ALLIANCE MARXIST-LENINIST (NORTH AMERICA) NUMBER 39: ISSUE MAY 2001
MARX AND ENGELS ON NATIONALISM, AND CLASS STRUGGLE


APPENDIX: Correspondence in ISMl e-List (e-list: address); between Comrades MC, HK, BJ below.


From:  Cmde MC
Date:  Mon Feb 19, 2001  2:33 am
Subject:  Test (Again on the National Question and England)
Message 1526:
Comrádaí,
From Frederick Engels - Preparatory Material for "The History of Ireland"
"The English have been able to reconcile people of the most diverse races to
their rule.  The Welsh, who cling so strongly to their nationality and their
language, have been completely integrated into the British Empire.  The
Scottish Celts, although rebellious until 1745 and since then almost
exterminated, first by the government and later by their aristocracy, have
no thought of rebellion."

On the question of the contemporary movement of the Celtic peoples within
the British state for independence from English rule and the opposition of
the English 'communists' to same Engels again has some relevant comments.

"If members of a conquering nation called upon the nation they had conquered
and continued to hold down to forget their specific nationality and
position, to "sink national differences" and so forth, that was not
internationalism, it was nothing else but preaching to them submission to
the yoke, and attempting to justify and to perpetuate the dominion of the
conqueror under the cloak of internationalism."

Go bráthartha (Fraternally),
MC



Message 1529
From:  HK
Date:  Wed Feb 21, 2001  12:03 pm
Subject:  To Cmde MC
 
Dear Cmde MC,
We have reverted to an older debate that received no resolution. You
cite Cmde Engels as follows:     This citation no doubt you think supports your position in defence of
a `Scottish' and "Welsh' nation. It may be read differently however in my view. We will leave aside its' admitted unfinished character – raising the matter of finally it
represents Cmde Engels thought. But:     With Best Regards.
    HK


Message 1534:

From:  MC
Date:  Sat Feb 24, 2001  6:24 am
Subject:  National Question in the UK
 
Dear H,

        To recap on this discussion (and apologies in advance for not having exact
quotes) but some English members of the discussion list and indeed yourself
HK, expressed the view that there was such a thing as a 'British nation' as
opposed to the Marxist view that in fact Britain was made up of three
seperate nations - Alba (Scotland), Cymru (Wales) and England (and of course
the North of Ireland)

    Engels clearly states that the Welsh "cling...strongly to their nationality"
and "have been completely integrated into the British Empire". All this
means is that in the view of Engels the Welsh nation is part of the British
Empire (i.e. the British state and its posessions at that time).  It DOES
NOT mean that the Welsh have BECOME 'British'. I have not seen any quotation
where Marx or Engels state this. Whether or not Engels view is 'unfinished'
as you state H, remains to be proven..... perhaps you have some evidence
for this?

    In the text where the quotation comes from, Engels refers to the subject
nations in the British Empire and discusses the position of Scotland, Wales
and Ireland. It should be obvious that England is not included as a subject
nation within the Empire for the reason that in fact the Empire was centred
on the English nation, for the benefit of the English nation.  The fact that
the Scots and Welsh bourgeoisie collaborated with the English and accepted
their hegemony (under the bogus definition of being 'British') does not
eradicate the Scottish and Welsh nations.  At different times (right up to
the twentieth century) the majority of the Irish bourgeoisie defined
themselves and were happy to be known as 'West Britons'.
            So in reply to your first query HK, which seems to suggest a connection between the existence of a nation and whether or not a revolutionary
situation exists, in my view there is no connection. Ireland apart from
relatively small scale insurrections and agrarian terrorism in the 18 and 19
century was fully integrated.  Agrarian terrorism was a response to the
English system of landownership and also the laws regarding their own state
church and their demand that the Catholic peasants of Ireland support a
religion they did not believe in. The 'integration' of the Scots (i.e the
relative peacefulness of the Scottish peasantry) can be attributed to fact
that their Presbyterian church received recognition and status under the Act
of Union.
        In other words a nation may be revolutionary at one period and appear to be
'politically integrated' at another - both of these states depend on the
internal and external factors.

