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VIII. Nationalism and Class Consciousness

It must be noted in general, that all anomalies in the conditions of production, i.e., the class structure. It is a commonly known fact that under normal condition of production the class antagonisms become more acute, whereas under abnormal conditions of production they abate somewhat.

Normal conditions of production denationalize the people and dull its national consciousness, whereas abnormal conditions of production (i.e., when some part of the national possession is lacking or its organs or preservation are curtailed) harmonize the interests of various classes of the nation and heighten its national consciousness. Therefore, there is a kind of antagonism between the class-consciousness and national consciousness of a given group, and the two are wont to obfuscate one another. It sometimes happens that the interests of the individuals of various classes in a nation, under abnormal conditions of production, are in reality harmonious in some respect, and yet certain irrational ideologists ignore these national interests, which are also of great significance to their own class, too. The same effect is created by carrying on a nationalistic propaganda within a nation which is living under normal conditions of production or where the propagandists will have the people believe that the common interests are broader and more harmonious than is really the case. In this latter instance nationalism blunts class-consciousness, as it is therefore detrimental to the whole nation, because it hides the real relations between the various groups within the nation. This results in self-deceit, illusions and social myopia.

It is always harmful to obscure the class or national consciousness of a given group, irrespective of whether this is a result of a class or national demagogy. Whether it is class or national interests which are being obscured, or whether it is the real conditions of production or the relations of production which are being falsely interpreted, is immaterial, since the one attempt as well as the other is reactionary.

The ruling classes of free as well as of oppressed nations, take advantage of this fundamental contradiction between national and class consciousness, and are often inclined to carry on a hypocritical nationalistic propaganda in order to obscure the class-consciousness of those whom they oppress. But we should not be misled by this condition into believing that these ruling classes are in reality nationally inclined. The ruling classes are not national, but nationalistic.

All propaganda and every moment, which is rooted in the character of the conditions of production of a given society, is either national or nationalistic. Whenever it attempts to blunt the class and civic consciousness of the members of that society, and whenever it ignores the class structure and the antagonism between the interests of the classes, it is nationalistic. If, however, it does not obscure the class structure of the society, it is national.

The phrase "national spirit," all sorts of "cultural-historical essences," and all other exaggerated traditions are the best warning signals against confusion of the two. Nationalistic speeches are always liberally dotted with them. Empty phraseology, crammed with these and similar conceptions, is not national but nationalistic.

Taking into consideration the fact that there exists a common national character, which is the same for all members of the nation, a person who thinks nationalistically is inclined to forget on account of all the social differences between the individuals making up the nation. On the other hand, a person who thinks nationally -- even when he recognizes the existence of a common character created in the environment of common conditions of production -- realizes nevertheless, first of all, that it is rather difficult to define this national character and the national-culture type, for they are too intangible; and secondly, that within every nationality the separate characteristics of each class appear much more acutely and can be more readily discerned.

Finally, a person who thinks nationalistically believes that all members of society should be nationalistic; he conceives of nationalism and patriotism as a holy imperative. But a person who thinks nationally does not consider it "traitorous" when he discovers that certain classes of the society are wholly free of nationalism, while others understand nationalism each in their own way, in relation to their respective class interests.

IX. The Nationalism of the Great Land Owners

The great land owners are the class which lives from land-rent. Naturally, their income consists in part also of interest derived from their capital. But land-rent is the principal source of their income. As a result they are mainly concerned about the immobile things, about their estates. They cherish the territory only in as much as it represents a piece of land from which they can exact their rents. Their nationalism is inherently a land nationalism. It is affected only when some other neighboring people attempt to annex the soil itself; for should such conquest be achieved, the land owners would lose their source of income. The land owners are not concerned with the fact that the territory also serves other classes of their nation as a national market, and it would hardly trouble them at all should a foreign people, foreign capitalists, attempt to wrest from their own bourgeoisie the domestic market offered by the territory. However, other incidental interests oblige them to give some attention to those matters.

For the land owning class occupies a transitory position in the history of social development. This class is rapidly becoming capitalistic and it is therefore beginning to find itself in a new relationship to the national wealth and to the instrument of national preservation: the land owning class is but a remnant of the feudal system whose death knoll social progress has long since sounded. The land owners have lost their economic power and they are losing more and more of the political power which they still retain in some countries, where the land owning class has to a certain extent preserved its identity, it still exerts a greater influence on the State than do other classes.

