The Commune

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Probably Your C...
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Sep 5 2008 23:42

try counting the kosovan republic flags in that photo.

The Serbs are the the only tribe in the Balkans that have

1)Overthrown their former ruling class.
2)Admitted their war crimes
3)Offered up their war criminals to the Hague
4)Pursued a course toward independant liberal democracy.

I'm not implying anything. I will say however that you are being woefully naive about tribalism. WE may think its a load of shite but to others it is Life Itself. Like Anarchy.

You said you dont support ethnic violence; what about ethnic self defence?

davidbroder
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Sep 6 2008 00:10

Am I for ethnic self-defence? Do you really need to ask? No and no.

You say the Serbs have overthrown "their" former ruling class... you ignore the question of who is the ruling class now.

"Their" war crimes. "Their" war criminals. Who are "they"? Where's the class and political differentiation?

"Independent liberal democracy" is a very abstract expression, and you portray this in a manner I wouldn't expect from any class-struggle revolutionary. If you are "not implying" anything, why point out these Serb 'successes'?

Probably Your C...
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Sep 6 2008 00:40

Am I for ethnic self-defence? Do you really need to ask? No and no.

Genocide is not a problem then?

You say the Serbs have overthrown "their" former ruling class... you ignore the question of who is the ruling class now.

One that did not lead their tribe to fall and ruin and one that is very mindful of their subjects wishes

"Their" war crimes. "Their" war criminals. Who are "they"? Where's the class and political differentiation?

Do we make class differentiation amongst those who rape, torture and exterminate?

"Independent liberal democracy" is a very abstract expression, and you portray this in a manner I wouldn't expect from any class-struggle revolutionary. If you are "not implying" anything, why point out these Serb 'successes'?

Independant as in not a grovelling, worthless little vassal like all the other tribes in the region. The Serbs possess an effective culture of resistance against 20th Century imperialism, be it from the Germans, the Soviets or the Americans

Spikymike
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Sep 6 2008 15:28

Supporting the 'right of nations to self determination' is supporting a 'right' which has no substance in reality but only in capitalist propaganda..

'The Commune' group may want to establish that right but are incapable of doing such.

Their support for any such group seeking the 'right to self determination' is of no value to that group.

Presumably then this part of their statement is simply shorthand to explain their understanding/analysis of the world in 'national' terms but sits unhappily with their other commitments to a class analysis.

None of this means that pro-revolutionaries should sit idly by if any group of workers is suffering language or other 'cultural' oppression if we are in a position to do something about it even in a small way, but we need to be very careful and very specific about exactly what we are supporting, as in most cases it is exactly these 'oppressions' which ruling class factions and political elites seek to use as fuel in their ambitions for the establishment of new states and new national boundaries which have nothing to do with working class (or staightforwardly human) interests.

Furthermore whilst some 'cultural' traditions may be worthwhile, most have been shaped by existing or traditional class societies and are just rubbish.

davidbroder
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Sep 6 2008 21:37

Has anyone else noticed that "probably your class enemy's" last post is more or less straightforwardly Serb nationalist?

"[the Serbs are] Independant [sic] as in not a grovelling, worthless little vassal like all the other tribes in the region. The Serbs possess an effective culture of resistance against 20th Century imperialism, be it from the Germans, the Soviets or the Americans"

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Django
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Sep 6 2008 22:19

As I said, I think he is a wind-up account.

I mean, check the circular argument in this.

Quote:
"Their" war crimes. "Their" war criminals. Who are "they"? Where's the class and political differentiation?

Do we make class differentiation amongst those who rape, torture and exterminate?

I'd agree with Spikeymike in this:

Quote:
None of this means that pro-revolutionaries should sit idly by if any group of workers is suffering language or other 'cultural' oppression if we are in a position to do something about it even in a small way, but we need to be very careful and very specific about exactly what we are supporting, as in most cases it is exactly these 'oppressions' which ruling class factions and political elites seek to use as fuel in their ambitions for the establishment of new states and new national boundaries which have nothing to do with working class (or staightforwardly human) interests

I don't think that it is wise for pro-revolutionary groups to follow the argument that because a section of the working class supports something, we should respect it. I don't think this has much value, it is contentless. Of course we should oppose oppression and exploitation in its manifold forms, but that doesnt mean supporting the supposedly natural corollary which bourgeois society presents us with. In the case of Palestine, we oppose Israeli state violence, starvation of Palestinians etc, but we never in any form the nationalist gangsters who would end up running the nation state which you propose "unconditional" support for. Its an old saying, but a correct one - workers have no country!

