progressive nationalism, marx and engels

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Re: progressive nationalism, marx and engels

Post by Admin on Sat Dec 10, 2011 2:15 am

Rebel Warrior 59 wrote: Ok then may I ask what is your conception of the nation? You seem to be against defining the nation in ethnic terms, so then how do you define it? By citizenship? Or what?

First of all, the only thing I have demonstrated an opposition to (in this thread) is defining a nation in contemporary territorial terms.

Nations tend to be subjective constructs that are based upon commonalities that exist amongst a given demographic. These can be biological, cultural, institutional, etc. (Generally speaking, some mixture of all such qualities are what one finds.) I do not adhere to any immutable criterion, insofar as my conception is concerned, as history clearly demonstrates that varying levels of assimilation take place within every identifiable nation.

What I feel left-wing nationalism will introduce to the process of national formation and maintenance is the abolition of most (if not all) inorganic factors that have hitherto interfered with it. For example, the existence of various hierarchical institutions that impose their values and standards onto various populations will no longer exist. (This will also eventually be the case with the various social externalities associated with the existence of market-based economies. Once markets are transcended, people will no longer have aspects of their values manipulated by competing enterprises.) Nations will finally be based on the democratic impetus of a given population.

Also Im sorry but saying that ( for example) the land that Polish troops defended from the Teutonic Order is no different than the capital US troops defend in ( say the Middle East) is plain ridiculous . When people defend themselves and their homeland from foreign invaders they are obviously fighting for a good cause. When people fight to defend the oil interests of wealthy tycoons then they are obviously fighting for a bad cause. To compare the two is ( like I wrote before) nonsense.

I'll post this again, for good measure:

I specifically said that the 'land' they fought for and systems they maintained were the functional equivalents of contemporary capital. I can't help that you are fetishizing objects and institutions (in the quintessential reactionary form). As I said, I place the relative value in the common people — that would include their history of combating foreign invasion, etc.

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Re: progressive nationalism, marx and engels

Post by Rev Scare on Sat Dec 10, 2011 3:45 am

Pantheon Rising wrote:I have read that book, and we are not talking about land speculation nor are we even talking about the taking of land through conquest.

I suggest you reread it if such is the case. Claiming unused land—land which one does not immediately exert one's labor upon—is illegitimate. Now, you may very well attempt to argue in simplistic fashion that national land is "used" by virtue of its existence as "living space," but this would be insufficient, for it ignores the numerous examples of territorial superfluity (compare a sparsely populated country like Russia to a heavily populated island like Japan), discontinuity (arbitrary boundaries), and once again, historical accident and power relations.

It is called mutual respect, and, it is about equality.

Nonsense. If any of us truly believed that your arguments were reducible to promoting mutual respect and equality upon an international platform, this debate would not have protracted so far.

Europeans get their land, everyone else gets their respective. The land belongs to no one, and it is shared with respect.


If Europeans get "their land," then by definition, said land possesses a proprietor. Failure to, at the very least, compromise on equal terms is hardly respectful.

Trying to bring up Proudhon's works to justify against a European self determined state is silly and pretty cosmopolitan like.

On the contrary, I found it to be entirely appropriate. I fail to see how rejecting your reactionary fetishism of territorial demarcations renders my approach "cosmopolitan like."

If a nation bases their self determination on ethnicity, what do you think is going to happen? A black man is not a Pole.

Nobody has suggested anything along such patently absurd lines. It hardly matters to me what rubric one decides to employ for determining nationality. I obviously find some criteria less palatable than others, but that is beside the point. My objection is directed at your attempt to include territorial parsimony in the definition of "nation" and to your unilateral conception of national formation.

Aye, and unless you are from Europe, it will not be at your discretion either.

Indeed. It will be at the discretion of the European working classes, which will hopefully have been influenced by our own left-wing nationalist and revolutionary syndicalist principles.

I will take your word for it, I am interested to see where the RSF is in years.

We can definitely agree on that.

I would be gathering clear demands and a program, and spreading the program at strikes/picket lines, occupy movements, and on the street as well as gathering resources to be able to make banners, fliers, flags, and to rent out places to hold speeches and party gatherings.
First of all, why are you not already doing so? The RSF is minuscule. As far as resources are concerned, it is in no better position to partake in street activism than you yourself.

Most of what you have suggested merely speaks of the same impotent maneuvers I have previously described. A program and demands are pending ideological refinement, and propaganda materials are in the works. Renting halls is well ahead of us, and party gatherings presuppose a political party and solid roots.

You're right there is nothing sacred about it, because they are not what they use to be and our nations are falling apart.

There is nothing sacred about territorial dispersion and national identity, period.

We can make our nations sacred and loved again though,


We should strive to foster rational and just social relations, both nationally and internationally, not to glorify temporal realities and establish sacred cows.

and marxist materialism hardly accomplishes that task.

Marxist "materialism" is a dialectical methodology. It is one manner of understanding society and the world. It postulates nothing about the values we select (although it may shed light upon how such are derived and influenced), and it makes no pretense in this direction. Marxism is, however, one of the most insightful theories around which to establish a social worldview.

We are not talking about lebensraum, please.
Your arguments swerve dangerously close to virtues held by Blut und Boden.

We are talking about land that Europeans have shared, worked, farmed, and fought tooth and nail for. Millions of slavs, teutons, celts, etc died in the very soil defending it. Europeans have a claim to that living space, and for good reason.

What occurred in the reactionary past is not what I concern myself with here. Millions of Slavs, Teutons, Celts, etc. also conquered or passively benefited therefrom. Europeans have no claim to any "living space" apart from that which is justly apportioned in a post-revolutionary climate.

Again, what if this situation was reversed? Do you think other races would allow for that? Europeans just throwing up whole states in their ancestral lands?

If the situation were reversed, my disposition would remain the same.

