Collected Documents on the National Question in the United States

The following is a collection of statements, resolutions, books, articles and other documents by various Marxist-Leninists which provide a theoretical analysis of the national question in the U.S. Generally speaking they are listed chronologically. This collection, though necessarily different in format, has been incorporated into the M-L Study Guide.


African American National Question

Chicano National Question

Indigenous Peoples

The Debate Over White Skin Privilege

5 responses to “Collected Documents on the National Question in the United States

  1. Great and important stuff to put out for people to read.

    I’ve always found it a bit distressing though that there is close to zero (meaningful) discussion or material on the Native question in the U.S. (it is often front and centre in the Canadian left), especially as Lenin himself recognized Indians, along with Blacks, to be an oppressed nations (s) and because the question of self-determination for Indians, in terms of the geographical base, directly intersects with the question of self-determination for oppressed Blacks and Chicanos.

    I’m involved in doing some work around the intersections of the struggles myself, and I would be more than interested to discuss the issue any American radical group that has a serious commitment to liberation struggles on the continent.

    In solidarity.

  2. I agree with you Rowland. It is a problem for our movement. The League of Revolutionary Struggle (Marxist-Leninist) had a lot to say about American Indian / Native American struggle in their 1984 program, “Peace, Justice, Equality and Socialism”, and in my opinion had the most advanced line on the question in the U.S. New Communist Movement. Unfortunatly, nobody has managed to get the LRS program online. But other than that, there really is a deficiency. Actually, you can see it in this collection here also in the big discrepency in material on the African American and Chicano national questions. Until the August 29th Movement (a Chicano ML group that merged with the Asian American group I Wor Kuen to found the LRS) the ML movement didn’t take the Chicano struggle very seriously. Some groups wrote about it but they got it wrong.

    Any organization that takes the national question seriously must address these points, and their intersections, contradictions and interrelationships, head on.

  3. Hmmm, well I hope someone does manage to get the LRS (M-L)’s program up someday because I would like to give it a read over. Is there anywhere on the net where I can get a summary of the document?

    As for the quite heavy weighting in discussion towards the African-American national struggle as opposed to the sparse material on the Chicano struggle and even sparser material on the Indian struggle, I think it has a lot to do with the historical and social contexts of the U.S. situation.

    I often compare this to Canada because of the fact that they share the same Indian population (and for that matter, so does the U.S. and Northern Mexico) across an artificial settler-colonial border, with many of our nations having their peoples and territories literally cut in half by the border (for an extreme case, check out the Mohawk at Akwesasne). However in Canada there is a much greater focus by the revolutionary left on the Native national struggle, though the settler nationalism of Québec strangely is still more widely supported (check out the Revolutionary Communist Party of Canada for probably the most correct position on Québec nationalism).

    In my experience this is because of the absence of a mass historic black struggle, so the Native struggle gets pushed to a much greater level of prominence, and it is kept there by mass militant action by Indians, such as what happened at Oka, Gustafen Lake, KI First Nation, Ipperwash, Kahnawake, Akwesasne, Caledonia and the current militant opposition to the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.

    In the end though it really is something that I think the American revolutionary left really needs to sit down and think about in a serious, constructive way.

  4. Re: the American Indian struggle in the US, one essay I have found interesting and valuable, though definitely not comprehensive, is:

    “Land Reform and Indian Survival in the United States,” Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz, in Land Reform, American Style, ed. Geisler and Popper (1984), 151-171.

    The piece describes several land occupations beginning in the mid-60s and continuing through the 80s, including Akwesasne, DQ University, Yellow Thunder Camp, and Navajo Big Mountain.

    I think it raises interesting questions in general, for example, what is the relevance of the tactic of land occupation for the Black struggle (which has historically had revolutionary land reform in the Black Belt south as a programmatic demand, but in my understanding has never waged mass action, even during Reconstruction, to physically take land MST-style)?

  5. Rowland, there isn’t a summary of the LRS program on the web. Maybe someday I’ll try to get it posted.

    boris, I think your point is interesting about land reform. It was a big part of the early Chicano Movement, especially with Tijerina’s Federal Land Grant Alliance. But I think you have a point about the Black Liberation struggle in the South, though there has to be some clearification, where there was direct mass (often armed) struggle for the land, including occupation.

    There was a major land reform aspect in Reconstruction, where the land of the Planters was divided up by former slaves and poor whites. (see William Z. Foster, The Negro People in American History, pp. 299-303.)

    The Hayes Tilden agreement reversed all of this and thus created the semi-feudal sharecropping system. Then, in the 1930s, the Sharecroppers Union in the Deep South had land reform at its core as well. Since then it has been basically a programmatic demand, as you say.

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