Anarchism, and National Liberation

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Sep 7 2006 07:14
Anarchism, and National Liberation

I posted this as an article for anarkismo.net, but I am not sure if they will put it up so I am posting it here too. It also has relevant points for another thread that I am about to begin.

EKS wrote:
An open letter on the discussion concerning co-operation amongst revolutionaries in the Middle East from the Internationalist Communist Left in Turkey

In the conclusion of his article titled ‘Eyewitness Lebanon: In the land of the Blind’, Michael Schmidt argues for unity between different groups in the Middle East: “The condition of anarchist communism in Lebanon is nevertheless very weak, notably ACT’s failure to establish relations with the Israeli/Palestinian organisation Anarchists Against The Wall (AATW) - the “apartheid” wall that divides their territory - and its lack of contact with anarchists and left communists in countries such as Egypt, Turkey (Anarchist Communist Initiative), Iran and Iraq in particular (the councillist Workers’ Communist Parties in the latter two) that would allow a far clearer regional anarchist communist analysis and jointly co-ordinated approach to the problems of the Middle East to be developed.”

It is all very well to talk of things like a ‘jointly co-ordinated response’, but it is important to consider what it is that is to be united around. For the left communists the most important political stance is that for internationalism, and against capitalist war. In fact we would say that this position is the crucial dividing line between revolutionary, and anti-working class organisations. Anarchism does not take up a clear position on this issue. Wayne Price writes: “Also, he identifies me correctly as "Wayne Price of the North-Eastern Federation of Anarchist Communists (NEFAC)." However, it should be said that these are MY views and I am not speaking (writing) for NEFAC, which does not have a consensus on these questions.”

There are some Anarchists who take a very clear position on the rejection of national liberation struggles. For example the Anarchist Federation in Britain writes in its ‘Aims and Principles’ that: “We are opposed to the ideology of national liberation movements which claims that there is some common interest between native bosses and the working class in face of foreign domination. We do support working class struggles against racism, genocide, ethnocide and political and economic colonialism. We oppose the creation of any new ruling class. We reject all forms of nationalism, as this only serves to redefine divisions in the international working class. The working class has no country and national boundaries must be eliminated. We seek to build an anarchist international to work with other libertarian revolutionaries throughout the world.” On the other hand there are those Anarchists who support national liberation movements, A good example of this is the argument that Lucien Van der Walt, of the Zabalaza Anarcho-Communist Federation of South Africa puts forward when he says “Anarchists...may fight alongside nationalists for limited reforms and victories against imperialism, but we fight against the statism and capitalism of the nationalists....This requires active participation in national liberation struggles but political independence from the nationalists. National liberation must be differentiated from nationalism, which is the class program of the bourgeoisie: we are against imperialism, but also, against nationalism.”

There is a world of difference between these two approaches, and NEFAC as Wayne Prices writes ‘does not have a consensus on these questions.’
Well this may seem to be a possible approach to have for those sitting in America, but for comrades struggling across the Middle East (and not only in the Middle East, comrades working in places such as Northern Ireland face very similar situations) the position is very different. It is of the utmost importance to take a clear position on these issues.

How for example can comrades operating in this country, Turkey, not have a clear position on the Kurdish national question? When Wayne writes that NEFAC ‘does not have a consensus on these questions.’, we are amazed. This is not some obscure political question, but it is a class line between the proletariat, and the bourgeoisie. If unity, and a ‘jointly co-ordinated response’ is to be based around anything then surely it must be around political perspectives. What is the unity of NEFAC built around? If it doesn’t have unity around basic class positions, then it would seem to me that the unity is based around little more than the fact that the members all call themselves anarchists. This seems to me to be a little pathetic.

Wayne Price writes in response to the Enternasyonalist Komünist Sol (EKS, Internationalist Communist Left, the left communists in Turkey): “He writes that, contrary to my views, "a political group can not be both pro-national liberation and pro-working class." Well, I ask him, can a political group be pro-women's liberation and pro-working class? pro-African-American liberation and pro-working class? pro-Gay liberation and pro-working class? Is it possible to be pro-working class and also to support nonclass resistances? (1) If not, if working class issues are all that matters, then you are both being sectarian and capitulating to the sexism, racism, and NATIONALISM of the dominant society, of the oppressors! (2) If yes, if you do support nonclass struggles (while criticizing their bourgeois leaderships) then why not support the Kurds struggle for freedom? In that case, you are being inconsistent.”

