Thursday, 15 April 2021

Marxism, Zionism and the National Question Conclusion

Marxism, Zionism and the National Question


The nation state was a natural product of capitalist development. It reflected the fact that capitalism, to emerge as the dominant mode of production, required a single market of a minimum size that enabled production to be undertaken on a sufficient scale to enable capitalist production to undercut existing handicraft production. The development of markets, in the towns, brought the growth of the bourgeoisie, and of its political influence. It brought together scattered populations across provinces and principalities, into the modern nation state.

Those nations that failed to achieve this, either disappeared from history, or else they became annexed by larger capitalist nation states, or they became colonies. Capitalism itself, as it spread across the globe, established such nation states, even amongst the colonies, as their own national bourgeoisie developed, creating a national movement that brought about political independence. The nation state was a particular form which corresponded to the development of capitalism at a particular point in its development. During that period, the development of the nation state represents a progressive development.

The continued rapid development of capital, however, quickly brings this period to a close. The established nation states, not only engage in actions of expansionism and colonialism, but nationalism itself, for them, becomes an expression simply of chauvinism. The slogan of “self-determination” for such states is used simply as cover for “defence of the fatherland”, or of existing borders. By the end of the 19th century, the nation state itself represents a fetter on the further development of the productive forces and of capital. In Europe, it means that a much larger single market is required, similar to that which exists in the US, which rises to challenge the old European capitalist powers. But, nationalism now becomes also an impediment to the creation of a solution to this problem.

The dominant powers in Europe, France and Germany, seek to construct such a single market, but they do so on the old basis, of creating it by force, and attempting to preserve their own pre-eminence within it. The other dominant power, Britain, still enjoying near hegemony, and control over huge markets, via its Empire, simply seeks to maintain its dominance by preventing the creation of any such European single market and state, which would quickly overhaul it. Hence its role in the Napoleonic Wars, and in World War I and II.

In the 20th century, as large-scale socialised capitals, and then multinational corporations, become the norm, the nation state ceases to be the ideal form for the representation of the interests of capital, and its development. Attempts to promote or defend the nation state form, thereby, become utopian and reactionary. The state form required by mammoth, multinational and transnational capital, particularly as socialised rather than private capital, and so, also of the growth of fictitious capital to astronomical proportions, alongside it, becomes the multinational state, or federation of nation states into economic single markets, currency areas and so on, whose political concentration is equally inevitable, just as it was with the formation of the nation state, in the 19th century. Indeed, as the ruling class, a class now of mere coupon clippers, owners of fictitious-capital, is transformed into a truly global class, and the ownership of this fictitious-capital is transferred at the press of a button, from one country to another, so only global para state bodies, are capable of creating the kinds of structures required. The level playing field now required, is at minimum that of the huge multinational economic bloc, such as the EU, and ideally one established at a global level, as imperialism develops as a global, rules based, hierarchy of states, in which each state must agree to defend the rights of all capitalist property, or face the consequences.

Even large nation states, outside any of these structures, whilst they might have the superficial appearance of political independence, and self-determination, in reality, are economically subordinated to these larger economic powers, and so, also their political independence is heavily constrained, and illusory. The nation state is today a fetter on the further development of capital and the productive forces. It is a relic of the past, as is the demand for self-determination, which has become a slogan to defend all sorts of reactionary nationalist concepts and agendas. As Lenin argued, rather than “self-determination”, only the slogan of “free right of secession” could hold any revolutionary and progressive content, and then only when used by socialists in an oppressing nation as a means of gaining the trust of workers in an oppressed nation.

In general, the revolutionary and progressive demand, in the age of imperialism, and when our task is the overthrow of the capitalist state, and its replacement by a workers' state, is not “self-determination”, but is the voluntary association of workers of all nations, and the formation of federations of nations, the creation of large multinational federations as the political form required to best develop large single markets, and a more rapid development of the productive forces.  As Marx and Engels stated it succinctly - 



davidjc said...

Wish the people falling for the Northern Independence Party would realise all this.

Boffy said...

Me too, but given the history of those people I doubt it.