Lenin & nationalism

Alex Trotter uburoi at panix.com
Fri Apr 7 10:39:51 MDT 1995


In his post concerning the Bolshevik nationalities policy (consisting
mostly of quotes from Lenin) Tom Condit correctly points out that Lenin
did not support nationalism itself, only the "right" to national
self-determination. And so Lenin's position on imperialism was more
sophisticated than that of his rotten third-worldist and Stalinist
epigones. Nonetheless, his policy, which became the Bolshevik Party's
official position, was mistaken, and opened the door to the later
nationalist movements and military coups masquerading as proletarian
revolutions. In answer to the Lenin quotes, I offer here one from Paul
Mattick:

"The 'liberated' nations form a fascist ring around Russia. 'Liberated'
Turkey shoots down the communists with arms supllied to her by Russia.
China, supported in its national struggle for freedom by Russia and the
Third International, throttles its labor movement in a manner reminiscent
of the Paris Commune. Thousands and thousands of workers' corpses are
testimony of the correctness of Rosa Luxemburg's view that the phrase
about the right of self-determination of nations is nothing but 'petty
bourgeois humbug.' The extent to which the 'struggle for national
liberation is a struggle for democracy' (lenin) is surely revealed by the
nationalistic adventures of the Third International in Germany,
adventures which contributed their share to the preconditions for the
victory of fascism. Ten years of competition with Hitler for the title to
real nationalism turned the workers themselves into fascists. And
Litvinov celebrated in the League of Nations the victory of the Leninist
idea of the self-determination of peoples on the occasion of the Saar
plebiscite. Truly, in view of this development, one must indeed wonder at
people like Max Schactman who still today are capable of saying: 'Despite
the sharp criticism levelled by Rosa at the Bolsheviks for their national
policy after the revolution, the latter was nevertheless confirmed by
results.'" [in _The Modern Monthly_; quote by Schactman from _The New
International_, March 1935]

And we can, no doubt, look forward to the day when IRA, PLO, and ANC
governments will shoot down the workers. So put that in your pipe and
smoke it, comrades.

--AT


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