Written: Written at the end of August and beginning of September 1916
Published: First published in 1932 in Bolshevik No. 22. Sent from Flums (Switzerland) to Christiania (Oslo). Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, , Moscow, Volume 35, pages 230-231.
Translated: Andrew Rothstein
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive. You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work, as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.
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Unfortunately we cannot print the article “On the Theory of the Imperialist State”. As it turns out, so much space is occupied with material from Russia that all other subjects are restricted, and there is not enough money. Things are difficult.
But the main thing is not that. The main thing is some defects in the article.
The title does not correspond to the contents. The article consists of two parts, the combination of which has been insufficiently thought out: (1) about the stale in general, and (2) about state capitalism and its growth (especially in Germany). The second part, is good and useful, but nine-tenths legal. We would advise you to print it in one of the legal reviews (if not in Letopis), after very little alteration, and would be ready to do everything we can to help such publication.
The first part touches on a subject of tremendous importance in principle, but that’s just it—it only touches on it. We cannot, when publishing a review once a year, print on such a basic question of theory an article which has been insufficiently thought out. Leaving aside the polemic against Gumplowicz, etc. (that would also be better worked over and developed into a legal article), we must point out a number of extremely inexact formulations by the author.
Marxism is a “sociological” (???) “theory of the state”; the state==the “general” (?) organisation of the ruling classes; the quotations from Engels are broken off just at those points which are particularly important, if you are discussing this subject. The distinction between the Marxists and the anarchists on the question of the state (pp. 15–16) has been defined absolutely incorrectly: if you are to deal with this subject, you must speak not in that way; you must not speak in that way. The conclusion (the author gives it in italics): “Social-Democracy must intensively underline its hostility in principle to the state power” (p. 53)—[compare: the proletariat creates “its provisional state organisation of power” (p. 54) (“state organisation of power”!?)]—is also either supremely inexact, or incorrect.
Our advice is to work up into legal articles (α) the section about state capitalism and (β) the polemic with Gumplowicz and Co. Leave the rest to mature. That is our conviction.