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why are identity politics for race and sexuality/sex treated differently by so many anarchists?

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CRUD
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Nov 9 2011 01:21
Fall Back wrote:
CRUD - could you try and not send this thread on another tangent ( you meant conversation?? I really don't want to have to moderate another thread tonight.

Just try stay on topic. Please.

I was addressing her/his/sawa's conception of patriarchy which is liberal/radical no doubt. If I can't actually engage with people when they make statements what can I do? Sometimes that veers in various directions. It's on topic as far as me replying to being accused of enjoying male privilege.

Accuse me of enjoying male privilege, as in screaming the liberal conception of "PATRIARCHY" at me without an ounce of class analysis and I'll address it which I plan on doing unless you tell every poster only to post concerning the exact topic at hand to the T.

The discussion is from this post:

Quote:
sawa No one is saying queer capitalists are your comrades, but why are you even asking this when you wouldn't about their hetero counterparts.

If feminism, anti racism, and queer liberation result in division, it is the homophobes, racists and sexist which cause this and I'm happy for any working class movement to divide itself of such.
If you "don't get along" with liberal and radical feminists then it is probably because they challenge your privilege rather than because of any sort of feminist critique of liberal and radical feminism.
Hey it may sometimes easier to go along with racist, sexist homophobic assumptions eg insults about ya boss but this does not pay off in the medium term.

And if you weren't aware my response was showing how my empiricism (my experience) has convinced me materialist feminism should be on our minds not the various branches of feminism that cause divide as in...... identity politics.

http://www.hu.mtu.edu/~rlstrick/rsvtxt/mfintro.html

zenkka
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Nov 9 2011 03:20
JoeMaguire wrote:
As I already stated, nationalism is a class-collaborationist project. Its bourgeois and working class forces coming together trying to bring about a new statehood under a different bourgeoisie. The end result of a successful nationalist campaign would be a new state oppressing its own people (read workers). Look at the birth of countless post-colonial states and you will see they were simply transfers of power, from an imperial elite to an indegeneous elite. We are against this as anarchists, we want to sweep the lot of them off the map, because we counterpose the state and capitals interest with our own, which is workers self-management. You can't enhance a radical working class agenda by tailing nationalism, it simply doesn't work.

In terms of the struggles of women, blacks, other ethnic minorities and sexual minorities etc these do not propose new forms of oppression if they are successful. In the main, our allies among these groups want to address issues which directly affect them, so the issue becomes about them organising and expressing their autonomy in spheres where they are oppressed and contributing to the wider struggle and counter-culture.

This makes sense. Do you folks oppose all feminism that is not anti-capitalist, considering that the success of a feminism that is not anti-capitalist would do nothing to overthrow the bourgeois? Any feminism that is not anti-capitalist would definitely fall under the realm of class collaborationism in the same way a nationalist movement would.

also off topic people shut up.

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Nov 9 2011 08:16

Fall Back already raised the spectre of identity politics to some extent. You could easily add liberal or bouregois strands of various shades which would not enjoy unilateral support - as a group. It seems to me your asking if we give a free rein to groups just because their oppressed. And the answer is of course no, but we might agree on immediate issues to work around. If a group is divisive, or have strategies that perpetuate exploitation and statism then it is contrary to our politics.

Are you asking all this with a group in mind, so we can move off hypothethicals? Was there a particular instance you wanted to examine?

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Nov 9 2011 13:17

Didn't read the whole thread so apologies if this was already mentioned.

Although anarchists are opposed to the goal of setting up a nation-State as a means of achieving national-liberation, there are anarchists who support national liberation struggles and advocate that federated councils be set up instead of a State. Although many may not agree with the use of the term "national" liberation, the term national/nation is being used in the non-State sense, such as when pre-colonial non-State Indigenous societies are referred to as nations.

