[Marxism] Socialist tasks versus national tasks?

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Mar 8 09:06:24 MST 2005

David Walter:
>I don't think the quotes prove Louis' points at all.


When this topic first came up in December 2003, you wrote the following to 
the list:

 >>Second note, Louis, all, for those interested, and a document  that
leans a little more to Louis' point of view in terms of marxist method
is actually not the stuff Louis has cited as much, but Trotsky's
excellent piece on this very issue entitled: "Between Red and White". I
have it listed as a "significant work" on the TIA index page.

Written in 1922 while Trotsky was still Commissar of Military Affairs,
it presents one of the best Marxist works on self-determination "under
socialism". It deals specifically with the "Georgian Affair" and
reflects Soviet Gov't views on this, albeit it's penned by Trotsky.

Some of the chapter titles relevant to this discussion are:
8. Democracy and the Soviet system
9. Self-determination and the revolution
10. ”Public opinion”, Social Democracy, Communism

This work is little known but it should be widely read, IMO as a
contribution to this discussion:


Here's a snippet from chapter 9:

 >>The “Realpolitik” of today necessitates the conformity of the interests 
of the workers” state with the conditions created by the fact of its being 
surrounded by large and small bourgeois nationalist-democratic states. We 
were actuated by such considerations based on an accurate valuation of 
existing facts, when we maintained our attitude of patience and toleration 
towards Georgia. But when this attitude, after a long period of trial, did 
not give us even the most elementary guarantees of safety­when the 
principle of self-determination became, in the hands of General Walker and 
Admiral Dumesnil, a juridical guarantee for counter-revolution which was 
preparing a new attack upon us­we did not and could not see any moral 
obstacle in introducing, at the call of the revolutionary vanguard of 
Georgia, our Red Army, in order to help the workers and poorest peasants 
with the least possible delay and sacrifice to overthrow that pitiful 
democracy which had destroyed itself by its own policy.

We do not only recognize, but we also give full support to the principle of 
self-determination, wherever it is directed against feudal, capitalist and 
imperialist states. But wherever the fiction of self-determination, in the 
hands of the bourgeoisie, becomes a weapon directed against the proletarian 
revolution, we have no occasion to treat this fiction differently from the 
other “principles” of democracy perverted by capitalism.<<



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