Political economy is very extremely precise concerning the definition of a country. The development of the productive forces of the countries of the world is not uniform, it is not balanced; for this reason, some countries are more advanced than others, and differences exist among them.
Since Lenin, we know that there are on one side imperialist countries and on the other side oppressed countries.
An imperialist country is characterized by a high development of the productive forces, with the banks and the industrial capital that merge and with a high level of capital exportation.
There is of course an imbalance in the economy of the country, some parts of the economy staying capitalists; there is no “pure” imperialist country. However, more the monopoles take the control of the economy, more on the political field, bourgeois democracy disappears and fascism is the form of domination of the monopoles.
The countries that have to endure the process of penetration of Capital suffered and suffers massive distortion of their economy. A bureaucratic capitalist class (also called “compradore bourgeoisie”) is formed and serves as an intermediary between the country and the imperialist forces.
In the countryside, imperialism also pushed and push to the formation of big land owners, that serve as intermediaries with imperialist forces. It is an important aspect of imperialist domination, because “small production engenders capitalism and the bourgeoisie continuously, daily, hourly, spontaneously, and on a mass scale” (Lenin). Imperialist domination in the countryside blocks the birth of a local capitalism.
3.Contradiction among imperialist countries: superpowers and imperialist countries
During the 1970's, the communists in red China decided to define the USA and the USSR as superpowers. As the USSR turned revisionist, it was defined as “social-imperialist”: social in words, imperialist in practice. And as it was a huge country, very powerful, it was called a superpower. The USA were also called a superpower, because of their strength.
USA and USSR were considered as still being imperialist powers, but having a much more powerful ability as the others imperialist countries. They were, because of that, leading two blocks on the international level.
Until now, we used on our side in France the tradition made in Turkey by the TKP/ML i.e. not to use the term of “superpower”. The political reason was important in this decision: imperialist France is in concurrency with the USA and calling the USA a “superpower” could have meant that it was a “different” imperialism.
This misuse of the definition was strongly made in the 1970's by the followers in France of Deng Xiao Ping and its “three worlds theory”.
Nevertheless, as there are a contradiction in the characteristics and dimension of imperialist countries, and as the Chinese comrades used it (and not in the sense of Deng Xiao Ping), it would be correct to call the USA and USSR of the 1960-1980's “superpowers” (and also the USA today).
To avoid any misunderstanding and nationalist manipulation, it would be also better, in political documents, to call “superpowers” “imperialist superpowers”, to show that they are still imperialist powers, that there is no qualitative difference in their nature with imperialist powers.
4.Contradiction among oppressed countries
Some oppressed countries, used by imperialism, saw their productive forces being really developed, or at least reaching a certain level. In some cases, the bureaucratic bourgeoisie even came to some strong position, permitting it to have an expansionist line.
Historical cases are (West) Pakistan against East Pakistan that become Bangladesh, Turkey (with Cyprus for example), India and, to our eyes, China.
We have been the first to call China “social-fascist”: social in words, fascist in practice. We don't think it is merely independent and that it has turned into a mere imperialist country. China is, for us, like Russia before 1917: on some part of its economy, it has endured semi-colonial penetration; on the other side, there are some monopoles that are national and follow national interests, with also Capital exportation.
What is happening in China is also happening in a full range of countries, where bureaucratic bourgeoisies or big land owners are able to organize themselves in a monopoly.
In such oppressed countries, the political regime goes from a fascist rule under direct semi-colonial control to a fascist rule where some national monopoles are built from the top (by bureaucratic bourgeoisies or big land owners) and strengthen fascism.
In such countries, the masses are often trapped between two varieties of fascism, the one under direct semi-colonial rule only and the one influenced by national monopolies (and which some historical leaders are Nasser, Tito, Chavez, Castro, Khadafi, Khomeini, etc.).
One important characteristic of revisionism here is to support one variety of fascism, explaining that it would be in fact bourgeois and progressive, and a first step into a “democratic” revolution.
Here ends this short sum up of characterization of countries as imperialist, oppressed, expansionist, superpower.