PHILOSOPHY - NATIONAL INDEPENDENCE AND SOCIALISM
independence and socialism
by Spirit of Eureka Friday January 02, 2004 at 09:28 AM
McQueen was once a Marxist-Leninist. He now associates with the
Trotskyites. This article should remind progressives of what McQueen
used to think of Soviet Social Imperialism and the struggle for
National Independence and socialism
In the struggle for socialism through national independence, confusion still arises from the failure to define precisely what is meant by imperialism. Some people still believe that imperialism is no more than a fancy name for colonialism, that it is where one country takes over another, just as Britain took over Australia in the late eighteenth century. But what Britain did at that time was not imperialism, since imperialism did not appear for almost another hundred years, not until the end of the nineteenth century. Imperialism is the late stage of capitalism and its features were clearly set down in 1916 by Lenin who, not forgetting "the conditional and relative value of all definitions, which can never include all the concatenations of a phenomenon", defined it as "capitalism in that stage of development in which the dominance of monopolies and finance capital has established itself; in which the export of capital has acquired pronounced importance; in which the division of the world among the international trusts has begun; in which the division of all territories of the globe among the great capitalist powers has been completed."1 From this definition it is quite apparent that imperialism is not primarily a question of foreign policy, but is first and foremost a change in the internal nature of capitalist countries which has as one of its consequences changes in the relations between countries. That is why it is still necessary to speak of imperialism in 1977 when almost all the colonial empires have ceased to exist.
Thus, an understanding of U.S. imperialism demands straight away an analysis of class relationships within the United States, and proceeds from there to an examination of how these affect the distribution of class forces inside other countries like Australia. For the purposes of this discussion it is important to recognise that the thesis "U.S. imperialism is the number one enemy of the Australian people" is not based on things like the fear of nuclear warfare, although this is a flow-on. U.S. imperialism menaces Australia through the demands (political and economic) which it makes upon all aspects of Australian life, and not primarily because it required conscripts for Vietnam. U.S. imperialism is a presence inside Australia, not an external force. The precise nature of its presence will be clarified below.
It is proposed now to set down the Marxist-Leninist position on the State without making any attempt to argue its validity: the State is the instrument which organises capitalist class oppression. It must be smashed and its place taken by a dictatorship of the proletariat in order to achieve socialism. Marxist-Leninists deny that socialism can be achieved by parliamentary means and assert that because capitalists will never give in without a death-bed struggle it is necessary to wage armed struggle for socialism. This is the general picture of the State as seen in Marxism-Leninism.2
Yet the tradition is richer than this bare outline. Marx stressed that under capitalism State apparatuses were highly differentiated because classes themselves were highly differentiated. The bourgeoisie was the dominant class but the picture was far more complex than this because the bourgeoisie did not constitute an undifferentiated whole but were divided into various fractions - industrial, commercial, financial and rural. Although imperialism involved a substantial merging of these fractions, with important consequences for the operation of State apparatuses, it did not abolish contradictions. On the contrary, it transformed the contradictions of capitalism into more acute patterns. Within the overall fact of class domination it is still necessary to identify the fraction or fractions which are dominant within that class. In practice, the situation is even more complex because there are fractions in other classes as well, and fractions in the dominant class are constantly forming alliances with fractions in subordinate classes in order to achieve or maintain dominance at the political level.3
In Australia, this is further complicated by the existence of a Federal system which was established precisely because of British imperialism and the differences between the various classes and class fractions to which it gave shape. A subordinate class or fraction can have some of its interests represented by one of the State apparatuses of a state government even though it has no representative apparatus in the Commonwealth arena.
This view of the highly differentiated nature of classes and of State apparatuses precludes any notion of a ruling class. Classes do not "rule". They are dominant at the political level. The ruling is done on their behalf by strata and categories drawn usually from one or more subordinate classes or fractions: for example, the Fraser government rules on behalf of U.S. imperialism and its allies but is drawn from strata and categories in the bourgeoisie, the petit-bourgeoisie and the salaried workers.
