The Right of Nations to Self Determination

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Noa Rodman's picture
Noa Rodman
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Mar 31 2011 16:59

That's the only line I actually disagree with. As opposed to including? Is giving citizenship somehow against chauvinism?

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Devrim
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Mar 31 2011 22:22
Alexander Roxwell wrote:
So how would "I resolve" the overlapping claims of territory? That is a good question.

Let's just take a look at the map for a moment:

Historic Armenia:

Kurdistan:

I think it is a very good question. It doesn't 'overlap'. It is the same land.

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

In Turkey during and after the First World War, the state initiated a programme of genocide, which murdered about one and a half million Armenians. Of course, many also fled. Due to this and subsequent migration there are very few Armenians left in Turkey, unsurprisingly in my opinion.

The total Armenian population of Turkey is, going by the highest estimates 70,000, virtually all of whom live in Istanbul*. Are you suggesting that these people be subject to another population exchange, which as we know is a synonym for ethnic cleansing? What will happen to the millions of people who now live in the area that you want to give to Armenia?

In reality what you propose sounds to me like a recipe for further division and ethnic war. Would, ten years after what you suggest happening you be supporting a Turkish national movement?

For communists the question is how to play a role in uniting the working class, irrelevant of ethnic or religious background around class issues. What you advocate is exactly the opposite of this, dividing the working class along those lines and getting them to support various states or proto-states.

Of course, there is a long history of people from the West trying to draw new lines on the map of the Middle East. You are certainly not the first nor will you be the last to propose this.

*There is one Armenian village left in Turkey, which is in Hatay province. Perhaps this could be included in your new Greater Armenia.

...but wait a minute. Hatay used to be a part of Syria. It was given to Turkey by the French as a present for keeping out of the Second World War. Syrian nationalists also want Hatay back. Even today after decades of Turkification campaigns there are still Arab majorities in three of its twelve districts. So who are you going to give Hatay to, the Kurds, the Armenians or the Syrians? In the map makers parlour it might seem all so simple, but in reality the Middle East is a patchwork of different ethnic and religious groups that don't really fit into your lines.

Devrim

Alexander Roxwell
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Mar 31 2011 21:12

Gee whiz, now Devrim has also discovered the mess. She or he throws up his or her arms in despair ! It is just too messy ! How dare I "bless this mess" !!! I am not going to draw the lines and neither are you. I certainly do not have the right to "re-locate" people and neither do you. The people themselves "have the right" to draw the lines. That does not mean they should.

But they do have the right to.

That is all.

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Mar 31 2011 22:22
Alexander Roxwell wrote:
The people themselves "have the right" to draw the lines. That does not mean they should.

But they do have the right to.

Which 'people' have the right to withdraw the lines, the people who live there today or 1,500,000 million murdered Armenian ghosts? What exactly do you mean by 'people'? I can only presume that you mean bourgeois nationalist organisations.

For communists it is not about people 'having the right to draw lines', but of abolishing these lines all together.

Devrim

Alexander Roxwell
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Apr 1 2011 02:29
Devrim wrote:
For communists it is not about people 'having the right to draw lines', but of abolishing these lines all together.

If I were a reductionist like you appear to be I would assume that what you mean here is ---

boiled down Devrim wrote:
Fuck the People. The Commissars will decide

But then I would be sinking down to your level wouldn't I?

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

If you quit tossing out red herring I will

LBird
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Apr 1 2011 09:56
Alexander Roxwell wrote:
Did LBird just discover that the world is messy?
Alexander Roxwell wrote:
Gee whiz, now Devrim has also discovered the mess.

Alexander, why don't you engage with the very reasonable questions that Devrim, me and others are asking about your position?

Alexander Roxwell wrote:
But then I would be sinking down to your level wouldn't I?

It seems that your own position is now completely bankrupt. Shame, because I, at least, would still like to read a considered version of the argument you apparently can't outline.

Is there anyone else out there prepared to give it a go? Someone who can answer the questions that have been posed here of the 'national liberation' strategy?

