A Brief Reading on Samir Amin’s Delinking, by Adel Samara

Note: There is no consensus on a real change of the world capitalist system which justifies to call the current era an era of globalism which I estimate its’ beginning in the last quarter of the Twentieth century. Many insist that it is the same imperialism or higher stage of imperialism.[1]

This paper is relatively limited to Samir Amin’s delinking, but it touches some of his other theoretical works and some related practical issues.

“Delinking is a rejection of subjugation to the logic of the world capitalist system and the imperative passive adaptation with the conditions of integration with world system”.[2]

Amin made many contributions to the Marxist theory that were based and concentrates on its’ three components beginning in applying laws of dialectic in his analysis is an application of who is able to dissolve theory in analyses with no theoretical complexity and expanding the materialist historical analysis to support his contributions in the philosophy of political economy.

Amin’s Marxism or Communism started either in the beginning of his membership in Egypt CP, to his role and contribution to the Dependency School, an era which laid the foundation of his concentration on peripheral formations until he became a figure in the group of the World System with included Frank, Arrighi and Wallenstein as a school of Marxism but also in Marxist political economy whose analysis of the world capitalist system considers or starts from its global domination going down to the small geography of the country which is the subject of the research or discussion. For this school, most of the world/globe is dominated by capitalism and from this perspective it must be studied as one articulated unit. It considers the differences and specialty of each formation.

The Dependency School was an extension of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America ECLA and the Caribbean, and Prebisch was its founder. Dependency develops Prebisch’s structural ideas of the theory of dependency which finally reached the conclusion that periphery’s development is relatively impossible.

What is of interest to this paper is Prebisch’s thesis on the decline of exchange conditions between the core and the periphery which deepened periphery’s dependency. From this deepening unequal exchange, we might grasp its influence on how Amin developed his theory on de-Linking in connection to Frank’s theory on underdevelopment and the Development of Under-Development which refers to the existence and role of a ruling social/political classes which has an interest in the continuity of underdevelopment and dependency[3].

In his continuous research on the reasons of underdevelopment, Amin considered the role of world division of labor in that issue the reason which pushed him to criticize national movements which failed to grasp the contradiction between world division of labor and its development of their countries which led their countries to stay trapped in the bourgeois’ conception of transcending the historical gap between core and periphery according to the same division of labor not through negation of that division, i.e. by delinking.[4]  

Any reading of underdevelopment leads to a necessary reading and understanding of the factors of development, since each of them conditions the other. From this fact, the reading of the development of the core capitalist countries was essential for  Amin’s thinking, which led him and others to the theory of auto-centricity and self-dependence at regional level and his continued journey to reach, with his colleagues, to the conclusion that the capitalist development, which was achieved in the western core countries, will never be repeated by the same tools in peripheral countries, especially because core capitalist countries had deliberately block the development of peripheral countries including, or even especially, those which adopted the strategies of catch-up as a reflection of the fact that core and periphery, as components of the world capitalist system, are in eternal contradiction, and because of the fact that periphery must look for another route for development which Amin calls the engagement in de-linking.

Amin continued his critique through his reading and analysis of the world system especially the 2007 crisis until he passed away in 2018, but the issue of underdevelopment remained central in his work. That is why his main thesis was on Unequal Development which breed and maintained both underdevelopment and dependency and their continuity is the reason which persuaded him to continue his life and thought on the Third World to be one of the main figures of Third Worldism school whose foundations was laid by Maoism. Through this approach, Amin continues to develop his theory on de-linking as an imperative condition for any country in periphery, leading to an issue which divided Marxist writer between thoss who supported and other who opposed it:

  • Supporters of theory of non-capitalist path which, in fact, was one of the main early signs of theoretical degradation, and later the mere existence of the dismantled socialist camp.
  • Western Marxists who imagined that periphery of the world system has been transformed to capitalism or catch-up as Bill Warren argued:
  • “…Despite of all wrong policies, there is recognition of the achievement of the less developed countries in 1960s, the decade which witnessed the highest growth in the less developed countries during the century. If we took into consideration that the effective purchasing power of its exports, has been increased similar to the rise of growth domestic production of 5.5% (in addition to fixed trade conditions) the exports has been increased faster than imports in 1960s… those positive signs continued during 1970s”[5].

Unfortunately, Warren passed away too early before the deterioration of Third World which left a Fourth World in addition to the dismantling of the second world and the deterioration of the first world towards speculation in the place of production.

Amin did not spare to reply to Bill Warren and Charles Bettelheim and Frank:

“… Does that mean that the fundamental character of our history, the most significant feature is precisely this expansion of worldwide capital? In their various ways, Bill Warren, Andre’ Gunder Frank and Charles Bettelheim do argue so. Bettleheim, describing the Russian and Chinese revolutions as were ‘capitalist’ sees them as only a stage- however specific – of this expansion”[6]

The question then which is more correct:

  • Amin’s argument that Russia and China’s de-linking was enough to be strong to transcend capitalist restoration,
  • or Bettelheim, Frank and Warren’s  that the two revolutions of Russia and China were temporary and part of capitalism’s expansion?

