Nationalism - a reply to David Schanoes on Venezuela

DMS dmschanoes at
Fri Jul 18 07:15:14 MDT 2003


In no particular order:

1.  What the bourgeoisie say in public is designed to
obscure, not clarify, the terms of the struggle.  When
the bourgeoisie speak to members of their own class,
they speak clearly about the real terms of their struggle
for property, wealth, control,  and even then they get
it wrong, but at least they are articulating their class
interest.  When "we" speak to members of "our class," we
should speak clearly, get it right, about the real forces
at work, about real classes, and real control of the
means of production.

2. Ideology is not an issue.  We don't need ideology.
Revolution requires organization and program. Those things
can only be formulated on specific, defined class lines
that will embrace the general needs of the entire

3. We are dutibound to defend the interests of a class and
show how those interests represent the way forward for
everyone who wants a future free of oppression.  There is
no real substance to the ideologies of "national sovereignty,"
and no real substance to the notion of "people."  There
is concrete substance to analysis of classes and how
those classes engage in conflict within specific circum-
stances. We can study comparative advantage without
studying Ricardo-- the history of "less developed" areas
is the best textbook.  But the manifestations of capital
in the less developed areas are the manifestations of
the fundamental social relation between capital and wage-labor
and the conflicts are only resolved through that same force
capable, and necessary, for the overthrow of capital everywhere.

3. I do not agree that socialists "believe in the importance
of the rule of law."  Law serves property.  Property serves
class.  Or class serves property.  The rule of law makes
strikes, demonstrations, illegal.  Do we believe in that?

4.  The US Constitution does not proclaim all human beings
are equal.  The US Constitutions proclaims that slaves
equal a fraction of white.  That's your rule of law....
fractional equivalent which is really imposed bondage.
The 13th, 14th, 15th amendments attempt to expand equality
and due process to men of color, but Plessy v. Ferguson,
a legal decision, was the result of the bourgeois historical
affirmation of "formal equality.

5. Our critique of bourgeois justice is not that it is formal
or hypocritical.  Our critique is that it is bourgeois,
representing an equality of propertyowners. And moreover,
it is futile imagine an equality in law when the essence
of society, its relation of production, is exploitation.

6. And finally, the fundamental contradiction is not between
nations, oppressor and oppressed.  No fan of Lenin's
Imperialism, I give him credit for pointing out that all
these manifestations of imperialism introduce the "fundamental
social relations of capitalism" into the "less developed" areas.
That fundamental relation is the conflict between wage-labor
and capital.  While the conflict will assume a variety
of manifestations, including an echo of the "national
struggle," the essence is social, international, and requires
a program to articulate that.


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