Prominent anarchists with this position include:

- Wayne Price
http://theanarchistlibrary.org/HTML/Wayne_Price__Lessons_of_the_Israeli-Lebanese_War.html

- Lucien van der Walt and Michael Schmidt (the authors of Black Flame):
http://www.anarkismo.net/article/18919

Quote:
"After reviewing the various opinions, Schmidt and van der Walt conclude that anarchists should “…participate in national liberation struggles in order to shape them, win the battle of ideas, [and] displace nationalism with a politics of national liberation through class struggle…” (p. 310). They cite the many cases where anarchists have participated in wars of national liberation, from Makhno’s Ukraine to Korea and elsewhere. "

An example of an anarchist national liberation struggle took place in Ukraine after the Russian revolution. Their aim was not a new State but a free territory of federated democratic soviets and communes.

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Nov 9 2011 13:26
ultraviolet wrote:
Didn't read the whole thread so apologies if this was already mentioned.

Although anarchists are opposed to the goal of setting up a nation-State as a means of achieving national-liberation, there are anarchists who support national liberation struggles and advocate that federated councils be set up instead of a State. Although many may not agree with the use of the term "national" liberation, the term national/nation is being used in the non-State sense, such as when pre-colonial non-State Indigenous societies are referred to as nations.

Prominent anarchists with this position include:

- Wayne Price
http://theanarchistlibrary.org/HTML/Wayne_Price__Lessons_of_the_Israeli-Lebanese_War.html

- Lucien van der Walt and Michael Schmidt (the authors of Black Flame):
http://www.anarkismo.net/article/18919

Quote:
"After reviewing the various opinions, Schmidt and van der Walt conclude that anarchists should “…participate in national liberation struggles in order to shape them, win the battle of ideas, [and] displace nationalism with a politics of national liberation through class struggle…” (p. 310). They cite the many cases where anarchists have participated in wars of national liberation, from Makhno’s Ukraine to Korea and elsewhere. "

an anarchist advocating something stupid should in my opinion be seen as evidence that it is compatible with anarchism, actual they are just inconstant and haven't thought there politics through properly

ultraviolet wrote:
An example of an anarchist national liberation struggle took place in Ukraine after the Russian revolution. Their aim was not a new State but a free territory of federated democratic soviets and communes.

Ok i don't know as much about ukrane during the rusian revolution, but i don't see how this is a national liberation struggle? it was part of the revolution that started in russa, and i don't have the impression that they where fighting for a free ukraine, but rather for anarchism and they just happened to be in the ukraine, so thats where they fought

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Nov 9 2011 13:43
Alexander Roxwell wrote:
zenkka wrote:
if you ask an anarchist about national liberation, they'll most often say that it's bourgeois because it organizes on national lines, even if it is supposedly socialist or even anarchist in the case of apoc. but if you ask an anarchist about feminism or queer liberation, they almost always support it.

why is it acceptable for an anarchist to be opposed to nationalism, but supportive of feminism and gay liberation?

What a good question ! Just watch the acrobatics as the screwballs try to justify this basic contradiction. My favorite is the one saying that it is because feminists are not asking for a separate nation-state just for women.

Actually I thought this was an excellent answer. If you find it inadequate that's your issue.

radicalgraffiti wrote:

an anarchist advocating something stupid should in my opinion be seen as evidence that it is compatible with anarchism, actual they are just inconstant and haven't thought there politics through properly

How is it stupid? Anarchists believe people living in a certain region have the right to self-determination. In an anarchist society, there won't be nation-States, but there will be different regions which have self-governance (using direct democracy) -- which will be federated with other regions, and make joint decisions on issues which mutually impact them all, but other than that, the people living in a particular region will be the ones making decisions over life and politics etc. in that region. (These regions might be called "nations" -- again, if we're defining nation in the non-State sense, as pre-colonial Indigenous societies are referred to as nations, or we might call them something else, it's unimportant.) Supporting a struggle for "national" liberation, and advocating for a non-State form of council based political system, is consistent with that. Convincing people that national liberation can only be achieved through anarchism -- abolishing capitalism and the State and ultimately spreading this internationally.

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Nov 9 2011 13:34

dp

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Nov 9 2011 13:45

If on the one hand we're saying 'the working class has no country', it'd be a bit mad to then support any kind of nationalism. The Makhnovist stuff is nonsense, the Makhnovschina took a clear stand against Ukrainian nationalist forces.

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Nov 9 2011 13:55
Serge Forward wrote:
If on the one hand we're saying 'the working class has no country', it'd be a bit mad to then support any kind of nationalism. The Makhnovist stuff is nonsense, the Makhnovschina took a clear stand against Ukrainian nationalist forces.