Or, the thesis of transformation of technology to periphery in the form of productive working capital but without involvement in believe of capitalization and industrialization and catch-up of periphery to the core as Tamas Szentes argued:

“…a comparison with most of advanced countries, it is, the new industrialized countries, still suffer in isthmus produce and export primitive products. The newly industrialized countries reached a better position in the world economy. But despite of the fact that industrial growth took place, it never being established with a parallel build up of a developed industrial base in addition to the absence of capacities for research and development. The ordinary links which is necessary for national economy never took place, and the alternative to that its small industrial niches failed to guarantee between benefits and higher standards of living for the majority of the masses, it might even turn to be a mere reproduction of backwardness”.[7]

  • Those who argue for a deeper colonialization of periphery because colonial penetration in periphery wasn’t enough (Geofry Kay).[8]
  • Last but not least, the large old and new school of “positive colonialism”, but the colonial positivity in the bourgeois political economy thought which came with the neo-conservatives who were supported by some Trots leadership which ironically stand with in the neo-conservatives war to “democratize” countries like Iraq and Libya and Syria.


“In such situation, there must be a development of forces of production far from capitalism”.

This sentence summarizes Amin’s vision of de-Linking which means that any development of peripheral country has been challenged by:

  • Either, to depart from capitalist system through depending on development of forces of production and a transcending measures of economic, social and cultural relationship which oblige them to adopt as long as they are integrated into world market. This choice is in favor of peoples’ majority.
  • Or, to rotate inside the vicious circle of dependency and underdevelopment which is the choice and interest of the fewer social fractions, the wealthier, externalized, and the less patriotic groups whose country is its bank account in.

Is there any interpretation of the issue of majority and minority other than class issue which means and confirms that Amin’s project is for popular classes.

Forces of production is central in development, it is even its most central component because production is the central link that the economy than other links, distribution, consumption, saving, investment, luxury consumption…etc are  based on. This means that, in this current era, and in the Arab situation in particular the oil countries, the renter money liquidity as it is used and channeled currently is never a force of development but a force of underdevelopment. In both cases of dependency and development, relations of production play a dialectical and many times a controversial role perplexed who is the determinant.

“ Delinking as we have defined it, that is strict subjection of external relations in all fields to the logic of internal choices without regard to the criteria  of world capitalist  rationality… second political capacity to introduce profound social reforms in an egalitarian direction”.[9]

We call this political capacity the “political decision” that is  conducted by the ruling power, i.e. the class decision by the ruling class which in each social formation stands for the sake of its own interest.

The Surplus and Delinking as an Alternative

Amin concentrates his work on accumulation referring to the large gap and difference between auto- centricity and industrialization of Import Substitution (IS) especially against the wrong argument that IS is an alternative and even opposite to the export oriented industrialization which considers exports a power push for development and finds its expansion in the expansion of the local market. This raises the question whether IS is oriented towards maintaining the surplus and controlling the accumulation or if it accepts a control of foreign capital either financially or technologically and or dependence, or if accumulation will not be in states’ hand or control?[10] Amin here negates theories of catch-up, adaptation and take-off…etc, as all of them are approaches towards liberal bourgeois growth no more.

But, will Amin takes us or start from a stage before or prior to accumulation, i.e. to the origin of and the breed of accumulation? Which are the class capitalist relations of production that are based on the false belief of private property, exploitation, extraction of surplus and the control of it as long as surplus is the fruit of production which is produced by labor force which always affected by exploitation and alienation. It is because the source of surplus is labor and because of that it is, the labor itself is the source of accumulation. Amin wasn’t far from, but even he was one of the main figures on Monthly Review. (Baran, Sweezy, Magdof, Polamy Foster…etc, especially the work of Baran, (The Political Economy of Growth, 1957).

The theory of surplus value is one of the main theories of Marxian economy which produced only by labor force, while what remains of that labor is only what is necessary for the worker and his family to survive, so as to be able to return to work while most of the produced surplus cashed by the owner, the capitalist, who uses part of the surplus in reinvestment and another part for his consumption. The development of technology provides for the capitalist more profit than using old machines.

Economists concentrate too much on surplus value, especially those who care for development, because they tie the issue with growth and development of  this or that country, since both growth and development need the country to maintain the surplus which is produced by its labor force.

This issue engages the American economist Paul Baran especially in his research on the backwardness of periphery of the world system where he developed the theory of economic surplus as a theory at the level of national state in general. He saw that economic surplus is the difference between the total output and the total consumption in certain economy. He advances his analysis to find out that there are three changes that determine the conception of economic surplus:1- The actual economic surplus which is the difference between the current output of the society and the current consumption of the same society, and this is the surplus or the savings which the economic theory deals with. Baran found that peripheral countries extract weak surplus  and that is the reason for their underdevelopment which is the lack for capital (later a lot of economists argue that the availability of capital is not the main reason for development but the human labor. 2- The potential economic surplus or the difference between the output which is possible to be produced in a condition or natural technological and environment  by the help of using productive resources and what will be considered essential consumption. 3- The conception of planned economic surplus that is related to socialist system which is the difference between the actual output “ideal” in a certain natural historical and technical environment and under an ideal planning which benefited from the available forces of production  and the choosing of an ideal consumption level. The importance of planning is that it is based on a rational scientific policy which protects and humanly uses human and natural resources.

