The national question

no bordersThe question of nationalities - that is, the oppression of nations and national minorities, which has characterised capitalism from its birth till the present time - has always occupied a central position in Marxist theory. Once again, the historical materialist approach of Marxism dissolves the apparent “natural” role of the nation as a necessary expression of human society. Nations have by no means always existed, nor will they always exist in the future.

The nation as we know it today is a product of the development of capitalism and its need to unify peoples into units of a certain size (depending on the level of the system’s development – e.g. more recently formed nations tend to be much bigger) to consolidate the market. The contradictions and tensions between nations are a result of capitalism’s “combined and uneven” development. The contradictions of the capitalist mode of production itself force each ruling class to expand outwards, developing a global market and imperialism in the process.

The violent tensions that this process breeds in turn give rise to nationalism, racism and wars. There is no way a successful world revolution, abolishing the global capitalist system, can take place without a careful and nuanced understanding of the national question, with all the sensitivities and complexity it brings. Therefore this section is of the utmost importance for revolutionaries.

Title Created Date Author
[Audio] Marxism and the national question 10 July 2018 In Defence of Marxism
National liberation and class struggle in Catalonia: interview with Vidal Aragonés 18 October 2017 Revolució
The Nigerian State and the National Question: A genuine Marxist approach 27 September 2017 Rashy
[Video] The National Question in the Russian Revolution 15 September 2017 Jorge Martin
The independence referendum and the Catalan national question 28 July 2017 Arturo Rodríguez
“Rise Up Tamils!” Demonstration Puts Tamil National Question Back on the Agenda 20 October 2016 Sinthujha Kumarasamy and Ted Sprague
Reading guide: Marxism and the European Union 26 July 2016 In Defence of Marxism
Marxism and the national question in Scotland 10 April 2015 Alan Woods
Ireland: The national question is a social question 09 September 2013 Red Plough Editorial Board
The National Question in Scotland – Part Two 29 August 2012 Socialist Appeal (Britain) - Editorial Statement
The National Question in Scotland – Part One 28 August 2012 Socialist Appeal (Britain) - Editorial Statement
The collapse of the ethno-nationalist project of the LTTE and the Tamil Question in Sri Lanka 02 July 2009 Rajesh Tyagi in Delhi
[Audio] The War in Georgia and the National Question 25 September 2008 Alan Woods
Malaysia: 50 years of independence (Part 1) - Colonialism at the root of the national question 31 August 2007 Bruce Boon
[Audio] The National Question and Quebec 27 June 2007 Rob Lyon
Lenin on the National Question 16 June 2004 Rob Sewell
Reply to Luis Oviedo - Part Four - War and the National Question 18 February 2004 Alan Woods
The Spanish Revolution 1931-39: The National Question in the 1930s 15 February 2002 Eloy Val del Olmo
Marxism and the National Question 25 February 2000 Alan Woods and Ted Grant
Marxism and the National Question 07 July 1999 Alan Woods
[Ted Grant] National Question [in Europe] 26 October 1944 Ted Grant