[Marxism] Chechnya and the National Question

Ken Hiebert knhiebert at shaw.ca
Sat Feb 13 09:38:09 MST 2016

Andrew Stewart has this to say (February 12, 2nd message):
....As for Checnya, you do understand
that their aspirations were manipulated and hijacked by CIA-linked World
Muslim League, right? This is the same set that was involved with al Queda
and bin Laden.

Vijay Prashad explaining the history of the World Muslim League last fall
re: Syria

The world is sadly a violent place where the CIA has manipulated the
aspirations of people for its own ends and continues to.

* * * * *

Ken Hiebert replies:

Andrew uses the word aspirations without any adjective, so we don't know if he regards these aspirations as legitimate or illegitimate.  For my part, I regard them as legitimate.
But one thing we can say for certain, the crushing of Chechnya has not diminished those aspirations.  And it has strengthened the influence of the most reactionary Islamist currents among Chechens.

Lenin's views on the national question were not developed in ignorance of the possibility that national aspirations might be manipulated by reactionary forces.  On the contrary, his views were given greater force precisely because he did understand that possibility.  Unity between the workers of the oppressed nationality and the workers of the oppressor nation were all the more urgent because of this.  And that unity could only be achieved if the working class movement in the oppressor nation was at pains to free itself from any stain of great nation chauvinism.

The writings of Gerry Foley were imbued with this understanding.  I include two samples.

Russia Resorts to a Racist War Against the Chechens - November 1999
The rulers of Russia argue that the breakdown of their rule over Chechnya produced a dangerous disorder, creating a breeding ground for terrorism. But their attempts to restore capitalism has led to deprivation and chaos throughout the former Soviet Union that are already far more disastrous than any conceivable “Islamic terrorism.”

The only thing that can stop the continuing slide into anarchy is the reorganization of the working people to take control of the economy and sweep away the profiteers and robbers spawned by the ultimate degeneration of the counterrevolutionary Stalinist bureaucracy.

In order to do that, the ideals and perspectives of socialism have to be revived. And that requires an unyielding fight against Great Russian chauvinism, which was the precondition for the victory of the Russian socialist revolution in the first place.

Today, it seems that most Russians have forgotten that the Chechen people, attracted by the Bolshevik leaders’ promises of self-determination, played a decisive role in the defeat of the reactionary White armies on the southern front during the civil war.

A new revolutionary leadership must remind them of this, and once again win the Chechen fighters as allies in the struggle against reaction, this time against the betrayers of the revolution.

Who Gains From the Slaughter in Chechnya? - March 2,000

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