This Baran’s consistent paradigm attempts to grasp the reasons behind underdevelopment, did not in fact concentrate enough on the role of class authority which mainly facilitates surplus draining that the socialist regime avoids.

Dealing with the issue of surplus, the late Anwar Abdulmalek expands the theory of surplus. If Marx discussed it and laid its basis on the single project, the relations of production and class exploitation and even touched the national level, and Baran expanded the conception of surplus concept to transcend the surplus value in core and periphery of the world system in a certain stage of historical development, Abdulmalek developed the concept on historical level arguing that surplus was never limited to a certain period of history or one country. He concentrates or starts from the Fifteenth century which is an analysis very close to Marx’s reading of value conception in general which is that value of any commodity is the total human labor contains in it taking into consideration all sorts of labor in that commodity, the live, dead, concrete, abstract…etc. It is the historical accumulated labor which is creating the commodity.

Abdulmalek adds that the roots of violence, of global war lied and originated from the structure of global system, which is the historical formation of western domination rooted in historical economic surplus since the Fifteenth century and thereafter. The most essential issue in analyzing the western structural domination is not limited to inclination to war, but the concentration must devoted for examining the formation of historical economic surplus[11]؟

None on left or right ignored Marx’s or Baran’s contribution in the issue of surplus, but few refer to Abdulmalek’s contribution! Is it western centiricism and others dependency on that centrecism, is it anti-Semitism in political economy? There is no doubt that Amin benefited from Abdulmalek’s contribution especially that both are coming from the same background and left Egypt.

Delinking and the Nationalist Question

Class issue lied in the center of Amin’s works especially that of delinking because delinking means a challenge to social forces as externalizing class either in the form of comprador, parasitic, rental, speculator on national and international scale. It is right that a sovereign political decision of delinking of a country is due to its geography, but if we start from the fact that Amin and his colleges consider that the global geography is dominated by capitalism, which means that any change in one country will be affected and effect another country/s, as long as the Counter Revolution (CR) will never let any country develop towards independence form of development freely which means that delinking or any grade of it in any country is tied/engaged with many countries, i.e. global engagement.

It is important to note that Amin did not fall into the false propaganda that the world is one small village despite the fact that it is small in terms of fast travel and exchange of information and news, but the world from a social point view maintains social and class differences. It is the world of poor and rich, the village still composed of   Chantey Town and Down Town, it is the world of polarization.

In its first level, delinking open the gate for struggle against national/local classes/currents which decide or choose to integrate.

“ delinking content open the chapter of new contradictions  considered above (the clash of socialist , statist and national capitalist tendencies”. [12]

But as long as this project is devoted for people’s majority, it is a project of alliance coalition which carries the aims of progressive currents on the one hand and it is with nationalist content, i.e. of national popular classes[13].

“ in short delinking to restore the lost autonomy on the national state): – revision, albeit by regions, of North-South relations intended to strengthen the national autonomy  of the partners and widen the scope for the popular movement, the foundation of a new internationalism”[14].

Amin continues his argument to reach the point that the last and necessary development is delinking:

“ if the formation of a  bourgeois national state and the construction of an auto centric capitalist  economy  are  impossible for the periphery, a different path of development is called for. There will be further discussion of the character of this path- the issues of delinking and socialism”.[15]

Since he argues that auto-centered is essential in delinking because it means national control of accumulation” he did not meant control by national the classical bourgeois, but the interest of popular classes of that country.

This is what I conclude in reading Marxism and national question that nationalism is defined on class interests of each class in every nation of periphery and especially in Arab Homeland:

Nationalism of the ruling class i.e. the ruling nationalism is for integration into the world market, it is in contradiction with nationalism of ruled class/s the latent nationalism which is for dis-integration with that market, where its’ content is patriotic, unitary and socialist[16].

Commenting on the revolution of Paris Commune Engels wrote:

“ The unity of the nation never subjected to any threat, but it was going to be regulated by the Commune’s constitution. In all its callings to the population of French districts, the Commune called other French communes for a free federal union with Paris Commune, for a national arranging created by the French nation itself, for the first time in its history.[17]

What we conclude in his position on national question especially in its progressive level, Amin did not lose its class dimension, but he, in the Arab case was fluctuating between Arab nationalism in general Urobah and nationalism of matured Arab countries such as Egypt. In this issue, Amin did not benefit from the content of Paris Commune which calls for a federation for all French Nation, but later Amin became closer to Arab nationalism when he criticized the Kurds pretends of the existence of Kurds united nation[18].

Amin insists that the Chinese revolution is different from the Soviet one, arguing that the Chinese one is closer to delinking. Taking this stand, Amin is negating the generalizations of Warren and Bethlehem and the Trotskyism as well.

