MARXIST INTERNET ARCHIVE |  V. I. Lenin

V. I. Lenin

THE RIGHT OF NATIONS
TO
SELF-DETERMINATION

From V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, 4th English Edition,
Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1964

Vol. 20, pp. 393-454.

Translated from the Russian by Bernard Isaacs and Joe Fineberg Edited by Julius Katzer


Prepared © for the Internet by David J. Romagnolo, djr@cruzio.com (May 1997)

THE RIGHT OF NATIONS TO SELF-DETERMINATION

393

 1.
2.
3.4.
5.6.
7.
8.
9.
10.

What is Meant by the Self-Determination of Nations? .  .  .
The Historically Concrete Presentation of the Question .  .
The Concrete Features of the National Question in Russia,
and Russia's Bourgeois-Democratic Reformation .  .  .  .  .
"Practicality" in the National Question .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
The Liberal Bourgeoisie and the Socialist Opportunists in
the National Question .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
Norway's Secession from Sweden  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
The Resolution of the London International Congress, 1896 .
The Utopian Karl Marx and the Practical Rosa Luxemburg .  .
The 1903 Programme and Its Liquidators .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
Conclusion . .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .

395
400404
409414
425
430
435
422
451

NOTES


    NOTES

      [178] Die Neue Zeit -- theoretical journal of the German Social-Democratic Party, published in Stuttgart from 1883 to 1923. It was edited by K. Kautsky until October 1917, and then by H. Cunow. Some of the writings of the founders of Marxism were first published in this journal, among them K. Marx's Critique of the Gotha Programme and Engels's "Criticism of the Draft Social-Democratic Programme of 1891". Engels often gave pointers to the editors of Die Neue Zeit and criticised their deviations from Marxism. Other prominent leaders of the German and international labour movement who contributed to the journal at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries were A. Bebel, W. Liebknecht, R. Luxemburg, F. Mehring, Clara Zetkin, G. V. Plekhanov and P. Lafargue. Beginning with the late nineties, after the death of Engels, the journal regularly published articles by revisionists, including a series of articles by E. Bernstein "Problems of Socialism", which launched a revisionists' campaign against Marxism. During World War I the journal took a centrist stand and supported the social-chauvinists.    [p.397]

      [179] Nauchnaya Mysl (Scientific Thought ) -- a journal of a Menshevik trend, published in Riga in 1908.    [p.397]

      [180] See Karl Marx, Capital, Vol. I, Moscow, 1959, p. 765.    [p.399]

      [181] See Note 11.    [p.408]

      [182] L. Vl. -- L. Vladimirov (pseudonym of M. K. Sheinfinkel) -- a Social-Democrat.    [p.413]

     [183] This refers to the Second All-Ukraine Students' Congress held in Lvov on June 19-22 (July 2-5), 1913, to coincide with anniversary celebrations in honour of Ivan Franko, the great Ukrainian writer, scholar, public figure, and revolutionary democrat. A report, "The Ukrainian Youth and the Present Status of the Nations," was made at the Congress by the Ukrainian Social-Democrat Dontsov, who supported the slogan of an "independent" Ukraine.    [p.416]

      [184] Shlyakhi (Paths ) -- organ of the Ukrainian Students' Union (nationalistic trend), published in Lvov from April 1913 to March 1914.    [p.416]

      [185] Lenin is quoting from Griboyedov's comedy Wit Works Woe.    [p.423]

      [186] Naprz&oactued (Forward ) -- central organ of the Social-Democratic Party of Galicia and Silesia, published in Cracow beginning with 1892. The newspaper, which was a vehicle of petty-bourgeois nationalist ideas, was described by Lenin as "a very bad, and not at all Marxist organ".    [p.425]

      [187] This refers to the abolition of serfdom in Russia in 1861.    [p.433]

