List of Tables 



List of Figures


List of Abbreviations





1. Lenin’s Theory of Imperialism

“…as precise and full a Definition of Imperialism as possible”


Trotsky’s View of Lenin’s Theory of Imperialism


The Division of the World into Oppressing and Oppressed Nations


The Semi-Colonial Countries: a modified Form of Imperialist Subjugation or Independent Capitalist States?


The Role of the Superstructure and its Relationship with the Economic Basis


Imperialism and the Semi-Colonial State



2. Monopolism and the increasing Role of Monopolies in the World Economy 


Imperialism as Policy or as Monopolism based on Economic Laws?


Monopolism and Monopoly Profit


The ever-increasing Grip of Monopolies in the World Economy



3. The Decline of Capitalism since the 1970s



4. Capitalist Value Production and the Working Class Move to the South


The Marxist Classics on the Industrialization of the South


Value and Price on the World Market: The Grand Distortion of the Value Creation in the South


The increasing Importance of the Proletariat in the South and the Emerging Imperialist Countries



5. Rising Exploitation, Super-Exploitation and the Lowering the Value of Labour Force

Marx and the Depressing the Wages below the Value of the Labor Force


Impoverishment and Précarisation of the World Working Class in the past Decades


The Rise in the Rate of Exploitation



6. Marxist Theory and Imperialist Super-Exploitation of the Semi-Colonial Countries 


Unequal Exchange


Capital Export


Migration and Super-Exploitation


Centrist Objections


The Role of the Foreign Market



7. Various Forms of Imperialist Super-Exploitation of the Semi-Colonial Countries and their Development in the past Decades (Part 1)


An Overview on the Financial Net Transfer


Importance of Raw Materials and Food


The Role of Imperialist Capital Export to the Semi-Colonial World


Excurse: Capital Export and Capital Export is not the same



8. Various Forms of Imperialist Super-Exploitation of the Semi-Colonial Countries and their Development in the past Decades (Part 2)


i) Extra Profits via Capital Export as Productive Investment


Underestimation of surplus value and extra-profits extracted from the South


ii) Extra profits via Capital Export as Money Capital (Loans, Currency Reserves, Speculation, etc.)


Losses from Currency Exchange


Capital Flight


iii) Value Transfer from the Semi-Colonial South to the Imperialist North: Unequal Exchange


iv) Value Transfer from the Semi-Colonial South to the Imperialist North: Migration


Dramatic effects for semi-colonies: Brain Drain and Remittances


Direct and Indirect Exploitation of Migrants


Attempt for Total Calculation of Imperialist Plundering


Excurse: The Role of the Plundering of the Colonies for the Formation of


Capitalism in Western Europe in the 16th to 18th Century



9. Revisionist Critiques of the Leninist Theory of Imperialism


The Essence of Centrism


Denial of Concept of Semi-Colonies


Did Lenin and Trotsky know of Semi-Colonies?


When did the Epoch of Imperialism begin?


“Sometimes the Creation of ‚Independent’ States leads to a Strengthening of Imperialism.” (Lenin)


Backward Countries without Industry and Proletariat?


The CWI and the “imperialist” Argentina


The Example of Argentina


The SWP/IST and the Debt Dependency


Is there still a National Question of the Semi-Colonial Countries?


The new Theory of “Sub-Imperialism”


The Example of Turkey


“Sub-Imperialism” or Advanced Semi-Colonies?


Rejection of Concept of Labor Aristocracy


LFI: A formal Defense of Lenin’s Theory which disembowels its revolutionary Content



10. China‘s Transformation into an Imperialist Power


What are the Criteria for an Imperialist State?


China’s race to a World Major Economy


China’s Monopolies


Exploitation and Super-Exploitation of the Working Class


Capital Export as Bond and Loan Capital


Capital Export as Foreign Direct Investment


A Note on Hong Kong’s Role in Foreign Direct Investment


Where is China investing abroad?


Super-exploitation of the semi-colonies


China’s Military Forces


The Struggle for Control over the South China (or East) Sea


Where should the Working Class stand in possible Wars involving US and Chinese Imperialism and South-East Asian Nations?


Why did China’s Rulers succeed in becoming imperialist where others failed?



11. The Theory of Permanent Revolution and its Program for the Working Class Struggle



12. The Struggle against Imperialist Aggressions and Wars:


The Programme of the early Communist International and the Fourth International


i) Reactionary Wars and Conflicts between Imperialist States


ii) Just Wars and Resistance of the Oppressed


For the Destruction of the Apartheid State Israel!


Excursus: Capitalism as a unity of economic, political and ideological Spheres


iii) The Struggle for Class Independence and the Anti-imperialist United Front Tactic



iv) Liberation Struggles, Imperialist Interference and the Dual Military Tactics


The Public Opinion in the Imperialist World must not be the Starting Point for developing a Position towards a War!


How to approach various Forms of imperialist Military Interventions?


Consequences for the Military Tactic 


The Marxist Classics on Contradictory Factors in Wars



13. Centrism’s Failure in the Struggle against Imperialist Wars

i) The Malvinas War in 1982


ii) The Gulf War in 1991


iii) The imperialist War on Terror since 2001


Social-Imperialist ex-Stalinists


The IST’s specific Form of Opportunism 


How to fight for anti-imperialist Position and how not to fight for it


IST policy: Give us some Posts and we stop fighting for our Principles


CWI and their Capitulation to Imperialism


Socialist Zionism a la CWI


Is Revolutionary Defeatism too much for the Working Class?