“Mao and the CCP avoided these reefs almost without ‘theoretical’ declarations. With hindsight it can be seen that success was due to observance of the following ‘principles’ : a) the creation of an autonomous organization claiming to be Marxist, predicated on a worker and radical intellectual base supporting) and its allies. see in this instance Marxism: b) evacuation of the towns, the centers  of pro-imperialist  bourgeois power, and withdrawal to the countryside, c) conduct of an unrelenting class struggle in the countryside, founded on the aspiration of the poor and landless peasants and isolating the land owners; d) adoption for protection of this struggle of the organizational form of a guerrilla army, e) parallel conduct of a flexible diplomacy aimed at recruiting  the broadest national backing- intellectuals, petty bourgeois – against the principal enemy, imperialism (Japanese in this instance) and its allies where it is supported by people’s majority in an opposite of the Bolshevik one”[19].

This quotation confirms that a large social class coalition is central in socialist development. This in addition to the fact that delinking for Amin is to transform towards socialism.

As long as delinking is first of all for periphery to transcend underdevelopment which was caused during its subjection to the capitalist center and the logic of its interests, which mean that an essential role for the peasants in Amin’s theory and for sure he was influenced by Maoism’s insistence on the revolutionary role of the peasants were he participates Franz Fanon without investigating if Fanon have an idea about Maoism or not. While on the other side Herbert Marcuse insist on the role of vagabonds as an alternative to the working class, which Maoism rejects.

Despite of Amins’ close attitude to Maoism, he did not ignore that Soviet experience and its lessons were the first and prior one in delinking. He saw that Soviet productive system was a real delinking from world capitalist system, and then took place quickly and far from the world system.

The question here is: if the decision of delinking from the world system was an initiative by the Soviets or was it a response in defense against the imperialist several forms of war against USSR? What I mean here is the delinking wasn’t only an initative from peoples or revolutions, but many times as a defense and response to the imperialist aggression.

But in his critique of the developments of the Soviet experience Amin wrote: “… As long as Autarkism is impossible, it is not right that there were autarkism in the USSR, because the USSR was periphery export raw material and that through his integration into the world capitalist system. Full autarkism with world system is impossible in real terms. Accordingly, delinking is the departure from linked with this system, or there is delinking in parallel with the degree of leaving integration relationship and according to the needs of the local economy. This means that delinking is not absolute and it doesn’t happen as a sudden with a political decision but a mechanism of application which ends in the final analysis to socialism as international project”.

Amin’s evaluation of the Soviet experience changed between its beginning and its later developments and changes, especially the era from Khrushchev to Gorbachev, and regarding the peripheral role of the USSR system as an exporter of raw materials and the role of CR and especially the Saudi regime in striking strong stroke which pushed oil prices to a too low level in mid1980s, which contributed to the dismantling of the USSR[20].

Regarding the role of the peasants and national question, Trotskyites contradict Maoists and Amins’s position as well. Chinese revolution depended a lot on peasants not on workers only. Trots stand against Maoism and the Soviets towards revolution in one country or even a revolution in underdeveloped, not industrialized, country justifying that the proletariat have no real existence.

It is important to note that many Trotskyite leaders took position against delinking in both national and international levels. On Arab level, most of Trot organizations stand against Arab nationalism and recognize  Zionist Ashkinazi Regime (ZAR) , support US and all CR war against Iraq 1991 and the so called Arab Spring. All those policies deepen dependency and in contradiction to de-linking. On world scale, a Lot of Trot leadership is integrated into the neo-conservatives and played a role in support of US war against Iraq and later against most of secular Arab republics, i.e. those leaders became part of neo-colonialism and for sure against delinking.

Delinking previous to Amin’s delinking, does it has Historical Introduction

Delinking stands in contradiction to all traditional vulgar economic strategies which centered around market and free exchange…etc, which started from Lassie-Faire until “liberalization of world trade” and the three big financial institutions, the World Bank, Monetary Fund and World Trade Organization especially after 2007 financialization and economic crisis, which repeated continuously their policy of forbidding any peripheral economic protection so as to protect core’s exports to periphery, supporting the final goal which is to keep profits streaming to the core countries. This, in addition to facilitate core’s administration of the crisis, but to solve it, it is necessary to keep peripheries subjugated to the conditions of core interests, and this what really happened.

Despite the fact that Trump administration declares protectionist policy, a lot of regimes in periphery maintain their open door policy in the service of core economies!

According to the world capitalist system, the western formations, including the white settler colonial regimes, block the development of peripheries.

In his study of Europe’s development, Amin noted that Europe pushes its surplus population to the America’s and other places in the globe, the reason that decreased its population to one third. While, for Amin, in Africa, there was no chance for emigration the reason which emphasizes that the solution must be a local one.

This means that the capitalist Europe by pushing its surplus population to the new world, did solve the failed feudal plan to get rid of surplus population by Crusade wars. In the case of Arab countries today, immigration to Europe is impossible because the current Europe is strictly against immigration and no more is in need for labor from periphery as it was following the two world wars.

