Tony Negri

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Thu Mar 21 07:25:36 MST 2002

>My question, however, is what of the right to self-determination of all
>nations when the 'nation' in question comes about as a result of imperialist
>subterfuge, economic deregulation, religious/fascist hegemonical privelege,
>etc.? I am unclear on this issue...

This is where class comes into play. The sharpest national struggle in the
world is taking place in Palestine, where two nationalities are vying for
the same territory. Palestinians have been oppressed by colonialism and
imperialism for centuries now. If they are successful, imperialism will be
weakened. That is one of the reasons I am hesitant to apply labels such as
"reactionary clericalism" when it comes to groups like Hizbollah or Hamas.
By the same token, the Jewish people, who also have been historically
oppressed by capitalism, had a deal struck above their head by Zionists and
Anglo-American imperialism. If the Zionists had demanded a Jewish state
carved out of Germany, the class dynamics would have been entirely different.

The Marxist approach to the national question has evolved over the years.
Although I wouldn't dream of putting Hardt-Negri on the same level as Rosa
Luxemburg, their hostility to *all* nationalism is clearly inspired by
hers. I deal with Marx & Engels, Kautsky, Luxemburg, Lenin et al in the
framework of understanding black nationalism at:

In any case, there are still vexing questions that have not been adequately
addressed by Marxism, even to this day. For example, how does one translate
Lenin's understanding into the African context, where nationhood has been
distorted by the mischievous interference of the colonial powers over a
century ago. They deliberately put one ethnic group together with another
in order to divide and conquer. In Basil Davidson's "Black Man's Burden",
he argues for a new kind of territorialization of Africa based on
precapitalist trading patterns.

Louis Proyect
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