Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Workers Viewpoint Organization

Racism, Nationalism and Race Theory: Relations Between Material Base and Ideology

Published: In The Afro-American National Question, Volume II, n.d.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Racist ideology, as a system of thinking, belongs in the superstructure real of ideology. Exposing this reactionary imperialist ideology and the various treacherous opportunist, revisionist and Trotskyite lines on this question, we have to use Marxism-Leninism to go into the relations between ideology and the economic base: how the former arises from certain material conditions and has relative independence from them; how some consciousness is true and some false; what the difference is between form and content, appearance and essence; what the relations are between race and national question; and the questions of racism, national chauvinism, and nationalism. In particular we have to draw out the political implications of these questions on formulating a correct political line, policy and tasks for the party in the national movement as an integral component of the immediate preparation for the dictatorship of the proletariat.


Racism is the ideology holding that racial differences of people (such as color of the skin and such natural biological features) are the basis for social differences (such as inequality) in human society and that these biological racial qualities determine people’s material and spiritual life and all other social relations. Thus people are divided into a “superior race” and an “inferior race.” The former is supposedly the creator of material and spiritual civilization, destined to rule, while the latter is sub-human and destined to be ruled. This is supposed to be an objective, rational and eternal law of nature caused by natural biological and racial differences.

Historically, racism arose on the material basis of slavery. Racism first arose as the economic base changed from primitive communal society to the slave system, and it helped in turn to consolidate and develop slavery. At the later stage of primitive communal ism, the development of private property ownership, the further social division of labor, and the increase of productive forces led to the polarization of the rich and the poor in their sharing and owning of social wealth. All these factors led to the emergence of the necessary conditions that enable one social group to exploit another, hence the disintegration of primitive communal relations.

The labor of captives from tribal wars thus could be exploited in forced production under captivity and bondage. They were no longer killed or otherwise disposed of as before, but were rather made into slaves of the rich, the emerging slave-owners. As the rising slave productive forces struggled against the old fetters of primitive communal relations of production, many poor families were also forcibly made into slaves of the rich. The differentiation into two major classes developed. More frequent predatory war among tribes further accelerated the development of private ownership and class contradictions. The rising slave-owner class took the dominant economic position and demanded political power to strengthen their class interests. This finally led to the destruction of the old primitive communal political superstructure and the formation of the slave-owner state with the slave owner class in political state power; thus slavery replaced primitive communism.

Particularly at the beginning of slave development, the slaves were mainly captives from other tribes in tribal wars. Although later, the bankrupt poor from within a tribe were also made slaves, the further development of the slave system rested on predatory plunder of other tribes (communities of people, “civilizations”). Even for the subjugated who had skin color similar to the subjugators’, there could still be justification of racial differences in terms of mythological tribal origins and natural biological features other than skin color. Not only did the racist ideology arise from such material conditions, once arisen it also actively acted on the material base and facilitated its development – for instance, the consolidation of the slave system and expansion of slave owner empires like the Roman Empire. Serving the class interests of the slave-owner class, racism became part of the ideological superstructure of slave society with ruling class ideology generally being the dominant aspect in the superstructure of class society.

Racism from the start is a false conception of history. Explanation in terms of natural biological racial superiority and inferiority does not correctly reflect objective reality in human society; differences are actually social phenomena, reflecting contradictions between the economic base and superstructure, contradictions between productive forces and the relations of production and class contradictions. In developing slavery, the contradiction was between the slave-owner class of one slave society on the one hand, and the slaves subjugated in this slave society and the tribal communities that were being attacked by it on the other hand.

Materialism holds that matter determines ideas, social being determines social consciousness. We have explained the material conditions and social being that gave rise to racist ideology as ideas and social consciousness. There is another aspect to consider, namely, whether a certain (subjective) social consciousness correctly reflects the (objective) reality of social being. The historical development of religion, also as a false conception of history, has certain similarities with, as well as historical relation to, racist ideology; and we shall try to go into it to disclose the general truths of Marxism with which we can better understand questions regarding racism.

All Social Products

In “The German Ideology” Marx traced the development of consciousness in general, from its start as an immediate spontaneous sensuous consciousness, and development due to division of labor, into social consciousness that begins to have its relative independence and internal dynamics, and which may or may not correctly reflect something that is real objectively.

Consciousness is at first, of course, merely consciousness concerning the immediate sensuous environment and consciousness of the limited connection with other persons and things outside the individual who is growing self-conscious.... Division of labor only becomes truly such from the moment when a division of material and mental labor appears. From this moment onwards consciousness can really flatter, itself that it is something without representing something real; from now on consciousness is in a position to emancipate itself from the world and to proceed to the formation of ’pure’ theory, theology, philosophy, ethics, etc.[1]

Engels explained the material conditions that gave rise to religion as follows: ”All religion, however, is nothing but the fantastic reflection in men’s mind of those external forces which control their daily life, a reflection in which the terrestrial forces assume the form of supernatural forces. In the beginnings of history it was the forces of nature which were first so reflected, and which in the course of further evolution underwent the most manifold and varied personifications among various peoples. . . .But it is not long [as class society developed – ed.] before, side by side with the forces of nature, social forces begin to be active – forces which confront man equally alien and at first as equally inexplicable, dominating him with the same apparent natural necessity as the forces of nature themselves. The fantastic figures, which at first only reflected the mysterious forces of nature, at this point acquire social attributes, become representatives of the forces of history. At a still further stage of evolution, all the natural and social attributes of the numerous gods are transferred to one almighty god, who is but a reflection of the abstract man.[2]

In the sense that it arose from such historical conditions in human society, religion, as an ideological social consciousness, is a social product (just as racism is a social product). It is a reflection that assumes “the form of supernatural forces,” and to this extent religion does “really represent something” (just as racist ideology assumes natural, physical, biological, racial forms and categories, which nevertheless are also natural social categories). Insofar as these reflections do not accurately reflect the reality of natural and social forces in history, religion is a false conception of history (just as racism is) and “without something real.”

Racism was the ruling class ideology of the slave owner class during slavery. Ever since its inception it has been utilized by ruling classes in various societies to maintain their reactionary oppression and exploitation and to prop up their rule through such false conceptions. They use racism to thwart the correct consciousness of the oppressed classes, as well as to implement their reactionary tactics of divide and conquer.

More Uses for Racism

The U.S. bourgeoisie has found racism very useful. Historically rooted in the material conditions of slave relations of production in the South, it has been actively promoted by the bourgeoisie. Therefore it has deep roots in the ideological superstructure of the United States that did not pass away with the dying out of slavery.

