MCG top-pageEnglish homepageE-mail


What is a Nation?
Marxism and the Concept of Nation

(From 'PROMETHEUS' NO.3 1991)

Written by Hiroyoshi Hayashi
Translated by Roy West


I. Introduction
II. Stalin's Dogmatic Conception of Nation
III. The Nationalism of Nishida Kitaro -An Ideological Pillar for the Japanese Imperialist Expansion
IV. Hitler's Nationalism and German Imperialism
V. gThe Creation of National Ties is the Creation of Bourgeois Tiesh!
VI. The National Problem and Intellectuals

Translator's Note

It should be pointed out the Japanese word "minzoku" which is translated as "nation" here, is in some respects similar to the German word "Volk". The following brief explanation of "Volk" taken from "A Hegel Dictionary" by Michael Inwood can also serve to understand the nature of the word "minzoku".

"With the rise of nationalism [Volk]acquired the sense of a people related by language, customs, culture and history, which may, but need not, be united in a single STATE. It is not sharply distinct in sense from Nation, imported in the fourteenth century from the Latin natio, which comes from nasci ("to be born") and thus indicates a collection of people inhabiting a single area and related by birth. But from the eighteenth century Nation acquires political overtones and denotes a community aware of a shared political and cultural heritage and aiming to form a state, even if it does not yet do so." (p. 212)

In other words, while "minzoku" or "Volk" can be synonymous with "Nation", they can also have be translated as "people" or "race" in some situations, whereas the word "nation" seems to stress political union in the form of a state. I think it is important to be aware of the cultural and political aspects of the term "mizoku" (nation) when reading this essay.

I. Introduction

What is a nation [minzoku]? ? When faced with this question very few people are able to respond clearly or immediately. This is the case despite almost daily media reports on national conflict taking place throughout the world. This is a strange phenomenon. Of course, in a sense this is related to some extremely ambiguous aspects of the concept of nation. The Japanese word minzoku is often employed in a similar way to the concept of jinshu [race]. On the other hand, minzoku can also be synonymous with the concept of kokumin [people/citizens]. In some foreign languages, jinshu and minzoku, or minzoku and kokumin are rendered by the same word. Thus, we need to reconsider how the concept of minzoku can be defined. By correctly answering this question, we will be able to expose the reactionary nature of all nationalism.

Certainly, historically speaking, there was a period in which nationalism played a progressive role?during the movement for the establishment of national autonomy and the formation of the nation-state. However, with the formation of a number of African states in the 1960s, the movement of humanity towards the formation of nation-states reached its historically conclusion. Today it can be said that all forms of nationalism are reactionary, and are becoming increasingly so. It is from this perspective that we will consider the question: gwhat is a nationh?

We will begin by taking a look at the theories of the nation proposed by Stalin, Nishida Kitar?, and Hitler, and then conclude with an examination of the views of contemporary petty bourgeois intellectuals.

II. Stalin's Dogmatic Conception of Nation

We will begin by looking at Stalinfs theory of the nation. At the behest of Lenin, Stalin wrote the essay gMarxism and the National Questionh in 1913. Lenin thought highly of this essay, but this may be related to the fact that Stalin himself was a member of the gminority-nationh Georgia, and his essay refuted the Austro-Marxist theory of gcultural and national autonomy.h We need to distinguish between the Marxist aspects of this work and the dogmatic, eclectic elements?but the two are joined together in a peculiar form. 

Stalin begins by depicting the situation following the 1905 Revolution, which was marked by the emergence of virulent nationalism, and nationalist conflict, in place of the national revolutionary movement. This situation matches the contemporary situation today so closely, that it almost seems as if Stalin were describing conditions today:

The period of counter-revolution in Russia brought not only gthunder and lightningh in its train, but also disillusionment in the movement and lack of faith in common forces. As long as people believed in ga bright future,h they fought side by side irrespective of nationality?common questions first and foremost! But when doubt crept into peoplefs hearts, they began to depart, each to his own national tent?let every man count only upon himself! The gnational questionh first and foremost!

At the same time a profound upheaval was taking place in the economic life of the country. The year 1905 had not been in vain: one more blow had been struck at the survivals of serfdom in the countryside. The series of good harvests, which succeeded the famine years, and the industrial boom which followed, furthered the progress of capitalism. Class differentiation in the countryside, the growth of the towns, the development of trade and means of communication all took a big stride forward. This applied particularly to the border regions. And it could not but hasten the process of economic consolidation of the nationalities of Russia. They were bound to be stirred into movement.

The gconstitutional regimeh established at that time also acted in the same direction of awakening the nationalities. The spread of newspapers and of literature generally, a certain freedom of the press and cultural institutions, an increase in the number of national theatres, and so forth, all unquestionably helped to strengthen gnational sentiments.h The Duma, with its election campaign and political groups, gave fresh opportunities for greater activity of the nations and provided a new and wide arena for their mobilisation.

And the mounting wave of militant nationalism above and the series of repressive measures taken by the gpowers that beh in vengeance on the border regions for their glove of freedom,h evoked an answering wave of nationalism below, which at times took the form of crude chauvinism. The spread of Zionism among the Jews, the increase of chauvinism in Poland, Pan-Islamism among the Tatars, the spread of nationalism among the Armenians, Georgians and Ukrainians, the general swing of the philistine towards anti-Semitism?all these are generally known facts.

The wave of nationalism swept onwards with increasing force, threatening to engulf the mass of the workers. And the more the movement for emancipation declined, the more plentifully nationalism pushed forth its blossoms.

These crucial times laid a high mission upon the Social-Democratic Party? to resist nationalism and to protect the masses from the general gepidemic.h For Social-Democrats, and they alone, could do this, by bringing against nationalism the tried weapon of internationalism, with the unity and indivisibility of the class struggle. And the more powerfully the wave of nationalism advanced, the louder had to be the call of the Social-Democratic Party for fraternity and unity among the proletarians of all the nationalities of Russia. And in this connection particular firmness was demanded of the Social-Democrats of the border regions, who came into direct contact with the nationalist movement.h (Marxism and the National and Colonial Question, pp. 3-4.)

Stalin begins by defining the concept of gnation.h His definition is the following:

What is a nation?

A nation is primarily a community, a definite community of people.

This community is not racial, nor is it tribal. The modern Italian nation was formed from Romans, Teutons, Etruscans, Greeks, Arabs, and so forth. The French nation was formed from Gauls, Romans, Britons, Teutons, and so on. The same must be said of the British, the Germans and others, who were formed into nations from people of diverse races and tribes.

Thus, a nation is not a racial or tribal, but a historically constituted community of people. (Ibid. p. 5)

If one ignores Stalin's characteristically roundabout mode of expression, what he is saying here is acceptable. But immediately after this, Stalin offers up a typically formalistic argument, characterized by his eclectic method. Stalin acknowledges that a nation is a historical category, not a natural one?we want to point this out to Stalinfs credit?but Stalin is unable to consistently maintain this perspective. He quickly replaces this definition with the metaphysical definition of the nation as something with this gthis or thath trait. In other words, while saying that the nation is a historical concept, Stalin hastens to say that this is not always the case. For example, the fact that the empire of Alexander the Great was historically formed, but cannot be called a nation, leads Stalin to insist that a nation must also be a gstable community of people,h rather than a gcasual or ephemeral conglomeration.h (Ibid. p. 5)

However, this proposition is completely superfluous. It is common knowledge that there are cases where a nation has already formed a state, just as there are cases where a nation is striving to form a state. If it were the case that a nation was not a nation without the formation of a gstable community,h this would mean that before the formation of the state of Israel there was no Jewish nation. This of course is nonsense.

Stalin goes on to argue that a national community [minzoku ky?d?tai] is a gstable community,h but is not identical to the state community [kokka ky?d?tai]. As the basis for this argument, he introduces the question of language?that is, whereas a state does not necessarily have a common language, this is necessary for a nation. Therefore, for Stalin, the concept of the nation must necessarily include the notion of a common language, and that this distinguishes it from the concept of state.

State and nation are of course different concepts. Still, considering the decisive importance of the concept of the state within the concept of the nation, it is formalism, and a typical example of Stalinfs metaphysics, to merely enumerate the differences between the state and nation?e.g. gThe Czech nation in Austria and the Polish in Russia would be impossible if each did not have a common language, whereas the integrity of Russia and Austria is not affected by the fact that there are several different languages within their bordersh (Ibid. p. 6). Obviously a national community gis inconceivable without a common language,h but it is foolish to think that a state does not necessarily need a common language. A look at the effort and struggles required for many states to gain a common or standard language should make it perfectly clear that a state cannot be stable without a common language. Moreover, there are a number of nations (i.e., members of a national group) that lack a common language. Stalinfs views are extremely one-dimensional and arbitrary, and this necessarily stems from the fact that, while he defines the category of nation as something historical, he doesnft thoroughly realize the significance of this.

Stalin thus defines a nation as differing from a state in terms of possessing a common language. But sensing the inadequacy of this definition, he then adds the further definition of the nation as a gcommunity of territory.h Stalin argues, for example, that it is clear from the case of the United States and England that two nations can speak the same language while remaining different nations. The reason given for this is, g[f]irstly, because they do not live together, but inhabit different territories. A nation is formed only as a result of lengthy and systematic intercourse, as a result of people living together generation after generation.h The United States and England are thus seen as an example of the gdifference of territory leading to the formation of different nations.h (Ibid. p. 6) In this way, Stalin views common territory as one of the characteristics of the nation.

Stalin, however, argues that commonality of language and territory alone are not sufficient for the category of nation. In addition to this, internal economic links are necessary to unite the individual parts of the nation into a single whole:

There is no such bond between England and the United States, and so they constitute two different nations. But the Americans themselves would not deserve to be called a nation were not the different parts of American bound together into an economic whole, as a result of the division of labor between them, the development of the means of communication, and so forth. (Ibid. p. 7)

Even this third characteristic gis not allh for the category of the nation: g[o]ne must take into consideration the specific spiritual complexion of the people constituting a nation.h Stalin says that nations also differ gin spiritual complexion, which manifests itself in peculiarities of national cultureh:

If England, America and Ireland, which speak one language, nevertheless constitute three distinct nations, it is in no small measure due to the peculiar psychological make-up which they developed from generation to generation as a result of dissimilar conditions of existence. (Ibid. pp. 7-8)

Here, in order to complete the category of nation, Stalin borrows from Otto Bauer. Stalin feels that objective criteria alone are insufficient to define the nation, and thus he adds on subjective elements.

Of course, any materialist should be aware that the category of the nation cannot be subjectively constructed. Stalin is merely tailing after liberals. In the following passage Stalin is clearly taking his cue from the theorists of gcultural and national autonomyh:

Of course, by itself, psychological make-up or, as it is otherwise called, the gnational character,h is something indefinable to the observer, but inasmuch as it manifests itself in a distinctive culture common to the nation it is something tangible and cannot be ignoredc

Thus, a common psychological make-up, which manifests itself in a common culture, is one of the characteristic feature's of a nation.(Ibid. p. 307)

Here Stalin sounds exactly like subjectivist theorists who talk about gnational character.h A gdistinctive culture common to the nationh is the worn out, reactionary idea of the nationalistic gmen of letters,h and has nothing in common with Marxism. What possible gcommon psychological make-uph could be said to exist between the workers and the bourgeoisie of a given nation? Just this one example exposes the reactionary, bourgeois nature of Stalinfs definition. Stalin claims to reject the subjectivist ideas, such as gpsychological conditions,h of Austro-Marxism, but he still gincorporatesh their views as one part of his definition. In the end, Stalin can only criticize the theorists of Austro-Marxism for exclusively offering subjectivistic definitions. He says that if they had positioned this as gone parth of the category of the nation, rather than the whole, they would have been correct. However, a subjectivistic definition is a subjectivist definition, and it is opposed to the materialistic approach. Stalin can only criticize Otto Bauer in the following way:

It might appear that gnational characterh is not one of the characteristics but the only essential characteristic of a nation, and that all the other characteristics are only factors in the development of a nation, rather than its characteristics. Such, for instance, is the view held by R. Springer, and particularly by 0. Bauer, Social-Democratic theoreticians on the national question well known in Austria. (Ibid. p. 9)

Even allowing subjectivistic elements in the formation of the nation, the elements themselves must still be traced back to objective factors. If one attempts to explain subjectivistic elements merely on their own, this can only lead to reactionary mysticism and obscurantism.

Thus, Stalinfs famous category of the nation boils down to the following:

A nation is a historically evolved, stable community of language, territory, economic life, and psychological make-up manifested in a community of culturec

It must be emphasized that none of the above characteristics is by itself sufficient to define a nation. On the other hand, it is sufficient for a single one of these characteristics to be absent and the nation ceases to be a nationc

It is only when all these characteristics are present together that we have a nation. (Ibid. pp. 8-9)

This is indeed a Stalinistic (i.e. stiff and one-dimensional) categorical definition, which can easily become a dogma?and in fact did become a dogma that caused great damage and arose various gtheological debates.h Even a quick glance at reality shows how ridiculous and dogmatic it is to say that a nation lacking any one of these four conditions would not exist as such.

The typical example of the Jews, for example, illustrates the bankruptcy of Stalinfs theory. According to Stalinfs definition of the nation, the Jews cannot be called a nation because they have no common language (what about Hebrew?), and donft occupy a common territory (after the foundation of Israel this reason could no longer be used). Stalin writes:

It is possible to conceive of people possessing a common gnational character,h but they cannot be said to constitute a single nation if they are economically disunited, inhabit different territories, speak different languages, and so forth. Such, for instance, are the Russian, Galician, American, Georgian and Caucasian Highland Jews, who do not, in our opinion, constitute a single nation. (Ibid. p. 8)

If asked whether the Jews are a nation or not, it seems that one could only answer that they are indeed a nation. Stalin, however, declares that the Jews are not a nation. This conclusion is the natural outcome of his understanding of the nation. Stalin disagrees with Bauer who considered the Jews a nation even without sharing a common language (or common territory). Stalin offers his own alternative view:

The Jews enumerated undoubtedly lead the same economic and political life as the Georgians, Daghestanians, Russians and Americans respectively, and in the same cultural atmosphere as the latter; this cannot but leave a definite impress on their national character; if there is anything common to them left it is their religion, their common origin and certain relics of national character. All this is beyond question. But how can it be seriously maintained that petrified religious rites and fading psychological relics affect the gfateh of these Jews more powerfully than the living social, economic and cultural environment that surrounds them? And it is only on this assumption that it is possible to speak of the Jews as a single nationc

Bauer, by divorcing the gdistinctive featureh of nations (national character) from the gconditionsh of their life, sets up an impassable barrier between themc

For, I repeat, what sort of nation, for instance, is a Jewish nation that consists of Georgian, Daghestanian, Russian, American and other Jews, the members of which do not understand each other (since they speak different languages), inhabit different parts of the globe, will never see each other, will never act together, whether in time of peace or in time of war?

Bauer is obviously confusing nation, which is a historical category, with tribe, which is an ethnographical category. (Ibid. pp. 11-12)

If the concept of the nation does not always require a gcommon languageh or a common territory as an absolute condition, then Stalinfs argument collapses like a house of cards. The question is indeed whether the concept of the nation includes commonality of language and territory as its absolute moments, and whether it is thus incorrect to define the Jews as a nation.

Certainly the Jews have been scattered throughout the world and have been assimilated into many states and nations. Still, this doesnft mean that the Jews have ceased to be a nation. They have preserved their own language, religion, customs, etc. as evidence of being a gnation.h The fact that a common territory was lacking does not necessarily deny the existence of the Jews as a nation. Of course, particularly in Western Europe and the United States, the Jews have become increasingly assimilated, but, at the same time, even in the United States they havenft completely lost their particular national characteristics.

Moreover, the Jews have their own nationalist movement (Zionism), which between the First and Second World Wars developed into a movement to establish a Jewish state, and this was achieved with the foundation of Israel after World War Two. The Jews have also practically proven themselves to be one nation. The Israeli State is the greatest real refutation of Stalinfs mechanical view of the nation. It is true that in Stalinfs time the Jews had not yet formed a single community, territorially speaking. They demonstrated their actual gnationality,h however, by forming their own state. This experience reveals that Stalinfs concept of the nation, if turned into a dogma, fails to correspond with reality. Israelfs very existence refutes Stalinfs dogma. Perhaps Stalin might argue that the Jews were not a nation in the past, but became one after the Second World War, but this would only make his position more inconsistent.

