Part IV

 

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11. On Self-Determination of Oppressed Nations

 

 

 

From time to time we hear or read the argument of reformists and different centrists that Marxists and other left-wingers must defend the right of self-determination of all nations, imperialist nations and oppressed nations. This, as we mentioned, was the position of the Shachtmanites. Thus, for example the CWI argues that the solution in Palestine is two socialist states. The IMT argues that the Israelis and the Palestinians have the right of self-determination and the form it must take is a socialist federalist state. The Communist Party of Israel and Hadash argue that the solution is two capitalist states based on the borders of 1967.

 

Marx and Engels, who lived in a period when capitalism was still a progressive mode of production, did not support the right of self-determination of the confederation of the South in the American civil war, because the economic system of the South was based on slavery that was an obstacle to capitalist development. Marx also wrote: “In the United States of North America, every independent workers’ movement was paralyzed so long as slavery disfigured a part of the Republic.” [48]

 

Engels did not support the right of self-determination of the southern Slavs. Engels explained his position saying that the Southern Slavs are serving reactionary Russia:

 

"As far as pan-Slavism in particular is concerned, in the Neue Rheinische Zeitung No.194 we showed that, part from the well-meaning self-deceptions of the democratic pan-Slavists, it has in reality no other aim than to give the Austrian Slavs, who are split up and historically, literally, politically, commercially and industrially dependent on the Germans and Magyars, a basis of support, in Russia on the one hand, and on the other hand in the Austrian united monarchy, which is dominated by the Slav majority and dependent on Russia. We have shown how such little nations. which for centuries have been taken in tow by history against their will, must necessarily be counter-revolutionary, and that their whole position in the revolution in 1848 was actually counter-revolutionary. In view of the democratic pan-Slavist manifesto, which demands the independence of all Slavs without distinction, we must return to this matter. Democratic pan-Slavism.” [49]

 

Thus Marxists do not support the right of self-determination of oppressive or counter revolutionary nations but only of the oppressed nations in their struggle against imperialism and its servants.

 

It is important to understand what are the political implications of the support for the self-determination for the imperialist nations. The first implication is that it is compels one to support the bourgeois imperialists and their servants, or at least taking a neutral or pacifist position during military conflicts, when the imperialists fight among themselves or against a colony or a semi-colony.

 

This position characterized the Socialist International in WWI and WWII. During the WWII the FI was not able to hold a united world party. Each section acted under its own local pressures.

 

In France one wing supported the self-determination of imperialist France. The other one refused to struggle against the German occupation and connect this struggle to a socialist revolution. A document of the Fourth International from February 1944 that re-established the unity of the French Trotskyists read: “Instead of distinguishing between the nationalism of the defeated bourgeoisie which remains an expression of its imperialist preoccupations, and the ‘nationalism’ of the masses which is only a reactionary expression of their resistance against exploitation by the occupying imperialism, the leadership of the POI considered as progressive the struggle of its own bourgeoisie....” [50]

 

Some confused middle class centrists who hold liberal definition of imperialism are likely to wonder why not supporting the right of self-determination of France that was occupied by Nazi Germany and thus was a colony? The answer is very simple France remained an imperialist state and support for the restoration of the independence of France would be to support its super-exploitation by France in countries like Vietnam, Morocco, Syria, Lebanon and Algeria.

 

At the same time it was necessary and legitimate to participate in the popular struggle against the German occupation – including in the movement of the Résistance in France. However, Marxists had to counterpose proletarian internationalism against the widespread ideas of bourgeois and petty-bourgeois nationalism.

