Tag Archives: national question

RSU Presentation on Imperialism and National Liberation

The following video presentation on the Marxist-Leninist theory of imperialism (monopoly capitalism) is from the UVU Revolutionary Students Union.

Lenin gives five basic features of imperialism:

(1) the concentration of production and capital has developed to such a high stage that it has created monopolies which play a decisive role in economic life; (2) the merging of bank capital with industrial capital, and the creation, on the basis of this “finance capital”, of a financial oligarchy; (3) the export of capital as distinguished from the export of commodities acquires exceptional importance; (4) the formation of international monopolist capitalist associations which share the world among themselves, and (5) the territorial division of the whole world among the biggest capitalist powers is completed. Imperialism is capitalism at that stage of development at which the dominance of monopolies and finance capital is established; in which the export of capital has acquired pronounced importance; in which the division of the world among the international trusts has begun, in which the division of all territories of the globe among the biggest capitalist powers has been completed. (Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism)

There are also four fundamental contradictions of imperialism. Stalin, in The Foundations of Leninism, went on to enumerate three of them: (1) the contradiction between labor and capital; (2) the contradiction among the various financial groups and imperialist Powers in their struggle for sources of raw materials; and (3) the contradiction between the handful of ruling, “civilised” nations and the hundreds of millions of the colonial and dependent peoples of the world. There is a fourth in the contemporary world as Mao Zedong and the Chinese Communists have pointed out: (4) the contradiction between imperialism and the socialist countries. Of these four contradictions, the principal contradiction in the current period is that between the oppressed nations and imperialism. These four contradictions can only be resolved by social revolution.

These videos do well to explain Lenin’s theory in a lively and contemporary way. See also their excellent presentations on the PFLP and on ‘Stalinism’.

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Mao Zedong: “I Place My Hopes On the People of the U.S.”

To commemorate the 116th anniversary of the birth of Mao Zedong on December 26, 2009, The Marxist-Leninist is posting the following article from the anti-revisionist New Communist Movement of the 1970s. The article is from the theoretical journal of the October League / Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist), Class Struggle (#6 – Winter 1976-77). It is being made available online here for the first time.


‘I Place My Hopes On the People of the U.S.’
Article from the Sept. 20 issue of The Call on Chairman Mao’s teachings about the American people

Chairman Mao was a great internationalist who took his stand alongside the working and oppressed people of the world in their struggle against imperialism and reaction. He paid especially close attention to the struggles of the working-class and minority people here in the U.S., giving them encouragement and support.

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Harry Haywood: Trotsky’s Day in Court

The following examination of Trotskyism by the great African American Marxist-Leninist, Harry Haywood, is from “Trotsky’s Day in Court”, Chapter 6 of Black Bolshevik: Autobiography of an Afro-American Communist (1978), which takes place while Harry Haywood is studying in Moscow at the KUTVA, The University of the Toilers of the East. For a more thorough Marxist-Leninist examination of Trotskyism, read M.J. Olgin’s outstanding 1935 book, Trotskyism: Counter-Revolution in Disguise, which is perhaps the best treatment of the subject:


Trotsky’s Day in Court

Apart from our academic courses, we received our first tutelage in Leninism and the history of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in the heat of the inner-party struggle then raging between Trotsky and the majority of the Central Committee led by Stalin. We KUTVA students were not simply bystanders, but were active participants in the struggle. Most students – and all of our group from the U.S. – were ardent supporters of Stalin and the Central Committee majority. 

It had not always been thus. Otto told me that in 1924, a year before he arrived, a majority of the students in the school had been supporters of Trotsky. Trotsky was making a play for the Party youth, in opposition to the older Bolshevik stalwarts. With his usual demagogy, he claimed that the old leadership was betraying the revolution and had embarked on a course of “Thermidorian reaction.” (1) In this situation, he said, the students and youth were “the Party’s truest barometer.” (2)

But by the time the Black American students arrived, the temporary attraction to Trotsky had been reversed. The issues involved in the struggle with Trotsky were discussed in the school. They involved the destiny of socialism in the Soviet Union. Which way were the Soviet people to go? What was to be the direction of their economic development? Was it possible to build a socialist economic system?  These questions were not only theoretical ones, but were issues of life and death. The economic life of the country would not stand still and wait while they were being debated.  

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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.

General

African American National Question

Chicano National Question

Indigenous Peoples

The Debate Over White Skin Privilege

Harry Haywood at the Marxists Internet Archive

Harry Haywood in Spain with the International Brigades

Following the development of the Harry Haywood Internet Archive here at The Marxist-Leninist, the archive is now available at the Marxists Internet Archive (MIA). The material that is there now is from the MIA project, Encyclopedia of anti-Revisionism On-Line (EROL).

