Arguing against Militarism and Imperialism (Juriaan)

Tom O'Lincoln suarsos at alphalink.com.au
Thu Jul 17 18:17:26 MDT 2003


>>one of these days I am going to have to go to Australia, and argue this
out with you<<

What a delightful prospect. For now I’m short of time so I will only take
up one point:

>>Lenin was in fact for the RIGHT of NATIONAL self-determination, and on
that basis he supported the NATIONALISM OF THE OPPRESSED<<

I know that’s the conventional understanding, but it ain’t so. It’s true
that Lenin says this:

http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1922/dec/testamnt/autonomy.htm
In my writings on the national question I have already said that an
abstract presentation of the question of nationalism in general is of no
use at all. A distinction must necessarily be made between the nationalism
of an oppressor nation and that of an oppressed nation, the nationalism of
a big nation and that of a small nation. 

But he also says this:

http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1914/self-det/ch04.htm
The whole task of the proletarians in the national question is
"unpractical" from the standpoint of the nationalist bourgeoisie of every
nation, because the proletarians, opposed as they are to nationalism of
every kind, demand "abstract" equality; they demand, as a matter of
principle, that there should be no privileges, however slight.

Note he is opposed to nationalism of EVERY KIND. Lenin supports the right
to self-determination, but on the basis of internationalism, not
nationalism. In case that’s not pointed enough, look at this:

http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1916/oct/caricature-marxism.htm
If we demand freedom of secession for the Mongolians. Persians, Egyptians
and all other oppressed and unequal nations without exception, we do so not
because we favour secession, but only because we stand for free, voluntary
association and merging as distinct from forcible association. That is the
only reason!”

In this passage, Lenin italicises the world “only” twice in a row.



More information about the Marxism mailing list