Geopolitics of nationality and Islam:
October 10 2007
Kosova's independence forces have set a deadline in December for independence. Along with the rest of the West, the United $tates is backing the ethnic Albanian Muslims seeking separation from Serbia.
A major topic of contention among imperialists these past few years, Kosova has a population of 2 million. ("Kosovo" is the Serb spelling.) In contrast, California has 58 counties. Orange County is second largest and has 2.8 million people.(1)
According to Lenin all peoples have the right to self-determination. Where to draw the line--borders-- and who to count in a people--that is difficult. In essence the question is arbitrary as the post- modernists have long pointed out about nation and patriotism. Draw the lines one way and hold a referendum among one set of people and the result will go one way. Draw the lines differently and a county-sized unit might choose to separate from a country.
That's why Marx said it is not just a matter of supporting the national struggle and an abstract idea of nation. We Maoists support national struggles that happen to aid the class struggle. We could also aid national struggles that happen to aid the gender struggle. On the whole, we aid the national struggles that weaken imperialism and allow the proletariat a possibility of seizing power.
Stalin refined the question and said the strongest national force exists where there is a contiguous land and economy to form a culture. Language becomes a separation point among people who might otherwise border each other geographically and economically.
The language factor says that Kosova could be its own nation. In 1999, chauvinist Kosovans killed a Bulgarian for speaking Serbian.(2)
Serbia is not an imperialist country, and for this reason, MIM has no horse in the Kosova question. A blow against Serbia is not a blow against imperialism, nor a blow against the bourgeoisie. Kosovans have their right to self-determination, but at the same time, U.$. imperialism is the world's principal enemy, and it is backing Kosovan independence. Had the West not become involved, one would be tempted to say that Serbs are lackeys of Russian imperialism.
Putin rightly tries to draw the West's attention to the messes it made throughout the former Soviet bloc--South Ossetia, Abkhazia, Transnistria and Nagorno/Karabakh. South Ossetia and Abkhazia formally belong to Georgia, but consider themselves independent and leaning toward Russia. They both have their local language and Russian. Georgia's president is an utter U.$. lackey.
The tragedy of the ex-Soviet Union includes the ethnic cleansings that have happened in so many places. In Abkhazia, the Abkhazians kicked out Georgians. Most of this fighting was intra- proletarian fighting. We have yet to see a war pitting a people against the mainly rich people of Leningrad and Moscow.
Kosova does have unquestionable demographics for independence. The problem is that such an argument encourages ethnic cleansing in all multinational republics, such as Yugoslavia was before it broke into provinces. Through a civil war, Abkhazia has managed to empty out a more numerous Georgian population in order to gain control of its province/nation.
The blood of ethnic cleansing is on the hands of the u.$. imperialists seeking geopolitical division of its competitors. Also sharing the blame are the Greens, anarchists, Titoites and any other sponsors of "local control." Our critics call us "totalistic," because we do not accept answers that do not penetrate to the overall economic situation. MIM gives people the facts on the global class structure, not just whatever is going to stir up some Albanians to go kill some Serbs or vice-versa. The reason we need vanguard parties is that they must have the overall economic picture and create a strategy to match it.
The leaders of provinces, counties or small nations should keep an eye on the economy. It is a myth that breaking into small units and setting up ever smaller borders is good for the economy. We hear how small nations are supposedly "exploiting" each other, but most of the time, when we dig into these perceptions, there is bourgeois delusion underneath--false consciousness.
What is amazing is that after all these years--people of the ex-Soviet Union know very well that no one benefitted from moving around a bunch of refugees through ethnic cleansing. Even shaking off Russian imperialism did not result in a huge advancement economically speaking for the many now-existing independent republics, though certainly MIM can understand that perception that it would have.
MIM's emphasis is on the division between exploiter and exploited nations. Yet, in the ex-Soviet bloc, the people still need to learn that their hated neighbors are not exploiter nations, except for the Russians. Until we succeed in explaining this, there can be no real communist movement in that region.
