Re: [OPE] Anti-imperialism and nationalism

From: Paula <>
Date: Tue Dec 15 2009 - 12:17:01 EST

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

There are many ways one nation can oppress another. For a contemporary example, consider China's oppression of Tibet and Taiwan, which are quite different cases.

I have some sympathy for Dave's concerns about political partitioning. It is not a right I would recognize for racial groups, women, etc. For me this discussion is only about *national* self-determination, though obviously those other groups are entitled to the relevant democratic rights.

I also understand Dave's concerns about nationalism, but I would say that the right of nations to self-determination is precisely a policy designed to undermine this ideology. In the example above, having Chinese workers support Tibet's and Taiwan's right to self-determination is essential if one wants to promote internationalism among them. The policy does not support Tibetan or Taiwanese nationalism per se, and it does not demand that these nations separate, only that the Chinese people agree to leave the decision to the local people instead of supporting an arrangement that is imposed by force. For as long as we live in a world divided into nations, this is the only fair policy, and the one that guarantees the maximum amount of solidarity and peace between peoples.

Jerry wrote:
"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".

But the roots do not make up the whole tree. Such nations have their own independent interests. For instance, we can trace back the oppression of the Kurdish nation back to the British empire - and further back, if we really wish to - but today the Kurds are oppressed mostly by Turkey, Iran and Iraq. If Kurdistan is an 'imperialized' area then those are the imperialist nations that bear most of the responsibility at this point in time. But a whole section of the left refuses to recognize this.


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Received on Tue Dec 15 12:26:09 2009

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