Re: [OPE] Anti-imperialism and nationalism

From: Dave Zachariah <>
Date: Fri Dec 11 2009 - 09:43:06 EST

Jerry wrote:

> For instance, a pre-condition in my view for real working-
> class unity is the class as a whole coming to recognize
> and accept the demands of particular components of the class
> such as women and racial minorities. In US radical history, women
> and African-Americans have often been told - by socialist
> groups - that their demands are "divisive" and need to be put on
> hold - all in the name of "working-class unity".

I agree that the concerns of other forms of oppression and exclusion should
not be "put on hold" or brushed aside in anyway. This is not what I'm
adressing; rather it is the political partitioning. E.g. consider the
difference of the demands of the black proletariat in the US to destroy the
mechanisms of oppression and exclusion with the demand for a separate ethnic
state. It is the latter that is what I mean by 'particularism' in this
context. It upholds the political exclusivity of a group based on
characteristics that are often handed down from birth and that continues to
reproduce a division.

Since David Y and others alrady alluded to 'the Irish Question',
> it might be useful to consider the import of that question as
> it relates to the "road to universalism". Marx mentioned,
> in this regard, that the English working class will never be free
> so long as the Irish are oppressed. What do you think he meant
> by that? Was he right?

English workers as such were not in a structural relation of exclusion and
oppression with Irish workers. The Irish were oppressed primarily by the
British state and the ruling classes of Britain.

The English working class will not be free as long as it is politically
divided from the Irish working class, for two reasons. (i) The international
power of capitalists will weaken the bargaining power of the former by
threatening to move to the latter. (ii) Even if the former would be strong
enough to seize state power in Britain it cannot build a socialist economy
in isolation.

//Dave Z

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Received on Fri Dec 11 09:44:54 2009

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