So Wayne advocates support for Kurdish nationalism in Turkey, of course ‘while criticizing their bourgeois leaderships’. Let us be very clear what this involves before we continue. It involves taking a side (albeit the weaker one) in a capitalist war that has left 36,000 dead. It involves supporting a party, the PKK, which has in the past ran campaigns of shooting school teachers. It involves supporting the general tendency towards war, and increased ethnic/sectarian conflict across the whole of the region.

Today the entire Middle East, it is important that revolutionaries address these issues, and not as NEFAC do merely fail to find consensus. The Internationalist Communist Left is very clear on the issues facing the working class: “Faced with this situation what can workers in this country do? All of the political parties in Turkey from the MHP [Turkish far right nationalist party] to the far left seem to advocate support for Hizbullah. The first thing that the left should seriously consider is why they are lining up with the far right. The reason for this is that all of them have an nationalist agenda. It maybe hidden behind high sounding phrases such as ‘anti-imperialism’, and even ‘internationalism’, but in the end it is merely supporting one country fighting against another. There is a lot of talk about the Lebanese, and Palestinian people, but very little about the working class, and this is from people that call themselves socialists. We say that workers in both Lebanon, and Israel have no interest in dying on behalf of ‘their’ states, no interests in fighting beneath a ‘their’ national flags whatever ideology this slaughter is supported by.

The entire region is being pulled closer, and closer to war. Iraq is descending into civil war, and sectarian massacres. Lebanon is still picking up the bodies from the wreckage of a murderous war, which could start again at any moment. The horror in the West Bank continues in the same way as it has for nearly the last fifty years. And at the very moment the Turkish army is shelling villages in Northern Iraq.

The only answer to this deepening cycle of barbarism lies with the working class. A working class that is capable of fighting for its own interests is not one that will be led into war. The struggle against war starts at work. Israel workers have no interest in killing Lebanese, and Palestinian workers, and vice versa. Turkish workers have no interest in killing Turkish workers, and vice versa. We condemn the Israeli state, Hizbullah, the PLO, the Turkish state and the PKK equally.

The TKP’s Yurtsever Cephe [Patriotic Front-a Turkish Communist Party front] says ‘this country is ours’. This country does not belong to the the workers in this country, but to the Sabancis, and the Koçes [The two biggest businessmen in Turkey]. The left is always complaining about imperialism, and calling for an ‘independent Turkey’. We think that 83 years after Mustafa Kemal’s [First Turkish President and founder of the modern Tırkish state] ‘revolution’ it should be obvious that ‘national independence’ is an impossibility. All countries are tied together in the imperialist system. Only workers’ struggle for their own interests provides an answer.”

If people want to know what we mean when we talk about workers struggle the answer is very clear. We are talking about the emerging struggle of the public sector workers in Turkey. We are talking about the massive struggles by public sector workers currently taking place in Palestine, which a HAMAS spokesman said “no relation to national interests”.

When workers are struggling on their own terrain there is never any ‘relation to national interests’. Of course, HAMAS called upon teachers to scab, and to direct their anger against Israel. We are used to the Islamicists, and the ilk, calling on the working class to defend the national interest. What shocks us is when anarchists do it. And although I am sure that all of NEFAC would support this strike, I would just like to remind people of what I am talking about.

Wayne Price expresses it well: “And anarchists should support the right of nations to self-determination, which is NOT the same as supporting nationalism. National self-determination is the ability of the people of a nation to decide for themselves whether they want to be independent of another nation…But if national self-determination means the right to make a choice, then nationalism as such is a particular choice, the choice of a national state. It is possible to support the right of a people to make a choice without agreeing with the immediate choice they make.”

What is all this talk about the rights, and of people? Society is divided into classes. What is the ‘right of nations to self-determination’ except the right of the state, and the bourgeoisie to exploit the working class. It is not 1789 anymore. This is Trotskyism, or maybe just plain old liberalism dressed up in anarchist clothes.

