[Marxism] Re: Stalinism and the 1913 pamphlet on the national question

dwalters at marxists.org dwalters at marxists.org
Sat Dec 23 11:01:57 MST 2006

Joaquin's position is somewhat true...somewhat...he leaves out and misrepresents
something, perhaps by mistake. The position outlined in 1913 was NOT widely
held. This is false. Most people were closer to Luxemberg (who's position was
myopically focused on Poland and the problems of Polish and Ukrainian
nationalism--counterpoised as they were in practice, Ukraine wanting it's
historic western section around Lvov and Poland wanting a warm water port on
the Black sea) and Kautsky's view. To my knowledge the 1913 pamphlet was the
most advanced, up to that time, social-democratic position that gave ANY
credence to the idea of self-determination.

Joaquin is correct that it didn't deal with imperialism. He is correct, that's
because "imperialism" as we've grow to learn and fear in it's current
manifestation, was little known to the totally Euro-American social democracy.
Social-demcoracy didn't talk about the Filipino armed rebellion or Marti in
Cuba because they didn't know about it or were totally focused on their own
class inside their own national boundaries. Colonialism was opposed, but only
the most abstract ways, and from the point of view of causing inter-capitalist
wars not necessarily from the point of view of self-determination. That
pamphlet, as mechanical as it is, helped open the way for what we know today as

But what Joaquin ignores is the post-1919 discussions in the Comintern, most
notably it's 2nd Congress, whose discussions wouldn't of taken place in the
same way WITHOUT that 1913 pamphlet, which helped define the Bolshevik's own
internal positions vis-a-vis oppressed nationalities and was developed further
at that 2nd Congress. It is totally insufficient to talk about this 1913
position without integrating it in a historical context and what flowed
directly from it 7 and  8 years later...


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