National Self-Determination, Internationalism, and Libertarian Socialism

  • Posted on: 9 January 2018
  • By: thecollective

by Wayne Price, via anarkismo

There are few subjects of greater disagreement among libertarian socialists than “national liberation” and “national self-determination.” By “libertarian socialists” I include anarchists of all sorts, also libertarian-autonomous Marxists and others with similar politics. By “national liberation/self-determination,” I mean the idea that some nations are oppressed and deserve to be liberated from that oppression, and to be able to decide for themselves what social, economic, and political systems they wish to live under.

This is a major issue in the world today. In the Middle East, the Kurds and the Palestinians are denied their own independent political existence. Meanwhile the U.S. and other imperialist states are waging war on a number of oppressed countries. The U.S. state owns Puerto Rico (but treats Puerto Ricans, who are U.S. citizens, as colonial subjects). There may be a nuclear war between the U.S. state and impoverished nation of North Korea. The Russian imperialist state denies independence to the Chechens and has attacked Ukraine and other eastern European countries. China rules the Tibetans and the Uigars, and claims Taiwan. There are calls for national independence in Catalonia, from Spain, and in Scotland, from the U.K. I am just touching on a few of the many places where national issues have arisen. Not that they are all the same but there is a common topic which needs to be addressed. (Wars between two oppressor, imperialist, powers—such as the U.S.A. vs. Russia—do not involve issues of national self-determination. Both sides should be opposed by anti-imperialists.)

It has always seemed obvious to me, at least in principle, that we who believe in freedom should support national liberation/self-determination as a democratic demand. I have written this several times (Price 2011; 2006; 2005). Yet many, perhaps most, anarchists and libertarian Marxists disagree. (At one time, posters on the Libcom site urged the anarchist group of which I was a member to expel me because of my support for national liberation.) What are their arguments? (I now present their arguments in bold face and then respond.)

The only issue which counts is the emancipation of the international working class. Everything else, such as national oppression, is a distraction from the class struggle.

Taken literally, this pure-and-simple class perspective is a minority viewpoint today. It is held only by wooden workerists, by primitive Marxists and syndicalists. Most anarchists and Marxists recognize that other oppressions than class exploitation are real and important. Women are oppressed by sexism; African-Americans and other People of Color by white supremacy; LGBT people by homophobia; immigrants by nativism; and so on; not to mention the reality of issues such as global warming and war. Recognizing these systems of oppression does not prevent recognizing the importance of capitalist exploitation of the working class. These forms of oppression overlap with and interact with class exploitation. For example, most people in oppressed nations are working class, peasants, or other poor people. The very fact that these issues are used to prop up capitalism (in many ways, besides being “distractions”) means that they need to be taken on (in turn, capitalism also props up these oppressive systems). Supporting these struggles strengthens the fight against capitalism and the capitalist state.

Oddly enough, there are radicals who do support the struggle against racism, sexism, homophobia, nativism, etc., etc., but do not support struggles against national oppression. Some even oppose imperialism by the big powers but will not support the anti-imperialist efforts of oppressed nations. Unlike the pure-and-simple workerists, such radicals are…. inconsistent.

National liberation/self-determination is the same as nationalism, which we, as internationalists, reject.

National oppression is an objective reality—for Palestinians, for example. It leads to the question of how to oppose it, what is the program which can lead to national liberation and self-determination. One such program is “nationalism.” But it is not the only possible program, and is not synonymous with “national liberation.”

“Nationalism” can be defined in various ways. A common understanding is to use nationalism to mean people’s love for their country, their culture, their contributions to world civilization, and their history of popular resistance to oppression (domestic and foreign). This is not a program for opposing domination, but rather a love for their land and people. I see nothing to criticize in this, but that is not what is controversial.

As a program, “nationalism” means seeing the particular oppressed nation as a unitary bloc. It ignores the differences between the ruling class and the workers and peasants, the exploiters and the exploited. Essentially it accepts the leadership of the rulers or would-be rulers (these may be rich capitalists but also might be bureaucrats, déclassé intellectuals, military officers, or similar would-be new bosses). It denies differences between men and women, religious groupings, or majority and minority nationalities and ethnic groups—rejecting the special concerns of oppressed subgroups within the nation. Its aim is to win an independent national state of its own, and to establish some type of capitalist economy—perhaps as a program of state socialism, which actually results in state capitalism. (I am only discussing the program of nationalism in an oppressed nation, not in an imperialist state where it serves to justify imperialism.)

By now, most of the countries of the world have won their formal independence. They have their own states with their own flags, postage stamps, money, and uniforms for their own military and police. But they remain economically dominated by the international market. They remain politically dominated by the international power system. They are vulnerable to being invaded at any time. Both the world economy and world politics are dominated by the big imperialist powers, first among which is still the United States—that is, the U.S. ruling class and its state. (This is not the U.S. working people, who have little to no control over their economy or their state’s international policies).

In short, nationalism has not been a very good solution to the poverty, oppression, exploitation, and suffering of the people of the world. But its very failure—the continuation of national oppression despite formal independence—results in a tendency for people to look for answers, including a revival of nationalism.

However, there are other programs which offer to solve the problems of oppressed nations. For example, Islamic salifism (miscalled “fundamentalism”) is an international movement, completely reactionary. It opposes Western imperialist domination of Muslim-majority countries, not by appeals to nationalism but by distorted religious programs, aiming for a “caliphate.”

Anarchists and other libertarian socialists propose a different solution to national oppression. Our program is for an international revolution of the working class, allied with all other oppressed and exploited people, against the capitalist ruling class, its states, and all systems of oppression. It would replace capitalist and authoritarian institutions with self-managed, cooperative, free associations of the people. Such a revolution will likely start in a few countries, but it will have to spread to the whole world. This alone would make it possible to end all forms of national oppression, as well as all other forms of oppression, exploitation, and domination.