When Wayne Price asks: “Well, I ask him, can a political group be pro-women's liberation and pro-working class? pro-African-American liberation and pro-working class? pro-Gay liberation and pro-working class? Is it possible to be pro-working class and also to support nonclass resistances?”, we treat his questions with the same disdain as we do his support for national liberation. Yes, we oppose racism, and homophobia, but we recognise that only the working class has the power to change society, and to bring about communism.

To conclude the Internationalist Communist Left supports any moves a ‘jointly co-ordinated approach’ in the Middle East, but it must be based around principles, and the opposition to all nationalism is possibly the most important of these. To quote from our basic positions:

3)The rejection of all forms of nationalism, and the defence of internationalism
Nationalism is a basic slogan used by the bourgeoisie to organize the working class in capitalist interests. The claim that independent from their class position, every member of a nation is on the same boat only serves to destroy the revolutionary potential of the working class by joining two antagonistic classes on an ideological level. Starting form this premise, it comes to say that every person has to work for ‘his or her’ own nation, own capitalist class, and the struggle for their own class interests would result in the sinking of the boat. Unlike the whole lefts claim’s in the case of both Turkish and Kurdish nationalisms, they have no different characteristics.
The basic reality denied by people who talk about national liberation struggles against imperialism is that the characteristic of the struggle of the working class liberation is above nations. The liberation of the working class can only be achieved by raising the flag of class struggle against every kind of national liberation struggle, demagogy, and imperialist war. Today people who talk about a ‘national front’ against imperialists, and national independence are in a race with liberals, who they think that they oppose, to deny class contradictions. Kurdish nationalism, the so called opponent of Turkish nationalism, which it also feeds upon, realizes the complete separation of the working class by performing the same role as Turkish nationalism for the workers in its own region.”

We want to develop ‘jointly co-ordinated approach’ and joint work with all groups whether they call themselves anarchist, Marxist, or communist, that stand by internationalism, and the positions of the working class. We reject the idea of any idea of a dialogue with those who act as cheerleaders, and recruiting sergeants in capitalist wars.

Devrim Valerian

For Enternasyonalist Komünist Sol

Solkomunist@yahoo.com

YMCA
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Sep 7 2006 07:33

Admin - trolling removed

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Sep 7 2006 07:37

Admin - trolling removed

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Sep 7 2006 07:52
YMCA wrote:
This article is so long. People I think that there should be a limit on the size of articles by now on. Ha there is a new idea for a discussion. Another thing why don't you down sixe this article and put it in better words so people can understand what you are trying to talk about.

Yes, I know it is long, sorry. To summerize it is a letter from the Internationalist Communist Left in Turkey arguing against the support expressed for national liberation by certain anarchists. I see that you are new on these boards, welcome. People on here know what we think about the topic, and basically I put it up as a reference to another thread that I have just started.

Quote:
Yes I know that anarchism does not take a clear stand on this issue. Anarchists should fugure out and talk about this issue and form a position on this very important topic.

Yes, you are right it is a very important topic. Maybe a long piece is valid. smile

regards, and welcome to the boards,

Devrim

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Sep 7 2006 08:20

They put it up. It is much easier to read on here:
http://www.anarkismo.net/newswire.php?story_id=3684
Dev

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Sep 7 2006 08:29
EKS wrote:
Anarchism does not take up a clear position on this issue.

Unfortunatly, I'd say in most cases 'anarchists' do take a pretty clear position - it's just in favour of national liberation struggles. And, in the examples you've mentioned it's not even done wishy-washily but through an apparently thought-out, and cringeable acceptance of leftist assumptions. It carries then, that there's also pretty crap take on any number of issues. Take, 'women's liberation' and 'class struggle', for instance. If we even think of these two objectives as separate; how then would that relate to organisation? Of course all this boils down to the age old problem anarchism's had in how it seeks to allign itself in theoretical matters.

EKS wrote:
We want to develop ‘jointly co-ordinated approach’ and joint work with all groups whether they call themselves anarchist, Marxist, or communist, that stand by internationalism, and the positions of the working class. We reject the idea of any idea of a dialogue with those who act as cheerleaders, and recruiting sergeants in capitalist wars.

Agreed, whole-heartedly.