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Re: progressive nationalism, marx and engels

Post by Pantheon Rising on Sat Dec 10, 2011 10:29 am

Admin wrote:I disagree. While some sort of defined territory may serve some beneficial function (in terms of reinforcing a national consciousness), I don't think it is an indispensable component of a national identity. Jews and Gypsies maintained national identities with vibrant cultures for generations without the existence of a 'homeland'. For the most part, a cultural narrative (that merely reiterated the legacy of a homeland) was enough to maintain a group solidarity that outlived many others.

Aye, but the Jews eventually got one and we all know the gypsies would be better off if they had their own. Territory is a necessary component of a nation, if a nation is to have self determination and autonomy.

Capitalism is not the only system that has exploited people. You may have a romantic conception of what the history of 'your people' entailed, but I would suggest you revisit the relevant chapters thereof. Perhaps if you examine the question from a critical standpoint you will come to understand that the sacrifices made by the common people simply fed into a system that they did not stand to equitably benefit from — unless we are talking about the most primitive/tribal contexts (that precede the emergence of any discernible 'national' population).

Yes, because conquest by Genghis Kahn or mass murders by Charlemagne was a much better alternative than protecting their "owners" capital. You seem to have an entirely unbiased view of conflicts unless there is socialism involved. In your mind it is useless for Palestinians or other Arabic populations to fight against Israeli imperialism because their nations aren't socialist and therefore they are just defending their masters capital.


Let's revisit the argument, so that you can understand clearly.

I specifically said that the 'land' they fought for and systems they maintained were the functional equivalents of contemporary capital.


Not at all! Unless the land is being speculated upon, you can't compare the land a folk lives on to the privatization of capital. I do not care if the system is capitalist or not, sorry, but if someone is invading you, raping your women, imposing religion and cultural customs than you are going to fight back.

I can't help that you are fetishizing objects and institutions (in the quintessential reactionary form). As I said, I place the relative value in the common people — that would include their history of combating foreign invasion, etc.

Sure, but not just common people have value.


Now perhaps you will oblige me in explaining how this history renders the land (borders and all) so sacred that you support an exclusive ethnic monopolization over it (perhaps even over the human rights of people who, through no choice of their own, were born there). I think attending to the well being of the nation (i.e. the people) is far more important than maintaining a presence in a specific location. And it just so happens that the most rational (as well as humane) way in which to attend to their needs is to ensure that the human rights of other populations are also adequately prioritized. Failure to do so establishes a negative precedent in international relations — which can eventually jeopardize stability — and can potentially lead to a host of other domestic problems.

Agreed to an extent, I am merely stating that I think it is a damn shame that we would have to recede all the lands considering our ties to it and all the countless centuries we fought to defend it.

Of course, I think the Western working class is both rational and benevolent enough to handle these matters in a way that is mindful of the rights of various ethnocultural minority groups; especially in an international climate characterized by socialist emancipation.

Aye, but our bourgeois medias have entirely messed up the concept of "What is a German?" "What is a Briton?" etc, and in my mind it is our job to reverse this.

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Re: progressive nationalism, marx and engels

Post by Pantheon Rising on Sat Dec 10, 2011 10:55 am

Rev Scare wrote:I suggest you reread it if such is the case. Claiming unused land—land which one does not immediately exert one's labor upon—is illegitimate. Now, you may very well attempt to argue in simplistic fashion that national land is "used" by virtue of its existence as "living space," but this would be insufficient, for it ignores the numerous examples of territorial superfluity (compare a sparsely populated country like Russia to a heavily populated island like Japan), discontinuity (arbitrary boundaries), and once again, historical accident and power relations.

I actually like a great deal of what I read of Proudhon, re-reading Property is Theft is hardly going to change my opinion that a nation must have territory exclusively its own to be a nation. If territory is for all, than anyone can just come into your nation if they please and that is cosmopolitanism.

Nonsense. If any of us truly believed that your arguments were reducible to promoting mutual respect and equality upon an international platform, this debate would not have protracted so far.

I think it is about mutual respect and equality. Fair as in each people gets a fair share of its own.

If Europeans get "their land," then by definition, said land possesses a proprietor. Failure to, at the very least, compromise on equal terms is hardly respectful.

How can you be a nationalist and at the same time deny the fact that a people has a right to a certain piece of land?

On the contrary, I found it to be entirely appropriate. I fail to see how rejecting your reactionary fetishism of territorial demarcations renders my approach "cosmopolitan like."

Because if a nation is to survive it needs territory all its own. Otherwise anyone could just come in and render the nation obsolete.

First of all, why are you not already doing so? The RSF is minuscule. As far as resources are concerned, it is in no better position to partake in street activism than you yourself.

I lack numbers and resources (obviously being 18), though I am currently in the process of organizing with a couple ex-members of "reactionary" nationalist groups who got tired of the beer bibbing and and club like organization.

Most of what you have suggested merely speaks of the same impotent maneuvers I have previously described. A program and demands are pending ideological refinement, and propaganda materials are in the works. Renting halls is well ahead of us, and party gatherings presuppose a political party and solid roots.

True enough.

There is nothing sacred about territorial dispersion and national identity, period.

To you, maybe. To me, I do treasure my heritage.

We should strive to foster rational and just social relations, both nationally and internationally, not to glorify temporal realities and establish sacred cows.

Sacred cows as you will are entirely arbitrary.

Marxist "materialism" is a dialectical methodology. It is one manner of understanding society and the world. It postulates nothing about the values we select (although it may shed light upon how such are derived and influenced), and it makes no pretense in this direction. Marxism is, however, one of the most insightful theories around which to establish a social worldview.

Yes, I am just saying it seems most people just brush off all historical wars and repels of invasions as nothing more than commoners fighting for their masters which is not true and a a rather tragic and nihilistic way to look a things.

Your arguments swerve dangerously close to virtues held by Blut und Boden.

Like I said, blood and soil is an integral part of nationhood for me, but you speak as if Blut und Boden is some sort of organization with people that hold lebensraum ideals. If it is, I have never even heard of it.

