Lenin, secession and the national question

George Pennefather poseidon at SPAMeircom.net
Sat Jan 1 05:35:39 MST 2000

Lenin commissioned Stalin to do a big article on the national question, in
order to counter, mainly, two 1912-13 attacks on the Bolshevik position:

1) The Bund was demanding organizational autonomy in the RSDLP, as a
basicaally distinct party within the RSDLP, using Bauer's and the Austrian
party's theory that nations don't have to have definitie terrirory (the
Bund claimed that Jews were a nation although they didn't occupy a definite
territory and, being a nation, the Jewish socialist movement, the Bund, had
the same righht to constitue a distinct national party as did other nations
in russia).

Jim Blaut: Lenin believed, however, that the Luxemburgian position was, itself, narrow
nationalism, Russian
nationalism, because it (like the Austrians') wanted to maintain the emppire intact and
not dismantle the empire by permitting opprerssed nastions within Russia to secede and
become independent.

George: Clearly Lenin was wrong here. To suggest that the Luxemburgian position
necessarily promoted the maintenance of the Russian empire is incorrect. To suggest
the way to dismantle the Russian empire was "by permitting oppressed nations within
to secede and become independent" is correspondingly incorrect. The way to dismantle
Russian empire was through the establishment of communism through the struggle by the
Russian working class and the West European working class overthrowing the Russian

The task of revolutionary commies was not the dismantling of the Russian empire anymore
than its task today is the dismantling of the European Union "empire". The task of
revolutionaries was the abolition of the Russian empire through the abolition of the
Russian state entailing the establishment of communism. The dismantling of the Russian
Empire does not necessarily subvert capitalist relations. The dimantling of an empire
the 20th century does not necessarily mean the abolition of capitalism. To support the
mere dismantling of the Russian state is merely to support capitalism assuming a
different, perhaps even a more effective, form.

Warm regards
George Pennefather

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