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Workers Viewpoint Organization

Periods and Types of National Questions


Published: In The Afro-American National Question, Volume II, n.d.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Understanding periods and types of national questions puts the national question in an historical framework and submits it to dialectical and historical-materialist analysis. As Stalin stressed: “... the national question (must be taken) as part of the general question of the social and political development of society, subordinated to this general question, but (not) as something self-contained and constant, whose direction and character remain basically unchanged throughout the course of history. . . the changes in the character and tasks of the revolution in the various stages of its development give rise to corresponding changes in the character and aims of the national question, that in conformity with this the Party’s policy on the national question also changes.”[1]

To understand periods we must address the periods of social and political development of society. Modern nations, in the Marxist scientific sense of the word, only began to exist in the period of rising capitalism and will continue to exist under the era of imperialism, the dying stage of capitalism and in a future period of socialism on a world scale. Hence there are basically three periods: the period of rising capitalism, the period of imperialism (including socialism in one or a few countries), and the period of socialism on a world scale. Here we are concerned with the first two.

The question of types is types of characters and aims of the national question, in relation to the character and tasks of the revolution during particular historical periods. The question of types has different component aspects, such as the kinds of class contradiction involved, the content of class forces and motions, the types of countries and nations and nationalities involved (with or without statehood, national or multinational state, etc.). Consequently, these different aspects affect the tasks involved in resolving the national question. The main point, among the various aspects is: our starting point on the national question is whenever there is national oppression, there is a national question,[2] and that any national question in the final analysis is a class question. Hence the main types of national question are the main types of relations between the national question and class question, (i.e. the class content in national oppression and resistance). There can be different forms of the national question within these main types, as well as combinations. The basic main types of national question in this sense are: 1) the bourgeois national movement in the context of rising capitalism over feudalism, and 2) the bourgeois national movement in the context of imperialism and 3) the worker-peasant alliance national movement in the context of new democratic revolution. The first type basically corresponds with the first period, the third type basically corresponds with the second period, and the second type is basically at the juncture of the two periods. Internationally, it is stepping into the period of imperialism but internally it is at the period of rising capitalism come late due to uneven development of capitalism.

Given this overall summation, let us explain the interrelations between periods and types, as well as their internal dynamics.


“A nation is not merely a historical category but a historical category belonging to a definite epoch, the epoch of rising capitalism.”[3] This is the first type of national question, in the first period: the formation of bourgeois national states such as the national states in Western Europe, and in the case of the United States, a multi-national bourgeois state, tied to the development of capitalism and bourgeois revolution to overthrow feudalism. This is a process of development, from potentiality of a nation to the reality of a nation, which creates the potentiality of national statehood, and then further develops into the reality of a bourgeois national state. In class content, it is a struggle between the rising bourgeoisie, who one way or another draw in other classes, and the feudalists.

Elements of a capitalist mode of production are developed, pushed by the active factors of productive forces and economic base, within feudalism during the pre-capitalist period. Simultaneously, “the elements of nationhood – language, territory, common culture, etc. – did not fall from the sky, but were being formed gradually” in a constant interaction between base and superstructure, productive forces and relations of production. But this is still only the potentiality of a nation “because there were as yet no national markets and no economic or cultural national centers, and consequently, there were none of the factors which put an end to the economic disunity of a given people and draw its hitherto disunited parts together into one national whole.... that is, they constituted the possibility of the formation of a nation in the future given certain favorable conditions.”[4]

A favorable condition was the formation of “the national market and its economic and culture centers” in the period of rising capitalism. In this period, the four criteria of a nation could be met and the nation became a reality. As Lenin stated, “Throughout the world, the period of the final victory of capitalism over feudalism has been linked up with national movements. For the complete victory of commodity production (i.e., capitalism), the bourgeoisie must capture the home market, and there must be politically united territory whose population speak a single language, with all obstacles to the development of that language and to its consolidation in literature eliminated. Therein is the economic foundation of national movements.”[5] In other words, when the development of the bourgeois national movement and commodity production have formed its national market and economic and culture centers, the national economic base and ideological superstructure are developed into a national whole – a nation. This is the framework of the four criteria crystallized by Stalin.

“The common economic life, internal economic bond, and economic cohesion” basically relate to the economic base, especially the relations of production such as commodity production, home market, and economic center. These factors provide sufficient basis for the national economic base. The “common psychological make-up manifested in common specific features of national culture” involves the ideological superstructure which arises from the economic base – literature, culture centers, etc. “Common territory” is necessary for the development of common economic base; without it, it is impossible to develop a home market, economic centers and hence commodity production as a national whole. “Common territory” also facilitates the development of “common psychological make-up, national culture and culture center.” “Common language” is an important if not indispensable aspect of national culture. It also facilitates the development of a common economic base.

Language is the most important means of human intercourse. Unity and unimpeded development of language are the most important conditions for genuinely free and extensive commerce on a scale commensurate with modern capitalism for a free and broad grouping of the population in all its various classes and, lastly, for the establishment of a close connection between the market and each and every proprietor, big or little, and between seller and buyer.[6]

First Period, First Type: Bourgeois National Movement

The four criteria make the nation, but not the national state, a potentiality of statehood but not the reality of statehood. Note the previous quote about the “complete victory” of capitalism over feudalism, and “politically united” nation meeting the four criteria. The four criteria are the necessary conditions for the leap from a bourgeois nation to a bourgeois national state. The leap is made when the bourgeois revolution overthrows the feudal state, the central question being the struggle for political state power. This then is not only a national ideological superstructure but also national “political and judicial system and bodies,” the other aspect of superstructure. With the formation of the bourgeois state, old fetters of feudal superstructure and relations of production are gradually eliminated, liberating the development of economic base and productive forces of capitalism in the bourgeois national state.

Therefore the national question of the first type in class content is a bourgeois national movement, a contradiction principally between the rising bourgeoisie and declining feudalists. It is tied to the character and tasks of the bourgeois democratic revolution in the period of rising capitalism. Lenin said, “The creation of these national ties was nothing but the creation of bourgeois ties.”[7] In that historical context, the bourgeois national movement was progressive, but we have long since moved into the era of imperialism, and “in these countries progressive bourgeois national movements came to an end long ago.”[8]

While “the national state is typical and normal for the capitalist period” as in the whole of Western Europe, Lenin added: “To this we must add Kautsky’s still more precise concluding remark that states of mixed national composition (known as multinational states, as distinct from national states) are ’always those whose internal constitution has for some reason or other remained abnormal or underdeveloped’ (backward).”[9] Such was the case with the United States, during its bourgeois national movement and the bourgeois democratic revolution in the War of Independence against England and during the second bourgeois democratic revolution at the time of the Civil War. Despite this “abnormality,” giving to it certain specific features which had an impact on the national question in the United States then and now, its formation falls into this first main type of national question. The particular point to note is that we should apply the same method of class analysis and dialectical historical materialist application of Stalin’s four criteria, and especially make a distinction between the developmental process of the dominant oppressor nation and that of the oppressed nation, i.e. the Afro-American nation of the Black Belt South.