One must bear in mind, that the present-day State is a class State. The respective interests of the various groups in the State are different. Naturally then, not all groups in the society are in a position of power. The State regime is intimately associated with some one class. As far as possible, however, the State strives to gain the confidence of the whole population, irrespective of class. In order to exert its influence the state pretends to steer a middle course between all classes. It is possible for it to maintain such a position, however, only when it can raise some issue which rises above all antagonisms within the social organism. This issue is nationalism.

And wherever they still retain the political power in their hands, the big land owners do precisely that. We frequently behold the following phenomenon: the same adherents to feudalism, who formerly had no conception whatsoever of "national ideals" or the "national mission," are now the first to shout these slogans. In reality, though they acquired this idea from their former enemy, the bourgeoisie. This phenomenon can be explained only by the fact that the land owners are forced to pretend to a position above al classes. In order not to awaken any dissatisfaction in the subordinated populace, they ferret out everything that has any semblance of national value and go to all extremes to preserve it, thus pulling the wool over the eyes of the populace. That also is why the big land owners are so sensitive about the national honor, and are so exaggeratedly finicky in a nationalistic sense. They are, so to say, the permanent powder-barrel of nationalism, and are always ready to explode on the slightest provocation.

The nationalism of the land owning class has another characteristic; this class has preserved the whole store of traditions amassed during the feudal period. And although nationalism itself has nothing in common with traditionalism when it made its first appearance, the land owners nevertheless enmesh it in the toils of old traditions. [5]

In the countries where the bourgeoisie is in control, and the land owners are powerless, the traditional nationalism of the latter class manifests itself clearly, as does the reactionary and barren nature of its tactics. Approaching its grave, the landed aristocracy leaves a trail of wretched scandals along its tragic road. That is the sort of "nationalism" we find in France; as its days become numbered the more numerous are the scandals.

X. The Nationalism of the Great Bourgeoisie

Big business knows no tradition. We have repeatedly made this statement. When Big Business is nationalistic, we can readily foretell that this nationalism is utterly remote from any connection with tradition. To the inner national market and to its language -- the national language prevailing in this market, -- Big Business is only feebly bound. Big Business has long ago swept beyond the narrow borders of the national market and language. Now it strides, head raised high, over the broad extensive world market. In the distribution of its goods, the great bourgeoisie is not confined within the limits in which the national language predominates; it has no direct relations with the consumer. The latter is concerned, now with the manufacturer, but with the retailer. The manufacturer, in fact, does not need to know any other tongue but his mother-tongue; his secretaries and bookkeepers will take care of his correspondence with foreign countries. And the financier, the money capitalist, whose clutches are on the whole course of the modern economy, has even less contact with the domestic market than has the great industrialist.

The great bourgeoisie, therefore, does not conduct a domestic national policy. It dreams of the universal might of its national capital. It seeks to crowd all "foreign" capital out of the world-market, so that its own profits may be the greater. For this purpose, a strong navy and a well-trained army are essential. Such "noble" matters as "the national cultural spirit," and so on, seldom interest it. It is much more interested in bayonets, bombs, and battleships. Questions of language and national education interest it little. Of greater importance is the budget for the army and navy. In order to exercise the proper influence upon such matters, political power is necessary. And the real basis of political power is, obviously, the territory.

Thus, the territory and its borders, so far as Big Business is concerned, represent an operating base from which to seize the world market. [6]

XI. The Nationalism of the Middle-Class

We now must deal with the middle-class and the petty bourgeoisie. Unlike the land owners, they do not regard their territory merely as an area of land. For them, the territory possesses significance as a market for consumption-goods. The frontiers of this market naturally coincide with the sphere of influence of the national tongue. The immediate buyer must speak the same language as the immediate seller. Thus, it follows that the middle-class is interested in having more and more people speak its language. The nationalism of this particular bourgeois group draws its inspiration from the interests of the national market. The middle-class is, therefore, the chief supporter -- not, of course, the only supporter -- of those policies which hinder the freedom of foreign languages. The essence of nationalism, as the middle-class sees it, is the language and everything that is intimately connected with the language -- traditional culture, education, etc.