Although the pre-Civil War plantation had characteristics of capitalism because it was developed by capital and used by capitalists to produce commodities for the international capitalist market and further the accumulation of capital, basically it was a slave system because it had the basic slave relations of production. The development of British and U.S. capitalism had relied much on the slave trade and brutal oppression of the slaves, e.g., U.S. export of cotton from plantations, development of transportation, primitive accumulation of capital, British textile industry, etc. Upon these most oppressive material conditions racism arose, was promoted and took root. (To this we must also add the U.S. colonialists’ brutal massacre of Native Americans.)

The victory of the Northern bourgeoisie in the Civil War led to their nationwide and sole dictatorship, creating conditions for the speedy development of capitalism across the United States. In the South, although the slave system was abolished, the question of land for ex-slaves and poor peasantry was not solved; old bondages were transformed into new ones, a no less oppressive feudal/slave sharecropping system, and racism was still rampant.

Wherever there is oppression there is resistance. The revolutionary tides of resistance of the Afro-American “freedmen” and poor white peasants were mounting, and the elements of Afro-American nationhood developing. With these intense contradictions of oppression and resistance the reactionary bourgeoisie called on racism to suppress the rising Afro-American national movement and development of the nation, to enforce the super-exploitation of Afro-Americans as sharecroppers and “free” laborers, and the reactionary tactics of divide and rule.

With the Civil War sweeping away old fetters, capitalism in the United States developed rapidly, especially in industry, became finance capitalism and then monopoly capitalism, i.e., imperialism. Super-exploitation of Afro-Americans and other immigrant workers at home and imperialist plunder of colonial and semi-colonial countries abroad were two major pillars of U.S. imperialism. Under these material conditions, the U.S. bourgeoisie further promoted perpetuation of racism for their interests, transforming it into a most brutal, reactionary imperialist ideology.

Since the abolition of slavery, the purpose of racism is no longer the oppression of slaves by the slave-owners, but rather the oppression of Afro-Americans, other oppressed nationalities, and national minorities by the U.S. bourgeoisie. Although racism has become an imperialist ideology, it still does not correctly reflect the contradictions under the material conditions of imperialism. It is national chauvinism that really corresponds to the national oppression under imperialism – the chauvinist ideology that one nationality is superior to, and hence destined to rule over, other nationalities.

Under imperialism, the class base of national chauvinism and racism is not only in the bourgeoisie, but also the labor aristocracy. This is because its class interests and viewpoint as a small stratum of privileged and bourgeoisified workers is dependent upon and integrally bound up with the fate of U.S. imperialism and imperialist national oppression. “Chauvinism and opportunism in the labor movement have the same economic base – the alliance between a numerically small upper stratum of the proletariat and petty bourgeoisie.”[3] The labor aristocracy is an active promoter of national chauvinism and racism in its service to the U.S. bourgeoisie as its social props.


Although the original material conditions under slavery that gave rise to racism had already been transformed, racism as an ideology did not passively die away. This is an example of the relative independence of ideology from the base.

Following the transformation of the old economic base, the old superstructure, especially old ideology, does not change immediately and will exist for quite a long period of time. It will play the reactionary role of undermining the new economic base and restoring the old one and become reactionary forces that impede the growth of the productive forces.[4]

Slavery and racism hampered the development of nationwide capitalism in the United States before, during and shortly after the Civil War: for that reason the Northern bourgeoisie from their class standpoint supported the abolition movement against slavery and racism. But once they won, they turned around, utilized racism, and remolded it to their capitalist interests for national oppression, by and large using the old forms while changing the class and national content. (Just like the feudalist in China, who used legalism to fight the slave-owner class and Confucianism, but once in power adopted Confucianism to consolidate feudal rule; just like the rising bourgeoisie in Europe, who used Protestantism to fight feudalism and Catholicism, but once in power adopted Christianity to dupe the masses and justify imperialist plunder.) Let us again allude to religion to explain certain laws of dialectical and historical materialism.

Relative Independence of Ideas

Corresponding to changes in social being, there are changes in social consciousness. The form and content of religion change or are adapted by the ruling classes in accordance with historical changes. Religion, despite such changes in form and content, continues to exist as long as its material basis exists. Its material basis is the dominance of some natural and social forces which remain inexplicable, and thus alien to man, and his inability to transform them.

In this convenient, handy and universally adaptable form [referring to monotheistic religion with one almighty god representing all natural and social forces], religion can continue to exist as the immediate, that is, sentimental form of men’s relation to the alien, natural and social forces which dominate them, so long as men remain under the control of these forces. However, we have seen repeatedly that in existing bourgeois society men are dominated by the economic conditions created by themselves, by the means of production which they themselves have produced, as if by an alien force. The actual basis of the reflective activity that gives rise to religion therefore continues to exist, and within the religious reflection itself.[5]

Religion, and indeed all other consciousness in the realm of the ideological superstructure, is relatively independent from the base once it has arisen.

Religion arose in very primitive times from erroneous, primitive conceptions of men about their own nature and external nature surrounding them. Every ideology, however, once it has arisen, develops in connection with the given concept-material, and develops this material further; otherwise it would not be an ideology, that is, occupation with thoughts as with independent entities, developing independently and subject only to their own laws.[6]

Ideology is a process indeed accomplished consciously by the so-called thinker, but it is the wrong kind of consciousness. The real motive forces impelling him remain unknown to the thinker; otherwise it simply would not be an ideological process. Hence he imagines false or illusory motive forces. Because it is a process of thinking he derives its form as well as its content from pure reasoning, either his own or that of his predecessors. . . thus possesses in every sphere of science material which has arisen independently out of the thought or previous generations and has gone through its own independent course of development in the brains of these successive generations.[7]

Thus, bourgeois racist ideologists also take that “prehistoric stock” and those “thought materials” handed down from slave racism as their “starting point” to develop racist ideology. Especially with the “division of labor” in the ideological superstructure into different fields of religion, ethics, social science, biology, anthropology, philosophy, etc., the bourgeois academicians “think that they are working in an independent field,” “imagine false or illusory motive forces,” using different traditional concepts to synthesize into their “own theories.”

One Justifying the Other

Religion itself, in particular theology, is interpreted to give racism religious justification and acceptability. The almighty god is of course white; Adam and Eve Caucasian; white is grace and black is sin; the infallibility of the Bible is justified by the invincibility of gunboats and cannons; aggression and plunder is for the introduction of salvation to the barbarians; the oppressed and discriminated against are justly punished for their original sins, their salvation is in the next life. Indeed religion in the United States is tied to imperialist ideology and racist ideology in particular.

The gods thus fashioned within each people were national gods, whose domain extended no farther than the national territory which they were to protect. . . .They could continue to exist, in imagination, only as long as the nation existed; they fell with its fall. The Roman world empire. . .brought about this downfall of the old nationalities. The old national gods decayed, even those of the Romans, which also were patterned to suit only the narrow confines of the city of Rome. The need to complement the world empire by means of a world religion were clearly revealed.[8]

This addresses precisely the deceptiveness and the adaptability of Christianity into a world imperialist religion, giving racism theological justification for imperialist plunder.