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Sep 7 2006 13:53

Nice article, Devrim. About time someone called NEFAC out on their problems. When I was living in Boston, I often met with a friend who was involved in the group. He claimed that some of their collectives were degenerating into pure Maoism, pro-national liberation etc. So what you're reading from Wayne Price's words is reflective of a larger problematic inside NEFAC.

I would point out also that gayness and women's liberation are in fact very tied to the identity of the capitalist system, which is located as much in the factory as it is in the home where binary gendered relationships have proven to be an effective conveyor belt for the reproduction of the worker; anything moving against this organization of sexuality and household production is akin to sabotage in the production process, since reproduction and production are inexorably linked. So it is not simply about citing the working class, nor absurdly splitting the struggles into five fingers like Wayne Price does. Human beings are bi-sexual from birth and learn gendered relationships as they socially engage in capitalist society. That's what I consider the starting point of communist engagement against the reproduction process.

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Sep 7 2006 14:44

Devrim I agree entirely that anarchism should be internationalist. However I'm not sure this is a problem with anarchism as such, any more than the SWP's support for nationalists is indicitative of a problem with Marxism. There are always going to be people with shite politics passing themselves of as anarchists, from Johnny Rotten to Wayne Price, but on the other hand as you point out other tendencies (the AF in your example) are avowedly internationalist. Apart from arguing with them what do you suggest we do about it?

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Sep 7 2006 15:17

There are now a couple of replies to Devrim up on anarkismo
http://www.anarkismo.net/newswire.php?story_id=3684

I would caution people to actually read what Wayne Price wrote before accepting Devrims 'summary' of his views. Summaries are often inaccurate, in particular when the person doing the summary wants to argue against it.

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Sep 7 2006 15:34
revol68 wrote:
Joe you might have had a point, but Wayne Price has continously argued for anarchists to support national liberation, he makes no bones about it himself.

There is a rather huge difference between this position and the position attributed to him of supporting the shooting of school teachers.

As a well known Irish nationalist you should be aware of such differences. Or do you only get annoyed when people do this to you?

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Sep 7 2006 15:35
JoeBlack2 wrote:
revol68 wrote:
Joe you might have had a point, but Wayne Price has continously argued for anarchists to support national liberation, he makes no bones about it himself.

There is a rather huge difference between this position and the position attributed to him of supporting the shooting of school teachers.

As a well known Irish nationalist you should be aware of such differences. Or do you only get annoyed when people do this to you?

Wayne's article - and other by him - very clearly argue for anarchists to be nationalists. Leo's accusation to revol was inaccurate, with Wayne it is accurate.

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Sep 7 2006 15:42

The second comment seems to have the key statement: 'Do you deny the existence of nations as an entity apart from the state?'.

There's a real trend, and it seems to be growing, that takes off from the Panthers and the American Indian Movement to a position that sees nationalism as something that pre-exists the State which just moves in after the fact and exploits it. It seems to me to be an over reaction to false consciousness arguments which again can be seen in the end of the second comment:

'Am I to tell them that, after several hundred years of racially defined slavery, followed by another century and a half of second class citizenship, that they just need to get over this preoccupation with race?'

They're right to the extent that race isn't just a ideological preoccupation, it has a real structural existence, but wrong in seeing this as any kind of justification for nationalism. Problem is that standard internationalist arguments simply do not work in this situation. We need something better.

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Sep 7 2006 15:44
John. wrote:
Wayne's article - and other by him - very clearly argue for anarchists to be nationalists. Leo's accusation to revol was inaccurate, with Wayne it is accurate.

I guess in this case 'accuracy' (I think you mean 'fair commment') is in the eye of the beholder.

Beyond that here you are using exactly the method revol was getting annoyed about. Your making a one line claim without providing any evidence or any argument for this claim. So I'm left with the choice of either ignoring it (so people assume it is true) or spending a lot of time
1. Re-reading the article so I can definitively state that at no point does Wayne call on anarchists to be nationalists (I am certain this is the case, I suspect he actually says the reverse at least once).
2. When I've done this try and guess what your argument might be and then proceed to try and argue against this.

Frankly if you want to make / back up a serious accusation then you should be the one to produce the evidence.

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Sep 7 2006 16:09

I suspect that John. is saying that nations=nationalism. Which is and isn't true.

