Self Determination- Support It!

Tony Abdo aabdo at
Tue Aug 22 01:52:34 MDT 2000

I am perfectly aware that the Indonesian situation has some major
differences from that of the Yugoslavia breakup.       Just as Russia's
situation is quite different from that of Iraq.     The point is,
though,  that all four countries are in the process of having their
territorial self determination attacked by the imperialist bloc.

Lou asks, <Why would we even begin to talk in terms of Indonesia's 'self

My reply has to begin with.... asking why would we NOT begin to talk of
Indonesia's self determination?       After all, is Indonesia not being
judged severely in the imperialist based press?       Do the imperialist
countries not set for themselves the right to determine other countries'
national boundaries?

All this time, minutely trying to decide the exact class structure of
Russia and Yugoslavia, whether capitalst, socialist, or mixed  is
totally  irrelevant to whether we socialists should support their
territorial integrity and self determination.

I purposely mentioned Iraq, precisely because we support Iraqi self
determination against the imperialist bloc.     We do not want
imperialism dividing the counry into thirds, or any other division they
have in mind.     They have set themselves exactly the right to do just

Liberals may make the argument about stopping the killing of children by
US forced sanctions there, and leave out mention of the violation of
Iraqi self determination, but it is shameful when communists also do the

In all those Leftist arguments over the last 2 years about the need to
defend self determination of the Kosovars, Chechens, or East Timorese,
how often did we hear about defending, in those very same words.... the

It is like the socialist movement has totally erased the concept of self
determination as involving nations, and not just single ethnic groups.
This is a very dangerous and misguided amnesia and lack of thought for
the Left in the imperialist countries to have.      Especially in this
political period, when imperialsm is aggressively attacking the right of
larger independent countries to exist as such, in the Third World.

>From the point of view of American imperialism, it is an inconvenient
colonial legacy that countries like India, Brazil, Indonesia, China,
Nigeria, and Russia exist.     It is not the working model for the 'new
global economy'.

Trying to keep the Third World from being restructured to the
convenience of this new imperialism, IS class struggle.      The
imperialist countries would rather that the Third World be restructured
into nation states of an even more dependent size.    Even down to the
size of the Persian Gulf Arab Emirate states, or the West African
coastal states, when necessary to totally subdue the regions involved.

Where did this current strategy of imperialism come from?     It is
obvious that it flowed out of their success in  breaking up the former
Soviet bloc.      Out from a coherent, interlinked regonal Soviet
economy (even with all its defects),  'nations' were then spun off like

Many will argue that this was a great stride forward in gaining self
determination.      But the results clearly show that it was even more
so, a giant step forward in creating new dependencies, but this time
with the imperialist bloc in charge.      And dependency is not exactly
the foundation for self determination.

Looking strictly at the situation in national ethnic terms, the breakup
did lead to greater self determination.     Looking at the same
situation, from a regional and/ or economic angle, self determination
has clearly been lost.

It is a mistake to think that the Bolsheviks and other communist groups
of the past, saw self determination strictly from an ethnic angle.
The Bolshevks led a struggle for their own self determination.     It
was not just something they thought about in regard to non-Russian
minorities.    This wasn't Russian chauvinism on their part, the Russian
Revolution was above all a struggle for national and regional self
determination for the Russian people.

Despite the differences betwen Yugoslavia under Milosevic, and Indonesia
under Habibe, both countries are in a struggle to maintain their right
to decide their own affairs, without outside imperialist judges
determining the outcomes...... and outside 'socialist' judges joining
along in the public debate about whether the governments in Indonesia,
or Yugoslavia, are worthy, or not.

It is hard to see the difference between these 2 debates, and the rush
of the public in the imperialist countries to judge against Iraq, when
they sent troops into Kuwait.     Who set the English speaking world up
to be the judges in the Arab world, The Balkans, and Indonesia?

It's  pretty shameful that us English language marxists have joined the
talk show.    We could have focused on opposing the US military.      We
could have focused more on opposing the Cold War, and not the crimes of
the Soviet Union.

Why are us English speaking marxists so involved on deciding the
worthiness of Putin's government, or not?      We will defend Russian
self determination based on our decision of what Putin represents?
Is this somehow different thinking, than those liberals that withheld
opposition to the US attack on Iraq, because Saddam was so bad to

The defense is, Habibe and Putin are US allies, not enemies like Saddam
was.     Many have forgotten how so many socialists argued in the past,
that Milosevic was the West's ally.     All four have been allies and
enemies, and both at the same time.

Yes, Indonesia is under attack from imperialism, if from no other reason
than that imperialsm has claimed for itself, the role of judge, cop, and
jury in regards to the affairs of all that live in the South Pacific.

<National self determination requests some basic prerequisites, among
others a unity not based on ethnicity, and a mass of population large
enough to support a modern economy, which the splintered Indonesia would
not have. East Timor certainly does not have them. National and ethnic
claims are not the same tning. Actually, they are the opposite of each
other.>        Thank you, Nestor for this last paragraph.

Tony Abdo

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