From this standpoint, anarchists and others can participate in national struggles against imperialist domination. We recognize the legitimacy of such struggles and are in solidarity with the oppressed people. But we do not agree with or support those leaders who advocate nationalist (or jihadist) programs. We seek to win the working people of these nations to our revolutionary internationalist program.

This is the same approach we can use in any struggle. For example, we must support the movement for women’s liberation. We oppose male supremacy (patriarchy) and support women’s fight against it. But we do not agree with or support the liberal, pro-capitalist, versions of feminism raised by the bourgeois leadership of the women’s movement. We try to win women and their male allies over to our revolutionary perspective.

By “winning over” women or nationally oppressed people, I do not mean that we should just unveil our program as if we knew all the answers—Ta-da! Persuading people of our viewpoint includes listening to them and learning from them, in dialogue. It includes having them develop the ideas in their own way, relevant to their own situation.

"Anarchists never supported national self-determination"


Some anarchists are ignorant of the fact that anarchists have supported national liberation as a principle. And anarchists have taken part in national liberation struggles.

Michael Bakunin asserted his “strong sympathy for any national uprising against any form of oppression…every people [have the right] to be itself…no one is entitled to impose its customs, its languages, and its laws.” (quoted in van der Walt & Schmidt 2009; 309)

Iain McKay writes, “Kropotkin was a supporter of national liberation struggles….Anarchists, Kropotkin argued, should work inside national liberation movements in order to…turn them into human liberation struggles—from all forms of oppression, economic, political, social and national…the creation of…a free federation of free peoples no longer divided by classes or hierarchies.” (my emphasis; 2014; 45—47)

Peter Kropotkin wrote, “True internationalism will never be attained except by the independence of each nationality, little or large…. If we say no government of man by man, how can [we] permit the government of conquered nationalities by the conquering nationalities?” (quoted in McKay 2014; 45-46)

Errico Malatesta was an influential Italian anarchist who had been a comrade of Bakunin and Kropotkin. He wrote, “We are internationalists…so we extend our homeland to the whole world…and seek well-being, freedom, and autonomy for every individual and group….Now that today’s Italy invades another country [Libya—WP]…it is the Arabs’ revolt against the Italian tyrant that is noble and holy….We hope that the Italian people…will force a withdrawal from Africa upon its government: if not, we hope that the Arabs may succeed in driving it out.” (In Turcato 2014; 357) This did not imply agreement with the politics of the Arabs’ leadership.

During the wars which followed the Russian revolution, Nester Makhno and other anarchists organized a military resistance in Ukraine. Their forces opposed the capitalists and landlords, integrating these class issues with a Ukrainian war against German, Polish, and Russian invaders. Similarly, during World War II, Korean anarchists organized a military resistance to the Japanese invaders.

After World War II there was a national liberation war waged by Algerian rebels against the French empire. French anarchists gave concrete aid, and various forms of support, to the Algerian forces. As an anarchist “public intellectual”, Daniel Guerin expressed his solidarity with the Algerian people in insurrection. He was for the Algerian organizations when they fought against the French state—which is not the same as endorsing their nationalist politics, which he did not. (Price 2013) (For the record of anarchists’ attitudes towards the Vietnam war and more recent wars between imperialist powers and oppressed nations, see Price 2006; 2005.)

National Self-Determination was Raised by Lenin

Some anarchists point out that national self-determination was supported by Vladimir Lenin, the founder of the totalitarian Soviet Union and the “Communist” movement. (Some even claim, ignorantly, that Lenin invented the concept.) This is supposed to discredit the slogan.

Calls for national liberation and self-determination are at least as old as the formation of nations and nation-states in the 18th century. They have been made by many people, then and now. For example, during World War I, the liberal U.S. president, Woodrow Wilson, made national self-determination part of his “14 Points,” which he raised (hypocritically) as supposed “war aims” for the imperialist Allies.

With the aim of getting his party into state power, Lenin followed a certain strategy. He rejected a focus only on bread-and-butter trade union issues, such as better wages, shorter hours, etc. This was called “economism.” He also rejected just raising the eventual—and abstract—goal of socialism. Instead, he wanted his party to win support by also championing the democratic demands of every oppressed and discriminated-against group. He wanted his party to use its newspaper and other outlets to support big groups such as peasants, women, and nations enslaved by the Czarist empire. But also to champion abused army draftees, censored writers, minority religious sects, and so on. Championing the democratic rights of all these groups (including oppressed nations), he believed, would counterpose his revolutionary socialist program to that of the liberals, reformists, and nationalists. It would build popular support and prepare his party to rule.

Let me be clear. The problem with Lenin was not his support for democratic demands! Lenin could hardly be criticized for being too much for democracy and freedom! The demand for national liberation/self-determination is part of the democratic program. This is not where anarchists should disagree with Lenin.

The problem with Lenin was that his support for democratic demands was instrumental—used in fact only to get his party into power and to establish its authoritarian rule. Support for peasants was meant to lead them to eventually—voluntarily—merge their lands into collectivized state farms. Support for national rights was meant to persuade workers from oppressed nations that they could trust the workers from the oppressor nations—and eventually lead to voluntary merger into larger, centralized, states—which he said. (I am not getting into how Lenin violated these democratic promises—including national self-determination—once in power.)

Revolutionary anarchists are internationalists. We are also decentralists and pluralists. We value small cultures and multiple societies—not as stepping stones to an eventually unified and centralized world state, but as good in themselves. To quote again McKay’s summary of Kropotkin’s perspective, our goal is “a free federation of free peoples no longer divided by classes or hierarchies.” This is where anarchists must reject Lenin’s approach to national liberation.

"But it’s a state!"