What occurred in the reactionary past is not what I concern myself with here. Millions of Slavs, Teutons, Celts, etc. also conquered or passively benefited therefrom. Europeans have no claim to any "living space" apart from that which is justly apportioned in a post-revolutionary climate.

Aye, but that is not to disregard the lands they lived on for thousands of years.

If the situation were reversed, my disposition would remain the same.


At this time in western history, I would have to say you are the minority.

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Re: progressive nationalism, marx and engels

Post by Rebel Redneck 59 on Sat Dec 10, 2011 5:39 pm

Admin wrote:First of all, the only thing I have demonstrated an opposition to (in this thread) is defining a nation in contemporary territorial terms.

Nations tend to be subjective constructs that are based upon commonalities that exist amongst a given demographic. These can be biological, cultural, institutional, etc. (Generally speaking, some mixture of all such qualities are what one finds.) I do not adhere to any immutable criterion, insofar as my conception is concerned, as history clearly demonstrates that varying levels of assimilation take place within every identifiable nation.

What I feel left-wing nationalism will introduce to the process of national formation and maintenance is the abolition of most (if not all) inorganic factors that have hitherto interfered with it. For example, the existence of various hierarchical institutions that impose their values and standards onto various populations will no longer exist. (This will also eventually be the case with the various social externalities associated with the existence of market-based economies. Once markets are transcended, people will no longer have aspects of their values manipulated by competing enterprises.) Nations will finally be based on the democratic impetus of a given population.

Im not " fetishizing" anything. All Im writing is that each Nation needs a piece of land to call its own and also that lands which have been the home of any particular Nation should continue to be theirs. There is absolutely nothing reactionary about that. In fact most true reactionaries ( such as Metternich) would be against my views since they were usually Anti Nationalist.

I'll post this again, for good measure:

I specifically said that the 'land' they fought for and systems they maintained were the functional equivalents of contemporary capital. I can't help that you are fetishizing objects and institutions (in the quintessential reactionary form). As I said, I place the relative value in the common people — that would include their history of combating foreign invasion, etc.

What are you trying to get at here? Are you saying it wasnt worth for Nations in the past to fight for their homelands ( because they were the same as modern capital)? Or what?

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Re: progressive nationalism, marx and engels

Post by TheocWulf on Mon Dec 12, 2011 4:22 pm

I dont see any problem with the notion of Blood and Soil as most western European groups/nations boundrys apart from the boundry changes during the first and second world war that were rectified at the conclusion of these coflicts have remained the same for hundrerds of years.

Every Folk group has the right to live within its boundries and decide who is and isnt part of its Folk group and defend itself against outsiders even if they are fellow left wing socialists for example.

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Re: progressive nationalism, marx and engels

Post by Celtiberian on Tue Dec 13, 2011 3:19 pm

Pantheon Rising wrote:Also, we are not talking just about economic social relations here. We are talking about a common history, genes, language, culture. There is room to acknowledge this fact and still advocate for a change of social relations.

My point was: despite the ethnocultural commonalities which exist between the proletariat and bourgeoisie in many instances, economic circumstances can and will eclipse them when material conditions escalate class tensions to the point wherein social revolution is imminent. This is precisely why social revolutions cannot be conjoined with national ones when the aforementioned elements conductive to fostering radical national sentiments are absent.

Nothing but a couple of racist statements, and doesn't even come to equate to ethnocentrism. It doesn't imply a love or any sort of love or feelings for one's homeland, culture, or heritage; it seems that Marx merely has a problem with the African phenotype.


Ethnocentrism is simply a favorable disposition toward ones own ethnic group. It can express itself in either malevolent or benign manners. Left-wing nationalism harnesses this attribute and utilizes it for progressive purposes, thereby ensuring that it doesn't deviate into reactionary chauvinism. I never argued that Marx and Engels were left-wing nationalists, I simply asserted that there's evidence suggesting that they held ethnocentric sentiments—which the quotes I provided attest to. Their racism shouldn't be praised, only observed so as to provide a glimpse into the personal beliefs of the men.

I'd be interested in seeing your evidence Europeans AREN'T experiencing national and cultural suppression.

The majority of European nations aren't currently under the domination of foreign states which are enacting laws prohibiting them from speaking in their own languages or observing their cultural customs. The cultural changes being witnessed in Europe are relatively subtle and attributable to globalization and immigration, both of which are directly caused by capitalism. Cultural conditions analogous to those currently observed in Europe and North America have never produced a revolution at any point in history.

Uh, no. There are many Americans, myself included, who are opposed to illegal immigration for more than just economic reasons. You repeat the same Marxist mistake that is always made "everything in the economy, nothing outside it".

People obviously dislike immigration for a plurality of reasons, and I don't deny ethnocentrism being a potent factor. However, they will not engage in revolutionary activity simply because they dislike living amongst foreigners. The state of the economy, on the other hand, literally determines whether one can afford basic necessities (i.e., food, water, and shelter) for themselves and their families. I think it's fairly obvious which concern takes precedence over the other.

Secondly, people aren't going to look to Marxism for any sort of self determination because, as Marx said, "Workers have no nations".

And I stressed the importance of bearing in mind the context within which that line was written, which leads to an interpretation quite different from those usually made. Furthermore, Lenin found no trouble in finding a basis for his support of national self-determination in the work of Marx and Engels:

"Lenin refuted the charge that to be against the war meant to be devoid of Russian patriotism. In an unusually eloquent article he asserted his pride in being a Russian. To be a true nationalist meant to be against chauvinism. 'No nation can be free if it oppresses other nations,' he quoted."
Ulam, Adam B. The Bolsheviks: The Intellectual and Political History of the Triumph of Communism in Russia, p. 304.

