Nationalism and Marxism: an improbable equation

This post is also available in: Español (Spanish)

 

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Nationalism and Marxism are antagonist and irreconcilable.            The Nationalists parties in Spain have completely wrong concepts about political theory. And about their own ideology, which is even more serious. Historically, in the 19th century when nationalist movements were born, like in the rest of Europe, they were born to bourgeois and conservative ideology. The left-wing Nationalist parties, which later on became separatist, emerged in Spain during the 20th century while in the rest of Europe remained of Conservative ideology. The idea of Spain as a nation became then something shameful for left-wing parties. Since then, there has been much tolerance with these separatist parties which have proven not to be responsible,  political inconsistent, disloyal and with a lack of respect for the rule of law. This is happening right now in Catalonia.

It seems like the left-wing do not know, and the radical left even less, that in Marx and Engels’s thought and doctrine the Nation occupies a clearly subordinate place. According to the Communist Manifesto “the proletarians have no country“. This phrase has been quoted often to demonstrate how the founders of Scientific Socialism had very little consideration to the nations, especially in this particular historical period when all Europe was getting crazy about the nationalities. It could be right that their writings were the result of political contingencies and interest in polemics sometimes, but both postulated the nation and the nation state’s subordination to the laws of historical progress, convinced that the economic unification of the world would make the nations superfluous and thus, the national conflicts would be nullified.

Marx stated in his works “The Holly Family” and “The German Ideology” that the nation was a historical and unnatural creation, which was due to the rise of the bourgeoisie: the nation expressed the politicization of bourgeois’ civil society to acquire class’ consciousness, to favor their own economic dynamism and interests, conquering the state, appropriating their own legal and productive apparatus, to the detriment of the old feudal and aristocratic states. While it is an exclusive product of the bourgeoisie, it is a transient historical phenomenon linked to the evolution of the capitalist’ economic system, and therefore it is bound to its disappearance after the implantation of the Socialism. The proletarians have no reason to address the nation nor to recognize it.

The Marxist theory crumbles any generalized principle of self-determination, as it is reactionary and even useless, because would not provide any advantage to the cause of the proletariat.

Our particular populist, Mr. Iglesias, the Podemos’ leader, said last week ‘I will support the rights of Catalonia‘. Some days later said on TV ‘it is our intention but perhaps could be something else‘; it is the same like when Groucho Marx stated, ‘I have these principles but I should have other’. Mr. Iglesias was Assistant Professor of Political Theory at the University and he knows that the Nationalists do not match with the radical left, so he is able to say one thing and its opposite. For the sake of getting votes in Catalonia, of course. Although it seems like the radical left separatists do not know, and this is probably the reason why they are involved in a great contradiction and great cheating to the citizens.

 

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