Louis N Proyect lnp3 at columbia.edu
Mon Oct 9 11:29:57 MDT 1995

On Sun, 8 Oct 1995, Tom Condit wrote:

> communities of the Andes.  You can find someone complaining about
> the theft of ancient Celtic virtues in any Irish bar in the
> English-speaking world.  The Islamic fundamentalists want to go
> back to the good old days. The U.S. militia movement harks back
> to the ancient Anglo-Saxon values, etc., etc.  All of these
> virtues are threatened in the nationalist and religious view not
> only by world capitalism, but by such alien doctrines as marxism,
> feminism, etc., etc.

Louis: This seems like quite a big basket to throw "traditionalist"
political formations into. Would the Zapatistas be included? Would
Rigoberto Menchu? The sentiment expressed in Irish bars today has been
around for hundreds of years. It was a major factor in the political
evolution of James Connolly who embraced both Irish nationalism and Marxism.

Nationalism is an ideology, and in the service of an oppressive
overclass it can be totally reactionary. For example, Boer nationalism.

On the other hand, the Vietnamese invoked nationalist themes throughout
their struggle and this helped to mobilize the masses. Also, why
counterpose "reactionary" nationalism with "progressive" feminism? There are
lots of reactionary feminists, aren't there?

Maybe we should have a full discussion around the question of
nationalism. We'll have a structured reading of Lenin, Luxemburg, Kautsky
et al, and take a look at Malcom X, Patrice Lumumba, James Connolly, the
Algerian FLN, etc. I think Tom and I had a brief exchange about this at
one point. He stated that Lenin supported the self-determination of
oppressed nationalities but opposed nationalism. This of course is the
position of groups like the Spartacist League. They invoke Lenin, but are
for all practical purposes opposed to anything but economic struggles by
trade unionists. They supported the Albert Shanker-led strike of the
teachers union against the efforts of black parents to gain control of
their own schools in 1968, for example. This has been an undercurrent of
discussion on the list since the beginning and maybe it's time for
everybody to step into the ring and flail away at each other. What a
jolly time we'll have!

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