Does support for national self-determination mean support for new, national, states? No. It means that revolutionary libertarian socialists are in solidarity with the people (mostly workers, peasants, and the poor) of the oppressed nation. The nation’s people themselves may believe (in their majority) that the only solution to their foreign oppression is to form a new state of their own. Anarchists do not agree with this popular view. But we believe in freedom, if we believe in anything. We must defend their right to decide for themselves what they want—even if we think that they are making a mistake. That is how people learn.

Between the imperialist state which rules the country and the oppressed people, we are not neutral. We should not become neutral if we think that the people are accepting a mistaken program. We must be in solidarity with them in their struggles, even as we seek to persuade them that only anarchist internationalism can really solve their problems. We must not endorse their leaderships; we are political opponents of their nationalist leaders. But we want the imperialists to lose and the people to win.

When workers decide to form a union, they usually join a business union with its pro-capitalist bureaucratic leadership. Nevertheless, anarchists are never neutral between the bosses and the workers. We must support the workers’ freedom to chose whichever union they want (while trying to persuade them of the need for union democracy and militancy and revolutionary opposition to the union bureaucracy). This is the same principle as our attitude toward national self-determination.

As Lucien van der Walt summarizes, “One anarchist and syndicalist approach…was to participate in national liberation struggles, in order to shape them, win the battle of ideas, displace nationalism with a politics of national liberation through class struggle, and push national liberation struggles in a revolutionary direction.” (van der Walt & Schmidt; 2009; 310–311) That means, in a revolutionary, internationalist, libertarian socialist, direction. That is the approach I am arguing for.


McKay, Iain (2014). “Introduction.” In Direct Struggle Against Capital: A Peter Kropotkin Anthology (ed. I. McKay). Oakland CA: AK Press. Pp. 1—97.

Price, Wayne (2013). “Anarchists and the French-Algerian War.”

Price, Wayne (2011). “Anarchism in the Oppressed Nations.”

Price, Wayne (2006). “Lessons for the Anarchist Movement of the Israeli-Lebanese War; The Anarchist Debate About National Liberation”

Price, Wayne (2005). “The U.S. Deserves to Lose in Iraq but Should We ‘Support the Iraqi Resistance’?”

Turcato, Davide (ed.) (2014). The Method of Freedom; An Errico Malatesta Reader (trans. P. Sharkey). Oakland CA: AK Press.

van der Walt, Lucien, & Schmidt, Michael (2009). Black Flame: The Revolutionary Class Politics of Anarchism and Syndicalism. Oakland CA: AK Press.



National liberation/self-determination is the same as nationalism, which we, as internationalists, reject.

Yes indeed, objectively pro-wage labor, pro-commodity production leftist of the stupid anarchist stripe.

is nationalist collectivist bullshit that I, as anarcho-nihilist, reject and also LoL dispassionately at.

Always too close to national-socialism for comfort as well... especially when thinking of the historical ties between (pan-) Arab nationalism and post-war Nazis, something that contemporary marxists are still keeping in their dead angle, just like the consistent ANTISEMITISM.

But ya know... beyond the moral implications there's the issue of putting the big spook of the Nation in between you and liberation, something which even Marx himself would call nothing else but just "alienation".

So you couldn't find a better site to post this crap? Didja try /r/socialism? Oh yeah and feck off by the way.

You're keeping steady with your tradition of backing crypto-fascist fucks. Took a lot to make you apologize for the Michael Schidt debacle... yet you can't divorce from this national-anarchist shit, right?

Price continues to insist that Black Flame, co-authored by an admitted racist white nationalist, is a valuable contribution to anarchism. some of us have been suspicious of that book and its boosters from the beginning. Price, true to his previous incarnation as a Trotskyist fake internationalist, continues to mistake cross-class (i.e. objectively anti-revolutionary) “national self-determination” for a decentralized federation of affinity-based cultural collectives. fuck that noise, fuck anarcho-nationalism, fuck populism, fuck “self-determination” based on historical fictions and myths.

(1) None of these comments respond to any of my arguments. They continue to confuse "national self-determination" (the right of a people not to be oppressed, ruled by foreign powers, and denied their own choice of how to live) with "nationalism" (the ideological program of a cross-class, pro-capitalist, unity against other peoples).

(2) I accept that the evidence is clear that Michael Schmidt made racist white nationalist fascist statements and actions. However Black Flame, as a book, has not changed its virtues from the last time I read (and reviewed) it. This seems to be because it was primarily written by Lucien van der Walt, and that Schmidt, to the extent that he had anything to do with it, covered up his racist beliefs.

1. using terms based on rights discourse will get you no points among principled anti political radicals; rights are a fiction promoted by states in order to define the proper duties ave responsibilities of citizenship. rights are a category of political science concerned with legitimate forms of government. they are not anarchist.
what is “a people” if not another way of defining citizens for states? the concept is completely nebulous, never precise, and fraught with an inherent search for inclusion/exclusion. it is a fictitious conglomerate based on totally subjective criteria. also not anarchist.
“ruled by foreign powers” — how transparent! rule by indigenous powers is so much more rewarding... for the rulers! that’s why i said fuck populism.
“denied their own choice of how to live” — more rhetoric; how small is your relevant social unit? anarchists tend to gravitate toward the individual. the “choice” you’re invoking here is clearly based on the unit of “people,” which, again, is imprecise and populist.

2. dismissal my Schmidt’s contributions as minimal ignore the broader questions about his and van red Walt’s roles in the ugly sectarian shenanigans among the Joburg anarchist scene and how van der Walt unsuccessfully tried to both cover up and then minimize Schmidt’s racism. their book, filled as it is with lies and distractions, is an enormous disservice to anarchist history and research. your bait and switch, copied verbatim from the fraud van der Walt, is truly undignified.

(1) I think that people should not be oppressed; I am on the side of the oppressed and want them to overturn their oppression. Is this a "rights discourse"? Perhaps, because it is convenient to speak in terms of "rights" but obviously what I mean is that people should not be oppressed or exploited. The last Anonymous really means that he or she doesn't care whether people are oppressed or exploited, that they should not have any "rights."