 

During WWII the British centrist WIL, the parent organization of the CWI and IMT that showed its nationalist deviation already before WWII when it refused to join the Fourth International because of its disagreement over a tactical question related to their strategic orientation to the labor party, related to the Eighth Army led by Montgomery and thus part of British imperialism army as “our army”. In 1943 conference, one of its leading members, Ted Grant, declared: “We have a victorious army in North Africa and Italy, and I say, yes. Long Live the Eighth Army, because that is our army.” [51]

 

Later, Ted Grant and the CWI/IMT developed such opportunist mistakes into a consistent social-chauvinist and pro-imperialist line which resulted in their refusal to defend Argentina, a semi-colony, against British imperialism during the Malvinas war in 1982. Consistent with this social-imperialist line, the IMT of Woods refused to defend Hamas against the attack of the Palestinian Authority, backed by Israel, in 2007 on the ground that Hamas are “Muslim fundamentalists”.

 

They wrote: “In July (2007) we published an article on the conflict between the forces of Hamas and those of Fatah in the Gaza Strip. The article was written by Yehuda Stern in Israel, but it had been heavily edited by the Editorial Board of www.marxist.com. The original article that we received came under the title "The Liberation of Gaza and the Questions Facing Israeli and Palestinian Workers".

 

Upon receiving the article the Editorial Board informed the author that many changes had to be made for it to be published on our website, starting with the title itself. We do not consider the victory of Hamas in the conflict with Fatah in Gaza in any way a "Liberation of Gaza", nor is it in any way a progressive step for the Palestinian masses. It is in fact a tragedy that the vacuum created by the corruption and collaboration with imperialism on the part of the PLO leadership in running the Palestinian Authority has been filled by the reactionary Hamas.

 

We sent our comments to the author (and to Yossi Schwartz), who then made some corrections, but we considered these were still not enough. We had a long phone conversation and we followed this with emails detailing the changes we considered needed making. The article was changed but we still considered that it was not satisfactory. We went ahead and edited it further. Eventually the author and Yossi Schwartz accepted the form in which it was published. On this basis we believed we had an agreement on the fundamental issues.

 

Unfortunately, we must admit that some unfortunate formulations were still present in the article. It must be said that what seemed to be a movement in the right direction by the author was no such thing. He (in agreement with Yossi Schwartz) very quickly reverted to the opinions he had expressed in the original text. He maintains that Hamas led an anti-imperialist struggle, mobilizing the masses, and that therefore Marxists should support the "military victory" of Hamas, claiming that the situation in Gaza was a blow to imperialism and that it would push forward the class struggle throughout the Middle East[…] We believe the approach developed by the Moroccan Marxists is what is needed. We are implacably opposed to Islamic fundamentalism. To make any kind of concession to these reactionary forces would be disastrous for a genuine Marxist tendency in the labour movement. We will return to this question again, but for now we believe the comments of the Moroccan Marxists suffice.” [52]

 

This Islamophobia is but a reflection of the imperialist political line and is common among the different centrists calling themselves Trotskyists. During the Second Lebanon war in 2006, the middle class radicals opposed supporters of Hezbollah joining their demonstrations. In other words they opposed the Leninist tactic of the Anti-Imperialist United Front.

 

Nadin Rosa Roso wrote: “Massive demonstrations in European capitals and major cities in support of the people of Gaza highlighted once again the core problem: the vast majority of the left agrees in supporting the people of Gaza against Israeli aggression, but refuses to support its political expressions such as Hamas in Palestine and Hezbollah in Lebanon. The left not only refuses to support them, but also denounces them and fights against them. Support for the people of Gaza exists only at a humanitarian level, but not at the political level[…]The headline of the French website ‘Res Publica' following the mass demonstration in Paris on January 3 read: "We refuse to be trapped by the Islamists of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah!" The article continued: "Some activists of the left and far left (who turned out only in small numbers) were literally drowned in a crowd whose views are at odds with the spirit of the French Republican movement and of the twenty-first century Left. Over 90% of the demonstrators championed a fundamentalist and communitarian worldview based on the clash of civilizations, which is anti-secular and anti-Republican[…]one finds on the websites of both the French Communist Party and the Worker's Party of Belgium an article entitled, "How Israel put Hamas in the saddle." The article itself supplies us with little more than the assertion that Hamas has been supported by Israel, the United States and the European Union. It was published on January 2, after a week of intensive Israeli bombardment and on the day before the ground offensive whose declared aim was the destruction of Hamas.” [53]

