The Right of Nations to Self Determination

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Alexander Roxwell
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Feb 1 2011 04:28

I would hope that I understand your actual position better than you understand mine but it would appear from the comments above that I do not.

At this point all I could do would be to rephrase what I have already said and as I have already done that several times I am at a complete loss.

Thanks for the Amadeo Bordiga article by Loren Goldner. That at least was a real eye opener.

LBird
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Feb 1 2011 05:57
Alexander Roxwell wrote:
At this point all I could do would be to rephrase what I have already said and as I have already done that several times I am at a complete loss.

"All I could do"?

Well, Alexander, you could shift your position, due to the overwhelming weight of argument presented to you by your fellow Communists.

Aren't we supposed to be open-minded to new ideas?

I've changed and clarified my understanding - but then, I'm a Communist.

And I'm still prepared to read posts which argue your position, with evidence, development and coherence.

Not just 'rephrasing' of idealist 'certainties', but materialist analysis.

LBird
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Feb 1 2011 08:54
devoration1 wrote:
There were those who organized and propogated workers resistance to the militarization of labor in the allied countries (distributing press and propaganda in the factories), as well as distributing internationalist, anti-war, anti-partisan, revolutionary defeatist propaganda in French and German to both sides- all of this was done by the Italian left in exile in France and Belgium.

dev, wasn't 'revolutionary defeatism' part of Lenin's position in WW1?

How does your position differ, if it does differ from his?

Links acceptable!

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JoeMaguire
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Feb 1 2011 09:27

Can anyone actually recommend a libertarian text which is in favour of national liberation?

soyonstout
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Feb 1 2011 09:48
Alexander Rockwell wrote:
Stalinists call this "Trotskyite splitting and wrecking" and they often have a very good point.

It is seen by the workers engaged in the actual class struggle as an attack on them as workers fighting for their rights. It very often works to advantage of the very bureaucrats you are attacking.

At a certain point Lenin, Trotsky, Bordiga, Pannekoek, etc., who had all been active participants in the Second International, which contained the largest workers' organizations in history left it to form a 3rd International. They were called splitters and wreckers at the time and it was perhaps the most intense period of class struggle in modern history--the Social Democrats urged the necessity of workers' unity and demonized the Communists as trying to split the workers movement. Unfortunately, most of your case against internationalism here rests on similar recriminations. In Germany, the Social Democratic Party even became the ruling party--why split such a movement? Because it was actively betraying the working class, who by and large still believed in it. Workers on strike were being shot by troops under the command of the Social Democrats and they were violently resisting this, they were tearing up their union cards and leaving the unions en-masse. Yet during this same German revolution, the workers councils put the SPD at their head until the SPD dissolved them. Communists of the time used their propaganda to denounce the SPD as a counter-revolutionary and bourgeois organization and urge the independent mass action of the proletariat against their executioners in the SPD (of which many of them had been members until only a couple years prior).

I mention this because it is a clearly agreed-upon case of an organization that is deeply enmeshed in the working class being an actively anti-working class organization and of communists propagandizing against it, in the interests of the working class as a whole. I hope it doesn't seem tangential, but the approach you advocate seems to be that communists should flatter the prejudices of the majority of the workers at any given moment and support whichever leader they decide to follow, whether they be Stalinists, bourgeois-nationalists, etc.. And what you fail to spend much time on, is the fact that these movements, which you feel revolutionaries should support, involve workers killing other workers (usually conscripted, either by law or unemployment) en masse. You can't keep using these humanistic phrases about the "right thing to do" and "justice" when it hides the reality of exploited people enlisting to kill another group of people who are so exploited that they got blackmailed into a kill-or-be-killed combat situation. This is fundamentally a non-working class position--because what you are arguing, in the case of Iraq, for example, is that poor and unemployed workers and others in Iraq should risk their lives trying to kill 18-year-olds from the ghettos and rural ghost-towns of the US, all in order to maintain the rule of a despot who speaks their language and grew up near them. It is a reactionary position because it supports reactionaries, but it is also based on utopianism--the idea of an "equal" imperialism, which of course can never be achieved, yet for which workers must kill each other.

Alexander Rockwell wrote:
...showing that justice is with the 'other' and not with 'us.' We cannot sit there and pretend that 'both sides' are in any way 'equal.'