On the CWI’ and IMT’s Falsification of Lenin’s and Trotsky’s Method


CMR/IRMT: Rejection of Anti-Imperialism in ultra-left Clothes



14. Some final remarks on the Perspectives for Class Struggle

i) A world historic revolutionary period


ii) The present historic period and its consequences for the semi-colonial world


The Shift to the South


The shift to Asia


Increasing Migration and Internationalization of the working class in the North


Great Power Rivalry and increasing imperialist leverage and wars of aggression against semi-colonies


Tendency towards Colonialism or more room to maneuver for the semi-colonial bourgeoisie? 


Globalization, regionalization and protectionism


The Prospects of Revolution and the Crisis of Working Class Leadership



15. Summary




About the Author






In The Great Robbery of the South Michael Pröbsting analyses the super-exploitation and oppression of the semi-colonial world (often referred to as the “Third World”) by the imperialist powers and monopolies. He shows that the relationship between the small minority of rich capitalist countries and the huge majority of mankind living in the semi-colonial world forms one of the most important elements of the imperialist world system we are living in.


The Great Robbery of the South shows that the past decades have been a complete confirmation of the validity of Lenin’s theory of imperialism and its programmatic conclusions.


The Great Robbery of the South demonstrates the important changes in the relationship between the imperialist and the semi-colonial countries. Using comprehensive material (including 139 Tables and Figures), Michael Pröbsting elaborates that never before has such a big share of the world capitalist value been produced in the South. Never before haven the imperialist monopolies been so dependent on the super-exploitation of the semi-colonial world. Never before has migrant labor from the semi-colonial world played such a significant role for the capitalist value production in the imperialist countries. Never before has the huge majority of the world working class lived in the South – outside of the old imperialist metropolises.


In The Great Robbery of the South Michael Pröbsting argues that a correct understanding of the nature of imperialism as well as of the program of permanent revolution which includes the tactics of consistent anti-imperialism is essential for anyone who wants to change the world and bring about a socialist future.


Das Buch The Great Robbery of the South behandelt die Überausbeutung und Unterdrückung der halb-kolonialen Welt (der sogenannten III. Welt) durch die imperialistischen Monopole und Staaten.


Der Autor, Michael Pröbsting, analysiert diese imperialistische Überausbeutung auf der Grundlage der marxistischen Theorie sowie umfangreicher wirtschafts- und sozialwissenschaftlicher Daten.


Er zeigt auf, dass noch niemals zuvor ein solch hoher Anteil der weltweiten kapitalistischen Produktion im Süden stattfand. Er legt dar, dass noch nie zuvor die Konzerne und die westliche imperialistische Welt so abhängig von der Ausbeutung des Südens war. Pröbsting weist darüber hinaus nach, dass Migrantinnen und Migranten einen noch nie dagewesenen hohen Anteil an den Lohnabhängigen im Westen ausmachen.


Erstmals in der Geschichte der modernen Menschheit lebt die große Mehrheit der Arbeiterklasse im Süden.


Pröbsting, der Internationaler Sekretär der Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) ist, tritt für einen konsequenten Antiimperialismus als Teil einer sozialistischen Perspektive ein.


Das Buch ist in englischer Sprache verfaßt und wurde von der RCIT veröffentlicht.




In Cuba‘s Revolution Sold Out? Michael Pröbsting analyses the character of the Cuban Revolution 1959-61, its bureaucratic degeneration, and the recent march of the Castro leadership towards capitalism.


The author demonstrates how the Cuban Revolution, despite the initial modest intentions of its leaders, was spurred forward to more radical policies by grass roots struggles of Cuban workers and peasants. In fact, the very abolishment of capitalism by the Cuban regime was no part of the original game plan of either Castro’s Movimiento 26 de Julio or of the official Cuban communist party (PSP), but rather was a product of precisely such pressures from below.


Cuba‘s Revolution Sold Out? describes in detail how a number of relatively recent political, economic, and social measures were purposely taken by the Cuban government to open the road back to capitalism. Pröbsting elaborates the key role of the world’s new great imperialist power, China, in Cuba’s state policy as exemplified in the June 2011 Sino-Cuban agreement for a first Five-Year Plan of cooperation between these two states.


Cuba‘s Revolution Sold Out? examines these developments from the viewpoint of Marxist theory, the nature of the ruling bureaucracy in Stalinist states, and the process of restoration of capitalism under such regimes.


In conclusion, the book proposes a socialist program for political and social revolution in Cuba to halt the advance of capitalism and to eradicate the country’s bureaucratic dictatorship.




Michael Pröbsting has been a revolutionary activist for the past 30 years. He has written many articles and pamphlets in both German and English, and has authored or contributed to books on Rosa Luxemburg (1999), the World Economy (2008), Migration (2010), and the Arab Revolution (2011). His latest book, The Great Robbery of the South (published in 2013), analyses the super-exploitation and oppression of the semi-colonial world (often referred to as the “Third World”) by the imperialist powers and monopolies. Pröbstingis the International Secretary of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency.