Self Determination- Support It!

Tony Abdo aabdo at
Tue Aug 22 13:50:59 MDT 2000

I had stated-
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 this.

<Why so bashful? Spell it out. Death to the Kurds.>

Lou, fighting to support Iraqi self determination from the imperialist
divisions maintained by constant low intensity war, is not the same as
..... calling for Death to the Kurds.      You seem to see US militarism
in the area as a restraining force against the violaion of Kurdish self

Here is the big problem for the Left, not pitting support for self
determination of one ethnicity, against supporting the self
determination of another ethnicity.      In relationship to imperialism,
we should think of self determination as something that comes in
concentric rings.      Larger groupings having larger rings of self
determination struggles; smaller groupings with their self determination
struggles fitting inside the larger struggles.

Instead, we currently have the're either for the self
determination of the smaller group, or you or not.... method.      This
leads to total non-engagement in supporting the struggles of the larger
poitical/ national/ regional entitiy when under the gun from the
imperial center.
We continue in this vein with your reply to this portion of my previous

I wrote-
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.

<So you say. I see no evidence of this in the editorial pages of ruling
class newspapers.>

Lou, you didn't try too hard..     The Iraqi example above is just one
case in point.     Editorial support for no fly zones, arbitrary
division by the US military of Iraqi territory, and continued terrorism
by the US in the region doesn't register as evidence?

Similarly, support for East Timor's independence as a new half-an-island
state in the Pacific is seen as support for self determination, not as
redivison under imperial lines.

Similar plans are floated in ruling circles elsewhere.    Kosovo and the
idea in vogue in certain circles of dividing Sudan into 2 countries.
Maybe national boundaries should be redrawn in self determination
struggles.      But the redrawing should come from victories against
imperialism, not from the imperialist bloc doing it all for themselves.
This constant chatter about socialism and class, is the same old
obscurantist debate about whether the Viet Cong were worthy of support
in their self determination struggle, only depending on whether we could
go whole hog in support of every jot of their political program, or not.

I wrote-
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.

Your reply-
<No, you are wrong. The class criterion is all-important. If we lose
sight of this, we can never figure out whether to support Israel or the
Palestinians for example.>

I'm totally baffled by this.     Millions of people have been able to
figure out their support for Palestinian self determination, despite the
fact that they are not even socialists.     Are you trying to say that
you are unable to make the decison of support, in one direction or
another, unless you slot the Palestinians and Israelis into categories
of worker/ petti-bourgeois/ capitalist frames of reference?

I am accused of having lost the word socialism out of my vocabulary.
Not true.   I support a socialist Indonesia, Middle East, Russia, and
Balkans.      However, it is not necessary to shout it in every phrase
of support, from every socialist tower of ideology, that the self
determination of a people, nation, or region is tied into the overal
class struggle.       Though it is, of course.

Many non- socialists support struggles for self determination much more
determinedly than those fixated on 'class' in the most limited manner.
And in so doing, they advance class struggle often times much more than
the Social Democratic labor types do.
I especially want to protest the sterility of invoking Lenin on self
determination.      The world faced by Russia in its struggle to throw
off the chains of imperialist attack, was a world that had just been
devastated by an inner- imperialist war.

What does that have to do with the current situation, where for over
half a century, the imperialist countries have woven themselves into a
unit?     And a unit that is directed by a singular world Super Power,
that is dominating the rest of the world?     It's as irrelevant as
trying to use Moses' dietary laws into somehow evaluating genetically
modified food.

Even at that, Lenin and Trotsky saw the world in terms of sparking
international struggle, so that's the angle of their writings.      What
they didn't write about in their historical time frame, where the
structure of the world was so different from now, is that this spark was
launched in a Russian effort to defend its territorial self determiation
from invading imperialist armies.

They were struggling to keep their world from being partitioned into
smaller dependencies by imperialist victors, just as was done with the
Turkish Empire.
We see it through the eyes of the imperialist victors as a great
liberation of subject peoples from the evil Turks.

It also was the victory by imperialism,  that led to the 20th Century's
major imperalist pillage.      That of destroying regional self
determination of the Middle East (as defective as it was under Turkish
rule).       Subsequently, the loss in self determination can be
measured in the trillions of dollars of petroleum, looted and hauled off
in ships and pipelines, by the imperialist bloc.

Lou, you assert that...
<Actually, the nation-state is absolutely necessary for the workings of

Isn't that what is actually undergoing change at this moment?      In
fact, it was never true totally.      The world has been dotted with
little city states that the workings of capitalism always supported.
The Vatican,  Singapore,  Andorra, Belize, Brunei, Bahrain,
Djibouti..... there is a large variety of non-nation or semi nation
states out there.      Not all the world got unified ala Germany and

The political universe is full of non-planetary bodies.    And the
imperial center seems to be looking to create even more of them at the
current moment.       It's even in the editorials.      They call it
humanitarian interventionism.

Take off the class blinkers and socialist tinted eyeglasses, and view
the national struggle in all its multitud of dimensions.     You will be
seeing 'class' issues at the same time.


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