Repost from the old site.
A good progressive principle, but one subject to some exceptions, is the principle of self-determination. This leads naturally to support for most if not all separatist movements. In my case, I do support most, but not all separatist movements.
It’s interesting of all the people around the world, that only leftwingers and various seceding nationalities support this principle. It’s also interesting that once nations secede and become their own state, suddenly they do not believe in the right to secede anymore! We on the Left have always upheld this basic principle.
The USSR held that all Russian nationalities had the right to secede. Unfortunately, it was not enforced much, but it was this very principle that allowed Gorbachev to permit the various USSR republics the right of secession in 1991. At that time, on at least that one variable, the USSR was the most civilized nation on Earth.
Its civilized nature was a direct result of the progressive principles that were embodied in the USSR by the first Bolsheviks in 1917. Later, Czechoslovakia split up into the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The reason they were able to do this so civilly is, number one, because they are White, and number two, due to the decades of internationalism that had been inculcated into them by Communist rule.
I say that being White is important because I am absolutely convinced that only White nations are capable of breaking up civilly and peacefully without slaughtering each other in the process. In a way, breaking up your country without massacring your countrymen is the ultimate civilized act.
Even Asians, as civilized as they are, would never be able to break up one of their countries without turning it into a mass slaughter. On this metric, they are not that civilized.
What is it about Whites that allows them to break up a country? Is it altruism? Although studies are rare, in the US, Whites have rates of civic participation, volunteerism and donating to charity far above other groups.
Now, it is true that Communist China has not done a good job of living up the progressive principles of self-determination. Clearly, Tibet has a right to go free, and I would argue that East Turkestan does too. And Taiwan is a separate country. Mao never was a true internationalist. He was always a Chinese nationalist first and a Communist second.
Another reason to support secessionism is that the people who hate it most are the fascists. Idiots are always saying that fascism and Communism and fascism and socialism are the same thing. Let us call them on this one at least.
This is a prime difference between fascists and Communists, the Left and the Right. The Left supports self-determination and cultural autonomy for national minorities and the Right has always opposed this, instead choosing to force all national minorities into a single ethnoreligiolinguistic entity.
No one opposes separatist movements more than fascists, and no fascist nation has ever given one national minority an inch of cultural autonomy. Even in China, national minorities have considerable cultural autonomy and have the right to education in their national tongue.
It’s true that the USSR’s commitment to cultural and linguistic freedom varied throughout the lifetime of the state. Its commitment was highest in the 1920’s, wavered seriously in the 1930’s when Stalin murdered many leaders of national minorities and never attained earlier depths with the subsequent promotion of Russification by Stalin and his successors.
The Left nowadays is sleazy and unprincipled on the question of national self-determination. Sadly, the entire world Left refused to support the right of self-determination for the peoples of the former Yugoslavia, all because Yugoslavia was a Communist state. Then they all opposed the right of Kosova to break away from Serbia, I guess because Serbia used to be Communist state!
This leads us to the recent fighting in Georgia.
First of all, Georgia is pretty much of a fake state. Sure, there have been Georgians living in that area for a very long time, but the Soviet republic called Georgia included not only Georgians but other nationalities as well. Other minorities included Abkhazians, Adjarians and South Ossetians.
It is possible that the republic of Georgia was seeded with these minorities as a divide and conquer strategy by the early Soviets, who were not perfect on the national question. Seeding Georgia with non-Georgians would make it more difficult for Georgia to secede from the USSR. Similarly, splitting the poor Ossetians between Russia and Georgia was probably another sleazy divide and conquer game.
Anyway, in 1991, this completely fake state called Georgia (really just a republic of the USSR) gained its independence. If we are to support the principle of self-determination, we need to allow national minorities in fake states newly birthed the right to secede.
On what basis were Abkhazia, Adjaria and South Ossetia an inherent part of some entity called “Georgia”? On no basis whatsoever! On what basis is some new fake country one day or one month old entitled to the bullshit and fascist principle of “inviolability of borders”? On no basis.
So, when the Georgian state (really just a place with lines on the map with a lot of Georgians living in it, but drawn wider than the Georgian nation) got its independence, Abkhazia, Adjaria and South Ossetia surely had the right say, “Screw this, we want no part of this new state. We’re out of here.”
Adjaria, a Muslim region in the southwest, seems to have settled its beef without fighting, but Abkhazia and South Ossetia both waged nasty and ugly separatist wars and managed to secede from the new state of Georgia.
South Ossetia apparently wants to marry with North Ossetia and become a state in Russia called Ossetia. I’m not sure what Abkhazia wants to do. I think they may wish to join Russia also. Abkhazia is located in the northwest and populated mostly by Orthodox Christians.
South Ossetia is located in the north-central part of Georgia and is composed mostly of Ossetians. The Ossetians were formerly called the Alans, an ancient kingdom related ethnically and linguistically to Iranians. They speak a language that is close to Iranian and resemble Iranians physically.
Russia is being cynical about this, as befits an imperialist state. While Russia under Putin has fascist tendencies in the nasty repression on national minorities such as the Mari and the people of the Caucasus, Putin is willing, like all sleazy imperialists, do support secessionism when it benefits imperial goals.
Russia has it in for Georgia, lately because Georgia has lined up heavily on the side of the US. There are US and Israeli advisors working with the Georgian military right now, and Russia is terrified by Georgian threats to join NATO.