To Stalinfs credit, however, we need to introduce the following passage where he correctly grasps the problem of the nation. In this passage he considers the historical basis for the concept of nation, and says that the nation is a historical category from the period of rising capitalism.

A nation is not merely a historical category but a historical category belonging to a definite epoch, the epoch of rising capitalism. The process of elimination of feudalism and development of capitalism was at the same time a process of amalgamation of people into nations. Such, for instance, was the case in Western Europe. The British, French, Germans, Italians and others were formed into nations at the time of the victorious advance of capitalism and its triumph over feudal disunity.

But the formation of nations in these instances at the same time signified their conversion into independent national states. The British, French and other nations are at the same time British, etc., states. Ireland, which did not participate in this process, does not alter the general picture.

Matters proceeded somewhat differently in Eastern Europe. While in the West the nations developed into states, in the East multi-national states were formed, each consisting of several nationalities. Such are Austria-Hungary and Russia. In Austria, the Germans proved to be politically the most developed, and they took it upon themselves to amalgamate the Austrian nationalities into a state. In Hungary, the most adapted for state organization were the Magyars? the kernel of the Hungarian nationalities?and it was they who united Hungary. In Russia, the role of welder of nationalities was assumed by the Great Russians, who were headed by an aristocratic military bureaucracy, which had been historically formed, and was powerful and well-organized.

Such was the case in the East.

This special method of formation of states could take place only where feudalism had not yet been eliminated, where capitalism was feebly developed, where the nationalities which had been forced into the background had not yet been able to consolidate themselves economically into integral nations.

But capitalism also began to develop in the Eastern states. Trade and means of communication were developing. Large towns were springing up. The nations were becoming economically consolidated. Capitalism, erupting into the tranquil life of the ousted nationalities, was arousing them and stirring them into action. The development of the press and the theatre, the activity of the Reichsrat (Austria) and of the Duma (Russia) were helping to strengthen gnational sentiments.h The intelligentsia that had arisen was being imbued with gthe national ideah and was acting in the same direction.

But the ousted nations, aroused to independent life, could no longer shape themselves into independent national states; they encountered the powerful resistance of the ruling strata of the dominant nations, which had long ago assumed the control of the state. They were too late!

In this way the Czechs, Poles, etc., formed themselves into nations in Austria; the Croats, etc., in Hungary; the Letts, Lithuanians, Ukrainians, Georgians, Armenians, etc., in Russia. What had been an exception in Western Europe (Ireland) became the rule in the East.

In the West, Ireland responded to its exceptional position by a national movement. In the East, the awakened nations were bound to respond in the same fashion.

Thus arose the circumstances which impelled the young nations of Eastern Europe into the path of struggle. (Ibid. pp. 13-14)

This is an extremely interesting passage in which perhaps unknowingly or in spite of himself, Stalin says that the formation of the nation is inseparable from the historical process of the development of capitalism and the formation of the bourgeois state?and cannot be considered in isolation from this process. It is perfectly correct to say that the nation is a historical concept. Still, Stalin is unable to be consistent, and ultimately slips back into the idealistic dogma of the four characteristics of the nation.

During his struggle against Trotsky and the Left Opposition after the Russian Revolution, Stalin tried to establish his gorthodoxh position by publishing gThe Foundations of Leninismh in 1924. One chapter of this book discusses the national question, but since this mainly deals with the tactics of the Communist Party vis-a-vis the national movements, we will briefly look instead at gThe National Question and Leninism,h presented in 1928 when Stalinfs grip on power had tightened.

In this essay Stalin addresses the national problem in the form of responding to the questions of party members. This was the first time he proposed the concept of gsocialist nationalism,h and fundamentally grevisedh his previous gMarxisth theory of the theory. This theory is characteristically Stalinistic, and in this sense extremely noteworthy. The problem of the nation is addressed in response a party member who had argued that a fifth criterion of gnation-stateh should be added to Stalinfs 1913 dogma of the four criteria constituting the nation:

The Russian Marxists have long had their theory of the nation. According to this theory, a nation is a historically constituted, stable community of people, formed on the basis of the common possession of four principal characteristics, namely: a common language, a common territory, a common economic life, and a common psychological make-up manifested in common specific features of national culture. This theory, as we know, has received general recognition in our Party.

It is evident from your letters that you consider this theory inadequate. You therefore propose that the four characteristics of a nation be supplemented by a fifth, namely, that a nation possesses its own, separate national state. You consider that there is not and cannot be a nation unless this fifth characteristic is present.

I think that the scheme you propose, with its new, fifth characteristic of the concept gnation,h is profoundly mistaken and cannot be justified either theoretically or in practice, politically.

According to your scheme, only such nations are to be recognised as nations as have their own state, separate from others, whereas all oppressed nations which have no independent statehood would have to be deleted from the category of nations; moreover, the struggle of oppressed nations against national oppression and the struggle of colonial peoples against imperialism would have to be excluded from the concept gnational movementh and gnational-liberation movement.h

More than that. According to your scheme we would have to assert: a) that the Irish became a nation only after the formation of the gIrish Free State,h and that before that they did not constitute a nation; b) that the Norwegians were not a nation before Norway's secession from Sweden, and became a nation only after that secession; c) that the Ukrainians were not a nation when the Ukraine formed part of tsarist Russia; that they became a nation only after they seceded from Soviet Russia under the Central Rada and Hetman Skoropadsky, but again ceased to be a nation after they united their Ukrainian Soviet Republic with the other Soviet Republics to form the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

A great many such examples could be cited.

Obviously, a scheme which leads to such absurd conclusions cannot be regarded as a scientific scheme.

In practice, politically, your scheme inevitably leads to the justification of national, imperialist oppression, whose exponents emphatically refuse to recognize as real nations oppressed and unequal nations which have no separate national state of their own, and consider that this circumstance gives them the right to oppress these nations.

That is apart from the fact that your scheme provides a justification for the bourgeois nationalists in our Soviet Republics who argue that the Soviet nations ceased to be nations when they agreed to unite their national Soviet Republics into a Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

That is how matters stand with regard to gsupplementingh and gamendingh the Russian Marxist theory of the nation.

Only one thing remains, and that is to admit that the Russian Marxist theory of the nation is the only correct theory. (gThe National Question and Leninism,h pp. 348-50)

Instead of emphasizing that the concept of the nation is inseparable from the bourgeois state, he offers the example of a nation that is not organized in a state (he neglects the most appropriate example of the Jewish people!). Of course, everyone knows this situation. However, the problem is not this or that example, but rather the concept of the nation. The fact that the Jews are a nation, even if not organized in a state, is fully demonstrated by the Zionist movement?and later in the existence of the state of Israel.

England, France and Germany in the Middle Ages gwere not nationsh in this modern sense because they also were not organized in gstates.h This reveals that the nation is a historical category that is inseparable from the rule of the bourgeoisie and the organization of a bourgeois state. Therefore, Stalinfs reasoning has no justification. He stresses that the category of the nation is inseparably linked to the appearance and development of the bourgeoisie, but denies that it is linked to the bourgeois state, and somehow thinks that he has not contradicted himself.

It is clear here that Stalinfs former concept of the nation has fallen apart. He had mechanically created a concept of the nation using four criteria, but the point is not to make a list of criterion. Stalin has neglected the most fundamental thing. The fact that the attempt to define the gnationh according to certain characteristics can only lead to contradiction should become perfectly clear if one recalls the fact that there are different nations with the same language, one nation with different languages, different nationalities within the same territory, as well as the same nationality living in different territories. The Jews for instance, are an example of this last case (this was the case in the past, and remains so even after the construction of Israel). Stalin claims the following:

There are different kinds of nations. There are nations which developed in the epoch of rising capitalism, when the bourgeoisie, destroying feudalism and feudal disunity, gathered the parts of nations together and cemented them. These are the so-called gmodernh nations. You assert that nations arose and existed before capitalism. But how could nations have arisen and existed before capitalism, in the period of feudalism, when countries were split up into separate, independent principalities, which, far from being bound together by national ties, emphatically denied the necessity for such ties? Your erroneous assertions notwithstanding, there were no nations in the pre-capitalist period, nor could there be, because there were as yet no national markets and no economic or cultural national centers, and, consequently, there were none of the factors which put an end to the economic disunity of a given people and draw its hitherto disunited parts together into one national whole.

Of course, the elements of nationhood?language, territory, common culture, etc.?did not fall from the skies, but were being formed gradually, even in the pre-capitalist period. But these elements were in a rudimentary state and, at best, were only a potentiality, that is, they constituted the possibility of the formation of a nation in the future, given certain favorable conditions. The potentiality became a reality only in the period of rising capitalism, with its national market and its economic and cultural centers.h (Ibid. pp. 350-1)

What Stalin is saying is contradictory. He says that, gnations did not exist before capitalism,h while talking about separate, independent feudal principalities which gfar from being bound together by national ties, emphatically denied the necessity for such ties.h Moreover, referring to the period in which nations did not yet exist, Stalin discusses ghitherto disunited partsh being drawn gtogether into one national whole.h However, to speak of the gdisunity of the nationh in the period in which nations did not exist, and say that through capitalism this was overcome, is in fact a theory of the eternal existence of the nation.

However, more significant than this gtrivialh error, is Stalinfs sudden creation of the peculiar new concept of a gsocialist nation.h

It is precisely such bourgeois nations that Stalinfs pamphlet Marxism and the National Question has in mind when it says that ga nation is not merely a historical category but a historical category belonging to a definite epoch, the epoch of rising capitalism,h that gthe fate of a national movement, which is essentially a bourgeois movement, is naturally bound up with the fate of the bourgeoisie,h that gthe final disappearance of a national movement is possible only with the downfall of the bourgeoisie,h and that gonly under the reign of socialism can peace be fully established.h

That is how matters stand with regard to the bourgeois nations.

But there are other nations. These are the new, Soviet nations, which developed and took shape on the basis of the old, bourgeois nations after the overthrow of capitalism in Russia, after the elimination of the bourgeoisie and its nationalist parties, after the establishment of the Soviet system.

The working class and its internationalist party are the force that cements these new nations and leads them. An alliance between the working class and the working peasantry within the nation for the elimination of the survivals of capitalism in order that socialism may be built triumphantly; abolition of the survivals of national oppression in order that the nations and national minorities may be equal and may develop freely; elimination of the survivals of nationalism in order that friendship may be knit between the peoples and internationalism firmly established; a united front with all oppressed and unequal nations in the struggle against the policy of annexation and wars of annexation, in the struggle against imperialism?such is the spiritual, and social and political complexion of these nations.

Such nations must be qualified as socialist nations. These new nations arose and developed on the basis of old, bourgeois nations, as a result of the elimination of capitalism?by their radical transformation on socialist lines. Nobody can deny that the present socialist nations of the Soviet Union?the Russian, Ukrainian, Byelorussian, Tatar, Bashkir, Uzbek, Kazakh, Azerbaijanian, Georgian, Armenian and other nations?differ radically from the corresponding old, bourgeois nations of the old Russia both in class composition and spiritual complexion and in social and political interests and aspirations.

Such are the two types of nations known to history.h (Ibid. pp. 353-55)

Stalin recognizes that the nation shares its destiny with capitalism, but says that this is only the case for gbourgeois nations,h not for the nation in general. Bourgeois nations dissolve along with the end of capitalism, but the nation in general, or the gsocialist nationh develops further with the victory of socialism! This is preposterous, but Stalin adopts a triumphant tone:

You are afraid that the elimination of the nations existing under capitalism is tantamount to the elimination of nations in general, to the elimination of all nations. Why, on what grounds? Are you really unaware of the fact that, besides bourgeois nations, there are other nations, socialist nations, which are much more solidly united and capable of surviving than any bourgeois nation?

Your mistake lies precisely in the fact that you see no other nations except bourgeois nations, and, consequently, you have overlooked the whole epoch of formation of socialist nations in the Soviet Union, nations which arose on the ruins of the old, bourgeois nations.

The fact of the matter is that the elimination of the bourgeois nations signifies the elimination not of nations in general, but only of the bourgeois nations. On the ruins of the old, bourgeois nations new, socialist nations are arising and developing, and they are far more solidly united than any bourgeois nation, because they are exempt from the irreconcilable class contradictions that corrode the bourgeois nations, and are far more representative of the whole people than any bourgeois nation. (Ibid. pp. 355-6)

Setting aside what Stalin said, a glance at the national divisions and conflict in the present-day [1991] Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, makes it clear that the gsocialist nationh is not, and could never be, a Marxist category. The national disputes today are the historical, practical refutation of Stalinfs concept of the gsocialist nation.h To say on the one hand that, gthe nation is connected to the historical stage of capitalism,h while on the other hand talking about a gsocialist nationh is an insult not only to Marxist theory, but to theory in general. Like Kant, who courageously denied the concept of gGod,h while cowardly resurrecting this concept in secret, Stalin has secretly salvaged the concept of the nation he had negated, and crowns this with the name gsocialism.h

If nations not only exist, but also develop further under a gsocialisth society, then that society is certainly not socialist. Furthermore, if one says that the category of the nation remains under socialist society, then this concept of socialism is problematic.

Stalinfs theory amounts to a confession that the Soviet Union is not a socialist society. He realizes that in the Soviet Union the category of the gnationh is not merere an empty word. However, instead of exposing that the Soviet Union is not a socialist society in order to salvage the concept of nation, he instead throws out the scientific conception of the nation in order to salvage the myth that the Soviet Union is a socialist state.

How are we meant to understand the idea that the nationalities within the Soviet Union are socialist nations that have been liberated from the class conflict that divided and weakened them, and are thus stronger communities than the bourgeois nations? Is this a glorification of gsocialismh in the Soviet Union, or an unconscious insult to it? We reject such bourgeois gsocialismh, which says that under socialist society nations will appear as even stronger communities. A socialist society in which gnational communitiesh develop further is certainly not real socialism. National communities and national movements did indeed develop in the Soviet Union. This, however, was not because the Soviet Union was a socialist society, but rather because it was a state-capitalist, class-divided society?a bourgeois state system. Thus, we can conclude that Stalinfs theory of the nation?particularly his theory of the gsocialist nationh?like so many of his other theories, is a typical state-capitalistic theory that reflects the reality of the system of state capitalism.

III. The Nationalism of Nishida Kitaro
     -An Ideological Pillar for the Japanese Imperialist Expansion

Here I do not intend to discuss the philosophy of Nishida Kitar? in general. Rather, my discussion of Nishidafs gphilosophyh will be limited to how it provided a gphilosophicalh foundation, and ideological support, for the expansion of Japanese imperialism. We will examine Nishidafs theory as one example of an idealistic and imperialistic theory of the nation.

Of course, there are certainly those who would insist that Nishidafs philosophy is liberal?not purely imperialistic?since he defends gindividualityh and emphasizes the free development and unfolding of the gindividual.h Even granting this is the case, however, only reveals how quickly and easily liberalism can be transformed into naked, reactionary nationalism.

Nishida wrote a great deal about the nation and gspeciesh [shu] in the mid-thirties, at the time when Japanese imperialist expansion was reaching its stride, and the war against China had been expanded. We will need to look at the standpoint from which he discusses the gnation,h and the content of his concept. In a sense, Nishidafs glogich of nationalism is an application of his philosophy to reality, and for this reason plainly reveals its idealistic and reactionary nature.

In his Tetsugaku ronbun sh? daini (Collected philosophical essays, volume two), published in 1937 at the beginning of the Sino-Japanese War, Nishida discusses gthe problem of the creation and development of species.h He discusses gspeciesh and its role in the following way:

Species as a self-limiting particularity, is not fixed, but rather must be created and develop within the historical world. Today, even in the case of the biological species, no one gives any thought to this.

What role does species play within the historical world? Race is a thing that works subjectively within the historical world. When the historical world is set in motion, this always means that species has become the subject and altered the environment. Species is the thing which creates the forms to change the given world. It is the paradigm of our reality. This is true for everything from the species of living organisms up to historical species, i.e. communal society. (p. 303)

For Nishida it is gspecies,h not class, that is the motive force and gsubjecth to create and develop history. Thus, the Japanese nation, as this sort of species, must create history, and is said to be doing so presently.

Nishida insists that biological species and historical species are different?that is historical species must be mediated by the gabsolute negationh of the biological species. This means that no matter how isolated we are, gin our formation, a quality must exist that tends towards the self-limitation of the historical world.h Moreover, he emphasizes that several ghistorical speciesh exist and oppose each other simultaneously, and that their gindividuality is formed by the [historical] era.h He seems to be speaking of gworld history,h rather than individual species. However, this world history is not actual world history, but rather the self-realization of some sort of gindividualh thing. Moreover, this species or individual thing is said to move world history by means of gindividually forming an epoch.h More simply put, the advance of Japanese imperialism is also said to be the self-realization of world history, and world history is formed through such gparticularh operations.

