Originally compiled and edited by the Communist Working Circle (CWC) in 1972, this is a republished collection of excerpts from the corpus of Marx and Engels. These texts show the evolution of Marx and Engels's ideas about the nascent labor aristocracy, and the enervating effects of colonialism and chauvinism on the British labour movement, with a focus on the British Empire of their time.
This edition of "On Colonies" includes a substantial introduction by Marxist economist Zak Cope and former CWC member Torkil Lauesen, centering these concepts in theory and history. Cope and Lauesen show how Marx and Engels's initial belief that capitalism would expand seamlessly around the globe in the same way as it did in Europe was proven wrong by events, as instead worldwide imperialism spread capitalism as a polarizing process, not only between the bourgeoisie and the working class, but also as a division between an imperialist center and an exploited periphery. This fundamental contradiction gave capitalism completely new conditions of growth and accounts for its tragic longevity.
Both foundational and indispensable, "On Colonies" provides a useful introduction to "Third Worldist" analysis of global capitalism, tracing its roots back to Marxism's earliest works.
About the Authors
Zak Cope is the author of Divided World Divided Class: Global Political Economy and the Stratification of Labour Under Capitalism and co-editor of the Palgrave Encyclopedia of Imperialism and Anti-Imperialism with Prof. Immanuel Ness.
Torkil Lauesen has since the late sixties been an anti-imperialist activist and writer. He is a former member of the Communist Working Circle in Denmark, and later the Manifest-Communist Workgroup (M-KA). In 1989 he was arrested and subsequently sentenced to 10 years in prison, for his part in a series of robberies in which several million dollars were expropriated and diverted to Third World anti-imperialist struggles.