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Apr 1 2011 12:28

from the Baku Congress

Pavlovich wrote:
Arise, peoples of the East! The Third International summons you to a holy war against the carrion-crows of capitalism. Comrade delegates, develop the class-consciousness of the popular masses, organise them around peasant soviets, soviets of the toilers, summon all the toilers to ally themselves with Soviet Russia, propagate the idea of a federation of oppressed nations, and, finally, create a union of the proletarians and peasants of all countries, religions and languages.

I haven't read it all, but I don't see anything wrong with this (remember the Dutch communists also called to get out of the colonies, and the Bosch-Pyatakov theses say national liberation can be supported):

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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Apr 1 2011 13:08

I think a lot of this discussion is beating around the bush. Personally the way I see it is quite simple. I do not support the democratic principle or the right of 'the people' to decide things. I support workers' in struggle whether or not this struggle accords with decisions voted on by a formal majority on the basis of parliamentarianism's famous clash of individual opinions. Therefore I do not support the right of nations to self-determination. Alexander's position falls down once you reject the premise that the people have the right to decide anything.

I don't even necessarily see what is so terrible about the 'Fuck the people, the Commissars will decide' boiled down version of Devrim. The Council of People's Commissars was the end result of the elections to the Congress of Workers' and Soldiers' Soviets. As an representative institution of militant workers, I think that Sovnarkom had more of a 'right' (If you can call it that) to make decisions that the Russian citizenry as a whole.

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Apr 1 2011 13:19

Ok, Zanthorus, but you almost seem not to get Lenin's purpose with the demand: it is addressed to the Social-democratic parties of the oppressing countries (Alex btw also doesn't get this). Of course there are no longer such parties, so the whole debate has become quite abstract.

LBird
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Apr 1 2011 13:28
Noa Rodman wrote:
In the case of non-capitalist countries or countries with an embryonic capitalism (for example, colonies),...

Noa, who are these 'non-capitalist countries'? I know there are still some pre-capitalist societies in existence, for example, in jungles, but these are not 'countries' or, what is synonymous in the current debate, 'nation-states'. And in the modern world, and for the purposes of this discussion, they are tiny and irrelevant.

Noa Rodman wrote:
...we can support the uprising of the popular masses as something that weakens the ruling classes on the European continent...

Even if this is true, how does strengthening non-European ruling classes weaken the capitalist system as a whole? We'd just end up with an Asian or African ruling class hegemony over the international proletariat.

Noa Rodman wrote:
...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.

I'm afraid you'll have to expand and clarify this, because I don't understand how mobilising bourgeois national forces anywhere helps any part of the international proletariat, objectively or otherwise.

One other thing: could you put your replies in your own words, for the most part?

I'm not a great fan of reading chunks of quotes from others, although of course short quotes (or links) to support your case is OK. I'd rather you summarise, to get to the point. Thanks.

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Apr 1 2011 13:34

I agree that the Bosch-Pyatakov theses makes no sense; and that's why Lenin opposed them (calling it imperialist Economism) and argued for the right of nations to self determination.

Alexander Roxwell
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Apr 3 2011 00:07
LBird wrote:
It seems that your own position is now completely bankrupt. Shame, because I, at least, would still like to read a considered version of the argument you apparently can't outline.

Is there anyone else out there prepared to give it a go? Someone who can answer the questions that have been posed here of the 'national liberation' strategy?

Again I see a "claim" that someone has "exposed" me as totally bankrupt but fails to say what it was that did it. If someone exposed my "bankruptsy" I completely missed it, perhaps you could outline that for me.

I can only suppose that you ascribe to me opinions that are not mine as has been the case right along on this message board. I can only guess what they might be and I could very easily be wrong and then we would get into a side quarrel about that. That is at least what has happened before.

The right of nations to self determination is not, in my view an absolute right, Nor is it a right that I would necessarily advocate that a people take up. In the case of the Armenians and the Kurds it would be, as some of you managed to figure out, a real hum dinger to try to resolve. But it is a right that cannot be denied to a people if the people themselves take it up as a struggle.

Generally I would agree with Lenin on this question that this is a question that must be respected to clear the way for the class struggle - not to obstruct it.