Amin and his colleges in the world system school were in consensus:

“ In our interpretation of the formation of the capitalist mode, the constitutation  of complete (central) national capitalist formations and of the system of the capitalist world economy are concomitant up to the end of the 19th century”[21]. Amin argues that the new European centers enter the world system by the end of 19th century without delinking  because it was controlling its internal relationship, but how was it in control of its internal relationship? It is through its control of its produced surplus. This is due to:

1-The availability of national political sovereign decision,

2- The achievement of a developed industrial level,

3- The availability of opportunities for capitalist expanding in national state,

4- The absence of a dominant center over Europe which is able to block the development of this country or that.

Accordingly, those countries, especially Western Europe, were not in need for delinking to protect themselves, but it might be that it is for their interest not to adopt delinking between each other where their development was conjointly.

The developed Western Europe did, in fact, block development of peripheral countries. But, how come that Japan capitalized while the rest of peripheral countries failed or stop at the edge of industrialization? Japan under Meji regime developed towards capitalism far from or with less obstacles from the West, less integration into the world system or relative delinking. This Japan’s development might be the first and earlier semi-delinking or self reliance which dependency school, later, develop and even Amin himself might have benefitted from this Japan experience in his theory of delinking.[22] While bourgeois economists pretend that delinking is autarkism, Amin rejects that and emphasizes that delinking is the subjugation of foreign relationship for the conditions and logic of the local development. He refuses the subject for the global law of value.[23]

The experience of Egypt’s leader  Mohamad Ali was similar to that of Japan and to a certain extent at the same period, but the alliance between British, French and Ottoman colonialism brok the back of his project, this aggression might be the event which breed the saying “No Japan after Japan”, which means that Japan got the chance to capitalize when the European capitalism wasn’t able or ready to stop Japan or because the world witnessed at that time a period of relative absence of an imperialist dominant center which would try to block the development of Japan, but it might be weaker than to do that.

As mentioned earlier, the western European countries, and even its north, were developed in parallel with each other, even if it is not at the same time, the issue here is that the development of those parts of Europe took place despite inter-west European wars especially between Britain, Francs, Germany and Italy. This semi-joint and voluntary development might enable us to say that the saying “ No Japan after Japan” must be extended to be, “No Europe after Europe”. Here we must build a relationship between those two sayings and Amin’s that delinking is the only road for peripheral development.


The victory of capital over labor is the most direct challenge for the theory and adoption of delinking. It is the victory which follow the disintegration of far and close periphery of USSR (the countries of the non-aligned movement and the Eastern Europe) and the USSR itself in addition to the Chinese departure of Maoism towards a new system mixing socialism and market which Mao was fighting against and call it “the Road of capitalist Restoration” capitalist roaders . What remain after the collapse of the USSR are few socialist countries, Cuba, North Korea.

Despite Amin’s critique to the USSR before its disintegration, he wrote that this regime will never accept a re-integration into the world capitalist system because it threatens its own system. But Amin himself refers as well to the USSR weakness as exporter of raw materials which is itself a relationship and tie with the center as it mentioned before.

It is not important now to conclude which became capitalist and integrated into the world system more Russia or China, but the issue is that both countries are more and more capitalist and the state role is declining, and what is more important is that both are departing delinking on the one hand, and that BRICS, are both members in, is not getting out of capitalist system, but they are a new capitalist block competing the current one, i.e. they are integrating into that system but as a leading power. China insists on maintaining its economic relationship with the US and its defense on behalf of “free Trade” against US protectionism and trade war.

In the case of China, Amin, until he passed away, argued that China will never integrate into the world capitalist order. China did not hide that its policy is to build socialism with Chinese characteristics which is mixing socialism with market. In fact, this is the play ground which Chinese regime is playing in which is, in other words, a mixture of Maoism and Bengism or delinking and integration.

As for Eastern Europe Amin noted: “ By contrast, the  Estaren European countries might, if circumstances allowed, ‘cross over to the West, but the risk would be reduced to the degree that a margin of autonomy (Hungarian and Yugoslav style) were allowed them, in conjunction with acceptable and accepted internal social changes”. [24]

Amin’s optimism wasn’t in the right place in the case of those states. Hungary and the rest went too far from his optimism and the irony is that former Yugoslavia stand better than all the other countries while it was the most accused of revisionism. The main difference is that most, if not all, the former socialist block in Europe has been internally self disintegrated, Yugoslavia has been bombarded to its’ disintegration by NATO.

After the Book

What I meant here is after the publishing of Amin’s book, Delinking. Azzam Mahjoub wrote in 1990:

“… The governments in twenty of fifty African states have at some time, more or less radically, declared the intention to “break” with the colonial and neocolonial past and embark on a new national and radical path of an independent and socialist development”.[25]

But, in most, if not all, those cases the army played an important role in the mentioned political change and unfortunately, neither economic liberation from dependency on the world capitalist system has completed the political independence nor the building of a new society who is in contradiction to capitalist world had really progressed enough to reach the point of departure. In fact, peripheral development has fallen into continuous re-adjustment according to the conditions and restrictions of dominant capital. The core economies have been restructured and the periphery has been readjusted according to the restructuring of the center. The opposite did not take place. Those who favored adjustment either ended in the indebtedness through their application of the prescriptions of the world Bank and IMF which is the case of the new industrialized countries, or fall, either intentionally or not in the so-called fourth world.