This is not such an abstract concept, as writers insist, citing "people" or "nation" as mere state-created abstractions. There is a Palestinian people which is oppressed by the Israeli and U.S. states. There are Chechens who are oppressed by the Russian state. There are Tibetans who are oppressed by the Chinese state. Or do I have to demonstrate to Anonymous that the Palestinians are indeed oppressed as Palestinians, etc.?

Of course, we anarchists know that there are other, intersecting, oppressions, such as class exploitation, patriarchy, racism (especially closely related to national oppression), etc. We know that the solution to national oppression, as to all the others, will only come through an international anarchist-socialist revolution. But this does not counter the reality of this oppression or the need to end it.

(2) I don't know anything about "ugly sectarian shenanigans among the Joburg anarchist scene." Anyway it does not effect my evaluation of the book, Black Flame, which does not discuss the Joburg anarchist scene. However, having read the book, I know that it is not "filled with lies and distractions." This itself is simply a gross lie. While some people have disagreed with various political aspects of the book, no one has raised an account of its so-called "lies," or its "enormous disservice to anarchist history and research." There is a reason, after all, why AK Press published it in the first place. Tthey would never have turned against it except for the exposure of Schmidt's racist politics (which do not appear in the book, I repeat).

Different anon wayne, respectfully disagree! I find this to be a consistent gap in understanding between older radicals and those of us born in the 80s on. We've shifted away from rights-based discourse for valid reasons IMO but unlike this other anon, I don't usually bother lecturing older folks on the theory because I assume it's less important than the affinity we share on the subject of oppression.

There's also a noisy group here who will drone on about the word "oppression" and I don't dismiss their reasons either but I definitely hate when discussion gets bogged down in semantics like this. The real issue, as ever, is who has power and how it is wielded, regardless of definitions.

The whole oppression doctrine has spawned this recent Idpol Times Up movement which has inverted the whole concept of oppression by oppressing spontaneous flirting, the spice and prelude to the foreplay which precedes copulation and the continuance of the human species. Are the common people all to be censured and psychologically castrated so that an elite class of celebrities can impose their self-absorbed narcissistic values upon the hoi polloi, their own fans?

Price just piles it up higher and deeper...
of course “Palestinians” are oppressed by “Israelis” just as “Tibetans” are oppressed by the “Chinese”... BUT who are the authorities who decide what a true Palestinian or Tibetan is? as mentioned, these categories are fictional conglomerates. but Price’s statement is authentic leftist anti-imperialism — an ideology that espouses solidarity with weaker (or non-existant) states in their struggles with stronger (or “oppressive”) states. you can champion the rights of anyone you like, but don’t pretend that this strategy has anything in common with a principled anarchist internationalist position.

by the way, i’ve been an anarchist since before Price and his Trot comrades left the RSL and entered Love & Rage. i’m happy to explain the idiocies of rights-based discourse to anyone at any time...

probably because of my focus on the local (in theory anyway), and the fact that, like, I don't see much of a way to arrive at some truth that we can all agree to. It's almost entirely a question of semantics.

That said, I think y'all are unfair to Price because you hate his politics. Which, like, sure. But if he's saying what he is probably saying (I didn't read the piece, but I am pretty sure I know what he says, since it's not an original idea he is expressing - let me know if I'm wrong!), then his point is basically valid.

The more interesting question is whether or not nations are real things - or, like, to what degree are they real, to what degree imaginary, how much does it matter (if only for the way we talk about things). Again, y'all are more annoying than Price here, I think. Y'all have the answer, and it is as follows: TALKING ABOUT NATIONS IS WRONG. Which is just, whatever, I can't imagine how that is a useful position to take. National imaginaries are enormously influential; that's the way it is. Not everyone who is caught up in these imaginaries and/or purposefully embraces them totally sucks, either. It sounds like its utility is in allowing you to feel like you are correct, like you have CONQUERED this SPOOK, i.e. it has no real utility and your feelings don't matter, lol.

That being said, I find Price's intervention wholly useless in terms of thinking through "the problematic of nationality" as a dweeb philosopher would call it... Wholly useless on this site, anyway, where the audience obviously fully hates his politics. Perhaps it's useful for the debates that Anarkismo readers have with one another, I dunno. Anyway, I happen to think Aragorn!'s writings on nationality are actually some of the better ones that exist in this vein... They don't have any socialism in them either, haha

If you'd hanged out in Black Africa for a while, SS, you'd know a much better conception of "nation" that Westerners have lost, a long way back (if they ever had it). But the contemporary conception and especially *use* of "nation" and "nationality" is a load of crap, a spook, an illusion... call it anyway you like. It's fake political abstraction. It says nothing on individual lives, it erases the person, it is empty like a hot air balloon, and serving the same function, socially.

Is this convo irrelevant? Not quite, especially in a place marked by intense nationalist divisive bullshit like Quebec since the '60s and its pseudo-marxist nationalisms, east and west of Ottawa river. I'd rather argue that the nation and national liberation is completely irrelevant, and some bad politics.


Next: what is this conception?

Next: how do you define "relevancy"?

I think you're just rambling, no offense. Again, everyone likes to talk about this stuff, because we live in a world marked by nationality. It's a bit like gender. There was a time when it didn't exist in our imaginaries. But now it does, and most people can't help themselves but make very definitive, very "realist" statements about things that are too large to make many definitive statements about. Anyway, there's some of us who tend to make "anti-realist" statements instead, but this anti-realism is often just as vacuous - and basically blinds us to what some people are saying. For instance, you think "national liberation is completely irrelevant" and "bad politics", but like, I don't fucking know a thing about you or your politics, but what do you think of the Mapuche struggle? I assume you might think it's at least halfway sweet, if you know stuff about it? For sake of argument, let's say you think it is cool as shit. Well, the easy move for you is to say "that's not national liberation", because you have a semantic definition that necessarily excludes anything you think is sweet. Good for you. Fantastic job. Continue living in the semantic reality you have created for yourself. Sounds boring to me.

