Lenin, secession and the national question

James M. Blaut 70671.2032 at SPAMcompuserve.com
Thu Dec 30 23:20:41 MST 1999


Norm is talking about STALIN's theory of nations, not LENIN's. Lenin
probably agreed with Stalin's definition of "nation" in 1913, when Stalin
wrote "Marxism and the National Question," but that was before Lenin began
seriously to study the dynamics of the colonial world.  Lenin never used
Stalin's definition thereafter. In fact, Lenin didn't ever define "nation"
in any formal sense, and said absolutely nothing about a definition of
"nation" after 1913 or 1914. He never even mentioned Stalin's defnition
after 1914.I'm sure that Lenin was aware of the fact that you can't define
"nation" in such a way as to to include all real nations of all periods,
and to exclude non-nations.

So don't burden Lenin with Stalin's defnition, or with Stalin's overall
theory of nationalism, which was not useful in the period of imperialism.

I wrote about this in an article in Monthly Review in 1977, "Are Puerto
Ricans a 'National minority'?" and in a book called _The National Question:
Decolonizing the Theory of Nationalism_, Zed 1987.


Jim Blaut

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