Maybe we don't want to use the term nationalism. But don't we agree with the rights of people living in a territory to self-governance? Isn't anarchism about giving people within each region collective control over life and politics in that region? Yes, there is cooperation and coordination between regions, and joint decision making when it needed. But beyond that, regions are self-governing and not dominated by other regions. We don't have to call this nationalism, and probably shouldn't to avoid confusion, but we can see the echoes of the nationalist desire for self-determination. Unfortunately, nationalists believe that the State will win them that self-determination, when it won't.

Makhnovists were against Ukraine nationalist forces because those forces wanted a Ukrainian State. But the Makhnovists, like the nationalists, wanted the region called the Ukraine to be free of the oppression of other regions -- the difference was that they also wanted Ukraine to be free of the oppression of capitalists and of the State / a political ruling class. You don't have to call this nationalism, but it it the rightful desire for regional liberation and self-determination. Of course they also wanted this liberation to be international, and realized the fight for the freedom of their region was part of this larger international fight.

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Nov 9 2011 13:55

Yea, while not interested in the who is/isn't an anarchist argument, neo-platformism (ie, both links you gave) is a clear break from traditional anarchist politics in this regard.

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Nov 9 2011 14:16
Fall Back wrote:
Yea, while not interested in the who is/isn't an anarchist argument, neo-platformism (ie, both links you gave) is a clear break from traditional anarchist politics in this regard.

So if there was an anti-colonial struggle in Puerto Rico, that was anti-capitalist and anti-State, and was seeking to set up a federation of communes and worker councils, but they used slogans such as "we want national liberation" or "we want a free nation of Puerto Rico", we wouldn't be down with this? We will let words get in the way of content?

Ditto this question for Palestine, etc etc etc

I think the obvious answer is that hell yes we support a struggle like this. Therefore, we should be showing up to free Palestine rallies, and other such things, with propaganda expressing the view that we support liberation for Palestinians but that the way to achieve this is not through a State but through anarchism.

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Nov 9 2011 14:16

If a struggle that wasn't a national liberation struggle used the term national liberation to describe itself, despite not being a national liberation struggle, would I refuse to support it on the basis on the language used? Errr...

Of course we don't let words get in the way of content. But in that odd hypothetical situation I would probably point out that the wording wasn't very accurate.

You realise that anarchists who oppose national liberation as a ideology are involved in stuff around (for example) Palestine, right?

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Nov 9 2011 14:25
ultraviolet wrote:
Maybe we don't want to use the term nationalism. But don't we agree with the rights of people living in a territory to self-governance? Isn't anarchism about giving people within each region collective control over life and politics in that region? Yes, there is cooperation and coordination between regions, and joint decision making when it needed. But beyond that, regions are self-governing and not dominated by other regions. We don't have to call this nationalism, and probably shouldn't to avoid confusion, but we can see the echoes of the nationalist desire for self-determination. Unfortunately, nationalists believe that the State will win them that self-determination, when it won't.

Makhnovists were against Ukraine nationalist forces because those forces wanted a Ukrainian State. But the Makhnovists, like the nationalists, wanted the region called the Ukraine to be free of the oppression of other regions -- the difference was that they also wanted Ukraine to be free of the oppression of capitalists and of the State / a political ruling class. You don't have to call this nationalism, but it it the rightful desire for regional liberation and self-determination. Of course they also wanted this liberation to be international, and realized the fight for the freedom of their region was part of this larger international fight.

Not only do we not have to call it nationalism, it isn't nationalism in any shape or form. Nationalism, including leftwing national liberation is a completely different kettle of fish to defending a vague geographical area from attack either from outside and or from within the area and aiming for the establishment of free communism in that geographical area and hopefully beyond. On the other hand, nationalism or national liberation is a range of ideological perspectives based on the concept of nation, nation state, national unity and the unity of different classes based on a perceived common national interest within that particular nation. To say that Makhnovism was a form of nationalism, no matter how tenuous the connection, is a complete distortion of what that movement represented. On that basis, we could say the defence of Dale farm or the current occupation movement, or even a factory occupation is nationalism.