The Japanese nation is thus said to participate in the formation of world history in this way.

These arguments basically amount to flattery and obedience towards Japanese imperialism, and an acceptance of its reality. World history is seen as the age of imperialism, and Japan, through its gmovementh as an imperialist state, is said to provide a fine service for the formation of world history. Certainly such movement could be said to gcreate world history,h but this is a thoroughly ruling-class history in the sense that the world is working for the sake of their interests. This is certainly not the gformationh of working-class history. The gcreatively madeh history of working people is completely different from the history created by the bourgeoisie and imperialists.

Nishidafs next passage on the state is nonsensical and reactionary. He tries to say that society and the state are not systems, but some sort of ideational existence, and that this is because they are racial or national.

Just as there is no purely specific [shu-teki] society, so there is also no purely rational society. Society is not a simple system. Even though some speak of an economic society, in so far as it has historical existence as a social entity, this must have the structure of the Idea. This must be fostered as ideology. Similarly, the state is not simply some obligatory existence, but must also be pathos [the opposite principle of logos; the irrational side of human beings, passion, pathos, violence?Hayashi] When a given nation manifests itself, both historically and materially, as Idea, this can be said to be a moralistic existence as a state. A true state can be said to exist to the extent that it becomes an Idea, with the structure as a contradictory self-identity of the many and the one. The extent to which a king exists as a king and his subjects as subjects, and to what extent this is a historical formation, as a contradictory self-identity, is the foundation of its moralistic real-existence. As a contradictory self-identity, the state is not simply the extension of the family, but a legal entity. However, this state is not simply a legal system. In achieving the form of the Idea, this must be something moral. And in the species-form, this must be pathos. In the form of the Idea, the king and his subjects can be said to be one. The true relationship of the state and individual must be sought in the historical form of contradictory self-identity. The true state must be an Idea formcFor this reason, I think that world peace can be achieved when each country becomes its true state. The formation of world history does not mean that species will disappear. The world as contradictory self-identity must always be a racial form. Moreover, the species-form, by becoming the form of the Idea as state, is a world historical formation. (pp. 139-40)

According to Nishida, the gspecific formationh [shu-teki keisei], through the mediation of the Idea, becomes the state, and is historically formed?and the Japanese nation thus also becomes a historical form. For Nishida, the nation is the state and the state is the nation. However, this state is not the state that emerges with the rise of the bourgeoisie (in this sense the nation-state), but rather the imperialist state, i.e. the despotic state that is connected to the reactionary rule of capital. He says that gworld peaceh becomes possible because the nations of the world thoroughly become states. But this is the same sort of idea that was held by the rightwing and military authorities who said that gone hundred years of peace in East Asiah could be realized through Japanfs imperialist invasions.

The experience of the Second World War exposed the total incorrectness of Nishidafs idea that true world peace could be achieved by nations who became thoroughly gstate-like.h The reality was the exact opposite. As nations became more nationalistic, the contradictions and conflicts between states intensified, and disagreements between the interests of the states were resolved, and could only be resolved, through the use of force.

Nishida wrote many things, but ultimately he is saying that the state is not a logical or legal entity, but rather Idea or pathos. In other words, he is saying that the state is an irrational or intuitive thing. This amounts to believing that when monopoly capital in Japan turned to fascism, raised the gidealsh of gAll The World Under One Roofh [hakk? ichiu] and gThe Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphereh [dait?a ky?eiken], and fought for the gco-existence and co-prosperityh of Asian nations, this was the ideal as a state and an expression of its true nature.

Nishida goes out of his way to say that his concept of the gworldh is not abstract or general, or the gcosmopolitan bourgeoish world. The real world for him is the struggle of race against race, and therefore he considered the thirties as gthe most the most internationalist period, precisely because it was the most state-ist [kokkashugiteki]h!

While reality is always being determined everywhere, historical reality exists in the self-negation within each person and in the movement from reality to reality that overcomes the individual himself. Each species, as a species, must always insist on its own self, and in the same environment a large number of species must struggle and oppose each other. Therein lies my own historical reality. What is called the world is a place of self-contradictory identity of one-as-many and many-as-one. For this reason, I think that today, which is thought to be the most state-ist period, is in fact the most internationalist period. There is no age, other than the current one, in which the world is a realistic thing. Since the world has become a realistic thing, each country must be state-ist. Today the world is not something that lies outside of a country, but rather within it. In this way, for the first time, there is something that can truly be called the world. Saying that the world only lies outside, is equivalent to saying that the world does not exist. (pp. 329-30)

Looking at the content of this passage?setting aside Nishidafs unique mode of expression and gphilosophicalh concepts?he is merely justifying the reality of the bourgeois world, in which each capitalist state exists as an gindividual selfh in opposition to other states, as the only possible reality. Moreover, Nishida goes so far as to justify imperialist conflict and war. He proposes the paradoxical idea that the contemporary period, which is exceedingly nationalistic, is for this very reason the most internationalist period. This empty expression serves to hide imperialist intentions. In fact, the bourgeoisie in Japan today are fond of this expression. The Ministry of Education, for instance, has just developed the Nishida-like gideah that gbecause this is a period of internationalization, self-awareness as a Japanese nation is important,h In other words, by becoming more nationalistic, Japan will become more international!

Nishida cannot be said to have directly advocated or beautified the imperialistic actions of the Japanese gnation.h He was a gdistinguishedh scholar, a philosopher who develop a gprofoundh system of thought?not a run-of-the-mill right-winger or fascist militarist who speak plainly and shamelessly. Nishida merely saw the grole of the nationh in history. He recognized the fact that British capitalism was gforging a single worldh in his own time just as gRome had forged a single world through the subjugation of Europeh in the past. However, he posed the problem in terms of [a country] gbearing an epoch within historical realityh by means of achieving its own individuality. He was basically saying that the Japanese gnationh is the bearer of a new Idea, and has a ghistoricalh mission to achieve just as the Roman and British Empires once did.

In Tetsugaku ronbun sh? daisan [Collected Philosophical Essays, Volume Three], published in 1939 when war in Europe had already broken out, Nishida attempts to provide a gphilosophicalh basis for nationalism and state-ism [kokkashugi]. He insists that in the formation of society gracial elements must form the basish?i.e. ganimal instinct forms the foundation.h Furthermore, he emphasizes that society gincludes the content of the Idea.h This means that the state is not simply a socio-economic structure, or one social organization, but must also be ideological and gidealistic,h or gmoralistich and spiritual. Plainly stated, then, instead of solely living for material interests, one must pursue or embody some gideal.h In this way, Nishida completely tails after the fascists of the time.

Nishida idealistically attempts to provide a basis for the concept of gindividualh and gnationh through the application of Spinozafs theory of the monad. This is the idea that one can conceive of the gindividualh as the gself-limitationh of species, but that this is not directly the gindividual.h According to Nishida: gThere can be no individual separate from species-form. Through such species-forms our selves become true selves.h (p. 147)

To the extent that the true existence of the individual is reflected, it can be said that the society is truly living. However, this does not mean that the individual can be said to have become something general. There can be no individuality in homogeneity. The individual must be the formative element of the world, which limits the world through its own self-limitation. For this reason, no individual can exist apart from species-forms. Society only exists as a historical species. There can be no society that lacks the specificity of the historical world. Like in the case of Greece, a particular society also has the quality of a world as contradictory self-identity. Such a society can in one period have world-historical significance. It can be the bearer of the world. (p. 151)

Nishida is unaware of the historical limitations of the concept of the nation. He gives an overview of the history of Greece, Rome, the Middle Ages, and the modern world, and discusses gspecies-formsh within these periods. However, this only serves to absolutize gspecies-formsh [i.e. racial forms] and he offers the completely undialectical view of history according to which the history of humanity reaches its final point through such forms. He says that the Greek world was the society of Polis (city) and to this extent Idea, but with the coming of the Roman world, git became something legal that had lost the Idea, becoming a system lacking its species-form.h (Ibid. p.168) However, the Middle Ages, by uniting with the Christian religion, became something abstract and family-centered. He then argues that the modern period broke through the limitations of Rome and the Middle Ages.

When the world actually reached the stage of modernity, it became national in place of the former Catholic unity. It can be said that there emerged in the world societies as species-forms. The world is not created through the negation of species-forms, but rather is created through such forms, and this is one of the concerns of the contemporary world. (Ibid. p. 169)

The only society Nishida is familiar with is a gspeciesh society, i.e. a society of nation-states. He identifies this with society in general. Certainly, when compared to ancient or medieval society, nation-states?i.e. bourgeois society?are more social. The reason for this increased social quality is that the narrow, isolated world was overcome through the development of the market and commodity production, thereby creating relations and connections between people and uniting them gsocially.h What Nishida is unaware of, however, is that this connection of people has the historical limitation of only being necessary and naturally generated at a certain stage in the social development of humanity. Bourgeois human connections must first be gsummarizedh as the connections of the nation-state.

The breakdown of the Catholic unity of the Middle Ages resulting in the world becoming gnational,h was due to the world coming under the rule of capitalism, and this national unity was a bourgeois unity. Nishida predicts that history progresses and develops dialectically. However, he is unable to explain this rationally. He recognizes the fact that the unity of the Middle Ages broke down and was replaced by national unity, and that the world was thus split up into competing nation-states?meaning that medieval tranquility was replaced by constant change, development, leaps forward, as well as instability. Nishida, however, doesnft know?or doesnft care to know?what this signifies, or how this is related to the historical relations of production that prevailed. In short, Nishida recognizes that bourgeois society is gnational,h and that gthe world is created though species-forms.h What he does not recognize is that this historical process does not end with bourgeois society, but rather proceeds further to the abolition of the nation-state, and indeed must do so.

For Nishida, gspeciesh is not merely something created in the modern world, but rather an active thing that forms history, bears the gWorld Spirit,h and provides us with life. He says that we are born as gindividuals,h but human beings are not a biological existence. In other words, because of our social existence, we must live as, and through, gspecies.h Thus, Nishidafs concepts of gspeciesh and nation become increasingly irrational and mystical, and are said to operate within history and the world through pathos and instinct.

The world of contradictory self-identity is the world of species-forms. We live through species-forms. Consequently, our work must also be done through species-forms. Species-forms are nothing more than the form created through our work. (Ibid. p. 176)

Society must be founded upon a material structure. However, society is not merely this. Rather, to begin with, it is a religious and mythic thing. Like [the French sociologist] Tarde, the concept of God must be thought of as one category of social logic. This is why I say that society is society insofar as it reflects the Idea in a self-contradictory manner. Human society must itself already foster a worldliness. For this reason, as Hegel and others have said, it has had the quality of a moral substance in the form of the state. In this sense, we can say that by becoming a state, it takes on a concrete charactercBy embodying the world itself, it becomes a true state, and the individual, by reflecting the species-forms, becomes a concrete personality. In this sense, the state is concrete reason. (Ibid. p. 179-80)

Nishida says that we can gworkh within world history through gspecies,h i.e. the nation-state. This presupposes the imperialist world, in which Japan also exists and gworksh as one link in the imperialist world. If one turns away from and rejects the class standpoint of the workers and their internationalist struggles (i.e. rejects the gworkh of the workers within the capitalist world through their class struggles), then the only option left is to adopt standpoint of the nation-state, and the gworkh of the imperialist nation. There are fundamentally only two standpoints goperatingh within the contemporary capitalist world. One is the bourgeois standpoint that seeks out its own interests as a nation-state within the imperialist world. This standpoint, under certain conditions, means that one also goperatesh in an imperialist manner (where else could it end up?). The other position is the standpoint of the working class. This standpoint goperatesh to overcome the existence of nations and the divisions of humanity by means of overthrowing the rule of the bourgeoisie and its state.

In Nishidafs thought, the idea that the nation gembodies within itself the worldh does not have any internationalist content. Instead, he understands this to mean that the Japanese nation, like the earlier Roman or British empires, must fight resolutely to become the ruling nation of the world on the international field of competition?i.e. Japan must emerge as an imperialist state (there is no other way to ginterpreth the actual content of Nishidafs jargon!). This is the only possible interpretation of what he calls the gindividualityh of the Japanese nation. Nishida is saying that the Japanese nation, in the same manner as the German nation, truly becomes an gindividualh nation by means of thoroughly expressing its own imperialistic intentions.

Nishida wrote that, gthe nation must have a daemonic formative power.h However, considering the context of Japan at the end of the thirties, such a statement could only have the significance as a justification for Japanfs imperialist advances. This played the role of beautifying Japanfs invasion of China as a manifestation of the supernatural power of the Japanese nation. Nishidafs gphilosophyh ultimately boils down to a justification and beautification of the imperialist advances of the Japanese gnation,h and this exposes its reactionary class nature. The essence of an idea, thus, is also verified and exposed by means of reality.

In Tetsugaku ronbun sh? daiyon (Collected Philosophical Works, Volume Four), published just prior to the outbreak of the U.S.-Japanese War, Nishidafs theory of the state and nation achieved its ultimate gdevelopment,h and was gperfected.h What then, was this completed form of Nishidafs gphilosophyh?

Quoting from Machiavelli, Nishida analyzes the concept of gthe reason of the stateh which emerged in the modern era, and argues the following: Formerly, there had existed a concept of the state as being religious or moralistic, but with the reign of Louis 14th, the age of the strong state began?i.e. the age of the state for the state. The French Revolution was an attempt to grecreate the state for the individual,h but the gideal stateh could not be created, and this only ended up in the greal state.h This is because the French Revolution raised the slogan of the ideal state in grhetorich only, and instead of its real content, looked at its own actual state as the ideal one. Therefore, greflectionh on the ideal state was only pursued in Germany, in the towering creation of Hegelfs theory of the state. In this way, Nishida relies on Hegelfs theory of the state as his own starting point (of course, he is critical towards Hegelfs theory and says that it has some limitations) Nishida, for example, contrasts his own theory of the state from Hegelfs in the following way:

[Hegelfs theory of the state] is not united in its conception of life. Concretely speaking, from Hegelfs standpoint of general reason, one cannot speak of the state-qua-morality. The problem of the true reason of the state is not resolved. There is no escape through the general standpoint of viewing the state as the negation of individuality. According to Hegelfs logic, truly creative individuality is ultimately unthinkable. For this reason, the state is separated from its historical basis, and becomes a mere idea.

For Hegel, the state gis the means for the self-realization of the World Spirith which has gthe task of realizing world reason.h Nishida shows an affinity for this thought of Hegel, but he cannot agree to converge the purpose of the state in this way. Nishida thus sought for a separate, gstronger reason for the state.h Nishida says that the greason of the stateh becomes a problem in the first place when:

Society goes from being the thing created to the creator, and develops the grand historical destiny of forming its own self in all respects. Our selves have the eternal task of being the creative element in such a creative world. (Ibid. p. 382)

Nishida says the following about the gracial life of societyh:

Society embodies the world within itself as the racial being of the historical world and itself becomes the world, but the beginning of its formation must be promised. Our selves, as the individuality of the world, emerge in a historico- racial, and thus social, manner. (Ibid. p. 384-5)

According to this definition, society is a gracial life,h and therefore national. Here, Nishida is in fact expressing the vulgarity of bourgeois consciousness. He only sees humanity within the framework of race, nation and state (bourgeois state), and never takes one step beyond this framework. For Nishida, the natural thought of the workers?i.e. internationalism?doesnft exist. For class-conscious workers, society is more than the nation or state; it also includes the class struggles that are waged universally in states throughout the world. In fact, there is little difference between Nishidafs consciousness and the feudalistic conception of gsocietyh in terms of a narrow territory or feudal realm.

Bourgeois development is also the development of the nation-state, but capitalism is capitalism for the very reason that it always breaks through the boundaries of nation and state. Commodities or capital, as abstract gvalueh in general (social abstract human labor) gknow no boundaries.h Capital invades all non-capitalist societies, dissolves them, adapting them to capitalist production. The productive power of capital instantly breaks through the narrow limitations of national boundaries. Capital is national in form, but in its content it is international and revolutionary. Workers in Japan and the United States each produce commodities to be mutually exchanged, and this creates a social relationship between them. They have thus formed a gsocialh relationship on an international scale. Those who do not recognize the great progressive and groundbreaking significance of capitalism know nothing of its essence. However, when a nationalist such as Nishida speaks of gsociety,h he only speaks of the nation and state, which represent only one aspect of the truth of capital. He is ignorant of the other traits of capital. In its cosmopolitan and social essence, capital is unable to remain within the boundaries of the nation-state. Moreover, for workers, their own class struggles are waged against the exploitation and rule of capital, and this struggle is essentially the same everywhere in the world. In this sense, the rule of capital is the starting point and condition for the internationalism of the working class. Nishida has forgotten that the gsocietyh integrated within the state is essentially nothing but bourgeois society!

