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Communist League

Regional Autonomy for the Southwest

Chapter III: Proposed Resolution

In the resolution of the national question as it pertains to the Mexican National Minority, as communists we must:

1. Uphold the position that the national question can only be resolved through the proletarian revolution and the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat.
2. Demand full equality for the Mexican National Minority as an integral part of the Anglo-American working class.
3. Wage a continuous and effective struggle against all forms of chauvinism.
4. Call for the right to political secession of all oppressed peoples and nations.

Any analysis of the struggle of the Mexican national minority must be seen as an integral part of the upsurge of oppressed and colonial peoples against imperialism. As was stated in the Negro National Colonial Question document we study the historic and political conclusions of the October Revolution. Comrade Stalin very clearly explained:

Thus the October Revolution having put an end to the old bourgeois movement for national emancipation inaugurated the era of a new, socialist movement of the workers and peasants of the oppressed nationalities directed against all oppression, which also means national oppression, against the role of the bourgeoisie, their ’own’ and foreign, and against imperialism in general.[1]

It is obvious, because of their compromised position and their ties to capital, that the vacillating petty-bourgeoisie cannot lead this movement against national oppression. Thus, in the USNA, there can be no emancipation from the power of capital and abolition of national oppression without the defeat of imperialism and the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat. In the Southwest, this means that the political power must be assumed by the Mexican National Minority workers; this struggle for political power must be part of the struggle for socialism of the whole USNA proletariat, led by a multi-national Communist Party.

Comrade Josef Stalin, leading Marxist-Leninist theoretician on the national question, stated that a dialectical approach must be used regarding each situation involving the nation question. He stressed that, in analyzing each instance of oppression of a nation, national minority, or region, particular attention be given to “historical conditions in their development”, and that only in this manner would we be able to resolve the problem in the interests of the international proletariat.

As we have seen, the Southwest includes depressed areas on a scale similar to Appalachia, such as northern New Mexico, as well as some of the fastest growing urban-industrial complexes like El Paso, Texas.

Therefore, in resolving the problem, we must view the oppression of the Mexican National Minority as it relates to the Southwest as a region. We have already pointed out how the Southwest was annexed from Mexico by conquest. As communists, we oppose all annexations and national oppression of any people regardless of size of population. Comrade Lenin, arguing against the Polish Social-Democratic opposition, militantly expressed the correct communist position in regards to annexations:

...’a protest against annexations is nothing but recognition of the right to self-determination.’ The concept of annexation usually includes: 1) the concept of force (joining by means of force) ; 2) the concept of oppression by another nation (the joining of ’alien’ regions, etc.), and, sometimes 3) the concept of violation of the status quo.... However you may twist and turn, annexation is violation of the self-determination of a nation, it is the establishment of state frontiers contrary to the will of the population.[2]

Further, on national oppression, Stalin states:

National oppression is that system of exploitation and plunder of subject peoples, those measures of forcible restriction of the political rights of subject peoples, which are resorted to by imperialist circles. These, taken together, represent the policy generally known as a policy of national oppression.[3]

Therefore, as communists, as the staunchest fighters against national oppression, we vehemently oppose the annexation of the Southwest and the national oppression of the Mexican National Minority.

In resolving the national question, we must keep in mind that it “is not something self-contained and fixed for all time.” But that as “...part of the general question of the transformation of the existing order, the national question is wholly determined by the conditions of the social environment, the character of the power in the country and by the whole course of social development generally.”[4] Therefore, “...the Party’s policy on the national question changes in conformity with this.”[5] However, our resolution to the national question is always based on the four principles stated in the proposed resolution.

Concretely, our resolution of the national problem in the Southwest calls for:

1. The recognition of the rights of the Mexican National Minority in the Southwest to political secession.
2. Regional Autonomy for the Southwest region.
3. Specific laws guaranteeing freedom of development for the national minorities in the Southwest region.

In regard to the first point, clearly we cannot overthrow capital unless we have a united proletariat. Therefore, in opposition to the forcible retention of conquered and subject peoples within state boundaries we call for “disunity” for the sake of “unity.” That is why we wholeheartedly fight for the right of oppressed peoples to political secession.

Secondly, in the call for “Regional Autonomy for the Southwest,” we base ourselves on the position of Comrade Stalin, in regard to the national problem as it effected subject peoples in Russia:

This...calls for wide regional autonomy and fully democratic local self-government, and autonomous regions determined by the local inhabitants themselves on the basis of their economic and social conditions, national make-up of the population, etc.[6]

This is the only manner in which such variances as exist between national minorities in the Southwest can be resolved, whether they are Mexican National Minorities in Crystal City, Texas; Mexican National Minority peasants in northern New Mexico-southern Colorado, urban workers in El Paso, Texas, or Jicarilla Apaches in Arizona. The distinct national composition of the population, their special economic and social conditions must be taken into account and this can only be done by guaranteeing local self-government to the national minorities themselves.