The social principles of Christianity justified the slavery of antiquity, glorified the serfdom of the Middle Ages and are capable, in case of need (and indeed have been used) of defending the oppression of the proletariat (and oppressed nations and national minorities) even if with somewhat doleful grimaces. The social principles of Christianity preach the necessity of a ruling and an oppressed class, and for the latter all they have to offer is the pious wish that the former may be charitable. . .declare all the vile acts of the oppressors against the oppressed to be either a just punishment for original sin and other sins, or trials which the Lord in his infinite wisdom ordains for the redeemed. . . preach cowardice, self-contempt, abasement, submissiveness and humbleness, in short, all the qualities of the rabble [the proletariat and the oppressed nationalities]. . . [9]

And the “Scientific” Case

The development of nature and social science also helped render racism’s pseudo-scientific facade, to sustain its deception and development. Such is the case with Darwinism turned into social Darwinism, and Malthus’ theory of population.

The Darwinist theory of evolution, of the “struggle for existence” and of the “survival of the fittest,” was a great contribution to natural science. But it also had its internal weakness in one-sidedly overemphasizing the external cause and belittling the internal cause of development. Besides, as Engels pointed out: “The essential difference between human and animal society consists in the fact that animals at most collect while men produce. This sole but cardinal difference alone precludes the simple transfer of laws of animal societies to human societies.... When therefore someone who is allegedly a natural scientist takes the liberty of reducing the whole of historical development with all its wealth and variety to the one-sided and meager phrase ’struggle for existence,’ a phrase which even in the sphere of nature can be accepted only cum grano salis, such a procedure really contains its own condemnation.”[10] This is exactly what the bourgeois ideologists did. Claiming that such laws of the jungle are the inherent laws of society, that social inequality is the result of inherent and/or physical inequality among individuals and groups, they justify capitalist exploitation of the proletariat and imperialist plunder of the oppressed nations and national minorities. They present the bourgeoisie as legitimate victors in the fair struggle for existence and the proven fittest.

The Malthusian theory of population is another example of reactionary bourgeois theory. It goes hand in glove with bourgeois political economy, racist ideology and justification of imperialist plunder and oppression. It explains social development by means of the increase/decrease of population and the increase/decrease of means of subsistence. Thus, capitalism is superior because of its advanced productive forces in producing means of subsistence, and the problem in capitalist society is nothing more than bringing the two into harmony. For oppressed nationalities and national minorities, the problem is their backwardness in producing means of subsistence, and then “overpopulation,” a loser to the “fitter” imperialists. Basic social contradictions, class contradictions and national contradictions are irrelevant.

Engels had again criticized this: ”In England the theory itself has long ago been reduced to a rational scale by the economists; the pressure of population is not upon the means of subsistence but upon the means of employment; mankind could multiply more rapidly than is compatible with modern bourgeois society. This is to us another reason for declaring that this bourgeois society is an obstacle to development, which must fall.”[11]

The U.S. bourgeoisie has also produced their race theoreticians such as Jensen and Hernstein, who dress up racism in the name of science and justify national oppression. To dupe the masses, reactionary theories from right-wing conservative to left-wing liberal have been transformed into all aspects of the U.S. ideological superstructure. This goes for culture, the arts, and ethics, as well as unwritten customs, folklore, and language. These ideas penetrate and are reinforced daily by the media, in education, and all aspects of social relations.

In Germany, the philosophy of Nietzsche helped clothe racism with philosophy and ethics; and racism was promoted and used by Nazi Hitler. American pragmatism plays its counterpart as a philosophical and ethical dressing: immediate palpable results are the criteria for truth, and experience of satisfaction is the criterion for good. Such reactionary philosophy has reduced everything to naked “commodity relations” and “money relations,” justifying oppression as legitimate and exploitation as rational. In this supposed “land of opportunity,” everybody can make it and should fight for their own. The oppressed nations and national minorities are not oppressed, but only their chances haven’t come, or they are too lazy and stupid, or somewhat inferior racially. This is again nothing but the “laws of the jungle” mentioned above, coupled with bourgeois democratic illusions and transposed into the nationally specific form of American pragmatism.

Clarify Direction of “Main Blow”

So you see how the stinking corpse of racism which lost the original material conditions for its existence has been revived and sustained by bourgeois rule. In class society, the ruling class ideology is the dominant aspect in the society’s ideological superstructure.

The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e., the class which is the ruling material force of society is at the same time its ruling intellectual force. The class which has the means of material production at its disposal, has control at the same time over the means of mental production, so that thereby, generally speaking, the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are subject to it. The ruling class ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant material relationships grasped as ideas; hence of the relationships which make one class the ruling one, therefore the ideas of its dominance.[12]

Therefore, national chauvinism and racism as parts of ruling class ideology dominate the ideological superstructure of the United States and have definite effects on the proletariat and other laboring masses. The bourgeoisie gets special service from its lieutenants, the labor aristocracy, to push this ideology onto the proletariat and onto the different mass movements. Therefore it is critical in fighting national chauvinism and racism to distinguish between the national chauvinism and racism that belong to the class viewpoint of the bourgeoisie and labor aristocracy, as a system of reactionary ideology, from the chauvinist and racist notions and prejudices of the workers who are affected by these backward, alien (i.e., non-proletarian, contrary to the proletarian class viewpoint) ideas.

National chauvinism and racism must be thoroughly exposed as bourgeois reactionary ideology, and the bourgeoisie and trade union misleaders must be fought as class enemies; at the same time, workers affected with such chauvinist and racist ideas must be persistently educated and won over in the course of struggle and must not be confused with the former. To negate this crucial distinction will lead to an anti-working class stand, such as the “white blind spot theory” and “bribe theory.” They either declare white chauvinism as the direction of the main blow, which objectively amounts to seeing the white workers infected by chauvinism as the target of struggle or outrightly claim that all working class whites are bribed and chauvinist and are labor aristocrats!


What is nationalism? While race is a biological category, nation and nationality are social and historical categories. They are Marxist and scientific. Modern nations were formed during the development of capitalism, and developed during the era of imperialism into different types of nations and national questions. Upon this foundation – of nations, nationalities and intensification of national and class contradictions – arose nationalism.

In the final analysis, national struggle is a question of class struggle. It is the reactionary ruling class with its lackeys, and not the proletariat and other oppressed classes of the oppressor nations, which oppress nationalities.

The nationalism of the oppressor nations reinforces the reactionary aggression, oppression and exploitation of the imperialist over other nations and countries and over the oppressed nationalities in their own country. This national chauvinism is reactionary in class character and must be opposed.

