Questions for Mine (was: When to support nationalism?)

Gorojovsky Gorojovsky at
Wed Jan 31 08:21:44 MST 2001

En relación a Re: Questions for Mine (was: When to support nati,
el 31 Jan 01, a las 13:14, Johannes Schneider dijo:

> The denial of Kurdish self-determination is a pillar of imperialist policy
> in the region, maintaining the borders that were imposed on the peoples of
> the area by French and British imperialism after World War I.

I would take exception to what Johannes (hi!) is saying above.

French and British imperialism did certainly carve their own colonial borders
in the Fertile Crescent (particularly through the Sykes-Picot arrangement) in
the immediate aftermath of WWI. But this mainly applies to the areas South of
Anatolia and Armenia.

Many questions criscrossed the eventual result.

a) The basic intention of the winning side in the war was to swallow as much
land from the former Ottoman empire (not an imperialist state, this is
important) as possible. Thus, France strongly supported an "independent"
Armenian state in Eastern Anatolia, which support eventually brought Armenians
to a massacre by Turkey. France, of course, ended the issue by looking to
another side, and kept her clothes neatly clean of Armenian blood.

b) The decission of Kemalism not to keep the non-Turkish land within modern
Turkey: this was a revolutionary step ahead, since land ownership in the non-
Turkish areas was one of the most important assets of the backwards ruling
class of the Empire. The decission reminds that by Bismark to split Germany
from Austria in the 1860s.

c) The particular reivindications of different peoples engulfed by the Ottoman
Empire. Peoples like the Kurds, the Druze, and so on.

d) While in Anatolia the main historical force -and, for a time, the most
progressive one- was Kemalism (please read E.H. Carr on the interesting
relations between the Soviet Union and Kemalist Turkey), outside Anatolia the
most progressive force was the Arab national movement. The particular
reivindications of the different peoples involved in "self-determination"
struggles must be gauged, IMHO, in strict relationship with these two basic

e) the fact that Turkey has become, as it has, an arrogant new member of NATO
after 1945 does not transform Turkey, IMHO (nor, I fear, in NATO HQ's opinion,
either) into an equal of Germany or France. Whenever these central states
decide to support their own views within NATO, Turkey is expected to humbly
lower the head.

f) I would thus suspect the reasons why some Western agencies tend to give some
kind of support to separatism within Turkey. I have never seen any Turkish
agency fostering separation of Languedoc from France... on humanitarian

Néstor Miguel Gorojovsky
gorojovsky at

More information about the Marxism mailing list