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Apr 3 2011 01:57
Alexander Roxwell wrote:
The right of nations to self determination is not, in my view an absolute right, Nor is it a right that I would necessarily advocate that a people take up. In the case of the Armenians and the Kurds it would be, as some of you managed to figure out, a real hum dinger to try to resolve. But it is a right that cannot be denied to a people if the people themselves take it up as a struggle.

But what happens if one group are very keen on it and one group are not and they both share the same teritory? What happens if two groups claim the same territory? Again apart from stating that it would be complicated to work out you haven't suggested any way of resolving the problems posed by any other posters nor suggested how you would define who had the 'right' to have the right to self-determination? You said "the people themselves have the right to draw these lines" but how do you define 'the people'? (which you've also already been asked) For example in Northern Ireland a large number of people wish for independance from Britain and union with Ireland, a large number wish for the opposite. How do you resolve this? Is it a numbers game or do you decide which group is more worthy? For the record when the partition was made it could be argued hat the majority were in favour of the territory remaining a part of the UK (and for a fair while afterwards) so how binding are these decisions? What about Palestinians who have never lived in the territories they lay claim to? What about the claims for a 'greater Hungary'?
What about the Armenian ghosts?
One of the key points about nationalities is that by describing them you usually end up either excluding people you want in your group or being inclusive and including everyone. Nationalities are meaningless and they are constructed. The working class do not benefit from these constructions so let's not waste our time backing one or the other of them.

Every time nationalism comes up it always reminds me of the citizenship tests we had in the UK. Basicallly the problem was that the ideas that were supposedly Birtish were either nebulous or pointless (for example the British sens of fair play, few natons pride themselves on being untrustworthy and few nations regard the british as particularly trustworthy). The problem was large numbers of british people failed the britishness test and large numbers of foreigners passed it. The attempt to define Britishness showed how hollow such a concept was.

Alexander Roxwell
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Apr 3 2011 03:37
jef costello wrote:
But what happens if one group are very keen on it and one group are not and they both share the same teritory? What happens if two groups claim the same territory?

.

jef costello wrote:
. . . apart from stating that it would be complicated to work out you haven't suggested any way of resolving the problems posed by any other posters nor suggested how you would define who had the 'right' to have the right to self-determination?

So. Are you are saying that because I, the Great and Mightly Wizard Alexander Roxwell do not have a one-size-fits-all pre-fabricated solution in my back pocket for the grittiest of the problems arising from overlapping rights of self-determination for those "at the edges" that I, the Great and Mighty Wizard must, like yourself, deny this right to all?

Certainly you are not serious.

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Apr 3 2011 04:01

What the fuck have "rights" got to do with anarchism? Right is inherently a state-based concept. The entire goal of national liberation is to form a state to ensure the "right" to self-determination. That has always been the end game of any successful national liberation movement; the result always setting the working class back because advancing working class interests must always be secondary to the national struggle so that they can get the "right" to be exploited by just another bourgeoisie, though one that perhaps prefer the same language, food, dances or whatever it is that supposedly unites the classes.

Alexander, nobody is asking you for a one-size-fits all solution. But given what you know about say Northern Ireland or Palestine, how would you settle the opposing claims of the right to own a piece of land? What should communists do in those countries? Should they stop agitating? That's certainly what e.g. both Hamas and PLO/Fatah demand.

You can keep dodging questions all you like, but it seems like it's just your ego coming in the way. You just refuse to engage because for some reason feel the need to cling to the nation as giving political subjectivity to folks.

LBird
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Apr 3 2011 07:14
Alexander Roxwell wrote:
Again I see a "claim" that someone has "exposed" me as totally bankrupt but fails to say what it was that did it. If someone exposed my "bankruptsy" I completely missed it, perhaps you could outline that for me.

Yeah, as it happens Alexander, I can outline who 'exposed your bankruptcy': you did.

What you did was fail to answer reasonable questions which were posed of your position. Furthermore, having ignored those questions, you moved on to questioning the intelligence of those asking those questions.

Alexander Roxwell wrote:
I can only suppose that you ascribe to me opinions that are not mine...