This goes in approval with part of Wallenstein’s argument of the rise of semi-centers and semi-peripheries and the analysis of the rise of fourth world.

This argument fits into the analysis of triumph of capital over labor, but did not agree with the argument that semi-centers will transfer to centers. What might confirm that is the South Korean crisis 1997 when the banks of the center decided to collect its loans suddenly. This made delinking very difficult as long as re-integration expanded geographically. As for reintegration the case of Eastern Europe is more strange and ironic than that of Africa, because it passed a period of high level of delinking compared to what Mahjoup referred to about Africa.

What is dreadful is that Eastern Europe’s reintegration was accompanied with subjugation and turning most of that area to be a tool and place in the service of imperialists training of the CR which is called orange revolutions and the export of cheap labor and women for sexual trade to Western Europe and the Gulf on the one hand and those countries has been turned as open markets for EU and US exports the factor which terminates most of the productive sectors in Eastern Europe.

Mahjoub argues that delinking is not autarkism, but it is the subjugation of foreign relationship to the logic of internal development … it is the rejection of subjugation to the globalized law of value. The income distribution in periphery is lower equality than it is in center which makes the center more stable by plundering the periphery, it is to a certain degree the transformation of surplus from periphery to center, i.e. as a bribe to the popular classes in the center which became satisfied of the bribe at the cost of other nations. This pushes the argument to criticize the opportunism which praises the civil society of the west which accept and justify their troops to loot other nations to support their luxury.

This shows that class contradiction in the center is less than that in periphery, but class consciousness in the center is more deformed than it is in periphery as long as western popular classes are compromised through being bribed by their own regimes which are looting other nations’ surplus and maintaining luxury of those popular classes in the west.

The question is to what extent that deformed class contradiction creates political class consciousness, humanity and revolutionary forces?

Amin insists that popular classes are in contradiction with capital, but the inconsistency of its interests made its challenge to capital weak. He insists that neither petty bourgeois, as blurred confused class, nor the one party system, which was created through liberation, are able to achieve the goal, but only the organic revolutionary intellectuals as representatives of the social classes who are able to bridge this gap. He added that, but with more irony, that the working class in center is disintegrated as well.

Amin falls here in the isthmus of contradiction between the role of political power of the party and the intellectual power of the organic engaged intellectual and the content of the needed revolutionary power to achieve delinking and socialism if it is the party who establishes bases or this intellectual shell. The engaged intellectual is in the field but he is not the popular power for change while at the same time he, the intellectual, is the part who is able to contribute in revolution through his challenge to the intellectual sixth brigade.

The Role of the State

In a certain stage, delinking became a national project. This is acceptable more when a nation is in the era of state nation/building where it is necessary to: 1- give priority for industrialization to produce basic needs and better distribution of resources. 2- and apply policies of prices and incomes which work against proper growth of agricultural sector and minimize the value of and, 3- when policies of industrial finance depend on foreign loans it will not be able to achieve delinking  but the adoption of liberal solution through liberalization of trade, which means free movement of capital, goods, but not labor, or the protection of center from being opened for periphery and despite of that is the dream of adoption of liberal solution as alternative to self-reliance which serve and provide the needs of local economy which in the formal level depends on the state.

A lot of contradictions are related to delinking since the Soviet experience, especially the mixing between development and delinking, the Mensheviks saw that delinking became proper after society had exhausted the logic of capitalism and the transformation to a higher stage of civilization.

The same mixing is in the belief that the aim of economic activity in the full exploitation of nature and human resources , and that is why they consider society’s use of them as a form of delinking with backward and non development. Despite the fact that this degree is a low degree of dependency but it is not delinking.

The same is for self-reliance as a policy based on: 1- The country must control its natural resources, 2- To mobilize and use economic surpluses which were produced by exploitation of natural resources, 3- and technological base, while delinking means the confiscation of foreign capital, nationalization of industries and trade activities from the hands of comprador and the break of dependency, financial, monetary and commercial links. Still remains the question as we will see below: Is the state/power is the proper carrier of delinking and the transformation towards socialism, in fact not. This what Amin did not solve.[26]

Issues for Discussion

This term took us directly to the decisive question: Is the content of delinking a class one, is it populist and concretely nationalist, or is it in between?

To explain, it is important to note that delinking is not only against world capitalist market, but it is in essence against the internal local classes which are dependent on the center even if the conflict with it is not the starting point and not declared. Despite the fact that the decision of delinking related to the regime’s ruling class, but it needs, and even to succeed conditioned, a class struggle against the class/es which are integrated into the world capitalist system. But, despite that, the following question is still justified: Did the delinking start as national issue, and if it is continued, will it stay as a national issue or develop and transform to a class issue?