"Justice" is not really a materialist category, and it particularly has nothing to do with the imperialist ambitions of any national bourgeoisie (and for the record, I'm including the leaders of nationalist revolutions against foreign domination in the category of "imperialist").

TeflonMaster
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Feb 3 2011 20:15

Hate to just barge in into this thread but here are the Bosch-Bukharin-Pyatakov Theses on the Right of Nations to Self-Determination:
1. The imperialist epoch is a period of the absorption of small states by large states and of a constant redrawing of the political map of the world toward greater state homogeneity. In this process of absorption many nations are incorporated into the state system of the victorious nations.

2. Modern capitalist foreign policy is closely bound up with the supremacy of finance capital, which cannot abandon the policy of imperialism without threatening its own existence. Therefore, it would be extremely Utopian to advance anti-imperialist demands in the field of foreign policy while remaining within the framework of capitalist relations. The answer to the bourgeoisie’s imperialist policy must be the socialist revolution of the proletariat; Social Democracy must not advance minimum demands in the field of present-day foreign policy.

3. It is therefore impossible to struggle against the enslavement of nations other than through a struggle against imperialism. Ergo a struggle against imperialism; ergo a struggle against finance capital; ergo a struggle against capitalism in general. To turn aside from this path in any way and advance “partial” tasks of the “liberation of nations” within the limits of capitalist society diverts proletarian forces from the true solution of the problem and unites them with the forces of the bourgeoisie of the corresponding national groups.

4. The slogan “self-determination of nations” is first of all Utopian, as it cannot be realized within the limits of capitalism. It is also harmful, as it is a slogan that sows illusions. In this respect it does not distinguish itself at all from the slogans of arbitration courts, disarmament, and so on which presuppose the possibility of so-called peaceful capitalism.

5. We should not get carried away by the agitational side of the question and forget its connection to other questions. Advancing the slogan of “self-determination” in order to struggle against “the chauvinism of the working masses” would be making exactly the same kind of error as Kautsky does, when he advances the slogan of “disarmament” for the struggle against militarism. In both cases the error lies in a one-sided examination of the question. It overlooks the specific gravity of a given “social evil”; in other words, it examines the question from an entirely rational and Utopian standpoint and not from the standpoint of revolutionary dialectics.

6. The major cases of a concrete application of the slogan of “the right of nations to self-determination” through state independence or secession are, first, the annexation of “foreign” territory in the course of an imperialist war, and second, the disintegration of an already formed state unit. In the first case the slogan of “self-determination” is only a different form of the slogan “defence of the fatherland,” because unless an appeal is made for physical defence of the corresponding state boundaries, the “slogan” remains an empty phrase. In the second case we have essentially the same harmful consequences as with the slogan “defence of the fatherland.”
The attention of the proletarian masses is shifted to another plane; the international character of their action disappears; the forces of the proletariat are split up; the entire tactical line moves in the direction of national and not class struggle. Moreover, in this case the slogan also implicite [implicitly] includes the slogan of “defence,” for after the achievement of secession, and the slogan of “the right to self-determination” of course presupposes such a possibility, is it not necessary to defend “independence”? Otherwise, what with the constant dangers of the imperialist epoch, why “demand” it at all?
To struggle against the chauvinism of the working masses of a nation which is a great power by recognizing “the right of nations to self-determination” is the same as to struggle against this chauvinism by recognizing the right of the oppressed “fatherland” to defend itself.

7. Diversion of the proletariat’s attention toward the solution of “national” problems becomes extraordinarily harmful, especially now, when the question of mobilizing the proletariat’s forces on a world scale, in international struggle to overthrow capitalism, has been posed for action. The task of Social Democracy at the present moment is propaganda for an attitude of indifference to “the fatherland,” “the nation,” and so on. This by no means presupposes a “state” formulation of the question (protests against “dismemberment”), but, on the contrary, poses it in a sharply pronounced revolutionary way with regard to state power and the entire capitalist system.

8. Therefore it follows that in no case and under no circumstances do we support the government of a great power that represses the insurrection or rebellion of an oppressed nation. At the same time, we do not mobilize proletarian forces under the slogan of “the right of nations to self-determination.” Our task in this case is to mobilize the forces of the proletariat of both nations (jointly with others) under the slogan of civil, class war for socialism and to propagandize against mobilization of forces under the slogan of “the right of nations to self-determination.”