On a side note, I totally agree with you on earlier comments bringing together revolutionary currents and different traditions. Its good that people are coming to anti-state positions from various places. But clarity on issues is important too. I find it difficult to square your (in my view, correct) comments that it makes no sense to talk about "Serbians", "Kosovans" as we don't believe in unitary identities - nationalist myths - with the idea that we "unconditionally" support the integrity of these unitary identities in state form.

tigersiskillers
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Sep 6 2008 22:47
davidbroder wrote:
Tigersiskillers says " If people want to follow a particular political course that's up to them. I don't see why you need to declare 'unconditional support' for that."... well, the problem is that it's not really up to them, since if, for example, most Kosovars want to secede from Serbia or most Palestinians want their own state, they're not allowed to do so! The 'unconditional support' is for their right to do so... it does not mean advocating that they should, still less pretending that their nationalism is progressive.

But again, most palestinians want their own state, so what? Why should I care in a _political_ sense? I've already acknowledged that there are differences in terms of outcomes for people within the frame of bourgeois politics, but why should an organisation I'm part of have a stance on that? It's not really what we're here to do surely? Can't we leave that to the palestinian solidarity campaign? Palestinian people have a right to decide that all gays should be shot, or that they will declare December 2nd Iggy Pop day, or whatever. Should I declare unconditional support for their right to decide where they stand on homophobia or recognition days for proto-punk singers?

tigersiskillers
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Sep 6 2008 23:08
Probably Your Class Enemy wrote:
Probably Your Class Enemy wrote:
from the article.......

Any intelligent person can see that the fate of the advanced capitalist countries doesn't depend on the Third World's ability to cut off supplies of raw materials. The Third World's ruling classes will never get together to plan or practice an effective boycott on a world scale. Furthermore, the U.S. and Western Europe are becoming less dependent upon many of the products of the Third World. Add to that the falling prices for raw materials in the world market, the protectionist barriers in the advanced countries, and one gets a picture of imminent barbarism in the Third World. Its bargaining position vis-Ã -vis the West weakens every year. Third Worldists should seriously ponder about these tendencies.

Wow. RealityFail.

Sadly; theres quite a lot of RealityFail in that article

But give me arguments against the overall thrust of the article.

Edit - not to mention I'd already said that the article wasn't contemporary. But even that paragraph isn't totally out of date - do you really think increasing nationalism within the third world (can't be arsed selecting the 'right' expression - developing world? global south?) would pose a systemic threat to capitalism? Western protectionism still exists, capital flight would scare fuck out of local bourgeoisies, particularly troublesome regimes would be sanctioned or bombed into line.

davidbroder
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Sep 6 2008 23:01

The reason you should care that Palestinians want self-determination is that every year hundreds, sometimes thousands, of people are butchered in the Israeli government's efforts to deny them the right to their own state. I am not a vicarious Palestinian nationalist and I do not support Hamas or Fatah/PLO. But the denial of Palestinian self-determination goes hand-in-hand with military oppression of the people there by the IDF.

"Can't we leave that to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign?" No - why should we? The fact that they have a campaign does not mean we should let that group, who constantly invoke "international law", "UN action" and "boycotts" and also give apologias for Hamas, monopolise the issue. It is not up to them. We should not abstain from "their" political territory. We should take bourgeois-liberal and Stalinist ideas head-on.

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jura
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Sep 6 2008 23:04
Quote:
We should take bourgeois-liberal and Stalinist ideas head-on.

...by defending internationalism.

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Django
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Sep 6 2008 23:09
Quote:
The reason you should care that Palestinians want self-determination is that every year hundreds, sometimes thousands, of people are butchered in the Israeli government's efforts to deny them the right to their own state. I am not a vicarious Palestinian nationalist and I do not support Hamas or Fatah/PLO. But the denial of Palestinian self-determination goes hand-in-hand with military oppression of the people there by the IDF.

