than the concern-like, tauter organized Trust (monopoly)s – and the word ultra, which in English means exaggerated or extreme. Thus, he paraphrased Kautsky’s ideas in terms more familiar to American readers,somewhat distorting Kautsky's statement.

Recent meanings[edit]

Together with the revival of the imperialism debates in the 1970s the term super-imperialism recovered, but got modified in its content. It served now to describe the domination by the super-power USA within a system of imperialism, in which the other imperialist powers were set back in their abilities and thus were second-class.[3] Since the same time, the German term Ultraimperialismus was translated into English literally with ultra-imperialism and was now used to describe a rather equal-righted inter-imperialist cooperation.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Karl Kautsky: Der Imperialismus. In: Die Neue Zeit. 32 (1914), vol. 2, p. 908–922.
  2. ^ Vgl.: Karl Kautsky, Imperialism and the War, in: International socialist review, 15 (1914), 286.
  3. ^ Bob Rowthorn, Imperialism in the Seventies: Unity or Rivalry?, in: New Left Review, 59 (1971), 31; Michael Hudson: Super imperialism : the economic strategy of American empire, New York, 1972.

Literature[edit]

  • Michael Hudson: Super imperialism : the economic strategy of American empire, New York, 1972.
  • Karl Kautsky: Imperialism and the War, in: International socialist review, 15 (1914).
  • Karl Kautsky: Der Imperialismus, in: Die Neue Zeit. 32 (1914), vol. 2, p. 908–922.
  • Holm A. Leonhardt: Bibliographie zur Ultraimperialismus-Theorie [Bibliography on Ultraimperialism Theory], in: Homepage of the Institute of History of Hildesheim University, http://www.uni-hildesheim.de/media/geschichte/Geschichte Ultraimperialismustheorie.pdf (available since 1-20-2008).
  • Holm A. Leonhardt: Zur Geschichte der Ultraimperialismus-Theorie 1902–1930. Die Ideengeschichte einer frühen Theorie der politischen Globalisierung [On the History of Ultra-Imperialism Theory], in: Homepage of the Institute of History, Hildesheim Universität (Germany) http://www.uni-hildesheim.de/de/30219.htm (available since 1-20-2008).
  • Bob Rowthorn: Imperialism in the Seventies: Unity or Rivalry? , in: New Left Review, 59 (1971).
  • Martin Thomas: Introduction to Kautsky's "Ultra-imperialism". Workers Liberty.
  • Dan Jakopovich, In the Belly of the Beast: Challenging US Imperialism and the Politics of the Offensive'