Delinking, Sovereignty and the Role of Corporations

For Amin, delinking starts on national basis and by the ruling class which is conditioned by availability of a nationalist and developmental state. Delinking is more difficult in this era of globalism which is characterizes by: neo-liberalism, transcending sovereignty especially in peripheral countries for the sake of liberalization of trade whose mechanism is the free movement of capital, products and services but not movement of labor. Those free movements mean free movements of corporations which are protected by the decision and power of the center. Accordingly, the termination of national sovereignty is a policy that goes in contradiction of delinking, because it contains the empowerment of dependent and externalized regimes which hinder and challenge delinking strategy.

If it is right that globalism started since the last third of twentieth century, it must be noted that this era took place in parallel with the retreat of the role of the state in the countries of the periphery to the extent that it is incorporated into the role of corporations, but with an irony that states in the center maintain their sovereignty on global level.

Losing sovereignty:

Goes in parallel with state’s weakness direct proportion ,

State’s adoption of privatization and neo-liberal policies,

The dis-integration of the socialist block,

The pushing factors for integration into world market,

The imperialism’s manufacturing of third nationalism’s wave.

These factors create an environment that is contradicting delinking especially when state and its army became a tool in the hands of capital in its new wave of wars against peripheral countries, i.e. when the cold war ended and opened the road for hot wars against peripheral countries especially against Arab republics.

Here we reach a situation of antagonistic contradiction between:

Periphery’s great need for delinking in the current era in parallel to center’s strong motives and interests to expand market laws for the logic of center’s interest or concretely for the corporation’s interests where the pieces of its products scattered all over the world looking for the cheapest labor power a reason which make delinking highly costs especially where technological development is highly speeded.[27]

Delinking, Grasp weakness and Rent:

There is no doubt that the dis-integration of the socialist block transformed the cold war into hot one, and provided capital the opportunity for geographic expansion and social, economic and ideological domination. Following those developments, a lot of propaganda has been distributed about the so-called the end of ideology, despite the fact that ideology of market has been expanded as the most totalitarian one. What follows that was a severe economic financial crisis 2007-08 which is still challenging the world economy.

One of the important manifestations of this crisis is the weakness of imperialist hand especially the US failure to launch new wars after its high cost wars against Afghanistan and Iraq, on the periphery’s economies which are a good opportunity for embarking towards delinking. Following its great losses in the wars of Afghanistan and Iraq, the US refuge to new forms of wars:

  • Terrorist’s wars by regimes and forces of Politicized Religion (PR) especially from and against Arab nation led by the center and devoted for the interests of ZAR even before those of the center.
  • The trade war by US government under Trump against both the rest of the center and comprador of periphery and their mobilization of terrorists of PR especially against the Arab nation.

Those wars has been launched by an alliance of the ruling classes of the core capitalist countries and the ruling comprador in peripheral countries, which is manifested in a Global Capitalist Public Sector (GCPS) dominating the world economy for the sake of global capitalist class, even it is still in the making.

What is accepted globally, as mentioned above, is that the absence of a dominant center opens the way for a better degree of delinking or take off as the case of Japan under Meji and the chance for certain development in Mexico, Chile, Brazil between the two imperialist wars due to the weakening of the center’s fist. All of those successes emphasize the development in its main meaning conditioned by the availability of sovereign political decision, it is more important than the availability of capital.

The opposite is the case of rental Arab Gulf regimes which lack independent political decision as the main condition for development and/or delinking despite of the availability of surplus in those countries which, in fact, never thought to grasp the weak moment of the center’s fist. The opposite also is the case of other countries, like China, Russia, India…etc which benefited from the gradual decline of the center following the economic/financial crises 2008.

Delinking and the Third Wave of Nationalism

While the first nationalist wave took place in Europe following the industrial revolution, the second nationalist wave took place in the middle of the twentieth century in most of periphery led by liberation movements against western capitalist colonialism aiming, as Mahjoub wrote, to delink from the world capitalist system, the third wave since the last quarter of the twentieth century is a false liberation movements manufactured by imperialism to dismantle independent states and create ethnic, religious…etc dependent regimes. This manufacturing is against nation states and their sovereignty. This wave is totally in negation of delinking. It is important to note that independence of most of those “liberated” Third World countries was fragile especially because it is without economic independence, a factor which led us, at least, to mention that theories of Post Colonialism are very optimistic, or even false.

Between Theory and Tool

Amin’s main problem is his hesitation to determine precisely the form of proper revolutionary force for his revolutionary thesis. It is because that the revolutionary theoretical position conditions a revolutionary tool so as to establish and strengthening the class consciousness and position.

One of his last papers regarding delinking the form of[28] Sovereign Popular Project, in addition to his adoption of nation “ The national state, the state of the nation is the only frame of development for a decisive struggle which in the final analysis transforms the world”. He finalizes his paper without determining or naming the leading tool since he stay satisfied by the Sovereign Popular Project avoiding explaining the class base and its party which I discussed it in this paper[29]  which based on my book “Beyond De-linking”[30]  and my paradigm “Development by Popular Protection” DbPP.