It's true in the same way that race=racism. Race and nationhood are of course social constructs that arose/arise out of capitalism's need to simultaneously provide cross class identities and divide the working class, preventing the emergence of a proletarian identity. And it's true because any ideology that takes racial or national identity as it's starting point, and fails to critique race/nationhood as such, ultimately falls into racism/nationalism.

However, often a group has a racial/national identity and is oppressed because they are 'of' that race/nation. And in opposing this oppression they engage in a politics that does take as it's starting point the form of their oppression which is racial/national.

So it's false in so far as that when a group identified as a nation/race takes an initiative to end its oppression it does not auto-matically make them nationalist/racist.

In short calling for an end to the oppression of the palestine nation is not the same thing as calling for the creation of a palestinian nation-state.

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Sep 7 2006 16:36

I enjoyed reading the article Devrim, although I have a couple of points to make about your thesis:

1) You seem to move rather too easily from quite specific arguments against the ideas of one man to the claim that anarchists in general do not have a solid position against nationalism. It's a little unscientific but I'd suggest that of all the representatives of the historic left anarchists have fallen prey to this particular sin rather less often than other brands of socialist.

2) Whilst you powerfully make the case against having any truck with national struggles and on that point I am completely with you, you then, as is to be expected, on pretty creaky old workerist assertions. I know that you and I are very unlikely ever to agree on this it's just that your eloquent appeal to workers not to fight in capitalist wars brought to my mind the Great War; my great-grandfather would not have gone over the top on the first day of the Somme had that argument been enough to halt capitalist wars. Devrim, there is something wrong with your understanding of the proletariat; the history of a great many workers' struggles makes me believe that there is something wrong with your understanding of this lionised "working class" you talk about so passionately - Now I am as much an internationalist as you, but whereas you reject national aspirations you seem happy to see the bright side of bourgeois ones; to praise workers' struggles when all they're actually doing is arguing for more pay and better conditions; for goodness sake Devrim, whatever makes you think that something revolutionary is going to arise from the campaigns of public sector workers to get paid?

3)The subject of wars of liberation can be more complicated than it at first seems. The work of Basil Davidson on the old Portuguese colonies especially suggests that anti-colonial wars in Africa were not primarily nationalist in the sense of seeking a nation-state; the struggle of the Land & Freedom Armies in Kenya was certainly not nationalist in that sense either. Quite often anti-colonial struggles were hijacked at the eleventh hour by colonial powers and what occurred was decolonisation rather than liberation; the distinction drawn so clearly by Fanon and typified by numerous "prison graduates" who became the first generation of "national" leaders in confected states across the globe.

4)I had a very interesting discussion with my Turkish friend - he finally admitted his political colours - about the impact of the PKK on Turkish politics. His thesis was that in the 70s the promising upsurge of radical activity across Turkey, including both Turks & Kurds, was undone by the development of murderous and sectarian nationalism; he could hardly say PKK without spitting and seemed to imply that the PKK and their kin might have been the creatures of some agency intent upon destroying the revolutionary left.

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Sep 7 2006 16:45
revol68 wrote:
well it would be because it takes as it's starting point the homogenous nation. I have no desire to end the oppression of the palestinian nation, the nation afterall just serves to mask material divisions, the nation includes the leadership of Hamas and Fatah, it displaces class, gender, race and other forms of oppression and subjugates them to the "national interest". What I wish to see is an end to the Israeli occupation, because as it stands it actually strengthens the grip of nationalism.

But what is israel occupying?

Personally I'd have problems with talking about the israeli occupation than palestinian liberation. Becuase it suggests that there is an area over which the israel state cannot legitimately claim sovereignty as oppossed to one over which it can legitimately claim sovereignty.

The palestinians are being oppressed as a nation and as a result the response is one against national oppression. I'm not defending the over whelmingly nationalist charachter of the palestinian resistance. But I think it is possible to support the call for an end to national oppression while critiqueing the nation as a social construct; pointing out that "the nation afterall just serves to mask material divisions, the nation includes the leadership of Hamas and Fatah, it displaces class, gender, race and other forms of oppression and subjugates them to the "national interest".