Nishida finds a gworldlyh thing, or the World Spirit, within the nation and state, but this is certainly not the universal class struggles of the workers or socialism within the bourgeois nation-state, but instead some nationalist or state-ist thing. He believes that this is the gWorld Spirit.h What he calls the gWorld Spirith is a minuscule thing, and far from gworldlyh since it remains stuck within the gnational boundariesh! Here the gphilosopherh Nishida, is not in the least bit philosophical?since he obstinately insists that an individual [national] thing is directly something universal. It is self-evident that no matter how many examples of national spirit and state-ism one gathers, this is only national spirit and state-ism; to call this gWorld Spirith is nothing less than a desecration of Hegelfs concept of gWorld Spirit.h It is immediately clear that this gWorld Spirith is not a gworldlyh thing at all, but rather extremely nationalistic nonsense. Japanese nationalism only obtains real meaning in its distinction from, for example, German nationalism, and cannot have significance as nationalism in general. This is something gindividualh or a gvarietyh and can therefore not be something general, or be determined by general content. No matter how often Nishida repeats that gsociety embodies the world within its self-contradictionsh this remains an empty dogma, and only represents the gembodiment of the worldh in a one-dimensional and distorted sense of the word. This sort of worldliness is abstract, and therefore if one tries to abstract something universal from it, the only outcome would be non-concrete gnationalism.h

Nishidafs state embodies the gnational will,h and within this is generated a gself- formativeh thing?calling this gworldlyh does not in the least provide a universal content. The Japanese gEmperor-centeredh state-ist imperialism is something that can be viewed as an gindividualh trait of Japan, which differs from fascist imperialism in Germany or democratic imperialism in the United States, but stressing its gparticularityh only serves to glorify it. Nishida ends up falling into this theoretical snare. In fact, more and more nakedly, Nishida provided a gphilosophicalh beautification of the Emperor-system state and Japanese imperialist advances:

What is this thing that is called a nation? In the historical world, the nation cannot merely be a biological species. As the contradictory self-identity of gmanyh and gone,h and the movement from the created to the creator, it already has to be the self-formative force of the historical world. In this sense, the national will lies inside of our own selves. However, as the self-limitation of the totality and singularity of the world, as a historical species, it must be irrational to the extent that our individual selves are negated and our selves are seen from a so-called cellular perspective. This has to be the power of the species. (Ibid. p. 392)

The state is the society in which the worldly character becomes concrete. The formation of the state is the generation of society from the species-forms of the world, and the world itself achieves its individual self-formation. (Ibid. p. 397)

Here, some fascistic elements have already clearly appeared. Nishida says that the nation is the gself-formative power of the historical world,h but the actual meaning is thoroughly imperialistic?i.e. the manifestation of the power of the Japanese nation and its worldwide advance (world rule), and the realization of the gidealh of the Japanese nation through its expansion and universalization throughout the world. What Nishida calls the gworldh here is a complete fraud that only includes its imperialistic meaning. Even though he speaks of the gself-formation of the historical world,h this is extremely gindividualistic.h Since he stresses that the Japanese nation has unique content, he is only able to introduce nationalistic concepts. Consider, for example, the following passage:

The ancient city-states were worlds upon themselves that were united. However, perhaps for this reason, they did not reach the point of being states as the self-formation of the world itself. In the medieval world, Europe became a single world. In this worldly process, the modern state appeared for the first time.

In this way, the first condition for the formation of the state is for a national society to be a self-awakened entity, historically and naturally, within the world. This alone, however, does not mean that this represents a true state as the self- formation of the world as absolute contradictory self-identity. In order to be considered a true state, a particular national society must become the subject of the individual self-formation of the historical world as the self-limitation within the absolute present which includes within itself the past and future. Without becoming a material force, it cannot be a productive existence. It must be an eternal value-creating force and the subject to create the historical world. This means that a single national society becomes the center for the formation of the world. Within its own self, the national society must embody absolute contradictory self-identity. I think that this forms the sovereignty of the state. The society that nurtures this subjectivity is the state. As the core of historical creation, here all of the power of historical composition must be consciously integrated into a synthetic whole. (Ibid. pp.398-400)

Nishida says that the state is the geternal force of value creation and center of the formation of the historical world,h geach nation forms an individual world,h and that gthe state is a single beingh?but if this is said of all states, this means that states would be in constant conflict, competition and struggle since each nation-state appears as its own gforce of eternal value-creation.h This concept is no different from that of imperialists who view each state as a battlefield. Each nation and state must try to emerge victorious in this struggle, and through this victory prove itself as gthe subject of the individual self-formation of the historical world.h No matter how much Nishida adds a gscholarlyh veneer to this, he cannot hide the fact that he is spreading a nakedly imperialistic ideology.

Nishida knows that the nation-state emerged out of the dissolution of feudalistic society and the development of capitalism. However, he views this as the endpoint of history rather than a transitional historical phenomenon. He treats capitalism as something absolute, and is thus unaware that the nation and state are historical entities and transitional phenomena connected to the development of capitalism. Judging from the appearance of the nation-state, Nishida is only able to see the fact that nations gbecomes self-awakened.h This is certainly a truism, but he doesnft understand its historical and social necessity, and instead attempts to give this an idealistic significance. For Nishida, the nation and state (and monarchy as well) are eternal and absolute. This fully reveals the fraudulent nature of Nishidafs dialectics.

Ultimately, it is not the nation or state in general, but only the Japanese nation and state that Nishida glorifies?like all nationalists he only glorifies and defends his gownh nation and state, while looking down on other nations deemed ginferiorh that he believes should naturally be ruled and plundered by gsuperiorh nations. Nationalists are completely incapable of being consistent. According to their own logic of recognizing the historical role of Japan, one must consequently recognize this for other nations as well?of course if nationalists were to recognize this they would no longer be nationalists. This would be the same sort of self-contradiction, for instance, if Japanese farmers were to try to advocate an ginternationalisth protectionism wherein they would justify their own agricultural protectionism by defending the protectionism of American farmers. Nishida, like all nationalists, does not defend nationalism in general, but rather defends and mystifies the Japanese nation and state. This is indeed the purpose of Nishidafs gphilosophy.h He says that it is possible to copy the form of each nation, but not its spirit. In other words, the Japanese nation is special and different vis-a-vis other nations, with its own particular historical role to play. He says that Japan has to play the ghistoricalh role of gliberatingh Asia from European imperialism. Nishidafs view of the historical role and special character of the Japanese nation is truly rotten and repulsive?here his false liberal veil is stripped away. We will conclude by looking at some other examples of this:

As I wrote in Problem of Japanese Culture, our countryfs National Polity [kokutai], as the contradictory self-identity of totality and singularity and the one and the many, which was formed subjectivity-qua-worldly, can be called a state in the true essential sense as the as the expressive self-formation of the absolute. The Imperial Family [k?shitsu] embodies the past and future within the absolute present in which we will all be born and die. For this reason, in our country, just as in our religion and the state are unified, so does the sovereign leader of the country have a religious nature. (Ibid. p. 437)

In other words, the Japanese state is the true state, since it is the Emperorfs state. So-called gphilosophersh can say rather silly things. What right does Nishida have to earn a living in this way! The following passage is also an example of pure imperialistic thought:

Generally, the state is thought of only in subjective terms apart from its historical basis. Its worldliness is not considered. It is only thought of as something subjective, as it were. However, the state, from the beginning, must be fostered as something on the periphery as subjective-qua-world. It must be considered in terms of place [bash?teki]. The state develops from the environment of the mutual limitations of one species-subject among many, and the environment is included within this subject. As more states are formed within the single world, this thing can be said. For this reason, spheres of activity and prosperity are conceivable. Positing the nation [minzoku] as the foundation of the state is not in contradiction with worldliness. Finding a paradox here is the result of viewing the world as an abstract plane lacking all subjectivity. By contrast, I think that today for the first time the nation is operating as the subject within history.

Today, the nation has merged from the surface of the historical world as the subject of historical world-formation. Britain is now truly the self-expression of the nation. The present-day world is not level, but rather three-dimensional, with depth. Saying that the world has become national, means that it has become individual. For the state to become national, it must become an individual world. (Ibid. pp. 439-40)

I think that the present age should be thought of as the age of the self-awakening of the historical world. State-ism [kokkashugi] today should thus be considered the self-awakening of the world. (Ibid. p. 441)

For Nishida, then, history can only exist as the development of the nation. He is unable to fathom the development of humanity that might supercede the nation and state. In other words, he is unable to take one step beyond the limitations of capitalism. In this way, Nishida basically approves and affirms the imperialistic capitalist world, beautifying and decorating by means of his gphilosophicalh speculation. Nishida was the representative ideologue of Japanese imperialism. His gphilosophyh expressed the nationalist, bourgeois, imperialist standpoint, and for this reason he was widely read by the younger generation when Japanese imperialism was in full bloom. With the defeat of Japanese imperialism, however, the reactionary nature of Nishidafs philosophy was exposed by reality and pronounced totally bankrupt. I am examining Nishidafs philosophy, which was gdiscardedh after the war, because even though his thought has largely been forgotten, it has not died. The bourgeoisie in Japan today, like Nishida in the past, is beginning to spread the gdangeroush dogma that widespread nationalism actually represents internationalism.

IV. Hitlerfs Nationalism and German Imperialism

Next we will look at Hitlerfs nationalism, since it reveals, in its extremely repulsive and shamelessness form, the reactionary nature of nationalism and its significance for humanity today. For those familiar with Hitlerfs nationalism, there is no way to remain a nationalist. Workers can only feel disgust towards his ghastly and vulgar anti-Semitism. However, this is not merely a product of human malice or insanity. This is also something historical and objective?i.e. the reverse side of the shield of extreme German nationalism. Hitler separated the world into good (Germans) and evil (Jews), but this was nothing but a clever means of ghammering homeh the idea of German nationalism and the idea of gAryan superiorityh in an extremely simple and easily digested form. Here we will examine Hitlerfs nationalism as the archetype of nationalism in the age of imperialism.

What is Hitlerfs conceptual understanding of the nation? Often he uses the term nation in the same sense as race, but of course there is a distinction. For example, discussing the gracial foundation of the nationh he writes: gFor a racially pure people which is conscious of its blood can never be enslaved by the Jew. In this world he will forever be master over bastards and bastards alone.h (Mein Kampf, Mariner Books, p. 325) Race is the gfoundationh of the nation for Hitler, but each nation is not necessarily composed of gpureh races, and any number of gimpureh or gmixedh elements are said to be included, or there may be nations that group together a number of closely related races. Therefore, the nation is based on race, but cannot be subsumed within this concept. For Hitler, both race and the nation are natural concepts, and the only difference between them is the level of their gpurity.h Of course, when the question becomes the state, he becomes more concerned with the nation. However, Hitler connects the state to both race and nation.

Hitler said that the German nation, as a gpure race,h was not ruled by the Jews, but that in states which were not based pure races, such as the United States, where racial gbloodh is dirtied through the mixture of the blood of gNegroesh and other nationalities, the Jews can penetrate and rule. Thus, Hitler recognizes the existence of a nation called the United States, but he doesnft consider this an ideal or a strong state. Hitler mistook essence of the state of the United States, not to mention Britain, since he felt that states containing a mixture of nationalities would be unable to unite against the Nazis and Germany. This is the inevitable outcome of Hitlerfs thought.

Hitlerfs concept of the nation centers on the idea of gbloodh (race). Quoting the example of the Jews, he claims that race is found gnot in language but in blood.h He believed that the Jews wanted to penetrate Germany and acquire become gGermanic,h but since this was impossible, they tried to forcefully acquire gGermanismh by making the German language their own. At the same time, Hitler was convinced that Jews make every effort to gkeep their own blood pure.h Thus, for Hitler their gGermanismh is a fraud:

A man can change his language without any trouble?that is, he can use another language; but in his new language he will express the old ideas; his inner nature is not changed. This is best shown by the Jew who can speak a thousand languages and nevertheless remains a Jew. (Ibid. p. 312)

No matter how much Jews try to use the German language or appear as Germans, for Hitler they are Jews by gblood.h He thinks that Jews cannot assimilate as Germans, and that this would result in the mixture, and degeneration of the gbloodh of the German nation. What is most important and essential for Hitler is gthe voice of blood and reason.h His concept is typified in the following expression:

All great questions of the day are questions of the moment and represent only consequences of definite causes. Only one among all of them, however, possesses causal importance, and that is the question of the racial preservation of the nation. In the blood alone resides the strength as well as the weakness of man. As long as peoples do not recognize and give heed to the importance of their racial foundation, they are like men who would like to teach their poodles the qualities of greyhounds, failing to realize that the speed of the greyhound like the docility of the poodle are not learned, but are qualities inherent in the race. Peoples which renounce the preservation of their racial purity renounce with it the unity of their soul in all its expressions. The divided state of their nature is the natural consequence of the divided state of their blood, and the change in their intellectual and creative force is only the effect of the change in their racial foundation. (Ibid. p. 338)

Hitler felt that it was fortunate that the gGermanization policyh of the Austrian Empire was not fully carried out?that is, dropping the enforced use of the German language among other nationalities allowed the racial foundation of the German nation to remain unaltered. He felt that this permitted the gpurityh (gbloodh) of the German nation within Austria to be maintained. Hitler believed that if the Austrian Empire were to have advanced a policy of truly assimilating the various nationalities, this would have brought misfortune not only to the Germans, but to all of the other nationalities as well:

For the German nation it was better that such a process of mixture did not take place, even if this was not due to a noble insight, but to the shortsighted narrowness of the Habsburgs. If it had turned out differently, the German people could scarcely be regarded as a cultural factor. (Ibid. p. 390)

As we can see, for Hitler it was absolutely important to maintain the gpurityh of the gbloodh of the German people?everything else was of secondary importance. It was the divine mission of these so-called gpureh Germans to become the conquerors of the world.

Hitlerfs concept of race necessarily leads to the idea of superior and inferior nations. Any nationalistfs concept of the nation will contain this element. Without the idea of the superiority or uniqueness of the nation they belong to (the idea that they are different from other nations and that they possess history, culture, tradition, or abilities that are inherently superior to other nations), any concept of the nation presented by nationalists would be impotent and meaningless.

It believes in the necessity of the idealization of humanity, in which alone it sees the premise for the existence of humanity, in which alone it sees the premise for the existence of humanity. But it cannot grant the right to existence even to an ethical idea if this idea represents a danger for the racial life of the bearers of a higher ethics; for in a bastardized and niggerized world all the concepts of the humanly beautiful and sublime, as well as all ideas of an idealized future of our humanity, would be lost forever.

Human culture and civilization on this continent are inseparably bound up with the presence of the Aryan. If he dies out or declines, the dark veils of an age without culture will again descend on this globe. (Ibid. p. 383)

According to Hitlerfs (Nazi) concept of the nation, needless to say, the Aryan race is the only superior and creative national group in the world. The foremost culture in the world was only created by this nation, and all other nations could merely preserve this culture (the Japanese for Hitler were only at this level, at best, and were not a creative nation), or destroy it (of course he felt that this was the role of the Jews). There are numerous passages that can be cited where Hitler talks nonsense about the superiority of the Aryan race (and many incredibly vulgar and vile passages slandering the ginferior raceh of the Jews), but I wonft bother quoting these passages here since they would do nothing more than disgust the reader. (Still, I recommend reading Hitlerfs book as a reminder of where nationalism leads to.)

According to Hitler the world has three types of nations. That is, the culturally creative nations, those nations who can only enjoy or simply preserve this culture, and then those dangerous nations, such as the Jews, that seek to destroy this culture. Hitler pays the Japanese nation the gcomplimenth of putting them in this second category, one rank higher than the Jews. Of course, what he has to say about Japan is ridiculous?even though I have no intention of implying that Japan is somehow a special nation?and basically amounts to an ignorant diatribe. As a gculture-bearingh nation, the Japanese nation would thus avoid the extermination of the Jewish nation. Of course, unlike the English or French who belong to the Aryan nation, there would be no guarantee as to how the Japanese would be treated under the rule of the Nazis. Since the Slavs are the target of semi-genocide, their future is not as exciting as that of the gyamatoh nation.