So do we support national liberation struggles on the basis of the body counts involved? This is a serious question. You seem to be posing national self-determination here as something inherent and natural which is suppressed by force.

I agree with Jura.

Probably Your C...
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Sep 6 2008 23:32
davidbroder wrote:
Has anyone else noticed that "probably your class enemy's" last post is more or less straightforwardly Serb nationalist?

"[the Serbs are] Independant [sic] as in not a grovelling, worthless little vassal like all the other tribes in the region. The Serbs possess an effective culture of resistance against 20th Century imperialism, be it from the Germans, the Soviets or the Americans"

Lets see; Serb nationalism turned Yugoslavia into a charnel pit for the nazis; that gets a big green tick in my book.

Anarchists as I far as I can tell have yet to claim their first tank

Probably Your C...
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Sep 6 2008 23:35
tigersiskillers wrote:
Probably Your Class Enemy wrote:
Probably Your Class Enemy wrote:
from the article.......

Any intelligent person can see that the fate of the advanced capitalist countries doesn't depend on the Third World's ability to cut off supplies of raw materials. The Third World's ruling classes will never get together to plan or practice an effective boycott on a world scale. Furthermore, the U.S. and Western Europe are becoming less dependent upon many of the products of the Third World. Add to that the falling prices for raw materials in the world market, the protectionist barriers in the advanced countries, and one gets a picture of imminent barbarism in the Third World. Its bargaining position vis-Ã -vis the West weakens every year. Third Worldists should seriously ponder about these tendencies.

Wow. RealityFail.

Sadly; theres quite a lot of RealityFail in that article

But give me arguments against the overall thrust of the article.

Edit - not to mention I'd already said that the article wasn't contemporary. But even that paragraph isn't totally out of date - do you really think increasing nationalism within the third world (can't be arsed selecting the 'right' expression - developing world? global south?) would pose a systemic threat to capitalism? Western protectionism still exists, capital flight would scare fuck out of local bourgeoisies, particularly troublesome regimes would be sanctioned or bombed into line.

I'll get round to it. Promise.

tigersiskillers
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Sep 6 2008 23:52

I think the actions of the IDF in the occupied territories are a fucking disgrace, and I'd be happy for any group I was part of to say that. Why does this mean I should 'unconditionally support the right of nations to self-determination'?

If the SNP get a majority vote should we be calling for Scottish independence? Should we have a postion on the reunification of Ireland? What is a nation anyway?

Probably Your C...
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Sep 6 2008 23:56
Django wrote:
As I said, I think he is a wind-up account.

I mean, check the circular argument in this.

Quote:
"Their" war crimes. "Their" war criminals. Who are "they"? Where's the class and political differentiation?

Do we make class differentiation amongst those who rape, torture and exterminate?

Django LogicFail;

Dont hang the deathcamp guards! they're working-class too!

Does ethnic self defence also make you uncomfortable?

davidbroder
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Sep 7 2008 00:16

"If the SNP get a majority vote should we be calling for Scottish independence?"

If there was a referendum on Scottish independence, I wouldn't call for Scotland to secede. I would pose more general questions of class politics, opposition to the SNP's economic programme, opposition to nationalist myths and so on. Given the choice I would not vote "yes" for Scotland leaving the UK (I think abstention would be best, a "no" vote would imply support for the constitutional status quo). But if 60% of people voted for independence, and the London government used constitutional niceties and royal powers to try and stop it, I would be totally opposed to their undemocratic manoeuvres and in favour of the implementation of the majority vote. That is support for the "right" to self-determination, not support for the SNP.

I don't accept that we need to set down any criteria for what a "real" nation is, or which national causes we think are serious and which are not. I don't accept (and no-one else here would either) the Stalinist notion that a nation has to be economically viable, have its own culture or language etc. But when large numbers of people - in the real world - say they are subject to national oppression and want their own state, it seems natural to me that on democratic grounds you would be in favour of their right to do this, while not for one moment neglecting or abstaining from the class struggle. The denial of the right to do this - which really does matter to lots of people - distorts and weakens the possibility of open class struggle. I am also in favour of the right for people to go to mad churches and listen to stupid religious fairytales, since prohibiting them from doing so is undemocratic and will undoubtedly be counter-productive.