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Nov 9 2011 14:25

The political act of "seeking to set up a federation of communes and worker councils" and the political slogan of "national liberation" are mutually exclusive, ultraviolet.

In your posts, I think you might be using the terms 'territory' and 'region' as synonymous with 'nation'.

This is incorrect: the former are geographical terms, while the latter is a political term.

And a 'nation' is a pretend political entity which is 'magic-ed' into being by a bourgeoisie based in a particular place.

No Communist has any time for the concept of 'nation': certainly not workers who are advanced enough to want to 'set up a federation of communes and workers' councils'.

ultraviolet wrote:
We will let words get in the way of content?

When those 'words' are being used to lead workers astray, to mis-identify political allies and hide exploitative economic relationships, 'yes'.

The 'content' of the ideal of the 'nation' is poisonous to workers.

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Nov 9 2011 14:29
ultraviolet wrote:
Fall Back wrote:
So if there was an anti-colonial struggle in Puerto Rico, that was anti-capitalist and anti-State, and was seeking to set up a federation of communes and worker councils, but they used slogans such as "we want national liberation" or "we want a free nation of Puerto Rico", we wouldn't be down with this? We will let words get in the way of content?

You'll find that it's generally more than just words. Whenever 'national liberation' is mentioned, it's odds on there's real ideological nationalism hovering in the background. Out of interest, what real examples are there of any 'national liberation' movement that is not in some way nationalist? I've honestly never seen one.

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Nov 9 2011 14:40

Serge - I agree with you, pretty much. I think the concept of a struggle that was explicitly opposed to a state calling itself national liberation is absurd and unlikely, hence the "errr". As you're getting at, I don't think it's a likely scenario, but if it did exist, aside from being bemused I wouldn't refuse to support it if it was literally just the words.

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Nov 9 2011 15:18

Fair enough. Very unlikely though. If a movement had got to the point of rejecting nationalism, why would they call themselves national liberation confused

What does my head in is the ideological gymnastics that Schmidt and van der Walt must have gone through to use Makhnovism as some kind of justifaction for nationalism. You have to be a real cynical slippery fucker to do that.

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Nov 9 2011 18:28

ultraviolet, I find your posts a little confusing and dabbling in semantics to get round the issue. Let me as usual bring this piece out from the library.

Quote:
Nationalism and class struggle are irreconcilably opposed. A nation is a bourgeois reality: it is capitalism with all its exploitation and alienation, parcelled out in a single geographical unit. It doesn't matter whether the nation is 'small, 'colonial', 'semi-colonial' or 'non-imperialist'. All nationalisms are reactionary because they inevitably clash with class consciousness and poison it with chauvinism and racialism.
Serge Forward wrote:
What does my head in is the ideological gymnastics that Schmidt and van der Walt must have gone through to use Makhnovism as some kind of justifaction for nationalism. You have to be a real cynical slippery fucker to do that.

In terms of subscribing motives to those soft on nationalism, I think their only trying to attach our politics to dynamics which are a frequent occurence in the world - nothing more or sinister about it. Its not easy seeing an unfolding struggle in another country and watching huge poles of attraction for different factions and seeing independent working class politics struggling to take off. Its just miscast wishful thinking in my view.

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Nov 10 2011 00:47

Well, they can bloody well pack it in angry

Boris Badenov
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Nov 10 2011 01:43
zenkka wrote:
if you ask an anarchist about national liberation, they'll most often say that it's bourgeois because it organizes on national lines, even if it is supposedly socialist or even anarchist in the case of apoc. but if you ask an anarchist about feminism or queer liberation, they almost always support it.

why is it acceptable for an anarchist to be opposed to nationalism, but supportive of feminism and gay liberation?