    Within the UK there has been a revival of the Welsh and Scottish national
movements, which now demand due recognition for Celtic culture.  It is my
belief that this movement will further erode the grip which national
chauvinism has had on the English proletarians. A grip mainly due to the
flag-flapping Tories and their ideology of a 'Great British' national
identity.  The end of the United Kingom as a state, its monarchy and feudal
remnants are a necessary step for the development of the revolutionary
movement in England itself.



Message 1537
From:  BJ
Date:  Mon Feb 26, 2001  12:33 pm
Subject:  National Question in Britain

    It is the obligation of Marxist-Leninists to promote good-will, mutual
respect and confidence amongst all the peoples engaged in the struggle for
social and national liberation. Consequently, Marxist-Leninists fight
against national oppression and national chauvinism, in order to unite the
proletariat and working masses in the struggle against capitalism and
imperialism. As a result, Marxism-Leninism resolutely combats both the
chauvinism of the dominant English nation and the national exclusivism of
the other nations and nationalities in Britain.

    Only the proletarian state will be able to fully solve the national question
in Britain. The proletarian state, led by the Marxist-Leninist Party, will
make its objective the elimination of the social and economic bases of the
continued subordination and oppression of the non-English nations and
nationalities in Britain. The objective basis for the rights of the nations
in Britain to self-determination will be guaranteed by the development of
proletarian state power in Britain. Without assisting in the abolition of
the present capitalist, imperialist state, the freedom of no nation is
guaranteed.

    The Marxist-Leninists in Britain are of the opinion that all the nations and
nationalities in Britain should unite together in a single union of
socialist states. Consequently, Marxism-Leninism advocates the free union of
the nations and nationalities of Britain. The division of the proletariat
and working masses between a mosaic of small independent states weakens
their mutual struggle against capitalism and imperialism. Equally, this
division opens the flood-gates to all sorts of reactionary, chauvinist
prejudices to enter into the ideology of the proletariat and working
masses.
    A free union of the nations and nationalities of Britain will allow the
proletarian state power to put an end to the cultural, social, political
and economic imbalances that presently exist between the nations and
nationalities of Britain. A revolutionary state poses revolutionary
solutions to the national question: assisting all nations and
nationalities, just in case they unite to struggle against the common
enemies of capitalism and imperialism.

    The right to self-determination is understood by Marxism-Leninism to mean
the right to secession. Whilst Marxist-Leninists in Britain advocate the
free union of all Britain's nations and nationalities, in the event of any
nation (England, Scotland, Wales) insisting on its right to secession (its
right to form an independent nation state), Marxism-Leninism will support
this claim, just in case the seceeding state(s) do not support imperialism
and just in case these states do not seek to oppose the interests of the
proletariat in Britain, or the interests of any nationality or other nation
in Britain.

    The proletarian state will consider a prime objective the economic, social
and cultural renaissance and development of all the nations and
nationalities in Britain. In order to be free of the inequalities of the
capitalist and imperialist past, this is a priority.

    Marxism-Leninism supports the demand of the Irish people for
self-determination and, specifically, an end to the British colony in
Ireland. The colonial division of Ireland is a principle source of reaction
in Britain itself. The re-unification of Ireland will be a significant step
towards the socialist revolution in Ireland, Britain and Europe. The
Marxist-Leninists regard it as the right of the Irish people to chose
whatever method is best-suited to fight against British imperialism.

    Marxist-Leninists in Britain advocate a socialist state in which the
national rights of all nations and nationalities are guaranteed. The
proletarian state will wage ruthless war against all those who seek to
hinder the solution of the national question in a revolutionary way.
Proletarian state power will allow the re-education of petty bourgeois
strata away from their nationalist, chauvinist prejudices and towards the
multicultural, internationalist stance of the international proletariat.

Foward to Socialist Revolution!
BJ, member Campaign for Marxist-Leninist Unity (Britain)



Message 1538
From:  MC
Date:  Tue Feb 27, 2001  8:33 am
Subject:  Re: [International-Struggle-Marxist-Leninist National Question in Britain
Comrades,
A very fine analysis from BJ. It sums up the Marxist-Leninist perspective on the national question in the British state  - perfectly!



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