It happens, sometimes, that the great land owners of some powerful nation wish to seize the soil upon which a subject people is dwelling; and so they try to assimilate the inhabitants. They assume the guise of cultural crusaders, crush the language of the nation which they desire to assimilate, and strangle its education. The middle-class is always the readiest partner of the land owners in this noble task, for the former presumes to be the devoted "knights" of the "cultural crusade." To be convinced thereof one has but to remember the assimilatory politik in Prussian Silesia.

The ideologists of this class employ the same phraseology as the land owners. Incidentally, they also have another similarity to the latter; they occupy the middle position between the two main classes of society; and they, too, pretend to stand above the class struggle.

In reality they fear every social upheaval, for it might signify their death warrant. They sanctify orderliness, and mortally fear revolution. They cling fast to whatever property is still in their possession, and tremble lest that too be wrested from them. They are therefore the bulwark of "law and order," and are ready to defend with fire and sword the existing order of things. In general they are vexatious, as might be expected from an element which is on the down-grade to pauperization, and which cannot fight for its future or face it squarely. Everything that is in whatever degree unusual or strange, appears to them as rebellious, traitorous and subversive. Their poor dull wit will not permit them to rise above their drab possessiveness.

Such conditions have provided excellent soil for the various nationalistic prejudices and superstitions. The troubled petty-bourgeoisie heads are wholly concerned with "we" and "they," "native" and "alien." Incidentally, this is not to be wondered at, for they constitute a class whose members, engaged in cut-throat competition, are eternally squabbling among themselves. They lack a common meeting-point where their class-interests may coincide. Class-consciousness can find no foot-hold here; all the more reason, then, why national self-consciousness so vigorously sprouts. This group, indeed, creates its own "ideals," -- but this is not the place to dwell upon them.

Of importance to us is this, that the middle-class and petty-bourgeoisie, though directly concerned with the protection of their domestic market, indirectly support the chauvinistic domestic and foreign policies of the land owners. This wretched type of nationalism plays no independent role; and when it loses its strong ally, the land owning class, it will completely die out. The more rapidly this propertied class becomes declassed, and its members are distributed among the proletariat and the great bourgeoisie, the quicker will this type of nationalism become extinct.

Some elements of the middle-class and petty bourgeoisie who are concerned with the national culture -- teachers, historians, writers, artists, etc., -- are inclined to a peaceful form of honor-- able, respectable, "cultural" naturalism. They place great hope in the recognition of the right of every nation to its own self-determination. They have no desire to destroy every other nationality and do not wish to swallow anyone. In domestic politics, they are liberal, frequently even radical, and they maintain the same position in international politics, they are liberal, frequently even radical, and they maintain the same position in international politics. And yet, they do love the "native" more than the "alien"; somehow, the traditions of their own culture are dearer to their hearts. They are not nationalistically "snobbish" but they feel that they must protect their national prestige.

The more intellectually developed and progressive elements do not even deny the class structure of society. Nevertheless, they are not concerned therewith, because in general, they loath conflict and disorder. They have only managed to preserve in a petrified state the earlier sentiment of pre- (French) revolutionary, bourgeois nationalism, with its old national-democratic traditions.[7]

Until now we have considered the nationalism of the ruling classes. It is a diversified nationalism, as we have just seen. It is, of course, difficult to differentiate the national ideas of the land owners, the great bourgeoisie (big business) and the middle-classes. It is difficult, even from an economic point-of-view, to distinguish between one or another. There are innumerable transitional forms of nationalism which make one type of nationalism approximate another; but to the inexperienced eye they seem to blend into a single whole. The materialistic interpretation of history, however, teaches us to distinguish everywhere between the basic characteristics and their variations, and always to resolve into its original elements what may superficially appear to be one compounded whole.

XII. The Nationalism of the Proletariat

No one is bound to accept the widely spread fallacy, which claims that the proletariat really bears no relationship tot he territory, and consequently possesses neither a national sense nor national interests. There is no class in society that lies outside of the conditions of production. It follows that the state of these conditions of production possesses a definite significance for the proletariat too. Let us forget those empty and hazardous imbecilities, so commonly current among the progressive public in respect to this particular question. If the common base and reservoir of the conditions of production, (viz., the territory) possesses for the landlords the importance of landed property and is the mainstay of their political power, if it possesses for the great bourgeoisie the importance of an operating base from which to seize the world market and for the middle-classes of society the importance of a consumers' market, and if the protective forms of the national possession have for each of these classes their respective importance -- then the territory has likewise its importance for the proletariat, i.e., the importance of a work-place. The protective forms, too, have their specific importance for the proletariat.