 

In France the so called far left were the first to spread Islamophobia: “It’s greatly to their discredit that it was leading members of the main national revolutionary organisations (Lutte Ouvrière—Workers’ Struggle – and the Ligue Communiste Révolutionnaire (LCR)—the Revolutionary Communist League) who triggered the sequence of events leading to the anti-headscarf law of 2004. They did so by pushing for the expulsion of two headscarf-wearing young adults from the school in which both party members taught. This expulsion soon snowballed to become the defining political moment in France’s pre-ISIS relation to Islam”. [54]

 

As we already mentioned, it is very common among reformists and centrists of our time, in opposition to Marx, Lenin and Trotsky, to refuse supporting revolutionary struggles of oppressed nations because of the reactionary nature of its leadership. We have seen it very clearly during the Arab revolution and in particular in the case of Syria.

 

As our comrade Michael Pröbsting wrote in 2017 in his three-part essay Is the Syrian Revolution at its End? Is Third Camp Abstentionism Justified?: “In the last few years, various left-wing groups have dropped their support for the ongoing Syrian Revolution – some sooner and others more recently – and became abstentionists or Third Campists. This means that while they don’t support the Assad regime (in contrast to the Stalinists, Castro-Chavistas and various centrists) they prefer to abstain from the popular struggle against the dictatorship instead of supporting it, i.e., they support neither side but constitute a "neutral" third camp. These abstentionists justify their stance by arguing that workers and peasants wouldn’t play any active role in the struggle anymore, that the liberation struggle was hijacked by reactionary Islamist forces, or that the rebels have become agents of US imperialism or of other regional powers.” [55]

 

He also wrote: “Naturally, we don’t ignore that, generally speaking, liberal democrats hold more progressive views on women’s rights and accept a pluralism of opinions, among other things, than most Islamists do. But at the same time we have seen so often how liberals become servants of Western imperialism. Let’s just recall how closely the leaders of the Syrian National Council were willing to collaborate with the US and EU (but these Great Powers were not prepared to lend them any serious support). Furthermore, how can one forget that many of these liberal democrats (plus their Stalinist and centrists friends) applauded the military coup in Egypt in 2013 and refused to defend the pro-Mursi masses against the slaughter which followed 3 July?![…] A factor demonstrating the popular character of the rebels is their class composition. They are dominated by urban and rural workers and poor. This class composition is directly related to the historic discrimination of the Sunni majority in Syria by the Assad regime. It was no accident that the uprising started with mass demonstrations in cities like Daraa, Homs, or Hama and that it had its strongholds in the proletarian and poor districts of Aleppo and Damascus. Since the close of the 19th century, East Aleppo – which the rebels managed to hold until the end of 2016 – has been proletarian in character, in contrast to the middle class western part of the city. Similarly, even today, it is the working class suburbs of Damascus like Qaboun, Jobar and Eastern Ghouta which the rebels control.[…] Naturally, in the wake of the revolution’s defeats and setbacks, millions of workers and urban poor have had to flee – as we noted above, nearly half of the entire population of Syria has become refugees, whether internal or those 5 million who have migrated abroad! However, this doesn’t change the fact that the rebels are deeply rooted among the popular masses.[…] n argument often given for refusing to support the Syrian revolutionaries is that they are in fact "agents of US imperialism" or of regional powers. As we shall demonstrate, this argument is reactionary slander and simply stupid.

 

Let’s start with the "strong" side of this argument: It is certainly true that there have been contacts and tacit support by the US, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar for this or that faction of the rebels. During the first phase of the revolution, the US and the regional powers hoped to replace Assad with another figure, without at the same time disrupting the Baathist state apparatus. This was particularly true of the Erdoğan regime in Turkey, which sought to destabilize its local rival while at the same time gaining popularity among Turkey's Sunni-majority population which identified with the uprising of their sectarian brothers and sisters in Syria.