In this way, the nationalism of one challenges the nationalism of another, and nations are destined to fight a bloodbath against each other, but Hitler did not fear this since he believed that the struggle between nations?or the gsurvival of the fittest,h to borrow Darwinfs expression?it is a natural law, and that that the superior nation would inevitably win and the inferior one perish. This was said to be to the benefit of humanity. If the superior nation were to lose and the inferior triumph, Hitler felt that this would be the downfall and regression of humanity, and there could be no greater misfortune.

Hitler cursed Marxism?as well as liberalism and pacificism?for being full of ginternationalismh and pacificism, and overrun with the idea that nations are equal, and that this destroyed the concept of the nation. Marxism, liberalism, democracy, and pacificism for Hitler were all fundamentally identical in terms of being flabby, anti-nationalist concepts. Marxism, first of all, was said to make a gross overestimate in proclaiming the equality of all nations, which does not necessarily correspond to reality?but we gladly accept this criticism, since, only the working class is consistently and thoroughly internationalists in the modern capitalist world (developing this point, however, is not the focus of this article.

In connection to his concept of race and nation, Hitler emphasizes a so-called principle of gpersonality,h according to which each nation has something akin to a soul. The personality is the gpeople [kokumin] and their racial content.h He says that the basis for morality and ethics can only be found in the national existence, and in this respect he attacks petty bourgeois individualism, and says that only sacrifice to the gpublich thing as a human value. However, for Hitler this gpublich thing is not something social, bur rather the nation, and nothing but service to the nation (Aryan nation) and nation-state. What Hitler calls the principle of gpersonalityh is the concept that the German people should sacrifice their individuality for the sake of the German nation, and in this sense it is a profoundly nationalistic concept. He felt that if this national gpersonalityh were to collapse only gsecond-rate individualsh would remain. But history shows us that even if Hitlerfs so-called national gpersonalityh remains intact, the individuals within this national entity still be gsecond-rate.h It is sufficient for us to remember, for example, what Japan did in Nanking in 1937. If Japan, with its supposed gpersonalityh?since it was also burning with the national gidealh?could be so gsecond-rateh as a nation as a whole, how could the gmembersh of this nation as individuals alone be gfirst-rate.h Simply remembering the barbaric and inhuman actions carried out by the imperialistic states and nations during World War Two shows the silliness and nonsense of the idea that the nationalistic ideal can form a sound basis for gpersonality.h It follows as a logical necessity that imperialistic concepts of the nation look down on other nations. Therefore, this concept includes the oppression, aggression and even genocide carried out against other nations.

For Hitler the state is the national state, and clearly can only be so. At the basis of Hitlerfs position is the idea that a single nation and a single gbloodh should belong within a single state?i.e., the idea of a pure gnationalh state. The state is the national state, and could not be anything else. Of course, realistically speaking, a state cannot be formed from one homogenous nation. However, the concept of the gidealh state is composed of a homogenous nation. Hitler believed that if a state could be formed gpurelyh from one nation, this would be a strong or ideal state, and would thus play an important and decisive role within world history, becoming the motive force, creator of gcultureh (the content of this is not considered), and the ruler of the world.

Hitler looked at the state as identical to the nation, and the state had to be the community of the nation. He asserted that the state had to be composed of a single, gpureh nation in order to be strong and fulfill its world-historical destiny. Compared with a gpureh nation, Hitler was sure that mixed or heterogeneous nations were inferior, and could never rise above a pure nation. He thought that a strong or superior nation would lose its purity and degenerate by mixing its blood with that of an inferior nation. Conversely, by mixing with a superior nation, an inferior nation was said to degenerate and corrupt it. Hitler believed that this is what the Jews were aiming to do. Hitler wrote stupid passages that exposed his vile nature when he argued that Jewish men did not marry women of other nationalities in order to preserve their own gpurityh of blood, while on the other hand having Jewish women marry men of other nationalities to ruin their gblood.h

Therefore, the state for Hitler was not a goal in itself, but merely a tool. That is, the state was a tool of the national community, to expression its nationality and realize its goals and gideals.h Hitler believed that the most important thing was the Aryan nation, not the state. The state was merely a means or strong tool in order for this race to unite and conquer the world.

Hitler stubbornly opposed the idea that the state garose in response to economic necessity.h He also said that it was not something that emerged gnaturally from the desire for political power.h Rather, the state had a gracial premise,h and without this one could not speak of the state. Hitlerfs concept of the state is the following:

Thus the basic realization is; that the state represents no end, but a means. It is, to be sure, the premise for the formation of a higher human culture, but not its cause, which lies exclusively in the existence of a race capable of culture. Hundreds of exemplary states might exist on the earth, but if the Aryan culture-bearer died out, there would be no culture corresponding to the spiritual level of the highest people today.h (Ibid. p. 391)

The state is merely something with the power to form culture and values that is founded upon racial elements. Therefore, the main or exclusive task of the state is to preserve and promote this race. gThe Jew Marxh separated the state from its racial foundation, and in this way denied the state. (Incidentally when Hitler speaks of Marx it is as a Jew, and believed that Marx developed the idea of Marxism and internationalism as part of a Jewish plot for gworld rule.h Hitler seems to have based the idea of gexterminatingh the Jews on his view that the Germans and the Jews were only two nations with the ambition and ability for world rule.)

The state is a means to an end. Its end lies in the preservation and advancement of a community of physically and psychically homogeneous creatures. This preservation itself compromises first of all existence as a race and thereby permits the free development of all the forces dormant in this race. (Ibid. p.393)

For Hitler, the ultimate objective of the gnationalistic stateh is to preserve the fundamental elements of the Aryan nation, which provided culture and created all of the beauty and dignity of humanity. Therefore, by becoming strongly involved in the reproduction of children, he felt that the state should make every effort to increase only the superior racial elements and eliminate the inferior ones. Or as he writes:

The state must declare unfit for propagation all who are in any way visibly sick or who have inherited a disease and can therefore pass it on, and put this into actual practicec

Those who are physically and mentally unhealthy and unworthy must not perpetuate their suffering in the body of their children. In this the folkish state must perform the most gigantic educational task. And some day this will seem to be a greater deed than the most victorious wars of our present bourgeois era. By education it must teach the individual that it is no disgrace, but only a misfortune deserving of pity, to be sick and weakly, but that it is a crime and hence at the same time a disgrace to dishonor onefs misfortune by onefs egotism in burdening innocent creatures with it; that by comparison it bespeaks a nobility of highest idealism and the most admirable humanity if the innocently sick, renouncing a child of his own, bestows his love and tenderness upon a poor, unknown young scion of his own nationality, who with his health promises to become some day a powerful member of a powerful community. And in this educational work the state must perform the purely intellectual complement of its practical activity. It must act in this sense without regard to understanding or lack of understanding, approval or disapproval. (Ibid. p. 404)

Hitler also said that in order to protect the purity and superiority of the nation, education should place the priority not on knowledge, but on gcharacter.h In particular, it was important to gfoster will and decision making ability.h It was also extremely important to raise a nation of children with strong bodies?in this sense, he advocated sports like boxing that are considered brutal by the geducatedh classes.

Marxism was a deadly enemy for Hitler since he felt that it weakened the state and denied the nation, heroism, and police power. He raises aristocratism to attack Marxism in the following passage:

The Jewish doctrine of Marxism rejects the aristocratic principle of Nature and replaces the eternal privilege of power and strength by the mass numbers and their dead weight. Thus it denies the value of personality in man, contests the significance of nationality and race, and thereby withdraws from humanity the premise of its existence and its culture. (Ibid. p. 65)

Reading this passage, we are reminded that reactionary nationalism necessarily ends up in fascist thought.

Hitlerfs gextremeh nationalism and idea of a homogenous nation or state (i.e. the idea that a gpureh national state is the true state) is deeply connected to the fact that he was a German national born in Austria. As a result of having lost the Seven Weekfs War to Prussia at The Battle of Koniggratz (Sadowa) in 1866, Austria lost the thereby losing the struggle for hegemony, and was excluded from the unified Germany. Austria was reformed as a state in 1867, in a compromise with Magyars whereby Austria recognized the foundation of the Kingdom of Hungary, and combined with the Hungarian monarchy to form the Austro-Hungarian Empire. This state was a multi-ethnic state that included Germans, Hungarians, as well as Slavic nationalities such as Czechs, Poles, Slovenians, and Serbians. Hitler was one of the ten million Germans out of a total population of fifty million. Within the empire, German was the main spoken language, and the Germans were in a position of authority, and leadership, but this also led to a heightening of national consciousness in opposition to position of the Germans. In this way, Austria was in fact a multi-ethnic state that was contained an impulse towards division. In 1860s, there was an uprising of the Italians, and Hungarians were recognized as having equality within the dual empire, and the Slavs also rode this wave. In particular, the movement for equal rights for Czechs was strong, and this exasperated the Germans. Ultimately, as an outcome of the crisis of the First World War, Austria collapsed and a new national state was formed. But Hitler received a profound shock from the collapse of this state, and experienced a sense of defeat and breakdown. His German nationalism grew one hundred times stronger through the collapse and glossh of Austria. Hitler loudly proclaimed that only a strongly centralized state could be considered a true state, and thought that a federation state could not even be included within the category of the state. Hitler said that democracy and parliamentarianism were meaningless, and this seems to have been influenced by his view that the German nationality became a minority and less powerful as a result of democracy and parliamentarianism. He also criticized the socialist movement, and believed that the Social Democratic Party did not defend the German national interests (i.e. the state). For Hitler, the collapse of the German state?i.e. the situation in Austria?was something loathsome and enraging. He thought of Vienna as a chaotic mix of different nationalities, and described the capital city as gthe embodiment of racial desecration.h Hitler was grepelledh by a city that was a gconglomeration of racesh besides Germans. He couldnft stand Slavs, that is Czechs, believing that they were a nationality without a clear form, and that their race, language, and culture completely lacked its own characteristics. For Hitler, the gmentally inferior minorityh Czechs had no basis to demand equal rights with Germans and Hungarians.

Hitler thought that German was defeated in the First World War not because of the lack of productive power or force, but rather because Germany was not united as a national state?i.e. it was divided by Jews (i.e. socialists, pacifists, and liberals), and betrayed from within. He was incensed that even in the 1920s Germany was weakened by national divisions, and that few people were concerned with the question of whether everyone was united as a nation:

[Today] the German people lack that sure herd instinct which is based on unity of the blood and, especially in moments of threatening danger, preserves nations from destruction in so far as all petty inner differences in such peoples vanish at once on such occasions and the solid front of a unified herd confronts the common enemy. (Ibid. p. 396) 

Hitlerfs thought was naturally a national elitism, and therefore a sort of garistocratism.h He was full of an extremely clear hostility towards democracy. Since this bears some relation to his nationalism, I would like to comment on this here.

Providing a special position for the Aryan race meant establishing discrimination against other nationalities, and recognizing the existence of a privileged nationality. This nationality does not have a special place as a result of having a large population, or making some special contribution to humanity or the community. Rather, this was an inherent nature, due to superior gblood.h Therefore, this is an idea that predates the appearance of capitalism?i.e. aristocratism. People are judged according to gbloodh rather than their ability, efforts, or the content of their work. He openly states that democracy is Ochlocracy [mob rule], and that rulers should not be chosen democratically, but rather become leaders according to a sense of gresponsibility.h

Juxtaposed to this [bourgeois democracy and gJewish democracyh] is the truly Germanic democracy characterized by the free election of a leader and his obligation fully to assume all responsibility for his actions and omissions. In it there is no majority vote on individual questions, but only the decision of an individual who must answer with his fortune and his life for his choice. (Ibid. p. 91)

There are apparently many kinds of democracy, i.e. German democracy and yamato nationalist democracy. There are thus special kinds of democracy?democracy in a nationalist form?whether this is that of the dictator Hitler or the tennoist military dictatorship. Such ideas are reminiscent of the ridiculous statements of the JCP leader Miyamoto Kenji who talked about a special socialism for each nation that he called gnational socialismh [minzoku shakaishugi]. What is the difference between the concepts of Miyamoto and Hitler? At least in terms of calling something a concept that is in fact un-conceptual, they are the same.

Hitler chose the Jews, almost at random, as a scapegoat in order to exaggerate and inflate the supposed superiority of the Aryan nation. Anti-Semitic thought in Europe is as old as Christianity, and Hitler made thorough use of this prejudice. Hitler merely chose the Jews as the representation of the inferior nation?i.e. as the gpersonification of gevil.h If there had been no Jews, Hitler?or the imperialists? would have had to find some other nationality to play this role.

The Jews served as the symbol for all of the evil that Hitler sought to eradicate. That is, Marxism, internationalism, and pacificism were all seen as being connected to the Jews, part of this nationfs diabolical plot to achieve world dominance and corrupt other nationalities. Hitler totally manipulated the petty bourgeoisiefs narrow- mindedness and aversion to both big capital and socialism. According to Hitler, the Jews, Marxists, and socialists were all the same, and as his proof he pointed to the Jewish leaders of the Austrian Social Democratic Party, starting with Otto Bauer. The same thing could be said for Soviet Russia with many Jewish revolutionaries starting with Trotsky (so communism was also said to be nothing but a Jewish plot!). He also said the same thing about the media and liberal public opinion, as well as about the big bourgeoisie and leaders of big capital on the world stage (such as Rothschild).

The benefit of pinning all of the crimes of capitalism, particularly monopoly capital, on the Jews is clear. This monopoly capital robs gthe enterprise of the foundation of personal enterprise.h (Ibid. p. 314) Hitler played to the prejudices and narrow-mindedness of the petty bourgeois whose social position and stability was threatened by big capital. He also said that socialism was the fault of the Jews, and that if there were no Jews, the class struggle between labor and capital would also disappear, allowing the Germans to unite as a nation. All of the evil was due to the detestable Jews. He reduced all of the enemies to be fought?i.e. Marxism, socialism, liberalism, democracy, parliamentarianism, internationalism, and pacificism?to the Jews. He thought that liberalism, democracy and everything else went through Marxism, and that the liberal bourgeoisie were also forms of Marxism, or at least opened the path to Marxism. And Marx only devised Marxism as one part of the Jewfs scheme to rule the world?Marxism was only a tool for this. Therefore, for Hitler all class problems were replaced by the national problem. It would not be an exaggeration to say that in Hitlerfs prejudiced mind all of the prejudices of the petty bourgeoisie are on display.

In the stage of monopoly capitalism and imperialism, the significance is clear of Hitlerfs idea that a state would be strong and invincible if composed of a single race awakened to its national spirit. This idea appears to a greater or lesser extent in all imperialist states. Hitlerfs ideal is the gpureh national community, since he believed that only this could form a truly strong state, invincible in the struggles and wars with other nations. In this sense, Hitlerfs thought was consistently imperialistic.

Of course, this nationalism is different from the ideology of the rising bourgeoisie, and is instead full of all sorts of rotten, regressive, odious reactionary elements. The rotten nature of this nationalism can be seen in the creepy and vile defamation of ginferior nations.h Nationalism, by reaching the point of Nazi nationalism, reveals its limitations and how it has now become so completely reactionary that it should be taboo. One would think that no one could be a nationalist after the period of the Nazis, but the JCP are still unable to break away from petty bourgeois nationalism.

In emphasizing the state as a gnational state,h Hitler provided many suggestions about the concept of the nation. The ggeniush Hitler intuitively felt that the concept of the nation was connected to that of the state (i.e. bourgeois state). For Hitler, the state was the nation?i.e. a community of the nation composed of a pure race (and could only be so). Of course, in reality the state is not a gpureh national state. However, the question here concerns the concept, not whether or not a particular state is purely a national state. Even if the [former] Soviet Union and China are multi-national states, this does not deny the fact that the bourgeois state is essentially the nation-state (it could also be said that the Soviet Union is the state of the Russian nation, and the China the state of the Han nation). Moreover, this is also seen in the fact that some nationalities (e.g. the Slavs) form several different states. Further, if the concept of the nation is connected to the bourgeois state, then the conceptual distinction between nation and race is also clear. Anyone can prattle, along the lines of Hitler, about a pure grace,h but this has nothing to do with the concept of the nation.