The elements of nationhood for the Afro-American nation in the Black Belt South, its potentiality as a nation, gradually developed under the Southern plantation economy. In the period of Reconstruction after the Civil War, these elements of nationhood were further developed under the semi-feudal, semi-capitalist economy in the South, finally forming a nation, feeble but nevertheless a nation. It was feeble exactly because it was an oppressed nation, forcibly suppressed economically, culturally and politically by dominant “white oppressor nation,” its subjective forces[9a] were not strong enough to deliver the to-be-born national state from the womb of the nation. Without statehood, the Afro-American national base and superstructure could not be fully consolidated and were further suppressed, its four main characteristics as a nation naturally not as developed and prominent as those of an oppressor nation with statehood. Not to make this crucial distinction easily leads one into vulgar materialism and liquidation of the Afro-American nation.

First Period, Second Type

The second type of national question, which is also bourgeois in character, is not only linked up with the general development of capitalism from feudalism, but also with the uneven development of capitalism. It involves the process of formation of a multi-national bourgeois state, the further development of capitalism in the different nations within the state, intensifying inner state national contradictions and national movements, against the dominant oppressor nation. In class content, it is basically a struggle of the bourgeoisie of the oppressed nation, who one way or another also draw in other classes, against the bourgeoisie of the dominant oppressor nation.

The historical conditions for the formation of these multi-national bourgeois states were: 1) the centralized state was formed before the liquidation of feudalism and 2) the development of capitalism among the oppressed nationalities was not consolidated enough into integral nations before the centralized state was transformed into a multi-national bourgeois state based on the dominance of the oppressor bourgeois nation within it.

In Eastern Europe, on the contrary, the formation of centralized states, accelerated by the needs of self-defense (invasion by Turks, Mongols, etc.) took place before feudalism was liquidated; hence before the formation of nations. As a consequence, the nations here did not, and could not, develop into national states; instead, several mixed, multi-national bourgeois states were formed, usually consisting of one strong dominant nation and of several weak, subject nations.[10]

This special method of formation of states could take place only where feudalism had not yet been eliminated, where capitalism was feebly developed, where the nationalities which had been forced into the background had not yet been able to consolidate themselves economically into integral nations.[11]

But as capitalism developed within such a multinational bourgeois state, these nationalities “were becoming economically consolidated,” with the development of capitalism and bourgeois democracy ”arousing them and stirring them into action and helping to strengthen ’national sentiments’” such that they formed into nations. But these oppressed nations “could no longer form themselves into independent national states; they encountered on their path the very powerful resistance of the ruling strata of the dominant nations, which had long ago assumed the control of the state. They were too late!”[12] Therefore the nature of the national question here, i.e., the class content of the national movement here, is basically between the ruling class of the oppressor nation and the bourgeoisie of the oppressed nations (“urban petty bourgeoisie,” “rural bourgeoisie” or the whole “national bourgeoisie”). The chief struggle is over the home market but also “spreads from the economic sphere to the political sphere, . . . language, . . . franchise, . . .schools, religious restrictions, and so on . . . .The bourgeoisie of the oppressed nation, repressed on every hand, is naturally stirred into movement. It appeals to its “native folks” and begins to shout about the ’fatherland,’ claiming that its own cause is the cause of the nation as a whole.” And “the bourgeoisie plays the leading role.”[13] It is in this sense that we say the national question of this second type is basically a struggle between the bourgeoisie of the oppressor and oppressed nations.

While the first type of national question historically emerged “approximately between 1789 and 1871,” the period of bourgeois democratic revolution and rising capitalism, the second type of national question (due to the uneven development of capitalism not only internally in the East European countries but also compared with the West European countries) emerged with “the period of bourgeois democratic revolutions (which) did not begin until 1905.”[14] In the capitalist world, it is beginning to enter into the era of imperialism and the eve of proletarian socialist revolution. But internally in these East European states, it is either in the period of declining feudalism in contention and collaboration with the rising liberal bourgeois (where the proletariat emerges to contend for leadership with the bourgeoisie for bourgeois democratic revolution of the “old” or “new type”) or it is at the turning point where the bourgeoisie of the dominant nation is becoming the ruling imperialist bourgeoisie. In the latter case, the movement of the oppressed nation is tied to its fight against the imperialist bourgeoisie of the oppressor nation and to the fight of the worker-peasant of the oppressor nation against the imperialist bourgeoisie in their own nation. That is to say, the overall historical context of revolutionary situation takes on the character and tasks of both socialist revolution in other imperialist countries and/or that in the dominant nations in the multi-national state; and the bourgeois democratic revolution (either the “old” or “new type”) in the oppressed nations and/or the oppressor nation within the multi-national state itself. That is why we say that the national question of the second type is at a juncture between the first and the second period, bearing characteristics of both and being a mixture of both periods.

Essential Difference: Class Content

It is because of this juncture that Lenin said: “here it was the 20th century that particularly developed the bourgeois democratic national movements and intensified the national struggle. The tasks of the proletariat in these countries, both in completing their bourgeois-democratic reforms [through either the old type or new of bourgeois democratic revolution], and rendering assistance to the socialist revolution in other countries, cannot be carried out without championing the rights of nations [i.e., these oppressed nations] to self-determination.”[15] Such was the case with the oppressed nations in the border regions of Russia where the Social Democrats supported the rights of these nations to self-determination, and the proletariat in these nations had to complete their bourgeois democratic national movement against Great Russian tsarist feudal autocracy. Thus they assisted the socialist revolution of the neighboring imperialist countries of West Europe, and also assisted the socialist revolution in Great Russia, the oppressor nation, during the revolution. This was the type of national question Lenin spoke of as “the national question of present,” and in that historical context a bourgeois democratic national movement of the oppressed nation has a progressive, though limited and not thorough-going, role. We long ago passed that period as well as the first.

The New Voice, among other groups, tries to prove that because the formation of the United States did not follow the same pattern as these East European countries (no feudal aristocracy controlled and impeded the development of capitalism in the territory of the Negro nation), the United States cannot be a multi-national state. New Voice totally misses the essence of the character of the first type and the second type. A priori they take the first type to be a national bourgeois state and the second type to be a multi-national bourgeois state, and see this as the essential difference. They fail to take the class content as the essential difference. And thus they fail to understand that both types depend on their historical contexts and their own different particularities. Secondly, although the formation of the United States falls into the category of the first type, due to its “abnormality,” the country is an exception to the general rule of national states of the first type and is a multinational bourgeois state instead.

