Left-wing nationalist

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Left-wing nationalist

Post by Socialism_in_one_country on Tue Dec 10, 2013 9:47 am

Well, hello comrades.

I'm new here, and I'm interested to learn someting about Left-wing nationalism, or to be precise, to see your interpretation of it and what exactly you mean by it.

1) Is left-wing nationalism accepted as a historical fact, that nations will not be abolished exactly after the world revolution, and that people (on different geographic regions) will still feel "bond" to certan group of people as a product of social consciousness that was like this for centures?
2) What is a left-wing nationalist's stance on Mao Tse Tung's "Third World" theory?
3) What is the stance of the administration (or individuals here, after all, it's different) on Tito's closing and revisionism in 1948.? Was it good or bad, because Yugoslavia wasn't alone Socialist state in the world at that time, and it (by my opinion) it should have joined with other Socialist countries in common work?
4) Do you support secession of Basque, Catalonia, the territory that is under the control of so called "Tamil Tigers" (I know that they were defeated, but you can't kill the spirit of different ethnic group, in it's struggle for independence), Quebec, Corsica and Scotland (I only use these as a example of self-determination)?

That's all for the begining, I hope we'll have some good and productive exchange of words here.
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Re: Left-wing nationalist

Post by Rev Scare on Wed Dec 11, 2013 2:09 am

Socialism_in_one_country wrote:Well, hello comrades.

I'm new here, and I'm interested to learn someting about Left-wing nationalism, or to be precise, to see your interpretation of it and what exactly you mean by it.

Welcome to the forum.

You would find it fruitful to browse the site, as all of your questions have been previously addressed in one form or another, considering that they are quite common initial queries. You might begin by noting the negative definition of left-wing nationalism in our FAQ, and then perusing threads which discuss various aspects more elaborately, especially those found in the Opposing Views section, such as here, here, here, and here.

1) Is left-wing nationalism accepted as a historical fact, that nations will not be abolished exactly after the world revolution, and that people (on different geographic regions) will still feel "bond" to certan group of people as a product of social consciousness that was like this for centures?

Contemporary left-wing nationalism (of which the most coherent and internally consistent variant is espoused by the leading members of this site) is rooted in historical materialism, so left-wing nationalists naturally conceive of nations as the products of history. The Marxist left-wing nationalist Otto Bauer developed the most persuasive school of thought on the national question out of the various treatments that have traditionally gained currency on the (scientific socialist) Left:

"The members of a nation are thus physically and intellectually similar because they are descended from the same ancestors and have thereby inherited all those ancestral characteristics cultivated by the struggle for existence by way of natural and sexual selection, and perhaps also those characteristics acquired by their ancestors in striving to secure their livelihood. We thus understand the nation as a product of history. Those who aim to study the nation as a natural community cannot content themselves with interpreting a particular material—for instance, a germ plasm transmitted from parents to their children—as the substratum of the nation. Rather, they must study the history of the ancestors' conditions of production and exchange and attempt to comprehend the inherited characteristics of the descendants on the basis of the ancestors' struggle for existence."
Otto Bauer, The Question of Nationalities and Social Democracy (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2000), p. 33.

Nationhood predates the capitalist mode of production (although the modern nation state was a consequence of capitalism's ascent), and converging lines of evidence indicate that national identity is a fundamental component of human self-identification, and there is little reason to believe, a priori, that this will not persist into communist social relations—the converse is probably true. Recognizing this reality, left-wing nationalists posit that post-capitalist social relations should be organized so as to allow for the continued expression of national identity, and they therefore advocate, in the spirit of the democratic principle, the self-determination of nations within a cooperative, socialist international framework. For a concise explanation of the compatibility between nationalism as we understand it and proletarian internationalism, consult this post.

2) What is a left-wing nationalist's stance on Mao Tse Tung's "Third World" theory?

Taken to mean a postulated opposition between the interests of First World workers and those in the global South, Maoism-Third Worldism should be regarded as a flawed thesis. Due to the relatively higher standard of living that workers in the global North are accustomed to, there is a perception among proponents of the concept that these workers benefit from imperialism and are complicit agents at worst or complaisant bystanders at best in the exploitation and oppression of Third World labor, rendering revolution in the global North unlikely and the advent of international socialism ultimately contingent upon uprisings in Asia, Africa, and Latin America—all of which is nonsense. A likely precursor to this notion is the theory of labor aristocracy that Vladimir Lenin tentatively put forth, which some of us have critiqued elsewhere.