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Sep 7 2006 16:47
Blacknred Ned wrote:
he could hardly say PKK without spitting and seemed to imply that the PKK and their kin might have been the creatures of some agency intent upon destroying the revolutionary left.

He he. My parents were stickies when I was a kid and loads of their mates said the same thing about the provos.

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Sep 7 2006 19:07
Quote:
There's a real trend, and it seems to be growing, that takes off from the Panthers and the American Indian Movement to a position that sees nationalism as something that pre-exists the State which just moves in after the fact and exploits it

From what I understand, the nation is a modern identity that fused the contradicting identites off "man" (as a subject of capital) and "citizen" (as a subject of the modern state - a system of states based on reciprocal recognition occuring around the 16th century - former great empires had not required reciprocal recognition).

As such, nationhood presupooses state and capital.

smile

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Sep 7 2006 19:50
lem wrote:
Quote:
There's a real trend, and it seems to be growing, that takes off from the Panthers and the American Indian Movement to a position that sees nationalism as something that pre-exists the State which just moves in after the fact and exploits it

From what I understand, the nation is a modern identity that fused the contradicting identites off "man" (as a subject of capital) and "citizen" (as a subject of the modern state - a system of states based on reciprocal recognition occuring around the 16th century - former great empires had not required reciprocal recognition).

As such, nationhood presupooses state and capital.

:)

nationhood in some form or another, and in certain limited areas, may presuppose the state and capital, however i'd say that nationalism itself is a direct product of early capital/the modern state, using bits and pieces of the 'nation' where it's useful to it, scrapping it where it's not, the midwife of capitalism so to speak

i don't think there's anything particulary natural about a 'nation', why not lower or indeed higher forms of social organisation, why is the nation so natural. i'd rather live in/be part of a pre-nationalist hapsburg empire or a post-nationalist europe personally

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Sep 7 2006 20:17

Foucault traces the origin of the 'nation' to nobiliary reaction to the rise of the bourgeoise in their struggle over control of the state. IIRC He says it was a means for the aristocracy to claim the support of peasants opposed to emerging capitalist social relations (i'm getting this from 'society must be defended')

Leo
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Sep 7 2006 20:32
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Leo's accusation to revol was inaccurate

Just a quick point, I didn't accuse Revol with being a nationalist, I accused him with making some of the same bourgeois arguements leftists cheerleading for nationalists made on the middle eastern issue.

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Sep 7 2006 20:40

Its funny to see Devrim glowingly quote the British AF's position on national liberation, and then completely ignore the fact that NEFAC has a similar position. Really, its right there in our 'Aims & Principles' which is easily accessible on our website, and probably about a dozen other places on the web. Ah well, never let a group's ACTUAL POSITION get in the way of a good strawman argument I guess.

That said, I have absolutely no idea what Sphinx is talking about in regards to a supposed "creeping Maoism" in NEFAC. This seems really bizarre to me, but y'know, why not reinforce a strawman argument with some baseless gossip and rumors.

Gotta love the degenerative state of radical discourse sometimes...

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Sep 7 2006 20:52

This in response to JK - Nationalism and patriotism was also (deliberately) forged and utilised by the French republicans of 1789 onwards, and particularly by Napoleon, as a building block of the modern nation state. It is a current in the period of revolution that was deliberately promoted in opposition to the 'revolutionary excesses' of those who pedalled dangerous ideas like the sovereignty of the individual and the experiments in more participatory democracy engaged in for a short period. So it was utilised by bourgeois revolutionaries in countered the more radical elements and developments of a revolution that was essentially theirs but which they were not always in control of.

Interestingly it was the creation by Revolutionary and then Napoleonic France of the Italian army and the standardisation of Italian that developed the nationalism that was later to see 'Italian' 'unification'. Also in opposition to Napoleonic 'occupation' of 'Spain' the aristocracy and catholic church utilised the language of patriotic nationalism but many hisgtorians now contest notions that the vast majority of opposition to the occupation of 'Spain' was either, reactionary, anti-modern and anti-catholic, nor mobilised on the basis of the nationalist expressions which were largely confined to the 'leadership' of what we might call the resistance. The Spanish guerrillas (the vast majority were peasants) of the time were extremely localist in outlook and it was impossible to mobilise them on the basis of ending the occupation of 'Spain'.

