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By V.G. Kiernan

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To the masses,. or as a ~lead weight on their backs; it sometimes took one hne, sometunes the other, occasionally both in the same breath. By and _l~rge it may be said to have laid stress on the crumbs when theonzmg, on the drawbacks when haranguing. Sectarianism was stiffened by the intransigence of a Leninist doctri:1e which began li~e as a political manifesto. Lenin treated It as petty-bourgms reformism and illusion to condemn only particular imperialistic actions like the seizure of the Philippines, without condemning capitalism root and branch; the Third Internatio_nal wer:t on too long repeating that there could be no genume anti-war movement which was not also anti-capitalist.

2 Coming to' the Persian oil dispute, he complains that Britain seemed to lack 'the nerve and the power to defend her own legitimate oil interests' (p. 34·9); a remark which shows how little in practice his 'true imperialism' differed from the 'exploiting "imperialism"' he supposes to have vanished years before. Anyone curious about these 'legitimate interests' should turn to L. P. Elwell-Sutton's Persian Oil, a Study in Power Politics ( r 955)-a very. dy of imperialism in horny-handed practice, as d1stmct from clmstered theory.

India was virtually the only big colony to be led to freedom by a national bourgeoisie; none was led by an industrial working class. , pp. 27g-8o. Strachey (ajJ. , pp. 101-2) points out that Lenin had far more awareness than Hobson of colonial nationalism as a limiting factor, especially in China. rso ImjJerialism, C. , Vol. 22, p. 297· THE MARXIST THEORY OF IMPERIALISM 4-9 by modern ideas would provide most of the recruits to the cause of colonial revolt. Lenin was relying overmuch on the automatic play of economic forces, with too little allowance for the play of ideas, which-whether progressive or reactionary-can be hatched only in a very specific environment but can then spread to many others.

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