Surely "internationalism" means sharply opposing national oppression, not just saying it's a non-issue because all nationalisms are based on fake and reactionary ideas (which they are). But to all those who criticise the position I'm putting forward, I will point out again that I do not support any bourgeois nationalist group or any "anti-imperialist" despots, unlike almost the entire non-anarchist far left.

tigersiskillers
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Sep 7 2008 00:42
davidbroder wrote:
I am also in favour of the right for people to go to mad churches and listen to stupid religious fairytales, since prohibiting them from doing so is undemocratic and will undoubtedly be counter-productive.

But David, this highlights my point - why not include this within your platform too? I'm not totally anti your position as I understand it (of course I am against the ruling class of a country exploiting and oppressing people outside their territorial borders, just as I am when they keep it within recognised nation-state boundaries), but the way it is highlighted and expressed within your platform still seems problematic to me as it reads like a pro national liberation stance. Look how people on here have taken it.

davidbroder
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Sep 7 2008 01:06
tigersiskillers wrote:
But David, this highlights my point - why not include this within your platform too? I'm not totally anti your position as I understand it (of course I am against the ruling class of a country exploiting and oppressing people outside their territorial borders, just as I am when they keep it within recognised nation-state boundaries), but the way it is highlighted and expressed within your platform still seems problematic to me as it reads like a pro national liberation stance. Look how people on here have taken it.

In Hoxha's Albania I'd have ardently campaigned in favour of freedom of religion. We just have a general pro-freedom of speech statement.

I guess you're probably right when you say that our position on self-determination could do with more explanation insofar as people might take us to mean something we don't (since when most left groups say they're for self-determination they mean that they support Hamas, Hezbollah, or in the past the FLN, Vietcong, etc. etc.).

Not sure if it's possible to adequately cover the issue in the brief platform, but certainly we should put some articles up with some explanatory stuff and some argumentation against supporting bourgeois nationalists. I think the Solidarity article isn't adequate for this purpose though, for the reasons outlined above. Also we don't want to be some sort of Solidarity tribute band!

[edit: come to our website: comment on the articles. discuss!]

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Django
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Sep 7 2008 08:27
Probably Your Class Enemy wrote:
Django wrote:
As I said, I think he is a wind-up account.

I mean, check the circular argument in this.

Quote:
"Their" war crimes. "Their" war criminals. Who are "they"? Where's the class and political differentiation?

Do we make class differentiation amongst those who rape, torture and exterminate?

Django LogicFail;

Dont hang the deathcamp guards! they're working-class too!

Does ethnic self defence also make you uncomfortable?

It is a circular argument. You respond to the question of who these "they" are who are responsible by saying "they" are responsible.

Some of the first targets of the NATO bombing campaign in Serbia were unionised utility facilities whose workforces had been highly hostile towards Milosovic. But I suppose being Serbian they're responsible for rape, torture and extermination and deserved it. roll eyes

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Django
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Sep 7 2008 08:34

David - I don't think that its the job of pro-revolutionaries to issue condemnations of the results of the dynamics of various forms of class societies. So this means not aping liberal single-issue politics - I know you're saying that this be accompanied by appropriate propaganda, but we're still in a losing situation of countering every bad specific instance of systems we already oppose on a fundamental level. So more concretely, I don't call for the government to respect Iraq's self-determination as enshrined in international law, for instance, but I oppose Imperialism. I don't call for the government to respect my democratic right to protest, but oppose the state and its function. I don't think this amounts to "doing nothing" either.

Steggsie
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Sep 7 2008 12:46
davidbroder wrote:
Surely "internationalism" means sharply opposing national oppression

To me it would mean opposing the oppression of the international working class and supporting working class solidarity across all national borders. This entails opposing political discourses that privilege nation over class. I appreciate your clarifications here, but the statement about the right to national self-determination that appears on the Commune site seems at best unclear to me.

davidbroder wrote:
But to all those who criticise the position I'm putting forward, I will point out again that I do not support any bourgeois nationalist group or any "anti-imperialist" despots, unlike almost the entire non-anarchist far left.

