China: Imperialism or Semi-Periphery?

Minqi Li

Monthly Review | 2021Volume 73, Issue 3 (July-August 2021)

China is currently the world’s largest economy measured by purchasing power parity. As the rapid expansion of the Chinese economy reshapes the global geopolitical map, Western mainstream media has begun to define China as a new imperialist power that exploits cheap energy and raw materials from developing countries. Some Marxist intellectuals and political groups, drawing from the Leninist theory of imperialism, argue that the rise of monopoly Chinese capital and its rapid expansion in the world market have turned China into a capitalist imperialistic country.

Whether China has become an imperialist country is a question of crucial importance for the global class struggle. I argue that although China has developed an exploitative relationship with South Asia, Africa, and other raw material exporters, on the whole, China continues to transfer a greater amount of surplus value to the core countries in the capitalist world system than it receives from the periphery. China is thus best described as a semi-peripheral country in the capitalist world system.

Read More »

Art as Unalienated Labour: The Dialectics of Art, by John Molyneux

Phil Brett

Culture Matters | January 11, 2021

Art as unalienated labour: The Dialectics of Art, by John Molyneux

John Molyneux is the editor of the Irish Marxist Review and a member of People Before Profit. I have been lucky enough to hear speak many times and have enjoyed much of his previous writing. So when I heard about this book, it was something which went straight onto my list to Santa, hoping I’d get it for Christmas.

Now, it is extremely doubtful that historically, revolutionaries have held much belief in the man with the sack, popping down chimneys. But as Molyneux points out early on, revolutionaries have often had a deep interest in art. Whilst truly historic events competed for their time and attention, the likes of Marx, Lenin, Luxembourg and Trotsky remained passionate in their commitment to the importance to art. But it isn’t just great revolutionaries for whom art matters.Read More »

Hurricane Harvey and the Dialectics of Nature


Between 1872 and 1882, Frederick Engels worked on a book titled “The Dialectics of Nature” that sought to apply Marxist dialectics to the natural world. Although it was never completed and is filled with dated ideas about science, it is a work that has earned the respect of some of the most important scientists on the left such as Stephen Jay Gould who praised its best known chapter that was issued separately as a pamphlet—The Part played by Labour in the Transition from Ape to Man. Long before people such as Barry Commoner and Rachel Carson were laying the groundwork for the eco-socialism of today, Engels anticipated the kind of contradictions that have led to three disastrous hurricanes: Katrina, Sandy and now Harvey. Engels wrote:Read More »