This view of state apparatuses and classes has clear implications for the overthrow of state power and for the achievement of socialism. Because the bourgeoisie has dominant and subordinate components, and because there are a range of subordinate classes, fractions, strata and categories, it is necessary to identify which components of the bourgeoisie are dominant, and which subordinate classes etc are allied to them since these constitute the enemy. The dominant component in this alliance is the number one enemy of the Australian people. The Australian people are composed of all those classes, etc not allied with the dominant fraction of the dominant class. This will be taken up further when discussing the United Front, but it is obvious that any strategy for the achievement of socialism should aim at exploiting the divisions which exist in the non-proletarian classes and at consolidating around the proletariat all those classes, fractions, strata and categories at present excluded from the dominant State apparatuses.
From the foregoing it is apparent that U.S. imperialism is part of the dominant class inside Australia. To put this another way, U.S. imperialism is part of the bourgeoisie in Australia. Michael Dunn's contribution to this issue shows how and when U.S. imperialism became dominant within the Australian bourgeoisie. The dominance of U.S. imperialism is at the political level, not necessarily at the economic level, and certainly not throughout all areas at the economic level. On this the Marxist-Leninist tradition is clear: a class is dominant when it attains state power, and not because it controls the majority of the productive resources in a country. The same applies to fractions of dominant classes. Once this is accepted, U.S. imperialism must be described as the number one enemy of the Australian people because it is dominant within the dominant class inside Australia.
Thus the struggle for socialism in Australia has as its primary target the dominant component within the dominant class. Because no component can dominate an entire social formation by itself it is necessary to direct attacks on those fractions of the bourgeoisie and those other classes, etc which have allied themselves to U.S. imperialism to form the power bloc. Just which classes, etc these are, can be established only through empirical research and in the process of actual struggle, as will be explained in subsequent discussion on who constitutes the national bourgeoisie.
Because U.S. imperialism's activities are not confined to Australia, it is necessary to note its relations with other imperialisms in Australia. Because U.S. imperialism is dominant in other countries as well as in Australia it is common for British, French or Japanese firms to be allied to U.S. imperialism in Australia. This means that the struggle against U.S. imperialism does not preclude a struggle against other imperialisms, indeed, it will almost always demand it. Yet it may be that a particular firm or industry of a foreign bourgeoisie will fight against U.S. imperialism in Australia because it cannot do so in its own country. This divergence between imperialisms will be transitory and partial - unless that foreign bourgeoisie is itself part of a proletarian-led United Front in its home country. These are such rare situations that they cannot constitute an argument for supporting British firms against U.S. ones. The facts of the matter are most likely to show that the British firm is itself part of the British comprador bourgeoisie, that is, an ally of U.S. Although wherever a contradiction occurs it is the duty of the proletariat to exploit it.
Soviet social-imperialism is an entirely different case since it is locked in a struggle to the death against U.S. imperialism for control of the entire world. Every time U.S. imperialism suffers a reverse, the Soviet is there trying to impose its control. Thus, for every blow which Australians strike at the U.S., we must strike one of equal force at the Soviets in order to prevent them taking over as the leading fraction inside the Australian bourgeoisie. Indeed, to awaken people to this new and growing menace we must, for the foreseeable future, concentrate our propaganda on exposing Soviet social imperialism. Nonetheless, the Soviet is not "the number one enemy of the Australian people" precisely because it does not hold State power here. The aggressive over-confidence of the Soviet makes it "the number one danger to the Australian people" because its aim of supplanting U.S. imperialism's hegemony makes military conflict inevitable; and because U.S. domination of Australia has imposed bases on our soil, Australia is a prime target for Soviet nuclear weapons. To prevent Soviet attacks it is not enough to get rid of U.S. control. We have to secure Australian independence through building socialism here and thus contribute to the world movement to put an end to both superpowers.
