Nationalism

dms dmschanoes at earthlink.net
Sat Jul 19 13:12:42 MDT 2003


Comrade George's communication is highly informative and once again moves
the discussion to the level of practical analysis, exactly and solely where
it belongs, the same place LP's initial posting was headed.

So in reviewing the response of Marxists to manifestations of nationalism
there is something other than national-nihilism going on, there is an
abdication of specific class terms of the struggle in favor of a national
umbrella.

I am not convinced of the vitality, effectiveness, sincerity, or even depth
of "national bourgeois" resistance to imperialism.  The real history is one
of equivocation, accommodation, and capitulation.  And the real history of
national struggles is that the driving force is the social conflict of
capital and the relations of production, expressed acutely in agricultural
production and the relations of city and countryside.  If we can explore
that, then indeed we get away from national nihilism, attacking or opposing
a "nationalist" movement, and instead develop a concrete program for
reorganization of the economy that supercedes the "national moment."  This
certainly is evident, at least to me, in the history of the Philippines.

Cde. George makes an interesting formulation:

"But there is no natural connection between Britishness
> and Englishness and chauvinism: we do not believe in congenitally
> revolutionary and reactionary nations just as we do not believe in
> nations with and without history."

Well said, and from that we have to draw the appropriate assessment of
"nationalism of the oppressed," as a transitory form which must give way to
class differentiation.

Further, cde. George states

" Of course, the British-English working
> class will realise this task not as on the road to Damascus but through
> concrete struggle and practical experience, as all mass radicalisation
> is made. But it will not thus be forced to give up its national
> existence, but merely to 'cleanse' it. By the same token, of course, the
> British-English working class cannot wish its own history into
> nothingness: it lives (or dies) with what it has and what it has done.
> In this sense it must learn to be proud of that in its history which
> merits pride and to reject that which has prolonged not only its own
> state of slavery but the enslavement of others. And in this sense it is
> possible too to talk about the liberation of nationalities that are
> today national oppressors"


This, I think, is ambiguous, and dangerous, much as Lenin's own statements
on his Great-Russian national provide are ambiguous, dangerous and totally
obiter dictum.  It falls to easily into a non-specific umbrella of culture,
ideologies, our "good" history, vs. their "bad" history.

Moreover if  this formulation is viable and essential to development of the
struggle, then another popular formulation of Lenin's, "bribing" of the
workers in the metropolitanc countries though extracting "super-profits"
from the colonies, has to be examined and discarded (which is OK by me.)

I think the whole point is not nation, nationalism good and bad, but nation
and nationalism as moments in the reproduction of capital, and by following
the reproduction of capital on an international basis, on the basis of the
social relations of production, we will indeed make the proper assessment of
"national oppression."

dms




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