The nation is a construct and nationalism a religion of the state or in the case of 'national liberation' it is the religion of those seeking to either forge or wrest control of a state for themselves. It is reactionary, mystifying nonsense to support struggles for national liberation struggles as it is nonsense to support the notion that a nation exists as some sort of natural given.

George asks what is Israel occupying, why not ask what is Palestine? And try and strip the answer of sentimental rhetoric.

Me, I still believe that the working class has no country. As for blackn'red on the Great War yeah, we need to examine the apeals made by nationalism, we need a consistent approach and attitude that opposes nationalist and patriotic jingoism, particularly the sort that utilises the language of 'freedom' in mobilising support, if we are to avoid great numbers of workers joining in capitalist slaughter. The fact that what saw itself as the leadership of much of Europes labour movement jumped on the nationalist and jingoist bandwagon in that period sorta proves Devrim's point I think.

red n black star circle A

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Sep 7 2006 20:53
Boulcolonialboy wrote:
Nationalism and patriotism was also (deliberately) forged and utilised by the French republicans of 1789 onwards, and particularly by Napoleon, as a building block of the modern nation state. It is a current in the period of revolution that was deliberately promoted in opposition to the 'revolutionary excesses' of those who pedalled dangerous ideas like the sovereignty of the individual and the experiments in more participatory democracy engaged in for a short period. So it was utilised by bourgeois revolutionaries in countered the more radical elements and developments of a revolution that was essentially theirs but which they were not always in control of.

yeah thats the period Foucault was on about, he dates the specific emergence of the concept to Boulainvilliers writing in about 1720. He then discusses how with the rise of the bourgeoisie the contested concept of 'nation' split into two discourses of 'race war' and 'class war' which are with us to this day.

Deezer
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Sep 7 2006 20:58

Shit, stop quoting me when I'm still trying to tidy up typos - the worst is my use of anti-catholic in relation to Spanish resistance to French occupation. It should have been pro-catholic, sorta the exact opposite. And "in countered" should have been "in countering".

Cheers;

red n black star circle A

Blacknred Ned
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Sep 7 2006 21:40

Boulcolonialboy wrote:

Quote:
The fact that what saw itself as the leadership of much of Europes labour movement jumped on the nationalist and jingoist bandwagon in that period sorta proves Devrim's point I think

Or, especially given that the workers by-and-large went off to fight in the capitalist war, that there is something about the proletariat that would not be to the liking of workerists & the "historical mission of the proletariat" brigade. Maybe the very people that Marx would have seen as the most advanced elements of the working class are actually the least likely to be revolutionary people you could imagine - in fact what they do is vote for social democrats or become communist shop stewards; join conservative trade unions or become idiotic patriots.

The great revolutionary moments of the last couple of hundred years hardly began amongst the mature proletariat; Marx & Engels wouldn't have given a fig for the Russians or the Spanish working class as bringers of the revolution.

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Felix Frost
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Sep 7 2006 23:03
Blacknred Ned wrote:
Marx & Engels wouldn't have given a fig for the Russians or the Spanish working class as bringers of the revolution.

Karl Marx & Frederick Engels wrote:
Now the question is: can the Russian obshchina, though greatly undermined, yet a form of primeval common ownership of land, pass directly to the higher form of Communist common ownership? Or, on the contrary, must it first pass through the same process of dissolution such as constitutes the historical evolution of the West?

The only answer to that possible today is this: If the Russian Revolution becomes the signal for a proletarian revolution in the West, so that both complement each other, the present Russian common ownership of land may serve as the starting point for a communist development.

from the Preface to the 1882 Russian edition of the Communist Manifesto

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quint
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Sep 7 2006 23:25

I agree with Devrim's piece as a critique of Wayne's article. Although I don't think it can really be generalized to a critique of NEFAC. From the NEFAC people' i've met, Wayne's position seems to be a minority position. NEFAC has always taken a strong stance against nationalism and national liberation in Quebec. They have spent a fair amount of time in campaigns against Quebec nationalists like the MLNQ. Still the fact that NEFAC copied the anti-nationalist part of the AF's principles doesn't mean that they are as consistently anti-nationalist as the AF.

jack white
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Sep 8 2006 00:01
sphinx wrote:
... That's what I consider the starting point of communist engagement against the reproduction process.

eh?