Which groups are you thinking of here, David? I am struggling to think of any 'far left' groups that support either.

Also, as somebody has already pointed out, talk of 'rights' is not intelligible, I think, within the communist context.

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Devrim
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Sep 7 2008 10:50
davidbroder wrote:
You can be, in principle, in favour of the Palestinian nation having the right to self-determination, up to and including secession if most people want it, without supporting Hamas or Fatah.

So what you are saying here is that you support 'the right to self-determination' but not the actual struggle for it.

davidbroder wrote:
In such a scenario, if most people subjectively wanted independence, then on what grounds would you say they shouldn't have the right to get it? For example, without question, the vast majority of people in Kosova want independence from Serbia. Obviously the working class is not in power in Kosova, and won't be even if Serbia recognises its independence. Perhaps lots of people's heads are full of all sorts of religious and nationalist hang-ups. I would argue vociferously against chauvinism. I would love to see a communist federation of the balkans (something which neither the continuation of the Titoite Yugoslavia, nor Serb control over its neighbours, would bring closer). But do you not think that if most people there want independence now, they have the right to it?

This is what you are supporting, a US backed murder gang:

Gece Notları wrote:
A new state has been set up with a Prime Minister, Hashim Thaçi, who is the ex-leader of the terrorist murder gang the Kosovo Liberation Army, and a well known drug dealer and gangster.

Since NATO forces arrived to stop ethnic cleansing the Serb population of Kosovo has decreased by between 45,000 and 75,000, and this is quite apart from the nearly 250,000 Serbs that fled Kosovo at the end of the war.

International human right agencies have changed from reporting violence against ethnic Albanians to reporting violence by ethnic Albanians against Serbs. This violence wasn’t only directed against Serbs though. The KLA was democratic in its ethnic violence, and was quite prepared to murder and drive out Gypsies as well as Serbs. In fact in the two years following the war as many as 1,000 Serbs and Gypsies are know to have been murdered or ’disappeared’ by the KLA. This of course does not include the 847 reported to have been killed and 1,154 kidnapped during NATO’s war.

The war itself, which actually began on the ground in Kosovo in 1996, three years before NATO intervened, saw barbarous attacks upon Albanians by Serb military, and paramilitary forces. It is estimated that 10,000 ethnic Albanians were murdered, and up to 1,000,000 became refugees.

davidbroder wrote:
Again though, you don't answer my point that there'd be no problem if most people in Kosova wanted that. And, once again, despite my repeated protests to the contrary you imply that I am some sort of vicarious Kosovan chauvinist... as if opposing Serbian oppression and denial of Kosovar self-determination meant I supported ethnic violence!

I don't imagine that you are a Kosovar chauvinist. I think that what does need pointing out though is that you seem to think that it is possible to support an abstract principle without supporting the anti-working class organisations that fight for this principle.

davidbroder wrote:
The reason you should care that Palestinians want self-determination is that every year hundreds, sometimes thousands, of people are butchered in the Israeli government's efforts to deny them the right to their own state. I am not a vicarious Palestinian nationalist and I do not support Hamas or Fatah/PLO. But the denial of Palestinian self-determination goes hand-in-hand with military oppression of the people there by the IDF.

To me what comes through here is that class analysis has been dropped for the amorphous mass of the 'Palestinians'.

I am not sure what you mean by the phrase 'the denial of Palestinian self-determination'.

Devrim

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Steven.
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Sep 7 2008 13:32

David, do you unconditionally support the right to self-determination of the Flemish in Belgium? What about the northern Italians?

Presumably you wouldn't support something wanted by the majority on principle would you, if it was anti-working class? Like the reintroduction of the death penalty? Or forced repatriation of immigrants? Or the outlawing of strikes?

That being the case, why would "self-determination" be any different? Surely you should support or oppose something based on whether it is good for the working class or not.

Also, your group seems interesting, I may try to attend one of these meetings...

Probably Your C...
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Sep 8 2008 01:23
Django wrote:
Probably Your Class Enemy wrote:
Django wrote:
As I said, I think he is a wind-up account.

I mean, check the circular argument in this.

Quote:
"Their" war crimes. "Their" war criminals. Who are "they"? Where's the class and political differentiation?

Do we make class differentiation amongst those who rape, torture and exterminate?