9. In the case of non-capitalist countries or countries with an embryonic capitalism (for example, colonies), we can support the uprising of the popular masses as something that weakens the ruling classes on the European continent and that does not split the proletarian forces. This is so because, in this case (a) it is not a question of socialism; and (b) the forces mobilized here are not those of the international proletariat, but the national forces of the bourgeoisie, which objectively help the proletariat of the European continent.

10. Furthermore, the slogan of “the right to self-determination” does not concretely answer the question concerning a given nation.

11. An essential identity (“aid to imperialism”) does not flow from a formal similarity between the position developed in these theses and the position of Cunow und Konsorten [and company]. To base an objection on “aid” in this case means to go down the road paved by Kautsky.

Alexander Roxwell
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Feb 4 2011 03:20
LBird wrote:
Well, Alexander, you could shift your position, due to the overwhelming weight of argument presented to you by your fellow Communists.

Wow. Where, exactly was the "overwhelming weight of argument" that you are talking about? Do you mean stuff like the "Bosch-Bukharin-Pyatakov” catechism stated immediately above?

Catechisms are not convincing to those who do not already believe in them. Especially old outdated ones from sometime around the 1920s before the Third World went into revolt.

I would love to debate the intricacies of the Irish question or the Kurdish question or even the question of World War II. Yes, World War II was an interimperialist world war. But that is not the end of it. It was also a war of extermination from one side and not from the other. You must be able to recognize that phenomenon often - in fact usually - have more than one "face." Alas. That is not what we find here.

But here I go again. Wasting my time arguing against the father, Son, and Holy Ghost in the chambers of the Council of Nicaea. I went to a self professed ultra-left website and, surprise surprise; I found a bunch of ultra-left sectarians there. Gee Whiz Alex.

bastarx
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Feb 4 2011 04:03
Alexander Roxwell wrote:
LBird wrote:
Well, Alexander, you could shift your position, due to the overwhelming weight of argument presented to you by your fellow Communists.

But here I go again. Wasting my time arguing against the father, Son, and Holy Ghost in the chambers of the Council of Nicaea. I went to a self professed ultra-left website and, surprise surprise; I found a bunch of ultra-left sectarians there. Gee Whiz Alex.

What you Leninoid types always fail to understand is that while you see us as deluded but ultimately on the same side we "ultra-left sectarians" know you are on the side of capital.

Alexander Roxwell
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Feb 4 2011 04:19

I insulted Peter's little catechism so he called me a doodoohead.

You keep on slaying capitalist pigs like myself and you will win the revolution in no time flat.

Yes. Yes.

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devoration1
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Feb 4 2011 06:50

The historical document quoted above was, I'd guess, posted to add an historical scope to the discussion on national liberation. I don't think anyone has claimed it as their position- yet another strawman on your part. You have not engaged very well with the positions taken by people in this thread- it's odd that you would attack a position no one has taken so as to give yourself an out to the numerous questions posed.

Quote:
You must be able to recognize that phenomenon often - in fact usually - have more than one "face." Alas. That is not what we find here.

No one sees things as black and white except for you. You are not interested in discussing the 'specifics' of these conflicts- as soon as someone dares not express the same moralistic view as you that every national liberation struggle is a good thing and that all nations have a right to self-determination, you find an excuse to shut down discussion (as you have above). Why even start this thread if you are not willing to engage with the responses? You knew from the beginning that you are in the minority on this topic, but don't seem to care why that is (you are right, we are all wrong- period).

LBird
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Feb 4 2011 17:44
Alexander Roxwell wrote:
But here I go again. Wasting my time arguing against the father, Son, and Holy Ghost in the chambers of the Council of Nicaea. I went to a self professed ultra-left website and, surprise surprise; I found a bunch of ultra-left sectarians there. Gee Whiz Alex.

Well, Alexander, you seem to have given up making any constructive arguments, or even comments. I'm sad at that, because I've put some time into defending your right to a fair hearing.

Still, going back to an earlier, more sensible post, of yours, perhaps some of our misunderstandings might be cleared up.

