[Marxism] Jim Craven on Taiwan

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Apr 8 13:26:44 MDT 2005

Tony wrote:

Richard Fidler wants to suggest that the right of  a nation to 
self-determination is the most important factor in working out an approach 
to the Taiwan issue. I agree.

But the most salient feature of this situation is not the right of Taiwan 
to self-determination but rather that same right for the People's Republic 
of China. This right to self-determination has been opposed first by 
Japanese and then by US imperialism.

In trying to make a case for Taiwanese self-determination, Richard is thus 
forced to ignore the internal class dynamics of the situation as well as 
the placement of the situation within a world dominated by great power 

Response Jim C:

Exactly and further Richard obviously has no idea of what 
facts-on-the-ground and international law (or even traditional Marxist 
theory on the national question) define, legitimate and demand recognition 
of a given group of people as a People or nation. What constitutes a nation 
under international law is the following 5-part test: a) commonly-shared 
land base for significant historical periods and recognized--by other 
groups--as the distinct and commonly-shared land base of that group; b) 
commonly-shared culture and language by members of the group; c) 
commonly-shared economy by members of the group; d) commonly-shared 
political institutions for determining representation, leadership and 
membership of the group; e) a clear and clearly-expressed desire by the 
vast majority of the group to constitute and remain as a nation.

On Taiwan there are groups such as the Gaoshan for example, that, although 
significantly reduced in numbers and indeed almost extinct as a People, do 
meet all the facts and tests for constituting--and being recognized as--a 
nation. And, like any nation, and from the fundamental right of any nation 
not to be exterminated or forcibly assimilated by--or to form--some 
supposed broader nation, certain derivative rights of nations--necessary 
but not sufficient conditions for the realization and protection of 
fundamental rights of nations--follow:  a) right of recognition by other 
nations and protections--along with responsibilities and limitations--of 
international law; b) right of independence; c) right of 
self-determination; d) right of sovereignty and recognition of sovereignty 
by other nations; e) right of secession or disarticulation from larger 
geographic land areas historically controlled by another and dominating 
nation with which the land-base of the seceding nation is contiguous (under 
the "Blue Water Doctrine", no longer operable, this right was recognized 
under international law only if the land-base of the nation seeking 
recognition and independence was separated by oceans or "Blue Water"--like 
Portugal claiming Mozambique/Angola as "Provinces of Portugal" or France 
claiming Algeria as a "Province" of France--and not contiguous with the 
land-base of the imperial or dominating nation; this was merely an 
accommodation or assertion by imperialist powers seeing the 
implications--on their own contiguous land bases--of other nations seeking 
independence, separation and recognition employing the very same facts and 
international law that the imperial or dominating nations employ[ed] to 
assert, legitimate and protect their own nationhood and survival); f) right 
of reunification with other members of the nation that has been 
historically divided or disenfranchised by other nations; g) right of 
return of historical lands lost through imperial and other machinations 
contrary to international law (no person or whole nation is supposed to 
gain or be rewarded for illegal machinations in the past). g) right to form 
and operate its own types of socioeconomic political systems and social 
formations free from attempts at overthrow or impositions of foreign 
systems and cultures.

But none of the basic facts or international law governing Taiwan as a 
whole come close to fitting the case of, for example, certain Indigenous 
nations on Taiwan. First of all, the ruling groups that formed the KMT--or 
GMD--regime of Taiwan were not native to or Indigenous to Taiwan--they were 
cowards and running renegades from the mainland who became 
occupiers/dominators of lands and peoples to which they were not 
indigenous.. Secondly, the fact that Taiwan, during various periods of 
history, was alienated from broader China by foreign occupiers, does not, 
and cannot, now separate Taiwan from broader China as almost all of the 
historical and longstanding parts of China--as in the case of  many other 
nations, even the the U.S.--were once occupied, divided or disarticulated 
by other foreign powers and nations that have been forced to return the 
illegally taken/held/controlled lands. Thirdly, the real indigenous groups 
and nations on Taiwan have been largely diminished and exterminated not by 
the government of the People's Republic of China, but by the illegal and 
fascist renegades occupying Taiwan and protected by imperialist powers 
seeking to fragment, disarticulate and destroy the traditional land base 
and cultures of all of China (divide-and-rule). Fourthly, it is the basic 
facts on the ground and international law--not simply acting like a nation 
or doing what nations do as the Taiwan regime is now seeking to do to try 
to gain recognition--and leverage its "credibility"--as a nation--that 
defines, legitimates and demands recognition of a given group as a nation; 
Fifthly, as the KMT or GMD regime of Taiwan was formed and continues to be 
based upon various forms and doctrines of despotism, fascism and minority 
rule, there is no basis to believe that the "vast majority" of the people 
of Taiwan believe, or have asserted themselves to be, a separate People and 
not a part of the broader nation of China (indeed for many years the 
dominant elements of the KMT or GMD have long asserted a "one-China-claim" 
with the patently bogus notion of being the "legitimate government" of all 
of China, followed by the assertion, first, of a "two Chinas", and now the 
assertion of  a separate "Taiwanese 'Nation' " as their arrogance and 
patent fiction--being the sole representative of all of China and/or a "Two 
Chinas--has failed to be recognized even by U.S. imperialism for which the 
KMT/GMD have been nothing but whores, minions and outright agents; Sixthly, 
under international law, no nation may deny to another nation, the very 
same rights, principles, analogous facts or protections/responsibilities or 
recognition under international law that it employs, and has employed, for 
itself to assert and protect its own national recognition, security and 
survival; this then legitimates the PRC claim of Taiwan being an integral 
and unalienable part of China and vitiates any hypocritical claims by other 
nations of a "Taiwanese Nation", "Two Chinas" or supposed "right of 
secession" by Taiwanese.

For those who would maintain the patent and indefensible fiction of a "Two 
Chinas" or a separate "Taiwan Nation", and who would deny the government of 
China the right to do what it takes to reunify--as part of protecting the 
existing and survival of the whole nation of China--Taiwan with all of 
China,are simply acting objectively--if not subjectively--as agents and 
apologists of U.S. imperialism and localized fascism/despotism in Taiwan.

Jim Craven



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