If one says that the state is a national state, some might suppose this to mean that all of the thousands of nationalities [minzoku] in the world should form their own state communities. However, the national state concept is different from the idea that all races should form states. We donft argue that races or nations form the state communities, but that the development of the bourgeois state gives birth to the movement for national unity, and that nationalism is one result or attendant phenomenon of capitalistic development. This is totally different from saying that each nationality will, or must, unite as a state. Here we are only concerned with examining the concept of the nation.

From our standpoint, the silliness and historical limitations of the excessive concern for nationalism or the nation is clear. This is something that only has significant for humanity in a certain historical period. Once capitalism has been overcome, along with the division of humanity into states, it will have become shameful just to speak of divisions and conflict between nationalities, or argue that one nation is superior or inferior, and it would be shocking to hear anyone seriously say something so stupid. Already within the working class, this narrow nationalism is becoming less influential, and the idea of internationalism is becoming stronger (or at least must become so). The gmaterialh basis of nationalism and national prejudice is class society. The main class foundation for nationalism and state-ism is the existence of a bourgeois class that requires state power to repress and govern the working class, and the petty bourgeoisie, who are unable to find their place in capitalist society, but remain faithful to the state and hope to prevent their own decline by relying upon it. Overcoming this class-divided society would also be the end of nationalism.

Nazism was certainly not just the freak outcome of Hitlerfs individual fanaticism, but rather was a historical and social phenomenon. The Nazis emerged because of the particularities of history and capitalist development in 19th century Germany, and the heightened contradictions resulting from the shift of German capitalism to imperialism in the 20th century. Just as the particular development of capitalism in Japan led to a gJapanese-styleh imperialism and militarism, so did German historical development crystallize in Nazism. In the following passage the Japanese scholar Mura traces Braachfs theory of fascism:

Bauer says, in this way, that Nazism is founded upon militarism and Prussian aggression, but also indicates that it was a movement that adopted the standpoint of Austrian racial theories and took over the space left from the defeat of the prior concept of German imperialism, giving it a rebellious form.

Bauer next?beginning with Fichte and German romanticism and moving on through those generally thought to be liberals such as the creator of the Gymnasium movement Jahn and the activity of German student groups? examines the particular world-historical sense of mission of the German nation that characterized 19th century German thought. The sense of superiority of the German national community or nation, and the desire for national purity, which had a wide basis among the German people, the mystification of the state, and reaction against Western European liberalism, were all the direct ideological premises of Nazism, and he indicates that with the breakdown of the united democratic movement in 1848 and 1870, this ideology attracted a wide stratum of the middle class to national radicalism.

Bauer continues by saying that German nationalism was transformed into an imperialist ideology. In this way, the conflict between the Western European concept of the state and the German one grew ever wider. German intellectuals, middle class, professors, and teachers in general, journalists, bureaucrats, military, and industrialists became increasingly opposed to democracy and individualism and attracted to an irrational ideology. They said that it was criminal to go against the authority of the state, and that the individual should sacrifice himself for the sake of the state and nation. Student groups, jingoist clubs, militaristic groups, and every sort of nationalist organization, even the Protestant church, preached the spirit of submission to Prussian law. They also claimed that war was the greatest regenerator of human activity, and the greatest law of struggle. The philosophy of Nietzsche and operas of Wagner further inflamed these feelings, emphasizing the historical role of the German nation, and awaiting a leader who could realize this task. During the Second Reich, many historians, philosophers, legal scholars, and poets absolutized the idea of state and community, and placed more emphasis on foreign policy and power politics than domestic reform and the constitution. This was the subject of conversation not only in the classroom, but also among common people in bars. The objective of preeminent liberals like Friedrich Neumann and Max Weber was to win over the workers to support the national state, and they thought that to achieve this foreign expansion must be united with domestic political reform. Neumannfs National Society movement, and the concept of mass imperial system, had this goal in mind?to replace the authoritative state with a parliamentary democracy, and through the advance of democracy to unite all of the people and politically mobilize all of the citizens, and incorporate the working class within this state. This demonstrates that the liberal middle class and intellectuals were fervent supporters of the imperialistic war aims. [Doitsu gendai shi (A history of modern Germany) Afterword to Tokyo University, 9th edition, p. 34-5.]

V. gThe Creation of National Ties is the Creation of Bourgeois Tiesh!

Letfs begin by looking at how Lenin understood gnational unity.h In Leninfs gWhat the eFriends of the Peoplef Are,h he launches a sharp counterattack against the subjectivistic philosopher Mikhailovsky, who explained national unity from racial ties (ggentile tiesh), and claimed that gnational unity is the continuation, or universalization of racial unity.h Lenin writes the following:

Mr. Mikhailovsky, evidently, borrows his ideas of the history of society from the fairy tale that is taught to schoolboys. The history of society?this copy-book maxim runs?is first that there was the family, that nucleus of all society, then the family grew into the tribe, and the tribe grew into the state. (Foreign Languages Publishing House: Moscow, p. 34)

It is only the modern period of Russian history (beginning approximately with the seventeenth century) that marked by an actual amalgamation of all such regions, territories and principalities into a single whole. This amalgamation, most esteemed by Mr. Mikhailovsky, was not brought about by gentile ties nor even by their continuation and generalization, but by the growth of exchange between regions, the steady growth of commodity circulation and the concentration of the small local markets into a single, all-Russian market. Since the leaders and masters of this process were the merchant capitalists, the creation of these national ties was nothing but the creation of bourgeois ties.

This idea is perfectly clear. That is, it is clearly stated here that the nation is a historical concept. Of course, historical does not simply mean historical in general, but rather refers specifically to the development of capitalism. Only when explained in its relation to capitalistic development, does the concept of the nation become a truly scientific and rational concept. The gmaterialh or historical cause or basis of national development is the development of capitalism?i.e. the generalization or universalization of commodity production, and the need for a gdomestic,h unified market for capital to overcome feudal fragmentation and disintegration. This fact is entirely confirmed by the historical movement of humanity towards the nation-state. All nation-states were able to appear with the development of capitalism, and as capitalism develops, expanding over an increasing area, the nation-state is also formed. The national movement is essentially the movement and struggle for the creation of the nation-state. Here there is no question that gracialh factors represent one important element, but they are certainly not the cause of the formation of the nation-state. The existence of races is as old as humanity, but the nation-state is only a product of capitalist gmodernity.h

For the bourgeoisie eager to create a market they will be able to rule single-handedly, forging a common language, a system of education and currency, unified ways of life and customs, etc., are all of decisive importance. In order to smoothly conduct gbusinessh and sell commodities, it is important to know the intentions of onefs business associates. Thus, it is clear that the formation of the nation-state, a unified language, and a single national market have tremendous significance for the development of capitalism. Capitalism emerges along with the rise of the nation-state. In other words, the concept of the gnation,h in the modern sense, first gains this meaning with the development of capitalism.

The state was only historically realistic as the nation-state. This first occurred through the French Revolution. From the time of the crisis for the French Revolution in 1792, consciousness of nationality, citizenship, and the state appeared for the first time in history with the countrywide surge of enthusiasm to gdefend revolutionary France.h In response to this, European reactionaries rallied to suffocate the French Revolution to death. When the French Revolution was threatened by foreign reaction, a strong consciousness emerged among the French gcitizensh to guphold the homeland of revolution,h and they united behind the slogan: gvivez les citoyensh Long Live The Citizens.h This was the first manifestation of a strong gnationalh consciousness. (At this time the Peoplefs Army of Marseilles marched to Paris singing the gLa Marseillaise,h which later became the French national anthem.) The French Revolution is thus the starting point of gmodernh nationalism.

This awareness soon spread to the European countries that were invaded by Napoleon, thereby broadly stirring national consciousness in Europe. Nineteenth century Europe was consequently the age of the formation of nation-states, including the formation of nations in Germany, Italy and elsewhere.

The historical significance?as well as the limitations?of the formation of gnationsh can be clearly seen in the example of the present-day situation in Papua New Guinea. This is a country 1.2 times the size of Japan (eighty percent of which is covered by forests) inhabited by a population of 3,500,000 people that is divided among over seven hundred tribes, each with their own independent language. Of course, some of these languages are quite closely related and differ only as gdialects,h but still there is no gcommon languageh for the country. This phenomenon can also be seen, to a greater or lesser extent, in extremely economically undeveloped regions of the world. Every nation-state today passed through a similar stage in the past.

Compared with the current situation in Papua New Guinea, we can see how historically progressive the formation of the gnation-stateh was. The development of capitalism prompted the formation of nation-states, and the single nation-state replaced tribal unity. This was necessary and convenient for capitalism. National unity?i.e. commonality of territory, language, customs and lifestyles, including the unity of weights and measures?created the ideal social environment for the prosperity of capital by ensuring the conditions and markets for the growth of capital. In a situation where 3.5 million people are isolated and divided?starting with language barriers?and a widely unified market does not even exist, the growth of capitalism will be extremely difficult, or only develop at a slow pace. It should be clear at a glance that the rapid development of capitalism in Papua New Guinea would require the formation of a unified nation-state through the unification of language, assimilation of tribes, and the development of transportation.

The example of the situation in Papua New Guinea should also elucidate how silly it is to define the concept of the nation on the basis of language or territorial communities. Does Papua New Guinea have 700 nations? Is every tribe in Papua New Guinea a nation? Seen historically, the dissolution of tribes and their sublation into a single nation-state through the development of capitalism, marks a huge step forward, and it is nothing but sentimentality and nostalgia to say that that each fixed tribal territory or language is important and necessary, and must be protected and preserved. Under such a situation, the people of Papua New Guinea would be trapped in a backward social situation, facilitating their plunder by economically-developed countries like Japan?as they are doing now! But the shallow and sentimental petty bourgeoisie spreads the illusion that such a situation is in fact the ideal one for workers!

A look at history, of course, shows that the nation is not necessarily formed as a nation-state, and that a gpureh national state cannot be said to exist. However, the question here is a conceptual one, and we must abstract from actual history. We are concerned with whether the modern state?in other words, the capitalist state?is a nation-state, so the investigation into whether particular states are always gpureh nation-states or not is irrelevant. It is sufficient to determine that the modern concept of the nation, or national awakening, cannot be discussed in isolation from the historical fact of capitalist development and the formation of a bourgeois state. Certainly any number examples can be given of racial groups that were aware of themselves as a nation, but did not form into a state, or cases of states that are gmulti-national stateh rather than nation-states. This, however, does not negate the fact that the modern state is a nation-state, or the fact that nation-state is composed of the nation [minzoku]. In fact the very use of the term gmulti-national stateh shows that the bourgeois state is essentially a nation-state, and that in connection to state formation, the concept of race has been transformed into the concept of the nation.

We have clearly revealed that this concept of the nation is simply a historical concept, which corresponds to the capitalist mode of production. Nationalism, no matter what form it may take, is only the typical ideology of capitalism. Stalin spoke of a gsocialist nation,h but it should be understood how reactionary and ridiculous such a concept is. Certainly peoplefs racial differences will remain even under socialism. But the question of which race a person belongs to will have already become completely irrelevant. Moreover, people throughout the world will be increasingly drawn together, and united into one ghuman race.h People will be united not by race or gblood,h but merely as human beings, and all obstacles to prevent this will have been overcome.
In this way, the nation was formed historically, and is not an ambiguous concept. For example, Stalin speaks of an gAmerican nationalityh [minzoku] as the concept of the United States. However, it is evident that there is no such thing as a single American minzoku [here used in the sense of ethnic group or volk]. It is more accurate to speak of the American kokumin [people/citizens], but not of the American minzoku.

Likewise, if one looks at commonality of language, and argues that Britain, Australia, Canada and all other nations that speak English belong to the same gnationalityh [minzoku], this is clearly an irrational argument. We recognize the need for a concept of nations composed of mixed nationalities [many ethnic groups or nationalities], but the existence of such states itself is connected to the self-destruction of the concept minzoku [here nation in the sense of volk]. In what sense are the Japanese people a minzoku? It has already been proved that from the time of the J?mon Period, Japanese people have been a gmixh of races. In this way, this view of the nation [minzoku, volk] itself is nonsense with almost no scientific basis!

For this reason, people have been bewildered, and resorted to placing the emphasis on psychology, and subjectivistic elements, and the gsense of identityh to define the concept of the nation. In other words, people have a national existence in terms of the idea of awareness of which nation one belongs to. For example, a person of Jewish origin who considers himself an American, would be no longer be a member of the Jewish nation [minzoku]. Only those Jews who are aware of themselves as a member of the Jewish nation, and cherish its customs, religion, and language would have the right to consider himself such a member. How could any Jewish person who considers himself American, French, German, Polish, or Russian?and has abandoned the Jewish religion and its customs and no longer speaks Hebrew?still be considered Jewish.

This attempt to subjectively and psychologically define the nation shows that the compromised and dubious nature of concept of the nation. Any attempt to gstrictlyh define the nation can only fail, and result in some sort of reactionary, mystical dogma. Nationalism is a historical idea connected to the development of the bourgeois state, and in this sense it is merely a relativistic idea. This is certainly closely connected to the concept of race, but they are certainly not the same thing. The concept of the nation [minzoku] and people/citizens [kokumin] are capitalistic concepts, and thus when humanity has broken through the limitations of capitalism, these concepts will fade away and be forgotten. This is essentially how we understand the concept of the nation.
Of course, we can recognize that the concept of race is objective to some extent. However, here we are considering the concept of the nation, not race. We can dare to say that since ancient times not a single person has scientifically established this concept!

It is also worthy noting, that in the past some tried to spread a greater Asian gnationalismh by saying that Japan and China were d?bund?zoku [two nations of the same race sharing the same writing systems], but this is again a type of gnationalism.h In other words, instead of internationalism which looks to the commonality of all humanity, this position emphasizes the particularities of race, territory, and culture. Workers certainly cannot support or defend any kind of nationalism!

VI. The National Problem and Intellectuals

When considering the national problem, it is not meaningless to consider the views held or gsolutionsh proposed by the gleftwingh radical (or liberal) intelligentsia. They have examined the nation, but their petty bourgeois standpoint prevents them from discovering a real solution to this problem.

The 1980 issue of the journal Impact 8 focused on gMarxism and the national problem,h and included in this was an article by Yamazaki Kaoru that criticized Stalinfs concept of the nation in the following way:

This sort of definition, as Stalin clearly says, is characterized by thinking of the nation in terms being the total sum of a number of characteristics, rather than simply one characteristic. In other words, the nation is the convergence of four types of commonalities: language, territory, economic life, and psychological conditions.

Stalinfs conceptual definition has the gadvantageh of having a completely mechanical and simple process of deciding what is a nation. But for many people who are struggling to protect their own national identity, this is a violent definition. There are blacks in the United States, Okinawans in Japan and others who are deprived of their entitlements as a nation, and those Latin Americans, divided into different countries, seeking a continent-wide liberation. Moreover, in the case of Eastern Europe that I just mentioned, on the basis of Stalinfs definition, the situation of these divided states would be fixed. This, for example, would have justified the position of President Johnson towards the Vietnam Revolution. Those who claim that this is a gMarxist-Leninist definition of the nation,h are so politically obtuse that they have failed to realize that terrible practical consequences of this theory. Just consider the case of the South American republics. Europeans living South American share a common language, territory, economic life, and psychological traits; while on the other hand, in Africa there are various tribes that are divided territorially and culturallycas well as linguistic divisions between the Niger-Congo and Khoisan languages families. According to Stalinfs definition, it would be correct to recognize the rights as a nation of the latter (Africans), while denying such a right for the South Americans.

Moreover, without having all four of the a priori criteria that form the foundation of Stalinfs definition, the basis for deciding what is a nation is not operational. Just looking at one of the four?commonality of language (everyday language)?is certainly not that easy. For example, are Spanish (Castellan) and Catalan the same language? Or how about Russian and Ukranian, or Tzotzil and Tzeltal (both Mayan languages) or the many Bantu languages a single language or separate ones? The same problems arise for the other criteria. The difficulty is that before grouping together commonalities, it is necessary to first define the meaning of each of the criteria themselves.