Again, I don't deny that in order to find a sufficient justification for left-wing nationalism, one will have to look beyond Marx and Engels's writings. However, once found, it can easily be incorporated into the broader framework of Marxian theory, since Marxism isn't a static ideology. As every serious Marxist understands, "Marxism is not a dogma but a real living science" [Polychroniou & Targ (eds.). Marxism Today: Essays on Capitalism, Socialism, and Strategies for Social Change, p. ix.].

I am sure you heard, just recently, of Emma West. The "racist tram lady". She was locked up for public racism. Now, I have to absolutely say that she was acting in a most vulgar manner in which I disagree with; but most people do when they first realize we are losing our nations. She was locked up for voicing her concerns that Britain is not really Britain anymore. If that is not national oppression, I don't know what is.

Emma West was incarcerated by her own government, of which people still (erroneously) believe they control. Such incidents, while clearly unjust, aren't going to produce the renaissance in nationalist sentiments that certain organizations believe they will.

Let us hope. I hear and see very little of the intrinsic value, though.

Why should I, or any member of the Revolutionary Syndicalist Front, waste time addressing people's propensity for national identity? Exactly what would that accomplish right now, during a period of economic crisis? Reactionaries certainly find value in engaging in such activities, with the obvious intention of using minority groups as scapegoats, thereby obscuring the class struggle and channeling focus and energy into nationalist pursuits.

How is "From each according to their ability, to each according to their own needs" the ONLY system without contradictions?

It's quite common for individuals to ascribe to Marx and Engels a belief in the "from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs" principle. It presents people with the impression that they advocated on behalf of some sort of impractical economic system of free access, but as Paul Cockshott explained:

"What Marx was referring to here was something quite specific: that different workers have different needs. Some have families, some do not, some have more children than others. Thus even equal hourly pay rates would leave some families and individuals better off than others. 'To each according to need' in this context means that those with children should be paid more than those who are single. Those with specific disabilities which give rise to special needs should be compensated. These are now very familiar principles to us. They lie at the foundation of the welfare state with child benefits, family tax credits, disability living allowances, medical treatment on the basis of need, etc. What Marx was saying is that as society becomes richer it will be able to afford a much more comprehensive and generous welfare provision. And who can now doubt that he is right. Rich France can certainly provide a welfare state that would be totally infeasible in poor Côte d'Ivoire."
Cockshott, Paul. Letter to the Editors of the Weekly Worker, p. 9 (emphasis added).

The little Marx and Engels did write with respect to how communism would function featured the concept of labor vouchers (a notion borrowed from Robert Owen's socialist theories), wherein a workers' claim to the social product was dependent upon the amount of time he spent performing socially necessary labor. Thus, far from advocating free access, they supported measured claims on the social product.

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Re: progressive nationalism, marx and engels

Post by Rev Scare on Tue Dec 13, 2011 5:25 pm

"Free access" is a relatively obscure term. If taken to mean "to each according to his subjectively defined needs (i.e., wants)," then it can indeed present us with an impractical, indeed impossible, economic model. This is clearly not what Marx intended. Such a system would indubitably remain infeasible on account of its failure to measure real social costs. Nevertheless, given the revolutionary potential of socialist production, unleashed by capitalism and culminating in communism, it is entirely reasonable to believe that society may at a given stage of productive development, propelled by advanced technologies, generate such an abundance of resources that "free access" would become a virtual reality even within the bounds of objective accountability.

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Re: progressive nationalism, marx and engels

Post by Celtiberian on Tue Dec 13, 2011 6:31 pm

Rev Scare wrote:Nevertheless, given the revolutionary potential of socialist production, unleashed by capitalism and culminating in communism, it is entirely reasonable to believe that society may at a given stage of productive development, propelled by advanced technologies, generate such an abundance of resources that "free access" would become a virtual reality even within the bounds of objective accountability.

I don't doubt that once the forces of production have advanced to a point of immense productivity, production for exchange has been transcended by production for use, and populations have receded to an ecologically sustainable level, a system of free access for many goods will be feasible. However, certain goods will remain scarce due to the relative scarcity of natural resources required to produce them. For such items, some form of rationing will still be required.

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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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Re: progressive nationalism, marx and engels

Post by Rev Scare on Tue Dec 13, 2011 7:49 pm

Celtiberian wrote:I don't doubt that once the forces of production have advanced to a point of immense productivity, production for exchange has been transcended by production for use, and populations have receded to an ecologically sustainable level, a system of free access for many goods will be feasible. However, certain goods will remain scarce due to the relative scarcity of natural resources required to produce them. For such items, some form of rationing will still be required.

I understand, but my point was simply to illustrate that the revolutionary enhancement of living standards educed by socialist economic growth and distribution would, at some likely point, establish a virtual standard of free access regardless of objective conditions due to the sheer abundance of wealth in proportion to aggregate demand. I, for one, do not subscribe to the vulgar notion that demand continues unchecked unto infinity with the gradual elimination of scarcity. In addition, the emergence of technologies with the potential to once again transform productive potential to a degree greater than that during the period of 19th century industrial revolution provoke visions of a genuinely post-scarcity economy.

This discussion is perhaps best saved for another thread.

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Re: progressive nationalism, marx and engels

Post by Pantheon Rising on Tue Dec 13, 2011 8:00 pm

Celtiberian wrote:My point was: despite the ethnocultural commonalities which exist between the proletariat and bourgeoisie in many instances, economic circumstances can and will eclipse them when material conditions escalate class tensions to the point wherein social revolution is imminent. This is precisely why social revolutions cannot be conjoined with national ones when the aforementioned elements conductive to fostering radical national sentiments are absent.

I understand there may be class tensions in a system like capitalism; but it does not erase the facts of what makes a people a people. A Euro-ethnic proletarian and a euro-ethnic petty bourgeois are still of the same folk regardless of the material social relations that are taking place. They share the same history, language, and culture.