However, the nationalism of the oppressed nations (and national minorities) has a dual character. On the one hand, it stands for national liberation and country’s independence, to oppose imperialism and fight against national oppression – this is its progressive aspect. On the other hand, the oppressed nations are composed of several classes and strata with different interests. The bourgeoisie and upper strata use nationalism to oppose imperialism for national liberation in order to establish and consolidate their own ruling position within the nation or country. Their vacillating character as national bourgeoisie, being in contradiction with and in fear of both the imperialists and oppressed masses, is reflected in their nationalism. Their class interests and national interests color their political aspirations, molding nationalism to their own political demands and class viewpoints.

REAL Content of Nationalism

The nationalism of the proletariat and other laboring masses is a spontaneous response to national oppression. Its real content is an outcry against all forms of oppression and exploitation. The correct proletarian outlook on any national question is proletarian internationalism and using the science of Marxism to solve the national question. If national sentiment stays on the spontaneous level, it too can easily fall prey to the nationalism of the bourgeoisie, to narrow nationalism or other forms that place nation above class. Spontaneously it may relinquish leadership in the national movement to the bourgeoisie and other misleaders, pulling the movement onto a politically incorrect path. The petty bourgeoisie and middle strata of the oppressed nation mirror their class viewpoint, in-between that of the national bourgeoisie and the proletariat. Spontaneously it manifests as utopianism, or other right of “left” forms. Thus nationalism has this additional aspect of spontaneity and lack of thoroughness in revolution.

But most important, the real content of the national movement waged by the proletariat and other laboring masses of the oppressed nations is a struggle against imperialism. And the real content of their outcry against inequality is an outcry against all forms of oppression and exploitation, of which their national sentiments are a spontaneous expression. Therefore it is the absolute duty and task of communists to uphold and support these revolutionary struggles. Communists must inject scientific socialism to dispel illusory conceptions and spontaneity, to build communist and proletarian leadership, to march along the truly revolutionary path to liberation and seizure of state power to establish new democracy (or socialism, depending on the particular conditions).

We must defeat both the right and “left” opportunism on this question: the right opportunism of bowing to nationalism and perpetuation of spontaneity and of tailing the national bourgeoisie, which objectively amounts to tailing the imperialist bourgeoisie and its lackeys (of this, the October League is a typical representative); and the “left” opportunism and Trotskyism of denouncing “all nationalism as bourgeois and reactionary,” which objectively amounts to pushing the national movement to be direct reserves of the imperialists.

Poor Examples Abound

For example, the Progressive Labor Party is a Trotskyite group taking a treacherous, anti-working class position on the national question. They fail to make the crucial distinction between the spontaneous national sentiments of the oppressed nationality – which due precisely to spontaneity are not scientific Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism but are nevertheless revolutionary in practice as well as ideological content – and nationalism as a system of ideology stamped with the bourgeois viewpoint and promoted by the national bourgeoisie and imperialist bourgeoisie in opposition to Marxism-Leninism and the oppressed classes and nations. Failing to make such distinction inevitably leads to seeing all revolutionary national movements as bourgeois and reactionary. This is the same thinking as the “white blind spot theory” and “bribe theory” that make all working class whites the direction of the main blow, and is the same as the “left” opportunist anarchist’s labeling of all spontaneous trade union movements bourgeois and reactionary on the grounds that they are reformist. The Revolutionary Communist Party’s social-chauvinism is also such a Trotksyite line on the national question, except it is in a hidden form.

Discern True Content From Diverse Forms

Let us go deeper into the relationship of content and form. Because national chauvinism, nationalism, and racism exist in the ideological superstructure, the day-to-day oppression is manifest in both national and racial forms. That is, the oppressor, conscious or not, due to chauvinist and racist prejudices, guides his oppressive action as well as perceives these actions along national and racial lines. On the other hand, the oppressed are also affected by these national and racial notions, and guide their resistance as well as perceive their resistance along national and racial lines. But the real content, as we have said, of the oppression and resistance is not racial but is in the realm of national and class contradictions and struggles.

The manifestation of national oppression takes on a racial form because racist ideology actively reacts upon the base. As Engels said: “The economic situation is the basis, but the various elements of the superstructure. . .and even the reflexes of all these struggles in the brains of the participants, political, juristic, philosophy theories, religious views and their further development into system of dogma – also exercise their influence upon the course of the historical struggles and in many cases preponderate in determining their form.”[13]

The racial notions, as “reflexes” or even a “system of dogma,” in the “brains” of the oppressed, “influence the course” of national and class struggle and “preponderate in determining” their racial form, just as they affect oppressors in relation to oppression. The political implication that we must firmly grasp is that spontaneous mass struggles do not always – and many times do not – take on the appearance of national and class forms. Communists’ tasks are to discern the content from the form, draw out the revolutionary nature and promote its proletarian kernel no matter how nascent. Communists must inject scientific theory, Marxism-Leninism, to dispel false conceptions of the motive forces in society, and explain the nature of the racial form of oppression and the resistance which is national and class in content.

That spontaneous mass movements adopt illusory notions and false conceptions of history is not accidental. We have historically witnessed the same situation with religion as a false conception of history. “But in all classes there are necessarily a number of people who, despairing of material salvation, sought in its stead a spiritual salvation, a consolation in their consciousness to save them from utter despair. . . the majority of those. . .were necessarily among the slaves.”[14] The same goes for other religious wars wherein religion is the form and the content is class and national contradictions, such as in Ireland.

That religion also takes on national forms due to nationally specific conditions and historical factors, and that it is also tied to national interests, was pointed out by Marx and Engels. “The gods thus fashioned within each people were national gods, whose domain extended no further than national territory [referring to before the expansion of empires, colonialism, development of imperialism and world religion – ed.] which they were to protect.”[15]

Indeed we have seen the Afro-American national movement, and the heroic mass leaders whom it produces, such as Malcolm X, develop through such spontaneous phases. The point again is to apply dialectics concretely, divide one into two, and discern the form and content of ideological and class character.

The variety of forms of the Afro-American national movement has been very rich, due to the all-rounded and historically deep-rooted oppression that the Afro-Americans suffered under slavery and imperialist suppression, and the tremendous revolutionary potential of their resistance. As Stalin pointed out: “The content of national movement, of course, cannot everywhere be the same: it is wholly determined by the diverse demands made by the movement.... The diversity of demands not infrequently reveals the diverse features which characterize a nation in general (language, territory, etc.)”[16]

Realizing the illusory consciousness and false conceptions of history held by the oppressed (such as seeing the national question as racial oppression, or religion), we must unmask the class and national forms. Moreover, the fight against the oppressor’s racism and the oppressed’s false notion of anti-racism must be immediately linked with the struggle against the bourgeoisie in preparation for the dictatorship of the proletariat. Negating this leads directly to opportunism, like the October League which “fights” racism with the goal of formal abstract equality, or the “white blind spot theory’s” guilt-whipping yourself, divorcing ideological struggle from the central question of revolution, political struggle for state power.