late in the thread, but who is this "an anarchist" that you mention? Seems like a purely abstract question, whereas as you can see from the responses here, actual anarchists hold much more nuanced opinions and do not unthinkingly support "feminism" or reject "liberation." The key is to apply a materialist analysis of historical/contemporary political movements not to have a meaningless list of acceptable ideological positions.
Also, who cares what euro/american anarchists think about struggles in the Middle East? I mean sure, it's somewhat interesting to debate and speculate on the issue, but what does "support" even mean in this instance? (if it's not practical support, such as getting involved with or sponsoring this or that group - in which case what group and what program does it espouse? - what is it?) Not much, but supporting the struggle of local women against patriarchal privilege, whether in the workplace or society at large, is actually a real, meaningful action.
Again, these debates on what positions are worthy of support from people who are otherwise divorced from the practical reality of struggles that those positions reflect smacks of leftist impotency and leads to the kind of verbiage one can witness on the interminable and turgid "DO NATIONS HAVE THE RIGHT TO SELF-DETERMINATION" thread.
It would be interesting to see what a Palestinian anarchist thinks about nationalism and how that affects their day-to-day struggle, but that is a whole 'nother issue.

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Nov 10 2011 02:00
Joe Maguire wrote:
As I already stated, nationalism is a class-collaborationist project. Its bourgeois and working class forces coming together trying to bring about a new statehood under a different bourgeoisie.

As much as I consider myself a staunch anti-nationalist, this is a wildly simplistic and childish view in my opinion. "Nationalism" is not even an explicit political philosophy like communism, but a collection of often contradictory and jumbled tendencies. Do Gandhi, the Nazis and the Black Panthers all belong in the same category because they were "nationalists" in one sense or another? I think it's safe to say that's a ridiculous suggestion. As I said before, it is important to maintain a materialist understanding of all political currents in society and not descend into idealist sophistry which simply dictates "nationalism is bourgeois, end of story" (which is kind of akin to saying "communism is evil because it leads to gulags"). After all, the history of class struggle is not the history of sound anarchist theory being put flawlessly into practice.

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Nov 10 2011 17:07
LBird wrote:
The political act of "seeking to set up a federation of communes and worker councils" and the political slogan of "national liberation" are mutually exclusive, ultraviolet.

In your posts, I think you might be using the terms 'territory' and 'region' as synonymous with 'nation'.

This is incorrect: the former are geographical terms, while the latter is a political term.

No disagreement on the distinction between territory/region and nation being geographic vs political. However, a federation of communes in a region is also a political entity, not simply geographic, and will require a political term. Will we call them nations? Maybe not, because nation has been used as synonymous with nation-State. On the other hand, maybe we will, because of convenience / we don't want to invent a new term. "But why not just call this political entity a federation?" Because that doesn't indicate what geographical level we are referring to - is it a federation of neighborhoods at the municipal level? Is it a federation of municipalities at the "provincial" level? Perhaps we will call large federations "national-federations" -- or maybe we'll invent a new term. Does it matter?

LBird wrote:
And a 'nation' is a pretend political entity which is 'magic-ed' into being by a bourgeoisie based in a particular place.

Agree that this is the most standard use of the term nation. But like I said in two earlier posts, nation has also been used to refer to NON-State societies of Indigenous people in the pre-colonial period, societies which did not have class distinctions.*

People may still disagree with me on this particular argument, but I don't think it matters all that much. What I think matters is that we (anarchists) involve ourselves in national liberation struggles to try to influence the non-anarchist majority to understand that anarchism is the only hope for their true and full liberation. The reason I got involved in this argument was to make that case. Part of making that case was getting into this semantical stuff, but I guess the semantics is secondary to whether we get involved or not. I suppose we can reject that nation can have any other definition but a Statist one, and still be involved in these struggles.

Fall Back wrote:
You realise that anarchists who oppose national liberation as a ideology are involved in stuff around (for example) Palestine, right?

I actually did not. Well, I assumed that this was true for a few anarchists, but I also assumed that they would be looked at with disapproval or confusion by most anarchists.

* (Of course there were also Indigenous societies that did have class distinctions and a State.)

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Nov 10 2011 17:35
ultraviolet wrote:

People may still disagree with me on this particular argument, but I don't think it matters all that much. What I think matters is that we (anarchists) involve ourselves in national liberation struggles to try to influence the non-anarchist majority to understand that anarchism is the only hope for their true and full liberation. The reason I got involved in this argument was to make that case. Part of making that case was getting into this semantical stuff, but I guess the semantics is secondary to whether we get involved or not. I suppose we can reject that nation can have any other definition but a Statist one, and still be involved in these struggles.

