Re: [OPE] Anti-imperialism and nationalism

From: Dave Zachariah <>
Date: Thu Dec 10 2009 - 04:45:59 EST

Paula wrote:

> There are still oppressed and oppressor nations, but we need to be careful
> with these categories.

I think the concept 'oppressor nation' is only relevant to active
settler-colonial nations, e.g. present-day Israel. Or could you give a
counter-example for when this term is actually accurate otherwise?

> To my mind, the right to self-determination is a fundamental democratic
> right. But the third-worldist left usually turns a blind eye to the
> oppression perpetrated by the 'Third World' nations themselves, and aim
> their anti-imperialist rhetoric only at the 'West'.

I agree with this. I would add that the notion of 'right to
self-determination' is dubious in itself because it takes too much of
nationalist ideology as its premise. A more appropriate formulation for
socialists ought to be 'equal national rights', i.e. the moral and juridical
right of a people to speak and write in its own language or take part in its
traditions if its members so wish.

I don't think the *exclusive national control* of a sovereign territorial
state apparatus is a necessary right for socialists to defend at all costs.
(Indeed, I think the only legitimate argument for political boundaries would
be linguistic ones for obvious administrative and classic democratic

//Dave Z

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Received on Thu Dec 10 04:51:53 2009

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