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Devrim
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Sep 8 2006 07:31
Magnifico wrote:
Devrim I agree entirely that anarchism should be internationalist. However I'm not sure this is a problem with anarchism as such, any more than the SWP's support for nationalists is indicitative of a problem with Marxism. There are always going to be people with shite politics passing themselves of as anarchists, from Johnny Rotten to Wayne Price, but on the other hand as you point out other tendencies (the AF in your example) are avowedly internationalist. Apart from arguing with them what do you suggest we do about it?

Quote:
1) You seem to move rather too easily from quite specific arguments against the ideas of one man to the claim that anarchists in general do not have a solid position against nationalism. It's a little unscientific but I'd suggest that of all the representatives of the historic left anarchists have fallen prey to this particular sin rather less often than other brands of socialist.

I didn't argue that support for national liberation is inherent in Anarchism. I said that "Anarchism does not take up a clear position on this issue." Anarchism as a whole does not take up a clear position on this issue. Of course it is equally clear that Marxism doesn't either, and that both 'anarchism', and 'Marxism' are two very vague terms. Ned qualifies it by using 'left anarchists'. That is fine. Voline expresses the problem here though:

Voline wrote:
Unfortunatly, I'd say in most cases 'anarchists' do take a pretty clear position - it's just in favour of national liberation struggles.

Smashrichbastards wrote:
Its funny to see Devrim glowingly quote the British AF's position on national liberation, and then completely ignore the fact that NEFAC has a similar position. Really, its right there in our 'Aims & Principles' which is easily accessible on our website, and probably about a dozen other places on the web. Ah well, never let a group's ACTUAL POSITION get in the way of a good strawman argument I guess.

I was aware of NEFAC's position from the discussions around this last time Wayne Price's writings on the Middle East came up. But if anyone is distorting the positions of your organisation, it is Wayne Price, and not myself. I didn't make up that quote about NEFAC not having consensus. I would say that his writings on this subject go completely against your stated position. In which case why is he still a member? Surely somebody who stands directly against your aims, and principles should be expelled. I think that the fact that NEFAC haven't expelled Wayne Price shows their ambiguity, and lack of consensus on the issue.

JoeBlack2 wrote:
There are now a couple of replies to Devrim up on anarkismo
http://www.anarkismo.net/newswire.php?story_id=3684
I would caution people to actually read what Wayne Price wrote before accepting Devrims 'summary' of his views. Summaries are often inaccurate, in particular when the person doing the summary wants to argue against it.

I, too, would encourage people to read his articles. The links to them are here:
http://www.anarkismo.net/newswire.php?story_id=3614
http://www.anarkismo.net/newswire.php?story_id=1016
I think it is quite clear that he takes a position of support for national liberation in them.

JoeBlack2 wrote:
There is a rather huge difference between this position and the position attributed to him of supporting the shooting of school teachers.

I don't think that there is, Joe. He supports the Kurdish national struggle. In Turkey that means supporting the PKK (unless the platformists are hiding another Kurdish national movement up their sleeves that we don't know about here.) The PKK have run campaigns of shooting school teachers. I think that the links are very clear here.

The position reeks of Trotskyism. He supports national liberation, but does support the anti working class gangsters who are fighting national liberation struggles. It sounds to me like 'critical support'.

I am not so sure though. At least with the Trotskyists you have to admire their consistency. The support national liberation, and will proudly support any reactionary group that raises the national flag. There are certain anarchists who appear to support national liberation, and then have guilt pangs about what reactionaries they end up supporting. It sounds more like liberalism to me.

Devrim

MalFunction
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Sep 8 2006 08:48

another view of anarchism and national liberation struggles here:

http://www.diy-punk.org/anarchy/secD7.html

interesting to see Bookchin's views especially as, apparently, he is popular amongst certain PKK members.

http://void.nothingness.org/archives/ra/display/3455/index.php

regading Kurds and their struggle, one can sympathise with the general notion that Kurdish peoples should be free to live their lives as they see fit, without being forceably incoporated into other states, without necessarily agreeing with any particular political expression of their struggle.