Alexander Roxwell wrote:
Communists must first of all join the class struggle. They cannot remain aloof from it or try to be “above” it....

Communists cannot set pre-conditions on the class struggle. “Until they dump their [bourgeois / popular front / revisionist / charismatic ] misleadership I will remain on the sidelines giving them lectures like an old schoolmarm. Communists cannot allow a fear of failure to prevent them from engaging in the class struggle....

There is much smoke and many mirrors in the real class struggle. The line of march is not clear even to the best of us – let alone the mass of workers.... The major training ground is the “class struggle” itself. The class struggle is a process. The workers learn as they go along. No class struggle begins where it ends.

Communists must meet the workers in imperfect consciousness, engaged in the class struggle the way it actually presents itself to us, not the way we communists would like it to present itself.

I think we'd all agree with the general outline of what you're saying here.

Perhaps the problem is that you seem to define any political activity by workers as 'class struggle'.

This is clearly mistaken. The political actions of workers must contain some class content for us to classify it as 'class struggle'. If there is 'misleadership' of a clear class struggle, I think we'd intervene in that, too.

But standing alongside workers who are engaged in self-destructive (by our definition) activity, like national liberation, is clearly mistaken.

After all, would we join the SS because it contains some workers and is shooting Jewish bosses (amongst others)? I'm not suggesting that you would argue for this, of course, I'm just trying to find an extreme example to shed light on why we think your policy is wrong.

Please try and engage with our arguments.

LBird
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Mar 29 2011 09:37

Just another bit of info for Alexander and his notion that he would think of fighting with workers on the side of nationalism.

Here's whose side De Valera was on: his own class.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-12848272

Quote:
In fact, De Valera's government executed more IRA members than Britain and even borrowed the UK's most famous executioner, Albert Pierrepoint, to hang one of them.

During the war, Dublin went on to intern more than 1,500 IRA suspects, and several died while on hunger strike in Irish jails.

Help from Hitler

As a result, the IRA began to look to Nazi Germany for help.

The question must be asked of Alexander, 'would he have stayed loyal to his nationalist, but working class, IRA comrades who were now looking to Hitler for help, in the war for "national liberation", against the government which he would have fought to install?'.

Alexander Roxwell
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Mar 30 2011 01:25

Did LBird just discover that the world is messy?

I support the right of the Kurds to their own country.

I support the right of the Armenians to their own whole* country.

So how would "I resolve" the overlapping claims of territory? That is a good question.

How do I react to the craven level of Kurdish leadership who bootlick one Imperialist power after another?

Gee whiz I don't like it.

Will that prevent me from supporting this or that faction? You bet.

But the right of the Kurdish people to their own homeland is still valid.

An IRA "alliance with Hitler" you say - no I certainly do not support that.

But the right of the Irish people to their own homeland is still valid.

The existence of contradictions does not negate the principle.

The principle stands.

So does the contradiction. Sorry Charlie.

It does make it complicated.

If you are looking for a simple black and white world you ought to stay far away from politics.

If you are looking for a "safe" politics where you will never be caught in a conflict left sectarianism is the way to go. Unfortunately along with "safety" comes "irrelevance."

Let me see. Didn’t the Knights of Labor support the Chinese Exclusion Act? Didn’t the Molly McGuire’s discriminate against those who were not Catholic?

*most of which is in Turkey, also in Iraq, and possibly in Syria - only a small segment used to be part of the U.S.S.R.

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Tojiah
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Mar 30 2011 03:42

So no actual organization, then. Just this "right" in abstract. Divorced of any reality. Might as well support God against Satan.

LBird
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Mar 30 2011 08:18
Alexander Roxwell wrote:
Did LBird just discover that the world is messy?

But surely, Alexander, the purpose of theorising is to try to clarify some of the mess? To give us workers a chance to understand and change the 'messy' world?

I'm not sure why you've moved away from discussing these theoretical issues about 'national liberation', and begun to attack the intelligence of other posters. It does your position no favours.

Unless you just want to roll around in the shitty mess that is our society, and accuse us of being 'too tidy and wanting to abstain to keep our hands clean', because we aspire to clean up the mess - which requires discussion and a plan.

Why roll around in Kurdish, Armenian and Irish shit? Solidarity with 'the messy masses'?