I want to know how relevant are national liberation struggles to anarchism.

Now you instead want a definition of "relevancy"? Grab-a-dictionary.

Then you go on comparing bullshit White or just statist nationalism in colonial countries (Quebec, Palestine, Algeria, and why the fuck not South Africa!), that is all focused on State-building AND racialism -or plain racism- to Mapuche indigenous struggle, or maybe North American native people.

Dodge this now: "Cool story bro".

Irish people write their own stories in English mostly, so we can mostly listen to them directly, not cite books written or translated by people with agendas of their own. Irish people are also white, and there's actually pretty good chance that you are part-Irish yourself, since the Irish got around. I have some Irish in my background as well. So, perhaps starting with Ireland-as-example will lead to less emotions than making comparisons to ethnicities all around the globe, tied into all sorts of different histories.

Ireland is a good example of a place where "national liberation" has both looked like "nation-building" in the Marxist or ethnonationalist mode, i.e. the Republic of Ireland, but it has also looked a lot like "indigenism", i.e. forms of resistance among Mapuche, Mi'kmaq, and various other peoples that the majority of anarchists (certainly the majority in Montréal) tend to support. Efforts to relearn lost languages and practices, evade the state, create a general culture of disobeying authority, preserve freedom of movement (i.e. fuck the border), and blah blah blah... These have all featured in the Irish national liberation struggle, which should not be understood as a monolith. Just as you shouldn't understand the Mapuches' liberation struggle as a monolith. The Mapuche disagree with one another about these things! There are Mapuche who believe in Marxist dogma as well! And Mi'kmaq who believe in United Nations "global democracy" nonsense. And so on.

I think Québecois nationalism is moronic and noxious, but I understand that it, too, is neither historically or today a monolith (which doesn't mean that I can't critique it, but which does indicate that no single critique will apply to every part). As for places like Palestine... I don't fucking know? Unless you tell me you've lived more than a year in the Holy Land, I don't trust you to know shit about shit. It's obvious, tho, that lots of Palestinian nationalists are garbage - and also that there are also some cool things happening there, at least some of the time, which I think could warrant support (though not necessarily from me, becuz, like, I live in Montréal, not Tel Aviv). Probably you get a lot of disgusting and inspiring shit in exactly the same places, since the world doesn't separate good from bad for our convenience.

It's hard for me to understand the why here. The conception of the nation in 2018 is so far beyond what it meant even 20 years ago. Anarchists should be at the forefront considering that the old way power was organized (through the nation) is collapsing in front of us. But that forefront shouldn't be discussing some sort of 1980s national liberation solidarity. And definitely not supporting in any conceivable way any sort of border whether language or land or whatever.

We have specific ways as anti authoritarians to show support. If you find yourself arguing against our shared ideals than there's likely some other issue.

The change has to be a paradigm shift, a spear is the same as a missile, a line on a map is still a barrier. The State exists in a cloud of submissive perceptions of its own semantic reality.,.

Said the preacher, to the choir, while the unbelievers were legion and remained deaf to his idle chatter.

I don't think so. I think the concept remains more or less exactly as widespread in the world/important to people, more or less exactly as nebulous, and more or less exactly as central to various political ontologies: nationalisms themselves of course, most varieties of "internationalist" Marxism, "global citizen" and "pro-European" liberal understandings, I could go on.

Anyway, I feel like you're not saying anything, dude

Increased efficiency (economic, social, everything) and higher populations not to mention the end of imperialist capitalism has changed the entire world and rapidly. I'm not saying much of anything other than the obvious, because it should be obvious. You think the current political climate isn't indicative of anything other than the weather?

But this analogy of political context being like "the weather" seems to indicate the powerlessness and alienation of a passive observer, doesn't it?

You are saying the reality of the nation has changed, even though you spoke of the concept of the nation.

My contribs to this discussion are about concepts, ways of thinking. You are saying obvious things about the real world. I think we want to have different convos.

Fair enough, where I was going with the line of thinking either way is that the marxist doctrine of national liberation is not relevant to our current reality. To say the least.

I also don't disagree with most of your commentary up above. I think we could have an interesting conversation on the current nationalist movements, why they are happening and what they signify for the future.

"Our program is for an international revolution of the working class...Such a revolution will likely start in a few countries, but it will have to spread to the whole world." Yeah, how's that been working out for the past couple of hundred years? Also "We try to win women and their male allies over to our revolutionary perspective." Not a very self-determined strategy on your part.

Do you think shadow and Wayne are advocating the same stuff? Highly doubt it.

I just apparently don't know how threads work, lol

Ha! Right, fair enough

Some of those responding seem to argue that there really are no nations, nationality is all a state-created fiction, so why bother? Internationalist anarchists and Marxists have been saying this for generations, but people still seem to think that they live in nations and have nationality. Too bad! Why don't such thinkers try to persuade the French that there is no such a thing as France? Let alone tell the Palestinians that they aren't really Palestinians and also there are no Israelis?

The whole attack on the "rights discourse" seems peculiar. I could care less whether you use the term "rights" or not. The question is not whether to use these "old-fashioned" terms, but whether we accept that people are exploited, oppressed, dominated, discriminated-against, mistreated, etc., and that we are opposed to this and want it to be stopped. Apparently some of the writers here do not believe that there are peoples which are dominated, etc., etc., and do not support their struggles to be free of this domination, etc. One writer does not seem to believe that women are oppressed, dominated, etc. This is the issue.

The final Anonymous (Our Program....) criticizes me for trying to win over women "to our revolutionary perspective," as "not very self-determined." Apparently he or she did not notice my very next paragraph about "winning over" implying a dialogue not an imposition.