The “race theory,” in different forms and shades – from the liberals and legal Marxists (such as Harry Chang), the modern revisionists (Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the Communist Party, U.S.A.) to Trotskyite groups (such as the Kansas Communist Workers Group and New Voice) – all have something in common. Theoretically, their starting point is that nationhood is the only basis for the national question. Using vulgar materialism and bourgeois a priori logic in applying Stalin’s definition of a nation, they conclude that the Afro-American nation does not meet all the criteria for a nation, that it either has never existed or has been dissolved.

Thus, they declare, there is no material basis for the Afro-American nation, and no Afro-American national question. To explain the particular oppression of Afro-Americans, they artificially reduce it to racism and racial oppression, idealistically synthesizing the so-called “material base” of racism, and reducing the national question to a race question. Ideologically, their starting point is vulgar materialism. With their synthetic race question, they wind up in idealism. Politically, they cover up the real national and class content of the national question, national oppression and resistance. They claim the national question can be or has already been resolved within the confines of bourgeois democracy; that resolving the national question is not part of the immediate preparation for the dictatorship of the proletariat but is rather a source of the problem in dividing the class. They reduce the political and revolutionary national movements to a struggle against racism, limited to an economic struggle against economic differentials, and against racist ideas for abstract consolation equality. This separates the national question from the overall framework and larger orientation of proletarian socialist revolution, and liquidates the immediate preparation for the dictatorship of the proletariat.

Among these, Harry Chang and New Voice are the most outright and crude forms, whereas the Communist Workers Group is more deceptive because of the ideological eclectic and politically centrist form that it takes. Nevertheless it has the same treacherous content. But the real ideological and theoretical bulwark of the race theory is the revisionist CPSU and Trotsky himself.

Vulgarizing Stalin’s Criteria

The dissolution argument of different race theorists starts with Stalin’s definition of a nation. “According to this theory, a nation is a historically constituted, stable community of people, formed on the basis of the common possession of four principal characteristics, namely: a common language, a common territory, a common economic life, and a common psychological make-up manifested in common specific features of national culture.”[17]

The point that a nation is a historically constituted, stable community of people is not one of the criteria or characteristics alongside with and parallel to the other four; it is the fundamental point that runs through those four. The four characteristics outlined by Stalin are historical factors. They are historically developed and have to be viewed with the dialectical and historical materialist methodology. Whether the different race theories explicitly place that fundamental point on a par with the other four (thus coming up with five criteria) is not the point. The point is that they all cast away this methodology, and mechanically use the criteria as a checklist, to be ticked off “yes” or “no.” Under the pretense of considering these criteria the material bases for a nation, they are actually taken as a priori ahistorical categories. They are vulgar materialist-turned-idealist. Stalin has warned that: “The solution of the national question is possible only in connection with the historical conditions taken in their development. The economic, political and cultural conditions [such as these four criteria] of a given nation constitutes the only key to the question of how a particular nation ought to arrange its life and what forms its future constitution ought to take. It is possible that a specific solution of the question will be required for each nation. If the dialectical approach to a question is required anywhere it is required here, in the national question.”[18]

Nations only started to exist in a definite epoch, the rising of capitalism – not because before the development of capitalism, there were no elements of the features (common territory, language, economic life and psychological make-up in one form or another) among the different historically constituted, stable communities of people. It was principally because in the pre-capitalist period, economic life could not acquire the kind of cohesion and internal bond necessary to be a “modern nation” in the true sense of the words. “There were no nations in the precapitalist period, nor could there be, because there were as yet no national markets and no economic or cultural 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.”[19] “It was brought about by the growth of exchange between regions, the gradual growth of commodity circulation and the concentration of the small local markets into a single all-Russian market. Since the leaders and masters of this process were the merchant capitalists, the creation of these national ties was nothing but the creation of bourgeois ties.”[20]

Realizing “Potential” Nationhood

This is not accidental but governed by the larger laws of social development: the economic base is the fundamental determining factor. And this of course does not mean that all other three characteristics were ready-made, just waiting for the economic factor: rather they all constantly interact, pushing one another along their course of development. “Of course, the elements of nationhood – language, territory, common culture, etc. – did not fall from the skies, but were being formed gradually, even in precapitalist period. But these elements were in a rudimentary state, and at best were only a potentiality, that is, they constituted the possibility of the formation of a nation in the future, given certain favorable conditions. The potentiality became a reality only in the period of rising capitalism, with its national market and its economic and cultural centers.”[21]

Those “given favorable conditions” that make a potential nation a real nation are the conditions of rising capitalism, the development of capitalist relations of production, formation of a national market, economy and cultural centers. Furthermore, with successful bourgeois revolution against feudalism, the new political superstructure, i.e. the bourgeois state, forcibly welds the nation together into a politically united territory, forming the bourgeois national state. This state in turn develops its national economic base and superstructure. That this cannot be formed by peaceful development of the economic base and productive forces, but can only come about by revolutionary leaps (by the role of force) is fully elucidated by Marx’s “Genesis of Capital” and Engels’ “The Role of Force in History.”

Without such favorable conditions and revolutionary leaps, the potentiality will remain that – elements of nationhood or at best a nation and not a national state. Such is the case with the oppressed nations. They are forcibly suppressed economically, culturally and politically by other bourgeois nations to the extent that their national development is stifled and they cannot deliver the to-be-born national state from the womb of the nation. A nation being oppressed and without national political state power cannot fully develop and consolidate its national base and superstructure. Such a nation is the Afro-American nation in the Black Belt South.

The “Race” Theory

But race theory, as read in H. Chang’s “Critique of the Black Nation Thesis” and New Voice’s “Defeat the ’NO.’ Line in Our Movement,” does not make this crucial distinction between the oppressor and oppressed nation. It takes Stalin’s four criteria as things that fall from the sky, ahistorical and apriori. Playing with bourgeois formal logic race theorists conclude that the Afro-American nation does not meet all four criteria, especially common territory and economic life, so there is no Afro-American nation and no Afro-American national question. This methodology is best summarized by H. Chang himself as what he calls the “logic-historical analysis” which “must begin with an analysis of the dialectic of racial categories (’White,’ ’Black,’ or ’Negro’), then study the real relations which have produced such a form of thought.”[22] This type of Hegelian logic, the creation of the rootless Hegelian spirit who tries to search for its non-existent material body, turns the whole world upside down. Precisely because of ahistorical methodology, they cannot distinguish between an oppressed and oppressor nation and apply the four criteria to them accordingly in the context of potentiality and actuality of nation and national state. H. Chang professed: “This is not the place however to dwell on the question of the Black Nation as a potentiality,” – an oppressed nation without statehood – “the Black Nation as an actuality” – a national state – “will be the main object of this critique.”[23] He alludes to the analogy of “only the social practice of ’schooling’ is the sufficient condition for a school” (p. 9) to try to make the point that the social practice as a nation must be added to the four criteria to make a nation. Nothing but a profound tautology – a nation is only a nation when it is already actually a nation.