 

However, the point is that such support for the rebels by the Erdoğan regime was always limited. It never came close to the systematic support of Russian imperialism and the Iranian regime for Assad. This is why the Syrian rebels have always been at a total disadvantage from a military point of view when compared with the Assadist forces. If the US (or Turkey or the Gulf States) would have seriously supported the rebels, they would have done much more than simply support them with their air force (as Russia did for Assad). Rather, they would have sent tanks, artillery and BMP's (as the Russians in fact did for Assad). But the only tanks which the rebels posses are those which they have captured from their enemies! Furthermore, these foreign powers would have sent anti-aircraft missiles to the rebels in order to end the terror brought down upon them from the sky. But the Western imperialists did not do so because they never wanted the popular revolution in Syria to be victorious.”

 

To those reformists and centrists who condemned the rebels for getting some weapons from the imperialists, Lenin answered: “If Kerensky, a representative of the ruling class of the bourgeoisie, i.e., the exploiters, makes a deal with the Anglo-French exploiters to get arms and potatoes from them and at the same time conceals from the people the treaties which promise (if successful) to give one robber Armenia, Galicia and Constantinople, and another robber Baghdad, Syria and so forth, is it difficult to understand that this deal is a predatory, swindling, vile deal on the part of Kerensky and his friends? No, this is not difficult to understand. Any peasant, even the most ignorant and illiterate, will understand it.

 

But if a representative of the exploited, oppressed class, after this class has overthrown the exploiters, and published and annulled all the secret and annexationist treaties, is subjected to a bandit attack by the imperialists of Germany, can he be condemned for making a “deal” with the Anglo-French robbers, for obtaining arms and potatoes from them in return for money or timber, etc.? Can one find such a deal dishonourable, disgraceful, dirty? No, one cannot. Every sensible man will understand this and will ridicule as silly fools those who with a “lordly” and learned mien undertake to prove that “the masses will not understand” the difference between the robber war of the imperialist Kerensky (and his dishonourable deals with robbers for a division of jointly stolen spoils) and the Kalyayev deal of the Bolshevik Government with the Anglo-French robbers in order to get arms and potatoes to repel the German robber.” [56]

 

To avoid any misunderstanding by those who would claim that the analogy is wrong as we speak about rebel receiving weapons from an imperialist state, Trotsky relates to a situation where rebels got weapons from an imperialist state and with a fascist government. “Let us assume that rebellion breaks out tomorrow in the French colony of Algeria under the banner of national independence and that the Italian government, motivated by its own imperialist interests, prepares to send weapons to the rebels. What should the attitude of the Italian workers be in this case? I have purposely taken an example of rebellion against a democratic imperialism with intervention on the side of the rebels from a fascist imperialism. Should the Italian workers prevent the shipping of arms to the Algerians? Let any ultra-leftists dare answer this question in the affirmative. Every revolutionist, together with the Italian workers and the rebellious Algerians, would spurn such an answer with indignation. Even if a general maritime strike broke out in fascist Italy at the same time, even in this case the strikers should make an exception in favor of those ships carrying aid to the colonial slaves in revolt; otherwise they would be no more than wretched trade unionists – not proletarian revolutionists.

 

At the same time, the French maritime workers, even though not faced with any strike whatsoever, would be compelled to exert every effort to block the shipment of ammunition intended for use against the rebels. Only such a policy on the part of the Italian and French workers constitutes the policy of revolutionary internationalism.