Stalin in explaining the advantages of regional autonomy stated:

The advantage of regional autonomy consists firstly in the fact that it does not deal with a fiction deprived of territory, but with a definite population inhabiting a definite territory.

Secondly, it does not divide people according to nation, it does not strengthen national partitions; on the contrary, it only serves to break down these partitions and unites the population in such a manner as to open the way for division of a different kind, division according to class.

Finally, it provides the opportunity of utilising the natural wealth of the region and of developing its productive forces in the best possible way without awaiting decisions of a common centre.[7]

In regards to its flexibility, Comrade Stalin explains regional autonomy as follows:

Soviet autonomy is not a rigid thing fixed once and for all time; it permits of the most varied forms and degrees of development, it passes from narrow administrative autonomy...to a wider, political autonomy...; from a wide political autonomy to a still wider form of autonomy; and finally from the Ukrainian type of autonomy to the supreme form of autonomy-contractual relations. This elasticity makes it possible to embrace all the various types of border regions in Russia, which vary greatly in their levels of cultural and economic development.[8]

Therefore, it is clear that with regional autonomy all manifestations of national oppression can be successfully eradicated.

Regarding the third point, “Specific laws guaranteeing freedom of development of national minorities,” we must insure that all limitations in relation to the freedom of movement, disfranchisement, suppression of language and the restriction of schools be forbidden by law. This also means that an open border with Mexico, allowing the freedom of movement between the Southwest and Mexico, be maintained. This means an end to the Border Patrol and Immigration Service, and an end to documentation of Mexican people.

On the question of the relation of the other national minorities such as the Negro National Minority, the Indian peoples, and the Chinese national minority to the Mexican National Minority, we must insure that no national privileges be allowed. On a similar situation in Russia, Stalin wrote:

Of course, not one of the regions constitute a compact, homogeneous nation, for each is interspersed by national minorities. Such are the Jews in Poland, the Latvians in Lithuania, the Russians in the Caucasus, the Poles in the Ukraine, and so on. It may be feared, therefore, that the minorities will be oppressed by the national majorities. But there will be ground for this fear only if the old order continues to prevail in the country. Give the country complete democracy and all grounds for this fear will vanish.

...what minorities want is...real rights in the localities they inhabit.

What is it that particularly agitates a national minority?

A minority is discontented...because it does not enjoy the right to use its native language. Permit it to use its native language and the discontent will pass of itself.

A minority is discontented...because it does not possess its own schools. Give it its own schools and all grounds for discontent will disappear.

A minority is discontented...because it does not enjoy liberty of conscience, liberty of movement, etc. Give it these liberties and it will cease to be discontented.

Thus, national equality in all forms (language, schools, etc.) is an essential element in the solution of the national problem.[9]

Finally, with regard to the national question, as communists we uphold Stalin’s proposition: “A single...party, for the proletarians of all nationalities of the given state.”[10]

Today the USNA is a multi-national state that expanded and was consolidated out of the conquest, annexation, and subjection of peoples and nations such as the Negro Nation, Puerto Rico, the Indian peoples and other subject peoples and territories. “The contradictions between the interests of the ruling nations and the interests of the subject nations are such that unless they are solved, the stable existence of multi-national states becomes impossible.”[11] Any attempt to overcome these contradictions, while preserving private property and class exploitation, is futile. “The only state capable of tackling and solving the national problem is a state based on collective ownership of the means and implements of production....”[12]

Thus, the national problem is an integral part of the proletarian revolution and the struggle for the dictatorship of the proletariat. But in order to overthrow the bourgeoisie we must have a united working class that fights as an army with one general staff–its multi-national Marxist-Leninist Communist Party.

With regard to the Southwest as an oppressed region of the Anglo-American nation, the slogan, “Regional Autonomy for the Southwest” which embraces the main points that have been set forth in this document, is not “the demand of the Mexican National Minority; it is the demand of the Anglo-American working class.” For it is only through the demand for the complete emancipation of all oppressed nations and peoples that the working class can seize state power and end the exploitation of man by man.


[1] Communist League, The Negro National Colonial-Question, Los Angeles, 1972, pg. 15.

[2] Op. Cit., Lenin, “The Discussion on Self-Determination Summed Up”, pg. 133.

[3] Stalin, Joseph V. Marxism and the National and Colonial Questions, “Report on the National Question”, London, Lawrence and Wishart, 1936, pg. 62.

[4] Ibid., “The October Revolution and the National Question”, pg. 68.

[5] Stalin, J. V. Collected Works, Vol. 11, “The National Question and Leninism”, Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow, 1954, pg. 366.

[6] Op. Cit., Lenin, “Critical Remarks”, pg. 43.

[7] Op. Cit., Stalin, Marxism and the National and Colonial Question, “Marxism and the National Question”, pp. 57-58.

[8] Ibid., pg. 81.

[9] Ibid., pg. 58.

[10] Ibid., pg. 66.

[11] Ibid., “Theses on the Immediate Tasks of the Party in Connection with the National Problem”, pg. 89.

[12] Ibid.