It is right that the Sovereign Popular Project carries the characteristics which made Amin close to Maoism, but the Chinese experience itself confirms that alliance, while it is necessary in general and in the level of Delinking in particular as a social transformation, but it must avoid the deterioration of the Chinese Communist party which end up as a refuge for the capitalist roaders through the integration of state/party, a problem which is called the cultural revolution in the country and inside the party itself when Mao calls the revolutionaries to: Target the Headquarter of the party.

This shows that Amin did not transcend the remnants of dependency school, i.e. the role of the state, i.e. the ruling class through which he tied his position to the “nationalist state”  as I noted above, it is the same problem which other socialist regimes falls in where the ruling parties bureaucratized (the Nomenklatura elite) the reason which separated the party from the masses, the society and even the working class the development which explained why the fall of those regimes was easy that much far from the terrible situation which those societies were and still facing after the defeat of the “socialist” regimes.

As I am closing this paper, the form and nature of the revolutionary tool is still a matter of debate. Many criticize the Leninist party, the “Stalinist” party, and try to provide an alternative, but in vain, and some went too far to transcend the party. I think that the Leninist party is still the most proper in struggle against capital and dependency, but a party which is created by the class, controlled by the class, and its leadership is nominated also by the class. For delinking, the Leninist party is an imperative need.


The opinions and views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Kana’an’s Editorial Board.

[1] See Adel Samara, Beyond De-linking: Development by Popular Protection vs. Development by State, especially Chapter Seven, Beyond Delinking, p.p. 159-171. Published by: Al-Mashriq Al-A’amil for Cultural and development Studies, Ramallah and Palestine Research and Publishing Foundation, Glendale, CA. 2005.

[2] Amin S. Beyond US Hegemony:Assessing the Prospects for a Multipolar World, Zed Books, 2006, p. 27

[3] Samara A, Tatweer al-la takafu’ in Arab Homeland, in al-Mustaqbal al-Arabi no 197 July 1995 p.p. 16-27.

[4] Amin Delinking: Towards a Polycentric World, zed books, 1985.p.91

[5]  Warren Bill, Imperialism Pioneering of Capitalism, Verso, 1980. P. 178. See also Chapter 8.  The Illusion of Underdevelopment: Facts of-Post War Progress, in the same book.

[6] Amin Delinking: Towards a Polycentric World, zed books, 1985.p.75

[7]  Tamas Szentes, The Transformation of the World Economy: New Directions and New Interests, Zed Books, 1986. P.74

[8] See, Kay. Jeffry, 1975, Development and Underdevelopment: A Marxist Analysis. London Macmillan, New York: St Martins.

[9] Amin Delinking: Towards a Polycentric World, Zed Books, 1985, P. 60

[10] Amin Delinking: Towards a Polycentric World, Zed Books, 1985P.13.

Kana’an – The e-Bulletin [11] ، السنة الثامنة عشر – العدد 4724، 28 آذار (مارس)، 2018.

[12] Amin Delinking: Towards a Polycentric World, zed books, 1985. p.52.

[13] See Samara, In Defense of Arab Unity, Beirut 2004.(Arabic)

[14] Amin Delinking: Towards a Polycentric World, Zed Books, 1985.

[15] Amin Delinking: Towards a Polycentric World, zed books, 1985.p.12

[16] Samara 2004 ibid

[17] The Communist Manifesto: the First Unforged Edition, ed by Lafif Lakhdar. Galileo Publications, Jerusalem 1976. P. 108.  


[19]  Delinking, p. 129

[20] See Adel samara, The USSR: From Revolution to Collapse. An Essay on the Soviet Experience. This paper has been presented in the International Communist Seminar in Brussels, May 1995, sponsored by the Worker’s Party of Belgium. In 1998, it was published in a book: The Collapse of the Soviet Union: Causes and Lessons. The book contains 18 articles from communist thinkers and militants from all over the world

[21] Amin, Delinking: Towards a Polycentric World, zed books, 1985, Note no 1 .pp 160-161

[22] Samara Beyond Delinking, ibid.

[23] Samir Amin, Preface in: Azam Mahjoub, Adjustment or Delinking: The African Experience, Studies in African Political Economy, Zed Books, 1990

[24] Amin Delinking: Towards a Polycentric World, zed books, 1985.p.55

[25] Samir Amin, Preface in: Azam Mahjoub, Adjustment or Delinking: The African Experience, Studies in African Political Economy, Zed Books, 1990

[26] See Samara, Beyond Delinking, ibid.

[28] “The Sovereign Popular Project; The Alternative to Liberal Globalization in Labor and Society” Published in the Journal of Labor and Society (Volume 20, Issue 1 March 2017  Pages 7–22, URL:  http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/wusa.12276/full

[29] https://kanaanonline.org/en/2017/08/14/amin-bets-on-the-state-for-development-great-goal-but-blunt-tool-by-adel-samara/

[30] Beyond De-linking: Development by Popular Projection vs. Development by State, 2005.