Re: [OPE] Anti-imperialism and nationalism

From: Dave Zachariah <>
Date: Thu Dec 10 2009 - 12:44:04 EST

wpc wrote:
> This would be fine were the putative national communities
> geographically distinct.
> Where they are not then you have the conditions for bloody civil war.
> Application of the right to self determination on the territory of
> the former Yugoslavia produced
> few if any benefits.

This is precisely my concern.

Nationalism is a form of particularism, it has a progressive potential
only to the extent that it leads to political unification of the working
classes on a wider basis than before. For most regions of the world
this potential is depleted. Now nationalism mainly serves to partition
people and weaken their political unification while the international
power of capital grows ever stronger. Hence nationalism is a regression
from a socialist standpoint.

Contrary to Jerry's implication I would argue that defending the 'right
of self-determination' --- meaning in effect the right of political
*partition* --- at all costs has anti-democratic consequences. If you
argue that it is legitimate for any part of the population to break off
as own 'nations' for their own purposes then effectively you further
shift politics from a struggle within a state into a struggle between
states. And in the latter case it is the military capacity of the state
apparatuses that will determine their relative balance of forces. This
only undermines the prospects of democratic rule.

//Dave Z
ope mailing list
Received on Thu Dec 10 12:45:41 2009

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