In the above discussion it has been argued that U.S. imperialism is a presence within Australia; that the state has to be smashed to achieve socialism; that U.S. imperialism is dominant within the bourgeoisie inside Australia. From these propositions it follows that the claim "U.S. imperialism is the Number One Enemy of the Australian people" is not a diversion from the battle for socialism in Australia. On the contrary it takes us to the heart of the matter. The attack on U.S. imperialism is not a foreign policy question, of State power within Australia. To oppose U.S. imperialism is not a moral precept undertaken on behalf of the Vietnamese, the Chileans or Black Americans. It is a political program undertaken to liberate the working classes in Australia and to realise some of the important demands of their allies in this struggle. The struggle for national independence under working class leadership is an integral precondition to the struggle for socialism and is in no way a substitute for it.
Later the United Front is distinguished from the Popular Front and from Populism. It should also be distinguished from a variety of political alliances which have in the past masqueraded under the title of "United Front" but which were, in reality, nothing more than flimsy arrangements for the sponsorship of petitions to parliament, or nothing less than bureaucratic manoeuvring to divide up the spoils of trade union office. The United Front against U.S. imperialism has nothing in common with this sort of carrying on because it is based on a principled alliance drawn from various classes under the leadership of the working class and engaged in mass struggle. Concrete instances of this kind of United Front can be found throughout the anti-Vietnam and anti-conscription campaigns, in the struggles around Melbourne's Westgate Bridge collapse, and in the environmental protection battles waged by the Federal Builders Labourers.
As envisaged throughout this article, the United Front has the following essential features, the absence of any one of which would undermine the validity of the strategy:
In an important sense the question "Why is a United Front necessary?", has only to be rephrased for its answer to become apparent: "Can the Australian proletariat (or any proletariat for that matter) achieve socialism that is, the substitution of the dictatorship of the proletariat for the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie - without allies?" If there are those who say "Yes", then they are condemning the Australian working class to a most destructive path which will be deluged in the blood of the working class as it throws itself against the united opposition of the rest of society. An isolated proletariat confronting the armed alliance of all other classes surely must be the dream of every bourgeois strategist. Anyone who thinks that if we wait long enough the proletariat will outnumber all other classes so greatly that the result of class warfare will be a foregone conclusion, either has no knowledge of the developing structural patterns of the Australian social formation, or they have the haziest notion of what a proletariat is, and confuse it with "everyone who works for a living", or some such generality. Leaving behind these two fantasies (one, a nightmare), it is quite apparent that in order to be victorious the Australian proletariat will need allies. The only real questions concern who these allies can be, and what form the alliance should take.
There are two other reasons why a United Front is necessary for the achievement of socialism in Australia. One concerns the correct handling of contradictions amongst the people, the other concerns the achievement of ideological leadership by the proletariat.
One feature of the United Front is its recognition of the interests of all its constituents. While these interests can never take precedence over the essential demands of the working class for State power and livelihood, they can and must be given their due consideration in terms of material realisation, particularly after the working class has attained State power. The alternative would be to create that situation which the bitterest opponents of the United Front (the Trotskyites) claim occurred under Stalin in the Soviet Union, namely the suppression of non-proletarian elements by force even after State power had been attained. If non-working class elements in the United Front do not have their material interests recognised from the outset it is an easy step to translate these material interests into deliberate counter-revolutionary plots which require violence for their resolution. The United Front is intended to avoid this disaster.
Another important reason for the United Front is the ideological leadership which the proletariat has to attain over the other components. The working class class has its own' world outlook - Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought - just as the other components to the United Front have theirs. It is not possible to substitute the scientific world outlook of the working class for the ideology of its other allied classes etc. For at least as long as separate material interests exist these groups will have their own ideologies. The problem is one of subordinating their ideologies to the leadership of the working class. This can be aided by nationalist ideology.