Of course, it is easy to criticize the crude and formal arguments of Stalin. Therefore, the problem is not whether Yamazaki has criticized Stalin (many years have passed since criticizing Stalin in itself had meaning!), but rather from what standpoint he is criticizing Stalin. He says that Stalinfs definition takes a hostile stance towards those who seek to fight for their national identity. But this only exposes that Yamazakifs own position is nationalistic, rather than class-based?in other words he is fundamentally petty bourgeois). Supporting the struggle of blacks in the United States against discrimination is a completely separate question from their gstruggle to protect their national identity.h

In connection to the fact that Stalin brought up the gright of regional autonomy,h Yamazaki considers the view of the following nation:

This concern is certainly not trivial. Just as Stalin was compelled to introduce gpsychological stateh [as one of the four criteria], while a given nation becomes aware of its right to independence as a nation is constrained by objective conditions, the subjective elements are always dominant. When the gJews in Polandh became aware of themselves in this way, this was denied by the Poles who had received recognition as a nation with the excuse of calling it gcomplete democracy,h but this was a type of national oppression. We must clearly indicate that, in response to the nation problem, Kautsky, Lenin, and Stalin tended to look at the objective outward appearance, from the viewpoint of those who ultimately grant self-determination or autonomy; this right was more or less dependent on the arbitrary size of the gterritory,h and the perspective of the minority nation that was to either be granted or deprived this right was not seen. To declare that autonomy or independence should be decided gobjectivelyh and neutrally amounts to a fixation on onefs own nation. 

Is it truly the case the Marxist theory of the nation is a theory of ggranting the right to self-determinationh? The working class in an oppressor nation supports the right of national self-determination for the oppressed nation, and expresses sympathy and solidarity with their struggles, on the basis of opposing the imperialist policies and national oppression of the ruling class in their own country. In general, Marxists recognize the right of national self-determination, but this does not mean that they necessarily would support this in a particular case. This is especially important in the case of a split. A case could naturally occur where the workers in a country where the bourgeoisie is seeking a split would be opposed to this. What is Yamazaki trying to say exactly? His view is total nonsense and simply anarchistic confusion.

This nationalist is in favor of the limitless repartition of existing states, and the increase in the number of nations. But the development of capitalism itself turns this into a mere fantasy. The following passage exposes his concept of the nation:

How can we conceptually define the nation? All participants in the debate, including Bauer, were in perfect agreement in terms of viewing the nation as a historical entity rather than something eternal and unchanging. However they reached completely different concepts of the nation depending on whether they viewed it in terms of commonalities of external characteristics such as language and territory, or grasped it instead according to internal elements?or to grasp it in a gemich manner, to use an anthropological term.

Considering the diversity of existence forms of nations, it requires some type of violence to distinguish, on the basis of external criteria, which gnationalityh has the right to be a nation and which does not. Even if such violence is of a scholarly variety, once it is applied as the main national policy it clearly can explode as physical violence, resulting in ethnocide. On the other hand, by adopting the latter standpoint, we are faced with endless divisions between national groups. In Africa in particular there is the danger of slipping into the worst sort of tribalism. In this sense, there was a pressing need in the period of the Second International to find a new definition of the nation that does not rely simply on external or internal factors.

This is in fact the program of Stalinism, since Stalin offered a concept of the nation that was gneither intrinsic or extrinsich?i.e. an eclectic concept that combines both. It is well known that in addition to the gexternalh definitions of common language and territory, Stalin added psychologicalh elements borrowed from Austro-Marxism, and he tries to connect them to find some middle ground. How different is Yamazaki from Stalin when he offers a concept of the nation as gneither intrinsic or extrinsich? How can he come up with anything that is fundamentally different from Stalinfs concept? Or would he argue that Stalinfs attempt was correct in its general direction, but incorrect in its content? If so, what does Yamazaki offer instead? The truth is that he offers nothing at all! He can only supply a bunch of nonsense!

Yamazaki claims that defining the concept of the nation in an gextrinsich manner is forced, but he offers no rational explanation?or is unable to explain?why an gextrinsich definition is forced, while an gintrinsich one is not. Yamazaki argues that Lenin and Stalin adopted gextrinsich approach, and that this resulted in gviolenceh within the Soviet Union towards minority nations. He thus concludes that the gextrinsich definition was a failure. However, to say that the gviolenceh and oppression towards the minority nations within the Soviet state was due to Stalinfs application of an gextrinsich concept of the nation requires other mediated factors to be convincing. To simply combine two facts externally does not amount to scientific or dialectical proof. Rather, this was Stalinfs own argumentative method. (Of course, here there is no particular need to bring up the example of Stalin since he has no monopoly on undialectical methods, but since Yamazaki carelessly criticizes Stalin, one feels the desire to point out the basic similarities between his method and Stalinfs.)

The idea of national self-determination was repeatedly emphasized, but the question of what is a nation that can determine its self was not addressed, so this was theoretically meaningless. This could only result in policies that were confused and violent. Even if this question were addressed, it would be problematic today to define this, in the manner of Lenin and Stalin, only in terms of right of political separation and independence. This question must be considered in connection to theories of imperialism. Pierre-Philippe Rey has said that since the aspect of direct political rule of colonies?i.e. political imperialism?was a transitional aspect towards the primary imperialism? economic imperialism?neo-imperialism is in fact the true form of the imperialistic colonial rule. If this is the case, those who advocate the political right of national self-determination to colonies and dependent states, are in fact acting as forerunners for this primary imperialistic rule. Rethinking the form and content of national self-determination is thus deeply connected to theories of imperialism.

If it is true that the inability to provide a concept of the nation leads to the oppression of other nations, then Yamazaki himself is repressive. This is because he says that the concept of the nation can only be defined as gintrinsic,h but offers no other concept. What is this philistine trying to say? He accepts, with out any critical examination, the idea that imperialism is primarily economic imperialism, and that Lenin and others thus aided imperialism by viewing national self-determination in terms of gpolitical separation and independence.h He says that the demand for political independence has no meaning since it is connected to imperialistic rule, and instead only plays the role of the gforerunnerh of gprimaryh imperialistic rule. This, however, is a caricature of the gimperialistic economismh that Lenin tore to threads. Here Yamazaki has forgotten how miserable the colonial rule was for many nations, and how it also stifled economic development. He talks about gneo-colonialism,h but he is unaware of the arbitrariness of the Stalinist concept of the nation. Even though he sets out to criticize Stalinism, he ends up clinging to the most vulgar concepts to suit his position. Could anyone be more hopeless than a gleftwingh intellectual?

In fact, for developing states, political independence (national self- determination!) opened the path for their independent growth and economic. Even if these states are economically and financially dependent on developed capitalist states, this still does not deny this historical significance. Political independence itself is a moment or lever that makes the concentration of economic power possible.

Yamazaki says that since Stalinfs nation concept doesnft recognize the Jewish nation as a nation, this is connected to national extermination. The Jews are spread throughout the world, and therefore a concept of the nation based upon commonality of language and territory would represent their elimination as a nation.

Yamazaki introduces the gconcept of identity,h subjectivistic psychology, and cultural customs, so that even if the Jews no longer live in one geographic area, as long as a person is aware of himself as a Jew, or maintains the psychology and customs of the Jewish people, he can be considered a Jew. It is characteristic that he doesnft mention race, since through assimilating with other races and nations, the racial characteristics of the Jews have also been diluted. In most cases, they have assimilated with the other nationalities in the areas and states where they live. As a result, Yamazaki has nothing to say about the most possible national characteristic, racial characteristics, and instead brings up the subjectivistic indices of gpsychologyh and gsense of identity.h This shows us the bankruptcy of petty bourgeois nationalists.

The fact that the concept of the Jewish people cannot be totally separated from a racial concept, is just as the Japanese nation cannot. If someone is to say that Japanese people were formed by a mixture of races and therefore cannot be called a nation [minzoku], this would only mean that this person is not aware that the concepts of nation and race are relative. They are greverseh nationalists?that is, they are not different from reactionary nationalists in terms of making a big deal about the concept of the nation as something absolute

It is said that the concept of the nation can be defined as something subjectivistic (gsense of identity,h etc.), but this in fact reveals the flimsiness and basic feebleness of the concept of the nation and its historical relativity. Since a person can have an identity as a gJapanese person,h but in fact be racially mixed, this shows that the concept of nation is connected to the concept of the bourgeois state. Why does Yamazaki have need for a concept of the nation that goes beyond this? Whose interests can a theory that eternalizes the nation serve, if not for the bourgeoisie?

On the other hand, in the same issue of Impact 8, Kato Kazuo raises the stupid argument that by means of advancing nationalism the imperialist state can be gdissolvedh:  

Letfs consider the direction that heads away from culture, as the concretization of life, to the state. Through this process onefs national-ness [monzku-sei] is confirmed, in comparison to other nationalities, and this is the shortest way to grope towards a new community. Here I want to investigate the path towards the dissolution (democratization) of the state. My premise is that the state be composed of all of the different nationalities, and I myself am one of the members of the nation. Here the essence of internationalism is first of all the clear recognition of the relationship between different nationalities, the remodeling of these relations, the creation of a bottom-up national unity (=community), and forging the ideological foundation to oppose the top-down, state-centered gnational unity.h

It is completely asinine to think that the class state can be dissolved though culture. Moreover, this petty bourgeois views the dissolution of the state as being identical to its democratization. If it were true that the dissolution of the state were its democratization the Japanese state would not need to be dissolved, since the Japanese state is a bourgeois-democratic state.) What astoundingly bourgeois and opportunistic thought! He says other nonsensical things, for example: gA wedge cannot be driven into the structure of the modern state without the thoroughgoing pursuit of nationality and.h This philistine does a great service to the bourgeoisie by advocating nationalism in a somewhat different form from their own. What gnationalityh is going to be gpursuedh in what manner, and what gwedgeh is going to be driven through what gstateh?here we have nothing but empty expressions. This petty bourgeois academic, after talking about the Ainu as a nation, adds the following conclusion:

This is indeed the national problem of the Japanese state. The ultimate question is how this state will be dissolved. To start with my conclusion: the form of national unity, that I mentioned previously, can either be in the direction of the independence or autonomy of minority nations, or the direction of the establishment of territorial autonomy, the so-called direction of separation and dispersion. In fact, these are the objectives of various present-day movements. Baba Nobuya, who analyzed the independence movement in Quebec, indicated the strengthening of the tendency towards territorial separation common to minority nations existing within the framework of domestic colonies apprehensive of state-based unity. Clearly, there is a gseismic shifth occurring within the state. This is also true of the Japanese state.

Still, it is quite difficult to logically organize this, and present it as an organizational theorycAccording to Rosa Luxemburgfs logic, minority nationalities within large states, rather than forming their own nation-states, should seek the rights and equality of nationalities in their cultural relations, in solidarity with the proletarian class, thereby dissolving=democratizing these large states. This position was essentially different from the demand of Austro-Marxism for democratic autonomy within the framework of the state (this was autonomy within the imperialist states and autonomy of socialist states), but in the end Luxemburgfs efforts were thwarted. I cannot deal with this point here, but I think that we can only start again from the perspective of her setback. This is one of the reasons that I have set about considering the nationalities within the structure of the modern Japanese state.

Today many Japanese people are going abroad, and coming closer to different cultures and nations. This opens up new possibilities. However, on the other hand, the state is increasing its functions. What can we make of this? This means that state which had been grotesque and repressive, has become more sleek and functional, presenting an image of being full of vibrant beauty. But, within this is the essence of the rule of the modern state. By contrast, the culture and tradition of the nation have gradually disappeared. The problem is how to grasp this state, and search for the path to its dissolution. I have been investigating the problem of the nation as part of this search.

This ridiculous man is trying to say that by becoming autonomous entities and allying with each other, nations existing within larger states will be able to gdissolve= democratizeh these large states. Clearly this is nothing but a petty-bourgeois fantasy.

Today the large state is progressive?regardless of the extent to which it exists as an imperialistic great power. Only the petty bourgeoisie who cannot understand how this state is necessary and important for the organization of socialism, shriek at the sight of the reality of the large states, and seek to replace them with smaller states, or seek a divided gweakh state. They can repeatedly call for this, but it nonetheless remains a hysterical petty bourgeois fantasy. No matter how reactionary and antagonistic towards the workers large states may be, this is because they are bourgeois state?the large state itself, however, is historically necessary and progressive. Only through the victory of the working class in the large states can a new age of human history be opened up. Even if the working class were to emerge victorious in a small state, unless this alone was sufficient to construct socialism, the effect on world history would be negligible. To juxtapose the large state with small or divided states, and say that the latter would be beneficial to  workers, is in fact the worst sort of fantasy that only serves to deceive the working class. The issue is to overthrow the bourgeois state and replace it with a workers state, not to gdissolve= democratizeh large states. First of all, this is impossible, and therefore a waste of energy. Secondly, even if this were possible, it is reactionary, and not in the interests of the workers.
Kato believes that the national struggles within large states such as the United States, Soviet Union, and Japan would gdissolve=democratizeh these states, and that this is the only hope for achieving this goal. Clearly, however, this is nothing but petty bourgeois lack of confidence in the capacity and historical role and struggles of the working class. This class are discouraged by the setbacks and gconservatismh of the working class in Japan and the United States?seen from a more long-term perspective this is essentially a temporary phenomenon?and seek refuge in the struggles of the gnational/ethnic minorities.h Kato aims not for the overthrow of bourgeois states, but rather their reform or gdemocratization.h But what exactly does this mean? Those who, behind leftwing-sounding phrases, go so far as to attack Marxism for being bourgeois thought, reveal their truly opportunistic nature and terribly vulgar minds.

Instead of encouraging gintegrationh between nations, these people foster separation and conflict, saying that each nation should be gautonomoush as a nation. They argue for the Dasein [determinate being] and rights of the Ainu nation, but he seems unaware of the essence of bourgeois society wherein this right for the Ainu would also be connected to the recognition of the rights and gmeaning of existenceh of other types of nationalism in Japan?since the recognition of this right for one group necessarily means recognizing it for others. In stressing the existence of the Ainu gnation,h they also emphasize the existence of the Japanese gnation,h but this can easily be made use of, either consciously or unconsciously, by bourgeois imperialists.

Kato says that his own standpoint is different from Austro-Marxism?which only sought autonomy within imperialist states?since he seeks the gdissolution= democratizationh of imperialist states. But this is a hollow distinction! Clearly, Austro-Marxism also claimed to be fighting against imperialist states. This theory was proposed as the program of the liberal socialists and nationalists fighting against imperialism. However, this was presented not in a revolutionary form, but rather a thoroughly opportunistic one?i.e. in the form of nations co-existing in harmony within the framework of the imperialist state. This is essentially identical to what Kato proposes when he calls for the gdemocratizationh of the bourgeois state, rather than its overthrow. Kato speaks of the gdissolutionh of the state, but since this in fact means gdemocratization,h there is no essential distinction from Austro-Marxism. Viewing the gdissolutionh of the state as its gdemocratizationh is characteristically petty bourgeois?and is an expression of their opportunistic class nature. Kato has not proposed anything substantially different from the thoroughly opportunistic Austro- Marxism that sought petty bourgeois reforms within the gimperialist state.h One has to be incredibly ignorant, or self-complacent, to defend the same standpoint held in the past by the petty bourgeoisie within the imperialist states, and then criticize Marxists for being gplacid reformists within the imperialist stateh!

The question of whether or not the Ainu are a nation is a central question for the Japanese intelligentsia. Professor Sobue Takao, who calls for an accurate study of the history of the Ainu to correct prejudice, says the following:

The need to deal with this sequence of movement shows that thinking about graceh and the gnationh has changed greatly. It is well known that America for a long time has been known as a gmelting pot of races.h Both white and black races have assimilated within this melting pot. This was believed to be the characteristic of the United States. In the sixties, objections were raised to this traditional gmelting-pot theory,h and there arose an alternative gsalad-bowl theory.h

In other words, various types of vegetables are placed within one salad bowl, but they certainly are not fused together. The lettuce remains lettuce, and the celery remains celery?each maintaining its own particular nature. Together in this bowl, they form the total image of the salad. The same is the case for race: in America the various races certainly do not fuse together. Rather, all of the races together form the American state, while at the same time they maintain their own traditional cultures. This view is based on the present-day situation in which each racial group emphasizes its own identity, instead of the former assimilation.

Along with this, one more trend that should not be overlooked is the recent change in the definition of the concept of the gnation.h Whereas the concept of graceh used the criteria of innate physical characteristics (particularly skin, eye, and hair color), the gnationh has been defined in terms of groups having their own particular language and culture (way of life). However, beginning in the sixties, identity was added to language and culture as the most important factor in determining a nation.

In the United States, there are many Native American tribes that have totally lost their own language and customs under the influence of white civilization. However, as long as they still have their sense of identity as a tribe, they can be recognized as an independent nation [minzoku].

