[Marxism] Self-determination and nations

Jscotlive at aol.com Jscotlive at aol.com
Thu Sep 28 16:53:48 MDT 2006

In a message dated 28/09/2006 23:24:07 GMT Daylight Time,  
aymery at ix.netcom.com writes:

But that  was not the object of my post. I was questioning the extent to 
which the  right of self determination should be viewed as some sort of 
sacred deed.  I was also questioning the issue of nationalism. How does 
one reconcile  the right of self-determination and nationalism? 
(especially if you are an  internationalist...) And I was agreeing with 
Nestor that small states  cannot free themselves from the big predators 
(aka, imperialists, in  Nestor's word).

Lenin once wrote on the National Question apropos of this precise  issue that 
the objective should be 'disunity for unity'. 
Self determination can either be progressive or regressive depending on the  
class relations involved in the forces leading the struggle for same. In  the 
case of say the United Kingdom a debate has been ongoing about the case for  
Scottish independence. I am for it, but not on a nationalist basis, on an  
internationalist basis - in order to break up an imperialist construct and  
thereby weaken a major ally of US imperialism - and in order to effect a  
qualitative change in the compostion of the British State and thereby deepen the  
consciousness of the English working class, attached as they are to the jingoism  
and nationalism which comes with citizenship in a martial  state. 
Of course, the ultmate aim is no borders, and on the way to that larger  
federated worker's states in which chauvinism and patriotism are consigned to  
history. In the case of East Timor we see, as with the fate of the former  
Yugoslavia, the catastrophe which was the collapse of the Soviet Union. The East  
Timorese suffered near genocide at the hands of the Indonesian military and so  
now, despite being under the control of the West, at least they are not being  
systematically raped, murdered and tortured. Ultimately, a class analysis can 
 only be applied to peoples that exist, that are alive. The East Timorese, 
who  lost an est 200,000 during the occupation, were in danger of being sent 
into the  night.
I say that our role as Marxists living in the belly of the beast is to work  
to weaken that beast from the inside not only in our own interests but also in 
 the interests of peoples suffering the economic and military imperialism  
inflicted upon them by our respective ruling classes.
Now that to me is internationalism.

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