The nationalist ideology produced by the United Front expresses the leadership of the working class since it provides the proletariat with a means of achieving that situation which Marx so rightly observed was the prerequisite of each new dominant class: "For each new class which puts itself in the place of the ruling class before it, is compelled, merely in order to carry through its aim, to represent its interest as the common interest of all the members of society, that is, expressed in an ideal form: it has to give its ideas the form of universality, and represent them as the only rational, universally valid ones."6
Because the non-working class components of the United Front are committed to nationalism through their material and ideological interests, and because only the proletariat is capable of leading the struggle for the realisation of any of these interests, the proletarian nationalism of the United Front secures for the working class its ideological dominance over the other classes, etc, which join the United Front. By being in the forefront of the struggle for a national culture, for protection of the environment and Australia's heritage, for an independent foreign and defence policy, and for the end of foreign exploitation of Australia's people and resources in general, the working class employs nationalist ideology to assert its hegemony over its allies.
While this is the prime intention of the nationalism of the United Front it has some relevance for the working class. Here it is important to recognise that there are significant divisions within the working class as well as within the other classes. These are grounded in the material experiences of its members but for present purposes can be seen in ideological terms. All sections of the working class have to be brought within the broad understanding of Marxism-Leninism as class warfare and state power. But within this there is a need to recognise that uneven developments will occur and that various sections of the working class must be approached according to their real situation and not according to some ideal, abstract view of what proletarians are supposed to think. It is here that nationalism can become useful within the working class.
In these struggles it is vital to distinguish genuine national ideology from the spurious "nationalism" produced by advertising executives. The genuineness of national ideology is not a moral or aesthetic problem, but a scientific one determined by that ideology's relationship to the struggle for national independence. An ideology that assists imperialist domination and exploitation of Australia cannot be genuinely national. This distinction is important because, in order to conceal their real nature, imperialist firms in Australia employ so-called "nationalistic" appeals in their advertising; beer, football, meat pies and Holden cars. Such advertising shows that imperialism recognises the growing anger of the Australian people and acknowledges the power that a genuine national ideology is having in the struggle against imperialist domination. That is why they try to defuse its appeal through their lying advertising. The imperialists produce phoney appeals to cover up the reality of their practices. The main interest the proletariat and the United Front has in the "Nationalistic" advertising of General Motors Holden, is to expose it.7 This is straightforward and shows that a national ideology cannot be "taken over" from the imperialists and their local agents. The proletariat has to produce its own national ideology to secure its leadership within the United Front.
This vital difference between the proletariat "taking over" ideology produced by the bourgeoisie and "producing" its own, extends into the way in which Australia's past has been produced by bourgeois historians. The fact that they have not been able to suppress all awareness of past struggles is due to the continuing strength of the proletariat. But the examples of past struggles which they have played up must be carefully considered. It is no accident that while Eureka and Ned Kelly get into school history books, the battles of the Aboriginal people and the major industrial and political victories of the working class are ignored.
Would the bourgeoisie play up Eureka and Kelly if not for their own purposes? Eureka and Kelly were both defeated militarily and their struggles gave rise to no continuing organisational resistance. Both Eureka and Kelly can be useful to the bourgeoisie to convince people that armed struggle is doomed to failure. Equally importantly, by concentrating on struggles in the days before there was a well organised proletariat, the bourgeoisie attempt to deprive the Australian people of all knowledge of the magnificent struggles, conducted by the working class and to deny them the inspiration from the victories they have won. Just as the United Front rejects the advertising of U.S. imperialists, so too must it be highly suspicious of radical heroes served up by the bourgeoisie. Romantic heroes like Kelly have to be replaced by mass struggles in the historical awareness of the Australian people. The proletariat has to produce its own national ideology just as surely as it has to produce its own future and not depend on handouts from its enemies.
Before discussing the national bourgeoisie it is important to get clear what is meant by the bourgeoisie, the petit-bourgeoisie and the proletariat. The bourgeoisie are those who purchase the labour power of others in return for wages; the petit-bourgeoisie are the self-employed; the proletariat are those who sell their labour power for wages. In addition, there are those working people who do produce surplus value in return for wages, and therefore are a separate class, referred to here as salaried workers.
The national bourgeoisie are first and foremost defined by their position as purchasers of labour power and it is this which brings them into direct conflict with the proletariat. What makes it possible for some members of the bourgeoisie to enter into a United Front under the leadership of the proletariat are conjunctural factors produced by the competitive nature of capitalism in which the scramble for markets to keep up the rate of profit creates periodically fierce competition so that some firms are threatened with extinction. Such firms have a choice - either disappear altogether, or accept certain important demands of the proletariat.