Most of the material hasn’t yet made it over to MIA, but thanks to the collaborative efforts of The Marxist-Leninist with some of the comrades there at MIA in putting together the Harry Haywood archive there, his important contributions to the application of Marxism-Leninism to the U.S. are now being made more accessable to a new generation of revolutionaries.

It has long been a priority of The Marxist-Leninist to help to popularize the important writings of Harry Haywood on the African American national question as well as on anti-revisionism. Developing the archive at the MIA is a big step forward and many of the articles here should be added to the archive at MIA shortly.

Much thanks to the comrades at the MIA for this important contribution!

http://www.marxists.org/archive/haywood/index.htm

Harry Haywood: The Degeneration of the CPUSA in the 1950s

The following article is an excerpt from Harry Haywood’s Black Bolshevik: Autobiography of an Afro-American Communist. It is reprinted here from the theoretical journal of the October League (Marxist-Leninist), Class Struggle: Journal of Communist Thought, Spring/Summer 1976 #4-5. It is being posted here, as part of the Harry Haywood Internet Archive (for the time being hosted by The Marxist-Leninist blog) for the first time online.

October League (Marxist-Leninist) Introduction:

At what point did the building of a new anti-revisionist communist party become the principal task of Marxist-Leninists? What were the main features of the ideological, political, and organizational degeneration of the Communist Party, USA in the 1950s that made it necessary to do so? These are some of the questions discussed in this article by Harry Haywood, a veteran Black communist who has led and been active in the movement for more than 50 years. The article is a slightly condensed version of a chapter [Chapter 22: “Revisionism Takes Command” in the final published version] from the unpublished manuscript of his autobiography, “Black Bolshevik.”

The Degeneration of the CPUSA in the 1950s

The April 1956 National Committee meeting saw the Communist Party in its most serious crisis since 1944. The meeting itself was historic in that it was the first time the top party leadership had met together since 1951. With the exception of Gil Green, Bob Thompson, Gus Hall and Henry Winston who were still in jail, the National Committee was up from underground and out of prison.

Right opportunism, which had been thriving and undergoing continuous growth in the ’50s, erupted here into a full-fledged liquidationist line whose only logical conclusion would be the complete destruction of the Party as a revolutionary force.

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Shlomo Sand: “The Invention of the Jewish People”

The following video is a discussion by Israeli professor, Shlomo Sand , about his book, The Invention of the Jewish People (Verso, 2009), which critically examines and deconstructs the idea of a Jewish nationality (“the Jewish People”) and consequently the Zionist claim for a Jewish homeland (Israel) in Palestine. The video is interesting in its exploration of the national question.

Joseph Stalin gave the Marxist-Leninist definition of a nation as a “historically constituted, stable community of people, formed on the basis of a common language, territory, economic life, and psychological make-up manifested in a common culture“. He goes on to say, regarding Jews,

Bauer speaks of the Jews as a nation, although they “have no common language”; but what “common destiny” and national cohesion is there, for instance, between the Georgian, Daghestanian, Russian and American Jews, who are completely separated from one another, inhabit different territories and speak different languages?

The above-mentioned Jews undoubtedly lead their economic and political life in common with the Georgians, Daghestanians, Russians and Americans respectively, and they live in the same cultural atmosphere as these; this is bound to leave a definite impress on their national character; if there is anything common to them left, it is their religion, their common origin and certain relics of the national character. All this is beyond question. But how can it be seriously maintained that petrified religious rites and fading psychological relics affect the “destiny” of these Jews more powerfully than the living social, economic and cultural environment that surrounds them? And it is only on this assumption that it is possible to speak of the Jews as a single nation at all. (Marxism and the National Question)

The point of this argument is to say that Jews of course have the right to full equality, but not to territorial self-determination (i.e. in Palestine). This is very similar to the argument that Professor Sand makes in this video. I would also suggest the book One Country by Ali Abunimah on the need for single, secular and democratic state in all of historic Palestine. As Ahmad Saadat, the imprisoned General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine has argued in an interview with Fight Back! News,

Some have argued that the current reality is pushing towards a two-state solution – an Israeli state next to a Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 borders. Of course, this solution involves ignoring the Right of Return, or replacing it with reparations. We in the PFLP argue that forcing such a solution on the Palestinian people will not end the struggle, because the facts and reality contradict such a solution. The two-state solution that is based on the racist notion of ‘a national, homogeneous Jewish state’ totally disregards the fact that over 1.3 million Palestinians – 20% of the entire population – live inside ‘Israel.’ This will continue to permit the causes of conflict to remain inside Israel. Therefore, the solution based on two states is a myth.

Our people’s quest, like any other people, is a democratic and free society. This democratic state – the only state form that can produce social and economic development – cannot be led or dominated by the parasitic and comprador bourgeoisie, but by a unity of the popular forces that share structural interests in national independence, return to the homeland, popular democracy and economic development. This is, simply, our view in the PFLP, and the view of the national, democratic liberation movement.