This is factually untrue. We've been asking you questions, not 'ascribing opinions to you'. The questions precisely seek to clarify your opinions, to allow you to explain your opinions, so that 'opinions' are not incorrectly 'ascribed' to you by others like me.

Alexander Roxwell wrote:
So. Are you are saying that because I, the Great and Mightly Wizard Alexander Roxwell do not have a one-size-fits-all pre-fabricated solution in my back pocket for the grittiest of the problems arising from overlapping rights of self-determination for those "at the edges" that I, the Great and Mighty Wizard must, like yourself, deny this right to all?

No, no-one is calling you anything (certainly nothing as childish as 'Great and Mighty Wizard'), and on-one suggests you have all the answers to a very complex issue.

We're asking you simple questions. Why not answer them?

Alexander Roxwell wrote:
Certainly you are not serious.

I'm afraid we are, Alexander. That's why most of us have persisted, even in the face of your 'name-calling' and avoidance, to try to get to the heart of the 'right of nations to self-determination' position, that you apparently hold to.

It seems to me, on the surface, that you place considerations of 'nation' above those of 'class', which is, I think, why you specify 'people' rather than 'proletariat'.

Now, to be clear, I'm not accusing you of this, that's why I'm asking you if this is so. And depending on your answer [note: your answer, not my opinion], I will ask further questions, which will flow from your answer.

See: no insults, no ascribing opinions, just a comradely question, from a fellow Communist who is unclear and wants to learn.

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Apr 3 2011 09:19
Alexander Roxwell wrote:
The right of nations to self determination is not, in my view an absolute right, Nor is it a right that I would necessarily advocate that a people take up. In the case of the Armenians and the Kurds it would be, as some of you managed to figure out, a real hum dinger to try to resolve. But it is a right that cannot be denied to a people if the people themselves take it up as a struggle.

But in fact it is even more complex than it has been made out here. What about the Alevis for example? They are certainly a substantial minority in Turkey making up 20% of the population. Some leftist groups were calling for a 'Socialist Republic of Alevistan' back in the 70s and 80s though it seems to have dropped out of fashion now, and where was it to be? Why right within that zone which is also claimed by Armenian and Kurdish nationalists. Then of course there are also Süryaniler, Arabs, and to differentiate a little further, some of whom are Alawis (different from the previously mentioned Alevis).

To me it seems by necessity that any attempt to mobilize people along ethnic/sectarian grounds, would involve mobilizing them against other ethnic religious groups who claim the same land. I can't see how the working class can in any way benefit from this division.

Devrim

Mark.
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Apr 3 2011 10:15
Devrim wrote:
But in fact it is even more complex than it has been made out here. What about the Alevis for example? They are certainly a substantial minority in Turkey making up 20% of the population. Some leftist groups were calling for a 'Socialist Republic of Alevistan' back in the 70s and 80s though it seems to have dropped out of fashion now, and where was it to be? Why right within that zone which is also claimed by Armenian and Kurdish nationalists. Then of course there are also Süryaniler, Arabs, and to differentiate a little further, some of whom are Alawis (different from the previously mentioned Alevis).

Don't forget the Pontic Greeks...

At one point when I was living in Athens there were rival posters up calling for the national liberation of Kurdistan, Armenia and the Pontus, all showing maps with overlapping territorial claims.

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Apr 3 2011 10:17
Mark. wrote:
Don't forget the Pontic Greeks...

At one point when I was living in Athens there were rival posters up calling for the national liberation of Kurdistan, Armenia and the Pontus, all showing maps with overlapping territorial claims.

I must have been sort of subconsciously thinking of the Kurdish area because I forgot the minorities of the Black Sea coast. Of course we should also include both the Laz and the Hemshin, both of whom live within the area claimed by Armenian nationalists and depicted on your map of the Pontus.

Devrim

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Apr 3 2011 10:33

...Of course perhaps we are making the mistake of treating the Kurds as a single group. What is generally referred to as Kurdish in the West, also includes Zazaki, which is thought by most linguistic specialists to be a separate, though related language group. Some Zaza communities identify as Kurds, but many don't. We could also continue to divide the Kurds into separate denominational communities, there are Kurdish Alevis, Christians (who speak Aramaic, the language of Jesus), and Yezidi, as well as of course Sunni Muslims.