Were the workers "a thousand times over a god in human form," as certain demagogic agitators try to convince us, he must still eat, and must therefore work. Unemployment is not a very pleasant thing for him. Even Marx recognized the fact that there exists a degree of competition among workers for the place of work when he said, "The great industry masses together in a single place a crowd of people unknown to each other. Competition divides their interests… Thus competition has always a double end, that of eliminating competition among themselves while enabling them to make a general competition against the capitalist," (The Poverty of Philosophy). Competition among rude, untutored workers, will often lead to competition between urban dwellers and workers from other cities, even of the same country. The competitive spirit among the more cultured workers is on a higher, more refined level; these will, of course, not molest outsiders. When foreign workers stream in, however, and cause a drop in wages, then the interests of even civilized workers are keenly affected and they can no longer remain indifferent.

Some individuals whose abilities to think have been stultified by partisan phraseology and vulgar agitation will protest that we are desecrating the veracity of our above contentions through facts. What more convincing proof is needed than the fact that Volmar's Munchener Zeitung, for example, is always quick to raise an alarm when Bavarian private or governmental contractors hire Italian instead of German workers. And Volmar is at the head of a great party. To be sure, he is a revisionist; but nevertheless, at the party conference in Jena, he is a most respected comrade. Or consider, for instance, the policy of the Australian Government as regards immigrants. It is, it seems to me, quite clear that these restrictions to immigration are not instituted in the interests of capital but rather in the interests of the workers.[8]

We shall not dwell on the behavior of the American proletariat towards the Chinese coolie. The crying facts of the mal-treatment of Chinese workers are too well-known to the reader. Judging from the fact that party theorists tend to devote themselves more and more to the national question, it is quite apparent that the proletariat is not at all unrelated to this accursed question. But there is one point, particularly, where the national question very intimately and pertinently affects the workers; and that is the territory as a place of employment.

There are a number of other working-class interests that are related to the territory, e.g., the cultural interests of language, education, literature. They are valuable as a means of developing class-consciousness. The development of class-consciousness derives its real sustenance, however, not from this "culture," but through the process of class struggle itself.

But the class struggle can take place only where the worker toils; in other words, where he has succeeded in occupying a definite work-place The weaker his status at this position, the less ground he has for a systemic struggle. As long as the worker does not occupy a definite position, he can wage a struggle. It is, therefore, in his own interests to protect his position.

It matters not from what angle we approach the national question in order to determine the "raison d'etre" for the proletariat. Even if first we were to discover only its cultural needs, still it would not matter. Invariably, we shall arrive at the material basis, i.e., at the question of the work-place and place of struggle (the strategic base). This is what the territory represents for the proletariat. [9]

The question of work has not only a class aspect, but a national aspect. Thus, the English worker must protect his place of employment not only against the profit considerations of the capitalist, but also against the immigrant worker. It follows therefore, that as long as the national work-place is not secure, the national problem overshadows the labor problem. And as long as the workers of a given nation have not yet made their place of work secure, the problem of work is of far greater importance to them than the issues of the class struggle.

In consequence we have the following results: first, the masses which are just becoming proletarianized and are looking fore work are generally incapable of becoming readily class-conscious and are therefore only nationalistically inclined; secondly the class-consciousness of even the cultural proletariat is greatly obscured by its national consciousness whenever the proletariat is formed to defend its national place of employment. Thus, the constant immigration of new workers into England and the United States of America is a threat to the security of the places of employment of the English and American workers, and as a result, the national consciousness of the latter is heightened, deterring the development of their class-consciousness. This is one of the main reasons why the labor movements in those countries have not yet developed beyond their present trade-unionist framework.

The orthodox Marxist dogmatists have not as yet been able to explain this extraordinary backwardness of the English and American proletariat. It is a fact which affords them considerable irritation. In just happens that this fact has no connection with the relations of production. Hence their dilemma. Correctly to interpret the above-mentioned fact, a thorough-going analysis of the conditions of the English and American production-life is required. An approach, more profound and more genuine, needs to be adopted towards the national question; once and for all to renounce every vulgar bias. It must accordingly be understood, that whenever the national question, in whatever form it exists, has not yet been solved, class-consciousness cannot normally developed.