 

Does this not signify, however, that the Italian workers moderate their struggle in this case against the fascist regime? Not in the slightest. Fascism renders “aid” to the Algerians only in order to weaken its enemy, France, and to lay its rapacious hand on her colonies. The revolutionary Italian workers do not forget this for a single moment. They call upon the Algerians not to trust their treacherous “ally” and at the same time continue their own irreconcilable struggle against fascism, “the main enemy in their own country”. Only in this way can they gain the confidence of the rebels, help the rebellion and strengthen their own revolutionary position.” [57]

 

But we are speaking about Muslim reactionaries who hijacked the revolution, the reformists and the centrists will say. Really? To them Trotsky replied : “When Abdel-Krim rose up against France, the democrats and Social Democrats spoke with hate of the struggle of a “savage tyrant” against the “democracy.” The party of Leon Blum supported this point of view. But we, Marxists and Bolsheviks, considered the struggle of the Riffians against imperialist domination as a progressive war. Lenin wrote hundreds of pages demonstrating the primary necessity of distinguishing between imperialist nations and the colonial and semi-colonial nations which comprise the great majority of humanity. To speak of “revolutionary defeatism” in general, without distinguishing between exploiter and exploited countries, is to make a miserable caricature of Bolshevism and to put that caricature at the service of the imperialists.” [58]

 

It is interesting to note that the right-wing philo-Stalinist centrists who defend the butcher Assad backed by Russian imperialism love to quote Lenin position of 1913 as if he did not extend his position on the national question after the Bolshevik revolution. The successors of the notorious Gerry Healy, the ICFI, who deny that Russia and China are imperialist states but claim that they are simply capitalist states, oppose the right of self-determination of the oppressed nations from all the imperialists, not only of the US, Japan and the European Union but also from China and Russia. [59]

 

They wrote: “Even in 1913, Lenin rejected support for the formation of innumerable small states under the banner of national separatism. He emphasized the economic significance of centralization, arguing that “the class-conscious proletariat will always stand for the larger state.” This was written 103 years ago, at a far lower level of development of capitalist globalization, before the October Revolution, and before the promotion of national and ethnic separatism became the most potent weapon of the capitalist-imperialist war against the socialist and internationalist aspirations of the class conscious sections of working class.

 

They also wrote: “The RCIT explicitly calls for “Unconditional support for the liberation struggle—including in its armed form!” This applies “for example for a socialist Tamil Eelam, a united Ireland, a united Kashmir, an independent Kurdistan, Chechnya, Tibet, etc.” The RCIT extends this separatist program to “the Uyghur in China, the Kurds in Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria, the Chechens and other Caucasian peoples in Russia.” [60]

 

To sum up their position, they call for the oppressors of the world to unite. Their position is not very different from the right-wing of the Second International prior to WWI and of Stalin.

 

Another social-imperialist position was expressed by LCFI, a splinter group from the political bandit, Gerry Healy, following the mass killing of civilians in Aleppo by Assad army, that was reported in Al Jazeera on 22 Sept 2015 [61] and in AP in December 2016. [62]

 

This group claimed that the Aleppo mass killing was the liberation of Aleppo and attacked the RCIT for its consistent defense of the Syrian revolution. Their wooden head argument was that Russia is not an imperialist state and that the rebels “are barbaric jihadists in the pay of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Jordan all seeking to curry favour with and carry out the agenda of the USA in their own way.” [63] Their denial of the class nature of Russia 15 years after it became an imperialist state echo the position of the ICFI.

 

While the Stalinists parties have been standing with butcher Assad and Russian imperialism, while different centrists like the CWI and IMT claimed that the Syrian revolution was hijacked by Islamists armed by U.S imperialism, the RCIT defended the Syrian revolution regardless of the Islamists. Those who refused to defend the Syrian revolution because of the Islamists fit Lenin’s accusation that they are the worst opportunists. [64]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12. The National Question in Russia

 

 

 

Russia is an imperialist state, that among other things, oppresses nations in Russia itself. Those who claim that Russia is simply a capitalist state ignore the fact that Lenin, before the Bolshevik revolution in 1917, called Russia an imperialist state. Today Russian economy is characterized by monopolies and its state acts as a Great Power in world politics. Russia is a multinational state with 186 nationalities. These nationalities are not recognized by Russia’s rulers to have a right to self-determination.