[

I read this as:
People may still disagree with me on this particular argument, but I don't think it matters all that much. What I think matters is that we (anarchists) should involve ourselves in class collaborationists struggles to form new states where people will continue to be ruled over, but now by bougeose born bit closer to them, to try and influence the non-anarchist majority to understand that anarchism is the only hope for their true and full liberation. The reason I got involved in this argument was to make that case.

since you don't think it matter what terms we use i'll assume thats what you meant

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Nov 10 2011 18:00
ultraviolet wrote:
However, a federation of communes in a region is also a political entity, not simply geographic, and will require a political term. Will we call them nations? Maybe not, because nation has been used as synonymous with nation-State.

No, it's important to be very clear here, ultraviolet.

A 'nation' is nothing other than either an existing nation-state or a wannabe nation-state.

'Nations' are produced by a bourgeoisie - they don't just 'naturally' occur, like geographical features. They are a very historically-specific from of class-based political organisation, a form that must be superceded by the international proletariat.

ultraviolet wrote:
Agree that this is the most standard use of the term nation. But like I said in two earlier posts, nation has also been used to refer to NON-State societies of Indigenous people in the pre-colonial period, societies which did not have class distinctions.

No, this is a backward retrojection of a modern form of class-based political organisation onto very different forms of society. 'NON-State societies' are not 'nations'. 'Pre-colonial period societies' are not 'nations'.

The use of the term 'nation' when applied to these societies is anachronistic. So, for example, calling 'the Sioux' a 'nation' is historically incorrect. A 'nation' is defined as a modern form of political organisation used by a bourgeoisie to build a self-contained market in the search for profits.

Just because bourgeois thinkers and historians try to eternalise their rule by suggesting that "it's always been like it is now", and that 'nations' have always existed and are an inescapable form of political organisation, doesn't mean that we should follow their ideological lead. We must refuse to use bourgeois terms for very different forms of organisation.

ultraviolet wrote:
Part of making that case was getting into this semantical stuff, but I guess the semantics is secondary to whether we get involved or not. I suppose we can reject that nation can have any other definition but a Statist one, and still be involved in these struggles.

But why call those "workers' struggles" national? Unless they're not workers' struggles; but then, why be involved?

ultraviolet wrote:
* (Of course there were also Indigenous societies that did have class distinctions and a State.)

Yes, you're correct, but they weren't nations.

Is this mere semantics, or a serious ideological point? I think the latter.

We must try to be clear about our political definitions, otherwise we'll become politically confused.

As, indeed, are the supporters of 'national liberation'.

We're internationalists. The idea of the 'nation' must be broken in workers' minds from the very start.

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Nov 11 2011 03:46

LBird, you make a clear and convincing case. I agree now that it matters that we don't use the term "national liberation". I still agree with the heart of Wayne Price's point, and the point in Black Flame, though, that we should not be neutral in these anti-colonial struggles, and should involve ourselves in them rather than abstain due to dislike for the nationalism that pervades them.

Radicalgraffiti, you're comment sounds cute/clever, but it's an unfair caricature of what I was saying and you know it. Don't fight dirty! It's not nice and it did nothing to convince me to change my views. But I'm not mad atcha.

Back to LBird, since nation is the definition you (and others) have explained, then how can we call ourselves internationalists, since for there to be inter-nationalism doesn't there have to be nations? Not a very important question, but it just occurred to me.

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Nov 11 2011 08:05
ultraviolet wrote:
...we should not be neutral in these anti-colonial struggles, and should involve ourselves in them rather than abstain due to dislike for the nationalism that pervades them.

I think it depends upon the class content of the 'anti-colonial struggle'. If it's an indigenous workers' struggle against bosses of all nations, but which initially and temporarily focuses upon their own 'colonial' bosses, but is very clear that their 'anti-colonial boss struggle' is only a part of their corresponding 'anti-indigenous boss struggle', then I can see why you'd be keen not to be neutral.

But is this the form of 'struggle' that we're talking about?

As you say, in reality, these 'struggles' are 'pervaded' by nationalism. They are not workers' struggles against bosses of all complexions, both colonial and indigenous, but class-collaborationist, anti-colonial boss, pro-indigenous boss, national struggles.

