Tobacco/Eagle Feather---NEED HELP!

Craven, Jim jcraven at
Thu Feb 20 17:01:58 MST 2003

----Original Message-----
From: Stuart Lawrence [mailto:stuartwl at]
Sent: Thursday, February 20, 2003 11:43 AM
To: marxism at
Subject: Re: Tobacco/Eagle Feather---NEED HELP!

----- Original Message -----
From: "Craven, Jim" <jcraven at>

b)That the existence or non-existence of any nation is not in any way
dependent upon recognition or non-recognition by other recognized nations
(particularly those such as Canada or the U.S. that have acquired and built
material interests in denying the existence and legitimacy-and derivative
rights of independence, self-determination and sovereignty-of First Nations
and/or other nations; the existence, legitimacy-and derivative rights-of all
nations are a matter of "facts on the ground" and international law as were
it not so, any nation could summarily extinguish another nation (genocide)
through simple non-recognition and applied power disparities;

c)Of the 193 nations in the U.N. over 100 have been recognized as nations
only since 1945 and out of the dissolution of the former USSR, for example,
fifteen new nations have been recognized by Canada and the U.S.; these new
nations did not "become" nations since the dissolution of the U.S.S.R ,
rather they simply became recognized as nations as the essential elements
and requisites of their nationhood existed long before their recognition as
nations by other nations (prior to their recognition as nations, they were
summarily declared to be "national minorities" or "dependent captive
quasi-nations" with "quasi-sovereignty" and having the same formal status as
First Nations have been summarily declared to have in Canada and the U.S.);



I've tried to give your statement a careful reading. From the above
paragraphs, it's unclear to me how you distinguish (good) "facts on the
ground" from (bad) "applied power disparities." Among the over 100 states in
the U.N. that have been recognized since 1945 is Israel, whose devotion to
"facts on the ground" as a basis for legitimacy is notorious. Perhaps you
mean some other kind of "facts" than those usually connoted by this phrase.
Would you include Israel among the "nations" that pre-existed their U.N.
recognition? If not, what "essential elements and requisites of nationhood"
did it lack? It certainly didn't lack a history of summary relegation to
"national minority" status, genocide, or denial of full sovereign statehood.

(Jim C)Cannot use violations of international law (aggressive wars,
colonialism, genocide, land-gabbing etc) to create/establish "facts on the
ground" then used to justify nationhood or "national sovereignty" under
other sections of international law; in other words, cannot use violations
of international law to create a "common territory" (one of the requirements
for existence/ recognition of a nation) or to create other elements of a
nation (common economy, common culture and language, common politcal
institutions, institutions for determining membership of a nation etc); so
the answere is NO, neither Israel nor "Jews" (in a general sense) constitute
a legitimate "nation".

A second question -- you never use the word "state," but in the discourse of
international law, some phrase has to stand in for that category. When you
say "sovereign nation" do you mean it to be synonymous with "state"? It's
confusing to read about "new nations" that always were nations but had to be
recognized as nations (after the rearrangement of power disparities) in
order to have the international status of nations. One definition of a state
that scholars might agree on is "an entity with geographic limits and
constituent population, holding a monopoly on the legitimate use of force
within its boundaries or externally on its behalf." Note the absence of
nationality, "essential elements and requisites of nationhood" and the like
from the definition. Clearly implicit in this definition is the necessity
for "facts on the ground" and, indeed "applied power disparities": the
disparity between the state's access to legitimate force and that of other
entities, internal or external. On the other hand, the weak point in this
definition is the vagueness of the term "legitimate," which leaves
unresolved the question of "legitimate to whom -- the constituent population
or the international system of states?"

(Jim C) No "nation" and "State" are not the same although often used
interchangeably in common parlance. We have a Blackfoot Nation and also have
a traditional Blackfoot Government or State apparatus. We are unable to
integrate the two fully because of domination by an outside, conquering,
predatory and foreign state dominating our lands and lives.
We approach that State (like a Jew going to a nazi court for "justice" and
"recognition") as a means to taking these issues to larger and wider venues.

I raise these points in full support of your advocacy of the Blackfoot
Nation, but I invite you to consider what may be problematic about asserting
"requisites of nationhood" as if they were the same as "requisites of
statehood" in terms of conventional international law discourse, which
ultimately serves to legitimate the historic European
nation-state/imperialist remaking of the world. The occasions when
international law has done otherwise have resulted from conjunctures where
"applied power disparities" dictated it do so.


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