I'll stick to class analysis. You stick to the Peoples' Poo.

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Mar 30 2011 09:24

The right of nations to self-determination

The most widespread deception of the people perpetrated by the bourgeoisie in the present war is the concealment of its predatory aims with “national-liberation” ideology. The English promise the liberation of Belgium, the Germans of Poland, etc. Actually, as we have seen, this is a war waged by the oppressors of the majority of the nations of the world for the purpose of fortifying and expanding such oppression.

Socialists cannot achieve their great aim without fighting against all oppression of nations. Therefore, they must without fail demand that the Social-Democratic parties of oppressing countries (especially of the so-called “great” powers) should recognise and champion the right of oppressed nations to self-determination, precisely in the political sense of the term, i.e., the right to political secession. The Socialist of a ruling or colony-owning nation who fails to champion this right is a chauvinist.

The championing of this right, far from encouraging the formation of small states, leads, on the contrary, to the freer, fearless and therefore wider and mote widespread formation of very big states and federations of states, which are more beneficial for the masses and more fully in keeping with economic development.

The Socialists of oppressed nations must, in their turn, unfailingly fight for the complete (including organisational) unity of the workers of the oppressed and oppressing nationalities. The idea of the juridical separation of one nation from another (so-called “cultural-national autonomy” advocated by Bauer and Renner) is reactionary.

Imperialism is the epoch of the constantly increasing oppression of the nations of the world by a handful of “great” powers and, therefore, it is impossible to fight for the socialist international revolution against imperialism unless the right of nations to self-determination is recognized. “No nation can be free if it oppresses other nations” (Marx and Engels). A proletariat that tolerates the slightest violence by “its” nation against other nations cannot be a socialist proletariat.

LBird
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Mar 30 2011 11:00

Noa, thanks for your comradely post. Makes a change from the tack taken recently by Alexander.

Noa Rodman wrote:
The right of nations to self-determination

The most widespread deception of the people perpetrated by the bourgeoisie in the present war is the concealment of its predatory aims with “national-liberation” ideology. The English promise the liberation of Belgium, the Germans of Poland, etc. Actually, as we have seen, this is a war waged by the oppressors of the majority of the nations of the world for the purpose of fortifying and expanding such oppression.

Right, agreed so far.

Noa Rodman wrote:
Socialists cannot achieve their great aim without fighting against all oppression of nations.

Where did that come from? On the contrary, I think we should say:

"Socialists cannot achieve their great aim without fighting against all oppression of classes".

Noa Rodman wrote:
Therefore, they must without fail demand that the Social-Democratic parties of oppressing countries (especially of the so-called “great” powers) should recognise and champion the right of oppressed nations to self-determination...

But the Social-Democratic parties of all countries, oppressing and oppressed, are capitalist, class-based parties, not workers' parties.

Noa Rodman wrote:
The Socialist of a ruling or colony-owning nation who fails to champion this right is a chauvinist.

No, the Socialist is class conscious, not a chauvinist.

Quote:
“No nation can be free if it oppresses other nations” (Marx and Engels).

Well, Marx and Engels were wrong. A 'nation' can never be free - 'nation' means oppression, of its own and other working classes.

Noa Rodman wrote:
A proletariat that tolerates the slightest violence by “its” nation against other nations cannot be a socialist proletariat.

Ah, we're back on line again. Pity about the bit in the middle, where the text moves away from class analysis to national analysis, eh? Still, thats what we're here for, in 2011, to think critically, debate, and decide.

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Mar 30 2011 11:54

It is from Socialism and War (1915). I don't think we can see the Baku congress as a straight logical extension of Lenin's reasoning here (he calls “national-liberation” ideology the most widespread deception). And in light of the Bolshevik intervention against Georgia (which I don't think Lenin advocated), Luxemburg's opposition to self-determination is not all that vindicated.