You seem to distinguish between social and national revolutions. I do not. We must restore national self determination to the american people, especially for those who share a deep European history and culture with myself, as it is being eroded and disregarded everyday by illegal immigration, foreign wars, and the constant flight of capital to other nations. I am a socialist because I am a nationalist; I choose socialism because it is the best for my nation. A revolution CAN be both national and social in orientation. Many Americans DO care about America, in my opinion, one of the biggest failures of the left here is not being able to grasp the masses want and need for identity. Instead they stick to dogma like class struggle and the dissolution of borders.

The majority of European nations aren't currently under the domination of foreign states which are enacting laws prohibiting them from speaking in their own languages or observing their cultural customs. The cultural changes being witnessed in Europe are relatively subtle and attributable to globalization and immigration, both of which are directly caused by capitalism. Cultural conditions analogous to those currently observed in Europe and North America have never produced a revolution at any point in history.

No matter what it is attributed to, it is useless to deny that the constant disregard for a nation's culture, borders, and customs is not oppression. It is subtle oppression; as you say, but it is oppression nonetheless. You're right, that the cultural conditions alone won't produce a revolution, but combined with the socialist aspect it will.


People obviously dislike immigration for a plurality of reasons, and I don't deny ethnocentrism being a potent factor. However, they will not engage in revolutionary activity simply because they dislike living amongst foreigners. The state of the economy, on the other hand, literally determines whether one can afford basic necessities (i.e., food, water, and shelter) for themselves and their families. I think it's fairly obvious which concern takes precedence over the other.

Obviously, but both linked together can produce a revolution in my opinion. Both national and class consciousness must be spread.

And I stressed the importance of bearing in mind the context within which that line was written, which leads to an interpretation quite different from those usually made. Furthermore, Lenin found no trouble in finding a basis for his support of national self-determination in the work of Marx and Engels:

"Lenin refuted the charge that to be against the war meant to be devoid of Russian patriotism. In an unusually eloquent article he asserted his pride in being a Russian. To be a true nationalist meant to be against chauvinism. 'No nation can be free if it oppresses other nations,' he quoted."
Ulam, Adam B. The Bolsheviks: The Intellectual and Political History of the Triumph of Communism in Russia, p. 304.

Again, I don't deny that in order to find a sufficient justification for left-wing nationalism, one will have to look beyond Marx and Engels's writings. However, once found, it can easily be incorporated into the broader framework of Marxian theory, since Marxism isn't a static ideology. As every serious Marxist understands, "Marxism is not a dogma but a real living science" [Polychroniou & Targ (eds.). Marxism Today: Essays on Capitalism, Socialism, and Strategies for Social Change, p. ix.].

And Lenin's theory of self determination never lasted very long; if at all.

Emma West was incarcerated by her own government, of which people still (erroneously) believe they control. Such incidents, while clearly unjust, aren't going to produce the renaissance in nationalist sentiments that certain organizations believe they will.

Certainly not, I am just pointing out an example of national oppression.

Why should I, or any member of the Revolutionary Syndicalist Front, waste time addressing people's propensity for national identity? Exactly what would that accomplish right now, during a period of economic crisis? Reactionaries certainly find value in engaging in such activities, with the obvious intention of using minority groups as scapegoats, thereby obscuring the class struggle and channeling focus and energy into nationalist pursuits.

Because as a nationalist it should be of your concern as to how people actually self determine themselves. If you just say "Do what you want" without actually giving your best reasons as to how you would self determine your nation; you might end up in a multicultural shithole. Good luck with that my friend, I do not want to be part of that nation. We need to correct this lack of pride, lack of ethnic identity, lack of sense of nationhood that this class of bourgeois and petty bourgeois have destroyed. Then again, maybe only material conditions such as the economy matter to you. If that is it; how can one call themselves a nationalist if they do not subscribe to a higher ideal than purely material notions or themselves?

Furthermore, I do not buy into class struggle. It is destructive to the nation. Now, I do not buy into class collaboration either; once the party has established the need for expropriation of the means of production I highly doubt many bourgeois minds will wish to collaborate anyway.

It's quite common for individuals to ascribe to Marx and Engels a belief in the "from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs" principle. It presents people with the impression that they advocated on behalf of some sort of impractical economic system of free access, but as Paul Cockshott explained:

"What Marx was referring to here was something quite specific: that different workers have different needs. Some have families, some do not, some have more children than others. Thus even equal hourly pay rates would leave some families and individuals better off than others. 'To each according to need' in this context means that those with children should be paid more than those who are single. Those with specific disabilities which give rise to special needs should be compensated. These are now very familiar principles to us. They lie at the foundation of the welfare state with child benefits, family tax credits, disability living allowances, medical treatment on the basis of need, etc. What Marx was saying is that as society becomes richer it will be able to afford a much more comprehensive and generous welfare provision. And who can now doubt that he is right. Rich France can certainly provide a welfare state that would be totally infeasible in poor Côte d'Ivoire."
Cockshott, Paul. Letter to the Editors of the Weekly Worker, p. 9 (emphasis added).

The little Marx and Engels did write with respect to how communism would function featured the concept of labor vouchers (a notion borrowed from Robert Owen's socialist theories), wherein a workers' claim to the social product was dependent upon the amount of time he spent performing socially necessary labor. Thus, far from advocating free access, they supported measured claims on the social product.

While realizing the fact that ONLY labor, whether it be mental or physical toil, is the only thing with value I am skeptical of labor vouchers working very well.

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Re: progressive nationalism, marx and engels

Post by Pantheon Rising on Tue Dec 13, 2011 8:54 pm

In my opinion, Marx and Engels were wrong. It is not the workers; but the bourgeoisie who have no nation. They can control government with money, but neither they nor their capital have a nation, they are loyal to profit. The working class has the nations; and as Kai Murros said, they are the truest embodiment of the nation.