Why encourage and support workers to risk death in a fight to merely replace their bosses?

ultraviolet wrote:
Back to LBird, since nation is the definition you (and others) have explained, then how can we call ourselves internationalists, since for there to be inter-nationalism doesn't there have to be nations? Not a very important question, but it just occurred to me.

Well, it's an important question because you, a fellow Communist, asked it!

Really, this is just a semantic issue. We could replace the 'inter' bit with 'anti' or 'non' and it would have the same meaning.

It's just a recognition of the present power of the appeal of 'nationalism', an ideology built up over hundreds of years by the various competing bourgeois factions, which is taught in schools and by the media and saturates most workers' thinking, to stress our rejection of this apparent 'fact of life', by emphasising the need to recompose the working class currently split on 'national' lines with an ideology based on 'international' lines.

We Communists must remove the bourgeoisie that created this false political distinction between humans.

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Nov 11 2011 08:22
LBird wrote:
ultraviolet wrote:
...we should not be neutral in these anti-colonial struggles, and should involve ourselves in them rather than abstain due to dislike for the nationalism that pervades them.

I think it depends upon the class content of the 'anti-colonial struggle'. If it's an indigenous workers' struggle against bosses of all nations, but which initially and temporarily focuses upon their own 'colonial' bosses, but is very clear that their 'anti-colonial boss struggle' is only a part of their corresponding 'anti-indigenous boss struggle', then I can see why you'd be keen not to be neutral.

But is this the form of 'struggle' that we're talking about?

As you say, in reality, these 'struggles' are 'pervaded' by nationalism. They are not workers' struggles against bosses of all complexions, both colonial and indigenous, but class-collaborationist, anti-colonial boss, pro-indigenous boss, national struggles.

Why encourage and support workers to risk death in a fight to merely replace their bosses?

ultraviolet wrote:
Back to LBird, since nation is the definition you (and others) have explained, then how can we call ourselves internationalists, since for there to be inter-nationalism doesn't there have to be nations? Not a very important question, but it just occurred to me.

Well, it's an important question because you, a fellow Communist, asked it!

Really, this is just a semantic issue. We could replace the 'inter' bit with 'anti' or 'non' and it would have the same meaning.

It's just a recognition of the present power of the appeal of 'nationalism', an ideology built up over hundreds of years by the various competing bourgeois factions, which is taught in schools and by the media and saturates most workers' thinking, to stress our rejection of this apparent 'fact of life', by emphasising the need to recompose the working class currently split on 'national' lines with an ideology based on 'international' lines.

We Communists must remove the bourgeoisie that created this false political distinction between humans.

There already exists a political tendency known as 'anationalism' or 'non-nationalism', for example the Non-nationalist Fraction of the World Anational Association (SAT), been going since around 1920. Eugene Lanti made exactly the point that internationalism is not enough in that it assumes an acceptance of nations.
Excerpts from Manifesto of the Non-Nationalists (English translation)

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Auld-bod
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Nov 11 2011 09:00

I’d like to make several points on the discussion.

I think LBird (#85) is incorrect when he states categorically the meaning of the word ‘nation’. On the thread when the discussion was on defining ‘freedom’, I stated my objection to the presumption that a word, particularly a word conveying an abstract concept, could ever be nailed down to one meaning. If a Native American wishes to describe their group as a nation, why should a European or anyone else, say they are ‘historically’ (or any other way) at fault?

Anyway this is not really important, though I think this is - in post #58 JoeMaguire wrote:

Quote:
As I already stated, nationalism is a class-collaborationist project. Its bourgeois and working class forces coming together trying to bring about a new statehood under a different bourgeoisie. The end result of a successful nationalist campaign would be a new state oppressing its own people (read workers). Look at the birth of countless post-colonial states and you will see they were simply transfers of power, from an imperial elite to an indigenous elite. We are against this as anarchists, we want to sweep the lot of them off the map, because we counterpoise the state and capitals interest with our own, which is workers self-management. You can't enhance a radical working class agenda by tailing nationalism, it simply doesn't work.
In terms of the struggles of women, blacks, other ethnic minorities and sexual minorities etc these do not propose new forms of oppression if they are successful. In the main, our allies among these groups want to address issues which directly affect them, so the issue becomes about them organising and expressing their autonomy in spheres where they are oppressed and contributing to the wider struggle and counter-culture.
Anarcho-feminists aren't proposing to oppress men, nor does the scenario work for any of the other groups

I would agree with all of the above, though I’d also have to admit that I have often felt there was a contradiction between my rational political judgement and an emotional feeling that one should support the ‘underdog’ in the anti-colonial struggles.