Also, the Bosch-Bukharin-Pyatakov theses are pretty bad (maybe someone can find Lenin's response); for instance they hold:

Quote:
9. In the case of non-capitalist countries or countries with an embryonic capitalism (for example, colonies), we can support the uprising of the popular masses as something that weakens the ruling classes on the European continent and that does not split the proletarian forces. This is so because, in this case (a) it is not a question of socialism; and (b) the forces mobilized here are not those of the international proletariat, but the national forces of the bourgeoisie, which objectively help the proletariat of the European continent.
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waslax
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Mar 30 2011 21:29
Noa Rodman wrote:
The championing of this right [the right of "oppressed nations" to political self-determination], far from encouraging the formation of small states, leads, on the contrary, to the freer, fearless and therefore wider and mote widespread formation of very big states and federations of states, which are more beneficial for the masses and more fully in keeping with economic development.

Lol. This does much to expose the real content of the politics Lenin defended in 1915 -- and, it could be argued, never really abandoned -- during the era of what he called that of [imperialist] Wars and [proletarian] Revolutions: support for political secession by the bourgeoisie of nations oppressed by imperialist powers, support for very big [capitalist, of course] states and federations of states, and, of course, support for further [capitalist, of course] economic development. Hardly communist. And that is not a judgement made with 90+ years hindsight. Communists at that time -- e.g. Luxemburg, Gorter, Pannekoek, Ruhle -- knew it then.

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Mar 30 2011 22:05
Noa Rodman wrote:
The championing of this right, far from encouraging the formation of small states, leads, on the contrary, to the freer, fearless and therefore wider and mote widespread formation of very big states and federations of states, which are more beneficial for the masses and more fully in keeping with economic development.

Seriously this is nonsense. Pakistan and India should dispel that championing the right of self-determination brings out and intensifies class dynamics. They are both hotbeds of chauvinism emanating from the divisions put in place by imperialism, fostered by their own separate anti-imperialist struggles which lead to the disastrous partition of 1947. Class struggle in each respective country has been put decades because of the formation of hostile separate states.

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Mar 31 2011 00:15
Quote:
Lol. This does much to expose the real content of the politics Lenin defended in 1915 -- and, it could be argued, never really abandoned -- during the era of what he called that of [imperialist] Wars and [proletarian] Revolutions: support for political secession by the bourgeoisie of nations oppressed by imperialist powers, support for very big [capitalist, of course] states and federations of states, and, of course, support for further [capitalist, of course] economic development. Hardly communist. And that is not a judgement made with 90+ years hindsight. Communists at that time -- e.g. Luxemburg, Gorter, Pannekoek, Ruhle -- knew it then.

It's been the content of Marx's politics as well, so unless you believe in decadence, which would make it OK for Marx at the time, you hold the Proudhonist position I guess.

Here is Lenin's reply to Pyatakov. (strange that the term holocaust appears in it)

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Mar 31 2011 00:22
Quote:
Pakistan and India should dispel that championing the right of self-determination brings out and intensifies class dynamics.

I think the partition happened on the basis of cultural-autonomy, which Lenin would've opposed (unless prior to that, Pakistani and Indian nations really existed).

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Mar 31 2011 00:43
Noa Rodman wrote:
Quote:
Pakistan and India should dispel that championing the right of self-determination brings out and intensifies class dynamics.

I think the partition happened on the basis of cultural-autonomy, which Lenin would've opposed (unless prior to that, Pakistani and Indian nations really existed).

What's a nation that really exists, as opposed to a mere cultural autonomy?

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Mar 31 2011 03:45
Noa Rodman wrote:
Quote:
Lol. This does much to expose the real content of the politics Lenin defended in 1915 -- and, it could be argued, never really abandoned -- during the era of what he called that of [imperialist] Wars and [proletarian] Revolutions: support for political secession by the bourgeoisie of nations oppressed by imperialist powers, support for very big [capitalist, of course] states and federations of states, and, of course, support for further [capitalist, of course] economic development. Hardly communist. And that is not a judgement made with 90+ years hindsight. Communists at that time -- e.g. Luxemburg, Gorter, Pannekoek, Ruhle -- knew it then.

It's been the content of Marx's politics as well, so unless you believe in decadence, which would make it OK for Marx at the time, you hold the Proudhonist position I guess.

No, I reject that those are the only alternatives. But clearly the overall context -- regarding the balance of forces between between capital and labour, and the degree of historical development of capitalism, of its immanent tendencies as analysed by Marx, of its extent of productive (and destructive) forces, of its social relations and their extent of infiltration of its society/societies, of its threat to the future of humankind -- in 1915 was vastly different from that of 1848, whether one chooses to say the difference is a matter of a change from "ascendance" to "decadence" or "obsolescence", from "healthy expansion" to "wars and revolutions", or from "national growth" to "imperialist parasitism", or whatever else, possibly even denying a change of period.