There is another fundamental incorrect point of departure embodied in the race theory’s dissolution of the national question. They invariably yell, “to talk about the National Question, there must be a nation.”[24] For them a nation is the only basis of any national question, so if there is no nation there is no national question. This eliminates the national question of oppressed national minorities that haven’t sufficient basis for nationhood.

The New Voice also uses a vulgar materialist application of Lenin’s thesis of “two periods” and “three types of countries.” New Voice says,

The national question in the world today is one of neo-colonialism, and not multi-national state or any combination of the two. . . Where does the U.S. stand in this analysis? It is an advanced imperialist country that dominates colonies and neo-colonies all over the world. Those colonies are oppressed nations and have the unqualified right to self-determination. But internally, what links the U.S. to the old multinational states of Eastern Europe?. . .Nothing in the development of the U.S. follows the pattern of the multi-national state.[25]

The internal logic of their argument is this: a) in the second period of imperialism, the colonial question is the only type of national question, and only colonies and semi-colonies have the right to self-determination; b) the other situation with an internal national question is a multinational state; c) U.S. is an imperialist country and therefore has only a colonial national question and not an internal national question; d) besides, U.S. development is not the same as the East European states’, therefore it is not multinational, so again cannot have an internal national question. Again this is treating the periods and types of National Questions as “logical concepts” and a priori “typological categories” as: “first period, first type, national state, second type, multi-national state; second period, third type, colonial nation.”

“Melting-Pot” Theory

These “periods and types” have nothing in common with Leninism. True, the formation of the United States did not resemble the multi-national Eastern European countries and basically conforms to the first type. And though most countries of the first type are single-nation state, the U.S. can still be multi-national. What groups together the first type is not their being national states, but rather similar characteristics and aims in their bourgeois national movements during rising capitalism. New Voice cannot see this because they have “ahistorical logical concepts.” In addition, nothing in Leninism states that for the national question in the second period and third type, it is only external (inter-state) colonial question. True, this is the general rule, as capitalist countries turned to imperialist plunder of colonial and semi-colonial countries. But the essential character and aim of the national question of the third type is that it is new democratic revolution against imperialism and a part of the general question of proletarian socialist revolution. The national question of the Afro-American nation in the Black Belt South is objectively this type of national question because of its character and aim. To hold that the United States cannot have a national question within its state boundaries is to support imperialist oppression, suppression and annexation of nations.

This kind of opportunist allusion to Lenin’s three types of countries with respect to the self-determination of nations’ as the only consideration of the national question is also a naked chauvinist liquidation of the national question of oppressed national minorities who do not have the basis for nationhood and the right of self-determination.

H. Chang liquidates the national question of the oppressed national minorities through a theory of peaceful dissolution of national minorities. Also, he uses the criteria of a nation as the sole basis for the national question. For this bourgeois ideologue, “a national minority in the Marxist sense would imply the capacity for the continual reproduction, especially linguistic and cultural sustenance from generation to generation,” and that “nations have the naturalization process to absorb aliens linguistically and culturally; in the United States this process usually takes no more than a single generational transition.” No wonder he concludes that “given this, in the United States today, only Indian tribes (now mostly extinct) would come near the Marxist conception of ’national minorities.’ “All others are peacefully dissolved and assimilated into “ethnic communities” and “racial categories,” incorporated into U.S. society.“[26]

This is nothing but an outright liberal melting-pot theory, imposing a reactionary forced assimilationist line on oppressed national minorities. Chang and the New Voice, in unison with the modern revisionist CPSU, advocate that the national question of oppressed national minorities can be solved within the confines of bourgeois democracy under capitalism. This liquidates the existence of national oppression and the fight against it and promotes the revolutionary potential of the national movements of the oppressed national minorities as part of the direct reserves of the socialist revolution. The New Voice echoes:

No Marxists hold that as soon as a national question arises in some capitalist countries, it can never dissolve until capitalism is overthrown.”[27] “Real National Questions can be and often are solved under capitalism.”[28] They obviously do not include Lenin and Stalin among the ranks of their so-called Marxists, for Stalin laid out clear and loud: “1. the national and colonial questions are inseparable from the question of emancipation from the rule of capitalism; 2. imperialism (the highest form of capitalism) cannot exist without the political and economic enslavement of the unequal nations and colonies; 3. the unequal nations and colonies cannot be liberated without overthrowing the rule of capitalism; 4. the victory of the proletariat cannot be lasting without the liberation of the unequal nations and colonies from the yoke of imperialism.”[29] Explaining the “practicality” of successful liberation, Lenin pointed out that this can only be done through violent revolution: “The demand for the immediate liberation of the colonies that is put forward by all revolutionary Social Democrats is also ’impracticable’ without a series of revolutions.”[30]


Let us briefly state how this general law must also apply to the national question of oppressed national minorities. Applying the four criteria for a nation to oppressed national minorities, it is clear that they do not have a common national homeland in the United States, nor do they have sufficiently developed common economic life and cohesiveness to speak of a national economy. Yet there is an original historical homeland outside the United States from which they were forcibly dispersed and migrated due to imperialist plunder – in many cases U.S. imperialist plunder. Therefore the criteria concerning the national economic base and territorial homeland are not irrelevant, but rather insufficient to meet the criteria of a nation. More important, there is a common national culture and language, historically rooted and crystallized into national sentiments under oppressive situations.

With further oppression by U.S. imperialism, these national sentiments can only intensify as spontaneous revolutionary aspirations, fighting imperialist oppression and giving rise to national movements against U.S. imperialism. Often, a seemingly insignificant incident of oppression or a revolutionary act by a few can spark off and unleash the tremendous latent revolutionary potential of the masses forged by centuries of oppression. Especially when the majority of the oppressed national minority population is part of the U.S. multi-national working class, their oppression is inevitably bound up with oppression as the proletariat. Their spontaneous revolutionary national sentiments inevitably also express proletarian aspirations. Given this revolutionary content, and especially given correct communist leadership and proletarian hegemony, strong revolutionary role goes without saying. This is different from the subjective sentiments of those isolated communities of outdated religious sects (which do not represent a progressive class and whose content is not progressive ideologically) – these communities, in contrast, can be resolved and dissolved under capitalism.