Exactly because of this, as it entered the period of Civil War and Reconstruction, the Afro-American nation in the Black Belt South was formed as an oppressed nation within the multi-national state of the United States. As far as the Afro-American nation in the Black Belt South as an oppressed nation is concerned, the Afro-American national question has certain characteristics of the second type: 1) the Afro-American nation was developed into a nation after a multi-national state was formed, and 2) due to the uneven development of capitalism within the multinational state, this nation could not develop into a national bourgeois state. It was suppressed by the dominant bourgeois nation, the “white” bourgeois nation, the North and South merging into an integral capitalist system. The national question of the Afro-American nation in the Black Belt South at that particular juncture had the character of a bourgeois democratic national movement of the Afro-American bourgeoisie, feeble and developing but never consolidated, who drew in masses of Afro-Americans of other classes. Likewise, “they encountered on their path the very powerful resistance of the ruling strata of the dominant nations, which had long ago assumed the control of the state. They were too late!”[16] Its subjective factor was not strong enough and the national state could not be formed; the nation was further suppressed. This national question was not and could not be resolved; as the United States passed into imperialism, the character and aim of this national question was accordingly transformed. “The changes in character and tasks of revolution in the various stages of its development give rise to corresponding changes in the character and aims of the national question.”[17] And we add, including the national question of the same oppressed nationality, as long as it remains unresolved and passed on to another historical period.

Second Period Shaped by Imperialism

In the era of imperialism, on the eve of proletarian socialist revolution, we enter the second period of the national question, in which the third type is the main type. There must be a presentation of the national question altogether and fundamentally different from the first two types, because the contradiction in the world changes, with new social and political development characteristic of imperialism, and corresponding changes in the class content in the character and aim of the national question.[17a]

“The further development of capitalism. . .and finally development of imperialism. . . led, on the one hand, to the seizure of new territories by the old national states [those of the first type in the first period] to the transformation of the latter into multinational (colonial) states, with their inherent national oppression and national conflicts (Britain, France, Germany, Italy); on the other hand, among the dominant nations in the old multinational states [those of the second type] they intensified the striving not only to retain the old state frontiers, but to expand them, to subjugate new (weak) nationalities at the expense of neighboring states. This widened the national question and, finally, by the very course of developments merged it with the general question of the colonies; and national oppression was transformed from an intra-state question into an inter-state question, a question of the struggle (and war) between the ’great’ imperialist powers for the subjugation of weak, unequal nationalities.[18] And this developed as the old national or multi-national states disintegrated and new national or multi-national states emerged. The “four principal points which distinguish the new presentation of the national question” summed up by Stalin are, briefly: “the merging of the National Question, as a part, with the general question of the liberation of the colonies as a whole.... the vague slogan of the right of nations and colonies to secede, to form independent states.... the disclosure of the organic connection between the national and colonial question and the question of the rule of capital, of overthrowing capitalism, of the dictatorship of the proletariat;. . . that a new element has been introduced into the National Question – the element of the actual (and not merely juridical) equalization of nations. . .as one of the conditions necessary for securing fraternal co-operation between laboring masses of the various nations.”[19]

In the second period, the national question and the national movements of the oppressed have become part of the general question of the international proletarian revolution against imperialism, and the character and aims of the national question have become closely integrated with the revolutionary tasks of the proletariat against imperialism. The third main type of national question, the worker-peasant-alliance national movement in the context of new democratic revolution, falls within the national question of this period. Whether colonial or not, inter- or intra-state, with or without nationhood, national questions in the second period fall into this category.

The third type of national question involves the colonial or semi-colonial subjugation of backward (feudal or semi-feudal) nations by imperialist countries. The nature of such national oppression and national movement is contradiction between the oppressed nations – in particular the masses of workers, peasants, urban petty bourgeoisie and national bourgeoisie – and the imperialist oppressor nations; and the task of this national movement is to achieve national liberation and formation of independent states. But its contradiction with imperialism is invariably bound up with its internal class contradictions, its democratic fight against feudalism and its internal class division with the big landlords and big comprador bourgeoisie siding with imperialism, whose class capitulation relates to national capitulationism. The class task and national tasks of the masses under worker-peasant leadership in these oppressed nations are united under the revolutionary program and strategy of New Democracy, a bourgeois democratic revolution of the “new type” to overthrow imperialist oppression for independence and to overthrow their class enemies (feudalists and comprador bourgeoisie) for the dictatorship of the worker-peasants. Such is the character of this type of national question.

Third World: Focal Point

Based on this, the policy of communists “must not only demand the unconditional and immediate liberation of the colonies without compensation – and this demand in its political expression signifies nothing else than the recognition of the right to self-determination; they must also render determined support to the more revolutionary elements in the bourgeois democratic movements [i.e., new democracy] for national liberation in these countries and assist their uprising – or revolutionary war, in the event of one – against the imperialist powers that oppress them.”[20] This applies to “the semi-colonial countries, such as China, Persia and Turkey, and all the colonies” which at Lenin’s time of writing, “the bourgeois democratic movements either have hardly begun, or have still a long way to go.”[21] These movements of the third world countries have become a motive force of history and a main force in fighting imperialism worldwide, and especially against the two superpowers, which gives powerful aid to the proletarian movement in imperialist countries for socialism and vice versa.

As we have said, the national question here has been transformed from “an intra-state question into an inter-state question” because it involves the subjugation of other countries (i.e., states) by imperialist states and the inter-contradiction among these imperialist states. But this “inter-state” feature is not the fundamental determining characteristic of the national question of the third type – its class content is the worker-peasant of the oppressed nation against imperialism, its aim is new democratic revolution and national liberation. These are the fundamental characteristics of the national question of the third type. Each particular case of national question may take a different form (inter-state is indeed the general rule) and its resolution may also take different forms of self-determination (political secession as independent states is also the general rule). To confuse the general form with the real content would lead one to liquidate (like the Revolutionary Communist Party does) the national question of the third type. They do not see that it can exist for oppressed nations within a multi-national state as an “intra-state question” whereby the right of self-determination is applicable, must be upheld and is not a negative demand. This is the case with the Afro-American nation of the Black Belt South, whose national question, as it entered the second period, became a national question of the third type. The United States was a multi-national bourgeois state at its formation, the Afro-American nation was never a state and was not later “captured” as a colony during the era of imperialism; therefore this question definitely does not take on the “inter-state” form. Nevertheless, under the imperialist oppression of the dominant nation, under the semi-feudal, semi-capitalist conditions in the Black Belt South (sharecropping, Afro-Americans tied to the land, uneven development of capitalism in the South, etc.) the national question after Reconstruction and up to the early 1900s was one of contradiction between the worker-peasants of the oppressed Afro-American nation and U.S. imperialism. Because of this characteristic its national question is of the third type, the right of self-determination must be supported and its national liberation is tied to the new democratic revolutionary movement of the worker-peasants of the Afro-American nation, as reflected in the programmatic demands put forth in the 30’s by the Communist International.


An essential aspect of the political bankruptcy of the Revolutionary Communist Party lies in their position that the right of self-determination of the Afro-American nation in the Black Belt South is a “negative demand,” and their liquidation of the right and of the duty to uphold it. This is part and parcel of their overall ideological physiognomy of national chauvinism, which in practice opposes and smothers the mighty revolutionary potential of the Afro-American national movement. Their theoretical justification boils down to a few main points: a) that the achievement of self-determination is not possible until after U.S. imperialism is overthrown; b) that even if it is possible then, it is a step backward because the proletariat always favors a larger state; c) that it is an internal state question, one basic contradiction, one fundamental revolutionary task, for one socialist state; d) that the material conditions have transformed and the demand for the right of self-determination is not at the heart of the Afro-American national movement anyway. We will try to deal with these one by one.