It simply is not possible to provide a list of the firms which constitute the national bourgeoisie since this is not an eternal condition but a constantly changing consequence of competitive forces. A firm, industry or even whole segments of the bourgeoisie may come to arrangements with U.S. imperialism which, for a time will satisfy their needs. Such arrangements will break down and elements who had previously been tied to the U.S. imperialists come to see their interests elsewhere. The national bourgeoisie are defined in struggle and not in abstract lists drawn up by party committees in advance of that struggle. What the proletariat and its vanguard party do is draw up a list of demands which the national bourgeoisie describe themselves by accepting.
From this it should be clear that the national bourgeoisie is not determined by whether or not firms are Australian owned. This is irrelevant to their structural position in the dynamics of imperialism. For example Broken Hill Proprietary is largely Australian-owned, but because of its sales relationship with major consumers of iron and steel like the U.S.-dominated motor industry, and more importantly, its partnership with ESSO, it is not part of the national bourgeoisie. This is not because of its size, since even a five-man factory supplying spare parts to General Motors-Holden could be in the same situation. Of course, their relationships with U.S. imperialism are not fixed for ever and doubtless will change as the present crisis intensifies: backyard firms and big corporations are not intrinsically incapable of joining the United Front around its proclaimed program. Whether elements in the bourgeoisie are or are not national will be primarily determined by their structural economic position, and only secondarily by their ideological situation, since they have an antagonistic contradiction with the proletariat, and in their struggle for existence must continually weigh their returns from the United Front against possible returns from joining up with the imperialists.
This antagonistic contradiction is not present for the petit-bourgeois (the self-employed) or for the salaried workers. In both these cases, ideological determinants are far more important and it is to these groups that the appeals of nationalism are largely directed as we saw above. These teachers, professionals, public servants and others constitute appreciable numbers of the work force. They are also important in the production of ideology and are thus much more susceptible to ideological persuasion than are most other Australians - after all, they have as their daily direct experience the reproduction of ideas. Not surprisingly, ideas assume the nature of material reality for them.
It is important - vitally important - to recognise that "The United Front with the national bourgeoisie" is no more than a shorthand way of calling for "The United Front with the national bourgeoisie, the national petit-bourgeoisie, and the national salaried workers". Qualitatively, as well as quantitatively, the national bourgeoisie is the least important of the three.
In dealing with the most frequently raised objections to this strategy, once again it will be necessary to proceed by way of a series of definitions because there is a pronounced tendency by opponents of the United Front against U.S. imperialism, to blur the quite vital distinctions between a United Front, a Popular Front and Populism. Whether this blurring results from deliberate distortion, from verbal confusion, or from a combination of historical and theoretical ignorances, the consequences remain the same: the struggle for national independence and socialism suffers.
So as to reduce the possibility of this harm being accidental in the future it will be useful to give definitions of all three:
- where all classes, fractions of classes, strata and categories which
can be united under the leadership of the proletariat and of its
vanguard party are so united;
From these definitions the essential differences between the United Front, the Popular Front and Populism can be readily identified.
The United Front is under the leadership - ideological and political - of the working class and its vanguard party, which distinguishes it most sharply from the Popular Front. Moreover, the United Front has a double difference from Populism which is under the leadership of bourgeois elements and has as its precondition an undifferentiated alliance, while on the contrary the United Front is under the leadership of the proletariat and its vanguard party and is predicated on a highly differentiated class alliance.
It is possible for a United Front to decline into a Popular Front and even into Populism. This possibility can be prevented only by vigorous ideological struggle within the vanguard party, within the working class and throughout the entire United Front. In no sense can a United Front be taken as an opportunity to abandon ideological struggle.