The race theoreticians of course cannot see this because they are vulgar materialists and liquidate the role of the subjective factor. New Voice, in addressing the position that national sentiments are relevant to the national question, remarks, “That is, nationalist consciousness proves the existence of a nation in the material fact. This is overt idealism – ideas create material things.”[31] H. Chang referred to the same subject matter, “A self-described national movement which lacks a real basis of nationhood must eventually conjure up a basis, if it is to strive and sustain itself.”[32]

Demand for Subjective Factor to Lead

As dialectical and historical materialists, we uphold that social being determines social consciousness and that economic factors and material conditions are ultimately the determining factors. But in opposition to vulgar materialists, we uphold that social consciousness, once borne from a certain material base, actively reacts upon the base and under certain conditions it can play the principal and decisive role. The national sentiments of the oppressed national minorities historically arise from certain material conditions: the imperialist of plunder of its colonial, semi-colonial homeland, its suppression and forced migration. The material conditions suffered under U.S. imperialism and the day-to-day struggle between oppression and resistance continually reinforce this consciousness. The compounding crisis of U.S. imperialism can only intensify national oppression. The free development of nations has been so shackled and the equality of nationalities so suppressed that without the revolutionary superstructure – political rule as well as ideological consciousness – the resolution of these national contradictions cannot be resolved. In this context the subjective factors, including revolutionary national sentiments and the science of Marxism-Leninism, play the principal and decisive role in determining the future of the national question. The development of class struggle objectively demands this, no matter what form of movement it takes, from both the proletarian movement and national movement.

We have completed a circle: we started with the discussion of Stalin’s four criteria for a nation which the race theoreticians use as the sole basis of the national question, placed the four criteria in a proper perspective and framework, and laid out the basis of the national question as national oppression, which in the final analysis is a question of class struggle. As stated in the earlier Chinese National Question paper, “One thing we should always bear in mind when talking about the National Question is national oppression. . .This is our point of departure. Other aspects of the National Question, such as whether a people constitute a nation or not, whether a national movement strengthens proletarian unity and weakens imperialism or not, cannot be adequately explained if the nature and extent of national oppression are lost sight of. . .we do not believe it is possible to liquidate the National Question as long as national oppression exists.”[33]

A more general summation of the basis of all national questions is: As long as nations/nationalities and national contradictions exist, there is a national question. Under imperialism, many of these national contradictions are antagonistic contradictions which take the form of oppression and resistance in their course of development. Under socialism and the dictatorship of the proletariat, there are still nations, soviet nations, and there will still be differences. Difference is one form of contradiction, but under the dictatorship of the proletariat these contradictions are transformed into non-antagonistic struggles, and are not oppressive. Under socialism, the nature of national relations is transformed into equality and cooperation in continuing socialist revolution to communism.

Idealism on Racist Ideoiogy

The different race theories, liquidating the national question and national oppression, reduce the oppression of the oppressed nations and national minorities to racial oppression. Pretending to be materialists, race theorists synthesize certain material conditions as the basis for racist ideology. New Voice says: “The nationalists and liberal racists have no material basis for their alleged explanation of the oppression of black people. This oppression can only be explained by the differences capitalist employers maintained between the conditions of black and white workers. . .The material basis of racism is the difference in wages which employers maintain between black and white employees, discrimination in hiring and layoffs, and the many other differences in income, housing, education and other aspects of life between black and white. Upon this material basis, the employer seeks to divide black and white workers, to lead the white workers to a false belief that he or she enjoys privileges from racism, and to divert the anger of the black workers away from the employer and onto the white worker. . .(This is) the class analysis of racism.”[34] H. Chang: “In its essential content, therefore, racial formation is a forceful dispossession-disinheritance imposed on a segment of the population for the purpose of rationalizing the systematic denial of certain benefits of social development. . .The Marxist approach to racism would begin with the analysis of the dialectic of racial categories, then proceed to the investigation of the real relations which produced this form of thought, i.e. racism as the unity of race relations and racial categories. This way racial categories will be seen as the reflection of those real relations which we now call, ex post facto, ’race relations’.”[35]

We have said that the development of capitalism gives rise to class and national contradictions, and imperialism intensifies them. This material base gave rise to national chauvinism. But racist ideology, rooted in previous slave relations, has penetrated the U.S. ideological superstructure and now has its relative independence, so the U.S. bourgeoisie can use it at will. Because this racism once had a true material base and is promoted continuously, the day-to-day manifestations of oppression often appear as and take the form of a racial line. Yet race theoreticians want us to see the world upside down: as if because oppression takes on a racial form it gives rise to racial ideology. It is hardly materialism; despite invoking the formula of “being determines consciousness,” it is idealism through and through. This is no surprise because their so-called “logical-historical approach” starts with “racial categories” and then synthesizes “racial relations” to justify their material base.

Turning the world right-side-up in relation to the questions of form and content, material base and ideology, true and false consciousness, we can see that the race theory’s synthetic “material base” of racist ideology is a straw man. With its collapse the race theory crumbles.

Carving Up Reality

Another attempt to save the race theory is made by the Kansas CWG, which pretends to criticize both the race theory and the “nationalist line” with this presentation: “In reality, there are yet at least four possible approaches to the conditions of Blacks in the United States: 1) racism pure and simple, 2) the narrow nationalist presentation, 3) the great nation chauvinist analysis (accommodation of narrow nationalism), and 4) the class analysis of both racial and national features.” (p. 119) To them, the race theory of New Voice and Chang falls into the first category; the “nationalist line” falls into either the second or third category – both are one-sided. The CWG line is supposedly most well-rounded and balanced with racial and national features, the fourth category.

So they set their course to affirm the peaceful coexistence of the national question and the race question. “(Racism) is a form of bourgeois ideology, designed to divide the laboring masses on the basis of color.... A race... is not defined by culture, territory and language, and thus when a race is exploited what is exploited is its labor power alone. . . .(National chauvinism is) also a form of bourgeois ideology designed to divide the laboring masses on the basis of national distinctions, culture, language, mode of production, etc.. . . When a nation is oppressed, its aspects come under oppression. The oppressor nation exploits the labor-power and raw materials of the subject nation, and to minimize resistance, suppresses the native language and culture.... We see, then, that there is no contradiction between national and racial oppression. The difference is that racial oppression is common to many modes of production (slavery, feudal, and wage-slave) and takes the form of exploitation of labor or labor power alone, whereas national oppression is specific capitalist and takes the form of exploitation of labor power and other national attributes (territory, raw materials, home market, etc.)” (P. 97)

Their methodology is to use bourgeois logic and formal definitions, then conjure up, chop, or box reality to fit these a priori concepts. If you start with reality, you will find no instance in human history where a people being oppressed in a racial form (i.e., along color line) involves exploitation of labor or labor power alone. And this is no accident.