They say, “But such a step [achieving self-determination] would only really be possible after the overthrow of imperialism, which will undoubtedly require a fairly protracted period of civil war. No one can predict how all this will go down, but exactly for this reason, no one, at least no Marxist, should insist on such a step, which might very well prove to be impossible, or contrary to the interests of the proletariat, during such a civil war, and even after, during the period of socialist construction.”[22]

“Impracticability” is used as a reason for reducing the right of self-determination to a negative demand. This is the same kind of imperialist economism of the ’left’ curvet – “we are opposed to a minimum programme [i.e., opposed to struggle for reforms and democracy] as ’contradictory’ to socialist revolution” that Lenin opposed.[23] Lenin also pointed out that: “It would be no less a mistake to remove one of the points of the democratic program, for example, the point on the self-determination of nations, on the grounds of it being ’impracticable’ or ’illusory’ under imperialism.”[24] We’ll try to follow his methodology in refuting this theory of “impracticability” in both the absolute, economic sense, and the conditional, political sense.

In the economic sense, it is true that as long as imperialism exists there will be national oppression. As Stalin said, “Imperialism cannot exist without the political and economic enslavement of the unequal nations and colonies; the unequal nations and colonies cannot be liberated without overthrowing the rule of capital.”[25] This is the overall law that governs the development of imperialism and the future perspective of oppressed nations. But this is quite different from saying that liberation of oppressed nations and realizing self-determination to form independent states through defeating the oppressing imperialists cannot be achieved without fully overthrowing imperialism and ending the era of imperialism by proletarian socialist revolutions in all imperialist countries. First of all, because of uneven development of capitalism and inter-imperialist contradictions “it would be absurd to deny that some slight change in the political and strategic relations” among different imperialist countries “might today or tomorrow make the formation of” independent states of oppressed nations “fully ’practicable’.”[26] In addition, from the imperialists’ viewpoint they can still try to maintain economic dominance over “independent” countries who have used force to achieve the right to political secession. In another situation, the imperialists may give “political” independence to maintain economic control. All these have been proved by history, even more than the example of Norway/Sweden since Lenin’s time. RCP still tries to negate history and the logical extension of their argument is Trotskyism. The “third period” they are talking about is indeed not the era of imperialism, but a phantom.

Chauvinism, Pragmatism Abound

In the political sense, political secession in exercising the right of self-determination can only be achieved through revolution, whether new democratic or socialist in character and aim. In this sense, it is a basic program. Indeed, “not only the right of nations to self-determination, but all the fundamental demands [basic program] are only partially ’practicable’ under imperialism, and then in a distorted form and by ways of exception (for example the secession of Norway from Sweden in 1905). . .But from this it does not by any means follow that self-determination should reject the immediate and most determined struggle for all these demands. . . but on the contrary it follows that these demands must be formulated and put through in a revolutionary and not a reformist manner. . . ”[27] The RCP instead wants us to save our time and energy in seeking revolutionary tactics rather than reformist tactics because they might prove “contradictory to the interests of the proletariat.” This is indeed chauvinism and pragmatism unbound, liquidating the question instead of promoting and correctly channeling the revolutionary potential of the Afro-American national movement against imperialism. They want quick results along the path of least resistance, instead of struggling for revolutionary tactics to guide the national movement along the interests of the proletariat and masses of the oppressed nation. Our stand, on the contrary, is that if political secession is a genuine demand raised by the masses of Afro-Americans, we will actively support and fight for it in a revolutionary way up to the new democratic or socialist revolutionary liberation of the Afro-American nation in the Black Belt South and socialist revolution in the United States. RCP’s “third period” is obviously not the era of imperialism when any genuine mass revolutionary movement (for political secession included) against imperialism has revolutionary potential and has to be supported.

Regarding their idea that the right of self-determination is a negative demand because a separate state is a step backward, they say: “under present and foreseeable conditions the step of returning Black people to the ’Black Belt’ and actually forming a separate state would, in fact, be a step backward.”[28] “And as Lenin stressed, ’other conditions being equal, the class conscious proletariat will always stand for larger state,’ because the larger state allows for the fuller development of productive forces and of the struggle against the bourgeoisie... ”[29] And “this larger socialist state will provide a much stronger material base for meeting the needs and demands of the Black people. . . ”[30] This is nothing but another attempt to liquidate the national question under the name of the proletariat and socialism. (Despite the fact they take “other conditions being equal” to mean “the equality of nations.”)

First, we do not dispute that a larger socialist state has superiority over divided small ones for the continuing socialist revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat and development of socialism on a world scale. But that should not lead to the “negative demand” conclusion. We uphold “Lenin’s well-known thesis that it is the aim of socialism not only to abolish the division of mankind into small states and every form of isolation of nations, not only to bring the nations closer together, but also to merge them.”[31] But he also said: “In the same way as mankind can arrive at the abolition of classes only through a transition period of the dictatorship of the oppressed class, it can arrive at the inevitable integration of nations only through a transition period of the complete emancipation of all oppressed nations, i.e. their freedom to secede.”[32] As Stalin pointed out there are “two entirely different epochs” involved here, the second period of imperialism including socialism in one or a few countries and the future third period of socialism on a world scale.

National distrust, national isolation, national enmity and national conflicts are, of course, stimulated and fostered. . . by the striving of imperialism to subjugate other nations and by the fear inspired in these nations by the menace of national enslavement. Undoubtedly, so long as world imperialism exists this striving and this fear will exist. . .the victory of socialism in one country, notwithstanding the fact that it seriously weakens world imperialism, does not and cannot create the conditions necessary for the merging of the nations and the national languages of the world into one integral whole.[33]

To attempt to bring about the merging of nations by decree from above, by compulsion, would be playing into the hands of the imperialists, it would spell disaster to the cause of the liberation of nations, and be fatal to the cause of organizing co-operation and fraternity among nations. Such a policy would be tantamount to a policy of assimilation. . .as being anti-popular and counterrevolutionary policy, a fatal policy.[34]

It is only in the future period of socialism on a world scale that the necessary conditions will be gradually created, step-by-step: “National oppression completely abolished. . . growth and flourishing of the former nations and national languages, the consolidation of equality among nations, the elimination of mutual national distrust, and the establishment and strengthening of international ties among nations . . . when the world socialist system of economy becomes sufficiently consolidated and socialism becomes part and parcel of the life of people, and when practice convinces the nations of the advantage of a common language over national languages – national differences and languages will being to die away and make room for a world language, common to all nations.”[35] Although “national language” is a focal point in Stalin’s polemics here, this “approximate picture of the future of nations” applies to the overall question of “the development of the nations along the path to their merging in the future.”[36]

Given this larger framework, it goes without saying that RCP’s argument against the existence of Soviet nations in principle in the name of the socialist stand on the merging of nations is confusing the two different epochs; indeed their “negative demand” line is a chauvinist counter-revolutionary policy of assimilation, “a fatal policy,” and their “third period” is not the present era of imperialism but the future period of socialism on a world scale.