Also, Our Program.... sneers at the idea of "an international revolution of the working class," and points out (as news, I guess) that it has not happened in "a couple of hundred years." This is true (although the working class has had more rebellions, mass struggles, and attempted revolutions in the past two centuries than other exploited classes have had in millennia). But, it might also be noticed, (as a result) we still live under capitalism, imperialism, racism, national oppression, patriarchy, and the state! (Contrary to anyone who fantasizes that the national state or capitalist imperialism are "collapsing.")

Shadowsmoke wonders why I bother, given the negative reaction of the anarchist news readers. Well, this isn't the only place my article has appeared. But I appreciate anarchist for putting it up, since I don't know who might read it and get something useful from it, at least from thinking about the subject whether or not they agree with it. You can't judge by those who write comments.

Maybe its reassuring to you that there's readers here who find these bubbleheads frustrating for the same reasons.

They're basically just ego-tripping, trying to blame the average joe for accepting his lot within the system. While this perspective has some validity, it's also an easy way to feel clever and these keyboard warriors only emphasize this stuff because they're not interested in talking about resistance ... because they're just blowhard cowards who use political forums to feel clever.

How dare you ! I took up the keyboard after fighting in the streets and I have scars to prove it ! Yet I never assumed I was oppressed because I never submitted for a start. It's all comes down to psychological mettle and a poetic existential aesthetic on forms of individualism,.,

You're just playing word games Le Fool. Perhaps your "psychological mettle" prefers the lower stakes?

There are nations, there will always be nations but the reality of the nation changes as time goes forward. As anarchists who think about these things it's likely a good idea to have forward thinking views regarding the would imagine.

An example is supporting "national industries," that to me on multiple levels would be silly and counter productive.

is a similarly realist statement to yours on nations.

This is a place where, like, it actually does make sense to apply a Stirnerian lens or a Derridean one, and ask - maybe only rhetorically - what if nations don't exist? What if this is all just made-up and useless? Or, maybe we are using the wrong language to approach reality, and fucking up our understanding of reality in the process?

Gender is somewhat stickier then nation as it's a behavioral resonance with weighted genetic habit behind it. It will probably be around as long as meaning all spooks considering

Whether it's made up and useless or not we as humans will likely identify with being from planet Earth for some time even if time melts away other barriers.

This is a place where, like, it actually does . . .

why did you type ", like, "? are you a valley girl time traveler from the 80s? i am confuse and can't read past that fragment no matter how intelligent your point might be.

Anonymous How Dare You says that he or she has scars and isn't oppressed because he or she resists (presumably resists being oppressed). Does How Dare You work for a living or live off someone who does work? If so, aren't they exploited by the boss, paid less than they produce? However much you may resist, have you stopped the state from existing and dominating society? Will you prevent the state from blowing up the world? causing world wide climate change? In short, you are kidding yourself that a personal attitude can--by itself--change the world.

I do not know if "there will always be nations," let alone if "there will always be genders." But for the foreseeable future there will be nations, genders, races, sexual orientations, as well as classes. Shadowsmoke asked, "what if nations don't exist?" What if the world is flat? Nations do exist, like it or not. There is a France and a Palestine. Certainly they are "made up," but if millions of people act on this made-up reality, then it is real enough and has to be dealt with. Come down to earth.

You seem to be being a bit disingenuous here. Nobody is saying we should ignore nations/states. People just disagree with your approach to national liberation movements specifically.

i am saying we should ignore nations/state and also we should ignore wayne and these ridiculous anarkismo [group]-think pieces.

A nation is reified abstraction. It is made to exist, for the very reason that essentially it does not exist, and is a political fabrication. "France" is more firmly ingrained in people's consciousness, undeniably and consensually, than a still controversial concept like "Palestine". The fact that fascist idiots like Trump and Bibi are negating it doesn't make it less than a quite recent (less than 100 years old) historical reanimation of a dead idea.

It is debatable whether nations as exist. I am on the "no" side of the debate. The concept is too fuzzy to be taken seriously. Its centrality in certain political ontologies is a mark against those ontologies - which doesn't mean those ontologies aren't valid at all, or perhaps even better than plenty of "nationality nihilist" ontologies on the whole. But it is a weakness.

That being said, I am actually sympathetic to the appeal you are making to readers, which, as I understand it, is to get anarchists less ruffled in the feathers by talk of national liberation. I understand you are "pro-Palestinian" on the whole, and I suspect (let me know if I am wrong) that you would say you support the BDS campaign. That is a position I can respect - certainly much more than rhetoric to the effect of "Palestine is fake!" or "Bourgeois nationalism!" or "They all hate Jews!"

One of my biggest problems with this kind of thinking, though, is that it necessarily leads to conceptual gatekeeping. Not everyone gets to be a nation, but things can get emotional pretty quickly. Also, I think it's dangerous to accept nations as real, because if they ARE real, that means they have "national characteristics", which leads to the grossest of generalizations and lots of opportunity to confirm already existing biases about whichever group.

I'm not sure where to in this convo, because ultimately, you're a Marxist (broadly speaking) and I'm not; it's like arguing religion a little bit, no offense. But if you want to continue the convo, I'm sure we can get each others' email addresses.

P.S. We have been in the same room before! Toronto, 2011, NAASN conference, CrimethInc's presentation on "Fighting in the New Terrain".

But Palestine is fake... tho not any faker than Israel. These are two nationalisms driven by the doctrine of restituting long-dead territorial arragements, by 3-4 imperialisms, British, German, Russian/Soviet and American. Beyond these foreign involvement of bigger global powers, they simply wouldn't be in any vocabulary today.

BDS's other problem, beyond spreading a bunch of brutally one-sided and intensely POLARIZING view of this part of the Middle-East, is the fact that it can be hardly debated in public without being labelled "islamophobe", " zionist", or yeah lol, "anti-deutsch".