We propose that Russia drop its objections to Kosovan independence and in return, the united $tates will hand over Imperial County, California to Mexico. Bordering Mexico, 65.7% of Imperial County speaks Spanish as its first language and 72.2% is "Hispanic" or "Latino."(1) If Imperial County does not want to join Mexico, it can form the Republic of Imperial. In this way, the united $tates will demonstrate its seriousness to Putin and the Serbs.
MIM supports the independence of Imperial County, because it would target U.$. imperialism and benefit oppressed nation people. The Kosova question is not so clear-cut, but we would certainly accept an exchange.
Meanwhile, Nagorno-Karabakh that Putin mentions has the same population as Imperial County. Thanks to post-Soviet ethnic cleansing encouraged by u.$. imperialism to dissolve the Soviet Union, Nagorno-Karabakh lost most of its Azeri population and it is now even more lopsidedly Armenian than before. Nonetheless, Nagorno-Karabakh is formally part of Azerbaijan, not Armenia.
In MIM's analysis, it is Nagorno-Karabakh that is most analagous to Kosova among the situations that Putin mentions. Neither Azerbaijan nor Armenia is imperialist. MIM has no horse in that race. The other situations could be seen as Russian annexationist--South Ossetia and Abkhazia especially.
One could argue that Nagorno-Karabakh should go to Armenia or its own republic, but that would reward the ethnic cleansing that started off a war. It's a horrible question to contemplate and it's all thanks to Khruschev who started the rot in the Soviet Union. With Russians going down the imperialist road, there was no centralizing force to pull together a multinational republic. The story the Russians tell themselves is that it was a few individuals bought out by U.$. imperialism, but such a huge change does not come about without getting vast class forces wrong.
While Russians can go into empire-building mode again with their oil and natural gas, not to mention larger economy and more advanced technology, Russia has less centripetal possibility than the Soviet Union did. The Islamic caliphate idea is the real competitor.
Kosova would be the westward outreaches of the Islamic caliphate idea. It can reach down into North Africa, through the Mideast, over to Pakistan and Bangladesh and finally Indonesia. The real underlying reality of the Islamic caliphate idea is class. None of the countries usually conceived of for incorporation into the caliphate are imperialist. The outer regions of the ex-Soviet Union could also go for a Muslim caliphate, though some white proletarians might be lost in translation.
The drawback of the Islamic caliphate is intra-proletarian fighting. At the western edge we see Serbia vs. Kosova. On the eastern side, we have Pakistan at war with India as well as war within China in the remote regions.
Had Russians cooperated with Sovietizing the Muslim people instead of getting caught up with Khruschev, there might have been a good mix. Now we have bourgeois nationalism among Muslims and Russians in competition. The Russians fear losing their culture toward their east and south.
The Amerikans stir up the Muslim people, but they live oceans away. It is Russian imperialism at the frontlines. Chechnya and Ingushetia are mostly Muslim. For that matter, the Soviet Union under Brezhnev was headed for a Muslim majority. Before it knew what to do about that, Soviet social-imperialism fell apart.
Russian culture and exploitation being centered in Moscow and Leningrad, it is difficult for Russians to see themselves joining into an Islamic Soviet. At the same time, the Russians end up the farthest output of Western imperialism, analogous to I$rael in a Muslim sea.
English is a great language for MIM to know with its website, to reach India in addition to most of the imperialist world. Islamic culture would be more use to Russian revolutionaries, even more use than Spanish for MIM.
We in imperialist countries can believe like I$rael is trying to convince the world that there is a "clash of civilizations" involving eternal values and national genetics. Alternatively we can have faith in the power of class and nation as MIM does--factors in how the people are organized.
Those who pride the progress of Western civilization should now see its regression and also hang onto Marx on how to bring about further progress. The desire and capability for that progress is no longer in the West. Western contributions can play a role in the progress outside the West. That is the only way to preserve Western culture in the current global class structure.