If you are referring to the Three Worlds Theory, which is not quite equivalent, attributed to Mao by the revisionist counter-revolutionary Deng Xiaoping, a compelling critique can be found in this article.

3) What is the stance of the administration (or individuals here, after all, it's different) on Tito's closing and revisionism in 1948.? Was it good or bad, because Yugoslavia wasn't alone Socialist state in the world at that time, and it (by my opinion) it should have joined with other Socialist countries in common work?

As somebody of Yugoslavian descent, I have harbored considerable interest in the history of Yugoslav communism, the unique and successful socialist projects undertaken in that country, and of course, Tito and his legacy ever since I situated myself on the Left. I must concede my admiration for the man, but I also believe it was a naive mistake to form a non-aligned camp instead of maintaining close alliances with other socialist countries, particularly the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. It was a complicated situation, exacerbated by a perceived threat to the already tenuous national sovereignty of a country with a volatile history (Yugoslavia) and the Soviet Union's need to, in my view justified, maintain control over the international communist movement subsequent the Second World War.

4) Do you support secession of Basque, Catalonia, the territory that is under the control of so called "Tamil Tigers" (I know that they were defeated, but you can't kill the spirit of different ethnic group, in it's struggle for independence), Quebec, Corsica and Scotland (I only use these as a example of self-determination)?

I am not very familiar with most of those national resistance movements. Nonetheless, I am aware that the Tamil Tigers collaborated with the Naxalites in India on certain occasions, which is a movement I wholeheartedly support, and their ideology was heavily influenced by Marxism-Leninism. I view the various Spanish currents for independence quite favorably as well. The Scottish socialist John Maclean was a left-wing nationalist who called for an independent Scottish socialist republic, and both he and his counterpart in Ireland, James Connolly, are highly esteemed by the administrators of this forum. I also support some sects of the Irish Republican Army, like the Official IRA.

One caveat is that not all expressions of national resistance are progressive or would fall within the rubric of left-wing nationalism. With respect to one case in particular, the question of embracing reactionary strands was explored in this thread to some extent. On the whole, like Lenin, I tend to support national liberation struggles, but unlike Lenin, I do not see this as possessing mere strategic value but as an essential right to self-determination.

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Re: Left-wing nationalist

Post by Socialism_in_one_country on Wed Dec 11, 2013 6:31 am

Thank you for your answers about my questions. I really appreciate that you took some time to answer me all those questions.

I'll look into the referances and articles you gave me, and I'll browse the forum to see if there are more things that I'm interested in.

Best regard, and thank you once again.

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Re: Left-wing nationalist

Post by Uberak on Wed Dec 11, 2013 8:56 pm

Socialism_in_one_country wrote:Well, hello comrades.

I'm new here, and I'm interested to learn someting about Left-wing nationalism, or to be precise, to see your interpretation of it and what exactly you mean by it.

1) Is left-wing nationalism accepted as a historical fact, that nations will not be abolished exactly after the world revolution, and that people (on different geographic regions) will still feel "bond" to certan group of people as a product of social consciousness that was like this for centures?
2) What is a left-wing nationalist's stance on Mao Tse Tung's "Third World" theory?
3) What is the stance of the administration (or individuals here, after all, it's different) on Tito's closing and revisionism in 1948.? Was it good or bad, because Yugoslavia wasn't alone Socialist state in the world at that time, and it (by my opinion) it should have joined with other Socialist countries in common work?
4) Do you support secession of Basque, Catalonia, the territory that is under the control of so called "Tamil Tigers" (I know that they were defeated, but you can't kill the spirit of different ethnic group, in it's struggle for independence), Quebec, Corsica and Scotland (I only use these as a example of self-determination)?

That's all for the begining, I hope we'll have some good and productive exchange of words here.