There are some ultra-leftists whose response to the possibility of a United Front deteriorating into a Popular Front or into Populism would be to run in horror from such a source of potential contamination. So extreme is their commitment to proletarian purity and so frail is their grasp of it, that they debar themselves from any political activity for fear of falling into error. Marxist-Leninists demand the right to make mistakes in applying the United Front strategy because they recognise that through mass ideological struggle these errors can be corrected and are the necessary price gladly paid for political effectiveness.
Another objection is that the production of a national ideology will intensify racial chauvinism in Australia. Throughout much of the nineteenth century, racism was the linchpin of a so-called Australian "nationalism" which was therefore, little more than a species of Empire chauvinism. What is quite improper is to extrapolate this judgement from the past into the present. Such an approach to history is completely Idealist and is particularly alarming when it is voiced by people claiming to be Marxists. The world supremacy of British imperialism had made it inevitable that a so-called Australian "nationalism" would be a species of imperial chauvinism, for as long as there was a predominant Anglo-Saxon imperialist power throughout the world; but this is no longer the case, and is not likely to be so again. Those features of imperialism which made racism the linchpin - not the substantive essence - of what passed for Australian nationalism no longer apply. The racial chauvinism occurred in the past because the Australian bourgeoisie and its allies sought closer links with the dominant imperialist (Anglo-Saxon) powers. This is the exact opposite of a movement for independence from imperialist domination. To take features from a past historical situation and insert them artificially into a quite altered situation is to abandon historical materialism in favour of sleight of hand tricks.
To see the bankruptcy of this objection more fully, take the case of opposition to Japanese imperialism. Are Australian revolutionaries not to oppose Japanese imperialism because we might give rise to a resurgence of anti-Japanese racism? Or are we rather to oppose them as imperialists who happen to be Japanese, remembering in the production of all our propaganda that there is a real possibility that this propaganda might be exploited for counter-revolutionary purposes. This simply means that extra special care must be taken over the propaganda produced in order to prevent its expropriation by the bourgeoisie. In the cultural field the same rule applies as in the economic field: a novel is not "good" because it is written by an Australian any more than a firm is good because it is owned by Australians. It all depends upon its relationship to U.S. imperialism. For example, local pop songs extolling the virtues of the drug culture are no more desirable than are imported American songs doing the same thing. Nor is it being suggested that Patrick White's “Eye of the Storm” is politically more acceptable than Upton Sinclair's “The Jungle” because the first is Australian and the second American. Sinclair's social realism makes his novel far more acceptable than the claustrophobic elitism of White's.
Foreign culture products help to sell U.S. domination of Australia as inevitable, necessary and desirable. Because children see more of the USA on television than they do of Australia, young Australians grow up with the idea that Australian things are not as important or as good as their U.S. equivalents; the Wild West is larger and more thrilling than the Outback. Until recently, more Australians could recognise the Confederate flag than the Eureka flag, and some still confuse the two. Cut off from a sense of our past and achievements, Australians are an easy target for the propagandists and advertisers who want us to believe that we must depend on the U.S. for everything from chewing gum to defence. By convincing us that we can never invent or create anything, the U.S. is able to soften us up to accept their overall domination. Thus, the fight for a progressive Australian culture is an essential part, a precondition in fact, of the battle for independence and socialism. We have to fight against the colonised minds who believe that when imperialists fart they exude the sweetest perfumes.
Any claim "That nationalism of itself is a bad timing" is denied by the concrete historical examples of China and Vietnam. Proponents of this notion frequently retreat and say that Australia's position is very different and then proceed with the arguments dealt with above on racist chauvinism. But even though very few people are prepared to persist with their absolutist condemnation of nationalism in general, the fact that it is so widespread as an initial reaction deserves our asking why such a response is so prevalent?
Undoubtedly the most important reason is residual liberal annoyance at the collapse of their high hopes for inevitable peace, progress and prosperity. Two world wars have spelt goodbye to all that, and to their schemes for world government whether through the League of Nations or through the United Nations. Because nationalism was the ideology under which the twentieth century catastrophes paraded themselves, nationalism is particularly despised by liberals. Nationalism has thus served a double ideological function of encouraging people to go to war on behalf of capitalists, and of allowing liberals to avoid a critique of capitalism as a real cause of war. Because so many younger members of the Australian left have only recently broken with liberal ideology, or have broken only with some of its most obvious characteristics, this initial liberal response to anything called nationalism is not surprising. But it must be seen for what it is - an ideological hangover from a defeated bourgeois era.