 

One of the most oppressed nations are the Chechens. “Chechnya is a republic in southwestern Russia, situated on the northern flank of the Greater Caucasus. Chechnya is bordered by Russia on the north, Dagestan republic on the east and southeast, the country of Georgia on the southwest, and Ingushetiya republic on the west.” [65]

 

The Chechens are Muslim and their language belongs to the Nakh group. With the collapse of the Soviet Union the Chechenians demanded their right to self-determination. In 1994, Russian troops occupied Chechnya. Boris Yeltsin and the Chechen leader Maskhadov signed a provisional peace treaty in May 1997 and the question of Chechnya’s eventual status was not resolved. It was estimated that up to 100,000 people in Chechnya died and more than 400,000 were forced to flee their homes during the 1990s.

 

The RCIT wrote on Chechnya:

 

[...] two wars of occupation against the Chechen people – the first in the years 1994-96 and the second since late 1999 – were very important events during this decade. Against the desire of the Chechen people for independence, Moscow waged an incredibly brutal war. During the first war it massacred about 100,000 Chechens and during the second again up to 50,000 (in a country with a population of only one million!). The victory of the Chechen guerilla war in 1996 was an impressive event – compare the small Chechen people with Russia’s 143 millions! – demonstrating once again how much a liberation war supported by the whole population can achieve against a demoralized great power.

 

While the Putin regime has succeeded in occupying the country until now, the resistance continues at a low level. This resistance has become dominated mostly by petty-bourgeois Islamist forces.

 

We supported the Chechen liberation struggle from the beginning and called for the defeat of the Russian occupation forces. We gave no political support to the petty-bourgeois and Islamist leaderships and called for an independent workers’ and peasant republic of Chechnya.

 

The Chechen war also provided the backdrop for a deeper analysis of Russian capitalism. It reflected the transformation of Russia into an emerging imperialist power.” [66]

 

During the war between Georgia and South Ossetia it was necessary to defend the right of self-determination of Ossetia that demanded separation from Georgia without giving any support to Russia.

 

The bombardment and occupation of the region, killed hundreds of civilians and casualties included a number of Russian 'peacekeepers.' Thousands of Ossetian refugees were driven from the region and from surrounding villages.

 

Russia, mobilized special forces and regular troops, allegedly in defense of Ossetia, but in reality, for its own imperialists goals. At stake there were the oil reserves of the circum-Caspian Sea region and the locations for new pipelines to pump it westward, outside Russian territorial control.

 

Whilst the fighting continued, the hypocritical voices of the US and its British allies have been raised in calls for Russia to respect "Georgia's territorial integrity”. They demanded that Russia respected Georgia's borders while they themselves violated those of Iraq and Afghanistan with impunity.

 

The Russian stance is no less hypocritical. Its delegate to the UN piously backed the national rights of the South Ossetians, and those of the Abkhazians, Georgia's other large national minority in its Western region. But who still buys into the Russians' commitment to the right of nations to self-determination when they continue to bloodily suppress the Chechen nation?! [67]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13. The National Question in China

 

 

 

China is an imperialist state that also oppresses national minorities: The people of Tibet and the Muslim population of East Turkestan.

 

The Tibetan Plateau is a large region of southwestern China consistently above 4000 meters. This region was an independent kingdom that began in the eighth century and developed into an independent country in the twentieth century. In 1950, shortly after Mao Zedong's led revolution, China invaded Tibet. In 1959 a Tibetan uprising was suppressed by the regime and the leader of the theocratic Tibetan government, the Dalai Lama, fled to Dharamsala, India and created a government-in-exile.

