Imperialism means the progressively mounting oppression of the nations of the world by a handful of Great Powers; it means a period of wars between the latter to extend and consolidate the oppression of nations; it means a period in which the masses of the people are deceived by hypocritical social-patriots, i.e., individuals who, under the pretext of the “freedom of nations,” “the right of nations to self-determination,” and “defence of the fatherland,” justify and defend the oppression of the majority of the world’s nations by the Great Powers.

Vladimir Lenin, The Revolutionary Proletariat and the Right of Nations to Self-Determination (circa 1915)