Those students who ignore the role of the conditions of production and devote themselves exclusively to a study of the relations of production are not in a position to understand the national question. Therefore, the following contradictions in the capitalistic economy must forever remain for them an insoluble mystery. They cannot explain why, on the one hand, the capitalistic system appears as international in scope and destroys all boundaries between tribes and peoples and uproots all traditions, while, on the other hand, it is itself instrumental in the intensification of the international struggle and heightens national self-consciousness. How is it possible that at the same time when the various societies are drawn economically closer together, and their respective and relative distinctions are modified, the national problem is intensified and the various national movements develop? Unless the materialist can answer this question, he must entangle himself in a nest of contradictions.

Kautsky made several attempts to explain this problem, but in doing so he deserted his materialistic concepts. Nevertheless, we must admit, he gradually approaches the theory which we have here developed. And according to this theory, the solution of the above-mentioned riddle is quite clear. If we take into consideration the fact that humanity is divided into groups of production, then we will understand that the inherent striving of capital to expand must result in friction between these relatively distinct groups. One aspect of the above-mentioned contradiction is the cause, the other is the effect. This is one of the many contradictions with which modern society is burdened.

We have previously stated that the national question, and also the conversion of the various peoples into nations, is a result of the capitalistic modes of production. It might therefore be presumed that the national struggle must disappear together with the class struggle. But this conclusion would be to far-fetched.

Every serious student must consider as even more far-fetched and hazardous the contention that national differences will be eradicated simultaneously with the eradication of class differences. We do not wish to dwell on this question, for we consider it inconsequential to do so. Furthermore, no definite factual answer can be given at the present moment. So far as we are concerned, the national question is a problem of today. We cannot predict what will happen a hundred years hence; -- whether nations will still be nations or whether they will intermingle. Today, this question cannot be answered.

XIII. Summary

During the feudal period the various social groups, each of which was engaged in the struggle for existence under a different and relatively distinct complex of conditions of production emerged as separate peoples. The physiognomy and character of each people possess relatively distinct traits.

From out of the midst of feudal economy capitalism evolved. By reason of this development, there arose within the production-life a two-fold material socio-economic contradiction. On the one hand, the productive forces, by reason of their higher stage of development, ceased to be adapted to the antiquated feudal relations of production. On the other hand, the productive forces -- which were passing through the processes of capitalist development -- were no longer adapted to the antiquated system of conditions of production. For the feudal order had broken up the peoples and their territories by means of innumerable barriers and this enormously impeded the development of capitalism.

As a rule, every disparity between the forces of production and the relations of production results in a social problem which can be solved only by the emancipation of the oppressed class. This type of contradiction which appeared at the beginning of capitalism, was felt most severely by the bourgeoisie; and the latter, therefore took the initiative to wipe it out. It succeeded in achieving this purpose through the French Revolution.

Every disparity of the second sort, i.e., between the forces of production while they are in the process of development, and the conditions of production which hinder this development, results in a national problem which can be solved only by the emancipation of the oppressed nation. This type of contradiction, which manifested itself at the very beginning of capitalism, was felt by all classes of the society of the day. Therefore, all oppressed classes at the time of the French Revolution were imbued with the feeling of a common nationality which was being oppressed by the "upper-strata." It was generally believed that there was a common national harmony of interest, and only the ruling classes of that period were excluded from this ostensible harmony. Nationalism then assumed the aspects under which we understand it today.

The development of the capitalistic economy created the basis for the feeling of kinship which we call nationalism. This development transformed the former peoples into modern nations.

Nationalism, therefore, first became manifest not in the external politics of the ruling classes, but in the internal struggle of the oppressed classes. Nationalism, in the present sense of the word, was carried over to the sphere of external politics only later, when the national question made its full appearance.

Soon after the newly developed capitalism had superseded feudalism, it became evident that the expansion of its forces of production was impeded not only by the state of the conditions of production within the relatively separated societies, but also by the relative distinctiveness of the various conditions of production, every society comes into conflict with neighboring societies which offer it resistance. Thus, the development of the capitalistic system places the national question in the limelight.

The root of the national question lies in the conflict between relatively distinct socio-economic organisms. The national question is manifest in the phenomena arising out of international competition.

International competition is not a result of some despotic, egotistic trait of the ruling classes. It is a consequence of capitalist economy which, in the process of its development, exhibits an inevitable tendency to expand. Upon the basis of this competition, certain emotions and feelings arise among the people concerned in it. As their origin lies deeply imbedded in economic life, these people first imagine that such feelings are utterly without relation to the material life. They fail to observe the profound economic basis of this sentiment and are thus deprived of the possibility of understanding its underlying cause, which to them appears holy and far removed from the materialistic.