 

The Stalinists repressed the Tibetan Buddhists and destroyed their places of worship, especially during the time of the Chinese Cultural Revolution (1966-76). After Mao's death in 1976, the Tibetans gained limited autonomy. However many of the Tibetan government officials are of Chinese-Han nationality. The Chinese government has administered Tibet as the "Autonomous Region of Tibet" (Xizang) since 1965. Many Chinese have been financially encouraged to move to Tibet in order to, dilute the ethnic composition of the region. The inhabitants in Tibet today include Tibetans, Menpa, Luopa, Han Chinese, Hui, Sherpa, and a few Deng people. Among them, the Tibetans are the main inhabitants, who take up more than 92 percent of the regional population. The total population of Xizang is approximately 2.6 million. The transformation of China from Stalinism to imperialism has not changed the level of oppression.

 

Muslims have lived in China from as early as the eighth century. Many Muslims came to China as soldiers, providing military aid to the Tang dynasty government during a rebellion and then remained in China. They also came as traders and diplomats along the Silk Road, setting up communities that maintained their own religion and lifestyle.

 

Since intercultural marriages with local Chinese often occurred, the Muslim population increased, as non-Muslims had to convert to Islam before. Although Muslims live all over China, the majority lives in the northwestern regions of Xinjiang, Ningxia, Gansu and the Qinghai provinces.

 

Chinese citizens are divided into 56 different ‘minzu’ or ethnic groups; a category that is not based on religion. The vast majority of Chinese belong to the ‘Han’. Within the other 55 minzu, there are ten that are Muslim: Huis, Uyghurs, Kazaks, Dongxiangs, Khalkas, Salas, Tajiks, Uzbeks, Bao’ans and Tatars.

 

About half of China’s Muslims belong to the Hui, the ethnic minority that descends from the foreign Muslims who arrived during the Tang dynasty. In Xinjiang, a region almost as big as Alaska, more than half the population of 24 million belongs to Muslim ethnic minority groups. Most of them are Uighurs, whose religion, language, culture and history of resistance led the Stalinist-capitalist regime to repress them and send many of them to camps for cruel forms of “reeducation” in order to force them to give up their religion.

 

We of the RCIT are saying: “Stop the oppression of the national minorities in East Turkestan (“Xinjang”), Tibet and other provinces! Dissolution of the so-called re-education camps! Compensation to all prisoners and their families! For the right of national self-determination, including the right to establish independent states. This can be achieved only by a social revolution of the Chinese working class and the oppressed.” [68]

 

The ICFI denounced the RCIT for calling China an imperialist state. It is only consistent for them, although they recognize that the Tibetans and Uyghurs are repressed, to sympathize with the regime in Beijing instead of defending their right of self-determination conclude:” At a more fundamental level, the US, by encouraging and backing separatist groups, has the potential to weaken and even fracture China into a series of subservient nation states. Strategists in Washington are no doubt hoping for a repeat of the events that led to the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 at the hands of the Stalinist bureaucracy. The Beijing regime is also acutely aware of that precedent and is determined to use all means, including police state repression, to counter the threat.” [69]

 

The ICL that also claim that China is a workers’ state calls for its defense against US imperialism and does not even mention the repression of the Tibetans and Muslims.

 

The CWI condemns the repression by saying: “Credible evidence that the camps exist on a truly mass scale has been provided by Human Rights groups and exile Uighur organisations….

 

Socialists condemn the Chinese regime’s large-scale repression in Xinjiang and support full democratic rights for the Uighurs and other nationalities in respect of language, culture, religion and political freedoms. This, in our opinion, can only be won through mass struggle that links up with the working class throughout China and beyond its borders, aiming to overthrow capitalism and authoritarianism with a socialist alternative.

 

But we warn there should be no trust in, or support for, Western capitalist governments that have only recently taken up the plight of the Uighurs, Tibetans, Hong Kongers and other minorities under Chinese rule in order to recast themselves in a more favourable light in global public opinion and particularly to cover up their own Islamophobic policies. This is all so much political camouflage for an increasingly ruthless strategic struggle against the Chinese regime for economic and geopolitical advantage.