I also don't think that Lenin simply continued on Marx's politics, but I will not go there, into that bottomless pit, so don't even try. In any case, Marxism in 1915, the year of the Zimmerwald anti-war conference, encompassed the politics of all of the "Zimmerwald Left", including, as I referred to already, Luxemburg, Gorter, Pannekoek, and Ruhle, as well as Lenin and other Bolsheviks. And it is my contention that those leading figures of the German and Dutch "radical left" were the authentic communists then, while Lenin, to the extent that he disagreed with them, was not.

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Mar 31 2011 03:50
JoeMaguire wrote:
Noa Rodman wrote:
The championing of this right, far from encouraging the formation of small states, leads, on the contrary, to the freer, fearless and therefore wider and mote widespread formation of very big states and federations of states, which are more beneficial for the masses and more fully in keeping with economic development.

[...]
Class struggle in each respective country has been put decades because of the formation of hostile separate states.

Joe, I think you mean class struggle has been put back decades because of .... If so, I agree with you.

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Mar 31 2011 06:47

Yeah, typo.

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Mar 31 2011 11:44
Quote:
And it is my contention that those leading figures of the German and Dutch "radical left" were the authentic communists then, while Lenin, to the extent that he disagreed with them, was not.

Yeah I got that, but what's your argument? I linked to that famous Life of Brian clip in a previous post, where a guy asks for the right to have babies, and John Cleese responds 'but you haven't got a womb'. It's a nice joke, but Monty Python misses Lenin's purpose with the demand.

Worth a look is another response to Pyatakov, by Lenin.

Just a passage where he draws the analogy to divorce;

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one can not be a democrat and socialist without demanding full freedom of divorce now, because the lack of such freedom is additional oppression of the oppressed sex—though it should not be difficult to realise that recognition of the freedom to leave one’s husband is not an invitation to all wives to do so!

P. Kievsky [Pyatakov] “objects”:

“What would this right [of divorce] be like if in such cases [when the wife wants to leave the husband] she could not exercise her right? Or if its exercise depended on the will of third parties, or, worse still, on the will of claimants to her affections? Would we advocate the proclamation of such a right? Of course not!”

Noa Rodman's picture
Noa Rodman
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Mar 31 2011 11:50
Tojiah wrote:
Noa Rodman wrote:
Quote:
Pakistan and India should dispel that championing the right of self-determination brings out and intensifies class dynamics.

I think the partition happened on the basis of cultural-autonomy, which Lenin would've opposed (unless prior to that, Pakistani and Indian nations really existed).

What's a nation that really exists, as opposed to a mere cultural autonomy?

Here shows my racist inability to distinguish Pakistanis from Indians smile

jef costello's picture
jef costello
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Mar 31 2011 14:23
Noa Rodman wrote:
Quote:
Pakistan and India should dispel that championing the right of self-determination brings out and intensifies class dynamics.

I think the partition happened on the basis of cultural-autonomy, which Lenin would've opposed (unless prior to that, Pakistani and Indian nations really existed).

Nations do not exist, they are created. Pakistan never existed as a nation, it was created because of a strong lobby for a muslim state. India was never a unified state until it was united by conquest. The problem with talking about self-determination for nations is that it non-sensical. Say we allow self-determination in England. Does this include immigrants? If someone who has live here for a week can participate then it becomes a bit meaningless. But then how long do you need to be resident to be a part of the nation? If you define it by culture then how much do you need to participate in the cultural life of the nation? If I live abroad and raise my children as English then does that give them a share in this even if they've never lived there? As opposed to someone who has lived there 20 years? all their life?
You define nations by excluding people and that way lies chauvinism.

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Tojiah
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Mar 31 2011 16:52
jef costello wrote:
You define nations by excluding people and that way lies chauvinism.

Well put.

Although to tie in with various other threads on the subject, there are legitimate reasons for excluding people (employers, racists, etc) from your organization, movement, perhaps even society. But them not being of the right nation is not one of them.