Django LogicFail;

Dont hang the deathcamp guards! they're working-class too!

Does ethnic self defence also make you uncomfortable?

It is a circular argument. You respond to the question of who these "they" are who are responsible by saying "they" are responsible.

Some of the first targets of the NATO bombing campaign in Serbia were unionised utility facilities whose workforces had been highly hostile towards Milosovic. But I suppose being Serbian they're responsible for rape, torture and extermination and deserved it. roll eyes

Pedantry. Are all Serbs guilty of War crimes? No.
Do the Serbs deserve to be bombed by NATO? No.
Can all Serbs bear some responsibility? Yes. and there's the heresy

Serbia isnt like the anti-society you and I live in. It is small, tight-knit, social and communal. People know each other. They know whats going on. This is how they've survived for centuries. Culture is real; certainly to those who act and believe within it.
Having said that, why should those of us who live in anti-societies bear any less responsibility for the actions of our rulers? Then again maybe I'm saying this cos I'm french

I'd be surprised if the NATO goons actually bothered making a hit list of of organized labour. Sounds Tinfoil. How about they simply bludgeoned the infrastructure of the regional tribe most likely to oppose their interests? That just happened to have a union?

Am I still a wind up account?

bastarx
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Sep 8 2008 12:35
Probably Your Class Enemy wrote:
Serbia isnt like the anti-society you and I live in. It is small, tight-knit, social and communal. People know each other. They know whats going on. This is how they've survived for centuries. Culture is real; certainly to those who act and believe within it.
Having said that, why should those of us who live in anti-societies bear any less responsibility for the actions of our rulers? Then again maybe I'm saying this cos I'm french

Have you been to Serbia? Do you have any idea what crap you are spouting?

Probably Your C...
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Sep 9 2008 00:02
Peter wrote:
Probably Your Class Enemy wrote:
Serbia isnt like the anti-society you and I live in. It is small, tight-knit, social and communal. People know each other. They know whats going on. This is how they've survived for centuries. Culture is real; certainly to those who act and believe within it.
Having said that, why should those of us who live in anti-societies bear any less responsibility for the actions of our rulers? Then again maybe I'm saying this cos I'm french

Have you been to Serbia? Do you have any idea what crap you are spouting?

Nope, just repeating what many proffessional correspondants have observed; and it certainly rings a bell here in rural french communities near where I live; are you one of those people?

If they did not possess a strong social/tribal ethic then how come they still exist?

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jura
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Sep 10 2008 08:21
Probably Your Class Enemy wrote:
If they did not possess a strong social/tribal ethic then how come they still exist?

Do you really think that the existence of a nation depends on the ideas "they" have ("ethic")?

posi
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Sep 12 2008 11:15

I've been discussing this question with David and Chris F elsewhere, initially I raised most of the objections above.

To my mind, David isn't using their strongest possible argument here. That would be this. Occasionally, nationally bounded working class revolutionary situations develop, those revolutions succeed to a large extent internally, and are then faced by threats from without. Three examples would be:
- Ukraine 1917-1921
- Shoras in Kurdistan, 1991
- Hungary '56

In such circumstances, defence of domestic workers' management, and the national section of the class, objectively raises the question of 'national self-determination'. This is a good response to Devrim, who says "I think that what does need pointing out though is that you seem to think that it is possible to support an abstract principle without supporting the anti-working class organisations that fight for this principle." It is a good response because it appears to show that it is not only anti-working class organisations that fight for this principle - on the contrary, that sometimes it is the class itself which fights for it! It means that we are not only talking about an abstract 'right' without concrete instances which are important - instead, we're talking about a principle which can be invoked in defence of revolution.

The next argument might be that 'really' what you are supporting is not 'national self-determination', but a class struggle like any other. I think that's a bit abstract - especially if the language of national self-determination is the language which expresses the desire for defence of the revolution amongst the domestic class (as, apparently, it was in the case of Ukraine).

I still think the language of the statement could be made much sharper. It needs to specifically repudiate support for nationalism along SWP lines, and not just assume that it's obvious because there are statements about 'communism from below' etc. elsewhere. Perhaps it also needs to make clear how and when the national question becomes important, as opposed to just being one among many things that are defensible, but not of great significance (like the right of people to decide whether to have traffic bumps on their street, or something).