From these sentiments arise multifarious fantastic nationalistic ideologies, which are prone to obscure the national consciousness and emphasize the antagonism between it and class-consciousness.

Capitalist economy has bestowed the national question, not upon the bourgeoisie alone, but upon all classes in society, for all are involved in international competition one way or another. The territory, from whatever angle it is studied, possesses a certain importance for each class, as the base for the conditions of production.

Among free peoples, those which oppress no one and are not themselves oppressed, nationalism finds itself in a state of potential (or latent) energy. At the first opportunity, however, this energy is transformed into a kinetic, dynamic state. The ruling classes are the first to lose their equilibrium. They constantly evince a tendency -- and it can hardly be otherwise -- to seize the world market or to extend the domestic consumers'' market. On such occasions of disturbed equilibrium, the hitherto calm, but quietly smoldering nationalistic feelings burst into a fierce blaze. For nationalism, when it originates from the ambition to extend the home market, acquires an aggressive, consciously belligerent character. The weapons employed are the conquest of foreign territory and forced assimilation of national minorities.

The effort of the proletariat to extend its work-market and its work-place cannot, however, be expressed by an acquisitive policy. The proletariat, and the proletenarianizing masses have, it is well known, no direct influence upon international politics. There is but one way of extending the work-place; -- that is, by peaceful emigration into foreign countries.

But the migrating masses, who wander around the world seeking employment, do not carry their national politics with them. The migrating worker, thrust out of his sphere of conditions of production, has no profound attachment to his old home. Were it not for incidental circumstances; for example, were it not for the traditions of education or kinship with those left behind, the emigrating worker would not manifest even those feeble indications of affection for his fatherland, which he occasionally displays.

Different, however, is the case of the proletariat of those countries to which emigration flows. There, an effort to retain the work-place for itself is clearly observed. Simultaneously with this effort the national self-consciousness is sharpened. Among the proletariat of a free nation it assumes the sharply expressed, belligerent self-defensive character of an anti-immigration complex. This is shown in even greater degree in the behavior and mood of the native proletarianizing masses. They, even more so than the proletariat, are strongly concerned that their national work-place be not affected.

We see, then, in the first place, that in the case of the proletariat, the national question is virtually part and parcel of the question of emigration and immigration; herein lies the local character of the proletarian nationalism. And secondly, we see, that among free unoppressed peoples, nationalism presents diverse forms, depending invariably upon the respective classes -- ruling or subject -- which manifest this phenomenon.

Among the oppressed peoples nationalism appears in a much simpler light. These oppressed peoples constantly exist under abnormal conditions of production; abnormal for the reasons that we have mentioned before, viz., the lack of deficiency of territory and its protective forms, (political independence, freedom of language, and freedom of cultural development). Such abnormal conditions bring the varying interests of all the individuals of the nation into harmonious agreement. It is owing to the outside pressure which hinders and disorganizes the influence of the conditions of production that the relations of production and the class-struggle itself are hindered in their development. For the proper course of the mode of production is thus hindered, class antagonisms become abnormally dulled, and national solidarity derives greater strength.

Apart from the fact that the separate interests of each particular class are adversely affected by this external pressure; apart from the fact that the bourgeoisie suffers from a lack of markets, and that the proletariat lacks the freedom to control completely his work-place, -- this pressure is also felt by all the individuals of the nation. All feel and all comprehend that the pressure is a national one; it has its origin in a foreign nation and is directed against their own nationality as such. The language, for instance, now assumes an importance far exceeding that of a simple expedient devised for the purpose of protecting the market. When freedom of language is interfered with those who are oppressed become more closely attached to it. In short, the national question of an oppressed people becomes sharply divided from the connection it normally has with its basis, -- with the material conditions of its production life. Cultural needs then assume an independent importance and all members of the nation become concerned about the freedom of national self-determination.

