Right of Nations to Self-Determination

Chris Burford cburford at gn.apc.org
Sun Aug 6 22:59:14 MDT 1995

From: Roderick Hay <rhay at mcmail.CIS.McMaster.CA>
Date: Sat, 5 Aug 1995 18:23:03 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: The Right of Nations to Self Determination

I did not intend my comment to be a criticism of your original post, but
simply a warning of the difficulty (impossibility) of defining anything
so slippery as the idea of "nation". I know of few instances where it had
any progressive content. Most often it is used by demagogues to elicit
support for disreputable causes.


Apologies for jumping on your post which picked up a vital issue that
I think we had to get into if we were to go beyond just fighting about

In my post on self-determination of Knin, I argue against a
slippery application of the concept of national right. Indeed
Serb nationalism regardless of logic of geographical continuity
or economic coherence, proves your point. Because it was incoherent
they had to start expelling non-Serbs with the awful chain reactions
that followed.

I presume from your address you are from Canada. It is interesting that
you and Paul, from Scotland, are both from nations who are not primarily
oppressor nations, and are oppressed; yet you lean towards playing
down the usefulness of nationalism.

Coming from an oppressor nation, I want to lean towards
emphasising respect for the right of oppressed nations to determination.

If we are biassed it is good that we are biassed in this way

I presume also you consider Quebec nationalism to be counter-productive,
and you are not very much in favour of secession, believing that whatever
oppression of Quebecois, it is better dealt with by other methods.

On the international level, "the world is divided into oppressed
and oppressor nations". The oppressed nations are not strong
enough to overcome the marked inequalities produced by unequal exchange,
but are important allies in the struggle against the world imperialist

Chris B

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