Singleminded or Simpleminded?

With their argument about “negative demand” in “internal state question” and one contradiction-one revolution-one state, RCP tries to play with dialectics subjectively and flexibly, but only lapses into sophistry. Their Red Papers state: “In this analysis of the three periods of the National Question, we see not the negation of the National Question, but the negation of the negation. The first period – an internal state question, but essentially a question of bourgeoisie vs. bourgeoisie. Second period – not an internal state question, and not essentially a question of bourgeoisie vs. bourgeoisie – but the peasant masses against imperialism (and feudalism). . .Third period – once again an internal state question, but under new conditions, of a new type. . .Now it is in essence a question of the proletariat vs. bourgeoisie, in a direct (one stage) showdown.”[37] But apparently what hasn’t been negated is this: “when the National Question is an ’internal state question,’ when there is the direct possibility of a single proletarian revolution throughout the entire state, the right of self-determination was a negative demand.”[38] “The single multi-national proletariat in the U.S. has one basic or fundamental contradiction of this society – the overthrow of the bourgeoisie by the working class, and the establishment of the rule of the working class to build socialism and advance to communism.”[39] In this context, the Afro-American national question “is also directly and immediately a part of the struggle for socialism, within the country (the U.S.) itself.”[40] It boils down to this: since the United States is a multinational state, the national question in the United States is an internal state question, and this in principle makes the right of self-determination a negative demand; within this one state, there can be only one basic contradiction and one socialist revolution, of which the national question is part. Since the right of self-determination could lead to another state outside this same state, it is a negative demand.

Their “negation of negation” is phony because they miss the essence of why it was a negative demand in the first period (for the second type of national question). Whether the right of self-determination is positive or negative depends on whether it is revolutionary under the concrete historical context in which it arises. When Lenin discussed “the negative demand for recognition of the right of self-determination,” he was discussing it in the context of the second main type of national question in the first period, when “the bourgeoisie always places its national demands in the forefront and does so in categorical fashion. . . For the bourgeoisie it is important to hamper this development by pushing the aims of its ’own’ nation before those of the proletariat.”[41] So answering a “’yes’ or ’no’ reply to the question of secession in the case of every nation – like the bourgeoisie wants to push for a categorical ’yes’ – in reality it is absurd; it is metaphysical in theory, while in practice it leads to subordinating the proletariat to the bourgeoisie’s policy.”[42] The proletariat should have its independent class policy based on the criteria “to ensure the development of its class” and that “the bourgeois nationalism of any oppressed nation has a general democratic content [still referring to the second type in the first period] that is directed against oppression, and it is this content that we unconditionally support. At the same time we strictly distinguish it from the tendency towards national exclusiveness; we fight against the tendency of the Polish bourgeoisie to oppress the Jews, etc.”[43] The proletariat cannot support the call for secession unconditionally. It is in this context that Lenin said: “That is why the proletariat confines itself, so to speak, to the negative demand for recognition of the right to self-determination, without guarantees to any nation, and without undertaking to give anything at the expense of another nation.”[44]

What the RCP mistakenly does with all this is take all internal state questions of secession as negative demands instead of analyzing the context and criteria, and take “negative demand” to mean a backward step to be opposed instead of giving support or not based on conditions and criteria from the proletarian standpoint. “Negation of negation” of something incorrect to start with does not make anything correct, as when RCP applies this to the Afro-American national question to come out with a “categorical ’no’” to its right of self-determination. We say under the conditions of the present second period, that the right of self-determination of the Afro-American nation will unleash their revolutionary potential and promote proletarian unity, and on this condition of facilitating proletarian class struggle against imperialism, it is not a negative demand. Secondly, although we do not actively advocate political secession, we will support and fight for it if the masses of Afro-Americans genuinely raise it, because again under that condition it facilitates proletarian class struggle against imperialism. In this sense we support secession conditionally, but not with a “categorical ’no’” and seeing it necessarily a step backward as RCP does.

It turns out that the implication and “new conditions” of RCP’s “third period” in content is the same as that of the first period; and their “proletarian nation of a new type” the same as the old second type.

Land Question Brushed Off

Their statement that: “there is nothing ’sacred’ about the present boundaries of the U.S. because they were formed on the basis of barbaric oppression of the Indians, Mexican people and Black people, and that the only thing sacred is the unity of the proletariat and its allies, especially the oppressed nationalities .... ”[45] is really just high-sounding lip service. They are themselves observing the sacredness of imperialist state boundaries when they argue that because the United States is a multi-national state, the national question is an internal state question and has to be resolved “within the country (the U.S.) itself,” (their emphasis) – no new state boundary allowed, merging of nations compulsed.

On the transformed material conditions and the right of self-determination not being at the heart of the Afro-American national movement, RCP sums up the new material conditions as: “First, the masses of Black people in particular are workers and not peasants. Secondly, while members of an oppressed nation, Black workers are part of the single multi-national U.S. proletariat. Third, Black people are dispersed, not only from their historical homeland in the Black Belt – but within the Black Belt itself, they are more interspersed with whites. . . Finally, the struggle of the masses of Black people against imperialism, (but) it is the imperialist ruling class of the U.S., and not a ’foreign’ imperialist that this struggle is directed against.”[46] While these statements taken by themselves are either true or at least partially true, we dispute RCP’s conclusion liquidating the right of self-determination and negating that it is or can be at the heart of the Afro-American national movement.

For the RCP, peasantry is tied to land, so a territorial question exists; but since it is no longer a peasant question, out the window go the territorial question and the right of self-determination (together with the other reasons). (See their section on “The Agrarian Question, Peasant Question and Class Question Today,” Red Papers 6, p. 104-110) It was a good thing that earlier they distinguished the two senses of the “land question” – farmland, referring to the agrarian question, and territory, referring to the fact that “the ’Black Belt’ is the historical homeland of the Black people in the U.S.”[47] But it is a self-mockery that later they brush off the ’land question’ by liquidating the first sense because it is no longer a peasant question, and the second sense because of dispersal and interspersal. We say that even though today the Afro-American peasantry composes a small numerical percentage, the land question is not resolved under imperialism and remains a genuine demand. More importantly, when this is raised by the masses and taken up by the masses as a fight, although the Afro-American national question in essence is not a question of “land to the tiller”, it can unleash tremendous revolutionary potential spontaneously and especially if given correct leadership. This is so exactly because the nation and national sentiments for historic homeland, whether still tied to peasant farmland or not, cannot be liquidated or pass away by dispersal and interspersal. To negate this, like RCP does, is to negate the dynamic role of subjective factor of national sentiments.

