RE: [OPE] Anti-imperialism and nationalism

Date: Thu Dec 10 2009 - 09:59:09 EST

> 1. The theory is still valid, but imperialism itself has changed in
> important ways since the theory was formulated. Most significantly, almost
> all the territories that were then colonies have now become independent
> nations. A section of the left (the 'third-worldist' section, we might call
> them) refuses to wake up to the implications of this change.


Hi Paula:


The implications of the demise of colonialism are certainly important to

understand - just as the implications of the emergence *neo-colonialism* are

essential to grasp the actual relations among nations in the post-colonial

capitalist world.


> 2. There are still oppressed and oppressor nations, but we need to be
> careful with these categories.



Yes, nation states in imperialized areas can also deny the right of

self-determination to minorities within their nations. Often the roots

of these divisions can be traced back to the division of labor created

by colonialism.



> To my mind, the right to self-determination is a
> fundamental democratic right.



I agree - and here I disagree with Dave Z. The right of self-determination

should extend to entities other than oppressed nations. E.g. poor

communities in struggle: they have the democratic right to make decisions

(and mistakes) for themselves without (know-it-all) "activists" from outside

of their communities attempting to impose their tactics and strategies on them.

The right to self-determination is also, in my view, about respect -

respect for the ability of working and poor communities to make decisions

for themselves; respect for _their_ experiences and knowledge.



> 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'.



This sometimes happens, to be sure. For example, before the invasion

and occupation of Iraq I remember some radicals who called for the

unconditional support of Saddam Hussein and objected to any criticism

of the policies of his regime! Unconditional right for the self-

determination of oppressed nations does not mean uncritical support

for the native bourgeoisie or even 'progressive' governments in those



In solidarity, Jerry

ope mailing list
Received on Thu Dec 10 10:00:56 2009

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