1) I agree. But, I don't only see nationhood as a fact. I see it as ideal and something to be expanded upon and reinforced. Please note that this is more of a cultural and civic definition of a nation rather than the ethnic definition that reactionary nationalists often use.
2)I find Third Worldism to be both ludicrous and outright insulting to the plight of first world workers, and I find it, often, amongst the ranks of the "white guilt" crowd who often are just ashamed of being light-skinned Westerners. In fact, a milder sort of this inane attitude plagues American left-wing nationalists (No one currently active in this forum is exhibiting this attitude as far as I know.) where they would appreciate national symbols and struggles of movements in other country while having no genuine care for their own national movement and symbols.
3)Tito, despite remaining a roughly authoritarian Marxist-Leninist, was by far the best of the post-WW2 Eastern-European Marxist-Leninist leaders. I actually applaud his decision to break off with the Soviet Union and asset his national independence and reforms. Not to mention, he also had the closest thing to socialism amongst the "communist" countries of the time with worker's self-management being partially implemented. Of course, I still have major grievances with his regime, particularly his Marxism-Leninism and the single-party nature of the regime, but he definitely did more good than bad for Yugoslavia.
4)This is a case-by-case basis. In some cases, succession works best. In other cases, autonomy would work best, and my politics would basically grant those cases autonomy by definition. I believe that a nation can both have a national identity co-existing with regional sub-national identity. Basically, a nation being a confederation of nations should work for most cases. As for the Tamil Tigers, I am completely apathetic to the conflict and am not well-informed in it. I guess I can make an opinion when I read more on the subject.
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Re: Left-wing nationalist

Post by Celtiberian on Mon Dec 16, 2013 1:48 pm

Socialism_in_one_country wrote:Well, hello comrades.

I'm new here, and I'm interested to learn someting about Left-wing nationalism, or to be precise, to see your interpretation of it and what exactly you mean by it.

Welcome to the Socialist Phalanx, comrade.

1) Is left-wing nationalism accepted as a historical fact, that nations will not be abolished exactly after the world revolution, and that people (on different geographic regions) will still feel "bond" to certan group of people as a product of social consciousness that was like this for centures?

Correct. Left-wing nationalists contend that national consciousness is an enduring human sentiment which will persist into communism, and that it's a legitimate form of self-identification. In the words of Otto Bauer:

"The fact [is] that socialism will make the nation autonomous, will make its destiny a product of the nation's conscious will, will result in an increasing differentiation between the nations of the socialist society, a clearer expression of their specificities, a clearer distinction between their respective characters. . . . Drawing the people as a whole into the national community of culture, achieving full self-determination by the nation, growing intellectual differentiation between the nations—this is what socialism means. The community of culture encompassing all members of the people, as it existed in the time of the communism of the clans, will be brought to life again by the communism of the great nations following the end of centuries of class division, the division between the members and the mere tenants of the nation."
Otto Bauer, The Question of Nationalities and Social Democracy (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2000), pp. 96, 98.

This, it should be noted, is a radically different position from reactionary nationalists—who disregard the class struggle and advocate various forms of social engineering in order to inculcate the masses with a national ideology conducive to their imperial ambitions.

2) What is a left-wing nationalist's stance on Mao Tse Tung's "Third World" theory?

I obviously cannot speak on behalf of all left-wing nationalists, but as a Marxist I find many elements of Mao Zedong Thought deficient. It was Lenin who initially promulgated Third World theory in Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, and subsequent scholars and theoreticians have revealed its many theoretical and empirical shortcomings (I refer you to this post for examples).

3) What is the stance of the administration (or individuals here, after all, it's different) on Tito's closing and revisionism in 1948.? Was it good or bad, because Yugoslavia wasn't alone Socialist state in the world at that time, and it (by my opinion) it should have joined with other Socialist countries in common work?

My thoughts on the Eastern bloc and the legacy of Titoism are mixed, but one's stance on that history is largely irrelevant to the subject of left-wing nationalism. Having said that, I believe Yugoslavia served as an invaluable experiment in workers' self-management, and its accomplishments shouldn't be minimized. With respect Yugoslavia's foreign policy, the country faced no easy options. The trouble with remaining within the Soviet sphere of influence was that Moscow didn't permit nations an adequate degree of autonomy, but the alternative of cooperating with bourgeois states was problematic in its own right.

4) Do you support secession of Basque, Catalonia, the territory that is under the control of so called "Tamil Tigers" (I know that they were defeated, but you can't kill the spirit of different ethnic group, in it's struggle for independence), Quebec, Corsica and Scotland (I only use these as a example of self-determination)?

I support all secessionist movements which possess the support of the majority of their nation's proletariat.

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"Nationality. . . is a historic, local fact which, like all real and harmless facts, has the right to claim general acceptance. . . Every people, like every person, is involuntarily that which it is and therefore has a right to be itself. . . Nationality is not a principle; it is a legitimate fact, just as individuality is. Every nationality, great or small, has the incontestable right to be itself, to live according to its own nature. This right is simply the corollary of the general principle of freedom."
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