      [188] Lenin is referring to the Polish national liberation insurrection of 1863-64 against the yoke of the tsarist autocracy. The original cause of the rising was the tsarist government's declsion to carry out a special recruitment aimed at removing the revolutionary-minded youth en masse from the cities. At first the rising was led by a Central National Committee formed by the petty-nobles' party of the "Reds" in 1862. Its programme demanding national independence for Poland, equal rights for all men in the land, irrespective of religion or birth, transfer to the peasants of the land tilled by them with full right of ownership and without redemption payments, abolition of the corvée, compensation for the landlords for the alienated lands out of the state funds, etc., attracted to the uprising diverse sections of the Polish population -- artisans, workers, students, intellectuals from among the gentry, part of the peasantry and the clergy.
        In the course of the insurrection, elements united around the party of the "Whites" (the party of the big landed aristocracy and the big bourgeoisie) joined it with the intention of using it in their own interests and, with the help of Britain and France, securing a profitable deal with the tsarist government.
        The attitude of the revolutionary democrats of Russia towards the rebels was one of deep sympathy, the members of Zemlya i Volya secret society associated with N. G. Chernyshevsky trying to give them every possible assistance. The Central Committee of Zemlya i Volya issued an appeal "To the Russian Officers and Soldiers", which was distributed among the troops sent to suppress the insurrection. A. I. Herzen and N. P. Ogaryov published a number of articles in Kolokol devoted to the struggle of the Polish people, and rendered material aid to the rebels.
        Owing to the inconsistency of the party of the "Reds", which failed to hold the revolutionary initiative, the leadership of the uprising passed into the hands of the "Whites", who betrayed it. By the summer of 1864, the insurrection was brutally crushed by the tsarist troops.
        Marx and Engels, who regarded the Polish insurrection of 1863-64 as a progressive movement, were fully in sympathy with it and wished the Polish people victory in its struggle for national liberation. On behalf of the German emigrant colony in London, Marx wrote an appeal for aid to the Poles.    [p.433]

      [189] Lenin refers to W. Liebknecht's reminiscences of Marx. (See the sumposium Reminiscences of Marx and Engels, Moscow, 1957, p. 98.)    [p.435]

      [190] See Marx's letter to Engels dated July 5, 1870.    [p.435]

      [191] The New York Daily Tribune -- an American newspaper published from 1841 to 1924. Until the middle fifties it was the organ of the Left wing of the American Whigs, and thereafter the organ of the Republican Party. Karl Marx contributed to the paper from August 1851 to March 1862, and at his request Frederick Engels wrote numerous articles for it. During the period of reaction that set in in Europe, Karl Marx and Frederick Engels used this widely circulated and at that time progressive newspaper to publish concrete material exposing the evils of capitalist society. During the American Civil War Marx's contributions to the newspaper stopped. His break with The Neu York Daily Tribune was largely due to the growing influence on the editorial board of the advocates of compromise with the slave-owners, and the papers's departure from progressive positions. Eventually the newspaper swung still more to the right.    [p.439]

      [192] Lenin is quoting from G. V. Plekhanov's article "The Draft Programme of the Russian Social-Democratic Party" published in Zarya No. 4, 1902.
        Zarya -- a Marxist scientific and political journal published legally in Stuttgart in 1901-02 by the Editorial Board of Iskra. Altogether four numbers (three issues) of Zarya appeared: No. 1 in April 1901 (actually on March 23, new style); No. 2-3 in December 1901, and No. 4 in August 1902. The aims of the publication were set forth in the "Draft of a Declaration of the Editorial Board of Iskra and Zarya" written by Lenin in Russia. (See present edition, Vol. 4.) In 1902, during the disagreement and conflicts that arose on the Editorial Board of Iskra and Zarya, Plekhanov proposed a plan for separating the newspaper from the journal (with Zarya remaining under his editorship), but this proposal was not accepted, and the two publications continued under single editorial board.

        Zarya criticised international and Russian revisionism, and defended the theoretical principles of Marxism. The following articles by Lenin were published in this journal: "Casual Notes", "The Persecutors of the Zemstvo and the Hannibals of Liberalism", "The 'Critics' on the Agrarian Question" (the first four chapters of "The Agrarian Question and the 'Critics of Marx'"), "Review of Home Affairs", and "The Agrarian Programme of Russian Social-Democracy", as well as Plekhanov's articles "Criticism of Our Critics. Part I. Mr. P. Struve in the Role of Critic of the Marxian Theory of Social Development", "Cant versus Kant, or the Testament of Mr. Bernstein" and others.    [p.443]

      [193] A quotation from the sketch "Abroad" by the Russian satirist Saltykov-Shchedrin.    [p.448]

      [194] Lenin quotes an expression from Seminary Sketche by the Russian writer N. G. Pomyalovsky.    [p.448]

      [195] Lenin quotes the words of a Sevastopol soldiers' song written by Leo Tolstoy. The song is about the unsuccessful operation of the Russian troops at the river Chornaya on August 4, 1855, during the Crimean War. In that action General Read commanded two divisions.    [p.450]