Summing up, RCP’s line on the negative demand of the right of self-determination in the context of their “third period” and “proletariat of a new type” does not hold water in their theoretical justifications, and is politically bankrupt. Their last-ditch effort to cover their chauvinism by stating that “what upholding the right of self-determination means under our concrete conditions” is “to educate the workers, especially white workers, to the understanding that there is nothing ’sacred’ about the present boundaries of the U.S.. . .that the only thing sacred is the unity of the proletariat and its allies, especially the oppressed nationalities and the building of socialism on the basis of true national equality and voluntary union.”[48] This is phony lip service as we have shown, and it butchers the actual and revolutionary content of right to self-determination.

RCP’s line on “third period,” “proletarian nation of a new type” and “negative demand of right of self-determination” is of course not isolated but is part of their overall stand, viewpoint and method on the national question as well as their overall ideological and political physiognomy. Theirs is the stand of petty bourgeois indignation against imperialism and national chauvinism under the guise of proletarian internationalism (the oppressed should unite with the proletariat of the oppressor nation because the former need the latter); the viewpoint of drawing no real distinction between the oppressor and oppressed nation (as in their compulsive merging of nations without dealing with “enmity,” “distrust” fostered by imperialism and “national differences” due to the basis of old society) and of liquidating the national question in the name of the class question and the method of seeking immediate pragmatic results and the path of least resistance (as in the question of “impracticability” of self-determination, and in seeing that national sentiments are a roadblock to multinational unity and that the national movement has to be smothered when it cannot be “utilized”).

This basically represents the trend of national chauvinism and of a ’left’ curvet of imperialist economism on the national question, which though in many ways is linked to the October League, nevertheless takes a different form. The OL is more characterized by petty bourgeois guilt-whipping, placing the national question above and apart from the class question, tailing the national bourgeoisie of the oppressed nation, and filled with bourgeois democratic illusions of seeking “actual realization” of this or that demand under imperialism.

What Cannot Be United?

The RCP ends up with two “Black Nations” in the United States. They claim to uphold the right to self-determination for the historic homeland, in the Black Belt region of the South, thus conforming with the Comintern positions of 1928. However, they have softened up on their “dispersed, black, proletarian nation of a new type” (their second Black Nation). Their mid-1974 position for the party was that minimum unity on “the right of self-determination does apply to Black people” though “it is not necessary to hold strictly to Black people being a nation in terms of the five criteria laid out by Stalin.”[49]

In Red Papers 5, RCP presents us with a muddled attempt to explain Stalin’s struggle against the “cultural-national autonomy” line of the Austrian Social Democrats. They quote from Marxism and the National Question, where Stalin discusses the “dispersion of nations” in the higher stages of capitalism, whereby groups separate from the nations and permanently settle in other regions of the state. RCP tries to use the questions Stalin raises to prove their creative nation of a new type.

The question arises: is it possible to unite into a single national union groups that have grown so distinct? What are the magic links to unite what cannot be united? Is it conceivable that, for instance, the Germans of the Baltic Provinces and the Germans of Transcaucasia can be ’united into a single nation’? [Our emphasis]

The thrust of the questions is sarcastic, yet the RCP twists it around as if Stalin is laying out more criteria for a nation. So they argue, “There are still real – and not magical – links that continue to unite the Black people into a national union – a nation of a new type, under new conditions – a proletarian nation, dispersed throughout the U.S., but at the same time, concentrated within the urban industrial centers.”[50] Moreover they misrepresent Stalin’s polemical line against “cultural-national autonomy.” RCP says that Stalin was fighting “bourgeois nationalists” who formulated that “if an oppressed national group was dispersed throughout the state” they would have been “given a certain percentage of the representative of the legislative bodies.”[51]

In actuality, Stalin was clearly pointing out that the “cultural-national autonomy” line left out the jurisdiction over political questions and covered only cultural questions. Stalin emphatically pointed out: “The first thing that strikes the eye is the entirely inexplicable and absolutely unjustifiable substitution of national autonomy for self-determination of nations . . . For there is no doubt a) that cultural-national autonomy presupposes the integrity of the multinational state, whereas self-determination goes outside the framework of this integrity, and b) that self-determination endows a nation with complete rights, whereas national autonomy endows it only with ’cultural’ rights.”[52]

The Austrian Social Democrats in pushing this “cultural-national autonomy” line left out the question of political rights. Seeing culture as what Stalin called “magic links” uniting “what cannot be united” into a “single nation,” in raising culture as the single or determinant characteristic of a nation (obliterating the question of territory), they actually proposed these “national institutions,” these unions of autonomous nationalities, irrespective of territory, to have jurisdiction over “cultural” questions thus reserving political questions for the Austrian Parliament (the Reichstat).[53]

Did Stalin propose how to correctly deal with nationalities with “a definite population inhabiting a definite territory” (Marxism and the National Question) and with national minorities that are interspersed among national majorities? Indeed he did. In the first case he proposed the only correct solution of “regional autonomy” for nations, “which for one reason or another will prefer to remain within the framework of the whole.” In the second case of national minorities, those who fear that they will be oppressed by national majorities, Stalin explained, “But what the minorities want is not an artificial union, but real rights in the localities they inhabit... A minority is discontented not because there is no national union but because it does not enjoy the right to use its native language.” In summing up, Stalin stated, “Thus, equal rights of nations in all forms (language, schools, etc.) is an essential element in the solution of the national question. Consequently, a state law based on complete democratization of the country is required, prohibiting all national privileges without exception and every kind of disability or restriction on the rights of national minorities.”[54] [Emphasis in original]

Nationhood: More Than Community Control

Take a quote from Red Papers 5, in which the RCP makes several mistakes in their paraphrasing of Stalin’s arguments: “The real solution to national oppression – as far as a solution was possible under capitalism – was for the oppressed nationalities to exercise control over the cultural and educational institutions in the and for the bourgeois-democratic revolution to be developed as fully as possible. At the same time, oppressed nationalities had the right to form a separate state in the territory where they formed a nation.”[55] [Our emphasis]

In this quote the RCP mixes up Stalin’s solutions to the national question, while trying to paraphrase him. As quoted above, Stalin explicitly laid out three propositions on the national question. He also discussed the question of the party. This is summed up in “Report on the National Question:” a) recognition of the right of nations to secession; b) regional autonomy for nations remaining within the given state; c) special legislation guaranteeing freedom of development for national minorities; d) a single, indivisible proletarian collective, a single party, for the proletarians of all nationalities of the given state.[56]

RCP uses the term “oppressed nationalities” in two different instances to purposely blur the distinctions made by Stalin, as if Stalin did not recognize the question of dispersed national minorities. They do this to sneak in their two types of Black Nations in the United States. Their “creative” use of Marxism-Leninism is based on conditions unlike Russia; the United States has been under a relatively long period of imperialist rule. Thus, they argue, “a considerable part of the Black bourgeoisie was not only weak and underdeveloped, but was actually forced to operate outside the Black Belt. . .the class structure within the Black nation is reproduced in its deformed character, within the present concentration of Black population – the urban ghettoes.”[57]

To sneak in their “community control” line, the RCP misrepresents Stalin to be emphasizing “control over” cultural institutions, in regards to the rights of oppressed national minorities. As stated above, Stalin had to emphasize “political rights” and that there were correct paths to take, one embodying “regional autonomy” (instead of the incorrect “national autonomy” or “cultural-national autonomy”) and another aimed at defending the “equal rights” of national minorities and “prohibiting all national privileges.”