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Re: progressive nationalism, marx and engels

Post by Rev Scare on Tue Dec 13, 2011 9:26 pm

Pantheon Rising wrote:I actually like a great deal of what I read of Proudhon, re-reading Property is Theft is hardly going to change my opinion that a nation must have territory exclusively its own to be a nation. If territory is for all, than anyone can just come into your nation if they please and that is cosmopolitanism.

I do not believe that you truly comprehend Proudhon's analysis if you would continue to stipulate territorial claims to your conception of nationalism. The point I am attempting to underscore is that territory should be liberated of its historical and contemporary forms. In the place of territorial fetishism should be installed a rational and just allocation of land for the express purpose of self-determination and nothing more. Land should be neither an object of worship nor a source of conflict, but instead merely a vessel for the reinforcement of national unity via proximity.

I think it is about mutual respect and equality. Fair as in each people gets a fair share of its own.

What is a "fair share"? What is "fair" about the absence of due international input regarding such a critical matter as land apportionment?

How can you be a nationalist and at the same time deny the fact that a people has a right to a certain piece of land?

By virtue of the fact that my understanding of nationalism does not entail strict observation of territorial delineations. I do not believe that people have a right to a specific area simply owing to a unilateral policy, regardless of the conceived justifications. I am by no means attempting to suggest that Europeans, for example, will be necessarily removed from traditionally European settlements, only that the needs and concerns of all parties affected be addressed reasonably and to whatever extent possible.

Because if a nation is to survive it needs territory all its own. Otherwise anyone could just come in and render the nation obsolete.
It has already been sufficiently explained to you that a nation need not necessarily possess physical territory in order to persist. The essence of a nation lies in its people, not its material base. If your notion of nationhood is so desperately bound to the material basis for its existence, then yours is a "nation" I harbor very little, if any, respect for. Such a feeble construct would in all probability relinquish its defining properties in proportion to the degree that the material forces sustaining it were altered or abolished—in a word, it would fulfill Engels' prediction.

I lack numbers and resources (obviously being 18),

Yes, I can assure you that we in the RSF, being considerably older and endowed with bountiful resources, are in a much more auspicious position.

though I am currently in the process of organizing with a couple ex-members of "reactionary" nationalist groups who got tired of the beer bibbing and and club like organization.
That is good to know.

To you, maybe. To me, I do treasure my heritage.

Well, I see value in my heritage, although I see value in others as well, but this is in avoidance of the core argument of a nation existing as independent of landed property.

Sacred cows as you will are entirely arbitrary.
Which is precisely where their destructive potential lies.

Yes, I am just saying it seems most people just brush off all historical wars and repels of invasions as nothing more than commoners fighting for their masters which is not true and a a rather tragic and nihilistic way to look a things.
The historical experience of all exploited classes has been one of subservience to the dominant class. This extends to wars and other conflicts. While ethnocentrism certainly influenced the divisions by which such sordid affairs occurred, they did not alter but were guided by the fundamental properties of the social relations prevalent within the form of society.

Like I said, blood and soil is an integral part of nationhood for me, but you speak as if Blut und Boden is some sort of organization with people that hold lebensraum ideals. If it is, I have never even heard of it.
Blut und Boden describes a particular ideology that engenders pernicious consequences. It is associated with the concept of Lebensraum.

Aye, but that is not to disregard the lands they lived on for thousands of years.
I highly doubt that this would occur to the sensationalist extent you proclaim, but even so, it hardly matters to me if European territories preserved their integrity at the commencement of negotiations so long as proceedings were conducted in a judicious and equitable fashion.

At this time in western history, I would have to say you are the minority.
Perhaps, but left-wing nationalism remains a minority ideology.


Last edited by Rev Scare on Tue Dec 13, 2011 9:45 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: progressive nationalism, marx and engels

Post by Rev Scare on Tue Dec 13, 2011 9:34 pm

Pantheon Rising wrote:In my opinion, Marx and Engels were wrong. It is not the workers; but the bourgeoisie who have no nation. They can control government with money, but neither they nor their capital have a nation, they are loyal to profit. The working class has the nations; and as Kai Murros said, they are the truest embodiment of the nation.
The nation, in its historical form, has existed as a vessel for the advancement of bourgeois interests. The national bourgeoisie has always been divided on the grounds of nationalism and internationalism depending on the extent to which either political trend would affect a particular investment bloc. Capitalism certainly tends toward expansion and therefore globalization, but this is irrelevant to the role that the nation (or more properly, country) holds in bourgeois society. The United States, for example, is the functional equivalent of the Western bourgeoisie's economic and military nexus of power.

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Re: progressive nationalism, marx and engels

Post by Pantheon Rising on Tue Dec 13, 2011 9:46 pm

Rev Scare wrote:I do not believe that you truly comprehend Proudhon's analysis if you would continue to stipulate territorial claims to your conception of nationalism. The point I am attempting to underscore is that territory should be liberated of its historical and contemporary forms. In the place of territorial fetishism should be installed a rational and just allocation of land for the express purpose of self-determination and nothing more. Land should be neither an object of worship nor a source of conflict, but instead merely a vessel for the reinforcement of national unity via proximity.

I comprehend it, just no matter how many times I read What is Property? it isn't going to change my opinion that a people do need a material basis for survival and interacting with one another, and that material basis is territory.

What is a "fair share"? What is "fair" about the absence of due international input regarding such a critical matter as land apportionment?

Well, when seeing as how Europeans are a minority in the world by far, it is likely that any sort of international agreement on the issue isn't going to end best for us. Unless of course, we make an extreme emotional appeal to the other peoples of the world that those are indeed our lands and living spaces. Europeans aren't ones for begging though.

By virtue of the fact that my understanding of nationalism does not entail strict observation of territorial delineations. I do not believe that people have a right to a specific area simply owing to a unilateral policy, regardless of the conceived justifications. I am by no means attempting to suggest that Europeans, for example, will be necessarily removed from traditionally European settlements, only that the needs and concerns of all parties affected be addressed reasonably and to whatever extent possible.