 

The Uighurs are being used as a gigantic test group for mass collection of DNA, blood samples and other biometric data, which the regime is using to perfect its police state machinery. Police spyware must be installed in every mobile phone belonging to a Uighur. Wifi equipment in all public places can detect phones that don’t have this spying app. Random police searches on the streets also enforce this law. To possess a phone without the spying app is a serious offence. Such methods can be exported to other parts of China in the future.

 

A mass incarceration and indoctrination campaign (“transformation through education”) has led to hundreds of thousands of Uighurs and other Muslims being held in camps. Viewing foreign websites, receiving phone calls from abroad, praying regularly, or growing a beard, are all ‘suspicious activities’ that could result in detention.

 

The construction of new camps has surged since early 2017. Despite official denials, research and reporting by foreign media and rights groups offers credible evidence of the scale of the camps. Maya Wang of Human Rights Watch says the overall number in the camps could be 800,000 (Xinjiang’s population is 22 million people).” [70]

 

However, as typical centrists, while they defend the right of self-determination of the Zionists they do not call for the right of self-determination for the oppressed Tibetans and the Uighurs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

14. The National Question in Europe Today

 

 

 

It would be a mistake to believe that the national question was resolved once and for all in Europe and we will point out to two of them: the Ukraine and Catalonia.

 

The national question can be a complicated question to which only truly internationalist perspective can offer a solution. Russia is an imperialist state while the Ukraine is not. Nevertheless US imperialism has been behind the Ukraine against Russian imperialism. The government of the Ukraine is a coalition of right-wing parties, that oppress the Russian minority and the Tatar minority. The RCIT wrote:

 

The rivalry between the imperialist powers has dangerously escalated. Now in power is a right-wing coalition – the so-calledEuro-Maidanmovement – composed of pro-Western conservative parties and fascist forces. This coalition overthrew the former government of Viktor Yanukovych who acted as a lackey of most Ukraine oligarchs as well as of Russian imperialism, and who ruled with increasingly authoritarian methods. (…) While we resolutely defend the rights of the Russian-speaking minority, we no less equally defend the rights of the Crimean Tatars who were brutally displaced by Stalin’s regime in 1944. The Tatars constitute a minority in Crimea only due to their displacement by the reactionary Stalinist bureaucracy 70 years ago. We uncompromisingly defend their rights to return to their homeland, use their national language, and fully exercise their cultural rights without facing discrimination.” [71]

 

In Spain the Catalans are an oppressed nation that has the right of self-determination. The RCIT wrote on this question:

 

Catalonia has a long, historic tradition of demanding independence from the Spanish rulers which was massively nourished during the era of the Franco-regime. About 80% of the people in Catalonia are in favor of having the referendum and nearly half of the Catalan people are currently for the separation. In addition, mobilizations of the supporters for the independence were impressively big in the last years and involved up to more than one million people (out of a population of 7.5 Million!). Last but not least, Catalonia as such is not only a traditional stronghold of the working class (likewise the Basque country) in Spain, it organized also the biggest pro-refugee protests in Europe. Therefore, there can be no doubt about the progressive character of the forces in favor of national self-determination as well as of the strength of the independence movement among the politically conscious workers and youth in Catalonia.” [72]

 

The RCIT also wrote:

 

All above mentioned tasks are both important and urgent. They must be implemented if the people of Catalonia should have a chance to succeed in their struggle. For this the workers and oppressed in Catalonia and all other parts of Spain need a revolutionary leadership. It is therefore highly urgent for all authentic revolutionaries to join forces and to form a revolutionary party of the workers and oppressed. Only such a party is able to elaborate a revolutionary strategy to lead the masses in a successful fight for independence of Catalonia on a socialist base. This is what the RCIT is fighting for! We call all authentic revolutionaries to join us in this struggle!”

 

Another aspect of the national question in Europe are the guest workers and refugees from Syria and Africa. They are refugees because of the imperialist interventions in their countries in addition to the legacy of the colonialism. They should be welcome and receive full citizenship rights.“ [73]