We need to note that NATO doesn’t have much right to exist anymore. NATO was set up to deal with the Soviet threat. That’s gone. So why is NATO still there? Apparently to form an imperialist bloc to oppose Russia! The Russians are furious about this, and rightly so. Who can blame them?
Sadly, it is also possible that Russia is using this as a payback to the West for supporting the secession of Kosova. The West, including the US in its extreme cynicism, first of all supported the secession of all of the former states of Yugoslavia (apparently on the cynical grounds that since they were seceding from a Communist nation, therefore the right of self-determination was invoked).
Then, just to stick it to Russia for the most part, the US and most of Europe supported Kosova and Montenegrin independence, just so long as they were pro-West. I supported it too, on the basis of solid principles called the right of self-determination. It is sad that the entire world Left opposed the independence of Kosova. This made Russia furious.
Yet in Abkhazia, in the same sleazy West that championed every micro-state to be cleaved out of the former Yugoslavia, not a single Western state, nor any state anywhere, would support the principled secession of the Abkhazian people from Georgian imperialism.
Does fascist Russia under Putin support the right of self-determination, however limited? Of course not. As a capitalist, and in fact fascist and now imperialist state, Russia clearly has no principles whatsoever. As payback to Kosova secession which hurt their pitiful fascist pan-Slavic feelings, the Russians are now supporting secession in Georgia. Principles? Come now!
This whole conflict is shot through with imperialism all the way. The US is supporting Georgia not out of any principles, because as an imperialist state, the US has zero principles other than profiteering, plunder and subjection of other states and peoples. The US supports secessionism when it benefits imperialist interests, and opposes it when it hinders imperialist interests!
And of course, it never admits this. When it supports secessionism, the US apparently invokes the right of self-determination. When it opposes secessionism, the US invokes the right of inviolability of national borders, as it is doing now in the case of Georgia. Contradictory, no? Sure is!
The sleazy and pro-imperialist US media fails to point out this dissonance, and your average educated American will inconsistently invoke, like a moron, either the right of self-determination of the right of inviolability of borders, depending, as they support the imperial projects that they have been inculcated to support.
This conflict, like all imperialist bullshit wars, boils down to various imperialist nations waging armed conflict over access to markets and natural resources.
As is, oil from Azerbaijan and gas from the Stans goes through Georgia and I believe hooks up with Russian pipelines. The US, Georgia, Israel and Turkey wish to cut Russia out of the deal and cut a new pipeline through Georgia to Turkey. At least some of the oil will then go to Israel and from there, through the Suez and out to the Indian Ocean and various nations in that region, in particular India.
Someone suggested to me that the West is cutting this new pipeline because they are afraid that Russia will cut off the flow of oil to the West. Forget it. They will not do any such thing unless pushed to the wall. The US, Israel, Georgia and probably Turkey are all doing this because they are more or less imperialist states.
This conflict is also shot through with old Cold War “Beware the bear” bullshit. Even after the fall of Communism and the return of capitalism to Russia, US imperialism and anti-Communists everywhere have continued to see Russia through and Cold War and anti-Communist lens. It is as if the fall of the USSR never occurred. Any analysis of the conflict between the US and the West that leaves out this essential element is lacking.
As a socialist, I want to ask the supporters of capitalism on this blog some questions.
Show me how advanced capitalism can exist without imperialism. Prove to me that an advanced capitalist state can exist in the modern world without becoming an imperialist power.
It seems to me that large capitalist states are typically mandated to become imperialist states and from there to engage in conflict, often armed, with other imperialist states for markets and natural resources. If this is so (and I think it is) how then can one support capitalism as it now exists, since it seems to be impossible to have large capitalist states that are not also imperialist?
As you might have guessed, I support the right of South Ossetia to self-determination and to secede from Georgia and the right, however sleazy, of Russia to assist them in this principled endeavor.
This conflict is getting real nasty real quick. Russia is threatening Israel and the US over their support for Georgia and the US has incredibly ordered Russia to withdraw its forces from South Ossetia. And the conflict very quickly seems to have expanded to Abkhazia. We have the potential for a really nasty conflict here.
I would like to point out that the neoconservative scum who now pretty much run this country are first and foremost ferocious imperialists. They are some of the most voracious backers of US imperialism out there. In this endeavor, neoconservatives have been picking fights with Russia for a long time now.
Many Jewish neoconservatives are involved in this imperial conflict with Russia, and unfortunately, in this light, they have supported Chechen independence not out of any decent principles, since neocons have no principles, but just to screw Russia.
The fact that elements of imperialism have supported the Chechen separatists rouses Russian nationalism and paranoia and makes Russia all the less likely to give the Chechens and other Caucasian peoples the independence they deserve.
It’s not known why the neocons have such a beef with Russia, but they also backed the Russian Jewish oligarchs in their fleecing of Russia. There seems to be an old beef between Jewish nationalists and Russia.
We can see the outlines of this conflict in the campaign to “free the Soviet Jews”, which was one of the original catalysts for the formation of the Jewish neocons back in the 1970’s. There may also be a “screw the Russians” mindset dating from the hostile history of Russians and Jews in Russia, a history replete with pogroms of Jews.
Repost from the old site.