It makes no difference whether you believe a nation has the right to a specific area or an area in general. The point is, to be a nationalist, you have to understand that a people need an area in order to protect, propagate, and promote itself. If a people having an area is theft, than I am a bandit.

It has already been sufficiently explained to you that a nation need not necessarily possess physical territory in order to persist. The essence of a nation lies in its people, not its material base. If your notion of nationhood is so desperately bound to the material basis for its existence, then yours is a "nation" I harbor very little, if any, respect for. Such a feeble construct would in all probability relinquish its defining properties in proportion to the degree that the material forces sustaining it are altered or abolished—in a word, it would fulfill Engels' prediction.

Ask the Jews and the Gypsies how being a nation without territory to call its own worked out for the past 2000 years.


Well, I see value in my heritage, although I see value in others as well, but this is in avoidance of the core argument of a nation existing as independent of landed property.

I see values in others' heritage as well, which is why I support them having their own national territories to safeguard their precious heritage.

The historical experience of all exploited classes has been one of subservience to the dominant class. This extends to wars and other conflicts. While ethnocentrism certainly influenced the divisions by which such sordid affairs occurred, they did not alter but were guided by the fundamental properties of the social relations prevalent within the form of society.

That is entirely wrong. The Germanic tribes fighting against Roman imperialism was not some sort of subservience for their masters, nor is Palestinians fighting against Israeli imperialism some sort of subservience to their masters.

Blut und Boden describes a particular ideology that engenders pernicious consequences. It is associated with the concept of Lebensraum.

Well, first time I have heard it as being described as a definite ideology, but I fail to see how how it necessarily implies imperialistic Lebensraum policies.

I highly doubt that this would occur to the sensationalist extent you proclaim, but even so, it hardly matters to me if European territories preserved their integrity at the commencement of negotiations so long as proceedings were conducted in a judicious and equitable fashion.

That is all I want too, but what I do not want is talk of equality and fairness while Europeans get the short end of the stick.

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Re: progressive nationalism, marx and engels

Post by Pantheon Rising on Tue Dec 13, 2011 9:49 pm

Rev Scare wrote:The nation, in its historical form, has existed as a vessel for the advancement of bourgeois interests. The national bourgeoisie has always been divided on the grounds of nationalism and internationalism depending on the extent to which either political trend would affect a particular investment bloc. Capitalism certainly tends toward expansion and therefore globalization, but this is irrelevant to the role that the nation (or more properly, country) holds in bourgeois society. The United States, for example, is the functional equivalent of the Western bourgeoisie's economic and military nexus of power.

Yes, but they truly don't care about said people of a nation. The nation's culture, customs, ethnic makeup, etc etc matter little to them as long as they squeeze every cent out of it. To the working class, the nation should represent an ideal. Freedom for their people. To the ruling class, as it has always been, the nation is just a soulless materialistic vassel which is used to squeeze every cent of profit both domestically and internationally.

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Re: progressive nationalism, marx and engels

Post by Celtiberian on Tue Dec 13, 2011 11:40 pm

Pantheon Rising wrote:I understand there may be class tensions in a system like capitalism; but it does not erase the facts of what makes a people a people. A Euro-ethnic proletarian and a euro-ethnic petty bourgeois are still of the same folk regardless of the material social relations that are taking place. They share the same history, language, and culture.

I wasn't commenting on what "makes a people a people," I was explaining why ethnocultural commonalities are irrelevant to the material conditions from which proletarian revolution will emerge.

I am a socialist because I am a nationalist; I choose socialism because it is the best for my nation. A revolution CAN be both national and social in orientation. Many Americans DO care about America, in my opinion, one of the biggest failures of the left here is not being able to grasp the masses want and need for identity. Instead they stick to dogma like class struggle and the dissolution of borders.

I disagree. A revolution can only be national in character if a nation is experiencing a significant degree of oppression, and that criteria is absent in both contemporary North America and (most of) Europe. I understand that plenty of Americans "care about America," but the question is whether they feel 'Americanism' is threatened to the point wherein they'd be willing to risk their lives in a revolution over the matter. I don't believe they are. And the question which naturally follows is: supposing they were, who or what would their revolutionary activities be directed against? There isn't any shortage of phantom groups that self-proclaimed "nationalist" organizations would steer them toward. However, when one understands the actual source of the dilemma—i.e., capitalism—they realize that the matter can only be resolved by the social revolution.

And class struggle isn't some sort of naive "dogma," it is an inevitable facet of an economy which features classes whose interests are diametrically opposed to one another.

You're right, that the cultural conditions alone won't produce a revolution, but combined with the socialist aspect it will.

If revolutionaries stress the national question too strongly during a period of economic crisis, for example, they run the risk of cultivating class collaborationist sentiments within a population. This is what leads to fascism gaining traction during potentially revolutionary moments. It is irresponsible and, ultimately, unnecessary, as the national question can only be addressed following the proletarian revolution anyway.

And Lenin's theory of self determination never lasted very long; if at all.

There are a myriad of reasons why self-determination was never successfully practiced in the Soviet Union, but I'll save that discussion for a more suitable thread.

Because as a nationalist it should be of your concern as to how people actually self determine themselves. If you just say "Do what you want" without actually giving your best reasons as to how you would self determine your nation; you might end up in a multicultural shithole. Good luck with that my friend, I do not want to be part of that nation.

It isn't up to me to dictate to people the manner in which they identify, or don't identify, with their nationality. I happen to believe that individuals naturally agglomerate along ethnocultural lines, and there is substantial empirical evidence to verify this position. Since revolutionary socialism is democratic, I'm certain that the national question will be resolved by implementing policies which are cognizant of that fact. Following the proletarian revolution, I will do all that I possibly can to stress that the successful implementation of socialism requires an appropriate response to the national question, but whether my protestations are heeded or not will depend upon the level of influence the Revolutionary Syndicalist Front possesses at that time.

