Ujamaa

Louis N Proyect lnp3 at columbia.edu
Mon Oct 9 11:29:57 MDT 1995


On Sun, 8 Oct 1995, Tom Condit wrote:

> communities of the Andes.  You can find someone complaining about
> the theft of ancient Celtic virtues in any Irish bar in the
> English-speaking world.  The Islamic fundamentalists want to go
> back to the good old days. The U.S. militia movement harks back
> to the ancient Anglo-Saxon values, etc., etc.  All of these
> virtues are threatened in the nationalist and religious view not
> only by world capitalism, but by such alien doctrines as marxism,
> feminism, etc., etc.

Louis: This seems like quite a big basket to throw "traditionalist" 
political formations into. Would the Zapatistas be included? Would 
Rigoberto Menchu? The sentiment expressed in Irish bars today has been 
around for hundreds of years. It was a major factor in the political 
evolution of James Connolly who embraced both Irish nationalism and Marxism. 

Nationalism is an ideology, and in the service of an oppressive 
overclass it can be totally reactionary. For example, Boer nationalism. 

On the other hand, the Vietnamese invoked nationalist themes throughout 
their struggle and this helped to mobilize the masses. Also, why 
counterpose "reactionary" nationalism with "progressive" feminism? There are 
lots of reactionary feminists, aren't there?

Maybe we should have a full discussion around the question of 
nationalism. We'll have a structured reading of Lenin, Luxemburg, Kautsky 
et al, and take a look at Malcom X, Patrice Lumumba, James Connolly, the 
Algerian FLN, etc. I think Tom and I had a brief exchange about this at 
one point. He stated that Lenin supported the self-determination of 
oppressed nationalities but opposed nationalism. This of course is the 
position of groups like the Spartacist League. They invoke Lenin, but are 
for all practical purposes opposed to anything but economic struggles by 
trade unionists. They supported the Albert Shanker-led strike of the 
teachers union against the efforts of black parents to gain control of 
their own schools in 1968, for example. This has been an undercurrent of 
discussion on the list since the beginning and maybe it's time for 
everybody to step into the ring and flail away at each other. What a 
jolly time we'll have!


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