Nations have not always existed, nor will they always exist in the future. Marxists are internationalists, fighting for world socialist revolution.

Nations have not always existed, nor will they always exist in the future. Marxists are internationalists, fighting for world socialist revolution.

Introduction

The tremendous crisis of capitalism is bringing to the surface all the system’s old contradictions. Instability, polarisation and huge political shifts are on the order of the day. As part of this process, unsolved national questions are erupting once more around the globe. Millions of oppressed people are striving for a way out of the impasse. This striving can take the form of renewed national movements. On the other hand, as the struggle between the national gangs of capitalists becomes more intense, the ruling class pollutes the atmosphere of the whole world with the fumes of national hatred.

For Marxists, the national question is one of the most challenging we face. There is no simple, magic formula for all times and all places. Rather, it is necessary to study each national question in its historical evolution. Marxists must carefully distinguish between what is progressive and what is reactionary in any national movement, as a surgeon carefully distinguishes between healthy and diseased tissue. Above all, we take as our starting point the need to unite the working class on a worldwide scale for the overthrow of international capital.

From Marx’s writings on Ireland and India, to Lenin’s extensive writings on the national question, to the works of James Connolly, there is a tremendous treasure trove of Marxist literature dealing with the subject. For today’s revolutionaries, it represents an indispensable arsenal in the struggle to overthrow capitalism.


Introductory articles

Lenin on the
National Question
ROB SEWELL
Lenin not only led the first successful socialist revolution, but also made an enormous contribution to Marxist theory. This article deals with the important contribution he made on the national question and how such a correct stand on this issue guaranteed the success of the Bolshevik Party in October 1917.
The national question remains a key issue for Marxists in the current epoch of capitalist crisis. An examination of the ideas of Lenin can serve to answer this with a clear explanation of Marxist theory and method.
"In the epoch of capitalist decline, of imperialist crisis, the national question is once again raising its head everywhere, with the most tragic and sanguine consequences. It rests with the working class to come to the head of the nation and offer the masses a way out of this nightmare."
Marxists and the National Question
BEN CURRY
As the capitalist system lurches from one crisis to the next, old contradictions are re-emerging. Instability, polarisation and huge political shifts are taking place all over the world. As part of this process, unsolved national questions are erupting once more with renewed force around the globe – from Catalonia to Kurdistan to Ireland.
"For Marxists, the national question presents one of the most challenging and complex questions – one for which there is no ‘catch-all’ formula. When addressing this question, our first principle is always the goal of uniting the working class of the whole world to fight for the overthrow of capitalism."
Marxism and the European Union – a reading guide
The European Union throws up a number of questions for Marxists, not just in terms of our perspectives for the class struggle in Europe, but also theoretical questions on the nature of the EU and the attitude of Marxists to the idea of European integration. It has never been more important to re-visit these questions from the standpoint of Marxist theory as it is with these ideas alone that we can orientate ourselves in the heavy political squalls to come.
"The idea of European unity on a capitalist basis is a reactionary utopia. It is utopian because it cannot be carried through to the end. The existence of deep conflicts of interest between the capitalists of the different national states, like the fault lines in geology, inevitably cause these attempts to break down at a certain stage."
Alan Woods
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Longer articles

From chapter 39 of Leon Trotsky's History of the Russian Revolution.

A classic on the national question by V.I. Lenin.

This document was passed at the 2008 National Congress of the US section of the International Marxist Tendency.

“You can’t have capitalism without racism.” (Malcolm X)

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Marxists must call for workers' unity, organisation, and internationalism.

The issue of anti-Semitism is being cynically used by the Blairites in the Labour Party as their main weapon to attack the left.

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Marxist classics and books

This 4 part document by Ted Grant and Alan Woods reviews the rich Marxist literature on the national question and applies it to today's conditions.

Another classic work by V.I. Lenin.

Written by Lenin in August-October 1916.

Written by Lenin in October-December 1913 and published the same year in the Bolshevik legal journal Prosveshcheniye.

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Audio & Video

Play
Martin Luther King
and the
black struggle
Martin Luther King and
the black struggle
Fred Weston
Play
Marxism and
the National
Question
Marxism and the
National Question
Francesco Merli
00:00 / 00:00
Marxism and the
National Question
Fred Weston
Play
Why Marxists must
fight for
open borders
Why Marxists must fight
for open borders
Niklas Albin Svensson
Play
The fight against colonialism:
then and now
The fight against
colonialism:
then and now
Hamid Alizadeh
00:00 / 00:00
Fred Weston
Slider

Socialist Appeal are proud to publish this education guide to help focus your studies of Marxist theory and practice. Visit the various tabs below to find links to introductory articles, classic texts, videos and audio talks for different topics. Read More
We present here Marxism 101: a series of responses and short video talks answering the most common myths and questions about Marxism, socialism, and revolution. Read More
Check out this selection of writings for an excellent introduction to many of the fundamentals of Marxist theory, providing a strong basis for those wishing to equip themselves with the ideas necessary in order to fight for socialism. Read More
Dialectical materialism is the philosophy or methodology of Marxism. We must seek to understand the laws of society and nature in order to change them. Read More
Historical materialism is the general theory of how and why society develops in the way it does. Each social system has its inherent laws of motion. If we want to overthrow capitalist society, we must understand how capitalism works. Read More
Marxist economics is the study of the laws of motion of capitalist society, allowing us to understand why capitalism perpetually goes into crisis, where inequality comes from, and what the alternative is. Read More
The Russian Revolution is the greatest event in world history for Marxists. Studying the events of 1917, and understanding why the Revolution degenerated into Stalinism, provides vital lessons for revolutionaries today. Read More
For Marxists, the state is not at all neutral. We must understand the state’s real basis and strip away its mysticism by treating it historically - taking in its origins, rise, and eventual fall. Read More
Anarchism is naturally attractive for those wanting to abolish capitalism. But only Marxist ideas can explain why bureaucracy and oppression exist - and how to overthrow the exploitative capitalist system. Read More
Marxists are irreconcilably opposed to the oppression of women and fight determinedly for liberation and against discrimination. We believe this will be achieved through the class struggle - to abolish the oppressive capitalist system. Read More
The madness of fascism expresses the historic crisis and dead-end of capitalism. But it could have been avoided if the working class had a united revolutionary leadership, prepared to take power. Read More
Nations have not always existed, nor will they always exist in the future. Marxists are internationalists, fighting for world socialist revolution as the only way forward for humanity and our planet. Read More
Wars represent the sharp extreme of capitalism’s impasse. Imperialism, Lenin said, was the "highest stage of capitalism". As long as the profit system exists, there will be wars over markets and spheres of influence. Read More
All written history, Marx stated, is the history of class struggle. Our task is to learn the lessons from history in order to prepare for the revolutionary events taking place today and in the future. Read More
Our aim is to spread the ideas of Marxism, in an organised fashion, amongst workers and youth. In order to do this, we must study the history and traditions of the working class. Read More
  • Educate Yourself
  • Marxism 101
  • Fundamentals of Marxism
  • Dialectical Materialism
  • Historical Materialism
  • Marxist Economics
  • Stalinism and the Soviet Union
  • The State
  • Anarchism
  • Identity and Oppression
  • Fascism
  • The National Question
  • Imperialism and War
  • Revolutionary History
  • Revolutionary Strategy