Another reason why some people reject the alliance with the National bourgeoisie is connected with the class origins of so many of the newest recruits to the Australian "left". Elitist forms of educational selection mean that almost all tertiary students are from the homes of salaried workers, of the petit-bourgeoisie and the bourgeoisie. When convinced of basic Marxist-Leninist tenets, these students still lack the social practices which would guarantee their proletarian outlook, and find themselves constantly being jeered at by relatives and associates for allegedly "bourgeois" ideas and habits which they naturally retain. While it is not possible for most students to shed instantly their non-proletarian outlook, it is easy for them to reject a political strategy which advocates an alliance with the very classes they are trying to leave behind. Because their proletarian ideology is not very well grounded they fear that an alliance with their own class will irretrievably compromise- them; the working class, knowing it cannot escape its proletarian position, and thus more confident of its own outlook, is far less perturbed at the prospect.
It should be added that a parallel process can be at work amongst young intellectuals who too readily accept the alliance with the national bourgeoisie since they may be finding a comfortable ideological path back into their originating class. This is clearest in those who seek a dialectical coherence between Ned Kelly's masculinity and Marxism.
In either case, the solution lies in the struggle for a Marxist-Leninist world outlook, and not in moral exhortation or name calling. In no sense should these comments be seen as an attempt to reduce political attitudes to psychological needs, or be used in ad hominem arguments. This analysis has validity only as a social explanation, and not as a psycho-analysis of particular individuals.
Others have been misled into believing that socialism's commitment to internationalism means that socialists have to abandon nationalism once and for all. This is a strange view of internationalism and is totally without support in the writing of Marx, Engels or Lenin. Whether right or wrong, the traditional Marxist-Leninist position has been to build internationalism upon the positive elements in each nationalism. Internationalism, as the term implies, does not obliterate nationalism, rather it incorporates some parts of it in a truly dialectical fashion. Part of the trouble with those who cannot cope with a genuinely Marxist internationalism is that they cannot appreciate the dialectical possibility of something being absorbed and transformed simultaneously. They therefore see nationalism and internationalism as opposites in an undialectical "either/or" formulation.
There is another vital reason for seeing the relationship between nationalism and internationalism correctly. Just as the rejection of the real demands of the non-working class forces in the United Front can lead to unnecessary violent confrontations between the proletariat and its erstwhile allies, so can the failure to accept the inevitability and desirability of genuine national differences in an internationalist community lead to "highly principled" acts of genocide. Only by recognising that material differences do exist between national, and even regional cultures, can their artificial suppression be avoided. Why anyone should think that socialism and communism require a total lack of diversity throughout the world is beyond comprehension. On the contrary, for the first time cultural diversity will be encouraged along positive lines and not to set peoples against each other. Progressive and flourishing nationalisms are the precondition for any proletarian internationalism and was seen as such by the founders of Marxism-Leninism.8
This article has attempted to bring together arguments which have hitherto led a somewhat underground life, or at least have previously been presented in fragments. Nothing here is particularly original in itself.
While any ideological struggles that might arise from this are welcomed such responses can take us so far and no further. They can clear up points in presentation and demonstrate errors and misunderstandings. But the correctness or otherwise of the United Front strategy can be decided only in the vast international battle between the superpowers which is rapidly unfolding. Imperialist domination of Australia has never been an academic question: the difference today is that we are moving into an era where its continuation will become the central issue for all political action. Inflation, employment, land rights for Aborigines, and ecological concerns are already patently tied to the issue of imperialist don-domination, as are questions of defence and foreign policy. In this situation the intelligentsia will not escape the choice which will have to be made by all Australians: Whether to throw in one's lot with the U.S. or Soviet social-imperialists, or join the vast majority of our people in the protracted struggle for national independence and socialism.