An early memory of seeing ‘Mad Mitch’ swaggering at the head of the Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders as they marched out of the Crater district after their ‘dirty war’ in Aden filled me with contempt and disgust. Later reading of how the IRA fought the Black and Tans gave me a feeling of admiration for their determination and self sacrifice. When the Vietnam War ended I was glad that the last of the foreign imperialists had been driven out.

I have known several anarchists who felt compelled to aid the recent war in Northern Ireland, through prisoner support, etc. They were acting upon their emotional instincts, which on occasion we all do (though we may only recognise it after some time). My point is this: we must try and balance our ‘emotionally led good intentions’ with clear well argued political analysis, and part of the job it differentiating which is which.

Just in case anyone thinks I am writing complete cobblers, read any thread and note where rational debate regularly explodes into an emotional rant!

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RedEd
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Nov 11 2011 09:05
Serge Forward wrote:
Fair enough. Very unlikely though. If a movement had got to the point of rejecting nationalism, why would they call themselves national liberation confused

What does my head in is the ideological gymnastics that Schmidt and van der Walt must have gone through to use Makhnovism as some kind of justifaction for nationalism. You have to be a real cynical slippery fucker to do that.

I just got out my copy of the book. The authors do use the term national liberation. I think this is part because it is common jargon, and in part because they find the term nation (or equivilents in other languages) within the writings of prominent anarchists, quoting people like Bakunin, Maximoff, Rocker etc. as talking about oppressed nationalities and advocating struggles for 'nations' to free themselves. Bare in mind that both the quoted writers and the authors of the book have in mind primarily colonial style domination. They point out that there are three historical strands in anarchist thinking: embracing nations creating new states, totally rejecting national liberation as of necessity nationalistic, and intervening in national liberation struggles to turn them into directly revolutionary struggles by 'displac[ing] nationalism'. They note that the first has always been a small minority trend and argue for the third option, giving as examples such things as the activities of anarchists in Cuba and Morroco during Spanish rule, South East Asia under French rule and, most importantly, Manchuria and Korea during Japanese rule, where a national liberation movement was turned by anarchist intervention into a movement that created a 'liberated territory' of federated communes'.

On whether national liberation is nationalist they say: "the identity of national liberation with nationalism... is not as self-evident as it might see: struggles against imperialism and for national liberation have assumed a variety of forms, ranging from religious milenarianism, to liberalism, to socialism. Thus the particular politics of nationalism can be distinguished from the project of national liberation, and the possibility of a range of types of national liberation can be considered."

Whilst I think their analysis is a bit too focused on colonial examples, and their use of the term national-liberation is potentially misleading (though I struggle to think of a better one; 'anti-imperialism'?) I think they do give present fairly orthodox anarchists views on these matters. It starts to break down when they try to include non-colonial struggles into the rubric of national liberation slightly ahistorically, as is the case in their analysis of Ukraine during the revolution, in my opinion, where opposing foreign white armies is given the banner of national liberation in a way that is not just an uncomfortable use of a common term, but just a bit weird.

But I think the chapter is certainly worth reading, given it's historical info on how anarchists related to anti-colonial 'national liberation' struggles, if not for any lessons we can learn today. And it does explicitly reject nationalism and statism if people were worried.

radicalgraffiti
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Nov 11 2011 11:21
ultraviolet wrote:
Radicalgraffiti, you're comment sounds cute/clever, but it's an unfair caricature of what I was saying and you know it. Don't fight dirty! It's not nice and it did nothing to convince me to change my views. But I'm not mad atcha.

it's not a caricature, i just replaced the words "national liberation" in what you wrote with what i consider those words to mean. i don't see how this is unfair?