By the way, I think tigersiskillers position is a bit crude. i.e. "it's more a case of so what?" First of all, because I think it is the job of communists to promote a critical understanding of the world, and its dynamics. Secondly, because groups like the SWP will be jumping around promoting the idea that socialism is compatible with reactionary nationalism - and we need to be able to refute that, while being able to show that we also have the basic humanity to give a shit about the suffering of people in e.g. Palestine. We shouldn't surrender the field.

Likewise, Django, who writes "I don't think that its the job of pro-revolutionaries to issue condemnations of the results of the dynamics of various forms of class societies." I would say that is an important job of pro-revolutionaries. It is important to not only condemn one form of class society, so as not to become hopelessly parochial and localist, and to express internationalism. And if no condemnation of the results of class society are issued at all, how is it to be condemned - in its abstract form only?

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Django
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Sep 12 2008 11:46
Quote:
Likewise, Django, who writes "I don't think that its the job of pro-revolutionaries to issue condemnations of the results of the dynamics of various forms of class societies." I would say that is an important job of pro-revolutionaries. It is important to not only condemn one form of class society, so as not to become hopelessly parochial and localist, and to express internationalism. And if no condemnation of the results of class society are issued at all, how is it to be condemned - in its abstract form only?

Yeah, i could have been clearer and made less of a blanket statement there. But what I mean is not to get sucked into single issue fights, such as "troops out of Iraq", which are framed as single political crimes, but are in fact a result of global capitalism and global imperialism, or obsession with one imperialist battleground, such as Israel/Palestine, at the expense of a proper understanding of imperialism and class society. Seeing it singly, out of context, can lead to this kind of factional support at the expense of proper internationalism, as nearly always happens with British leftists. I meant it as a reply to the idea that we should issue positions on absolutely everything bad that happens in the world, within the context of bourgeois politics - like calling for religious freedoms etc. So saying Imperialism in Iraq has killed nearly 2 million people would be a concrete criticism, not an abstract one.

Additionally, I think it would be important to absolutely support the class demands of workers in a situation such as Hungary '56, whilst criticising reactionary aspects (in the same instance - support of factions of the ruling class around Imre Nagy, nationalism, etc)

tigersiskillers
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Joined: 7-08-06
Sep 13 2008 02:59
posi wrote:
By the way, I think tigersiskillers position is a bit crude. i.e. "it's more a case of so what?" First of all, because I think it is the job of communists to promote a critical understanding of the world, and its dynamics. Secondly, because groups like the SWP will be jumping around promoting the idea that socialism is compatible with reactionary nationalism - and we need to be able to refute that, while being able to show that we also have the basic humanity to give a shit about the suffering of people in e.g. Palestine. We shouldn't surrender the field.

I don't think I was being that crude, the point I was trying to make is that there are all kind of demands that people might make collectively, I just don't see that a platform of a communist group is the right place to give unconditional support to each and any such demand. Many people in the basque regions of Spain and France want national self determination. Honestly, why should I care? Why should I care more about that than say, starving people in mozambique who want more international aid? On a human level I want more people in the global south to not be in the shit, and obviously recognse that the work of, say, Oxfam, does help some people on an individual basis. But I'm interested in the entire system behind the global economy.

I actually stated that "I wouldn't say I'm in favour of the palestinian nation having self-determination. I'd like to see palestinian people not get fucked over." I can't see why that equates to not "being able to show that we also have the basic humanity to give a shit about the suffering of people in e.g. Palestine."

I'm probably less hardline on this issue than many other people on Libcom - I have no real problem with the idea that people fighting a oppressive regime under the banner of national liberation might end up better off, even though they end up under a leadership of locally sourced bourgeois rulers. But again, why the phrase in the platform? Why not have a commitment to internationalism, but realise that sometimes in real life things can get a bit messy - that yay, these people's kids aren't being shot,but boo, class relations haven't substantially changed?

Similarly, I'm not against reforms within capitalism. I find the idea of opposing anything short of revolution to be ridiculous. However I wouldn't want to be part of a group that stated as a public position 'we unconditionally support reforms' .