Since they'll be celebrating a major 50th anniversary this year it'd be crucial for anarchists to be exposing all the inconsistencies in both of the nationalisms reading of history.

Everything was cosy until the paper State of Israel was constituted by the signing of some pieces of paper. It then became intellectual property, and it's citizens became the property of the State, their minds were trapped within a blueprint of moral, religious and civil value judgements, within a Weltanschauung.

Hebron massacre was cozy? The late '30s Arab revolts (and pogroms) were cozy? Put that weltanshauung up your asshole, neonazi swine.

I am referring to the metaphysical perception, not the blood and guts phenomenon.

It's as fake as your consciousness. It's as fake as your spirituality. It's as fake as the most meaningful experience you can ever remember having.

Also, why do people think "exposing inconsistencies" is a worthwhile project? Like, I don't want to expose the inconsistencies in ideologies I hate, I want to destroy them and erase them from history completely. That's probably beyond my power, but "exposing inconsistencies" doesn't suffice, doesn't get my dick hard

"Palestine" is a word that means many things to many people
It's as fake as your consciousness. It's as fake as your spirituality. It's as fake as the most meaningful experience you can ever remember having."

Whjoa you're pulling a big one right there.

My consciousness is a state of mind in continuous evolution. It nears no flag or name, and even less related to some made-up nationmal identity.

My consciousness is as real as a tree outside, or the rain. It even makes me define what is real.

But "Palestine"... Just a political ideal like another. Fabricated, reified, valued, preached...

I prefer your worldview, and I happen to live as if I am not a fake thing. I am pretty sure this makes sense for humans, to think of themselves as real, if you think about what is best for our happiness and our survival. But yeah - just as you deconstruct the nation, so too can the self be philosophically deconstructed. And just saying, "But actually it is real tho," is an insufficient response. And as for continuous evolution, the nation-believer can say the same of nations, just on a different time scale.

"Like, I don't want to expose the inconsistencies in ideologies I hate, I want to destroy them and erase them from history completely" you know, with a paper shredder, a hammer and some other stuff. When we've smashed and shredded and turned every single of those ideas back to paper paste then I'll be useless to expose their inner void. I'm sure this is what you've been working hard at, everyday... but lotsa more shredding to do, so be steady, comrade! So many copies out there!

It's apparent that nihilism can be infected with binary relationships also, and lapses into a self-negating paradoxical stalemate,

It began as a scientific fundamentalist elective position and proposed solution. As I argue just return to cynicism. It actually has a good track record as is much more integral to anarchy.

Anarchocynicism as Bob Black coined it.

From birth there is you and relationships, this is broadly the existentialist analysis with elements of Stirnerian and psychological ontological perspectives on real beingness and sovereignty of the individual. Are we to remain children for our whole lives suckling off the teat of the State/Nation, submitting to its morals and orders? When you cross a nation's border, does the geography or race of the inhabitants suddenly change? Are not States an extension of a grand collective exenophobic delusion believed by frightened molly-coddled sheepish citizens who cannot see beyond the illusion their masters construct to dominate and monopolize power for themselves. Rhetorical Qs which you need not answer, for the answers are obvious. I work and exist within the hegemony and know that life is a battle and better to win friends than label another half as binary opposites who oppress, rather I will win hearts and minds, thus, I am not a believer in the doctrine of oppression,.,

You could just look into bioregionalism.

Wayne doesn't need to "look in to bioregionalism" because he already understands why those ideas are just tilting at windmills until you accept that the state is a lot more than just "reified abstraction". It's a huge, armed gang with massive resources and only ignoring you until it decides you represent a threat.

but that more is marginal not perennial. There is a winning armed gang but that gang exists in a continuum with other vying political gangs(Cammatte). It's the opting out and living beyond that matters the most. Bioregionalism could at least be a step in the right direction as it represents a simplifying of relations and a detox of bad surrogate activities and habits.

"opting out and living beyond" <--- liberal hippy crap. Not an option for most. You're dense as ever ziggy

It's one of the few concrete things one can do. It's the attachments that stop it. YOU are just another one of those social liberals that Max Stirner talked about.

No, not really …and stirner has nothing to do with how you live in a bubble of denial. For whatever reason, your obsession with stirner has become essential to your bubble. You'll just keep spinning your wheels forever I suppose. You still go to work or you get evicted and starve, right? You're not any more "opted out" than anyone else.

That there's been a failure on my end for the reasons I stated last reply does not change what can actually be done. Look at the likes of Bellamy and Seaweed, they're certainly getting something concrete done in life beyond the city and state.

There's no fallacy in saying "you talk but don't walk". I wouldn't even care except that you're always arguing against the positions that at least accept the reality of their situation. I'm not the one claiming that we can shift our thinking and suddenly the predations of the capitalists and their state institutions cease to exist. You're the one trying to slang that pie-in-the-sky nonsense.

You'd know that if you knew some basic logical critical thinking. Accepting the reality of this situation primarily involves letting go, detaching and simplifying. IF there is a general shift in thinking then the institutions of capital and state WILL go away, that much is obvious. I'm not entirely against affecting in the elective world, but it should be mostly left to the crude ideologues who do not aspire to any anarchy.

There you go again, insisting that a bubble of denial is somehow superior to real agency in the physical world. Your relevancy to any serious anarchist thinking is on display. Let anyone who bothers to read this, draw their own conclusions. ;)

Incidentally, it's not a fallacy because I'm not misrepresenting you, only quoting you. You have a shitty service job, you pay rent, you're a wage-slave just like most of us. You made all these claims to me previously, unless you're denying them now?

Nothing of my practice in life changes what I am saying would undue capital state and civilization. I brought up the likes of Bellamy and Seaweed who ARE doing the the things that do not recreate a civilization on a micro level.