Stalin’s Emphasis on Party’s Role

The policy of Tsarism and national oppression, we must remember, not only smashed the “germs of statehood” and “mutilated their culture” but exacerbated the contradictions of economic underdevelopment and political backwardness. So the national question has always been more than the question of “rights” and “control over culture” which our petty-bourgeois moralists and Utopians have focused the communist movement on.

From this deviation, we hear the RCP talking about firmly upholding the “right of self-determination” of Black people in the United States. They’re not sure about what kind of nation to uphold this right for (take your pick of the “Black Belt homeland” or the “dispersed proletarian Black nation” or both.)

Laying out the tasks of the consolidation of Soviet power, Stalin in 1921 called on the party to assist the masses of the Soviet Republics to: a) develop and strengthen the Soviet statehood in forms corresponding to the national complexion of these peoples; b) to set up their courts, administration, economic organizations and organs of power, functioning in the native languages and staffed with local people familiar with the manner of life and the mentality of the local population; c) to develop their press, schools, theatres, recreation clubs, and cultural and educational institutions generally, functioning in the native languages.[58]

This is not quite the same as RCP’s paraphrasing Stalin on “exercising of control over cultural institutions” under capitalism, under bourgeois democracy. Instead of creating a “national union, a nation of a new type,” Stalin did have something to say about national minorities: “There still exist in the RSFSR floating national groups, national minorities, interspersed among compact majorities of other nationalities, and in most cases having neither a definite class structure nor a definite territory (Letts, Estonians, Poles, Jews and other national minorities). . .the Party’s task in relation to the labouring masses of these national groups is to help them to make the fullest use of their guaranteed right to free development.”[59]

The RCP purports to agree with the Comintern Resolutions of 1928-30. To explain why they feel that the character of the Black national question has been “transformed” they talk about changed conditions in the South. They say that “the economy of the South as a whole was not only more backward as a region (which it still is today), but was qualitatively different from the rest of the country.”[60]

To prove this point they precede this paragraph with three pages of statistics to show how “dispersed” the black population is. They issue a whole slew of statistical arguments examining where there is a “majority” of blacks or whites, here or there. They offhandedly toss in comparisons, such as the black population of New York City (1.7 million) being greater than that of any single Southern state today. This is “proof” that the “Black Belt” has no characteristics today to make it different from “any other part of the country.”

The fact that a people has been virtually routed from their historic homeland, that the scourge of imperialist economics squeezes the last ounce of life from the exploited in each stage of the development of economic life under capitalism, is insufficient to prove today that the Black Belt is no different “from any other part of the country,” Marxist-Leninists in the past have correctly dealt with situations of emigration of peoples whose land was robbed by colonizing settlers or desirous landlords and bourgeoisie. The question of mixed grouping of nationalities in a given region or the majority or minority question in given localities has never been such an unfathomable headache as it appears to be for the statisticians of the RCP.

Similar to Irish National Question

The British had similar difficulties in understanding the Irish national question. Heavy doses of chauvinism dulled the ability of the revolutionary class of England to carry out its task of emancipation. As Engels pointed out, what existed was “the belief, only too common among the English working men, that they were superior beings compared to the Irish, and as much an aristocracy as the mean whites of the Slave States considered themselves to be with regard to the Negroes.”[61]

Engels described Ireland as England’s first colony, whose plunder was one of the sources of England’s industrial development, a bloody source of primitive accumulation. Engels wrote, “Their (Irish) landholdings robbed and given to English invaders, the Irish people outlawed in their own land and transformed into a nation of outcasts.”[62] The Irish famine of 1846 killed one million people. Amidst this, the demands of the big landlords and the English bourgeoisie was for cheaper animal products, instead of the grain and potatoes the Irish had been producing. In Capital, Marx referred to Ireland as “an agricultural district of England,” supplying the latter with “corn, wool, cattle, industrial and military recruits.”

In the 20 years following 1846 Ireland lost nearly one-third of her total population (8 million down to 5 million). Its total emigration in this period was over 2 million. (Marx wrote, “In 1855-66, 1,032,694 Irishmen were displaced by 996,877 head of cattle.”)

The experience of Ireland is key to Marxist-Leninist understanding of the national question. In the earlier period (1840-50s) Marx felt that Ireland would be liberated by the working class movement of the oppressor nation. Lenin aptly explained Marx’s developing understanding of the 1860s: “However, it so happened that the English working class fell under the influence of the liberals for a fairly long time, became an appendage to the liberals, and by adopting a liberal labour policy left itself leaderless. The bourgeois liberation movement in Ireland grew stronger and assumed revolutionary forms. Marx reconsidered his view and corrected it. ’What a misfortune it is for a nation to have subjugated another.’ The English working class will never be free until Ireland is freed from the English yoke. Reaction in England is strengthened and fostered by the enslavement of Ireland (just as reaction in Russia is fostered by her enslavement of a number of nations!)”[63]

In 1872, Engels argued against the motion to bring the Irish sections in England under the jurisdiction of the British Federal Council. He pointed out the seven centuries of English conquest and oppression over Ireland. He saw that it was correct for the oppressed Irish nationalities to demand their own national independence. And he explained the relationship to the “advanced” Irish workers in England (there were also many exiled Irish revolutionaries in America) to the workers of England and the liberation movement in Ireland: “Then the Irish sections in England could not be separated from the Irish sections in Ireland. . . The Irish sections in England were our base of operations with regard to the Irish working men in Ireland; they were more advanced, being placed in more favourable circumstances, and the movement in Ireland could be propagated and organized only through their instrumentality. And were they to willfully destroy their own base of operations and cut off the only means by which Ireland could be effectually won for the International?”[64]

RCP tries to defeat the “dogmatism” of Black Belt Nation advocates, by theorizing that the essence of the agrarian question in the Deep South has changed from semi-feudal to capitalist. They mainly argue about the South as a whole, lacking really concrete information on the Black Belt area. They obliterate the question of “landless peasants,” the vast number of Southern blacks on welfare, unemployed, or destitute. They say it doesn’t apply because the South is no longer “precapitalist.”

In Engels’ careful study, “Conditions of the Working Class in England,” he pointed out in 1845, that in a population of 8.5 million, there were in Ireland 2,330,000 persons on public or private assistance “or 37% of the whole population paupers.”[65] As explained previously, the Irish economy was very much tied to the demands of British capitalism, from dictates on land usage to the vast emigrations.