We need to correct this lack of pride, lack of ethnic identity, lack of sense of nationhood that this class of bourgeois and petty bourgeois have destroyed. Then again, maybe only material conditions such as the economy matter to you. If that is it; how can one call themselves a nationalist if they do not subscribe to a higher ideal than purely material notions or themselves?

I'm not an idealist. I'm a nationalist because I genuinely believe that identifying with ones ethnocultural group is an innate aspect of our psychology. Consequently, I'm not going to exert a great deal of effort attempting to cultivate an attribute which already exists in people; I will simply see to it that the trait is utilized for progressive- rather than reactionary- purposes.

Furthermore, I do not buy into class struggle. It is destructive to the nation. Now, I do not buy into class collaboration either; once the party has established the need for expropriation of the means of production I highly doubt many bourgeois minds will wish to collaborate anyway.

If you don't acknowledge that capitalism produces a class struggle, then you must necessarily be a utopian socialist—i.e., one who believes that socialism will be achieved solely by persuading a population that it's more desirable than capitalism. How someone can observe the contrary interests of the proletariat and bourgeoisie within the capitalist mode of production and acknowledge the bloody labor history which has characterized employment relations since the ascent of bourgeois society, and nevertheless attempt to deny class struggle, is beyond me.

Whether the class struggle is "destructive to the nation" or not is irrelevant. It will exist as long as there is a bourgeoisie. If that's something which you find to be particularly disagreeable, then you should be just as steadfast in opposing class society as the rest of us are.

While realizing the fact that ONLY labor, whether it be mental or physical toil, is the only thing with value I am skeptical of labor vouchers working very well.

It depends on whether or not the labor voucher system features economic institutions which are incentive compatible. Incidentally, several such models have been developed (see, for example, Cockshott & Cottrell's Towards a New Socialism).

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Re: progressive nationalism, marx and engels

Post by Pantheon Rising on Thu Dec 15, 2011 10:49 am

Celtiberian wrote:I wasn't commenting on what "makes a people a people," I was explaining why ethnocultural commonalities are irrelevant to the material conditions from which proletarian revolution will emerge.

We are just talking about two different things then, lol. Wink

I disagree. A revolution can only be national in character if a nation is experiencing a significant degree of oppression, and that criteria is absent in both contemporary North America and (most of) Europe. I understand that plenty of Americans "care about America," but the question is whether they feel 'Americanism' is threatened to the point wherein they'd be willing to risk their lives in a revolution over the matter. I don't believe they are. And the question which naturally follows is: supposing they were, who or what would their revolutionary activities be directed against? There isn't any shortage of phantom groups that self-proclaimed "nationalist" organizations would steer them toward. However, when one understands the actual source of the dilemma—i.e., capitalism—they realize that the matter can only be resolved by the social revolution.

My idea is that Americans and Europeans must see capitalism as not only an immediate threat to their national self determination, but also as a economically oppressive system within the nation. I do believe many nationalists chase "phantom groups" however, it is vital to me that ethnic and/or national solidarity is spread for simple reasons of worrying about what is going up after the revolution. I don't tear something down without any idea of what is going to be put up. It is vital to me that Ethnic-Europeans determine themselves along ethnic lines or, if that is too much to ask, at least allow those of us who do wish to have Euro-ethnic only states establish our own autonomous zones within the country.

And class struggle isn't some sort of naive "dogma," it is an inevitable facet of an economy which features classes whose interests are diametrically opposed to one another.

No doubt, though it shouldn't be the sole thing which drives a movement.


If revolutionaries stress the national question too strongly during a period of economic crisis, for example, they run the risk of cultivating class collaborationist sentiments within a population. This is what leads to fascism gaining traction during potentially revolutionary moments. It is irresponsible and, ultimately, unnecessary, as the national question can only be addressed following the proletarian revolution anyway.

I disagree entirely. We have perfectly good nations already established. Besides like I said, if expropriation of the means of production out to the vast majority of our folk is established I highly doubt many will be willing to collaborate.

It isn't up to me to dictate to people the manner in which they identify, or don't identify, with their nationality. I happen to believe that individuals naturally agglomerate along ethnocultural lines, and there is substantial empirical evidence to verify this position. Since revolutionary socialism is democratic, I'm certain that the national question will be resolved by implementing policies which are cognizant of that fact. Following the proletarian revolution, I will do all that I possibly can to stress that the successful implementation of socialism requires an appropriate response to the national question, but whether my protestations are heeded or not will depend upon the level of influence the Revolutionary Syndicalist Front possesses at that time.

Well, you should have your say, and you should naturally try to influence others with your opinion so that the society constructed around you democratically is desirable. Such is the nature of democracy and free speech, democracy is not a system where you sit above and ride the waves and the whims of the masses. Democracy allows for us to plant our seeds in the masses, as we are part of them. It is an active struggle.


If you don't acknowledge that capitalism produces a class struggle, then you must necessarily be a utopian socialist—i.e., one who believes that socialism will be achieved solely by persuading a population that it's more desirable than capitalism. How someone can observe the contrary interests of the proletariat and bourgeoisie within the capitalist mode of production and acknowledge the bloody labor history which has characterized employment relations since the ascent of bourgeois society, and nevertheless attempt to deny class struggle, is beyond me.

I should have phrased differently perhaps. I do recognize class struggle as a part of capitalism we can't avoid, however it is definitely not my only concern.

Whether the class struggle is "destructive to the nation" or not is irrelevant. It will exist as long as there is a bourgeoisie. If that's something which you find to be particularly disagreeable, then you should be just as steadfast in opposing class society as the rest of us are.

I do oppose class society and support total expropriation of bourgeois property to the majority of our folk, I still don't feel it is the only concern. There is a lot of things that need correcting with our folk right now than just plain material concerns; though obviously that is at the forefront of the issue since they need to afford a living before we can move on.

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Re: progressive nationalism, marx and engels

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