The basic law of unity of opposites makes the existence of two aspects of a contradiction depend on each other as they struggle to transform into opposites. It applies to the basic social contradiction between economic base and superstructure. Exploitation of labor power is part of the economic base, in particular the relations of production. Upon this economic base, be it slavery, feudalism or capitalism, a certain superstructure arises, accelerating or retarding the development of the base. The ruling class uses the superstructure, both ideology and state power, to consolidate its rule and enforce its oppression and exploitation. While class and national struggles sharpen particular spheres by their intensity, class and national oppression and resistance run through all spheres at all times. This is one of the ABC’s of Marxism.

But the CWG wants to believe that exploitation can exist by itself without oppression in other spheres. Such a priori concepts as “labor power alone” exist in the brains of idealists, but not in reality. So what is the profound difference between racial oppression and national oppression? Only this: making the existence of economic oppression independent from all other superstructural elements reduces struggles against racial forms of oppression to economic struggles alone. It makes their chant about uprooting the system of racism an impotent slogan, liquidates the political struggle for liberation and state power, and liquidates the role of subjective factor in revolutionary movements.

Their separation of the objective from the subjective factors, base and superstructure, is indeed unbounded. “Whether or not a people have a strong national identity has nothing at all to do with their objective status as a nation. We find nationalists without nations, and nations without nationalism. The criteria of nationhood are completely objective and independent of a people’s subjective view of themselves.” (p. 6) In the name of “materialism,” they repudiated Stalin’s criteria for a nation, one of which is definitely a people’s national consciousness.

Given this, their attempt to establish the race question and the synthetic “material base” of racism has to come out essentially the same as the other race theories, as different degrees of economic exploitation, (p. 93, 95) The same applies to their liquidation of the national question, reducing it to a race question, of an oppressed national minority. “On the other hand, if a people suffer racial oppression and yet are not a nation, attempts to analyze their oppression in terms of the national question may either be concession to nationalist tendencies within the racial minority, or capitulation to great nation chauvinism.” (p. 97)

Their invalid presentation of a race question is bound up theoretically and politically with phony defense and actual liquidation of the national question. “In order for the national question to be completely irrelevant to the internal United States it would have to be proven without a doubt that Blacks in the United States are not and never have been a nation, nor approaching nationhood.” (p. 120) This phony defense of the national question does nothing but extend nationhood as the only basis for the national question from the historical past and actual future (periods to which the first two race theories want to confine it) to include possible future – all the while using nationhood as the sole basis for the national question, and actually liquidating the national question.

Our fundamental points of departure on the national question include: a) the stand of proletarian internationalism, standing against class and national oppression for the interests of the majority of people; b) distinguishing between the oppressor and oppressed nations/national minorities; c) seeing the national question in the final analysis as a class question, and d) seeing the national movement as direct reserves of the proletarian socialist revolution; and e) promoting and giving full play to the revolutionary potential of the national movement in development of the subjective factor of accumulating revolutionary forces in preparation for the dictatorship of the proletariat, building unity through struggle.

But CWG says, “In the case of actual nations it should be clear that national differences are complete subordinate from the working class stand point. The only reason communists must correctly resolve the national question is precisely to prevent national distinction from becoming primary and divisive.” (p. 124, emphasis original) In this concentrated summation, as throughout their lengthy pamphlet, we are told that oppressed nations/national minorities and their revolutionary movements are a roadblock to proletarian unity and problematic in proletarian revolution. So communists have to prevent it becoming an actual obstacle on their way, and if this is done, there is no reason to correctly deal with the national question. To hell with whether nations are oppressed or not, and to hell with whether their revolutionary potential has been exhausted or not! They really do want to liquidate the national question!


[1] Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, “The German Ideology,” New York: International Publishers, 1973, 51.

[2] Frederick Engels, Anti-Duhring, New York: International Publishers, 1972, 344-45.

[3] V.I. Lenin, “The Collapse of the Second International,” Against Revisionism, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1972, 252.

[4] “Economic Base and Superstructure,” Peking Review, No. 33, 1975.

[5] Anti-Duhring, op. cit., 345.

[6] Frederick Engels, “Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of Classical German Philosophy,” Peking: Foreign Languages Press, 1976, 55.

[7] Engels to F. Mehring in Berlin, July 14, 1893, Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Selected Works, Vol. III, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1970. 496.

[8] “Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of Classical German Philosophy,” op. cit, 55-56.

[9] Marx, “The Communism of the Rheinischer Beobachter,” On Religion, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1972, 73-77.

[10] Engels to P.L. Laverov in London, Selected Works, op. cit., 478.

[11] Engels to F.A. Lange, 1865, Selected Correspondence, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975, 160-162.

[12] The German Ideology, op. cit., 64.

[13] Engels to Bloch in Konigsberg, Sept. 21-22, 1890, Selected Works, op. cit., 487. (Emphasis added except for last word).

[14] Engels, “Bruno Bauer and Early Christianity,” On Religion, op. cit., 173-182.

[15] “Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of Classical German Philosophy,” op. cit., 55.

[16] Stalin, “Marxism and the National Question,” in Selections from V.I. Lenin and J.V. Stalin on National Colonial Question, Calcutta: Calcutta Book House, 1970, 74.

[17] Stalin, “The National Question and Leninism,” 1929. 348.

[18] “Marxism and the National Question,” op. cit., 77.

[19] “The National Question and Leninism,” op. cit., 351.

[20] Lenin, “What the ’Friends of the People’ Are and How They Fight the Social-Democrats,” Peking: Foreign Languages Press, 1978.

[21] “The National Question and Leninism,” op. cit., 351.

[22] H. Chang, “Critique of the Black Nation Thesis,” 1975, 1.

[23] Ibid., 5.

[24] The New Voice, “Defeat the ’National Question’ Line in Our Movement,” 41.

[25] Ibid., 18-19.

[26] “Critique of the Black Nation Thesis,” op. eft., 33.

[27] “Defeat the ’National Question’ Line in Our Movement,” op. cit, 32.

[28] Ibid, 52.

[29] Stalin, “Concerning the Presentation of the National Question,” Marxism and the National Colonial Question, San Francisco: Proletarian Publishers, 1975, 176.

[30] Lenin, “The Socialist Revolution and the Right of Nations to Self-Determination,” Selections from V.I. Lenin and J. V. Stalin on National Colonial Question, op. cit., 32.

[31] “Defeat the ’National Question’ Line in Our Movement” , 41.

[32] “Critique of the Black Nation Thesis,” op. cit., 23.

[33] Asian Study Group, “Preliminary Draft on the Asian National Question in America, Part 1, The Chinese National Question,” 1973, 17, 20.

[34] “Defeat the ’National Question’ Line in Our Movement,” 31, 38.

[35] “Critique of the Black Nation Thesis,” 30, 31.