Statement of the International Committee of the Fourth International
Globalization and the International Working Class

Fear of globalization’s revolutionary implications

Spartacist expresses the fear of a layer of petty-bourgeois radicals over the revolutionary implications of globalization. They are terrified that the familiar world they have known and the political relations they have established over decades are being torn apart.

Lenin never denied the tendencies pointed to by Kautsky—the growing internationalization of finance capital, the intertwining of different national capitals and the subordination of national states to the domination of global financial interests. Rather, he sought to uncover their historical and revolutionary significance. His disagreement with Kautsky was not over whether objective economic tendencies within world capitalism were leading to the growth of internationally integrated finance capital, which transcended nationally limited finance capital. Rather, he disputed the conclusions Kautsky drew from this economic fact.

In The Collapse of the Second International, Lenin wrote, referring to Kautsky: “‘The growing international interweaving between the cliques of finance capital’ is the only really general and indubitable tendency, not during the last few years and in two countries, but throughout the whole capitalist world. But why should this trend engender a striving towards disarmament, not armaments, as hitherto? ... To think that the fact of capital in individual states combining and intertwining on an international scale must of necessity produce an economic trend towards disarmament means, in effect, allowing well-meaning philistine expectations of an easing of class contradictions to take the place of the actual intensification of those contradictions.” [1]

In another comment on the economic processes cited by Kautsky, Lenin wrote: “There is no doubt that the trend of development is towards a single world trust absorbing all enterprises without exception and all states without exception.” [2]

But, in opposition to Kautsky, Lenin insisted that this development “proceeds in such circumstances and at such a pace, through such contradictions and conflicts and upheavals—not only economic but political, national, etc.—that inevitably imperialism will burst and capitalism will be transformed into its opposite long before one world trust materializes, before the ‘ultra-imperialist,’ world-wide amalgamation of national finance capitals takes place.” [3]

The Spartacists maintain, however, that to point to the interweaving

of finance capital—and the creation of new institutions to manage its common interests—is to take the position of Kautsky. They operate according to the bourgeois logic of common sense, based on the exclusion of contradiction. According to this logic the international interweaving of capital means the lessening of inter-imperialist conflicts.

Lenin insisted that the very trend of development to which Kautsky had pointed was the driving force of the war, and also of the world socialist revolution. The integration of finance capital and the transition from competitive to monopoly capitalism laid the foundation for the development of a socialist economy.

“Capitalism in its imperialist stage leads directly to the most comprehensive socialization of production: it, so to speak, drags the capitalists, against their will and consciousness into some sort of new social order, a transitional one from complete free competition to complete socialization.” [4]

Lenin insisted that imperialism was not a policy of finance capital, but an objective process, operating independently of the will and the consciousness of the capitalists themselves. They were not able to reverse it, even though it threatened the basis of their rule. For Kautsky, on the other hand, imperialism was a policy, which may or may not be reversed, but not an objective tendency of capitalist development. The modern-day continuators of this tendency are the Spartacists, with their insistence that globalization is nothing more than a political campaign waged by the bourgeoisie, which can be reversed if it endangers the national states of the major imperialist powers.

Against this subjective method, the International Committee has shown that globalization is an objective tendency of world economy—the deepening and intensification of processes first analyzed by Lenin and other Marxists at the beginning of this century—driving towards war and socialist revolution.


Lenin, Collected Works, Volume 21, pp. 226-227


Lenin, Collected Works, Volume 22, p. 107


Ibid, p. 107


Lenin, Collected Works, Volume 22, p. 205