Where would we put all of these states?

Devrim

Yorkie Bar
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Apr 3 2011 10:35
Quote:
So. Are you are saying that because I, the Great and Mightly Wizard Alexander Roxwell do not have a one-size-fits-all pre-fabricated solution in my back pocket for the grittiest of the problems arising from overlapping rights of self-determination for those "at the edges" that I, the Great and Mighty Wizard must, like yourself, deny this right to all?

If you've lost the argument, just admit it. People will respect you for that.

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Apr 3 2011 11:20
Yorkie Bar wrote:
Quote:
So. Are you are saying that because I, the Great and Mightly Wizard Alexander Roxwell do not have a one-size-fits-all pre-fabricated solution in my back pocket for the grittiest of the problems arising from overlapping rights of self-determination for those "at the edges" that I, the Great and Mighty Wizard must, like yourself, deny this right to all?

If you've lost the argument, just admit it. People will respect you for that.

Roxwell is a lot like Qaddafi; everybody think he's already defeated but then he's still there. I predicted this and argued for a blitzkrieg against him or else it would turn in to a protracted civil war.

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Noa Rodman
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Apr 3 2011 11:22

seriously, the ask-difficult-questions-to-Roxwell-routine is a death-end exercise

Alexander Roxwell
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Apr 4 2011 06:14

I cannot answer "what-if" questions.

I never said I could.

Being that I am just an ordinary being I do not have the solutions to all the thorny problems posed by the right of nations to self determination in my back pocket.

Nor do I have the firepower to cram them down everybody's throat.

As if I would want to.

My position was taken knowing long ago knowing full well that I could not answer "what-if" questions.

I am not surprised that I cannot answer your "what-if" questions.

I already knew how "messy" it was. When I brought up the issue of Kurdistan and Armenia* I said up front that it was a mess that I could not imagine how to resolve.

So you think you have refuted my argument by getting me to “admit” what I said in the first place.

The only question is why you persist in thinking that my “confessed” inability to answer "what-if" questions refutes my argument.

It doesn't refute a damn thing.

It is a sideshow.

I can only speculate as to why you think you score points by showing how messy the question is.

But that would be taken as an accusation - and you could well prove that speculation to be wrong.

*I said, back on March 29th:

Alexander Roxwell wrote:
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.

LBird
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Apr 4 2011 10:42
Noa Rodman wrote:
seriously, the ask-difficult-questions-to-Roxwell-routine is a death-end exercise

Personally, I don't think anyone's asking 'difficult questions' of Alexander.

But, from his last post above, he seems to be having a breakdown of some sort. Perhaps we should just leave it at that. I don't think he's going to engage in meaningful discussion, and pressing him isn't helping.

Anyway, given the brilliant posts on this thread, especially from Devrim and Mark about the 'Kurdish issue' (sic), I'm now clear in my mind about the uselessness of 'national liberation'. I suppose Alexander should be thanked for that, at least, for pushing us all to address the issue in detail.

Thanks everyone, in fact!

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Tojiah
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Apr 4 2011 14:29

There was no argument on Alexander Roxwell's part. An argument is when you take up a position, defend it, and back it up, not just repeat it over and over again, until people give up on arguing with you. The only claim I see here is "nations have a right to self determination." And as usual, in the absence of actual argument, people here try to ascribe their interlocutor any rationale that would put his opinion in context, in response to which he gets offended by being misrepresented. Well, argument abhors a vacuum. This argument is vacuous.

I do, however, agree with LBird, that it has brought up good arguments for the contrary.

Alexander Roxwell
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Apr 5 2011 02:29

sad eek laugh out loud cry

LBird
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Apr 5 2011 08:26

I actually agree with Alexander's concise 'smiley analysis', which is in fact a fantastic substitute for written class analysis!

sad The worker is unhappy with his exploitative foreign boss.

eek The worker eagerly soaks up ideas about wondrous 'national liberation'!

laugh out loud The worker sees the triumph of his oppressed nation!

cry The real result dawns on the still oppressed worker, now exploited by his 'own' boss.

