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Amid the welter of vague political abstractions ... where meanings shift so quickly and so subtly, not only following changes of thought, but often manipulated artificially by political practitioners so as to obscure, expand, or distort ... a certain broad consistency in its relations to other kindred terms is the nearest approach to definition which such a term as Imperialism admits. Nationalism, internationalism, colonialism, its three closest congeners, are equally elusive, equally shifty, and the changeful overlapping of all four demands the closest vigilance.

J. ALLAN HOBSON, Imperialism

Imperialism is capitalism at that stage of development at which the dominance of monopolies and finance capitalism is established; in which the export of capital has acquired pronounced importance; in which the division of the world among the international trusts has begun, in which the division of all territories of the globe among the biggest capitalist powers has been completed.

VLADIMIR ILYICH LENIN, Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism

What sets imperialism of the capitalist sort apart from other conceptions of empire is that it is the capitalist logic that typically dominates, though ... there are times in which the territorial logic comes to the fore. But this then poses a crucial question: how can the territorial logics of power, which tend to be awkwardly fixed in space, respond to the open spatial dynamics of endless capital accumulation? And what does endless capital accumulation imply for the territorial logics of power?

DAVID HARVEY, The New Imperialism

Imperialism [is] more often the name of the emotion that reacts to a series of events than a definition of the events themselves. Where Colonization finds analysts and analogies, imperialism must contend with crusaders for and against.

ARCHIBALD P. THORNTON, Doctrines of Imperialism

Within its history, Anglo-American imperialism has alienated the world outside the West in the form of the other, so that it could dream the other's redemption in the form of the self.

ERIC CHEYFITZ, The Poetics of Imperialism

America's entire war on terror is an exercise in imperialism. This may come as a shock to Americans, who don't like to think of their country as an empire. But what else can you call America's legions of soldiers, spooks and special forces straddling the globe?

MICHAEL IGNATIEFF, New York Times, Jul. 28, 2002

When imperialism feels weak, it resorts to brute force.

HUGO CHAVEZ, speech, Jan. 31, 2005

If we examine the various theories of imperialism that have been propounded we find that ... they all affirm a condemnatory axiom ... that imperialism is evil, that it is the evil behavior of rapacious capitalists or atavistic warriors, or perhaps more generally, an evil that lurks in all human beings; presumably too, as historic evil, it carries ineluctably the fatality of its own self-punishment ... [but] we must clearly distinguish between the two varieties of imperialism that have alternated and competed in the world's history -- the progressive and the regressive.

LEWIS S. FEUER, Imperialism and the Anti-Imperialist Mind


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