National liberation, still

Charles Brown BrownBingb at
Fri Feb 28 10:22:05 MST 2003

From: "Richard Harris" <rhh1 at>
Subject: Re: marxism-digest V1 #5505

On Thu, 27 Feb 2003, Tom O'Lincoln wrote:

>Of course all national identities are constructs, but some constructs are
progressive and some reactionary.

This was siad to be the case in the nineteenth century, but how can it be


CB: 19th ?A la Lenin, there were in the 20th Century, oppressor and oppressed
nations. The latter had significant and substantial rights to national
self-determination and national liberation from imperialism. The movement of
independence from colonialism was equal with the socialist revolutions in
importance to the world historic Marxist project.

Imperialism still exists in the 21st century, in a new form in some ways, but
not all ways whatsoever. Out of the struggle against imperialism, we must
develop a new theory of national liberation , which  includes a revolutionary
concept of nationalism, say perhaps modified as a regional movement as with
Bolvarianism in South America.


How can it make sense now to defend the notion of national identity, a
notion inextricably grafted to that of a sovereign state,
self-determination - a wlole raft of ideas that were sunk, if not in the
trenches of the Somme, then at least by the capture of Saigon?


CB: Huh ? Sunk with the capture of Saigon !? Raised to its highest level with
the establishment of Ho Che Minh City.

How can the
working class adopt a 'national identity' that is not also a livery
controlled by a national bourgeoise/party bureaucracy?


CB: As a socialist nation - Socialism still projected to  have a state. The
state doesn't whither away until there is no capitalism left.

 Capital now strides
the world like a collosus.


CB: Capitalism strode the world like a collosus in the 19th Century ( See
_The Manifesto of the Communist Party_ by Engels and Marx)

  There is virtually nowhere that the reach of
Coka Cola, Nike, RTZ/United Fruits/Exxon etc. does not reach.  The run up to
the coming war in Iraq must press that in the face of each of us.  Far gone
are the days when any community in the world could meaningfully collect
under a flag to resist the incursions of a capitalist nation


CB: See Cuba , Venezuela, Viet Nam, Korea, hopes of the world.

(except for
small native groups in South America, Africa and elsewhere - who are really
worth fighting for as their lives point to a real alternative to the atomism
and alienation of our civil societies.  They destroy the lie that our world
is as natural as the weather.)  How can we now tell workers to group with
'their' bourgeoise - because they've got one in 2003?

All national identities are constructs.  In each metropolitan city
throughout the world, the whole world is represented in the cities people.
The whole world of the past, that is.  The world of the future is yet to be

Dump this 'progressive and reactionary' nations nonsense.  Wage-workers of
all lands unite!


CB: Wage workers and oppressed peoples of all lands , unite !

> I remember learning to avoid the term "Islamic fundamentalist" because in
> fact "fundamentalist" is a Protestant Christian term. The correct word is
> "Islamist". But then I discovered that when you talk to most people from
> Muslim backgrounds, they call it "fundamentalism" too.

Exactly.  We are at a time when the class cards are truly on the table in
the major states.  Could the bankrupt. pathetic Labour Party of the UK be
more exposed as being a capitalist party?  Don't mince words.  I gave out
leaflets on 15th February in London with an Iraqi exile - he had escaped
from the savagery of the Hussein regime.  Do we really want to defend the
state or national bourgeoise anywhere as allies?  That Iraqi worker was my
comrade, fellow worker and fellow human being.  The brutal Iraqi leadership
hardly fall into any of those categories.  What is 'nation' to the modern
western working class except division under the control of small scale
wanna-be bourgeoise or nascent state bureaucracies?


CB: "Bureaucracy" is more of a Weberian than Marxist concept. In communism
there will still be an administration of things, if not people.

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