And coming next week, Alexander reduces all three volumes of Capital to a Prince-like 'symbol'!

Can't wait!

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Apr 5 2011 08:33
LBird wrote:
I actually agree with Alexander's concise 'smiley analysis', which is in fact a fantastic substitute for written class analysis!

sad The worker is unhappy with his exploitative foreign boss.

eek The worker eagerly soaks up ideas about wondrous 'national liberation'!

laugh out loud The worker sees the triumph of his oppressed nation!

cry The real result dawns on the still oppressed worker, now exploited by his 'own' boss.

And coming next week, Alexander reduces all three volumes of Capital to a Prince-like 'symbol'!

Can't wait!

Post of the year

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Apr 5 2011 12:23

Yes, I like making fun of Alexander as well, but what I consider his basic frame of mind has gone unchallenged, sadly because it's shared by most:

Roxwell wrote:
What is the role of a communist in a class society?

An elitist communist (an oxymoron I know but they are out there), if they were honest, might answer that the role of a communist is to rise to the leadership of the class struggle and use it to take power for “the party” so as to redesign society in a manner more favorable to the workers.

How about the rest of us? I would answer it by stating that I believe the role of a communist is to try to steer the inchoate and unfocused class struggle in such a way as it reaches fruition – bring it to climax with the working class seizure of power and the overthrow of capitalist society.

The class struggle is ongoing and permanent but it is usually unconscious or semi-conscious and often incoherent. It is generally not focused on where it is going. It is not “conscious of itself.” That is why we need “communists.”

Communists must first of all join the class struggle. They cannot remain aloof from it or try to be “above” it. They cannot be like a crabby old schoolmarm whose function is to endlessly correct the spelling and punctuation of the errant school children and bang their hands with a ruler and go “tsk tsk.”

“Communists” who do that are often called “sectarians.” They stand outside the class struggle looking down on it with contempt for its “errors.”

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. What if I spent 20 years helping such a movement and all they ended up with was putting Fidel Castro in power and he threw me in prison for my efforts. Boo Hoo. Up to now no class struggle has reached climax. The chances are that yours might not either.

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. If it were we would have succeeded by now and there would not be so many rival “brands” of communism. Workers are born into this fog and if they wake up at all they wake up in fragments. Each worker who wakes up wakes up to this or that reality, maintaining, at least for awhile, some illusions elsewhere. Each worker sheds their illusions in phases, frequently exchanging one “deep fog” illusion for one that is a little less foggy but still not quite right. No worker does this in isolation. 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. If the communists stand aside others will lead the class struggle into a cul de sac.

The class struggle will ebb and flow and make many wrong turns. That is where the fight is in the land of smoke and mirrors.

The main class struggle is between the capitalists and workers. But there are other players as well. There are landlords and peasants. There are petit-bourgeois and the “professional” middle classes (which are not identical or even particularly similar). They move and fight and squabble and help stir up the smoke as well. There are ethnic groups and cultural subsets. There are students and youth and gays. Workers often identify at least as much with some of these groups as they do as “workers” even as they engage in the class struggle. Just pinning the label "false consciousness" does not make this reality disappear.

Alex's pitch for right to self-determination only follows from this anti-Leninist reasoning. Of course most here don't share the conclusion Alex draws;

Quote:
Less so today than in recent history; less so in advanced industrialized societies than in the Third World societies, an ethnic group is kept down, as an ethnic group, by a foreign imperialist overlord. This ethnic group will organize itself to seek relief from this oppression and this may take the form of “nationalism.” This is the “nationalism” of the oppressed and they often seek “national self-determination.” And yes. When they do Communists must support that effort.

But the reasoning is the same. Of course Alex's position is not based on Lenin's argument for the right of nations to self determination at all. Lenin fully knew national liberation is a deceptive ideology, and sees socialists' task to the oppressed ethnic groups absolutely not as giving in to their nationalism, on the contrary, to fight it;

Lenin wrote:
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.