- Author: Lenin
- Date: April 1916
- Location: Russia
- Link: http://www.marx2mao.com/Lenin/SRSD16.html
- PDF: see attachment at the bottom of this page.
Imperialism is the highest stage in the development of capitalism. In the foremost countries capital has outgrown the bounds of national states, has replaced competition by monopoly and has created all the objective conditions for the achievement of socialism. In Western Europe and in the United States, therefore, the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat for the overthrow of capitalist governments and the expropriation of the bourgeoisie is on the order of the day. Imperialism forces the masses into this struggle by sharpening class contradictions on a tremendous scale, by worsening the conditions of the masses both economically -- trusts, high cost of living -- and politically -- the growth of militarism, more frequent wars, more powerful reaction, the intensification and expansion of national oppression and colonial plunder....
...Victorious socialism must necessarily establish a full democracy and, consequently, not only introduce full equality of nations but also realise the right of the oppressed nations to self-determination, i.e., the right to free political separation. Socialist parties which did not show by all their activity, both now, during the revolution, and after its victory, that they would liberate the enslaved nations and build up relations with them on the basis of a free union -- and free union is a false phrase without the right to secede -- these parties would be betraying socialism.
Democracy, of course, is also a form of state which must disappear when the state disappears, but that will only take place in the transition from conclusively victorious and consolidated socialism to full communism.