RCP argues how today it is pretty ridiculous to send any of the “advanced” blacks to make revolution based on the contradictions of the rural Black Belt South, hence denying any real application to their “right to self-determination” of the black nation (that is, of their Black Belt version). They incorrectly think that the “return of the ’Black Belt’ to black people,” requires “returning Black people to the ’Black Belt.’ and that the “right to self-determination” can only be exercised when Blacks reconstitute a majority in the entire region, without which “violates the principles of consistent democracy.”[66]

Some Facts of Soviet Policy

In one case, Stalin indicated how the policy of national oppression directed against the Kirghiz, Bashkirs (and similarly situated nationalities numbering 6 million) managed to rob their best land (by kulak elements from among Russian peasants and Cossacks) and cause the gradual extinction of the Kirghiz and Bashkir native populations. The communist policy was to “provide them (the Kirghiz and Bashkirs) with the necessary land at the expense of the kulak colonizers.”[67]

Does the RCP not recognize the dynamics of forced emigration of blacks from the rural Black Belt South? That colonizers and their apologists all over the world have labeled impoverished farmers and peasants as simply lazy, backward workers, denying capitalism’s dehumanizing role in both agriculture and industry, working the impoverished masses into utter destitution and death?

In another situation, the party had to analyze the relations of the various republics and nationalities in the Transcaucasus region. A question arose regarding the incorporation of Georgia into the Transcaucasian Federation of nationalities (three republics existed in the region). The “Georgian Deviators” objected to this federation because they wanted to maintain a privileged status over the other nations and nationalities. George contained two key cities, Batum, a port, and Tiflis, a railroad center. Staling struggled against the “Deviators.” The interesting point to be made here is that Tiflis, the capital of Georgia, contained a majority of other nationalities with a minority of Georgians. As a matter of fact the Armenian population of the city was larger than that of the Georgians. RCP’s arguments of “inconsistent democracy” actually negate the rich experience of communists throughout the world in coming to grips with the national question. Was Tiflis no longer a part of Georgia because the Georgians did not reconstitute a majority in that city? Or was Tiflis to be considered part of the “dispersed, Armenian nation” within Georgia? Let’s see if RCP’s urbanologists continue to befuddle a dialectical-materialist application of the rights of national minorities and nations.


[1] J.V. Stalin, “The National Question and Leninism.”

[2] See article in this journal on revisionism and Trotskyism.

[3] J.V. Stalin, “Marxism and the National Question,” in Marxism and the National-Colonial Question, San Francisco: Proletarian Publishers, 1975. 28.

[4] J.V. Stalin, “The National Question and Leninism.”

[5] V.I. Lenin, “The Right of Nations to Self-determination,” Collected Works, Vol. 20, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1972. 396.

[6] Ibid.

[7] V.I. Lenin, “What the ’Friends of the People’ Are and How They Fight the Social-Democrats,” Collected Works, Vol. 1.

[8] V.I. Lenin, “The Socialist Revolution and the Right of Nations to Self-determination,” Collected Works, Vol. 22, 150.

[9] V.I. Lenin, “The Right of Nations to Self-determination,” op.cit., 397.

[9a] At that time the subjective forces were the ex-slaves, free blacks and poor whites. They were not organized strong enough to use force to seize political state power for the Black Belt Nation.

[10] J.V. Stalin, “The Immediate Tasks of the Party in the National Question,” in Marxism and the National Colonial Question, op.cit, 136.

[11] J.V. Stalin, “Marxism and the National Question,” op.cit., 29.

[12] Ibid., 30.

[13] Ibid., 31-2.

[14] V.I. Lenin, “The Right of Nations to Self-determination,” op.cit., 406.

[15] V.I. Lenin, “The Socialist Revolution and the Right of Nations to Self-determination,” op.cit, 151.

[16] J.V. Stalin, “Marxism and the National Question,” op.cit, 30.

[17] J.V. Stalin, “The National Question and Leninism.”

[17a] Lenin characterized this period as: “fully formed capitalist states with a long established constitutional regime and a highly developed antagonism between proletariat and bourgeoisie – a period that may be called the eve of capitalism’s downfall.. .Typical features of the second period are: the absence of mass bourgeois-democratic movements and the fact that developed capitalism in bringing closer together nations that have already been fully drawn into commercial intercourse and causing them to intermingle to an increasing degree, brings the antagonism between internationally united capital and the international working class movement into the forefront.” (Right of Nations to Self-Determination, p. 51)

[18] J.V. Stalin, “Immediate Tasks of the Party in the National Question,” in Marxism and the National-Colonial Question, op.cit, 137-8.

[19] J.V. Stalin, “Concerning the Presentation of the National Question,” in Marxism and the National-Colonial Question, op.cit, 171-9.

[20] V.I. Lenin, “The Socialist Revolution and the Right of Nations to Self-determination”, op.cit, 151-2.

[21] Ibid.

[22] Red Papers 6, 110.

[23] VI. Lenin, “The Nascent Trend of Imperialist Economism,” LCW, Vol. 23, 13.

[24] V.I. Lenin, “The Socialist Revolution and the Right of Nations to Self-determination,” op.cit, 144.

[25] J.V. Stalin, “Concerning the Presentation of the National Question,” op.cit, 170.

[26] V.I. Lenin, “The Socialist Revolution and the Right of Nations to Self-determination,” op.cit, 144.

[27] Ibid.

[28] Red Papers 6, 110.

[29] Ibid., 37.

[30] Red Papers 5, 26.

[31] J.V. Stalin, “The National Queston and Leninism.”

[32] V.I. Lenin, “The Socialist Revolution and the Right of Nations to Self-determination,” op.cit, 147.

[33] J.V. Stalin, “The National Question and Leninism.”

[34] Ibid.

[35] Ibid.

[36] Ibid.

[37] Red Papers 6, 38.

[38] Red Papers 5, 36.

[39] Red Papers 6, 102.

[40] Ibid., 97.

[41] V. I. Lenin, “The Right of Nations to Self-determination,” op.cit., 410.

[42] Ibid.

[43] Ibid.

[44] Ibid.

[45] Red Papers 6, 111.

[46] Ibid., 37.

[47] Ibid., 96.

[48] Ibid., 111.

[49] “Build the New Party,” Revolution, May 1974.

[50] Red Papers 5, 33.

[51] Red Papers 5, 32.

[52] J.V. Stalin, “Marxism and the National Question,” op.cit, 53.

[53] Ibid., 47.

[54] Ibid., 91-2.

[55] Red Papers 5, 33.

[56] J.V. Stalin, “Report on the National Question, Seventh RDSLP,” April 29, 1917, in Marxism and the National-Colonial Question, op.cit, 106.

[57] Red Papers 5, 32.

[58] J.V. Stalin, “Report on the Immediate Tasks of the Party in the National Question,” in Marxism and the National-Colonial Question, op.cit, 153-64.

[59] Ibid., 147.

[60] Red Papers 5, 104.

[61] Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, “Ireland and the Irish National Question,” 303.

[62] Ibid.

[63] LCW, Vol. 20, 444.

[64] Marx and Engels, “Ireland and the Irish National Question,” 304.

[65] Ibid.

[66] Red Papers 6, 110.

[67] Missing in original – EROL