Yes, you're pointing to a distant, hypothetical horizon that is so unlikely and remote as to be completely asinine. A waste of the electricity you used typing and posting it. I'm familiar with seaweed's back-to-the-land stuff, I know all those homesteaders in the sticks in the pacific northwest. They're isolated and not capable of much beyond subsistence and publishing, not to mention most of them either bought land or have a friend who did. It's a quaint little experiment at simple living, nothing more.

Have more demonstrable mileage then all those silly elective positions and proposed solutions that configure anarchy in no way. It's only ever been the opt out or the cynical(neo classical practice) illegalist insurrectional(Stirnerian) modes of living that exemplify anarchic anarch existence in any way.

(not really, but I have a reputation to maintain)

...but his take is def superior. Not to say you may not be correct, anon, in your assessment of those "simple living" projects. I dunno. I think back-to-the-land might make sense, as a person also working a shitty service job.

is that I wasn't even hammering the anti-ideology egoist stuff to Wayne, I know he's set in his ways. I'm at least trying to give him a better ideology that is more congruent to anarchism. Bioregionalism and configuration towards it is, national liberation is not.

geez shadow … I explained I've actually BEEN to these back-to-the-land projects, yes? They look a lot better at a distance, trust me. You're both just idealizing something I've actually seen a dozen incarnations of. Unless of course you have the capital and can just buy land a recluse forever on your own terms but of course, that makes you an entitled POS if you then preach to poor people about it like you know something they don't.

I can't say the ones I visited were the best. Still, I thought your comments were too dismissive - and I do think that these things, like any kind of infrastructure, can build to something else.

I think Ziggy shouldn't have brought up bioregionalism, which has nothing to do with Wayne's article and not even anything to do with back-to-the-land projects (in their concrete reality). But whatever, it happened, and he had at least one good point, which is that you actually CAN do these things in a lot of circumstances. It's attachments that prevent you from doing it. I don't think I'm an entitled POS to say that, like, people have options - and certainly people who are in roughly my income bracket.

I have a shitty service job, but I could probably move to the countryside, like, in 2 weeks, if I really wanted to. But I have attachments. It's what it is.

what do you mean more specifically by "attachment"? like, attachments to the wealth/comforts afforded by civilization? attachment to the goals/aspirations instilled in us by institutions? are you basing this idea off anything youve read that you could recommend?

In particular things that come from civilization and resource intensified production. There's also the sense of security that many people are comfortable with.

Making the equivalency between gender and nation to argue that nations exist is strange. Gender is something done to is, something that is only to be destroyed. We could say that states do a similar thing, violently imposing certain forms of consciousness and action - if nation just means citizenship /subjugation to a state, then sure, it's a bit like gender. But when talking about national liberation, by definition there is no state and it's a discussion of getting free as a "nation". That's affirming a positive value, which things like race, gender, or citizenship don't have.

Choosing to frame a struggle around nation is a political decision, unlike race or gender which are imposed from outside. Palestine is a partial exception since " Palestinian " as an identity was produced by state formation and is now a legal category of lesser rights. But lots of people there seem to frame their struggle against domination as local, as land based, rather than national, they just don't benefit from the nationalists inter national mega phone

They're still nationalists of a sort. Grassroots nationalists, sure. I don't think "nationalist" can only mean "people I don't like, by fucking definition".

I don't think nation is real, by the way. In very clinical terms, I would call myself a "nationality nihilist" in the same way as I am, in the same very specific sense, "gender nihilist". To be a nihilist, in this sense, means nothing more than to refuse the ontological validity of the concept, while also affirming the necessity of undermining/destroying the apparatus that socially broadcasts the validity of these concepts to people at large. (That can mean a lot of things. No specific strategic approach is implied.)

Cue everyone freaking out because I said "nihilist". Also, damn, I feel such a dumb wanker after that last paragraph!

All the libertarian socialist doods are philistines, without aesthetic style or a poetic sense of using creative methods in relational dynamics.,.

A major argument being raised here is that neither nations nor genders are "real." But human beings organize ourselves into groups on various criteria. What about religious groups? I think most of those on this list agree that religions are socially created fictions (however we evaluate them). Nevertheless--I do not want Christians to kill Jews, Jews to oppress Muslims, Hindus to riot against Muslims, Muslims of one tradition to blow up mosques of other Muslim traditions, or atheist Marxist states to outlaw Christians and blow up their churches. So long as people believe in this stuff I am for "separation of church and state." (Note that I refrain from referring to the "right" of freedom of conscience, so as not to push the buttons of people who get excited about references to "rights.") The question is not whether religion is "real," but whether people should be free to believe as they want without being oppressed or oppressing others.

Gender has a biological base which is greatly elaborated by cultural criteria. The key issue is not how "true" these elaborations are but that women should not be oppressed by men and that LGBT people should not be oppressed (or murdered) by cis people.

The point should be clear in relation to nationalities. Of course they are social creations, historical elaborations of cultural factors, and not biologically based, any more than religious groups are. They are used as rationales for state power. But I am against Palestinian peoples being bombed and massacred and denied the ability to organize themselves as they chose, with the Israeli state dominating them. I am for Tibetans being able to speak their own language and organize themselves as they chose, without the Chinese state shooting them. Sure, I do not believe in nationalism, but they do and I believe--above all else--in freedom, that is, in self-determination and self-management. Apparently to some anarchists such a belief in freedom would make me a "Marxist," but I do not think so! (See my discussion of Lenin and national self-determination above.C

Mmkaaay Wayne, not a Marxist, but a Lenin-loving democratic libertarian.

So THAT'S what you get from my essay's section on Lenin's views? That I am "Lenin-loving"? Wow.

However, it is true that I am a "democratic libertarian" socialist, which is to say a revolutionary anarchist.

A Molotov holding democratic libertarian with a Ho Chi Minh complex?

More like somebody who dates back to when some of these terms hadn't become triggers for keyboard warriors who never stfu.

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