It is during the struggle for national liberation, however, that class-structure and class-psychology become discernible. The groups of an oppressed people generally bound up with its tradition are the middle-class and the petty bourgeoisie , particularly the "clericals" and the landlords. Those participating in the national education and the national literature, -- teachers, writers, -- also color their traditionalism with a national hue. The chief protagonists of national freedom are, however, always the progressive elements among the people and among the intelligentsia. When these groups have attained a high degree of development, have freed themselves from the narrow framework of traditionalism, then their nationalism accordingly acquires a pure and genuine character. The process of liberation is essentially not nationalistic, but national. And among the progressive elements of an oppressed nation there develops a genuine nationalism. It does not dream of preserving its traditions; it does not exaggerate their importance; it is not deluded by the sham of national unity; it has a clear comprehension of the class-character of society; it does not stifle the genuine interests of anyone. Its goal is the actual liberation of the nation, to restore to normal its conditions and relations of production.

Genuine nationalism: It is that nationalism which does not obscure class-consciousness. It is to be found only among the progressive elements of oppressed nations. Within the most progressive class, -- within the organized revolutionary proletariat of an oppressed nations, genuine nationalism is expressed in the firm, lucidly formulated demands which it presents in its minimum program. Such demands have the clearly marked aim to attain, -- by the establishment of the nation under normal conditions of production, -- a normal work-place and base of struggle for the proletariat.

Once this goal is reached, the objective of genuine nationalism is fulfilled. In place of the former solidarity of national interests during certain processes of liberation,-- solidarity that is both obligatory and abnormal -- there emerges anew with unmistakable clarity a sound class-structure and a sound class-struggle.

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[6] With the exception of the great daily press, there are among the intelligentsia practically no ideologists sufficiently concerned about the great bourgeoisie (big business) to engage in an effort to formulate its attitude to life. The press is by no means fastidious in its selection of the means to carry out its chauvinistic work of demoralization. The opinions, with which the press feeds the public mind, are derived from whatever source may be close at hand. It will utilize even the traditions of the landowners so long as they will suit its purpose. Essentially however, we repeat, the great bourgeoisie with its particular sort of nationalism has very little to do with all traditions, -- although it is the modern ruling class. It would not be amiss for all the implacable foes of nationalism to remember this. It plainly relegates to the discarded past the opinion, currently mooted, that the concepts of nationalism, tradition, rule are, in reality, identical.

[7] As we have already indicated, this sort of nationalism is called "spiritual" nationalism. It is by no means identical with the so-called "spiritual" (cultural) nationalism of the landlords. The landlords, and the bourgeois mass that follows in its wake, spout high-faluting phrases expressive of all sorts of cultural-national fictions, little concerned about their purport. They may, in fact, believe profoundly in these fictions. For this reason, of course, they fail to subject them to a critical analysis but accept them dogmatically, -- with the result that the queerest nationalistic theories are invented.

[8] The example of the Australian Government is clearer and more convincing that the policies of the English Government and of the Government of the United States of America. The workers of Australia and New Zealand wield a great influence upon their governments' policy but the American workers have no influence upon the Government of the United States. In England and the United States, the workers are, in fact, strongly concerned that immigration be restricted. Were it not, however, for the support afforded these workers by the other influential classes, Australia and New Zealand would not, of themselves, have succeeded in enacting the immigration laws of their respective countries. In these countries, the following classes are interested in the imposition of restrictions upon immigration:-- a) the petty mercantile and industrial bourgeoisie, for the reason that a large proportion of the immigrants, unable to obtain a livelihood in the factories, are compelled to resort to trade and handicrafts and thus to compete with the local shop-keepers and artisans; b) the great, middle-class entrepreneurs who suffer from the competition of the sweat-shop system, for the reason that the greatest number of workers in such shops consists of immigrants; if it had not been for this immigration, this competition would not have been created; c) the unemployed and the insecure, unskilled laborers who suffer more intensely than all the others from the stream of unemployed emigrants. The protests of the Trade-Union Conference in England prove nothing, inasmuch as the trade unions are composed mainly of qualified workers with secure employment. After all, they are the smallest section of the general working-class population of England. One can hardly identify the interests of a tiny, privileged group, with the interests of the masses of the workers as a whole.

[9] To ignore the material basis of the proletarian national question, as the Bundists have done, is certainly not in accordance with the spirit of materialism. Their entire emphasis is laid only upon culture as a medium for the development of class-consciousness. But to be concerned about the struggle without considering the conditions of the struggle-base and the work-place, -- that is stupidity. The historical materialist, at any rate, ought certainly not to seek the actual purport of a social question in the culture; therein lies the supreme fallacy of Bundism. It vividly serves to illustrate the inconsistency of the Bundists.