nationalism

jones/bhandari djones at uclink.berkeley.edu
Sat Apr 8 16:39:53 MDT 1995


Alex wrote

>I thought it should be readily apparent that there is a connection
>between Leninist theories of imperialism and contemporary nationalist fronts
>such as IRA, PLO, ANC, etc. even though none of those particular
>organizations was ever directly connected to the Third International.

However, a theory of imperialism need not be an apologia for bourgeois
third world nationalism; it may serve as a critique of the frenzied attempt
to find a way out of crisis through domination of the world market. It is
the nationalism of the imperialist countries which requires of us a
critique of the  many mechanisms for world market domination (unequal
exchange, raw material pacts, the expulsion of stagnant sectors for the
monopolization of dynamic ones operating above the average rate of profit,
etc).  I don't see how we can fight our ruling class, if we do not critique
its attempt to  enlist us in its attempt to dominate the world market.

  This sort of critique is still what lives in Lenin's theory of
imperialism, not the abuse of his theorization of self-determination for
the support of any nationalist movement that served the interests of the
Soviets or the Chinese. Mattick may be right to point out the weaknesses in
even Lenin's treatment of the national question, but he was surely more
Marxist than his epigones.

Take Harvard's international relations expert, Joseph Nye.  He has
shamelessly titled his last book BOUND TO LEAD: The changing nature of
American power.  Or take Robert Reich's notion of positive economic
nationalism or George Gilder's sense of the new American challenge.  Or the
economists' new obsession with strategic trade theory.  This is the sort of
nationalism the critique of which a theory of imperialism can ground--from
the perspective of the world proletariat, not bourgeois third world
nationalism.

Rakesh



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