[Marxism] ¿ Marxology ? First occurence of "A nation oppressing another, can't ..."

A.R. G amithrgupta at gmail.com
Tue Nov 3 14:07:13 MST 2015

If these quotes are valid, they sound somewhat ethnocentric. I mean, it's
great that Germany cannot liberate itself if it is oppressing Italy or
whatever, but what if it could? Would that end the inquiry? I would think
communists of all stripes would reject national oppression ipso facto, not
have it be derivative of whether or not it bloodies the soul of the

- Amith

On Tue, Nov 3, 2015 at 2:04 PM, Lüko Willms <marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu>

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> Marx and Engels have used this phrase many times, and Lenin quoted them
> and many others.
> "A people which oppresses another, forges its own chains"
> or
> "A nation wich oppresses another, can't emancipate itself"
> or more similar formulations.
> The two friends and comrades made revolutionary politics along that line
> in the 1848 revolution, relating to the occupation by German states of
> parts of Italy or Poland, "we have to stop oppressing the Poles (or the
> Italians) if we want to be free ourselves". See especialy Engel's June 18,
> 1848 article on the uprising in Prague (
> https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1848/06/18.htm )
> > A nation which throughout its history allowed itself to be used as
> > a tool of oppression against all other nations must first of all
> > prove that it has been really revolutionized. It must prove this not
> > merely by a few indecisive revolutions, as a result of which the old
> > irresolution, impotence and discord are allowed to continue in a
> > modified form; revolutions which allow a Radetzky to remain in
> > Milan, a Colomb and Steinacker in Poznan, a Windischgratz in Prague,
> > a Hueser in Mainz, as if nothing had changed.
> >
> > A revolutionized Germany ought to have renounced her entire past,
> > especially as far as the neighboring nations are concerned. Together
> > with her own freedom, she should have proclaimed the freedom of the
> > nations hitherto suppressed by her.
> >
> > And what has revolutionized Germany done? She has fully endorsed
> > the old oppression of Italy, Poland, and now of Bohemia too, by
> > German troops. Kaunitz and Metternich have been completely vindicated.
> But there was somebody earlier, called Dionisio Inca Yupanqui, from Cuzco
> in Peru, speaking before the Cortes de Cadiz as a delegate representing the
> Spanish lands in America, and he coined this simple phrase:
> "Un pueblo que oprime otro, no puede ser libre" - "a people oppressing
> another can't be free itself".
> > http://adhilac.com.ar/?p=932
> December 16, 1811. Spain had been conquered by French troops under
> Napoleon, the king was demoted and a relative or Napoleon Bonaparte was
> enthroned as king of Spain, and the Spaniards rallied together in Juntas
> and converged in a Cortes (we might call it a congress) in the city of
> Cadiz, located on an island off the coast in the south west corner of
> Spain, the only place which the Napoleon troups had not conquered. And they
> drew up the most liberal constitution of Europe in that time, of a
> constitutional monarchy. On that December 16 in the year 1811, this indio
> from Peru spoke to the assemby and pronounced that phrase, summarizing in
> it the situation of Spain, subjugated by foreign troops, and that she had
> to give freedom to her American territories if she wanted to be free
> herself.
> The question is now, could Marx and from him Engels, have adopted this
> succint formula coined by the Inca Yupanqui from his speech in Cadiz? The
> late Argentian activist and writer Jorge Abelardo Ramos says so in his
> "Historia de la nación americalatina". Ramos claims more, namely that Marx
> has adopted the political program from the Inca Yupanqui, but it is enough
> to reread the above quote from 1848 to know better.
> And there is some reason: for the series of articles for the New York
> Tribune on the revolutionary developments in Spain of the year 1854, Karl
> Marx studied the whole Spanish history of the first half of the 19th
> century, and dedicated one full article to the constitution elaborated by
> the Cortes of Cadiz in 1811/1812. So, he has probably also read the short
> speech by Yupanqui and it might well habe that Marx had adopted that
> formulation by Inca Yupanqui.
> The question is, has anybody encountered this succint formular in
> something written by Marx or Engels before 1854? I haven't yet by searching
> www.mlwerke.de
> Cheers,
> Lüko Willms
> Frankfurt/Main, Germany
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