They same thing can be said in the case of the Ainu in Japan. Among the Ainu there are many who are unable to speak the Ainu language, and whose everyday life is basically Japanese, but as long as they still are conscious of themselves as Ainu, the Ainu must be seen as an independent nationc

As I have already pointed out, one of the traditional characteristics of Japanese society is its closed nature. There has been a strong tendency to exclude anything that is different, resulting in prejudice and discrimination against the Ainu, as well as against Korean Residents of Japan [zainichi kankokujin] and students and workers from Asia. (Asahi Shinbun, June 13, 1991)

This philistine asserts that the various races and nationalities of the world gwill certainly not blend together.h This statement alone shows his reactionary nature. Can anything be more clear that in the future all races and nations will be gassimilated,h and that there is nothing that will prevent this? The reactionary petty bourgeoisie and nationalist philistines contrast this gassimilationh in general with the gunique national culture.h But the assimilation of the worldfs races is certainly not in contradiction with the preservation of gunique national culture.h There is no reason to gdiscriminateh against those who seek to preserve this culture?i.e. the forced assimilation in class society of people to the state. Sobuefs idea that the gnationalities within the U.S. are definitely not assimilatedh is theoretically stupid and politically reactionary. In the future class-less?and thus state-less?society all nationalities will assimilate together, and it is odd for someone to think that this would not happen.

Sobue says that the Ainu people ghave become Japanese,h but there is nothing particularly tragic about this. That is because this means that the conditions are in place for the Ainu proletariat have joined hands in to fight in solidarity with the Japanese proletariat against the rule of capital.

Sobue?or petty bourgeois nationalists in general?tries to defend the concept of the nation, but fails. Ultimately he reduces the concept to subjective elements like gidentity.h This concept of the nation is empty and hollow. He introduces a subjective standard whereby someone can be considered a Native American if they have this identity, even if they no longer speaks a Native American language, but overlooks the fact that the completely opposite situation could also arise. According to Sobuefs subjective conceptual definition, a black person who also has the identity of being an American would no longer be black. However, everyone knows that this concept of the nation is incorrect.

Sobuefs mistake is that he views the concept of the nation as a historical and cultural concept separated from its natural basis. In this way, the concept of the nation becomes an empty concept. The concept of the nation is historical, but this does not mean that the nation lacks a natural basis. This is the same as social labor taking the social form of value, but still having things in common with labor under all forms of society. The nation can certainly not be separated from all natural conditions such as race, language, and so on, and to do so would be to turn the nation into something lacking all content. There is no question that the concept of the nation is very much a historical concept and is inseparably connected to historical fact of the formation of the bourgeois nation-state. Still, this does not separate the concept of the nation from natural things, and it would be incorrect to reason this way.

Sobuefs emphasizes the theory of the gsalad bowlh wherein the various nationalities and races combine, gwithout losing their identity,h to form the state of America. In terms of presupposing the eternal existence of the bourgeois state, this theory is exactly the same as cliched bourgeois theories. Our aim, by contrast, is to negate and overcome the bourgeois state?regardless of whether nationalities and races attempt to exist independently or through assimilation?and thereby overcome the national existence of humanity.

What sort of state does Sobue presupposes the United States to be? Is this a United States, like the Austrian Empire (or more recently Yugoslavia), where each nationality increasingly emphasizes its own gidentity,h thereby dividing the state into smaller gnation- statesh? Since the different nationalities in the United States are spread out over the entire country, this possibility seems slim. In this case, isnft Sobue, like Austro-Marxism, basically advocating the gcultural autonomyh for each different nationality (under the bourgeois or imperialist state!)? Workers know that this is completely opportunistic standpoint!

Intellectuals who make so much noise about the nation hope for cooperation, understanding, and peaceful co-existence between nations, rather than conflict, disputes, and war. There is no reason to doubt their ggood intentions,h but as Marx quoted from Dante, gthe road to hell is paved with good intentions.h

The aim of workers is a little different. Workers ardently seek the cooperation and solidarity and between different nationalities. The concept of gnationh must be dissolved by the concept of ghumanityh?this is the belief of the internationalist workers throughout the world fighting to realize socialism. The idea of cooperation between nations, which itself presupposes the existence of nations, is the ridiculous idea of bourgeois intellectuals who treat capitalism as an eternal form of society.

Unlike petty bourgeois intellectuals, we are not interested in endlessly talking about the concept of the gnation.h Our starting point is not the nation, but rather the reality of capitalism, and the rule of the nation-state, and we seek to revolutionize this reality and liberate the working class, thereby gemancipatingh all nations.

For us it is a clear assumption that the nation, unlike the gnaturalh definition of race, is a social and historical concept. Furthermore, we think that it is perfectly clear that the concept of the nation in the modern sense is inseparable from the development of capitalism and the formation of the nation-state. Of course, this does not preclude that a given nation may today form its own state. (For example, the Jewish people who had yet to form a state around the time of the First World War, later became aware of themselves as a gnationh and began moving in the direction of forming a state.) In this sense, the concept of the state cannot always be connected to the idea of territory, as Stalin believed. The nation is connected to one stage of human history, wherein it has real significance, but once this stage has been superceded it will be seen as a relic that belongs in the past of humanity and remains only as a memory.

It is clear that the nation is also connected to gnaturalh concepts, such as racial distinctions, but this is not directly related to the concept of the nation. To establish the concept of the nation, social and historical elements must be included as its necessary moments. Along with the development of capitalism and the formation of the bourgeois state, the concept of the nation in the modern sense is established. Of course, the nation is an objective thing, not something subjective that results from the common gpsychologyh of a given group?that is, even though it has subjective elements, it must be defined according to the objective factors.

We clearly say that national distinctions?i.e. arbitrary racial differences, will probably remain to some extent in the future human society, but this will no longer have significance to humanity. Using racial distinctions as the basis of national discrimination (i.e. historical and social discrimination) is linked to the development of capitalism and the nation-state. Thus, the national problem is essentially a historical and social problem, not a gnaturalh one. For workers, it is fundamentally important to recognize this. Until the victory of socialism throughout the world, the national problem will retain its necessity and basis. To those petty bourgeois intellectuals who talk about the nation and its importance, and say that Marxism is gbankrupted,h gimpotent,h or is gunable to find a solution,h we reply that they are caught up in the gnationh to the point that they are unable to see the history of humanity that lies beyond the boundaries of capitalism and the nation-state. They canft take one step beyond the framework of capitalism, and remain absorbed in discussing the national problem from their cramped and vulgar standpoint. Within the boundaries of capitalism, it suits their taste to eclectically talk about how gcomplexh and gdifficulth the problem of the nation is. By absolutizing and fixing the nation problem in a supra-historical manner, they end up aiding the bourgeoisie and reactionaries whose interest lies in the development of every sort of nationalism.

These intellectuals do not seek the gdissolutionh of nations, but rather, presupposing their existence, hope that different nationalities will cooperate and resolve their conflicts so that they all might live in harmony under capitalism. These intellectuals are liberal nationalists or gsocialistsh who welcome nationalism (in the style of Austro-Marxism), while being opposed to the radical nationalism represented by Nazism. The most up-to-date intellectuals do not even feel the need the drape their nationalism with socialism since nothing could be more unfashionable today than socialism. Therefore, rather than concealing their opportunism behind a socialistic veil, it is more trendy for academics today to actually gcriticizeh socialism.

The petty bourgeois intellectuals who attack the nation theory of Marx and Lenin do not understand that the Marxist theory of the nation is completely subordinated to the interests of the working class and the struggle for socialism. Thus, they have the impression that Marxism gdespisedh or gfailed to understandh the nation problem. Marxism, in short, did not view the national problem as having the greatest significance or importance. But intellectuals are not interested in this position of Marxism. For them, the national problem in itself is an independent problem, rather than ga function of class relations,h and thus cannot be greduced to the class problem.h Of course, imprecise and ambiguous terms such as gfunctionh and greduceh are of little use. Lenin emphasized that the problem of the nation in its totality is subordinated to the interests of the class struggle?even though at certain times, and under certain conditions, this can have extremely important significance. Such a position, of course, does not amount to gignoringh or being disinterested, insensitive, or indifferent to the problem of the nation.

Like the concept of race, the concept of the nation is essentially something relative, ambiguous, with boundaries that are not fixed. Nevertheless, this is a real concept, and not a figment of the imagination. This concept is a relative thing because nationalities, through history and their real activity, have become increasingly assimilated and mixed, and will continue to be so. Just as no gpureh race exists on this earth, there is also no gpureh nation that exists. This is nothing but a myth created by reactionary nationalists, national chauvinists, and Nazi fascists. What race would a person who has parents from different races belong to? There is no rational answer to this question. In the end, we have to recognize the correctness of the view that there is but one human race. Those Japanese people who talk about the gpurityh of the Japanese people or gnationh ignore the historical fact that Japanese people are a product of gmixed blood.h The stupid reactionary nature of those who speak of the gpure bloodh of Japanese people or the unrivaled historical development is truly a marvel. We are human beings, and nothing else, and we should recognize that as human beings we are equal (of course in this class society it should be added that people are equal as workers). Moreover, the only true solution is the rapprochement, cooperation, and assimilation between nations?not distinctions, separation, and isolation. Of course, this is a Herculean task under class society. For this to be achieved in reality requires the united struggles of the working class throughout the world opposed to capital, and the worldwide victory of socialism. Workers are fundamentally interested in unity and solidarity in their anti-capitalist standpoint, not in the distinctions and divisions between nations. Workers are opposed to all who seek to foster the divisions between nations, and seek instead to weaken such conflict.

The Socialist Party has also made some comments on the nation problem, and I would like to conclude this essay by briefly looking at some of them. Their comments are basically identical to those of the intellectuals that we have already considered. This petty bourgeois party has said that it gseeks harmony between nations and states,h and gmutual respect rather than eassimilationf.h In particular, they stress the gright of the native or aborigine peoplesh [zenj? minzoku]. What do they mean by grightsh in this case? This is first of all personal rights. However, workers deny the right private property, whether it is that of gnative/aborigine,h or in any other case. Even if it is said that the rights of oppressed nations must be defended, we would still not recognize such a bourgeois thing. The fact that the Socialist Party brings up the issue of gaborigine rightsh exposes the bourgeois nature of this party. To defend this right is to accept all rights of ownership. Are the land ownership rights really based on the right of prior occupation [senj?]? Some may argue that Native Americans, unlike the Ainu, are gguaranteed rights of occupation,h but this only the reverse side or proof of the fact that national discrimination against Native Americans has not been overcome in American society.

The Socialist Party defends the idea that gthe autonomous rights of the Ainu as first occupants,h but any such attempt to fix the nation as a nation is reactionary. Especially today, when the bourgeoisie has begun to make new efforts to distill nationalism, no one can say that such ideas will not be taken over by them for use as one part of their nationalistic propaganda.

Already, the bourgeoisie no longer denies the problem of gminority nationalities.h As can be quoted in the Socialist Partyfs own organ paper gShakai shinh?,h during the April session of the Diet, in response to the question of whether gthe concept of the nation is defined as a single group that has its own language, customs, traditions, and culture,h the government responded by saying that it gconsiders the Ainu as a minority nation that qualifies for protection under the International Human Rights Agreement (Article B) section 27 (regarding the rights of minority nations).h Of course, there was also the statement by Prime Minister Nakasone in 1986 that gJapan is a single nation,h and his denial of the existence of ethnic minorities, but on the other hand in 1987 LDP Chief Cabinet Secretary Gotuada commented that git must be said that a minority nation problem does exist in Japan.h

However, if the Ainu already exist as members of citizenry of Japan, with ensured equal rights, and if these rights are in fact being recognized, then there is no positive meaning in distinguishing between the Ainu gnationh and other Japanese people, and to do so would be reactionary. This clearly results in raising the general nationalist consciousness, which ultimately benefits the nationalistic campaign of the government, LDP, and reactionaries. For internationalist workers, this sort of nationalism?and it is clear that this is a type of nationalism?can only have reactionary meaning, despite its humanistic appearance.

Of course, if people of Ainu nationality are not being protected under democracy, and are being politically discriminated against, this must be overcome immediately. Likewise, any attempts to suppress the continuation or development of Ainu culture must also be defeated. However, such oppression currently cannot be said to fundamentally exist. Currently it is quite possible for those who wish to protect the culture of the Ainu to carry out their activities. To demand more than this in the name of gdemocracyh would be mistaken, and would absolutize nationalism, split the workers, and weaken the struggles and organization of the workers of the same gnation.h

The question of whether or not the Ainu constitute a nation is a scholarly question, which does not interest the working class. For the workers, this is not an essential question. It is beside the point if a worker belongs to the Ainu nation [minzoku] or is a ggenuineh Japanese (whatever that might mean). People who get hung up on this question are clearly petty bourgeois philistines. To hold up the concept of the Ainu nation, means to recognize its counter concept, the gJapanese nationh [minzoku], as something absolute. To absolutize one nation means to in turn absolutize others as well. If the Ainu nation is established as a concept, then the same could be done for the Japanese nation as a concept. Otherwise, there would be no point in establishing the Ainu nation concept. This in itself exposes the reactionary nature of Ainu nationalism. Since we are sneer at the concept of the gJapanese nation,h we also have nothing to do with the concept of the gAinu nationh or the riky? minzoku (Okinawan nation). We are consistent internationalists, and will continue to maintain this standpoint.

Of course, our perspective does not imply that human groups of different races, languages, and customs do not exist in the contemporary world. Everyone is aware that this is the case. The question is how this should be understood, and what attitude one should take. We are opposed to those who seek to harden and absolutize the concept of the gnation,h and clearly state that this is not the ideology or standpoint of the working class, but rather that of the bourgeoisie (and petty bourgeoisie).

The Communist Party is spreading a confused view of the nation. We have no intention here to fully expose the ideology of these petty bourgeois nationalists and their gsystem.h We will simply highlight one of their ignorant statements related to the definition of the nation. On the one hand, they absolutize the nation, and have said that national self-determination in Yugoslavia is not correct, since all of the nations within Yugoslavia belong to the gsouthern Slavic nation,h making it difficult to recognize the right of self-determination for Slovenia and Croatia.

Since Slovenia, Croatia, and Serbia have gone through quite different experiences of development, it is silly, in this case, to offer the explanation that they all belong to the gSouthern Slavs.h Slovenia and Croatia received a strong influence historically from Rome and Venice, and thus today uses the Roman alphabet. Serbia, by contrast, was for a long time was under the rule of the Eastern Roman Empire, and was gfamiliarh with an autocratic system. The Serbs also used the Cyrillic alphabet. In the realm of religion as well, the Slovenians and Croats are Catholic, while Serbs are either members of the Orthodox Church or Muslims. Here the Communist Partyfs argument that they are all gthe same Southern Slavsh only serves to cover significant gnationalh differences between them. This is not a problem that can be decided simply by the distinctions or identity of race. By reducing the concept of the nation to the concept of race, they are dissolving socio-historical concept into a naturalistic one. This amounts to depicting the nation, and national conflicts, as something eternal?as something that has a supra-historical nature. This view has nothing in common with the worldview of the working class.

The Communist Party says that since the nations within Yugoslavia belong to the same gsouthern slave nation,h one cannot speak of an independent Slovenian or Croat gnation,h and that this demand for gnational independenceh is not justified. This is the vulgar theory of Stalin.

Herein lies the essential question of what is the concept of the nation. The concept of the nation that the JCP is advocating has a racial basis?i.e., the idea that Slovenians and Croats belong to the gSouthern Slavic nation,h and should therefore also belong to the same state. The JCP does not say this quite so clearly, but this  is the only conclusion that can be drawn from their statements.

This view of the JCP appears ridiculous, however, from our standpoint of understanding the nation as a socio-historical concept that emerged along with the development of capitalism. If historically, Croatia and Slovenia went through a different experience of historical development from Serbia as different gnations,h then no one could interfere with the desire for national self determination, even if they have the same racial ancestry. It is clear that they have this right just like other nations do. It would be totally inconsistent to recognize this right for the three Baltic States, while refusing it for Croatia and Slovenia.

The question here is one of principal, not of introducing some random case or expedient standard. It is a question of whether we recognize the right of every nation to self-determination. We recognize this right for Croatia and Slovenia, just as we do for the Baltic States. Of course, recognizing the right to national self-determination is not the same thing as supporting the self-determination (i.e. political independence) for every ethnic-nation [minzoku]. On this point, the Communist Party lacks a clear concept, and for this reason they have fallen into the confusion of saying that the situation in the Baltic States is different from that of Yugoslavia.

Zip:179-0074, 1-11-12-409 Kasuga-chou Nerima-ku Tokyo Japan
tel/fax +81-3(6795)2822

E-mail to WPLL